Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let's make 2012 the best yet

This photo taken by Lindsay Beyerstein on Sept. 26th @ Liberty Plaza Park (OWS) best sums up 2011 & looks forward to 2012.

[Thanks to Joe Macare for referring to the photo in his excellent Truthout article "The Year Dissent Came Back"]

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Messiah

The Messiah tonight @ The Community Church. Ann sang, as she does every year

Monday, December 05, 2011

Quote of the Day: On Democracy

Heard @ the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, SA (via Democracy Now):
"The U. S. Has the best democracy money can buy"

Friday, December 02, 2011

Let's weed out the bad mayors

The latest words of wisdom from Hosni Bloomberg
From yesterday's speech:
And I would, if I had the ability - which nobody does really – to just design a system and say, ‘ex cathedra, this is what we’re going to do,’ you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students.”
I have a better suggestion: Let's have half as many mayors and weed out all the bad ones and just have good ones. Bloomberg would be first on most people's weed-out list.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A thought for today

Those who can do.
Those who can't go into politics

Film award season begins: The run-up to Oscar

So here we go again. The film award season is underway. And our annual Oscar Odyssey will begin. Today The New York Film Critics Circle announced its awards.

Best Film: "The Artist"
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Best Actor: Brad Pitt, "Moneyball" and "The Tree of Life"
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, "Drive"
Best Supporting Actress, Jessica Chastain, "Take Shelter" and "The Tree of Life"
Best Screenplay: Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, "Moneyball"
Best Cinamatography: Emmanuel Lubezki, "The Tree of Life"
Best Foreign Language Film: "A Separation" directed by Asghar Farhadi
Best Non-Fiction Film: "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" directed by Werner Herzog
Best First Film: "Margin Call" directed by J.C. Chandor
A Special Award will be given posthumously to filmmaker Raoul Ruiz

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Washington Lobbyists Crafted $850,000 Secret Plan For Bank Lobbyists To Undermine Occupy Wall Street | Truthout

If Wall Street banksters & big city mayors, like Bloomberg, had the courage of their convictions they would have sat back & let the OWS patriots (as Thom Hartmann calls them) do their thing; but their hysterical use of pepper spray, rubber bullets & beating up a pregnant protester says more about the power of the OWS truth than the truth of power. When you attack peaceful protesters in the dead of night & exclude the press it's obvious you have something to hide.

Washington Lobbyists Crafted $850,000 Secret Plan For Bank Lobbyists To Undermine Occupy Wall Street | Truthout

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein (from The Nation)

This is the best analysis of the current situation I've read. That won't surprise anyone who has read The Shock Doctrine. Not only is Naomi Kiein the best progressive thinker, but she can really write.

Capitalism vs. the Climate | The Nation

Monday, November 14, 2011

The knee

Ann's knee in all its glory. She's doing very well, but rehabs a bitch. Likely date of discharge next Monday. Could change.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Ann's surgery

Ann's surgery went very well. She's in recovery & awake. I've seen her twice. I'm hoping the next time I see her (probably around 4:30PM) she'll be in a room. But all is going very well.

Measures of poverty

There's a new measure of poverty in the U.S. from the Census Bureau. It jiggles the numbers & concludes that less of some groups & more of other groups are poor, but as Lawrence Katz, Harvard professor of economics, says: "The big picture is that in this so-called recovery there are more people in distress regardless of how you measure poverty". (NYT, 11/8/11)

Monday, November 07, 2011

10,000 Surround White House to Protest Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline

Here's this morning's interview about the Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline. Obama is postponing a decision, I hope it's not just an election ploy. The pipeline needs to be stopped. It would be an environmental disaster & despite claims will
Not create jobs.

10,000 Surround White House to Protest Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Parade

This year's parade is expected to have 50,000 participants & it marches up 6th Ave.
I remember in 1973, when it was created by Ralph Lee, and his giant puppets, that were the centerpiece of the parade as it proceeded across 10th St in the Village. It was a genuine community event.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, Not Palestine!

My new favorite slogan:

Occupy Wall Street, Not Palestine!
(Although we could add Afghanistan & Iraq)


Saturday, October 29 2011, 2:30pm

At Occupy Wall Street

Join members of Adalah-NY for a message of solidarity from the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions National Committee followed by a Q & A session about the growing movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law.

