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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Season of the Witch

Tonight's panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays will be Avedon Carol and David Dayen (dday). You can listen live at 6:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 PM Eastern, 2:00 AM GMT, or later on stream or podcast.

"Nashville Judge Refuses To Book Occupy Nashville Protestors... You have no Legal basis to prosecute these people."

A watcher becomes a participant after seeing a familiar moment of media complicity in the Oakland police raid: "To sum up: the only two mainstream media live-feeds switched off at precisely the same instant - the minute before fifteen police departments working together engulfed a peaceful group of protesters in tear gas. [...] The best answer I can muster for the question of what an engaged citizen tired of being a spectator can do is this: try the ordinary channels and try being one of the 99%. It is not perfect. Nothing is. But there is room for more than your vote or your money: there is room for you, your body and your brain."

I'd like to be able to vote for candidates who sound like this.

Meanwhile, this really grossed me out. Oh, I see Digby saw it, too.

Sandwichman catches Paul Krugman making a serious error. Yes, really.

Chris Hayes first hour and second hour.

"New York's Universal Comprehensive Sex Ed Mandate: The Radical Notion Our Kids Might Learn Facts"

A linky post from Fred Clark at Slacktivist points me to a number of great quotes (I particularly liked that one from Mark Thoma), including a sign that Christians are finally realizing that Occupy is doing what should be their job. Southern Beale points to another. That's right, the Occupiers are doing God's work!

Thanks to those of you who've been finding bad links on the blogroll for me. Keep looking, I'm sure there's more.


17:28 GMT

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Fighting for air

Charles Pierce:

Make no mistake about it: The actions of the police department in Oakland last night were a military assault on a legitimate political demonstration. That it was a milder military assault than it could have been, which is to say it wasn't a massacre, is very much beside the point. There was no possible provocation that warranted this display of force. (Graffiti? Litter? Rodents? Is the Oakland PD now a SWAT team for the city's health department?) If you are a police department in this country in 2011, this is something you do because you have the power and the technology and the license from society to do it. This is a problem that has been brewing for a long time. It predates the Occupy movement for more than a decade. It even predates the "war on terror," although that has acted as what the arson squad would call an "accelerant" to the essential dynamic.

Basic law enforcement in this country is thoroughly, totally militarized. It is militarized at its most basic levels. (The "street crime units," so beloved by, among other people, the Diallo family.) It is militarized at its highest command positions. It is militarized in its tactics, and its weaponry and, most important of all, in the attitude of the officers themselves, and in how they are trained. There is a vast militarized intelligence apparatus that leads, inevitably, to pre-emptive military actions, like the raids on protest organizations that were carried out in advance of the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Sooner or later, this militarized law enforcement was going to collide head-on with a movement of mass public protest, and the results were going to be ugly. (There already had been dry runs elsewhere, most notably in Miami, in 2003, during protests of a meeting of trade ministers.)

Read the rest (it's not long). Then read him on another grand bargain Obama seems to be making - to pay for another Historic deal by denying more people healthcare. What do we get for it? Why, we get to let deadbeat contractors default on their taxes and then cut their future taxes. Everybody wins! Also, why you should be worried about water, and the SuperCommittee clown show.

Oddly, there is some good news on the prison front, as California decides to get non-violent inmates out of prison and into county jails or probation, "relieving prison overcrowding and freeing resources for rehabilitation." Good on them.

On Countdown, Keith talked to Paul Krugman, and suggested that there didn't seem to be much point in Occupy Wall Street making specific suggestions, since people like Paul Krugman had done that already, to no effect. Another guest was Naomi Wolf, who said some smart things about the meaning of police arresting her for "refusing to obey a lawful order" when in fact the order was unlawful.

Amy Goodman (and her lawyer) on Bloomberg discussing her arrest at the 2008 RNC (and how YouTube videos of the arrests got them out of jail fairly quickly) - reporters being unlawfully arrested to prevent coverage by non-embedded reporters.

Occupy Nashville Arrested At 3 Freaking AM.

Antonin Scalia, pick-and-choose Catholic. (What part of "Though shalt not kill" didn't you understand, Tony? Life begins with breath, the Bible says, and it's not your job to end it.)

Jay Ackroyd on Centrists: "It's not about Obama per se. It's about a political philosophy, an ideology that rejects core Democratic values about the government's role in protecting the citizenry from powerful private interests. It's not twelve dimensional chess. It's not cowardice or 'caving' or bad messaging, or that the Democrats don't know how to negotiate." No, they're getting just what they want. The only thing I can't figure out is what they think they're in the center of.

Pacific Views on Banning the First Amendment

Alicublog on inequality deniers (Those food stamps make you rich!) But, if there's a silver lining, it's that more and more people on both "sides" are beginning see the rhetoric wearing thin and realize that what Atrios says here and here and here is true.

Quidity on Matt Yglesias' reading skills

The difference between Libya and Bahrain

"Another way the rich are different... They get paid to co-sign loans."

I've just spent some time trying to clear a lot of dead links off the blogroll and do a bit of rearranging (e.g., creating an "Archival blogs" section for blogs that haven't had a post in years or the author has died), but I got tired after a combination of browser issues and a registry that hasn't been cleaned up since 1994 just pissed me off too much. If you have a little free time, I'd appreciate it if you would check some links over there and let me know if you find any dead ones.

