Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012-03-31 "Detroit High School Protest: Students Suspended After Demanding 'An Education'"
[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/30/detroit-high-school-prote_n_1392436.html]
About 50 students were suspended Thursday from the all-boys Frederick Douglass Academy in Detroit, Mich. for walking out of classes in protest, demanding "an education."
Among their complaints: a lack of consistent teachers, the reassignment of the school principal, educators who abuse sick time and a shortage of textbooks.
"We've been wronged and disrespected and lied to and cheated," senior Tevin Hill told the Detroit Free Press. "They didn't listen to us when we complained to the administration. They didn't listen to the parents when they complained to the administration, so I guess this is the only way to get things solved." [http://www.freep.com/article/20120330/NEWS01/203300409/Douglass-Academy-walkout-earns-suspensions-for-about-50-high-schoolers]
One math teacher, parent Sharise Smith tells WJBK-TV, has been absent for more than 68 days. [http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/seniors-at-detroits-frederick-douglass-academy-walk-out-in-protest-20120329-ms]
The students marched outside the school and chanted, "We want... education! When do we want it? Now!"
Students and parents became increasingly alarmed when Frederick Douglass was no longer listed as an application school in the district -- current students had to apply to attend. Smith told the Free Press that her son was given an A in geometry without taking a final exam.
"It was by default, just for showing up. It wasn't because he earned an A," she said.
The Frederick Douglass boys are just some of many students in a city that proved to be the worst-performing urban school area among 21 surveyed across the country. Despite its national rank, Detroit's overall performance increased on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2009 branded Detroit "ground zero" for education reform, but changed his tone to a more optimistic one last year. Still, the district is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and faces dwindling enrollment -- the first day of academic year 2011-2012 saw a 55 percent attendance rate.
Detroit Public Schools spokesperson Steve Wasko noted that Frederick Douglass teachers who abuse sick time "will be reprimanded," and the district aims to keep the school open while adding new courses like debate and engineering.
The 17-year-old Hill told The Detroit News that so many teachers have been simultaneously absent from school that dozens of students had been forced to gather in the gym or other common school areas. Students also went for long periods without homework, and Hill said he struggled on a recent placement exam at Bowling Green State University, where he's been accepted to attend next year. [
"I literally couldn't answer a question on there," Hill said. "Right now, I'm not going to be as successful as I should be because I haven't been properly taught."

Friday, March 30, 2012

2012-03-30 "Florida Voter Registration Way Down Thanks To Restrictions" by Jessica Pieklo
[http://www.care2.com/causes/florida-voter-registration-way-down-thanks-to-restrictions.html]
Despite a series of legal set-backs, voter ID initiatives and other voting restrictions have become the whack-a-mole of election season politics, popping up in state after state. Not surprisingly, they’ve been most hard fought in traditional swing states like Pennsylvania and Florida. There’s good reason why.
Under Florida’s restrictive new voting laws [http://www.care2.com/causes/florida-voter-id-law-might-be-intentionally-discriminatory.html], over 81,000 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election. In total there are about 11.3 million voters registered in the state [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/us/restrictions-on-voter-registration-in-florida-have-groups-opting-out.html].
The new law requires groups that registers voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines has, among other things, led the state’s League of Women Voters to stop registration drives. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began their voter initiative drive to register high school students in every state but Florida.
Florida’s law is being challenged in court by civics groups and by the Department of Justice for those counties covered by the Voting Rights Act.
Supporters of the voting restrictions argue that there’s no way to link the fewer registrants to the laws, citing other factors such as possible demographic shifts or low voter enthusiasm.
But fewer voters is fewer voters, regardless of the reason, and in a democracy that means fewer citizens have the opportunity to participate and have a say in their own governance. Regardless of political affiliation, that’s a truth that should disturb us.
2012-03-30 "Christian TV Grifters In Trouble, Again" by Paul Canning
[http://www.care2.com/causes/christian-tv-grifters-in-trouble-again.html]
A massive scandal is engulfing the world’s biggest Christian broadcasting network [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/23/us-christian-tv-channel-owners-lawsuit?CMP=twt_gu].
California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) has been hit by a lawsuit from members of the family of founders Paul and Jan Crouch alleging widespread embezzlement.
The suit details massive spending on private jets, mansions in California, Tennessee and Florida and a $100,000 mobile home for Jan Crouch’s dogs paid for through sham loans. It follows the termination of Brittany Koper, the granddaughter of Paul Crouch. The suit alleges Koper discovered the illegal financial activities, conveyed her concerns to ministry leaders, and was told to keep quiet.
The charges also include allegations of spending by the ministry that helped cover up sexual scandals and a discrimination lawsuit. These include the alleged “cover-up and destruction of evidence concerning a bloody sexual assault involving Trinity Broadcasting and affiliated Holy Land Experience employees; the cover-up of director Janice Crouch’s affair with a staff member at the Holy Land Experience; the cover-up of director Paul Crouch’s use of Trinity Broadcasting funds to pay for a legal settlement with Enoch Lonnie Ford (a former TBN employee who said he had a homosexual affair with [founder] Paul Crouch).” [http://www.texemarrs.com/112004/homosexual_hush_money.htm]
TBN preaches the “prosperity gospel” which promises material rewards to those who give generously. Since it was set up in the 1970s it has become the biggest Christian TV network with a presence on every continent except the Antarctic and has 18,000 affiliates. It also owns the Holy Land Experience, a Christian amusement park in Orlando.
Their shows feature such highlights as Jan Crouch tearfully giving an account of how her pet chicken was miraculously raised from the dead. Or Benny Hinn prophesying that if TBN viewers will put their dead loved ones’ caskets in front of the television set and touch the dead person’s hand to the screen, people will “be raised from the dead…by the thousands.”
TBN took in $92 million in donations in 2010 and cleared $175 million in tax-free revenue, although the recession has dramatically hit what it rakes in from its followers.
The network has fired back by pointing out that the lawsuit comes from family members who were themselves accused of embezzlement, though those charges were dismissed, and called the allegations of excessive spending “fabrications.” [http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tbn-responds-to-articles-allegations-concerning-network-finances-2012-03-27]
The lawsuit follows quickly from revelations that David Cerello, CEO of Inspiration Networks (INSP), was paid a salary of $2.5 million from his ministry in 2010 [http://www.care2.com/causes/prosperity-gospel-grifters-under-fire.html].
Californian pastor John MacArthur writes of TBN [http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/grace-to-you/read/articles/unholy-trinity-8715.html]:
[begin excerpt]
If the scheme seems reminiscent of Tetzel, that’s because it is precisely the same doctrine. (Tetzel was a medieval monk whose high-pressure selling of indulgences — phony promises of forgiveness — outraged Martin Luther and touched off the Protestant Reformation.)
Like Tetzel, TBN preys on the poor and plies them with false promises. Yet what is happening daily on TBN is many times worse than the abuses that Luther decried because it is more widespread and more flagrant. The medium is more high-tech and the amounts bilked out of viewers’ pockets are astronomically higher. (By most estimates, TBN is worth more than a billion dollars and rakes in $200 million annually. Those are direct contributions to the network, not counting millions more in donations sent directly to TBN broadcasters.) Like Tetzel on steroids, the Crouches and virtually all the key broadcasters on TBN live in garish opulence, while constantly begging their needy viewers for more money. Elderly, poor, and working-class viewers constitute TBN’s primary demographic. And TBN’s fundraisers all know that. The most desperate people – “unemployed,” “even though I’m in between jobs,” “trying to make it; trying to survive,” “broke” – are baited with false promises to give what they do not even have [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLpzb6CxG_g]. Jan Crouch addresses viewers as “you little people,” and suggests that they send their grocery money to TBN “to assure God’s blessing.” [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRirh4zTwig]
Thus TBN devours the poor while making the charlatans rich. God cursed false prophets in the Old Testament for that very thing (Jeremiah 6:13-15). It’s also one of the main reasons the Pharisees incurred Jesus’ condemnation (Luke 20:46-47). It’s hard to think of any sin more evil.
[end excerpt]
2012-03-30 "Break Up the Banks, Says the Dallas Fed" by Robert Reich
[http://truth-out.org/news/item/8214-break-up-the-banks-says-the-dallas-fed]
As the Supreme Court shows every sign of throwing out “Obamacare” and leaving 30 million Americans without health insurance, another drama is being played out in the quiet corridors of the Federal Reserve system that may affect even more of us.
Taxpayers will be on the hook for another giant Wall Street bailout, and the economy won’t be mended, unless the nation’s biggest banks are broken up.
That’s not just me talking, or the Occupier movement, or that wayward executive who resigned from Goldman Sachs a few weeks ago. It’s the conclusion of the Dallas Federal Reserve, one of the most conservative of the Fed’s regional banks.
The lead essay in its just released annual report says a cartel of giant banks continues to hobble the recovery and poses an ongoing danger to the economy.
Wall Street’s increasing power remains “difficult to control because they have the lawyers and the money to resist the pressures of federal regulation.” The Dodd-Frank act that was supposed to control Wall Street “leaves TBTF [too big to fail] entrenched.”
The Dallas Fed goes on to argue that the Fed’s easy money policy can’t be much help to the U.S. economy as long as Wall Street is “still clogged with toxic assets accumulated in the boom years.”
So what’s the answer, according to the Dallas Fed? It’s “breaking up the nation’s biggest banks into smaller units.”
Thud. That’s the sound of the report hitting the desks of Wall Street executives. They and their Washington lobbyists are doing what they can to make sure this report is discredited and buried.
When I spoke with one of the Street’s major defenders in the Capitol this morning he snorted “Dallas represents small regional banks that are jealous of Wall Street.” When I reminded him the Dallas Fed was about the most conservative of the regional banks and knew first-hand about the dangers of under-regulated banks — the Savings and Loan crisis ripped through Texas like nowhere else — he said “Dallas doesn’t know its [backside] from a prairie gopher hole.”
So as Republicans make the repeal of “Obamacare” their primary objective (and Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and perhaps Kennedy sharpen their knives) another drama is taking place at the Fed. The question is whether Bernanke and company in Washington will heed the warnings coming from its Dallas branch, and amplify the message.

