Thursday Reads

Good Morning!! I’ve got some widely disparate reading material for you today. I’ll begin with some articles related to the growing Occupy movement.

The New York Review of Books has posted an depth piece (just about all their articles are long and in-depth) by Michael Greenberg about Occupy Wall Street. I won’t try to excerpt from it, but think the article is a useful summary of the history of the movement and the author’s conversations with the organizers and protesters.

Raw Story has an interview with Chris Hedges: ‘Corporations have carried out a coup d’état in my country.’ Here’s some of what Hedges had to say:

“I spent 20 years overseas, I’m a war correspondent,” he said. “I came back and realized that corporations have carried out a coup d’état in my country.”

“I covered the street demonstrations that brought down Milošević, I’ve covered both of the Palestinian intifadas, and once movements like this start and articulate a fundamental truth about the society that they live in, and expose the repression, the mendacity, the corruption and the decay of structures of power, then they have a kind of centrifugal force, you never know where they’re going.” ….

“What happens, and it’s true in all of these movements as well, is the foot soldiers of the elite, the blue uniform police, the mechanisms of control, finally don’t want to impede the movement. At that point, the power elite is left defenseless. So, where’s it going? No one knows. Even the people most intimately involved in the organization don’t know. All of these movements take on a kind of life and color that in some ways is finally mysterious. The only thing I can say, having been in the middle of similar movements, is that this one is real … And this one could take ‘em all down.”

That’s quite a recommendation from a genuine radical.

It appears that the administration is getting nervous about what kinds of protests they might see at the Democratic Convention next year. The Charlotte Police are currently being trained to handle riot control, and the equipment and training are being paid for by the Federal Government.

Almost every one of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s 1,700 officers are going through three days of intensive riot training. Police allowed Channel 9 a behind-the-scenes look at how they’re doing it.

“It’s a very controlled, measured response with a lot of practice,” Deputy Chief Harold Medlock said….

It’s all very carefully choreographed. There’s a reason, for example, why they would move half a step at a time toward a group of protesters.

“The point of some of the tactics and the maneuvers that we use is to allow folks to have the time to do what we’re asking them to do,” Medlock said.

Chanting is part of the plan, too.

“We want them to hear us as we move and do the things that we need to do, so you’ll hear a lot of verbalization from our officers and one of the things you’ll hear is, ‘Move back!’” Medlock said.

Apparently the riot training will also prepare police to deal with Occupation Charlotte.

Just another day in Police State America….

I’ve been watching a lot of Criminal Minds reruns while I’ve been sick recently. Tonight after I watched a couple of episodes, I came across this story from Philadelphia that could have come from that show. It seems too horrible to be real, but it is. Over the weekend four disabled people were found confined in a “dungeon.” Police suspect that the perpetrators were kidnapping disabled children and adults and keeping them locked up in order to collect their disability checks.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that wounds found on Beatrice Weston — the 19-year-old niece of the alleged ringleader of the operation, Linda Ann Weston — were the worst he had ever seen on a person who was still alive.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in a living person,” Ramsey said. “It’s remarkable that she is still alive. There is no penalty that is too harsh for the people that did this.”

Beatrice Weston, who had been reported missing in 2009, suffered wounds that included healed-over fractures, pellet gun wounds, and burns from heated spoons. Beatrice was also malnourished.

“The word horrific is not sufficient,” Ramsey said.

Ten children and teens were taken into protective custody Tuesday night, ranging in age from 2 to 19, reportedly near the apartment building in Philadelphia’s Tacony neighborhood, where the four original victims were discovered Saturday morning.

Authorities say there may be 50 more victims in the case, based on documents taken from Linda Ann Weston when she was arrested.

Hispanic voters may be angry with President Obama for deporting so many people, but the Republican candidates aren’t exactly endearing themselves to immigrants either.

Today, Republican candidates are competing over who can talk the toughest about illegal immigration — who will erect the most impenetrable border defense; who will turn off “magnets” like college tuition benefits.

