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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

Journal Archives

Out-of-touch Rich Man Chronicles: Michael Bloomberg equates a living wage to communism

Despite Mayor Bloomberg's staunch opposition to the city council's proposed living wage bill, Council Speaker Christine Quinn came out defending the mayor when a heckler shouted "Pharaoh Bloomberg" at a rally on Monday.

The event, held to commemorate the upcoming vote to override Bloomberg's recent veto of the bill, took a sharp turn when Quinn appeared on stage, only to be quickly interrupted. Rather than ignoring, she responded:

Now, look. That's not appropriate. You stand here talking about democracy and wanting people to listen. In democracy, people have the right to have different views and they do not, we do not have the right to then call them names. So I would just ask, if that's what this press conference is about then I'll go right back inside and continue the work of business. But this is not democracy — calling people names who don't agree with you. So whoever said I'd ask that you apologize.

Quinn then ended her appearance, "Congratulations on the bill. I'm not going to participate in name-calling."

The swift defense comes as a bit of a surprise, considering the mayor recently compared the living wage bill to communism, scoffing, "The last time we really had a big managed economy was the USSR and that didn't work out so well. You cannot stop the tides from coming in." ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/christine-quinn-rebukes-pharaoh-bloomberg-living-wage-bill-video_n_1465487.html

General Strike Banner Drop in Union Square, 4/29/12

A banner drop promoting the May 1st General Strike, as seen at union square on April 29th. All out for May 1st! Wildcat March 1pm @ 2nd Avenue and Houston Street!


Ahead of May Day, David Harvey on Urban Uprisings From Occupy Wall Street to Paris Commune

Published on Apr 30, 2012 by democracynow

DemocracyNow.org - On Tuesday, May 1st, known as May Day or International Workers Day, Occupy Wall Street protesters hope to mobilize tens of thousands of people across the country under the slogan, "General Strike. No Work. No Shopping. Occupy Everywhere." Events are planned in 125 cities. We speak with leading social theorist David Harvey, distinguished professor of anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, about how Occupy Wall Street compares to other large-scale grassroots movements throughout modern history. His most recent book is "Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution."

Dave Zirin: Want to Understand the 1992 LA Riots? Start with the 1984 LA Olympics

from The Nation:

Want to Understand the 1992 LA Riots? Start with the 1984 LA Olympics
Dave Zirin on April 30, 2012 - 11:05 AM ET

If you don’t light the fuse, the bomb won’t blow. But striking the match and lighting the fuse are only the final steps in a process of creating a deadly explosion. The match that set off the 1992 LA Riots was struck when a videotape showcasing five police officers brutally beating African-American motorist Rodney King was released to the public. It lit the fuse on the bomb when a near all-white jury (ten whites, one Latino, one Asian) in Simi Valley found the officers innocent of all charges. The blast then spread over the next five days in the form of the largest urban uprising in the history of the United States. When the shrapnel had stopped flying, the damage amounted to $1 billion, fifty-three deaths and thousands of injuries.

The match and wick had done their job, but as we reach the twentieth anniversary of that day, we should recognize that the gunpowder was packaged to the bursting point by urban neglect and rampant, unchecked police violence. It was the 45 percent unemployment-rate of African-American males in South Central. It was Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates and his violent programs of police enforcement like the infamous Operation Hammer. It was deindustrialization and the loss of union jobs. It was the Bush recession, the longest the nation had seen since World War II. But there was an accelerant that started the city on the road to rebellion, and it’s what is regarded to this day as one of the city’s most shining moments: the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

The 1984 Olympics were supposed to show the vibrancy and virility of Ronald Reagan’s America. The games were actually opened by a speech from Reagan, the first time a world leader had launched the games in Olympic history. These games were nationalist theater, an absolute gold glut for the United States since the countries behind the Iron Curtain boycotted in protest of the American refusal to attend the 1980 games in Moscow.

The Los Angeles Olympic Games are remembered as as success because, appropriately for the Reagan era, they were the first privately financed Olympics in history. They ended with an announced surplus of over $200 million and spurred the creation of 70,000 new jobs. Olympic organizer Peter Uebberoth was the Time magazine Man of the Year and given the job as commissioner of Major League Baseball. Also lauded were Mayor Tom Bradley and Chief Gates for keeping the peace. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/blog/167630/want-understand-1992-la-riots-start-1984-la-olympics

Jeremy Scahill - America's Covert Wars

Jeremy Scahill is an investigative journalist, public speaker and award winning author. Scahill's work focuses on the use of private military companies. This is his speech given at the Brooklyn Peace Fair on April 28, 2012.

Scahilll is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and a frequent contributor to The Nation. He also serves as a correspondent for the national radio and television program, Democracy Now!

He is the author of the best-selling book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, which won the George Polk Book Award.

Sometimes I feel like....Google's watching me.....and I have no privacy

from the Guardian UK:

The Google engineer behind the collection of wireless data by Street View cars told at least two colleagues – including a senior manager – about the controversial plans before it was released, a US regulator has found.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in a report that the Google engineer told colleagues in 2007 that his Street View programme could collect private information including emails and text messages.