2:30 PM: gather at the big red structure (corner of Broadway and Cedar) to help publicize event + hold space

3 PM: statement + debut of new chant for Occupy Wall Street + BDS Q & A
“The refreshing scenes of determined peaceful protest for justice from around the world tell us that we, the 99% of the world, are in the process of straightening our backs, collectively, with unwavering fortitude and boundless hope.”

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bev Grant (center) and The Dissident Daughters (Angela M. Lockhart, left & Carolynn Murphy, right) last evening @ the People's Voice Cafe in another wonderful performance perfectly mixing music & politics

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Genocide Day! | Truthout

Although I think it's important to talk about the genocide that took place before and after 1492, we should call today by the name the Indians have given it, "The Day of International Solidarity with the Indigenous People of the Americas." Therefore celebrating their survival, not focussing on their demise.

Happy Genocide Day! | Truthout

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Yankees: An Obituary


A few words about the Yankees. (Fortunately we went to see The Debt, so I didn't have to watch all of the disaster). But what happened at Yankee Stadium III last night was very simply a supreme display of baseball impotence. And the most impotent of all was A-Rod, who as Ann keeps telling me can't perform in the post season and last night struck out 3 times, once in the 7th inning with bases loaded and then, as if decreed by the baseball gods, in the final Yankee at-bat of the season. For the record, A-Rod batted .111 for the series.

It seems to me that since many baseball contracts base a portion of the player's salary on their performance, the next time the Yankees sign A-Rod to a contract it should have an incentive clause that bases a large portion of his salary on his post-season performance.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Only in America

It's quite startling that there are people (Republicans) who think the best attack on President Obama is to combine his name with the word "care". Who after all would want to vote for someone who cares

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Watch "Occupy Wall Street" live now

If you have an I-phone you can watch "Occupy Wall Street" live now. Go to the ap store & search for "Live Stream", then follow "Global Revolution" they are broadcasting now
See you there there this PM

Sunday, October 02, 2011

"Trouble" on Sunday: Michael Moore live on BookTV today(10/2)

Michael Moore will be live for three hours today (noon-3PM) on BookTV (CSPAN2). We can phone-in questions as well as use other online forms of communication to participate. Michael will discuss his new memoir "Here Comes Trouble" & many other issues. Sounds like it should be fun & it will conveniently be over just in time for the Yankee game: 3:07PM (TNT)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street action grows & grows; solidarity march next Wed

Occupy Wall Street growing rapidly by Chris Bowers on Daily Koz.

This entry could be more positive. But how big the action gets & how long it lasts is up to us. Bowers doesn't seem to take any responsibility for growing it. But we can Bowers concludes At this point,
how long Occupy Wall Street lasts, and how big it gets, is anyone's guess.
Come on man. Get off your ass & help to make it last.

First African Woman to win Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai dies at 71

Nobel Peace Prize, Right Livelihood Winner Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)
From yesterday's Daily News (by Erin Einhorn) "[City Council Speaker Christine] Quinn is expected to win the backing of close ally Mayor Bloomberg [in the 2013 mayoral election] but the poll found that might backfire. Nearly half - 47% - of Democratic voters said a Bloomberg endorsement would make them less likely to support a candidate"

New Yorkers may be smarter than they get credit for

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The lynching in Georgia

Last night's state-sponsored lynching in Georgia reminds us of many things we've known for a long time, particularly how little human life means in the U.S. (except when it's still in the womb). And how much less it means if it belongs to a person of color. Troy Davis your name will not be forgotten. It will become a battle cry for life not death.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Palestine at the UN

In its earliest days, the battle cry of the Zionist movement was "A land without a people for a people without a land." Sometime this week, the people who weren't on the land will most likely apply to the UN for admission as a member state. Yes Mr. Netanyahu, they are still there. The Israelis, with the help of another nation that knows all about stealing land and resources from people they cannot see, will oppose the Palestinian application for statehood in the UN. The Israeli and U.S.foolish opposition to Palestinian statehood will surely heighten tensions in the region and endanger the safety of all Israelis and Americans. This is really simply a matter of recognizing reality. The Palestinians are a people and deserve the same sovereignty of all people. All I can say is if the Palestinians succeed in this endeavor, Mazel Tov.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Koch's pooper scooper law will come in handy after his intervention in Queens