But after such pointed proposals heated up yet another Republican debate, on Tuesday night, some party officials see a yellow light signaling danger in battleground states with large Hispanic populations in November 2012. Will Hispanic voters remember and punish the eventual Republican nominee?

“The discussion of creating electrified fences from sea to sea is neither prudent nor helpful,” said Ryan Call, chairman of the Republican Party of Colorado, where Hispanics cast 13 percent of votes in 2008 and helped President Obama flip the state to blue. “They’re throwing red meat around in an attempt to mollify a particular aspect of the Republican base.”

You’d think with all the awful problems facing this country, the Republicans could find better issues to run on than picking on undocumented immigrants and pregnant women.

The NYT editorial board has this to say about the cruel new anti-immigrant law in Alabama that Minkoff Minx has written a great deal about.

Alabama’s new anti-immigrant law, the nation’s harshest, went into effect last month…., and it is already reaping a bitter harvest of dislocation and fear. Hispanic homes are emptying, businesses are closing, employers are wondering where their workers have gone. Parents who have not yet figured out where to go are lying low and keeping children home from school.

To the law’s architects and supporters, this is excellent news. “You’re encouraging people to comply with the law on their own,” said Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, who has a side career of drafting extremist immigration legislation for states and cities, notoriously in Arizona and now in Alabama.

Alabama’s law is the biggest test yet for “attrition through enforcement,” a strategy espoused by Mr. Kobach and others to drive away large numbers of illegal immigrants without the hassle and expense of a police-state roundup. All you have to do, they say, is make life hard enough and immigrants will leave on their own. In such a scheme, panic and fear are a plus; suffering is the point.

The pain isn’t felt just by the undocumented. Legal immigrants and native-born Alabamans who happen to be or look Hispanic are now far more vulnerable to officially sanctioned harassment. Many of those children being kept home from school by frightened parents are born and bred Americans.

More evidence that American is becoming a police state.

Here a little good news for a change: New Jersey Sen. Lautenberg says it’s time for a new WPA

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) isn’t taking last week’s failure to pass President Obama’s jobs package lying down. Instead, he’s got a bolder plan in mind: create a new Works Progress Administration.

“It’s apparent that there’s a lot of need out there, and it’s apparent that there’s a lot of works out there,” he told Raw Story in an exclusive interview. “We’ve got millions of people looking for work,” he added, and his plan has “the immediacy factor” that other plans — including the President’s — lacks….

Lautenberg’s legislation, called the 21st Century WPA Act, wouldn’t be exactly like the WPA that gave Lautenberg’s own father a job during the Great Depression. Rather, it would award funding to projects that would give jobs to people unemployed for more than 60 days; have a continued economic benefit after their completion; and would devote a “high” portion of each dollar spent to employee pay. The legislation suggests — but does not limit departments to — a variety of projects, including the construction of water treatment plants, schools and firehouses, highway repairs and maintenance, building weatherization and trail maintenance.

It probably won’t get past the Republican House, but good for Senator Lautenberg for trying.

I’m going to end this post with a unique depiction of the mind of a Wall Street titan.

That’s it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today?


38 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Gaddafi stronghold has fallen. Unconfirmed rumors that Gaddafi is captured or dead, according to NPR.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Herman Cain Tells Piers Morgan That He Is Anti-Abortion, Yet Pro-Choice?

    Cain told Morgan that the government has no role in telling people what choices to make. His opinion is identical to that of Democratic politians like Ted Kennedy.

    “I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation. The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to a social decision that they need to make.”

    So, there you have it: Herman Cain is against abortion, personally, but is firmly pro-choice, as he believes the government should not intervene in social decisions. And that extends to same-sex marriage, by the way. As you may recall, Cain said recently, during an appearance on Meet The Press, that “I wouldn’t seek a constitutional ban for same-sex marriage, but I am pro-traditional marriage.”