2012-03-30 "Money Talks, Science Walks: Millions Spent to Weaken FDA; Pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology industries spend $700 million ahead of crucial legislation"

from "Common Dreams" [http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/03/30-4]:
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology industries spent over $700 million in lobbying between 2009 and 2011, surpassing other special interest spending such as big oil and insurance industries.
The extreme spending comes as this year's 'industry-friendly proposals' face the House and Senate, such as legislation limiting the FDA’s drug and medical device scrutiny.
"Congress is also considering legislation that would relax conflict-of-interest standards for federal advisory members at the FDA, allowing scientists with a financial stake in the outcome to vote on panels that approve or reject drugs and medical devices," states UCS.

* * *
Drug and Health Product Industry Spent $700 Million on Lobbying (UCS) [http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2012/03/29-12]:
Pharmaceuticals companies and related trade groups spent more than $487 million on lobbying over this three-year period, while biotechnology firms and their trade groups spent more than $126 million and device manufacturers and their trade groups spent more than $86 million.
By comparison, the oil and gas industry spent more than $467 million and the insurance industry spent nearly $481 million during the same three-year period.
 While these companies differ in their specific objectives, a central lobbying target for all of them is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which must evaluate new drugs and medical devices for safety and efficacy as well as monitor them after they enter the market.
“All this money skews the debate and diminishes the public’s voice on these issues,” said Francesca Grifo, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Scientific Integrity Program. “What’s at stake here is FDA’s ability to make independent, science-based decisions that affect our health and safety.” [...]
The analysis also showed that these industries were generous with their campaign contributions, giving nearly $6.3 million to 70 lawmakers who served on relevant committees from 2009 through 2011.
This year, several industry-friendly proposals are pending in both the House and Senate, including legislation that would reduce the FDA’s scrutiny of medical devices, relax conflict-of-interest standards at the agency, and emphasize speed and innovation over adherence to the FDA’s science-based standards for safe and effective drugs and devices.
* * *
Money Talks, and What It’s Saying May Harm the FDA (UCS/Celia Wexler) [http://blog.ucsusa.org/money-talks-and-what-its-saying-may-harm-the-fda/]:
This year, Congress has proposed changes that would harm the agency’s ability to protect public health and safety. It would be a lot easier for drug, device and biotech industries to get their products to market, in some cases with even less scrutiny than the FDA gives these products now. [...]
What do all those millions buy? Public Citizen recently reported that during the third and fourth quarters of 2011, at least 225 lobbyists walked the halls of Congress and executive branch agencies, making the case for medical device companies. All those boots on the ground build relationships with the key congressional and executive branch players in Washington.
The same holds for campaign contributions. Donations to Members of Congress don’t buy votes. But they do buy access. It’s a lot easier to get the ear of a member of Congress when you’re at a fundraising cocktail party and you can just walk over and have a casual chat. The member of Congress can ensure that the chat is followed up with an in-depth discussion with his or her senior aides.
The money these companies give is smart money. It’s targeted where it has the greatest impact. As we report today, key members of one House subcommittee and one Senate committee received nearly $6.3 million in campaign contributions since 2009.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

$1.45 Trillion of tax money to Private Armament Companies for development and lifetime services of a new attack jet

"Exclusive: U.S. sees lifetime cost of F-35 fighter at $1.45 trillion"
2012-03-29 by Andrea Shalal-Esa for "Reuters" newsiwre [https://web.archive.org/web/20120329193324/http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/29/us-lockheed-fighter-idUSBRE82S03L20120329]:
The U.S. government now projects that the total cost to develop, buy and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be $1.45 trillion over the next 50-plus years, according to a Pentagon document obtained by Reuters.
The Pentagon's latest, staggering estimate of the lifetime cost of the F-35 -- its most expensive weapons program -- is up from about $1 trillion a year ago, and includes inflation.
While inflation accounts for more than one-third of the projected F-35 operating costs, military officials and industry executives were quick to point out that it is nearly impossible to predict inflation over the next half-century.
They also argue that no other weapons program's costs have been calculated over such a long period, and that even shorter-term cost projections for other aircraft do not include the cost of modernization programs and upgrades.
The new cost estimate reflects the Pentagon's proposal to postpone orders for 179 planes for five years, a move that U.S. official say will save $15.1 billion through 2017, and should avert costly retrofits if further problems arise during testing of the new fighter, which is only about 20 percent complete.
The Pentagon still plans to buy 2,443 of the new radar-evading, supersonic warplanes, plus 14 development aircraft, in the coming decades, although Air Force Secretary Michael Donley last week warned that further technical problems or cost increases could eat away at those numbers.
The new estimate, based on calculations made by the Cost Assessment Program Evaluation (CAPE) office, includes operating and maintenance costs of $1.11 trillion, including inflation, and development and procurement costs of $332 billion.
The Government Accountability Office last week projected it would cost $397 billion to develop and buy the planes, up from its earlier forecast of $382 billion.
The Pentagon office that runs the F-35 program office has a lower estimate for lifetime costs, although it is still around $1 trillion, according to two sources familiar with the estimates. Both industry and government have put a huge emphasis on reducing operating costs and keeping the plane affordable.
The new estimates are part of a revised F-35 baseline dated March 26 that will be sent to Congress on Thursday.

AVERAGE COST $135 MLN PER F-35 -
The new baseline forecasts the average cost of the F-35 fighter, including research and development (R&D) and inflation, at $135 million per plane, plus an additional $26 million for the F135 engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.
In 2012 dollars, the average cost of each single-seat, single-engine plane, including R&D, would be $112.5 million, plus $22 million for the engine.
This is the first year that the government has separated out the cost of the plane and the engine, and comparison figures were not immediately available. Lockheed Martin has said the average cost of the plane will be around $65 million to $70 million, based on 2010 dollars.
Lockheed Martin declined comment on the new estimate, saying it had not yet received the Pentagon's latest report.
Lockheed spokesman Joe LaMarca said the company still believed the new fighter jet would cost the same or less to operate and maintain than the seven legacy warplanes it will replace, while offering far greater capabilities.

INCREASES DUE TO GOVERNMENT CHANGES -
Defense analyst Loren Thompson said three quarters of the cost increases on the F-35 program were linked to government changes in the scope of the program, and the way it was estimating costs.
For instance, he said, the Pentagon initially planned to station the plane at 33 bases, but later changed the number to 49. It initially calculated operating costs over 30 years, but then chose a longer timeframe of 50 years, he said.
"The program costs appear to be rising much faster than they actually are because the government keeps changing how it calculates things," Thompson said.
The Pentagon's proposal to postpone buying 179 planes for five years added $60 billion to the operations and support cost of the program, since those planes will now be delivered in later years when inflation is higher. The push also added two years to the duration of the program, according to an internal Lockheed calculation obtained by Reuters.
But Winslow Wheeler, a critic of the program, predicts cost growth on the program will be even greater than estimated by the Pentagon, given the complexity of the F-35 fighter.
Lockheed is developing three variants of the new plane for the U.S. military and eight partner countries: Britain, Australia, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands. They now plan to buy a combined total of 697 planes, down from 730 in the previous Pentagon estimate.
2012-03-29 "First the GOP Co-Opts “War On Women” Now They Want “Choice”" by Robin Marty
[http://www.care2.com/causes/first-the-gop-co-opts-war-on-women-now-they-want-choice.html]
First, they came for the war on women [http://www.care2.com/causes/if-the-war-on-women-will-hurt-dems-why-is-the-gop-trying-to-co-opt-it.html].  Now, the Republican party — with assistance from their own female leaders — are coming for “choice,” too.
As the party began losing female support due to the GOP push to regulate women’s reproductive freedom, cut the social safety net and deny them access to affordable birth control and health care [http://www.care2.com/causes/what-if-i-cant-afford-birth-control-just-google-it.html], the Republicans have been searching for a way to turn the war on women frame on its head.  Now, they think they’ve found it — have female leaders from their own party say Democrats are the ones coming for women’s freedoms and liberty.
Suddenly, the Republicans love “choice” especially when it comes to health care [http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/28/gop-congresswomen-deny-war-on-women-assault-obamacare/].  “We want to make certain that we are the ones that are in charge of making those health care decisions and that we are the ones working with physicians,” said Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn during a rally at the capitol opposing the Affordable Care Act.
“[T]his is putting government bureaucrats between us and our doctor. It gives government the decision making power, not us,” agreed Florida Rep. Sandy Adams apparently without the slightest trace of irony.
Both representatives are sponsors of the D.C. 20 week abortion ban, which would make terminating a pregnancy impossible for any woman who discovers that her fetus has a genetic issue or is somehow non-viable, a bill that many would consider to be a real life case of “government bureaucrats” getting between women and doctors [http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2012/03/defeat-of-pain-capable-unborn-child-protection-act-a-top-priority-say-pro-abortion-leaders-2/].