In a report published by Google on Sunday, the FCC said that five engineers were involved in implementing the Street View code but did not realise it could collect so-called payload data.

The engineer specifically told two colleagues, including a senior manager, that it was designed to collect this information in 2007 and again in 2008. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/30/google-street-view-breach-fcc

Homeownership Rate in U.S. Falls to Lowest Since 1997

(Bloomberg) The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest level in 15 years in the first quarter as borrowers lost homes to foreclosure and tight inventory kept buyers off the market.

The rate dropped to 65.4 percent from 66 percent in the fourth quarter and fell a full percentage point from a year earlier, the Census Bureau said in a report today. That is the lowest level since the first quarter of 1997, and down from a record 69.2 percent in June 2004.

Mounting foreclosures are displacing borrowers, while a lack of inventory has kept home sales from accelerating amid record affordability, the National Association of Realtors reported April 19. The homeownership rate probably will settle around 64 percent, where it stood from about 1965 to the mid-1980s, because credit conditions are similar to that era, said Patrick Newport, U.S. economist with IHS Global Insight.

“They may go up and down a bit, but generally they’re heading down,” he said in a telephone interview today. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-30/homeownership-rate-in-u-s-falls-to-lowest-since-1997.html

Chris Hedges: Welcome to the Asylum

from truthdig:

Welcome to the Asylum

Posted on Apr 30, 2012
By Chris Hedges

When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. “At times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”

The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum.

When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash product, life has no intrinsic value. The extinguishing of “primitive” societies, those that were defined by animism and mysticism, those that celebrated ambiguity and mystery, those that respected the centrality of the human imagination, removed the only ideological counterweight to a self-devouring capitalist ideology. Those who held on to pre-modern beliefs, such as Native Americans, who structured themselves around a communal life and self-sacrifice rather than hoarding and wage exploitation, could not be accommodated within the ethic of capitalist exploitation, the cult of the self and the lust for imperial expansion. The prosaic was pitted against the allegorical. And as we race toward the collapse of the planet’s ecosystem we must restore this older vision of life if we are to survive.

The war on the Native Americans, like the wars waged by colonialists around the globe, was waged to eradicate not only a people but a competing ethic. The older form of human community was antithetical and hostile to capitalism, the primacy of the technological state and the demands of empire. This struggle between belief systems was not lost on Marx. “The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx” is a series of observations derived from Marx’s reading of works by historians and anthropologists. He took notes about the traditions, practices, social structure, economic systems and beliefs of numerous indigenous cultures targeted for destruction. Marx noted arcane details about the formation of Native American society, but also that “lands (were) owned by the tribes in common, while tenement-houses [were] owned jointly by their occupants.” He wrote of the Aztecs, “Commune tenure of lands; Life in large households composed of a number of related families.” He went on, “… reasons for believing they practiced communism in living in the household.” Native Americans, especially the Iroquois, provided the governing model for the union of the American colonies, and also proved vital to Marx and Engel’s vision of communism. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/welcome_to_the_asylum_20120430/

Occupy Wall Street Plans Global Disruption of Status Quo

As reported by the dictation service for the status quo, Bloomberg News Service

(Bloomberg) Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, whose anti-greed message spread worldwide during an eight-week encampment in Lower Manhattan last year, plan marches across the globe tomorrow calling attention to what they say are abuses of power and wealth.

Organizers say they hope the coordinated events will mark a spring resurgence of the movement after a quiet winter. Calls for a general strike with no work, no school, no banking and no shopping have sprung up on websites in Toronto, Barcelona, London, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, among hundreds of cities in North America, Europe and Asia.

In New York, Occupy Wall Street will join scores of labor organizations observing May 1, traditionally recognized as International Workers’ Day. They plan marches from Union Square to Lower Manhattan and a “pop-up occupation” of Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue, across the street from Bank of America’s Corp.’s 55-story tower.

“We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo,” organizers said in an April 26 e-mail. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-30/occupy-wall-street-plans-global-disruption-of-status-quo-may-1.html

E.L. Doctorow: Unexceptionalism: A Primer

from the NYT:

Unexceptionalism: A Primer

Published: April 28, 2012

TO achieve unexceptionalism, the political ideal that would render the United States indistinguishable from the impoverished, traditionally undemocratic, brutal or catatonic countries of the world, do the following:


If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, ignore the first sacrament of a democracy and suspend the counting of ballots in a presidential election. Appoint the candidate of your choice as president.

If you’re the newly anointed president, react to a terrorist attack by invading a nonterrorist country. Despite the loss or disablement of untold numbers of lives, manage your war so that its results will be indeterminate.

Using the state of war as justification, order secret surveillance of American citizens, data mine their phone calls and e-mail, make business, medical and public library records available to government agencies, perform illegal warrantless searches of homes and offices. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/unexceptionalism-a-primer.html?_r=1

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