Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tomorrow is May Day… Workers of the World Get it Together

This was posted by Occupy Wall Strteet:

This May Day, hundreds of thousands of workers, immigrants, students, retirees, and unemployed people across the U.S. and around world will take to the streets, many for the first time. (If you are in NYC, check here for a schedule for the full day!) For folks new to protest (and of course, everyone else) we’ve thrown together a last-minute May Day Checklist:

What To Bring

(1) An affinity group: An affinity group is a group of people you know and trust. Before going to the demo, bring together a group of 2 or more friends and discuss your plans for the day, the tactics you plan on using, how comfortable you are risking arrest, etc. Everyone should have an affinity group, even if its just casual or informal. Once at the march, stick together and try to leave together. If someone has to leave early, make sure they do it safely. Make sure you have each other’s phone numbers. It might be a good idea to pair together more experienced protesters with newers folks. Most importantly, look out for each other.

(2) Footwear: Wear comfortable shoes that are easy to run in and won’t give you blisters. If possible, wear water-proof shoes. (There is a chance of showers tomorrow in NYC.) Don’t wear open-toe shoes.

(3) Band-aids: Your comfortable shoes may not be so comfortable after a day of marching, so bring band-aids in case of blisters.

(4) Water: Seriously. Lots and lots of water.

(5) Snacks: Especially nonperishable food like dried fruit, energy bars, nuts, and things that are easy to eat on-the-move.

(6) Backpack: Carry your stuff in a backpack. It´s easier to carry than a purse, especially if you need to run to catch up with a march. Also, pack light. Don´t bring unnecessary or heavy things, especially if you plan on being out all day.

(7) Multiple layers of clothes: Anticipate changes in weather. According to Weather Underground, the high in NYC for tomorrow is 72F and the low is 52F with a chance of showers.

(8) Cell phones and cameras: Cell phones are useful for communicating with others on the ground to get information and stay safe. You can also use video and cameras to document police brutality. You have a legal right to document police behavior and it is usually safe. However, be aware that police (especially the NYPD) have a documented history of targeting grassroots journalists with violence or arrest. (See here for more on your rights as a photographer.) If you do try to document police abuse, make sure you write down or photograph the officer’s badge number. Also be aware that there may be disruptions of service in heavily-clogged, high-traffic areas like lower Manhattan. (On #N17, the largest OWS action in NYC to date, many cell phones mysteriously stopped working.) Also, bring extra batteries and memory!

(9) Maps: Try to be familiar with the area before you go. Bring a map (on your phone or in print) with you and be aware of your surroundings.

(10) Rain gear: It might be a good idea to bring a poncho. Garbage bags also work. Keep in mind some police may perceive umbrellas as a threat. Bring extras of everything, kept dry in your backpack.

(11) Your own sign or banner: If you have a catchy slogan, bust out a sharper and some cardboard and tell the world! Write what makes you indignant; or, write something about the world you’d rather live in. Write why you´re on strike, or why you support #OWS, labor, students, immigrants, etc. Here are some common slogans: ¨Banks Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out,¨ ¨We Are The 99%,¨ ¨Occupy Everywhere,¨ ¨We Are Unstoppable – Another World Is Possible.¨

(12) Know how to identify legal observers: Observers from the National Lawyers Guild will be on the ground throughout the day. You can identify them by their bright green hats. If you have important information for them (for example, one of your friends just got arrested) let them know. Don´t distract them otherwise. To report arrests on May Day in NYC, call the NLG at 212-679-6018. To help, text OWS-JS to 774-254-4697.

(13) Know how to Mic Check: One easy way to convey information to large groups of people is by using the People’s Mic. One person (or a few people) first yell ¨Mic Check!¨ Everyone who hears them responds by echoing ¨Mic Check!¨ After that, one person says a few words and pauses to let the crowd repeat those words. If you hear someone mic check, let them know by repeating too; that way, the people around you can also listen. However, if you disagree with what someone is saying, you don’t have to repeat it. This is a useful way to make spontaneous, democratic decisions. However, you should also be aware that false or misleading information can sometimes spread quickly this way, so don’t assume something is true just because it was said over the People’s Mic. (Hint: If you hear people chanting ¨Shame!¨ or ¨The whole world is watching!¨ it often means that police brutality and/or arrests are happening nearby. If you’re trying to avoid arrest, go the other way. Or, if you want to help or document, head over!)