Anti-Fascism - 2012-03-29 "Chicago Activists Stop Foreclosure"

"Housing rights and occupy activists enter third week of 'foreclosure blockade'" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f8uPWKdTPw]:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


2012-03-28 "Bank of America CEO got sixfold raise last year"
[http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fn%2Fa%2F2012%2F03%2F28%2Fnational%2Fa101904D10.DTL]
(03-28) 12:10 PDT NEW YORK, (AP) --
The CEO of Bank of America was paid $7.5 million last year — six times what he got in 2010. That's according to an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing out Wednesday.
The bank says Brian Moynihan's pay package for 2011 included a salary of $950,000, a $6.1 million stock award and about $420,000 worth of use of company aircraft and tax and financial advice.
It happened in a year when Bank of America stock plunged 58 percent. The bank struggled with lawsuits from investors who had bought securities backed by problematic mortgage loans.
The AP uses a calculation that isolates the value a company's board places on the CEO's total pay package. The figure includes salary, bonus, incentives, perks and the estimated value of stock options and awards.
2012-03-28 "No word – no problem: NYC educrats ban dinos, Halloween and aliens"
[http://rt.com/usa/news/school-test-list-ban-656/]
The political correctness dictatorship in the US has turned against dinosaurs and aliens. Dozens of other topics on city-issued tests have also been banned by New York teachers who seem to believe a problem disappears if a word is exterminated.
The list of “distracting topics” has provoked a debate over correctness going totally crazy.
The Department of Education has submitted a list of 50 forbidden words to companies competing for the chance to revamp New York's citywide standardized tests.
Those are given to students throughout the year to measure progress in English, math, science and social studies.
The list of banned words is astonishing. Dinosaurs were thrown out, for example, as they call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists. Birthdays shouldn’t be mentioned because they aren’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Halloween appeared on the “black list” as it suggests paganism.
“Dancing’’ is taboo, because some sects object. However the city took pity on ballet which is an exception. It somehow turned out apparently, ballet doesn’t hurt anyone.
“Creatures from outer space,” junk food and, mysteriously, “homes with swimming pools” are less lucky.
Terrorism was considered too scary. Poverty is on the forbidden list as well as words that suggest wealth because they could make kids jealous.
Divorces, as well as diseases are also set to be forbidden in order to not traumatize kids having relatives who split from spouses or are ill.
Officials say they are simply trying to avoid topics that "could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students."
But if kids could be “traumatized” by the fact that some people live in homes with swimming pools and computers (mentioning those is restricted, too), what will happen to them when they learn about wars, pandemics or Holocaust?
And if the fact slavery existed in US for centuries (slavery obviously proscribed) can hurt young and innocent creatures – what is the next step to save the kids’ mental health? Will those words be censored from TV, for example, which is totally focused on “prohibited” celebrities, luxury and violence?
If educrats proceed with this idea, they will have to ban libraries and Internet access.
But at the moment you can only guess what will fall the next victim of political correctness gone wild. Presumably the human brain with its ability to compare, analyze and make conclusions provokes a major menace.
2012-03-28 "FBI Taught Agents They Could ‘Bend or Suspend the Law’" by Spencer Ackerman
[http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/fbi-bend-suspend-law/]
UPDATE: The FBI has released the memo in question. Read it here.
---
The FBI taught its agents that they could sometimes “bend or suspend the law” in their hunt for terrorists and criminals. Other FBI instructional material, discovered during a months-long review of FBI counterterrorism training, warned agents against shaking hands with “Asians” and said Arabs were prone to “Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums.”
These are just some of the disturbing results of the FBI’s six-month review into how the Bureau trained its counterterrorism agents. That review, now complete, did not result in a single disciplinary action for any instructor. Nor did it mandate the retraining of any FBI agent exposed to what the Bureau concedes was inappropriate material. Nor did it look at any intelligence reports that might have been influenced by the training. All that has a powerful senator saying that the review represents a “failure to adequately address” the problem.
“This is not an effective way to protect the United States,” Sen. Richard Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing the FBI, tells Danger Room about the inappropriate FBI counterterrorism training. “It’s stunning that these things could be said to members of our FBI in training. It will not make them more effective in their work and won’t make America safer.”
At the least, Durbin adds, “those responsible for some of the worst parts of this should be reassigned. I want FBI agents who were exposed to some of these comments to at least have a chance to be spoken to and given valid, positive information that can help them.”
One FBI PowerPoint — disclosed in a letter Durbin sent to FBI Director Robert Mueller on Tuesday (.PDF) [http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2012/03/FBI-training-letter.pdf] and shared with Danger Room — stated: “Under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.” An incredulous Durbin told Danger Room, “Time and time again when that is done, it has not made us safer.” Like other excerpts from FBI documents Danger Room reviewed for this story, it was not dated and did not include additional context explaining what those “circumstances” might be.
FBI spokesman Christopher Allen did not dispute the documents’ authenticity. He said he would not share the full documents with Danger Room, and was “unable to provide” additional information about their context, including any indication of how many FBI agents were exposed to them.
“Of the approximately 160,000 pages of training material reviewed, less than one percent contained factually inaccurate or imprecise information or used stereotypes,” Allen told Danger Room. “But mistakes were made, and we are correcting those mistakes. Through this review process, we recognized that we lacked a centralized process to ensure all training materials were reviewed and validated. We are addressing that gap so this does not happen again.”
The FBI’s counterterrorism training review was prompted by a Danger Room series revealing the Bureau taught agents that “mainstream” Muslims were “violent“; that Islam made its followers want to commit “genocide“; and that an FBI intelligence analyst compared Islam to the Death Star from Star Wars. The review led the bureau to remove hundreds of pages of documents from its training course [http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/02/hundreds-fbi-documents-muslims/].
On Friday, the FBI announced the results of its internal review. After six months of internal inquiry, it released a statement instructing that “training would conform to constitutional principles” and “emphasize the protection of civil rights and civil liberties.” [http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/training/the-fbis-guiding-principles] Written materials “must be reviewed carefully by supervisory-level personnel possessing an appropriate level of understanding of relevant topics.”
No one who prepared any of the “factually inaccurate or imprecise” instructional material faced disciplinary action. “All FBI employees who prepared inaccurate, imprecise, or stereotyped materials were interviewed,” Allen said. “It was made clear to them what was wrong with the materials and why they were not acceptable for FBI training.”
That’s left Sen. Durbin dissatisfied.
On Tuesday, Durbin wrote to FBI Director Mueller objecting to the FBI’s plans not to disclose the results of the inquiry; not to discipline those responsible for the offending documents; to exclude “FBI intelligence analyses of Islam and American Muslims” from the inquiry’s purview; and not to retrain agents who were exposed to the shoddy instructional material.
“If the FBI does not identify agents who received inaccurate information and take steps to retrain them, there is a real risk that agents will be operating on false assumptions about Arab Americans and American Muslims,” Durbin wrote to Mueller. “This could harm counterterrorism efforts by leading FBI agents to target individuals based on their religion or ethnicity, rather than suspicion of wrongdoing.”
A sample of that possibly harmful training comes from a document on “Establishing Relationships,” which instructed: “Never attempt to shake hands with an Asian. Never stare at an Asian. Never try to speak to an Arab female prior to approaching the Arab male first.”
Another document, titled “Control and Temper,” contrasted the “Western Mind” with that of the “Arab World.” The “Western” mind possessed an “even keel” and “outbursts” of emotion were “exceptional.” In the “Arab World,” by contrast, “Outburst and Loss of Control [is] Expected.” A bullet point below asked, “What’s wrong with frequent Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums?”
Many U.S. Muslims have been under government surveillance since 9/11, even without suspicion of a crime. The FBI has created “geo-maps” of where Muslims around the U.S. congregate and do business, untethered to specific criminal investigations [http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/fbi-geomaps-muslims/]. The New York Police Department has performed similar surveillance on Muslim communities in New York City, as an extensive Associated Press inquiry has revealed.
Durbin said he wants to give Mueller, with whom he has a “positive working relationship,” a chance to respond to his letter before taking any further steps with the Judiciary Committee to compel additional FBI action. But he expressed surprise that the FBI could have taught its agents that “bending or suspending” the law was sometimes acceptable.
“I cannot imagine that was actually said,” Durbin said, adding that the FBI provided him no context as to what circumstances might justify acting outside the law. “It creates a license for activity that could on its face be illegal, and certainly inconsistent with our values.”
2012-03-28 "The Department Of Homeland Security Is Buying 450 Million New Bullets" by Eloise Lee
[http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-28/news/31247765_1_atk-bullet-rounds]
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is getting an "indefinite delivery" of an "indefinite quantity" of .40 caliber ammunition from defense contractor ATK.
U.S. agents will receive a maximum of 450 million rounds over five years, according to a press release on the deal.
The high performance HST bullets are designed for law enforcement and ATK says they offer "optimum penetration for terminal performance."
This refers to the the bullet's hollow-point tip that passes through barriers and expands for a bigger impact without the rest of the bullet getting warped out of shape: "this bullet holds its jacket in the toughest conditions."
We've also learned that the Department has an open bid for a stockpile of rifle ammo [https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=140e263e1c4b2654e61adf022688eb5d&_cview=1]. Listed on the federal business opportunities network, they're looking for up to 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammo to be exact. The .223 is almost exactly the same round used by NATO forces, the 5.56 x 45mm.
The deadline for earlier this month was extended because the right contractor just hadn't come along.
Looks like the Department of Homeland Security means business.
Thanks to loyal BI Military & Defense Twitter [http://twitter.com/#!/BI_Defense] follower Allen Walter for the heads up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012-03-27 "Trayvon Martin and the Cult of Government Supremacy" by William Norman Grigg
[http://www.freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2012/03/treyvon-martin-and-cult-of-government.html]
Nineteen days before the killing of Trayvon Martin by self-appointed block "captain" George Zimmerman, Manuel Loggins was murdered by an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy in the parking lot of San Clemente High School. Loggins, a deeply religious man, often visited the school to walk on the track and discuss the Bible with his daughters, who were with him on the morning he was murdered.
 According to the most recent of several official versions of the incident, the Deputy was concerned by Loggins’ "irrational" behavior, which involved crashing through a gate and attempting to leave the scene [http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/police-expert-loggins-shooting-raises-thorny-questions]. Even this rendering of the episode, however, doesn’t explain why a Deputy would shoot an unarmed man behind the wheel of an SUV containing two young girls.
 The Deputy initially insisted that he "felt threatened" by Loggins. Within a day or so of the story becoming public, the story had undergone a critical revision:  The Sheriff’s Office claimed that Loggins had to be shot in the interests of "the perceived safety of the children." [http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/marine-killed-by-deputy-on-school-track-wasnt-armed-sheriff-says.html]
 So zealous were the officers for the safety of two young girls who had just seen their father murdered in front of them that the department took them into custody held them incommunicado for thirteen hours while the official narrative was being worked out. In the words of the family’s attorney, "They just incarcerated them." [http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/07/local/la-me-0308-marine-shot-20120308]
 Sgt. Loggins was black; his killer, Deputy Darren Sandberg, is white – and he’s back on patrol duty, without facing criminal charges or administrative punishment of any kind. His union, displaying its customary gift for arrogant self-preoccupation, insists Loggins was entirely to blame. [http://reason.com/blog/2012/03/12/orange-county-cop-who-killed-manuel-logg]
"It is heartbreaking that Manuel Loggins created a situation that put his children in danger and ultimately cost him his life," oozed police union spokesperson Tom Dominguez. "It is unfortunate that his actions put his own children into immediate danger and resulted in his death."
That smarmy, dismissive statement irresistibly reminds me of the radio exchange between U.S. troops involved in the Baghdad massacre documented in the "Collateral Murder" video [http://collateralmurder.com/en/transcript.html].
Eleven Iraqis were massacred in the unprovoked attack, and several others – including two small children – were seriously wounded.
"Well, it’s their fault for bringing kids into a battle," one of the murderers snarkily insisted when informed that small children were among the victims.
Loggins’s widow gave birth to another daughter at about the same time she buried her husband.
While this atrocity garnered a great deal of local attention, and a modest amount of national coverage, it didn’t receive the saturation coverage in which the Trayvon Martin killing has been immersed.
Neither Louis Farrakhan nor Al Sharpton reached out to the Loggins family. As a gesture of solidarity with Trayvon, the Miami Heat basketball team was photographed wearing hooded sweatshirts, the "suspicious" attire the teenager was wearing when he was chased down and shot by George Zimmerman. The Sacramento Kings abstained from a similar symbolic display of sympathy for Manuel Loggins.
Asked by a reporter to comment about the Trayvon Martin killing, Barack Obama pointed out that if he had a son, the young man might resemble Trayvon. The President has yet to be asked to comment about the murder of Manuel Loggins – who is one of two black Marines to be murdered by police within the space of three months.
Last November, 68-year-old retired Marine Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. was slaughtered by police at his apartment in White Plains, New York [http://www.thedailywhiteplains.com/news/chamberlain-family-asks-audio-video-release]. Chamberlain, an elderly man who suffered from a heart condition and several other ailments, was not a criminal suspect. He had inadvertently triggered a medical alert, which resulted in a visit by paramedics.  The police, unfortunately, responded as well, and they quickly displayed their infallible gift for making matters worse.
 Chamberlain ordered the police to leave. That was a lawful order the police are required to obey. They didn’t. Instead, the dozen officers who had formed a thugscrum outside Chamberlain’s door taunted and mocked the elderly man, eventually breaking down the door and invading his home.
Once inside, the police were confronted by a terrified old man who – as documented in video recovered from a Taser – was clad in boxer shorts, with his hands at his side. This dreadful specter was enough to trigger the "Officer Safety" reflex – practically anything will – and the heroes in blue shot him with a Taser and a beanbag gun before gunning him down.
The original story was that Chamberlain "came at the officers" with a butcher knife and – I’m not kidding – a hatchet [http://www.thedailywhiteplains.com/news/top-2011-headlines-police-fatally-shoot-armed-man]. His son points out that his father’s heart was so weak that he couldn’t walk more than forty feet without resting. The initial account is difficult to reconcile with the footage captured by the Taser and security cameras. Furthermore, even if the old man had lunged at the cops, they had the duty to retreat: They had no legal or moral right to be in the home, and Chamberlain had the legal and moral right to evict them by force.
Long after the incident, the police rationalized that the invasion was necessary because they weren’t sure whether "anybody else inside was in danger." This is a matter that could have been cleared up through use of an obscure piece of technology called a telephone, a remarkable instrument that could have been used to contact either Mr. Chamberlain or his son, who didn’t live far away. But this would have deprived the armored adolescents on the police force of an opportunity to bust down a door and impose themselves on someone who couldn’t fight back.
In his self-appointed role as watchman, George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin's killer, has perceived practically every black male – on one occasion, a child he described as "7-9 years old" – as suspicious [http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/23/did-trayvon-shooter-abuse-911.html].
Predictably, Martin’s family believes that Zimmerman acted on bigoted motives. In the case of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., however, there is material evidence of racism at work: Recordings of the standoff captured racial epithets, including the "n-word," hurled at the harmless old man by some of the officers involved in murdering him just a few minutes later.
Nevertheless, the Tolerance Police – for some reason – haven’t made the slaughter of Kenneth Chamberlain a cause celebre. 
One much-remarked detail in the killing of Trayvon Martin is the fact that the supposedly suspicious teenager was "armed" with Skittles and a can of iced tea. This summons memories of Jordan Miles, an 18-year-old from Pittsburgh who was nearly beaten to death on the street near his grandmother’s house two years ago.
His assailants claimed that Miles struck them as "suspicious" because he fled at their approach, and that they feared for their lives when he appeared to be armed. It turns out that his concealed "weapon" was a bottle of Mountain Dew, an admittedly toxic substance but one harmful only if taken internally.
Miles, who stands 5’6" and weighs about 160 pounds, was swarmed by three large adult males, who slugged him, kicked him, and beat him with a club improvised from a tree branch.
The attackers were police officers, who weren’t prosecuted or subjected to administrative punishment.  As is customary whenever a Mundane is left bloody by the ministrations of the State’s high priests of coercion, Miles was charged with "aggravated assault," which presumably took the form of flailing his arms while bleeding on his sanctified assailants.
 When those charges were dismissed, the police union – in a typical fit of corrupt petulance – conducted a mass "sick-out" as a protest [http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/52938.html]. This had the unintended, if short-lived, effect of making Pittsburgh’s streets just a little safer. The crime committed against Jordan Miles was quickly forgotten, and the victim’s family recently received a trivial, tax-subsidized settlement from the City of Pittsburgh. Once again: This episode, which offers several strong points of similarity to the Trayvon Martin killing, didn’t ignite a nation-wide firestorm of media outrage.
Every week – perhaps every day – innocent young black men are beaten and killed by armed strangers who act with impunity, and often in circumstances quite similar to those in which Trayvon Martin was killed. The perpetrators of those assaults are police officers, and not all of them are white. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old man of Latino ancestry, was a self-commissioned "captain" in a Neighborhood Watch program with which he had no formal affiliation.
For some reason the Sanford Police Department saw fit to treat him like a cop by granting him the kind of "qualified immunity" usually afforded only to fully accredited members of the exalted brotherhood of state-sanctioned violence. This might have something to do with the fact that Zimmerman, the son of a retired magistrate judge, had previously attended a "Community Police Academy" sponsored by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
Zimmerman’s actions would be understandable – not justifiable, but understandable – if he had absorbed the contemporary police doctrine that anything other than immediate, unqualified submission constitutes a "threat" to "officer safety." The Sanford PD’s decision to accept his account at face value is more difficult to understand – and more difficult still to defend in light of the fact that this is not the only recent episode in which they have refused to charge someone who assaulted an unarmed man.
 Justin Collison, the son of a Sanford police lieutenant, was recently captured on camera sucker-punching a man to the back of the head outside a bar [http://www.cbs12.com/video/v/732790309001/wpec-localnews]. The victim – who had been trying to break up a fight – had no chance to defend himself, and suffered a broken nose when his face struck a light pole. Despite having both video and eyewitness evidence of a deliberate act of aggravated assault, the police declined to arrest Collison (who had reportedly assaulted two others during a drunken rampage), and no charges were filed.
Apparently, the Sanford PD employs a "sliding scale" of some kind when dealing with such matters. However, the preferred media narrative focuses on the supposed iniquity of a Florida law recognizing the natural right to self-defense.
Civilian disarmament advocates have implicated Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law  in Trayvon Martin killing. The Sanford Police have refused to charge Zimmerman, insisting that "under the law, it had no call to bring charges," reported the New York Times.
Enacted in 2005, Florida’s "Justifiable Use of Force" statute (Title XLVI, Chapter 776) recognizes that an individual has the natural right to use deadly force when confronting the threat of "death or great bodily harm" from an intruder or an aggressor. This does not apply when "The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in … [a] dwelling, residence, or vehicle," or if the individual who employed the defensive force "is engaged in an unlawful activity…."
 Martin, an unarmed teenager with no criminal record, was headed to his father’s home in the Miami Gardens gated community. Although he was described by Zimmerman to the police as a "suspicious individual," Martin had an unqualified legal right to be where he was.
 In his 911 call, Zimmerman told a police dispatcher that "There’s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, on drugs or something…. These a**holes always get away." Zimmerman actively pursued Martin, after being specifically instructed that this was unnecessary.
 When Martin noticed Zimmerman, the teenager – who was speaking to a girlfriend via cellphone – made reference to being ".... hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him, and confronted him," as summarized in an ABC News report.
"Why are you following me?" Martin asked Zimmerman. A few moments later, Zimmerman shot Martin with his 9 millimeter handgun. Several witnesses reported hearing the teenager cry for help before the shot was fired.
"They’re wrestling right in the back of my porch," one witness told a police dispatcher. "The guy’s yelling help and I’m not going out."
For some reason, police investigating the matter "corrected" one key witness, a local schoolteacher, by insisting that it was Zimmerman, not Martin, who had cried for help.
In addition to "correcting" one eyewitness, the Sanford PD pointedly ignored the testimony of Martin’s girlfriend, to whom the victim expressed his own fears about the unidentified man who was stalking him.
Zimmerman’s original story, as summarized by the Miami Herald, was that “he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when [Martin] attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck.” Subsequent leaks from the police department reported that Zimmerman claims to have been knocked down and seriously injured in a fight with Martin, and that he shot the teenager “because he feared for his life.” An anonymous witness confirmed seeing the two of them struggling, and Zimmerman apparently getting the worst of it – and then seeing the prone figure of Martin following the shooting.