I have always believed that Ed Koch's only accomplishment in 12 years as Mayor was the pooper scooper law, which is lucky given his "contribution" to this week's special election in Queens. It's interesting that his only constituency is now in Israel.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

U.S. Poverty at Record High; Uninsured Hits 20-Year Peak

Here are some of the results of the last 40 years of U.S. Government economic policies. It's just not possible to enable inequality of the proportions it exists here w/o at the same time throwing more-and-more people into poverty.


U.S. Poverty at Record High; Uninsured Hits 20-Year Peak

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept. 13: Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now!


Democracy Now! will spend the hour with Noam Chomsky on Tuesday, Sept. 13 [WBAI-FM (radio) or MNN 1 (TV) @ 8AM]

As the nation commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11, he will discuss, among other topics, the new edition of his book, 9/11. Published more than a decade ago, it is still one of the most uncompromising assessments of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

In Memory of Akil Al-Jundi on the 40th anniversary of the Attica Rebellion


On this the 40th anniversary of the Attica Rebellion just a word in memory our friend & comrade Akil Al-Jundi (Minister of Information for the Attica Brothers) who died in 1997. At a National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality rally (in 1996) Akil said:
We, the poor and oppressed people in this country, we are only our own liberators. Nobody can protect us but ourselves. We have to stick together and forge a strong alliance. I end by saying to you, self-respect, self-defense and self-determination
.
Those words are as important, if not more, today than when they were spoken.

[Quote from Revolutionary Worker, #920, Aug. 17, 1997]

UN to accept Palestine as a member state, U.S. still obstructing

Photo by Mohamad Torokman/MaanImages

At the UN, the funeral of the two-state solution
by Ilan Pappe
(The Electronic Intifada
12 September 2011)

We are all going to be invited to the funeral of the two-state solution if and when the UN General Assembly announces the acceptance of Palestine as a member state.

The support of the vast majority of the organization’s members would complete a cycle that began in 1967 and which granted the ill-advised two-state solution the backing of every powerful and less powerful actor on the international and regional stages.

Even inside Israel, the support engulfed eventually the right as well as the left and center of Zionist politics. And yet despite the previous and future support, everybody inside and outside Palestine seems to concede that the occupation will continue and that even in the best of all scenarios, there will be a greater and racist Israel next to a fragmented and useless bantustan.

The charade will end in September or October — when the Palestinian Authority plans to submit its request for UN membership as a full member — in one of two ways.

It could be either painful and violent, if Israel continues to enjoy international immunity and is allowed to finalize by sheer brutal force its mapping of post-Oslo Palestine. Or it could end in a revolutionary and much more peaceful way with the gradual replacement of the old fabrications with solid new truths about peace and reconciliation for Palestine. Or perhaps the first scenario is an unfortunate precondition for the second. Time will tell.

A substitute dictionary for Zionism

In ancient times, the dead were buried with their beloved artifacts and belongings. This coming funeral will probably follow a similar ritual. The most important item to go six feet under is the dictionary of illusion and deception and its famous entries such as “the peace process,” “the only democracy in the Middle East,” “a peace-loving nation,” “parity and reciprocity” and a “humane solution to the refugee problem.”

The substitute dictionary has been in the making for many years describing Zionism as colonialism, Israel as an apartheid state and the Nakba as ethnic cleansing. It will be much easier to put it into common use after September.

The maps of the dead solution will also be lying next to the body. The cartography that diminished Palestine into one tenth of its historical self, and which was presented as a map of peace, will hopefully be gone forever.

There is no need to prepare an alternative map. Since 1967, the geography of the conflict has never changed in reality, while it kept constantly transforming in the discourse of liberal Zionist politicians, journalists and academics, who still enjoy today a widespread international backing.

Palestine was always the land between the river and the sea. It still is. Its changing fortunes are characterized not by geography but by demography. The settler movement that came there in the late 19th century now accounts for half of the population and controls the other half through a matrix of racist ideologies and apartheid policies.