    What will the other Republican candidates have to say about that?

    • He believes that families should make the CHOICE to have an illegal abortion at their risk, as he supports outlawing abortion even for rape and incest. He is such a bullshit artist and no one holds him to his crazy nonsense.

      How can a ‘family’ make the CHOICE if he supports a ban on abortion and then says that it is the family’s decision, because us women are so infantile that we couldn’t even make that decision alone. Why didn’t Piers Morgan ask him about his contradiction of his statements?

    • Woman Voter says:

      My comment in in moderation.

      Herman Cain is on the record saying he is against abortion even in cases of rape or incest, and thinks the ‘family’ should decide on whether to risk an illegal abortion, because in the same breath he said NO EXCEPTIONS.

      The man is for the Kill The Women Bills, and he just likes back peddling and no one holds his fuzzy logic to account.

    • Woman Voter says:

      I guess the NO EXCEPTIONS on abortions even in cases of rape and incest are his 999 Pro-Choice plan, for illegal abortions and his support for Kill the women bills.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      heads exploding!!!!!! 😆

    • ralphb says:

      Herman Cain will probably just tell the next person who asks that it was a joke. Like his electrified is real, it’s a joke, no it’s real. Cain is a lying asshat.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    This is very serious!
    Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » Opening the door to the henhouse

    I still haven’t heard anything approaching a logical explanation for Obama’s neglect of judicial nominations:

    To make a casual prediction, Barack Obama’s legacy as president will have as much to do with the federal bench as much as it will with the Affordable Care Act. For a variety of reasons, Obama has been far less aggressive in filling judicial vacancies than his predecessors. If he wins re-election, this isn’t a huge problem – he has four more years with which to fill the federal judiciary and balance its rightward tilt. But if he loses, we can expect President Romney/Perry to stack the lower courts – and eventually, the Supreme Court – with a variety of conservative ideologues. In other words, because of Obama’s neglect, we stand a good chance of giving conservative ideologues the tools they need to dismantle the welfare state, and leave liberals in a losing battle against right-wing legal theories.

    This is the link Susie is quoting form : What Happens if Obama Can’t Fill Judicial Vacancies?

    • Woman Voter says:

      I have gotten to the point where I don’t ask about those things, because his staff really is a reflection of him, and I am tired of getting flack. Joe Biden with that ‘fresh new look’ is his VP, and I am writing in Kristen Gillibrand.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I refuse to VOTE for Joe Biden after he kept all the other women in a hotel and not telling the committee about them, in the Clarence Thomas hearings, making Anita Hill look as if she was jilted or had an axe to grind. I REFUSE in 2012 to continue to vote for Joe Biden that will stand with MEN, of either party because they are MEN. Anita Hill was African American, but she was a woman and Joe Biden’s protection of Clarence Thomas has had profound impact in the Supreme Court.

        Thomas Clarence doesn’t equal a Thurgood Marshall.

        I will vote for Kristen Gillibrand for VP…by writing her name in.

    • jawbone says:

      Court watchers have been mystified and worried about Obama’s lack of action on filling vacanices since fairly early in his presidency. Usually, that’s one of the areas new presidents get cracking on early, but Obama left vacancies without nominees for months on end, sometimes well over a year.

      Why? A feature, not a bug? He wanted to be able to nominate Reagan-type judges and wanted a Repub Senate to give him plausible deniability?

      There is also consternation that he has left so many Bush/Cheney appointees in place.

      The guy is an EPIC FAIL as president. At least a president the 99% need and wanted. The president his voters thought they’d voted for.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Court watchers have been mystified and worried about Obama’s lack of action on filling vacanices since fairly early in his presidency. Usually, that’s one of the areas new presidents get cracking on early, but Obama left vacancies without nominees for months on end, sometimes well over a year.

        It is crap like this jawbone, that is going to allow the crap DeMint and the other PLUBs have been trying to force down women’s throats become law.