How did the fight begin? Zimmerman’s account, as made available through second-hand sources, is that Martin pursued him to his SUV and then lunged at him when Zimmerman reached for his cell phone. He insists that the unarmed and demonstrably frightened teenager he confronted – after being explicitly instructed not to – was the aggressor. Interestingly, he made a very similar claim seven years ago in response to a domestic violence petition filed by his ex-fiancee.
In her court filing, the woman claimed that Zimmerman had visited her home in Orlando to demand documents from her. When she ordered him to leave her property, Zimmerman allegedly insisted on staying, then he grabbed her cellphone and shoved her and a fight ensued. He filed a petition of his own claiming that she had been the aggressor, claiming that she had struck him in the face. She blamed the injuries on her dog. Both of them acknowledged that their relationship had been plagued with violence – and each of them was granted a restraining order against the other.
That earlier account may be crucial here because it strongly indicates that Zimmerman, whatever else can be said about him, doesn’t understand the non-aggression principle and is in the habit of creating unnecessary conflicts and escalating them to the point of physical violence. And it is the non-aggression principle – not the politics of racial collectivism – that is the most important question in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee – who has been compelled to resign, perhaps temporarily – pronounced that he was satisfied with Zimmerman’s version of the incident, moving quickly to wrap up the case because "there is no evidence to dispute the shooter’s claim of self-defense."  The police released him without testing him for drugs or alcohol.
Zimmerman, who was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer in 2005 – has called the police to report "suspicious" black males 46 times since January 2011. Neighbors have described him as "fixated on crime" and have complained about his "aggressive tactics."
An aggressor, of course, isn’t "standing his ground." During the February 26 incident, Zimmerman pursued Martin, who had a legal right to be where he was. By creating the confrontation, Zimmerman was the aggressor. He had both the moral and legal duty to retreat, rather than to escalate the confrontation by employing force of any kind.
Florida’s self-defense law, like similar statutes elsewhere, makes an exception for law enforcement officers. Although he was not employed by a police department and not an official member of the volunteer neighborhood watch, Zimmerman clearly considered himself to be acting in a law enforcement capacity.
 According to ABC News, "The Sanford Police Department says it stands by its investigation, and that it was not race or incompetence that prevented it from arresting Zimmerman but the law." Under the terms of the Florida state statutes, however, Zimmerman most likely committed an act of criminal homicide, not justified self-defense. Yet the civilian disarmament lobby – most likely working in collaboration with police unions – moved quickly to implicate the "Stand Your Ground" law in the killing.
Police unions, the civilian disarmament lobby, and the state-centric media all subscribe to the idea that the government should have a monopoly on the use of force. This is why they oppose "stand your ground" and "castle doctrine" laws recognizing the individual right to armed self-defense.
The opposition of police unions has become particularly acute in recent months as they have lobbied against "castle doctrine" laws in Minnesota and Indiana that explicitly recognize the natural right of citizens to use lethal force against police officers who unlawfully invade their property or threaten their lives.
Yes, the familiar cast of prejudice profiteers and racial ambulance chasers – who failed to be moved by the racially charged police murders of Manuel Loggins and Kenneth Chamberlain – has helped turn the killing of Trayvon Martin into a public works project. But the ideology that has propelled this issue to the top of the media agenda isn’t a variant of racial collectivism: It is the even more murderous doctrine of government supremacism, under which Zimmerman’s lethal actions would be considered entirely appropriate if he had been swaddled in a State-issued costume.
Within six months we should see a plethora of bills – supported by a coalition that includes the Brady Campaign and police unions – bearing Trayvon Martin's name, all of which will seek the repeal of "Castle Doctrine" and "Stand Your Ground" self-defense laws.