16:00 BST

Thursday, 27 October 2011

On the Drum

13 out of 99, Part I - VastLeft is making little documentaries, talking to 13 people at Occupy Boston to find out why they are there and where they stand, as individuals. (Also: another edition of American Extremists.)

Charlie Rose actually treated his guests, Amy Goodman and Chris Hedges (and Paul Volker), with respect, even though they were telling the truth. Fancy that. (Of course, they rocked.)

Susie Madrak spoke to Will Bunch about his new book - perhaps the first out about OWS - October 1, 2011: The Battle of the Brooklyn Bridge (Kindle single), on Virtually Speaking Susie.

After the latest monstrosity, Digby finally asks the right questions: "What, at this point, is the rationale of the Democratic Party? We'll kill terrorists twice as hard and only slash the safety net half as much? We'll pass the Republican agenda so they don't have to?" (And, gods help us, Richard Cohen slummed.)

I see via Jay that Thom Hartmann was on Ratigan explaining why corporations got to be people even though the Supremes didn't rule on that at all. (Keep listening for some familiar White House campaign talking points, a presidential chicken recommendation, and more news on police actions against the Occupy movement.)

Video of tear-gassing of Occupy Oakland, story here. Also: Oakland police critically injure Iraq war vet. (They certainly weren't just trying to clear the crowd. either.) Update: "Occupy Oakland protestors march through Oakland after chaotic day of evictions, arrests."

Tuesday, Sam Seder talked to Christopher Ketcham "about his article in Orion magazine, "The Reign of the One Percenters", which he wrote before there was an Occupy movement. On Wednesday's show, Sam talked to Doug Henwood, editor of Left Business Observer, "on the socially useless Wall Street class" Sam also talked to a woman who was arrested at Occupy Oakland and denied her medication of MS. On Thursday (the show has just started as I write this), Sammy interviews Dahlia Lithwick.

"Why the rich should Occupy Wall Street" - because even their own income stability is being hurt by the crazy economy they've created. (Of course, their destabilization is not like ours.)

"Democrats on Super Committee Offer to Cut Medicare Benefits." One of the stupidest things I hear people on the left say is that, even though they hate Obama's policies, they're still going to vote for Obama in the general election. Even if they are, they shouldn't be saying it. They should go out of their way to imply that they don't see why they should vote for people who want to shaft them. This whole, "Of course, I am going to vote for Obama," frame says, "Do whatever you want, no matter how awful, and I will still reward you." Someone has to start telling them that merely being The Historic Not-Technically-A-Republican President is not good enough. (via)

MC Moneypenney - Tap Dat A$$et (NSFW)

I actually hadn't noticed who Hullabaloo contributor Tristero really is - only that he does good posts. But now I know. I'll need to start catching up.

A letter from Mr. Gandhi

Occupy Duckburg!

The Stone Poneys

16:50 BST

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Blue, blue windows behind the stars

I missed the fact that The Talking Dog celebrated its tenth anniversary last month, but with The Sideshow's tenth also approaching, I've been having similar thoughts myself. I really didn't think I'd still be feeling that need for ten years. When we started, we were looking at people who'd crossed the line and hopeful that we could help to push them back. After 2004, I think we were just hoping to hold the line. But 2008 proved that we can't do that the way we were going. We have to think differently. I won't go so far as to say we should completely ignore electoral politics, but - as I've said for a long time - there has to be more, and I'm glad Occupy is starting to do some of it. And it wouldn't hurt to figure out how to grow your own food, either.

Chris Hedges found himself trying to explain OWS on a Canadian news show where he was accused of sounding like "a left-wing nutbar" - but, fortunately, he is Chris Hedges and gave better than he got.

Occupy Together.

Aldous C. Tyler for president - One of the 99% got tired of waiting for someone else to primary Obama.

Obama can talk all he wants to about jobs, but there are good reasons not to believe him.

No, I didn't notice that we were bombing the hell out of Somalia until I read the Weekend Wrapup at Pruning Shears, nor was I aware of the stupid junk Barney Frank said about OWS, such as, "I want to be honest again here. I don't know what the voting behavior is of all these people, but I'm a little bit unhappy when people didn't vote last time blame me for the consequences of their not voting." No, we're blaming you for the fact that we voted for you in 2006 and 2008 and gave you control of Congress and then even the White House and you did this crap. The Republicans were letting TARP die until Senator Obama came back to save it, and you helped him. And you let him kill not just single-payer but even the Public Option. And you're helping him pass even more job-killing bills. And you prevented the Bush tax-shift from expiring. That's what happened in the last election - you drove people away with your crummy policies and callous negligence. You can't blame anyone else for that. You're still slapping democratic voters around when you should be the one saying what Paul Ryan is saying: "...but if there's frustration aimed at crony capitalism, corporate welfare, at bailing out connected corporations, I agree with them." But you're not, and a lot of people are tired of waiting for you to do more than pretend to disagree with the Republicans.

Ari Berman in The Nation, "How the Austerity Class Rules Washington" - and Ari joining Sam Seder on Monday's Majority Report.

I'm almost starting to think that Stuart Zechman is at his best on Virtually Speaking A-Z when he's on his own explaining his idea of the difference between what Americans think America is and what The Villagers think - as he was last week for the first part of the show. Nevertheless, he and Marcy Wheeler were great together this week on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

"First they came for your pensions..."
"Occupy Wall Street is not difficult to understand."
"No Occupation near you? Can't camp out? Here's one way to Occupy Wall Street anywhere."