(14) Smart phones: If you have one, install free aps like Twitter and Livestream so you can keep up on what´s going on elsewhere. There might be something important happening just a block away, but impossible to see. The best way to get up-to-the-minute information is by following Twitter accounts. Here are a few: #M1NYC | #M1GS | #GeneralStrike | #MayDay | @OWSMayDay | @OccupyGenStrk | @StrikeEverywher | @OccupyGenStrike. However, as with Mic Checks, be aware that information on Twitter might not be 100% accurate.

(15) Know your rights: The ACLU has some good basic info on your legal right to protest here. If you are a transgender or gender non-conforming, check out this helpful document for trans people participating in direct actions. If you are an active duty Service Member, note that your rights are different. (See below for some more helpful information if you are worried about being arrested.)

(16) Drums, whistles, noisemakers, giant puppets: They’re fun!

(17) WHAT NOT TO BRING: Illegal drugs, weapons, your address book, anything that could be potentially incriminating (including pictures on your cell phone).

Have Fun! Get the word out! Let me k now how it goes.

Visual Illusion (I’ve got nothing better to do tonight until Bones comes on)

Just look at it and watch the center grid move:

 

So why does it happen?

btchakir:

Thanks to Extreme Liberal for this post. Very thought provoking. I’m happy with the job Obama is doing, too (for the most part.)

Originally posted on Extreme Liberal's Blog:

Rolling Stone Magazine has an interview with President Obama that hits the stands on Friday, but thanks to the internet, we get to see it before the glossy version comes out. As I was reading it, several things occurred to me. The first is that President Obama is much smarter about politics than our brain dead media. The beltway media has been getting it wrong for years as they float around in the bubble of Washington and practice group think, following the lead of Fox News. This answer from the President shows his understanding of politics in our country.

Q. (Jann Wenner) – Let’s talk about the campaign. Given all we’ve heard about and learned during the GOP primaries, what’s your take on the state of the Republican Party, and what do you think they stand for?

A. (President Obama) – First of all, I think it’s important to…

View original 920 more words

Remembering when Republicans were admired by ALL Americans…

 Read Robert G. Ingersol’s piece on Abraham Lincoln written in 1894. This gives a clear perspective on a Republican leader who served the WHOLE country:

http://www.archive.org/stream/abrahamlincolnle00inge#page/n3/mode/2up

(ever wonder what Lincoln would have thought of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner?)

Truth is something that must be believed… Belief is something Romney seems to flip on.

Senior Romney campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom says it was Romney’s idea to bail out the audio industry:

“[Romney's] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that.” 

“The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.”

 

Then why did Romney oppose the bailout?

“The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.”

- Mitt Romney in a column for The Detroit News.

 

So which way is it, Mitt? Or are you just a candidate who speaks for ALL sides? Perhaps if you say something you believe you should stick with it… but nothing sticks if you’re slippery.

A Quote on the Economy – Clinton Outlines History and Praises Obama

“If you go back 500 years, whenever a country’s financial system collapses, it takes between five and 10 years to get back to full employment. If you go back for the last 200 years, when buildings had been widely owned by individuals and companies, if there’s a mortgage collapse, it almost always takes 10 years.

“He’s beating the clock, not behind it. Don’t listen to those Republicans. We are beating the clock.”

- Bill Clinton

… and what are Republicans beating? (and if you say “off” I’ll laugh.)

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And now a word from Penn Jillette:

Thanks, Penn… we’ll pass it on.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Without immigration, where will we get more poor laborers?

Bruce Beattie, in the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

… see, if we just take over our own problems, immigration is unnecessary…

- and -

Jeff Danziger of the L.A.Times:

… now Arizona has the right (and I mean RIGHT) idea…

- and -

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

… of course a stand on the immigration issue could equal lots of Hispanic votes…

- and -

Steve Breen in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

… so who are the real problem creators here?

 

An article you MUST read!

This was published yesterday in the Washington Post. Mann is from the Brookings Institute, a progressive think tank. Ornstein is from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Together, from opposite sides of the political perspective, they have put together the definitive piece on today’s upsetting problem.

_____________________

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

By Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Published: April 27

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.

It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

——-> Read the rest of the article HERE.