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012-03-26 "Type in Socialists.com, and Guess Where You'll End Up? ...BarackObama.com" by Evann Gastaldo from "Newser"
[http://www.newser.com/story/142715/type-in-socialistscom-and-guess-where-youll-end-up.html?utm_source=part&utm_medium=slate&utm_campaign=greatfinds_rss]
(Newser)  – Some wily jokester apparently got ahold of socialists.com and communists.com and set them to redirect … to President Obama's campaign website.
Some Republicans have apparently fallen for the prank, fueling existing speculation that Obama is a socialist or a Communist, the New York Times notes [http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/socialists-com-yields-a-presidential-result/]:
[begin excerpt]
One user tweeted [https://twitter.com/#!/CarolVicic/status/184094760720531457] the information to Rush Limbaugh, calling it "Creepy. … Proof Obama is a communist."
Tweets another [https://twitter.com/#!/TaggertGirl/status/184042022666117120], "For those who are still unbelievers - go to http://communists.com and see what comes up. I'll try to refrain from saying I told you so."
[end excerpt]

[https://twitter.com/#!/CarolVicic/status/184094760720531457]


[https://twitter.com/#!/TaggertGirl/status/184042022666117120]
 

[note by Dr.G., compiler of USA Fascism Watch: as 04 2012-04-01, "communists.com" directs the visitor to "conservatism.com"]

Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012-03-25 "The conservatives screaming about shrinking government? They’re actually getting the biggest government handouts" by David Brin
[http://redgreenandblue.org/2012/03/25/david-brin-the-conservatives-screaming-about-shrinking-government-theyre-actually-getting-the-biggest-government-handouts/]
A deep irony, underlying our political season, is that the U.S. middle class…the biggest victims of the first decade of this century, are also being slandered relentlessly.
The ongoing campaign of propaganda that democracy can’t work and we should turn to oligarchy has many threads. May I take you on a tour of some of the nastiest and most repulsive component memes?One of the oldest is a nostrum that under a democracy the people will inevitably drain the public treasury by demanding more spending than taxes. The theory is that citizens who get more than they pay for will vote for politicians who promise to increase spending.This is often called the “Largesse Canard” — an outright fantasy that was first fabricated by Plato, in order to demean the Athenian democracy, and that more recently was expressed in an oft-quoted aphorism, supposedly by Alexander Tytler:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.“Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.”
Among those who have carelessly bandied this smugly cynical assertion has been sci fi author Jerry Pournelle, along with many of his more right wing colleagues. It circulates widely among the dour Rothbardians and Randites who dominate today’s warped version of the libertarian movement…….and it is a damned lie.Remember the 1990s?  When Bill Clinton ran budget surpluses and wanted to spend the black ink buying down  public debt, instead of frittering it on short term “largesse”?  Nearly all of his support came from the middle class. By huge majorities, those working Americans polled their preference for debt buy-down. So why did it instead get flushed down the toilet of Supply-Side (voodoo) tax gifts for the rich?
Because (duh) the aristocracy – supposedly wise and far-seeing – rationalized a demand for instant gratification, instead of reduced debt which (ironically) would have lowered commercial borrowing costs overall and led to the very scenario that they were supposed to be after in the first place! In other words, U.S. federal debt pay-down would have engendered far more new business activity than opening our veins for the wide-open maws of plutocrat vampires.
History shows that it is always the aristocracy that behaves in spendthrift ways, not the middle class.  (Oh but they do like to invest lavishly in “think tanks” and media empires, ordering them to spread calumnies against citizenship. Propaganda like the Largesse Canard.)
Now a new twist. Dean P. Lacy, a professor of political science at Dartmouth College, has identified a theme in American politics over the last generation. Support for Republican candidates, who generally promise to cut government spending, has increased since 1980 in states where the federal government spends more than it collects. The greater the dependence, the greater the support for Republican candidates.
Conversely, states that pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits tend to support Democratic candidates. And Professor Lacy found that the pattern could not be explained by demographics or social issues. See a map showing the geography of government benefits [http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/02/12/us/entitlement-map.html].
The full article is six pages, a typical New York Times in-depth Sunday magazine drill-down [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/even-critics-of-safety-net-increasingly-depend-on-it.html].
Seriously, read up on this.  You need to be armed against these insults to the people who actually create the wealth in our civilization.