I'm delighted to know that teach-ins are being held at OWS - by people like Jeff Madrick and Joseph Stiglitz.

Occupy Gretchen Morgenson: "The problem with this country is not the partisan tone of its politics. It's that certain people feel empowered to lie with the certainty that they won't suffer any repercussions."

Color photographs of circus performers, 1940s-1950s

This says there's no such thing as pink, but that's just wrong.

Neil Young and Arcade Fire live, last Saturday night

15:15 BST

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Words and pictures

O Lingerie Rhododendron T-shirt BraBra of the Week

It wasn't long after we started Feminists Against Censorship that we found ourselves spending a lot of time defending (and recommending) On Our Backs. And Susie Bright started to be a rather big name in our little circles. We didn't get the U.S. edition of Forum and we missed a lot of what she did, but what we saw, we liked. I was delighted to find her, eventually, writing the Susie Sexpert column in Salon, and absolutely chuffed to learn that she was an avid reader of The Sideshow. Susie Bright's Erotic Screen: The Golden Hardcore & The Shimmering Dyke-Core is now available on Kindle - or you can read the introduction at her (not work-safe) blog and see why she was so important to us.

It's worth remembering that the original name of Zuccotti Park was Liberty Plaza Park.

Amazingly, Anderson Cooper corrects his error.

"The effort to get a citizen veto of John Kasich's union-busting attack on the middle class is still a very big deal in Ohio, even as the Occupy movement picks up steam here (and everywhere!) If it has gone somewhat off your radar here's an update. First, the latest polling shows overwhelming support for overturning the law. Opponents appear to have the public firmly on their side, and that offers a lot of encouragement as we go into the stretch run."

Michael Moore tells Keith Olbermann that OWS has made him happy and says everyone should go out and occupy.

It would have been entertaining if this dinner honoring OWS and co-sponsored by Goldman Sachs had gone as planned.

I hear one of the occupiers is some 92-year-old guy named Pete Seeger.

Cenk Uygur Announces Wolf-PAC.com at Occupy Wall Street.

Compare the news - it all looks different from somewhere else.

Your paycheck, and their priority.

"They got away with it once, so why not try it again?" - that is, stick you with a Seventy-Four Trillion Dollar bill.

This says something very sad about police training. And, of course, very scary, because these cops shouldn't even have been thinking this way without so much as an order from a above.

Ackerman: "But the fact is America's military efforts in Iraq aren't coming to an end. They are instead entering a new phase. On January 1, 2012, the State Department will command a hired army of about 5,500 security contractors, all to protect the largest U.S. diplomatic presence anywhere overseas. [...] It's a situation with the potential for diplomatic disaster. And it's being managed by an organization with no experience running the tight command structure that makes armies cohesive and effective."

You only have to look at the NBA (and major league sports in general) to know what the occupiers are angry about.

And to wake up in the morning without that total dread.

I suspect the hand of TBogg.

Zombie Nativity set (via)

Bolognese Machiavelli

The greatest scientist to never win a Nobel prize

I've been falling down on the visual stuff lately, so here's a bunch:
Celebrities Portrayed as Russian Generals
Petar Todorinski's photos of women
Pantelis Zografos' watercolors of Greece
Wojtek Kwiatkowski's photos of horses
Christopher Boffoli's odd food scenes
Photo Manipulations by Sarolta Bán
paintings by Omar Ortiz
and Pedro Terrinha's pictures with pretty light.

02:39 BST

Friday, 21 October 2011

Decoder ring

People think I don't ban the right-wing trolls in the comment threads because I'm anti-censorship. Actually, that's not why. We don't get that many of them around here, so they mostly supply entertainment. Sometimes a troll will say something that's just plain wrong, and discussion can be illuminating not just for the troll, but also for participants who've never heard the facts that will be used in the rebuttals that commenters will supply. Other times, the troll will actually say something that's true, but entirely one-sided - e.g., a couple of years ago we had a commenter who kept insisting that Democrats have done horrible things, so we should vote Republican. (In retrospect, he was only half-wrong.) But, mainly, I don't ban them because some of them earnestly believe what they are saying until they hear something that sticks in their head and changes their mind, and my experience tells me that this does happen, regardless of what some people would like you to believe - which brings us to our other kind of troll, against whom I'm beginning to think people really need some inoculation. You see, there's a kind of troll who says things that are so batcrap crazy that it seems plain there is simply no talking to them. And that's what they're for. They're there to convince you that you can't possibly talk to people who identify as Republicans or conservatives at all. You can't find common ground, you can't find the areas you agree on, you can't make common cause - because doing so would provide a real threat to the people who run things. Religious, partisan, and political tribalism is their weapon and your enemy, and having idiots flouncing around shouting inanely on your TV and radio and blog comment threads is there to derail you from even making a try.

Monkeyfister told me where to get that little blue banner up in the top-left corner. Does it look okay in your browser? I noticed when I tried it on the top-right, it didn't work too well in mine. Click on it and get one for your page, too. (Barry Ritholtz likes it.)

On the other hand, I don't think I'll be buying Act Blue's Occupy Wall Street T-Shirt until they stop giving the money to elect-Democrats PAC.