Famous Atheists (Courtesy of Boing Boing)

From top left: Mark Twain, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Keira Knightley, Stephen Hawking, Bill Maher, John Lennon, Ricky Gervais, Julianne Moore, Keanu Reeves, Bill Shatner, Johnny Depp, Janeane Garofalo, James Cameron, Billy Joel, Jack Nicholson, John Malkovich, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Ian McKellan, Albert Einstein, Brad Pitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Jodie Foster, Hugh Laurie, Lance Armstrong, George Carlin, Morgan Freeman, Fred Armisen, Angelina Jolie, Gene Wilder, Penn Jillette, Teller, Dylan Moran, Patton Oswalt, Seth Green, Norm MacDonald, Eddie Izzard, Cillian Murphy, Jeremy Clarkson, and George Clooney.

Hey… they left me out. Not famous enough?

 

Do you believe it? Sean Hannity has a lack of knowledge…

Seanhannitykingofprussia

Hannity:

Mr. President where were you for three and a half years on student loans?”

Sean, of course, is trying to make everyone think that Obama has done nothing on his 2008 campaign promise to help with increasing costs of student loans. The smug smile on his face shows that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

For instance, on March 30, 2010, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which saved $68 billion by removing banks from the student loan processing business and freed up more to be given that could be spent on helping students pay for college.

Also, he saw to it that the law stated:

“New borrowers who assume loans after July 1, 2014, will be able to cap their student loan repayments at 10 percent of their discretionary income and, if they keep up with their payments over time, will have the balance forgiven after 20 years.”

 In 2011, the Obama administration announced the new loan repayment rules:

Borrowers are allowed to consolidate some of their payments and save a half of a percentage point interest. (Republicans are now trying to double the interest rate in student loans.)

President Obama has done a great deal to remove the big bank corruption from the student loan program and has made the  program more about actually helping students get an affordable education, not adding to corporate bottom line.

What has Obama done for students who have loans? More that Sean Hannity’s lying heart will ever be able to admit.

—-> Thanks to Politicus USA

Here’s your chance to get a world famous artwork… got $80,000,000?

Notice from Sotheby’s NY:

Sotheby’s is honoured to announce that Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream will lead its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 2 May 2012. The iconic work is one of the most instantly recognizable images in both art history and popular culture, perhaps second only to the Mona Lisa.

The present version of The Scream dates from 1895, and is one of four versions of the composition, and the only version still in private hands. It will be on view in London for the first time ever, with the exhibition at Sotheby’s opening on 13 April. In New York, and also for the first time ever, it will be on exhibition at Sotheby’s in advance of the sale beginning 27 April. The work is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father Thomas was a friend, neighbour and patron of Munch.

The estimate of value is $80 Million bucks for this pastel version of Munch’s famous piece. The question is, will this remain in private hands or be purchased by a major museum, making it accessible to the public?

Of the four versions of the work, the present Scream is distinguished in several remarkable ways: it is the most colorful and vibrant of the four; the only version whose original frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem detailing the work’s inspiration; and the only version in which one of the two figures in the background turns to look outward onto the cityscape.  This version has never before been on public view in either the UK or US, except briefly in the National Gallery in Washington D.C. decades ago.

I just checked my bank account and I can’t afford to bid on it. Can you?

FCC Requires TV Stations to Put Political Ad Files Online

By Mike Ludwig, Truthout| Report

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) voted today to require major commercial TV stations to post online public files and political advertising files that detail crucial information on the campaign advertisements they air.

Media reform advocates are cheering the new rule, which comes as Super PACs and campaign groups are expected to spend record amounts of money on television ads to influence upcoming national elections.

The files have been publicly available for years, but most stations only keep hard copies at physical offices. Until now, reporters and activists seeking information on political advertising have had to show up in person, request the files and even pay copying fees.

—->Read the rest of the article HERE.

The House has voted to take away your privacy – what do you do now?

Yesterday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed CISPA – the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act – by a vote of 248-168. CISPA now goes to the Senate.

CISPA gives the government, including military spy agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), virtually unlimited powers to capture our personal informationmedical records, private emails, financial information — all without a warrant or proper oversight.

Tell Your Senators: Stop CISPA.

And this is not just a Democrats vs. Republicans thing…Civil liberties groups and progressives unanimously opposed the bill, but so did Ron Paul.

President Obama warned the House that he will veto the bill because it does not protect our privacy, but they ignored his warnings.

Let’s hope he doesn’t have to. Get word to the Senate now.

Watching Romney, Boehner, Ryan and the rest of them on Television, I realize that Republicans lie.

And not just a couple of mistaken notions here and there, but outright lies…some of them so far out that I couldn’t have imagined them if I tried.

Why is it, then, that we let them keep doing it? Why do the news shows repeat these gems in their speeches without pointing out the basic lack of truth? Perhaps there is influence being peddled here.