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012-03-23 "Air Canada Employees Stage Wildcat Strikes After Gov’t Intervention" by Shannon McKarney
[http://www.care2.com/causes/air-canada-employees-stage-wildcat-strikes-after-govt-intervention.html]
It’s getting ugly at Air Canada.
Two weeks after their legal and constitutional right to strike was taken away by the Harper government under the guise of “protecting the economy,” [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/citing-economic-impact-lisa-raitt-orders-air-canada-back-to-work/article2366672/] the sight of the Minister who brought forward the labor-hostile legislation getting on one of their planes was too much to bear for some Air Canada employees.
“Thanks for taking away our right to strike!” shouted the ground workers to Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, sarcastically clapping [http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1150769--air-canada-ground-crews-stage-wildcat-strike-at-toronto-s-pearson-airport?bn=1]. The heckles got worse. Security intervened and three employees were disciplined and suspended for 72 hours. The situation inflamed until 37 workers walked off the job and staged a wildcat strike.  The 37 workers were fired by Air Canada. This led the union to walk out en masse at Pearson International Airport, Canada’s busiest airport and the site of Air Canada’s largest and busiest terminal.The workers said they were going to be on strike for 72 hours, just as long as the suspensions were to last. The situation on the ground was rowdy, with altercations between strikers and passers-by (including a photo of a man spitting in a ground worker’s face) and thousands of miserable stranded passengers. Job action started spreading to Montreal and other cities, with more flights being disrupted. Over 60 Air Canada flights were canceled due to the action, with dozens more delayed or threatened with cancellation.
A few moments ago, Air Canada got an injunction against the action at Pearson, reinstating all fired and suspended workers and telling employees to return to work immediately. The union is asking its members to comply and return to work [http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1150769--air-canada-gets-injunction-workers-reinstated-as-toronto-wildcat-strike-spreads-to-montreal-quebec].
The situation at Air Canada is tense. Workers, management and customers are all unhappy in the face of lengthy and unproductive negotiations. Management wants big cuts. Unions want to protect their jobs and benefits. In addition to the ground workers’ union, Air Canada is also in negotiation with their pilots’ union, who have also been denied their right to strike by the Harper government. Last weekend, Air Canada accused their pilots of illegal job action after enough pilots called in sick to cause widespread disruption on many weekend flights [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/air-canada-accuses-pilots-of-calling-in-sick-to-disrupt-operations/article2373071/?from=sec375].
But when you take away a union’s legal right to strike in the middle of tense and protracted contract negotiations, what can you expect?
2012-03-23 "Is The CIA Funding Australia’s Green Groups?" by Paul Canning
[http://www.care2.com/causes/is-the-cia-funding-australias-green-groups.html]
The CIA has tersely denied a claim by one of Australia’s richest men that it is funding Australian green groups [http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3460797.htm].
Billionaire mine owner Clive Palmer has claimed that America’s spy agency is attempting to destroy Australia’s coal industry.
Palmer named the Green Party, which is part of the governing coalition, as well as Greenpeace and a leading green activist Drew Hutton. He said that legal action against mining developments is CIA-funded.
The Australian conservative opposition, financially supported by Palmer, have tried to laugh off his comments but the influence of Australia’s version of Russia’s oligarchs, those made mega-wealthy from Australia’s resources boom, is no laughing matter as far as the Labor-led government is concerned.
Australia’s Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, recently launched a broadside at the mining chiefs after they campaigned against a planned tax on their super-profits with a huge advertising campaign [http://www.themonthly.com.au/rising-influence-vested-interests-australia-001-cent-wayne-swan-4670].
Palmer is also part of the chorus against Australia’s carbon tax, due to be implemented beginning on July 1.
Allegations about US covert influence in Australia are nothing new. They were there over the removal of Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s government in 1975 and revived again recently with the news revealed by Wikileaks that a prominent former Senator ‘informed’ to the US embassy [http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/yank-in-the-ranks-20101208-18pwi.html]. Palmer overtly played on the folk memory about Whitlam’s removal.
The CIA told the ABC, “Simply put, these allegations are false.”
2012-03-23 "Shell Sues Sierra Club and Other Environmental Orgs Over Arctic Drilling" by Emily L.
[http://www.care2.com/causes/shell-sues-sierra-club-and-other-environmental-orgs-over-arctic-drilling.html]
Royal Dutch Shell, the fifth-largest company in the world, is suing the Sierra Club along with a dozen other environmental organizations on the off chance that we might attempt to do our job [http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/shell-files-pre-emptive-offshore-drilling-lawsuit-15826552#.T1lFSfXuaRI]. Shell is taking us to court preemptively because we might have the audacity to say that drilling in the Arctic is risky and unsafe. Even though we haven’t seen the full plans yet and haven’t taken any legal action yet, Shell wants to prevent any possible legal challenges that might delay its plans to drill for oil in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off the coast of Alaska this summer.
In other words, Shell wants a judge to block challenges to its drilling plans that no one’s even made yet. The real message to anyone who believes America’s Polar Bear Seas just might not be the smartest place to start drilling oil wells: Get out of the way, there’s money to be made. Never mind that we’re talking about a pristine and ecologically rich home to millions of migratory birds, seals, polar bears, whales, and walruses.
By the way, no need to feel left out if Shell isn’t suing you for caring about the Arctic – you can get in on the action right here [http://content.sierraclub.org/sosueme&s_src=612CSCMB01]. What’s Shell going to do — sue millions of us?
Has it really been less than two years since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? Imagine dealing with an oil spill in the far more remote and extreme environment of the Arctic. Shell has a plan, of course, just like BP did. Based on the oil industry’s track record of carelessness and negligence, the whole world has a right to be skeptical.
At least Shell is upfront about its motives. It’s invested big bucks in Arctic leases — not to mention members of Congress — and wants to start seeing some payback.
Most proponents of a “drill anywhere and everywhere” policy aren’t quite so transparent. Instead, they claim that more drilling can help us achieve energy independence or, at least, lower the price of gas this summer.
Wrong on both counts. With only two percent of the world’s oil reserves, the United States could let companies like Shell extract and refine every last drop without having any significant effect on world oil prices (although Big Oil would make a bundle in the process).
Energy independence is achievable, but it’s not going to happen so long as we cling to the fantasy that we can drill our way there. Pumping oil from places like the Arctic might buy us a couple of more days or weeks or even months of oil to feed our habit, but in the process we’d also get more air and water pollution, more destruction of our precious coasts and natural areas, and a real risk of runaway climate disruption.
Meanwhile, the real solution to high oil prices is so simple that you can state it in three little words: Use less oil.
The good news is we’re already seeing how easy it can be to do exactly that.
Hybrids, EVs, and other fuel-efficient vehicles save consumers money, they save oil, and they may just have saved Detroit. U.S. auto companies are thriving once again because they’ve been given incentives to innovate. Consumers are responding, domestic auto jobs are growing, and U.S. fuel consumption is down five percent from last year.
But there’s more to be done. The Obama administration has proposed vehicle fuel-efficiency standards that will bring average mileage rates to almost 55 miles per gallon, cutting millions of barrels per day in oil consumption. Congress shouldn’t watch from the sidelines but should complement this historic effort by cutting all oil industry subsidies and doubling down on clean energy. At the same time, we need to invest aggressively in public transportation and safe walking and biking to ensure we can get to work, go to school, and do our shopping without being held hostage at the gas pump.
Use less oil. Maybe that simple concept is what has spooked Shell and prompted its ridiculous lawsuit. The U.S. is poised to break Big Oil’s stranglehold on our economy, our political system, our climate, health, and our national security. Rather than let ourselves be distracted by high gas prices, we should be even more motivated by them to get off oil — once and for all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Permanant Mobilization, perpetual profits


[http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness]
Sec. 310. Critical Items. The head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 107(b)(1) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App.2077(b)(1), to take appropriate action to ensure that critical components, critical technology items, essential materials, and  industrial resources are available from reliable sources when needed to meet defense requirements during peacetime, graduated  mobilization, and national emergency. Appropriate action may include restricting contract solicitations to reliable sources,  restricting contract solicitations to domestic sources (pursuant to statutory authority), stockpiling critical components, and developing substitutes for critical components or critical technology items.
"Civil transportation" also shall include direction, control, and coordination of civil transportation capacity regardless of ownership. (e) "Food resources" means all commodities and products, (simple, mixed, or compound), or complements to such commodities or products, that are capable of being ingested by either human beings or animals, irrespective of other uses to which such commodities or products may be put, at all stages of processing from the raw commodity to the products thereof in vendible form for human or animal consumption. "Food resources" also means potable water packaged in commercially marketable containers, all starches, sugars, vegetable and animal or marine fats and oils, seed, cotton, hemp, and flax fiber, but does not mean any such material after it loses its identity as an agricultural commodity or agricultural product.

Monday, March 19, 2012




2012-03-18 "Occupy Spring: OWS celebrates six months by reliving the fall" by Nathan Schneider [http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/03/ows-celebrates-six-months-by-reliving-the-fall]
Occupy Wall Street celebrated its six-month anniversary yesterday in Zuccotti Park with a fast-forward replay of last fall: re-occupation, carnival, violent eviction, defiance. A morning chalk-in for families and an early afternoon march around the Financial District (actually, two: one silent and one rowdy) began a day of reunion at the movement’s New York home. As re-renamed Liberty Plaza (or Square or Park) became full once again with hundreds of people, the hardy organizers who’ve spent the winter in meetings and arguments were drowned out by joiners, curious visitors, drummers and reporters. A 24-hour re-occupation was called, and new defensive tactics were rehearsed. They danced, chanted and held a General Assembly. Numbers swelled to close to a thousand when marches from the nearby Left Forum conference joined later in the evening. The whole day was a welcome reminder that in occupation a magic dwells.
Around 10 p.m., tents and tarps went up in the park, among them several tents held high in the air above the crowd. Defenses went up too, including yellow police tape marked “Occupy” and a similarly rebranded roll of orange netting—just like what police have used to surround and trap OWS marches before.
But, around 10:30, more than a hundred police and Brookfield Properties private security poured into the park. They seemed intent on clearing people while minimizing arrest numbers, though dozens of Occupiers were beaten and arrested for holding their ground, and were taken away in police wagons and a repurposed city bus. Not until almost 45 minutes later did two ambulances arrive for the injured, including a woman who appeared to be suffering a seizure. At least two glass bottles were thrown and shattered near police.
Some Occupiers remained, but others set out on a march to Union Square, throwing bags full of trash into the street and chanting against the police and the state, with a few arrested in skirmishes along the way. The rest arrived at Union Square, holding up a yellow “Occupy Wall Street” banner on the square’s main steps, facing a line of several dozen police officers standing shoulder-to-shoulder. The crowd began to dissipate as the early morning wore on.
Familiar feelings, all over again: courage, awe, exuberance, rage, sadness, pain, fatigue. The city succeeded once again if its purpose was to keep the protesters’ attention on the police, rather than, for instance, on the financial institutions for which it continually assures support [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/nyregion/in-visit-bloomberg-defends-goldman-sachs.html]. The Occupiers succeeded if their purpose was to celebrate, reenact and make a blip in the media. What good either victory does the world outside Lower Manhattan still remains to be seen, this spring and beyond.
A tent held up on a pole over re-occupied Liberty Plaza at 10:30 p.m. on March 17.
 
Occupiers use orange police netting as a defense against police.



The following are Tweets posted to Twitter.com by participants at #m17




 

 

 





 
 
  










@Korgasm_ [http://twitpic.com/8yl4cc]




For the record, here is another chronology by a participant who posts to Facebook.com [http://www.facebook.com/seismologik]













 
 [http://news.yahoo.com/photos/nyc-police-evict-occupy-wall-street-protesters-1321366970-slideshow/]
NYC police evict Occupy Wall Street protesters
The encampment is gone, but the movement lives on. What nobody knows is just how long it can survive without a literal place to call home.
Occupy Wall Street protesters Eric Linkser, left and Cecily McMillan, right, take turns shouting information to protesters preparing to return to Zuccotti Park on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, in New York. State Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman upheld the city's eviction of the protesters after an emergency appeal by the National Lawyers Guild. If crowds of demonstrators return to the park, they will not be allowed to bring tents, sleeping bags ...