    • paper doll says:

      This is the link Susie is quoting form : What Happens if Obama Can’t Fill Judicial Vacancies?

      Shouldn’t that title be : What Happens if Obama Won’t Fill Judicial Vacancies?

    • paper doll says:

      I still haven’t heard anything approaching a logical explanation for Obama’s neglect of judicial nominations:

      lol…it’s work . There, simple

  4. joanelle says:

    Hmm, interesting thought WV – I’ve been reading in our regional and local papers articles about how Biden will be out the door and Hillary invited in for the VP role in the next go around – but perhaps just speculation or wishful thinking by the writers.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    I find it ironic that some of these dictators are found hiding in a hole at the end, finding their way back to the same hole they emerged from at the outset that allowed them to unleash their insanity against the world.

    Good riddance to another evildoer.

  6. foxyladi14 says:

    Libya free at last.. 🙂

  7. jawbone says:

    More evidence of how NPR jumps when the right cracks the whip:

    Lisa Sieone, who is host to several classical music programs on NPR, has been fired for serving as a volunteer PR person for DC’s xxxxx. So, it appears NPR feels she broke the rule that NPR reporters (gee, every employee, it now sees) must be seen as completely non-partisan and apolitical.

    Yet Mara Liasson is able to “demonstrate” her Repub bona fides on FOX News and keep her NPR reporting gig. Which seems to be a conflict of interest, and more so when she’s assigned to cover presidential candidates.

    While looking for a news report on this most recent egregious personnel action by NPR, I came across this article from June ’05 about an arts freelancer of 21 years who was fired by NPR for reporting accurately about WWII art illegally in the collection of NYC’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

    The museum complained to NPR about the coverage; David D’Arcy gonzo.

    I recognize the name, but had no idea he was “disappeared” from NPR.

    National Public Radio made a huge mistake ousting its veteran arts reporter David D’Arcy and is still trying to cover it up. The latest attempt came during an investigation by the National Labor Relations Board when the network refused to produce documents that would allegedly clarify why he was fired and Tom Cole, a unionized NPR staff editor who supervised the story, was disciplined.

    D’Arcy…, who freelanced for NPR for 21 years, was fired in January after the Museum of Modern Art complained about a story he did exposing the museum’s involvement in a case of Holocaust art theft (the Egon Shiele painting “Portrait of Wally”) and pointing out the contradictory stands on Nazi-looted art restitution expressed by both MoMA and its billionaire board chairman Ronald Lauder, who also happens to collect Shiele paintings.

    In addition to firing D’Arcy, NPR ran a “correction” to the story that experts on the restitution of Nazi-looted art say is misleading and brazenly inaccurate, not to mention damaging to D’Arcy’s reputation for thorough, in-depth reporting on the issue of Holocaust art theft.

    “NPR failed to provide documentation about mysterious activities on this matter, which they say is confidential,” says Ken Greene, who sought the NLRB investigation as a union official of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artist’s Baltimore-Washington chapter. “They cited attorney-client privilege for information we requested. We say this information was not between attorneys and clients but between managers.”

    The “mysterious activities” involve “what happened during three weeks, from Jan. 6 to 27,” he said. That is around the time MoMA is alleged to have brought pressure on NPR in phone calls and other communications with NPR President and CEO Kevin Klose and NPR news executives. “They never asserted attorney-client privilege about this information until the NLRB investigation,” Greene added. “But the union expects the information to be disclosed when we subpoena witnesses for an arbitration hearing.”

    There’s more to the story at the link, plus links within the article

    He who pays the piper pays the tune….

    When “public” radio is dependent on the charity of the Top One Percent, these kinds of things happen. The TIME commentary makes that observation.

    TIME report: NPR Listeners May Finally be Protected from Opera Bias.

    Baltimore Sun report: NPR looking into show host Lisa Simeone’s role with Occupy Washington group.