Welcome, 53 Percenters, to the 99 Percent.

From Eschaton
The bumper-sticker is: "Don't cut spending, cut unemployment." If you have the opportunity to elaborate, say, "High deficits are a symptom of high unemployment." People should repeat that wherever they can.
I guess the fact that the IMF and Goldman Sachs are suddenly saying austerity is a bad idea is funnier than the way Krugman chose to illustrate it, but it still gave me a laugh.
As usual, our wonderful leaders want to help those who need it least while letting everything else crumble. The banks should, fergodssakes, write-down every inflated mortgage and the banksters responsible for this criminal mess should go to jail.
Pierce takes a scalpel to David Brooks. I ♥ Pierce.
"The Federal Reserve and Bank of America Initiate a Coup to Dump Billions of Dollars of Losses on the American Taxpayer." And depositors. It may be time to put your money under the mattress.
Senator Bernie: "A new audit of the Federal Reserve released today detailed widespread conflicts of interest involving directors of its regional banks."
Your member of Congress is legally required to answer your questions. It's amazing what they'll do to avoid that. (But it's not just the Republicans. I have a Democratic Congressman and two Democratic Senators who certainly don't answer mine.)

Nothing succeeds like excess - for your newly-hired CEO, but not for your company.

At A Tiny Revolution, "How I Communicate With People Less Right Than Me"

It may be time to move your money - if you have any.

The 1% fight back! (I wish. Then we could kettle them.)

And now, a few words from George Carlin.

Mike Huckabee Makes Hilarious Voter Disenfranchisement Joke. (And you can listen to Ari Berman talking last night about how it's really happening.)

A few years ago some idiot asked me if we actually thought we were going to levitate the Pentagon that day. The thing is, it's a question no one was stupid enough to ask me at the time. But that's how things have gone, that people would seriously ask that, now.

We Are the 1%. (Don't ask me why Richards et al. didn't get their own panel....)

Jack Benny vs. Groucho

01:50 BST

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Why's the rich man busy dancin' while the poor man pays the band?

Seriously, there's no point in trying to tell legislators what the polls say - they already know, and that means that no matter what they say and do, they know that we are a country made up primarily of people who want liberal policies and liberal outcomes. They don't care. It's really worth remembering that they hate democracy.

I'm actually okay with Michael Moore turning up at OWS, because it's the kind of thing that brings media attention, but you gotta watch out for the real bloodsuckers. (via)

The whole 53% thing is (a) a lie and (b) not even understood by the people who are saying it, but they're saying it because that's their side of the culture war. (Your job is not to point out to them that they're stupid, but to make it clear that you are on their side in the class war that is being made on them. Why, just the other day I had it out with a conservative friend who imagined that she would be hit by a top marginal rate on millionaires, even though she has never made a million dollars in a single year. She did not know that merely having a million dollars saved up over many years had nothing to do with the top marginal rate. Eventually, even she was willing to agree that, well, no one actually needs a billion dollars, and maybe OWS has a point about the corruption and aren't just a bunch of commies after all.)

CHARTS: Here's What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About...

Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone: "If you were trying to formulate a tax proposal to enrage and energize the Occupy Wall Street movement, it would be hard to improve on Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan."

The real Ponzi scheme is our entire financial sector.

The only people trying to clean up Wall Street (or Zuccotti Park) are Occupy Wall Street.

The administration still tries to pretend that things are getting better, and others will admit that they aren't, but slowly, people are beginning to admit that "Things Can Get Worse: "I'm not making a prediction here, if pressed I'd be more in the 'things will continue to suck much as they are' camp, but there isn't actually any real reason to have my sunny optimism." That's Atrios, linking not to people like me who've been saying it all along, but to the Economist.

Who are the 1% and What Do They Do for a Living?

Total Recall, the 99 Percent Solution

The Old Fart Rants on OWS and Teabaggers. (Also: live OWS feed and a couple of proposed Constitutional amendments to fix some major problems.

Dan at Pruning Shears has lots of links as always, but I like the way he said it down in comments below: "Know what the explosive unstated message of Occupy is? Withdrawal of consent." And don't miss the Polka video!

17:17 BST

Friday, 14 October 2011

Just keep saying it

Atrios says he's a broken record on the subject, but it's fine with me to have people saying over and over that giving people free money would do a lot more to help our economy than any of the brilliant plans coming out of Washington or Downing Street. But, of course, the thing that people really want is jobs, any kind of jobs, and the gods know there is plenty to do. At every level, there is stuff that can be done right now, there is stuff that can be started next year, there is all kind of infrastructure repair and development that should already be happening, there is general maintenance that hasn't been done and isn't being done but should bloody well be happening, and doing it would create wealth in the general economy. Pay people to do needed work. It's a simple formula. But, if you can't do that, at least give people free money so they can spend it. That's what makes jobs - ordinary people spending money every day. And since the private sector isn't hiring, that money has to come from the government. There isn't anywhere else.

Robert Reich on The Seven Biggest Economic Lies

Naomi Klein, "Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now [...] Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: 'We found each other.' That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can't be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful."