For instance, Mitt is always saying that Obama has made the recession worse…without mentioning, of course, that the Dow hit its 4-year high and NASDAQ hit its 11-year high under the President’s time in office. Or Chrysler posted its first profit in more than a decade  and  expects those profits to continue growing. The industry has hired enough workers to make up for all those laid off during the recession, and American and foreign automakers plan to add 167,000 jobs at American plants this year. So how has he made the recession worse?

Romney, Ryan and others have said that taxes are skyrocketing under Obama.
In reality, the U.S. tax burden is not only hovering around a historical low — it’s also low compared to other advanced industrialized nations.

Boehner has said that the President has accomplished NOTHING in his first term, ignoring everything from wiping out Osama Bin Laden, saving the auto industry and getting his health care plan PASSED.

According to Romney: President Obama “went around the world and apologized for America.”  Obama, however, has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on an intentionally misleading interpretation of the President’s words.

The Republicans lie about everything. They deny the reality of global warming and the carbon emissions crisis. They deny the responsibility of Reagan and Bush for the deficits that they caused and that Obama inherited (along with a recession). They deny Clinton the credit for the vast economic growth that took place in 1990s as a result of his economic policies and for the fiscal sanity that his policies accomplished. They blame everything on the “liberal” academia and give credit for everything to Republicans, never mind that academic science is behind everything that business sells, and without it capitalism would be nothing more than exchange of basic commodities.

And they repeat this stuff over and over… a trick that Goering used in Nazi Germany when they had control of the media: repeat a lie often enough and people start thinking it is true.

Then there are the two big ones that Republicans try hard not to deny, but continue to perpetuate: that Obama was born in another country and that Obama is a socialist/communist trying to nationalize America’s industries (evidenced in the editorial page press by cartoonists like Glenn McCoy:

…if you see what I mean.)

So dealing with Republican lies now through November’s election is going to be an ongoing headache. I’ll just have to make sure that I point them out with some regularity and hope it keeps a few people from buying into this crap.

Sitting over at Mellow Moods…

John Case was still away, so I did the morning radio show alone and unprepared… but it went OK. Now I’m over at the Mood for post-show coffee and talking with local friends who hang out here.

Can’t tell what the weather will be like for the rest of the day. It’s nice out now, but there are some dark clouds rolling over and it is a little windy… if we have rain later in the day I won’t be surprised.

Shepherdstown is setting up for an active weekend. Tomorrow is Eastern Panhandle Earth Day at Morgans Grove Park all afternoon and into the evening. There is the Really, Really Free yard sale on The Wall on German Street both Saturday and Sunday. And, of course, I have my regular WSHC show, Talk To Me, tomorrow from 11 AM to 1:00 PM.

Elly is doing a lot of different things today and, I guess, for the rest of the weekend, so I’m pretty much on my own. We’ll see how it goes.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

John Boehner Quote of the Day

Responding to a question about funding of the Federal Government, Majority Leader Boehner made the following statement:

“blah blah blah blah blah. all right? so? yes.”

I find his knowledge and depth of perception stunning. Don’t you?

Two quotes from Marco Rubio…

I don’t think he views himself the same way he views others:

“The most articulate and talented teleprompter reader in America.”

– Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), quoted by the New York Times, mocking President Obama in 2010.

“I left my last page of the speech, does anyone have my last page? Did I leave it with you?”

– Rubio, while giving a speech at the Brookings Institution.

It probably would have been easier if he used a teleprompter.

Do Monsanto Employees eat GM foods?

If you worked for Monsanto and knew their pharmaceutical evils, would you eat Genetically Modified food?

There is a notice in the cafeteria of the Monsanto pharmaceutical factory is High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, advising customers

as far as practicable, GM soya and maize (has been removed) from all food products served in our restaurant. We have taken the steps to ensure that you, the customer, can feel confident in the food we serve.”

The notice was posted by the Sutcliffe Catering Group.

Adrian Bebb with Friends of the Earth says the notice in the Buckinghamshire plant is hard to misinterpret:

“The public has made its concerns about GM ingredients very clear – now it appears that even Monsanto’s own catering firm has no confidence in this new technology.”

Monsanto company spokesman Tony Coombes says the only reason for the GM-free foods is because the company “believes in choice.” Yeah… that’s a good one.