Peace is not a demographic change, nor a redrawing of maps: it is the elimination of these ideologies and policies. Who knows — it may be easier now than ever before to do this.

Exposing Israel’s protest movement

The funeral will expose the fallacy of the present Israeli mass protest movement, while at the same time highlight its positive potential. For seven weeks, mostly middle class Israeli Jews have protested in huge numbers against their government’s social and economic policies.

In order to keep the protest as large a movement as possible, its leaders and coordinators do not dare to mention occupation, colonization or apartheid. The sources of evil for everything, they claim, are the brutal capitalist policies of the government.

On a certain level they have a point. These policies disabled the master race of Israel from fully and equally enjoying the fruits of Palestine’s colonization and dispossession. But a fairer division of the spoils will not ensure normal life for either Jews or Palestinians; only the end to looting and pillage will.

And yet they also showed skepticism and distrust in what their media and politicians tell them about the socio-economic reality; it may open the way for a better understanding of the lies they were fed about the “conflict” and their “national security” over so many years.

The funeral should energize us all to follow the same distribution of labor as before. Palestinians urgently need to solve the issue of representation. The progressive Jewish forces in the world have to be more intensively recruited to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and other solidarity campaigns.

Intifada at the proms

The recent disruption of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performance at the prestigious BBC Proms in London shocked the gentle Israelis more than any genocidal event in their own history.

But more than anything else, as reported by senior Israeli journalists who were there, they were flabbergasted by the presence of so many Jews among the protesters. These very journalists kept depicting in the past the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and BDS activists as terrorist groups and extremists of the worst kind. They believed their own reports. To its credit, the mini-intifada at the Royal Albert Hall at least confused them.

Putting one state into political action

In Palestine itself the time has come to move the discourse of one state into political action and maybe adopt the new dictionary. The dispossession is everywhere and therefore the repossession and reconciliation have to occur everywhere.

If the relationship between Jews and Palestinians is to be reformulated on a just and democratic basis, one can accept neither the old buried map of the two-state solution nor its logic of partition. This also means that the sacred distinction made between Jewish settlements near Haifa and those near Nablus should be put in the grave as well.

The distinction should be made between those Jews who are willing to discuss a reformulation of the relationship, change of regime and equal status and those who are not, regardless of where they live now. There are surprising phenomena in this respect if one studies well the human and political fabric of 2011 historic Palestine, ruled as it is by the Israeli regime: the willingness for a dialogue is sometimes more evident beyond the 1967 line rather than inside it.

The dialogue from within for a change of regime, the question of representation and the BDS movement are all part and parcel of the same effort to bring justice and peace to Palestine. What we will bury — hopefully — in September was one of the major obstacles in the way to realizing this vision.

The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sept. 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows reflect on anniversary

Sept. 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows Reflects on 10th Anniversary of Attacks


­­
The members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows are grateful for the expressions of remembrance and concern being offered on the 10th anniversary of the events which took the lives of our loved ones. On this day we ask those who feel compassion for our loss to expand their compassion to include others who continue to experience loss ten years later: innocent families in Afghanistan and Iraq experiencing the loss of their loved ones and displacement from their communities as the result of war and political strife; Muslim-Americans subjected to bias and violence at home; those denied the protections of our Constitution and law, whether in Guantanamo or in our own country; those suffering from job loss and economic dislocation related to the cost of war and rising military budgets; and those who have seen their civil iberties and freedoms exchanged for the false promise of security.

The lesson of 9/11 is that we live in a connected world. We rise or fall together. As Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On this 10th anniversary, let us honor those we lost by recognizing our kinship with people all over the world, and affirming the values and principles that will guarantee peaceful tomorrows for everyone.


Contact:
Sahil Bhatia/David Lerner, Riptide Communications, (212)260-5000, SBhatia@riptideonline.com
Andrea LeBlanc, aldvm@comcast.net

Friday, September 09, 2011

Thoughts on "Ten Years After"

I have been studiously avoiding all the self-satisfied & politically indulgent media coverage of "Ten Years Since 9/11." But perhaps some personal thoughts are appropriate:

I was here & saw much of it on TV.