Allison Kilkenny and Stuart Zechman talked to Jay Ackroyd on Virtually Speaking last night. Here she is in The Nation on how Occupy Movements Spotlight Disappearing Rights - The "public-private" buyout of public space means the public still pays for it but loses the right to use it as public space - where protest (free speech) can take place. A combination of local ordinances and antique laws - some of them clearly intended to make protest more difficult, and others simply reinterpreted in that service - are used to "justify" police action to interrupt the protests, and post-9/11 craziness to encourage the response to be nasty. So, public protest is fine as long as you can find a place that's public and account for every silly (or punitive) rule they come up with to stop you. FAIR also interviewed Kilkenny about press coverage of OWS, and about the spin. (They also talked to Moshe Adler, economics professor at Columbia University and Empire State College, about the attack on the Postal Service.)

HOW TO: Occupy Wall Street

Sam Seder was live from Las Vegas for the Mass Tort Conference yesterday, where they're talking about how your right to access to the courts is being eroded systematically. He's there today, too, and of course is also continuing his coverage of OWS. Cliff Schecter will join him.

It's time for Corrente's annual report - and fundraiser. Support this great blog if you have anything to spare.

"Why the Impossible Happens More Often" - or, human beings love to work, to create, to do things they're good at, and the internet has made that a lot easier. (via)

Ettlin saw the Sheen-Estevez movie and loved it, but rated it PG-35.

More reasons why I love the internet: David Honeyboy Edwards died the other month at 96, after a long career that ended only a few years ago when he stopped performing (via), and it reminded me that, although I'd certainly heard of him, I'd never actually heard him play. But thanks to YouTube, I can enjoy a whole "new" experience of listening to some fine old blues.

16:28 BST

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Democracy is coming

Mission accomplished: Barack Obama has ensured that even Democrats won't be singing "Happy Days Are Here Again" when Democrats are in charge, anymore. We now have two misery parties - but everyone is starting to know it.

1. If a Republican were president right now, do you think the economy would be better,
worse, or about the same as it is now?
             Better   Worse   The same   No opinion
All adults     23      25         45           7

2. Thinking beyond the 2012 presidential election, do you think your own family's
financial situation would be better if (President Obama wins a second term) OR if 
(a Republican wins the election) or wouldn't it make much difference either way?
            President Obama     Republican wins    Not make much    (Vol.)      No
          wins a second term      the election    much difference   Depends   opinion
All adults        24                  24                44            *          7 

David Swanson asks the easy questions: "If we want to end wars and cut military spending, will we accomplish that by changing the faces of the military industrial complex's representatives in Congress and the White House or by educating the public about the human costs, financial costs, environmental costs, civil liberties and democratic costs, and the endangerment of us all caused by dumping 65 percent of discretionary spending into the war machine? Will we get further by funding candidates or by using civil resistance to disrupt the work of the makers of war? We can do both. We must do both. But which should we prioritize? Which should we make subservient? Do we want a culture passionately demanding peace and compelling all elected officials to work for it, a culture we approached, for example, in 1928? Or do we want a country in which loyal Democrats denounce Republican war funders, but nobody at all denounces Democratic war funders?" (via)

The law blog Balkinization has been on my sidebar for a very long time, and Marty Lederman was a fine contributor, writing strong and well-thought-out criticisms of the lawlessness of the Bush administration. But now, as a member of this administration's Office of Legal Council, Lederman has become the Democratic John Yoo. Glenn Greenwald finds this repellant ("But I think any minimally rational person can immediately detect the extreme levels of sophistry at work here: according to Marty Lederman, it was outrageous to suggest in the Bush years that the AUMF could allow mere presidential detention or even eavesdropping targeted at American citizens accused of being involved with Al Qaeda, but during the Obama years, that same statute justifies presidential assassinations (and note that Padilla, whose treatment remains a symbol of Bush/Cheney radicalism, ultimately received a trial and at least the trappings of due process, whereas Anwar Awlaki did not and never will)"), but not surprising, after what we have seen for the last two years; however, it's still one of the more depressing and disappointing revelations in Charlie Savage's latest exposé. (As a side note, Marcy Wheeler observes: "What was leaked to @charlie_savage is MORE classified than anything Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked.")

Sam Seder posted an interview with Charlie Savage Monday that is worth a listen. On Thursday, TMR teamed up with Citizen Radio for their live coverage of Occupy Wall Street, joined by Naomi Klein.

Amazing: "During their panel discussion on ABC's This Week, Christiane Amanpour actually took some time out to bring on Daily Kos blogger Jesse LaGreca, otherwise known as Ministry of Truth, to give his perspective on the Occupy Wall Street protests. LaGreca did a good job on there and called the corporate media out for ignoring the working class in the United States." It was downright gratifying to watch him walk all over George Will and Peggy Noonan.

The Rude Pundit provides us with An Inarticulate Articulation of Why Occupy Wall Street Doesn't Need to Articulate a Damn Thing

A post from Atrios on what we're willing to do "everything necessary" for.

An adorable fractal analysis.

H.P. Suesscraft

I can always listen to Cohen doing "Democracy" again.

14:55 BST

Monday, 10 October 2011

Everybody look what's goin' down

This picture, news that our drones are crashy, and a whole lot of other good stuff at Pruning Shears.

On Virtually Speaking Sundays, Marcy Wheeler and Julian Sanchez discussed Obama's executive murder "authority" and Occupy Wall Street.
Matt Stoller was the guest this week on Virtually Speaking, and he and Stuart both had a lot to say to Jay about OWS. Stuart was also Susie Madrak's guest, discussing the same subject, on Virtually Speaking Susie, and about making common cause.