Unfortunately, we won’t see such announcements in the United States which won’t even require LABELING to show genetic modification. The reason? If LABELING was permitted people wouldn’t buy it. It also doesn’t hurt Monsanto that FDA head Michael Taylor, a Monsanto executive, was appointed by Obama… and America’s Chief Agriculture Negotiator, former Monsanto lobbyist Islam Siddiqui, was also an Obama appointment.

We are, as they say, screwed… unless everyone realizes the problem and takes action, whether writing Congressman or shopping for organic foods or campaigning against the patented seed stores of Monsanto.

 

 

 

 

The Monsanto Story – a personal documentary

I’ve talked many times about Monsanto and Genetically Modified seeds and the dangers they are bringing upon farming since they have been allowed to patent seeds. Perhaps you don’t know Monsanto’s history. This short piece by Andy Radford will give you an education:

What makes Tennessee the Capital of Creationist Conservatism?

For one thing, their House and Senate just passed a bill that allows criminal prosecution for the death of an embryo.

Although it has passed the Tennessee Senate and House, Governor Bill Haslam hasn’t yet said where he stands on the bill (HB3517) which marks the second change in the last couple of years to a 1989 law making it a crime to kill a “viable fetus.” Last year they cut the word “viable.”

The bill marks the second change in two years to a law that since 1989 had it a crime to cause the death of a “viable fetus.” That was changed last year to eliminate the word “viable.”

It seems, however, that under the scientific definition of a fetus, the term only applies when eight weeks or more has passed since conception. Adding “embryo” covers from the moment of conception. Sen. Mae Beavers (R), the sponsor, got the text of the law changed.

Should this bill get signed by Haslam, Tennessee will be the go-to state for religious extremism. And maybe embryos will get tax deductions.

As to women’s rights, does this make a miscarriage a crime?

Newt’s dropping out on May 1st…

…according to CNN. It’s expected he will formally endorse Romney on that day as well.

Having come up very low in the five primaries yesterday, Mitt is looking at no more money to survive with and no viable reason to stay in the race (even though he promised not to pull out before the convention.

According to CNN, Gingrich is likely to hold his final campaign event Tuesday in Washington, D.C., where he will make the announcement surrounded by his family and supporters.

Seymour Chwast hits it right on the head (with both faces)

Chwast is such a great illustrator. When I saw this I felt that it summed up women’s issues and Romney in a simple image:

Chwast, of course, is one of the great names in advertising and a founder of Pushpin Studios with Milton Glaser.

Please think before you buy into the Conservative Right’s view on cutting Social Security

This article is from Just The Messenger:

Excerpts:

There Still Is No Social Security Crisis

By Richard (RJ) Eskow, April 23, 2012

“‘Medicare and Social Security’ don’t have a long-term problem: Medicare has a problem. No amount of spin or double-talk can change that. This year’s slight downturn in Medicare and Social Security finances was caused by the financial crisis of 2008, as lost jobs and wages led to lost revenue for the program. And that disaster was caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, which was carried out the same bipartisan crowd that’s now pushing cuts to these programs … Now they want ordinary Americans to take a hit to both their Social Security and Medicare benefits. A Social Security cut would be needless and counterproductive, and the nation would be better served with a benefit increase … What’s more, since Social Security is forbidden by law from contributing to the deficit, it’s absurd to connect its financing to discussions of the Federal debt. Medicare’s another story. Unless we address the runaway cost of providing health care to seniors, our Federal budget and are entire economy are in dire trouble. Notice, however, that we said ‘address the runaway cost’ and not ‘shift the runaway cost,’ as the Republican proposal would do.”

,…, “Social Security is essentially healthy, and its long-term issues can be fixed by lifting the payroll tax cap.  A “Grand Bargain” to cut Social Security and Medicare will only make things worse. What we really need an overhaul of our health system to remove the corrosive effects of the profit motive on our medical economy – but they don’t want to talk about that.”

,…, “The report released today by the Trustees of the Social Security Administration has already occasioned some of the usual nonsense from the wealthy and highly-funded insider group represented by Clinton and his peers in both parties”.

__________

Richard (RJ) Eskow is a well-known blogger and writer, a former Wall Street executive, an experienced consultant, and a former musician. He has experience in health insurance and economics, occupational health, benefits, risk management, finance, and information technology. He has a somewhat unique perspective on the current financial crisis, since he worked for AIG for a number of years (although not in its infamous Financial Products division).
Richard has consulting experience in the US and over 20 countries. Past clients include USAID, the World Bank, the State Department, the Harvard School of International Public Health, the Government of Hungary, as well as corporations and investors. He has experience in financial and data analysis, systems design, operations, and management.

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