Andrew was safely out-of-town, starting college in Ithacca. There were many references to 9/11 @ his graduation four years later.

Ann was working near Wall Street @ the time & therefore not far from the World Trade Center. If my memory serves she had to walk home from work that day, since there were no vehicles moving people. Fortunately at the time her knees were in better shape.

My main memory is of the wonderful deli across the street from our house. It was owned by two Lebanese brothers. It was one of our favorite neighborhood places. It is no more, because a few days after 9/11 (in somewhat of a preview of our response as a nation) it was fire-bombed by one or more "patriotic Americans." Thinking safety the better part of valor they never tried to reopen. When I walk by the old deli location, I often think about the brothers, & hope they are doing well, (It has since morphed into a porn video store).

Now back to trying to avoid "Ten years after."

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Nov. 5: New York City Labor Chorus 20th Anniversary Concert


In the immediate aftermath of Labor Day, it seems like a great time to inform (or remind) anyone reading this that the New York City Labor Chorus will celebrate its 20th anniversary @ Town Hall on Nov. 5th., 8PM
Tickets $25.00, Seniors $15.00

As most of you know, Ann has been a Chorus member virtually from its beginning & went with the Chorus on its recent trip to Cuba.

There are 1,500 seats in Town Hall (123 West 43St) & we plan to fill every one of them. That will not be possible without you. The tickets are now available. In addition to organizing as many people as you can to be there Nov. 5th, the Chorus would appreciate any ideas you may have for promoting the concert.

I can be reached through Facebook or gaelinc@aol.com

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sept. 15: Rally & March to UN for Palestinian Sovereignty

Rally and March to the United Nations for Palestinian Sovereignty

Thursday, September 15,
4:30 pm: Gather at Times Square
5:30 pm: March to Grand Central and the U.N.

Palestinians Tell the World: Sovereignty Means Securing ALL Our Rights!
Palestinians and their supporters everywhere are mobilizing to remind the world of their right to self-determination.
In New York we are marching to the United Nations because the world's attention is focused on the vote on Palestinian statehood scheduled to take place soon.

For over six decades, the U.N. has approved numerous resolutions promising Palestinians their basic rights, none of which has been implemented.

We come to the U.N. to demand:
-Sovereignty, Equality, and the
-Right of Return for Palestinians NOW!
-End All U.S. Aid to Israel!
-End the Occupation!
-Support Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions!

For more information, email palestineun@gmail.com
event on Facebook

Sponsored by the Palestine U.N. Solidarity Coalition

Endorsed by: Abna'a Albalad Center for the Right of Return-Damascus, Syria, Action for a Progressive Pakistan, Adalah-NY, Al-Awda NY, alqudsday.org, American Iranian Friendship Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, Arab American Union Members Council, BAYAN-USA, Bergen County Green Party, Coalition for Palestinian Rights (Minneapolis), CODE PINK-NYC, Concerned Families of Westchester, Delaware Valley Veterans For America, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Existence is Resistance, Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Harlem Fightback Against War at Home & Abroad, Freedom Socialist Party, International Action Center, ICAHD-USA, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, International League of People's Struggle-NY LOC, International Socialist Organization, Jewish Voices for Peace-Westchester, Jews Say No!, Labor for Palestine, May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights, Middle East Crisis Response, New York City Labor Against the War, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, Northeast Al Quds Day Committee, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum, Progressive Democrats of America, Radical Women, September15.org, Socialist Action, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Temple U., SJP NYU, Union of Palestinian Women Committees-Palestine, United National Antiwar Coalition, US Palestinian Community Network, Veterans for Peace, War Resisters League, WESPAC, West Queens Greens, Women Against Military Madness: Mideast Committee (Minneapolis), Women in Black Union Square, Workers World Party

Saturday, September 03, 2011

What the right-wing really thinks: "Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American"

The Arizona attorney-general has challenged the 1965 Voting Rights Act The Voting Rights Act very simply prohibits states from enacting laws that prevent people from voting based on race. In other words Arizona Republicans want to go back to the pre-Civil Rights movement America. This strategy began with the totally bogus destruction of ACORN and has escalated to this day.