(I forget where I saw it, but someone was saying something like, "It's not just kids. Now the old hippies are coming out - you see people in their 40s." Um, people in their 40s are not "the old hippies"; they're Alex Keaton's generation.)

The Patriotic Millionaires say marginal tax rates have nothing to do with how they invest, so we have no reason not to tax the rich.

Krugman: "There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people."

Interviews I've heard with people who were up front at the march don't say the police actually led the marchers onto the bridge, but make it clear that the officers present at no time indicated that they were doing anything improper or would be arrested, and seemed to be guiding them to stay within certain boundaries to avoid obstructing other traffic on the bridge. And then, suddenly, everything changed. Whether this was a deliberate plan by the authorities or something the cops on the ground were instructed to do at the last minute was unknown the last time I looked. Which is the problem I have with this analysis - because, in context, the original version of the story looks a lot more accurate, and the new version does, indeed, shift the blame off of authorities who allowed the march to proceed and then suddenly started to have people arrested without warning.

Back in the early days of the Teabagger media surge, there really were people who were sympathetic because they imagined this was the group that objected to bank bailouts - and they showed up at events with signs complaining about just that issue. But their message wasn't really welcome. And now that message can be seen where it should have been all along, in cities all over America (and the world). Unlike so many of our high-profile media, Charles Pierce talked to some real people in the occupation: "Not anti-anybody. We're pro-American citizen. Millions of Americans are getting kicked out of their house. They're losing their education, their health care. They can't take care of their parents. This is about people. Republicans are opening their bills. Democrats are opening their bills. I'll go all the way to $250,000 if you want. Everybody's opening their bills and they're thinking, 'Who's protecting me from people stealing from me?' This isn't what I agreed on when I signed this agreement with this company. You add all these hassles up in your life - your hospital, your credit card, your education, your mortgage - and you're getting nailed. And there are a couple of banks who created the instruments that made that happen. This is not a physical war. This is an oppression that's quiet, and through money, and through services, and through small print. They want you to be afraid, and not to know, and they want to bewilder you. [...] It's serious out there, but it's quiet, because it happens at everyone's kitchen table. It's happening household-by-household. There's a sense out there, which I hope what's going on here will dissipate, that there's something wrong with me. I'm a jerk because I can't pay that bill. There are working men who will march tomorrow. It's all about people, who feel they got duped. There needs to be a systematic legislative change, so that this cannot happen any more."

"My list of absolute demands for Occupy Wall Street: Look folks, are you sure you're doing this right? I mean, where are the TV hosts providing daily updates and talking points? Where's the billionaire supporter to arrange signs, flags, stages, entertainment and giant star-spangled touring buses? Where are the nice pre-printed bullet point lists and glossy handouts that summarize 40 pieces of legislation already on the floor of the House (or being drafted by lobbyists) which absolutely everyone there supports 110 percent? Where's the media empire telling you when to meet, how long to meet, who to cheer, who to hate, what to say and how to vote? Do you even have a list of commercial sponsors? Come on. Is this any way to run a spontaneous, grassroots movement?"

Innocent museum-goer pepper-sprayed when protesters tried to get into the Air and Space Museum. In fairness, the security guards had been annoyed first by an agent provocateur from The American Spectator.

BDBlue reminded me in comments that I should have realized that press reports about Obama killing No Child Left Behind are no more believable than his withdrawal of combat troops or his "affordable health care" bill. The Obama administration rarely does the good things it claims to be doing, it simply renames them. And they've been promising to rebrand NCLB for a long, long time. They don't want to kill it. They like it.

I'm pretty sure I linked to these before, but Monkeyfister wants to make sure everyone sees the Plutonomy memos.

They've already done this with other things, but now our legislators want to make it illegal to smoke pot even if you're in Amsterdam. It's global repression of Americans, wherever they are. Oh, what fun!

Twenty House Democrats call for investigation of Justice Thomas. I don't know why anyone had to wait until now to talk about Thomas' little conflicts of interest. After all, he didn't recuse himself from Bush v Gore, despite the fact that his wife's job with the Bush administration was at stake. And he's not the only one with conflicts of interest.

In the UK, Young, unpaid and angry: interns go online to campaign for a wage, because slave labor is no fun, and the only people who can afford to be interns are those who already have the money. Internships are a way of (a) getting free labor and (b) making sure that the underclass can't get onto a career ladder. (via)

It's odd to me that lately Americans know the name of Piers Morgan. He's a right creep, you know.

Robert Whitaker died the other week. He photographed floods and war, and Salvador Dali, but it's hard to find much of that in most of his obituaries, or on the web, because he also photographed the Beatles, and, in particular, two covers for the same album. when the first generated a little too much controversy.

Buffalo Springfield, with a little help from Tommy Smothers.

04:15 BST

Thursday, 06 October 2011

When worlds collide

Based on everything the US government itself has said, it seems pretty clear that Barack Obama knowingly and willfully had an American citizen murdered because he didn't like what he was saying. He did so without regard to Constitutional restraints against such actions - that is, this was manifestly, unequivocally, against the law. He has produced not one single item of evidence to justify this action. His answer to suggestions that such evidence must be produced is essentially that he won't tell us anything. "The official U.S. position naturally acknowledges there are strong legal limits to U.S. application of military force. We can't 'use military force whenever we want, wherever we want.' What is a key limitation? The threat must be imminent. Claims that al-Awlaki and Khan presented an imminent threat of other than posting to YouTube, blogging, speaking, and writing, seem extremely shaky, at best."