 
 


[https://twitter.com/#!/zdroberts/status/181235743929274368]
@zdroberts
Fell down, got trampled by 6 people on top of me, cop hit me on my head with baton, pulled hair hit me again on back. Was yelling press #m17
9:29 PM - 17 Mar 12 via Twitter for iPhone


[https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23m17%20bible%20marine]


[http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=383053445047441&set=a.331823396837113.85477.328225443863575&type=1&theater]


[http://twitter.com/#!/HelloFrances/status/181859008808878080/photo/1]

2:45 PM - 19 Mar 12 via Twitter for iPhone



2012-03-18 "Occupy Wall Street- M17- Zucotti Park - NYPD Arrests"
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4vBXMNE2MqM]
On March 17 , OWS demonstrators gathered for their Six month anniversary, were people re-occupied Zucotti Park. This footage begins around 9 O'clock,and shows the gathering that took place along with many arrests.The NYPD orders all to evacuate in order for the park to be "Cleaned". Many stayed and were then arrested. Here are those events.-------- Wonderful music by Ignacio Nunez- song is called La cajita de musica----------



2012-03-19 "Watch: Police Get Violent As OWS Retakes Zuccotti Park" by Josh Harkinson
[http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/03/watch-police-get-violent-ows-retakes-zuccotti-park]
On Saturday, hundreds of protesters marked the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street by attempting to retake Zuccotti Park. By the end of the night, 73 had been arrested and the park forcefully cleared. In scenes that recalled the early days of the movement last fall, citizen journalists captured the New York City Police Department roughing up dozens of apparently peaceful activists. One of them, Craig Judelman, posted a bloody photo of himself on Facebook with the caption, "just got punched in the face like 5 times by NYPD." Journalists J.A. Myerson and Ryan Devereaux have good summaries of other alleged brutality, including officers throwing punches, "rubbing" a boot on someone's head, dragging a woman by the hair, and breaking a guy's thumb. Many other incidents were caught on tape. Here are some of the most disturbing:


2012-03-19 "More evidence of NYPD brutality from #M17"
[http://privacysos.org/node/532]
Here's a better video of the NYPD's clearing of Liberty Plaza and of activist Cecily McMillian in police custody, apparently having a seizure while in handcuffs:

Please note that by playing this clip YouTube and Google will place a long term cookie on your computer.
The NYPD cleared the park and put up barricades in direct disavowal of a judge's order barring the police from doing so. The nearly 75 people who were arrested that night were therefore arrested for the crime of standing in a public park -- and it was the police, not the protesters, who were breaking the rules.
Those arrested Saturday night were released today, including McMillian, who is being charged with assaulting an officer. The city asked the judge to keep her on $20k bail; the judge declined and released her.
At least one other arrestee reports what sounds like ugly treatment by the police after he was taken into custody. Upon getting out of jail today, Shawn CarriƩ tweeted the following:

According to Twitter rumors, Occupy Wall Street will tomorrow join various civil rights and Muslim organizations in calling for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to resign.


2012-03-18 "NYPD's Iron Fist: OWS Re-Occupation Arrests: Protester Has Seizure in Handcuffs"
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1AiNMAv2KI]











2012-03-19 "As Occupy Arrestees Arraigned, Iris Scans Affect Bail" by Nick Pinto
[http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/as_occupy_arres.php]
The first of the more than 70 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested Saturday afternoon and evening were arraigned yesterday in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Exhausted by a night and day in jail and shaken by the violence of the police response to Occupy Wall Street's six-month anniversary celebration, many burst into tears of relief when they were finally released to the friendly welcome of the movement's Jail Support team [http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/for_occupy_wall.php#more].
Unlike many of the other defendants with whom they shared cells, the protesters could feel confident that they would soon be released -- Occupy posts bail for those arrested during movement actions.
But protesters and their legal advisers were surprised yesterday to learn that the size of their bail was being affected by whether defendants were willing to have the distinctive patterns of their irises photographed and logged into a database.
Police and courts have been photographing irises since 2010, once at booking and once on arraignment. The practice is a response to a couple of instances in which mistaken identity allowed someone facing serious charges to go free by impersonating another defendant up on minor charges.
The idea of the state collecting distinctive biometric information from people who haven't even been charged with a crime yet, much less convicted of one, makes civil libertarians nervous, though, and over the last two years they've pushed back. Unlike fingerprints, they argue, no law was ever passed to require iris photographs -- it's just a policy. And while police regularly tell arrestees that the photographs are mandatory, and that failing to be photographed will prolong their stay in jail, defendants have often refused to comply without serious consequence [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/nyregion/new-objections-to-nypds-iris-photographing-program.html].
That appears to be changing. Yesterday, a defense lawyer had told Judge Abraham Clott she was under the impression that her client -- not affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, facing charges of marijuana possession -- was not legally bound to submit to an iris photograph. Clott responded in no uncertain terms: Iris photographs may be optional in the sense that the court can proceed without them if it has to, he said, for example if the photographic equipment breaks down. But they are not optional for defendants.
Judge Clott wasn't going it alone in this strict interpretation. National Lawyers Guild NYC President Gideon Oliver said that a memo, presumably from the Office of Court Administration has been circulated to judges, instructing them that iris photographs are mandatory.
Even if iris photographs could be made mandatory, though, they should never be used in setting bail, said Moira Meltzer-Cohen, a third-year law student who helps run Occupy Wall Street's bail services. "In New York, bail can only legally be set for a single purpose: to ensure that defendants appear at their next hearing," she said.
To evaluate someone's flight risk, courts can look at things like their employment, ties to the community, nearby family, a history of bench warrants, and the severity of the charges they're facing. If someone doesn't look like they're a flight risk, they're supposed to be released on their own recognizance, or ROR in court short-hand.
In the case of one Occupier arraigned yesterday, all the indicators pointed to an ROR. She was employed, her parents were sitting in the courtroom, and it was her first encounter with the justice system. Initially charged with resisting arrest and attempted robbery, the prosecutor dropped the second charge when he acknowledged that it arose from the arresting officer claiming she made a grab for his badge, even though the officer conceded he never thought she was trying to steal it.
Nonetheless, the prosecutor asked for $1,000 bail because the defendant had refused to let her iris be photographed. Judge Clott agreed, to the great dismay of Meltzer-Cohen.
"Even though all of the legitimate bail factors militate against setting bail, he did it anyway," she said. "Bail is not supposed to be used in any kind of punitive way. He's using his discretion as a judge to enforce a non-enforceable practice."
Several other Occupy protesters saw their refusal invoked as a justification for bail yesterday, but posted the money and were released. But Oliver said he has another client who's refusing to submit to an iris photograph, and that, police are refusing to produce him in court for arraignment until he does.
"It's a question of who will blink first," Oliver said last night, adding that if it goes on much longer, he'll file a writ of habeas corpus.
"It may well come to that tomorrow," Oliver said. "If this had come up earlier, I might be doing that now."
(For an update on the courts' use of iris scans, click here [http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/iris_scan_memo.php])


2012-03-19 "Occupy Spring: Why Occupy needs days of action" by Chris Longenecker
[http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/03/why-occupy-needs-days-of-action]
As I sit in the New York City Police Department’s central booking, which has become my second home over the course of the last 48 hours, I’m reminded again why we keep mounting days of action and protest. Since last Saturday’s attempt to re-occupy Liberty Square [http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/03/ows-celebrates-six-months-by-reliving-the-fall/], my role as an organizer in the Occupy movement feels more and more like it did back in the late fall. While doing jail support for arrested and brutalized comrades, my phone has been ringing and buzzing relentlessly with inquiries from fellow Occupiers, press, community-based organizations and union allies. Members of our movement, emboldened by #M17, have been living, sleeping and organizing in Union Square for the last two days, an occupation that continues as I write. It is safe to say that spring is here and that, once again, we have a day of action to thank for this resurgence.
An impromptu Direct Action Working Group meeting on the steps of the courthouse on Sunday turned into an hours-long whirlwind of organizing, regained momentum and vigor. We quickly reached consensus to acknowledge that the unwarranted acts of barbarism which ended Saturday’s celebration of the movement’s 6-month anniversary are not exceptions under Ray Kelly’s NYPD, but the rule. Systemically marginalized communities all over New York City live in fear of Kelly and his cronies every second of their lives. Plans were made to host a press conference on the steps on 1 Police Plaza at noon on Tuesday to highlight this reality. Speakers have been invited from the Muslim community, the homeless community, the LGBTQI community, communities of color, sex workers, the Occupy movement and countless others, to attest to the NYPD’s ongoing assault on the people of New York.
Plans are also being made to strike back on Saturday the 24th with a broad coalition of people from all over the city in solidarity against the capitalists and their servants in the police force, which the one-percenter mayor has accurately described as “my own army.” This Saturday, with our allies from labor and community-based organizations all over the city, we will demand the resignation of Ray Kelly and an end to the prison-industrial complex that has buried us in a climate of fear for far too long.
After #M17, the arguments of those who have discouraged such single days of action ring emptier in my ears than ever. Critics assume that days of mass action can only happen through mobilizations that bring activists to unfamiliar cities where they have no roots [http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/02/activism-for-the-end-times-mass-actions-or-focused-campaigns/]. They assert that mass actions don’t really inspire people to effective resistance against the 1 percent. They see these days as a distraction from long-term campaigns and the building of new institutions. As someone who has helped organize many of our mass days of action at Occupy Wall Street, I disagree.
Days of mass action are about more than simply what happens on the day of; the preparations for them are campaigns unto themselves. They are about coalition-building, outreach, engagement, solidarity and showing strength. The process of planning our May 1 “Day without the 99%” and general strike, for instance, has brought us much closer to allies in the immigrant worker justice movement and the labor movement than we would have imagined three months ago. Together, we’re organizing a unified solidarity march at the end of the day, which is unheard of in recent May Day history here in New York. After the march there will be a series of more aggressive direct actions by Occupy Wall Street, which our partners are prepared to back with their words and defend with their bodies. Working with us on the basis of mutual respect, many of our coalition partners are starting to organize themselves using modified consensus models, against the grain of the hierarchies in their own organizations. By cultivating these relationships over time, we can work toward a day when we have the capacity to simultaneously occupy all our workplaces and hold all the power in assemblies of our own making, peacefully subverting the system from within.
One of the most distinctive features of the nascent Occupy movement lies in its local character. General assemblies and direct-action networks are forming spontaneously in cities, towns and neighborhoods across the country. They are being created by residents and are tackling local issues in ways that speak to their own communities. Unlike the trend in the global justice movement of a decade ago, the mass days of action coming out of the Occupy movement do not ask people to converge at a single unfamiliar city. Our days of action — like the “Day of Rage” on October 15, #N17, the West Coast Port Shutdown and the May Day general strike — ask communities to adopt the call as they see fit. These days thereby become conduits through which we forge a movement that is both diverse and coordinated.
#M17 illustrated last weekend with incredible clarity that single, unified days of action are powerful tools in our arsenal as activists working to bring down an economic and political system that serves only the elite. On days of action, we can disrupt these forces, show our solidarity with one another, build revolutionary coalitions, expand our base and draw media attention to the injustices we oppose. #M17 was just the latest in this ongoing struggle. On Saturday, #M24, we will strike back once more in what is likely to be our biggest action since November, as we demand the immediate resignation of Ray Kelly and an end to the police state and capitalist tyranny.