This article by right-wing propagandist Matthew Vadum lays out their deeply racist ideology. But remember it's really about winning. Stopping anyone from voting who disagrees with them. In other words, "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

I don't know what's "American" and "UnAmerican" in the 21st century, but I do know the right wing violates any pretensions to democracy Americans seem to hold.

"Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American" by Matthew Vadum

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MN Republicans Literally Auctioning Off GOP Congressmembers And State Lawmakers To Highest Bidder

I thought that this happened a long time ago, starting with the governor.

MN Republicans Literally Auctioning Off GOP Congressmen And State Lawmakers To Highest Bidder: A Republican committee in Minnesota has been caught creating an eBay-style auction site to sell access with politicians, including top lawmakers like Rep. John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), as well as State House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-MN). With bidding starting at $250, the committee offered opportunities to “get up close and personal” with each lawmaker.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Aug. 20: FDL Book Salon: Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon

Saturday, August 20, 2:00 pm (Pacific time), 5:00 pm EST FDL (FireDogLake) Book Salon: Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon Author: Gretchen Morgenson, Joshua Rosner The New York Times’s Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist reveals how the financial meltdown emerged from the toxic interplay of Washington, Wall Street, and corrupt mortgage lenders In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson, the star business columnist of The New York Times, exposes how the watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy. Drawing on previously untapped sources and building on original research from coauthor Joshua Rosner—who himself raised early warnings with the public and investors, and kept detailed records—Morgenson connects the dots that led to this fiasco. Morgenson and Rosner draw back the curtain on Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance giant that grew, with the support of the Clinton administration, through the 1990s, becoming a major opponent of government oversight even as it was benefiting from public subsidies. They expose the role played not only by Fannie Mae executives but also by enablers at Countrywide Financial, Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, HUD, Congress, the FDIC, and the biggest players on Wall Street, to show how greed, aggression, and fear led countless officials to ignore warning signs of an imminent disaster. Character-rich and definitive in its analysis, this is the one account of the financial crisis you must read. Gretchen Morgenson is a business reporter and columnist at The New York Times, where she also serves as assistant business and financial editor. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her “trenchant and incisive” coverage of Wall Street. Prior to joining the Times in 1998, she worked as a broker at Dean Witter in the 1980s, and as a reporter at Forbes, Worth, and Money magazines. She lives with her husband and son in New York City. Joshua Rosner is a managing director at the independent research consultancy Graham Fisher and Co. and was among the first analysts to identify accounting problems at the government-sponsored-enterprises and to warn of the coming credit crisis. He advises regulators and institutional investors on housing and mortgage-finance-related issues. He lives in New York City. (Macmillan)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What actually happened in Iowa last weekend?

I've been thinking about last weekend in Iowa (& a sidelight in South Carolina), Here are two possible scenerios:

1. Although we didn't hear about it, a bunch of inmates escaped from a mental institution & somehow almost all of the escapees ended up in Iowa. Just like Judy & Mickey @ MGM they decided to put on a show. But instead of a musical they put on an election show. A few people came & it was audience participation. So knowing it was just a show & didn't mean anything they voted for the most amusing, but least likely, "candidate." For some reason one of the escapees landed in South Carolina & viewed the election show from afar. But although this explains the events in Iowa last weekend, I think there's a more likely scenario.

2. An alien spacecraft landed in Iowa last weekend and the creatures inside it came here to destroy the U.S. & eventually the human race. My friend Burt & I were talking about these "candidates" a couple of weeks ago and were reminded of the "pod people" in the 1950s film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. You may remember that the aliens who emerged from the pods were identical to human beings except for one thing, they had no feelings and that explains a great deal. For some reason one pod was dropped in South Carolina & that alien yelled, "What about me? I'm in this too." And perhaps the most dangerous pod person was born. There is evidence to support this Alien Theory, one creature @ a rally yelled "Happy birthday Elvis" on the anniversary of his death. It was just a loose wire, nothing serious. But again, no feelings.

So those are my most likely explanations for last weekends events. What do you think happened?