Glenn Greenwald also reminds us: "The heel-clicking, blind faith in secret, unproven accusations of the President that someone is a Terrorist is what drove support for Bush's secret War on Terror excesses, and it is now exactly the mindset driving support for Obama's killing of Awlaki. That's why - contrary to the conceit of Obama loyalists that conservatives would condemn him for the Awlaki killing - the most vocal praise has been heaped on Obama by the likes of Rick Perry, Dick and Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, Bill O'Reilly, Newt Gingrich, Charles Krauthammer, and Bill Kristol. It's also why the legal justification for Obama's actions is being supplied by the likes of former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith, whose views on the War on Terror and executive power led him to approve of Bush's warrantless NSA eavesdropping program and to demand detention without charges." (Glenn has video here of Jake Tapper actually pressing to get something better than "nyaa nyaa nyaa" out of the administration, to no avail.)

Jay Ackroyd will be talking with Matt Stoller tonight about Occupy Wall Street on Virtually Speaking.

Elizabeth Warren Blasts Wall Street, Scott Brown In First Massachusetts Senate Debate. But did she just fatally screw up?

Meanwhile, Obama does something right: He killed No Child Left Behind.

Joan Walsh wakes up to Occupy Wall Street, and takes a trip down memory lane.

"Washington's long con", Maureen Tkacik's article on Suskind's book, makes me think Confidence Men might very well be worth reading. And Tim Geithner sounds like even more of a creep than I thought. (via)

"96-year-old Woman Who Voted During Jim Crow Is Denied Photo ID [...] Here's a woman who has gone to her voting precinct to do her patriotic duty her whole life, even when the segregationist laws were intentionally aimed at preventing it. And now they tell her no."

And they have a message for us.

The amazing Bert Jansch has died, at the age of 67. As Derek Schofield says in the Guardian, he "had the most sustained influence, not only within folk circles, but also on the wider music scene. To Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Jansch was 'the innovator of the time - so far ahead of what anyone else was doing'. Johnny Marr of the Smiths described Jansch's effect on his musicianship as 'massive ... one of the most influential and intriguing musicians to have come out of the British music scene'. Other artists he influenced included Paul Simon, Donovan and Neil Young, with whom Jansch toured in the US in 2010." (Other stories at Auntie Beeb, the Telegraph, more from the Telegraph, and another from the Guardian.) Many of you will recognize Jansch's arrangement of "Angie" from your Simon & Garfunkel collection, as Led Zep fans will know his Black Waterside". Oddly, I couldn't find a Jansch version or Donovan's cover of "Deed I Do" at YouTube (though I could find "Donovan covers" of it by others), but you can tell he liked Jansch a lot. And then, of course, there was Pentangle.

15:26 BST

Wednesday, 05 October 2011

There's something happening here

Sam Seder did a great interview with Glenn Greenwald on Monday's Majority Report, about Obama's exercise of executive murder - and, of course, live coverage form OWS. On Tuesday, he talked to David Dayen about mortgage fraud, and to Mike Stark about radio show phone-ins. And Sam using that phrase to Tom Friedman was the funniest thing to happen in days.

The burgeoning action of OWS has "explosive potential."

The Boston Tea Party was more like OWS than like today's teabaggers.

Bernie Sanders on Ratigan says OWS is doing "exactly the right thing to do."

Occupy Wall Street versus Tea Party: a video comparison

Monkeyfister got all inspired by Ratigan's appearance at OWS.

Obama's ardor for an Infrastructure Bank is actually just a load of corruption that he knows full well will have dire consequences for increasingly voiceless Americans - for the profit of a few.

"Why don't rogue traders ever make money? [...] Does it strike you as strange that no big bank ever announces that it has made $2.3 billion in unauthorized trading? Somehow, 'rogue' traders always wind up losing tons of money; they never seem to win."

The media is starting to talk about how that trigger won't fire, and the supercommittee is just wasting time.

Jared Bernstein says it's not at all hard to figure out the message of Occupy Wall Street: "Given the facts of the income distribution, the trends in real middle-class incomes and poverty, the failure of policy to do much to change these trends, the government bailouts of the only class that's benefited from the recovery so far, the absence of clear punishment/accountability for the financial and political institutions that helped inflate the debt bubble that continues to squeeze economies across the globe, and the dysfunctionality of the current political system (they're arguing more about whether they can keep the lights on than whether they can help solve the economic problems), the more interesting question is what took so long for such protests to show up?"

Taylor Marsh thinks Obama wrong-footed here by saying that Americans aren't any better off than they were four years ago. I have a different take. Partly it's that most people who remember four years ago know things are not better, and there's no point in him saying something they don't have to do any research to know is not true. But the other is that Obama is playing his role, and that role is to lower expectations. His most optimistic message, most of the time, can roughly be translated as, "Things are tough, and we're working to try to keep them from getting worse," which means "we" are not actually expecting them to get better.

Ariel Dorfman on the shame of Cheney - and the United States

Stuart Zechman's polished snark

Giblets and Fafnir return to the issues of the day. Every time one of these is posted, you should send it to your representatives and tell them how much more insightful it is than Politico and The Washington Post. It may not accomplish anything, but I'd feel better about it.