2012-03-19 "Occupy Wall Street Urges May 1 Strike Over Arrests" by VERENA DOBNIK from "Associated Press"
[http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=15955816]
Occupy Wall Street activists on Monday called for supporters to skip work on May 1 to protest what they're calling police brutality during 73 arrests in New York during the weekend.
 Several dozen activists joined members of New York's City Council for a news conference in Zuccotti Park to complain about police tactics. On Saturday, police started detaining people after hundreds of Occupy supporters gathered in the park to mark six months since the start of the movement.
 Occupy organizers across the country have been mobilizing for months toward a one-day general strike in May.


2012-03-19 "NYC Activists Reflect On Occupy's Direction" by KAREN MATTHEWS and Tom McElroy from "Associated Press"
NEW YORK -- Occupy Wall Street protesters anticipate that with the coming of spring their movement for economic justice will pick up momentum, making priorities of issues as varied as the environment and the November elections.
But on Sunday, a day after police broke up a rally at Manhattan's Zuccotti Park and arrested dozens, some observers wondered whether a movement so diffuse could accomplish anything.
"I'm really grateful to be part of a generation that wants change, `cause we should all want change," said Jennifer Campbell, a graduate student in documentary filmmaking at Hofstra University. "But I'm not sure what that change is, or if they know what that change is."
And Harlem resident Kanene Holder said the movement is broader than any one issue. "This is not a beauty pageant," she said. "We cannot homogenize this movement into one streamlined vision."
Meanwhile, police were seeking a subpoena to identify an apparent Occupy protester who they said tweeted a threat to kill police officers, spokesman Paul Browne confirmed Sunday.
The New York Post and Daily News reported a message by an apparent Occupy protester saying they won't make a difference if they don't kill a cop or two was tweeted at about 11:40 p.m. Saturday.
The crackdown at Zuccotti happened late Saturday after hundreds of activists had gathered to mark the sixth-month birthday of the movement.
"There was a lot of silliness and just kind of singing and dancing and really very jovial," said Chris Casuccio, who works for a nonprofit organization. "We had some banners up. There was one tarp that was up but it was tiny. It could fit like five people under it."
But Detective Brian Sessa of the NYPD said protesters had started breaking park rules against setting up tents and tarps.
Police said 73 people were detained. It was unclear how many were still in custody late Sunday.
More than 70 people gathered at Union Square Park in lower Manhattan Sunday night and were still there early Monday morning.
Occupy activists said the officers moved in with little warning Saturday and beat some protesters. Police said Sunday they had no information about any protesters being injured.
"They just came in swinging batons," said protester Sandra Nurse. She said a woman began having a seizure and another protester's head was "smashed into a building window."
Casuccio said protesters had little time to leave Zuccotti if they wanted to avoid arrest. "They gave us one quick warning and then just came in, hundreds of people," he said.
Police responded to a request seeking a response to the accusations of brutality by releasing a video that they said showed Cecily McMillan, 23, elbowing a police officer in the face as she is led from Zuccotti Park.
The woman was taken into custody and sent to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric treatment, police said.
A group of council members from New York City were planning a news conference on Monday to denounce what they said was excessive force used by police on the protesters.
As cleaning crews used hoses to erase all signs of the clash on Sunday, Occupy activists offered differing perspectives on where the movement is headed.
"We're going to keep going," said Christopher Guerra, who has spent many nights at Zuccotti since the movement started last Sept. 17. He added, "It's going to get interesting during the election cycle. We're going to be more of a presence in the political world. I know we have a couple of people running for office."
According to Mother Jones magazine, 10 candidates for House and Senate seats in the November elections have made Occupy part of their campaigns. They include Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and Hakeem Jeffries, who is running for Congress in Brooklyn. But some Occupy supporters consider themselves anarchists who abjure electoral politics.
Nurse, a member of Occupy's direct action working group, said she expects college students will have "a huge role to play this summer organizing around student debt." She noted that the issue resonates both with students and with their parents and has the potential to broaden the movement.
Ted Schulman, an Occupy protester who lives near Zuccotti, said his focus is the upcoming United Nation Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He said he wants to "challenge the U.N. on what their vision of a green economy is."
Tourists streamed by Zuccotti on their way to the nearby World Trade Center site on Sunday, and some said they were not familiar with Occupy Wall Street. "We're from Colorado," a teenager in a tour group explained.
Brian Cummings of Columbus Junction, Iowa, said he did know about it.
"I understand the Occupy movement," Cummings said. "I understand a lot of people's frustration. I'm not sure how effective it is. ... Nothing seems to be being accomplished."


2012-03-19 "Cops Get Violent at Occupy Anniversary" from Ryan Devereaux & Jeff Smith
[http://majority.fm/2012/03/19/319-ryan-devereaux-jeff-smith-cops-get-violent-at-occupy-anniversary]
Ryan Devereaux from the Guardian at New York courthouse waiting appearance of Cecily McMillan, woman who suffered seizure Saturday while cuffed by NYPD, reports on general mood of gathering and ensuing melee.  And Jeff Smith, OWS media team, witness to Cecily McMillan brutality, reports on day’s events, police brutality and Occupy’s effort to move forward.  And the senseless killing of Trayvon Martin.  In the better half, criminalizing protest, Coke removes cancer causing ingredient, AARP’s secret plan to undermine medicare and more.  Your calls and IMs.
[http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/majorityfm/03-19-12-Ryan_Devereaux-Jeff_Smith-PUB.mp3]


Compare how the USA treats protesters with Cuba... same days, same amount of people arrested who were conducting the same "Occupy" tactic...
2012-03-19 "Cuba releases detained protesters; Ladies in White members released after about 70 women arrested over weekend in protests ahead of pope's visit to island"
[http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/03/2012318233057607836.html]
 Cuban authorities have released members of a banned dissident women's group who were detained over the weekend, according to a member of the group, days before a visit to the island by Pope Benedict XVI.
About 70 members of Ladies in White had been in custody, including 18 who staged a weekly Sunday march in the country's capital after they left their permitted route through Havana's Miramar neighbourhood.
The women, dressed in their customary white clothing, were rounded up and taken away in buses by police.
But Berta Soler, the leader of the group, and most of those also detained had been released overnight, Magaly Norvis Otero Suarez, a Ladies in White member, told the AFP news agency.
Suarez told Reuters that 16 of the women had been arrested on Saturday evening when they attempted to stage a march in central Havana and another 36 were detained on Sunday morning as they prepared to go to Mass at Santa Rita Catholic Church, then stage their silent march along 5th Avenue, Miramar's main boulevard.
They had gathered at the home of their deceased leader, Laura Pollan, over the weekend to commemorate the anniversary of the 2003 arrest of 75 government opponents that gave rise to the organisation, Otero said.
Human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez said that along with the estimated 70 women detained in Havana, another 12 dissidents were arrested in other provinces.
"The Ladies in White, or "Damas de Blanco" in Spanish, are the wives and mothers of political prisoners who were mostly released as part of a 2010 agreement brokered by the Roman Catholic Church.
The group has continued its weekly marches, which are the only public protests allowed in Cuba, saying there are still more political prisoners to be freed. They are allowed to walk along a 12-block stretch of 5th Avenue, but are quickly detained when they vary from the prescribed route.

Church occupied -
The detentions followed a controversial incident last week when 13 dissidents occupied a Havana Catholic Church demanding that Pope Benedict mediate an end to Communist rule.
After two days, they were removed by police at the Church's request, which raised the heckles of Cuba's small dissident community.
After a three-day visit to Mexico, the German pontiff is scheduled to visit Cuba between March 26-28 in a trip viewed as a show of improved church-state relations after decades of hostilities.
Sanchez said the arrests were "creating a not very favourable climate for the pope's visit."
"The fault lies first with the government for its excessive repression as always, and the Catholic authorities' error for allowing the violent expulsion of dissidents from the church," he said.
Soler has said her group would like to meet briefly with the pope to discuss human rights in Cuba. Church authorities said last week a visit with dissidents was not on the pope's programme.
The Cuban government views dissidents as "mercenaries" in the pay of the United States, which has maintained an economic blockade against the country since the country's revolution in 1959.