    The issue of someone associated with NPR, which has long asserted its non-partisan approach to broadcasting, serving as a spokesperson for such an overtly partisan effort was raised this week at The Daily Caller, a conservative website.

    “National Public Radio host Lisa Simeone appears to be breaking the taxpayer-subsidized network’s ethics rules by acting as a spokeswoman for Occupy D.C. group ‘October 2011,’ which is currently “occupying” Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.,” Matthew Boyle wrote in a piece posted Wednesday afternoon.

    SNIP

    Here’s a sample of Simeone’s writing as it appears on the October 2011 website:

    It’s long past time for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to end, for U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen to end, for our worldwide torture regime to end, for Guantanamo to be closed, for political, military, and corporate criminals to be held accountable. We’re spending billions of dollars on destruction abroad and abrogation of rights at home — the only growing sector of the economy is the abusive National Security State.

    So, the right can take down arts program hosts, as well as fundraisers and managers. And NPR jumps right to the task of getting rid of inconvenient employees (freelancers, albeit appearing on many NPR programs — anyone who listens to classical music on public radio stations will probably have heard Lisa Simeone and probably would have assumed she was an employee).

    And NPR is so jumpy about these things, it’s becoming a top down controlling organization, seeing that as their best means of self-defense. And we get? Pablum news, almost as directly stenographic as the WaPo’s reporting, sucking up to power. Now what? We’ll get rightwing classical music discussions and selections?

    I’m kind of sick to my stomach.

    • jawbone says:

      Oops, forgot to enter Occupy DC group, October2011…where the XXX’s are.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s pretty hopeless at this point for NPR and PBS. My brother works for PBS, and they have neutered his union. What can you expect with David Koch on the board. My brother is really worried about the content going downhill–with good reason, since the program he works for, Frontline, got only one emmy this year. My brother won it.

  8. paper doll says:

    US deports a record 400,000 immigrants

    http://tinyurl.com/3scqpop

    ….More than 1 million immigrants have been deported since Obama became president. This is despite the fact that three years of economic crisis have sharply curtailed immigration.

    …The Obama administration is utilizing the Secure Communities Program to attain an annual deportation quota, currently pegged at 400,000. The program will be fully implemented in all 50 states by 2013, after Obama ordered states that had resisted, including his home state of Illinois, to fall into line….

  9. ralphb says:

    This piece by William Black is an excellent examination of how our financial overlords work to the detriment of us all.

    Not with a Bang, but a Whimper: Bank of America’s Death Rattle

  10. northwestrain says:

    Louisiana comes up with another law — that is just really stupid.

    Cash is banned for the selling or buying of second hand goods. The goal of this law is to provide a paper trail for stolen property. Pawn shops are already required to keep detailed into on their clients — and apparently will continue using cash.

    “The law states those who buy or sell second hand goods are prohibited from using cash. State representative Rickey Hardy co-authored the bill.

    Hardy says, “they give a check or a cashiers money order, or electronic one of those three mechanisms is used.”

    Hardy says the bill is targeted at criminals who steal anything from copper to televisions, and sell them for a quick buck. Having a paper trail will make it easier for law enforcement.”

    Goodwill has stores all over the US — and they sell used goods. Poor people pay cash. There are a whole lot of second hand stores who deal primarily in cash and poor people will be impacted. Often it will cost more for the alternatives to cash than the item is worth.

    Stupid stupid politicians — in a Stupid State.

    • ralphb says:

      Looks like they just locking people into the fees charged by banks etc. It’s ridiculous.

      The Raw Story interview with Chris Hedges was just super.

    • Fredster says:

      FWIW NWrain, there is still a lot of repairing and new construction going on in SE-LA, so copper is being stolen like crazy and then sold at scrap yards for cash. I think they are just trying to make it more difficult for the thieves.

      Stupid stupid politicians — in a Stupid State
      If you think we’re stupid just go a few hundred miles to the east to Alabama. I know of two ladies who had to give up their jobs as housekeepers at a hotel because they were illegals.