Viewers choice: 10 best British TV dramas of all time

Here are the 10 best British TV dramas as voted by viewers (who responded to a question on Anglophenia). Guess which one was voted #1:

London: Daylight Robbery, Meet Nighttime Robbery By Naomi Klein (from The Nation)

Here's my favorite analyst - Naomi Klein's - take on the looting in London. In essence she argues that
when you rob people of what little they have, in order to protect the interests of those who have more than anyone deserves, you should expect resistance—whether organized protests or spontaneous looting.


Daylight Robbery, Meet Nighttime Robbery | The Nation

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Economic Update on WBAI Aug 13 | Professor Richard D. Wolff

Here's last Saturday's "Economic Update" by Richard D. Wolff. If you haven't already heard it (WBAI, every Sat. 12 noon - 1PM) listen and you too will become a fan. Dick Wolff's economic analyses is exactly what any movement for change needs. Please don't let the very dry name of the show turn you off, you need to listen to this. Economic Update on WBAI Aug 13 | Professor Richard D. Wolff

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mike Lupica on the weekend in Iowa

One of my favorite columnists, Mike Lupica (in today's 8/15/11 Daily News), sums up the weekend in Iowa:
Whether [Rick] Dubya Perry is holier than Michele Bachmann, the new President of Ames, Iowa, remains to be seen. For now, though, Perry and Bachmann are the headliners of the moment in the Republican Party. Barack Obama must be rooting like crazy for both of them, at the beginning of a campaign where fringe Republicans might do a better job of saving Obama than he can of saving himself.
Here's one of Bachmann's latest thoughts: "The Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy has worked very well", she told CNN's State of the Union. "I would be in consultation with our commanders, but yes, I probably will" reinstate the ban. (also in today's Daily News)



Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 20: Recess action -"Summer Streets" Bike/walk caravan

August 2011 Recess Action

Saturday, August 20th, 10:00 AM

"Summer Streets" Bike/Walk Caravan
starts at 51st & Park Ave/ ends at 25th & Park Avenue,
New York, NY

Message from your host, Arlene G.:
Let's keep the momentum going!
Please sign up for this gathering right away! Join this roving roll out of MoveOn's Contract for the American Dream. We'll bike and walk along [carless] Park Avenue wearing tee shirts or holding placards saying "Jobs not Cuts","Save the American Dream", "Tax the Rich to Invest in our Future".

We'll chant and sing our message along Park Avenue which will be free of cars due to "Summer Streets" with ready made crowds to see/hear us. Walkers will hand out and discuss our newly minted "Contract for the American Dream" give out free "Dream" buttons and sign people up for the ongoing campaign to Save/Rebuild the American Dream. Whether you walk or bike it'll be lots of fun.

There's FREE BIKE RENTALS!!! if you can't bring your own bike. If you'd like to help making the tee shirts/placard, etc sign up for further information.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

September 30: Haymarket 10th anniversary party

Haymarket 10th anniversary party

September 30th, 2011, 8 pm

Galapagos Art Space
(16 Main Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn).

Join Jeremy Scahill, Amy Goodman, Dave Zirin, Chris Lehmann, Frances Fox Piven, Brian Jones, Mousta Bayoumi, Michael Schwartz, and other Haymarket authors for an evening of music, drink, politics, and great books

Tickets are $10 and should be purchased in advance from Ticketmaster:

Haymarket Books seeks to drive a wedge into the risk-averse world of corporate book publishing. In the brief time since it started publishing, Haymarket, a project of the nonprofit Center for Economic Research and Social Change, has published more than 250 titles. Haymarket was recently listed as one of 10 publishers named by In These Times as being a key member of “The Progressive Media Network and Its Allies.” In 2009, Library Journal’s editor Barbara Hoffert called Haymarket her “top find of the convention” in a report on “Great Discoveries” at BookExpo America, and they had their first New York Times best-seller, with Amy Goodman’s Breaking the Sound Barrier.