Your steampunk keyboard

16:10 BST

Monday, 03 October 2011

Generations at work

See the rest of these great pictures here. (via)

The 99% have something to say.

The panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays this week were Digby and McJoan, who discussed the good news from OWS. (And with the California state AG pulling out of the settlement, it looks like the case against the banks may actually go forward. And maybe OWS helped do that, too.) (podcast)

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. Obviously inspired by TJ hisself. (And I keep meaning to say that the really nice thing about OWS is that finally there is someone aside from the Tea Party publicly making a stink about the fealty our elected officials and their underlings are showing to the financiers, and it's not just about the so-called "socialist" in the White House. This is bipartisan corruption and everyone should know it by now.)

Don't be afraid to say Revolution. After three weeks, many things are changing.

"Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales" - paying bribes, deliberately cheating and stealing, and firing employees who report problems. And this story isn't from some lefty blogger - it's from Bloomberg.

Barbara Ehrenreich says, "Rich people are being 'demonized' for flaunting their wealth. Poor dears!" Wailing about tax rises that, even if they happened, wouldn't even inconvenience them. And does anyone really think they're going to happen?

Charles Pierce on credit card fees, and what Jamie Dimon charges for a hamburger.

Atrios asks, "How Does It Even Occur To You That This Might Be OK? I hear a lot about how frightened schools are of lawsuits, but when you start thinking you have more police power than the police you can't be that concerned... "

Have you visited Skippy the Bush Kangaroo lately? He's got zillions of links up.

Rick Perry Finally Talks Some Sense.

Dick Cheney demands an apology.

American Extremists: "Preoccupied"

Sign of the times

Ruth Calvo is visiting from Texas, and she spent the day at Kew Gardens yesterday. She had wanted to go up to the treetop walkway, but getting up there turned out to be a problem, so when she got back she did it on the computer instead.

14:30 BST

Saturday, 01 October 2011

Volunteers of America

I keep thinking that all I do is document the atrocities - and some days, it does seem that's all I'm doing - but there really are good things that have emerged in spite of the horrors going on. What happened in Wisconsin is that the people got together and pushed back. What's happening in the actual streets of New York is people getting together to start making a larger push-back happen. That Sam Seder's listener-supported edition of The Majority Report is coming to us every weekday and bringing us important news and analysis and interviews means we aren't letting them shut us up. That you can download podcasts from Virtually Speaking with useful analysis of the difference between what's real and what we're told means you have tools you never had before. While there are flaws and weaknesses to be found in all, we're all getting smarter and better and learning to do more things, and a lot of it is starting to bleed into the public consciousness and even the establishment media. Even some of the smaller blogs make contributions that filter into a Krugman column here, a segment of MJR there, and soon a moment on MSNBC, and even the occasional NYT editorial. The point is, if you want to make a campaign work, you have to keep repeating your talking points and doing it everywhere you can. As more people do that, the possibilities increase. Watch them, listen to them, join them, support them.

At Pruning Shears, The many successes of Occupy Wall Street: "Generating attention to an issue that the Beltway wants to go away, building support among disparate groups the old-fashioned way, supporting local workers who might otherwise feel isolated, and breathing oxygen into alternative outlets. The OWS movement has been racking up some really important successes. What's not to like?"

On The Majority Report, Sam Seder has been keeping up with the news and doing interviews with people on the scene at the Wall Street occupation, so check out his shows Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

On Virtually Speaking A-Z, Jay and Stuart discussed the trap that career Obama-propagandist Melissa Harris-Perry and those like her are attempting to set for critics of Obama. It's not just that her "argument" is wrong (right up to the fact that "the left" in the form of The Nation magazine published far more criticism of President Bill than they have of Obama), it's that it's not an argument at all, but a campaign tactic that is meant to silence legitimate criticism. It's McCarthyist, it's trying to turn the camera on the critics rather than on the ghastly policies of a president. It's a distraction. But, to me, it's a distraction that is so manipulative, so shameful, and so damaging to real discussion of racial issues, that I still think it needs to be called out. To me, people who promulgate this sort of phony guilt-tripping are part of the machine that is hurting the black community every single day. You care about blacks? Stand up against the war on drugs, the burgeoning prison industry, and the economic policies - Obama's economic policies - that have been making life increasingly more miserable for black people in America. You can't persistently degrade the Constitutional rights and economic stability of 98% of Americans without hurting the black community. Ms. Harris-Perry would like us to ignore the damage those policies are doing to the vast majority of Americans, including black Americans, and pretend that it's All About Obama. It's not. She may work for Obama, but the rest of us answer to a higher calling than the fortunes of one well-connected politician who just happens to be black. Barack Obama is not Black America - he's just one guy. There are millions of black people - and white people, and people of those funny colors in between - who matter much more.

Jay also talked to Mike Stark in the second hour. And on Virtually Speaking Susie, Susie Madrak talked to columnist Will Bunch about the relationship between music and politics (which reminded me of Ahmet Ertegun talking about how they decided to add The Buffalo Springfield to their list after hearing "For What It's Worth" and how rock music was representing the news. Clear Channel made sure we can't do that anymore). This week on Virtually Speaking Sundays, the panelists will be Digby and McJoan.


17:20 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, October 2011

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