In addition to great music, drink, conversation, and presentations by a number of Haymarkert authors, there will be a great display of titles — many on sale for $10 each. Help celebrate Haymarket's first 10 years and to lay the groundwork to sustain and expand its work for the next decade.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Melissa Harris Perry on "The Help"


I have to admit I enjoyed "The Help", but I have great respect for the views of Melissa Harris Perry (currently a professor @ Tulane), so I thought you should see her review of "The Help" (from Lawrence O'Donnell. "The Last Word")


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Aug. 18: Chris Hedges @ Mid-Manhattan Library

Thursday, August 18, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
Author @ the Library presents:
"The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress,"
with Chris Hedges, acclaimed journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner.

Mid-Manhattan Library (On the 6th Floor)
(Map and directions)

One of the great moral voices of our age, who writes a hugely influential weekly column for the progressive news site Truthdig, insists that unless we begin to stand fast around moral imperatives, ones we cannot abandon while remaining willing to fight the formal systems of power, we will be complicit in our self-annihilation. He has the rare combination of decades of experience reporting from conflict zones in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans and the erudition one would expect from a student of Christian ethics and the classics at Harvard University. He prizes the truth over news and facts and in the pursuit of truth he has risked his career and even his life.
From Caroltheartist

Citing DOMA, Obama Admin Seeks to Deport Husband of Gay AIDS Patient

Citing DOMA, Obama Admin Seeks to Deport Husband of Gay AIDS Patient

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Wisconsin Republican shenanigans in recall elections


The Republicans in Wisconsin have held on to 3 seats (dist. 14, 10 & 2). The Democrats have recalled the incumbents in 2 districts (18 & 32). The last district which will decide who controls the Wisconsin Senate is #8. The final results will probably not be known until tomorrow. But it looks like the shenanigans of Republican Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus are responsible for the confusion over the election. She has been accused of similar antics in recent elections (see video below). Remember Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, in the 2000 campaign, well the Republicans in Wisconsin seem to be recreating the same drama.

ABC News ignores Wisconsin recall election

I rarely watch the corporate-owned network news for obvious reasons. But I don't believe they usually cow-tow to their masters as blatantly as ABC did today. Six right-wing Republicans are up for recall in Wisconsin. I watched the ABC News from 5-7PM (including the National News w/George Stephanopolis) and the word Wisconsin never escaped the mouth of any of their so-called news reporters. If the Tea Party were scratching its ass, it would be the lead story. Well back to ignoring their version of the news.

The stakes of today's Wisconsin recall elections


From People for the American Way:

The recall elections today in Wisconsin can go one of two ways … you can make a difference by spreading the word about the stakes and importance of the recalls.

You might know someone in Wisconsin. Even if you don't, there's a good chance that one or several of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers know people in Wisconsin. So spread the word by sharing this page far and wide.

We hope, through a social media ripple effect, to reach Wisconsin voters in the six key districts with recall elections taking place today. And we hope to reach Wisconsinites outside of those districts to remind them of the importance of volunteering to help progressives win and getting their neighbors in the recall districts to vote.

Please share on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, by email and however you can. Thanks!

Monday, August 08, 2011

"Five Points About Rick Perry's Prayer Rally Not Yet in Mainream Press"(From Talk to Action)

One thing the framers of our Constitution got right - after years of seeing the opposite results in England - was the separation of Church & State. One thing the religious right has wanted to undermine & destroy is the separation of Church & State. In this article Rachel Tabachnick writes:
We may have just seen the national debut of a new phase of political activism by the Religious Right that is the culmination of decades of planning.
Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, organized a prayer meeting last Saturday. Rick Perry, the same person who wants to be President of the United States. Will there be prayer meetings on the South Lawn of the White House? Will god determined the decisions made in the Oval Office? For centuries god (or gods) were used to justify the actions of people in power. You know the "Devine right of Kings"? When power, no matter how destructive it is, is justified as gods will not that of fallible human beings, it becomes virtually unchallengeable. The powers-that-be in the Catholic Church (& other religions) have been using this ploy for centuries. The devine right of presidents is a direct violation of the Constitution.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/8/8/114844/0135

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Aug. 9: Protest nuclear war/ Remember Nagasaki

On the 66th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the NYC War Resisters League will join with Kairos Community and Catholic Worker for a vigil, as well as displaying an exhibit about the bombings of Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

Please bring your own signs and join in protest!

Tuesday, August 9th
5 - 7 PM
Washington Square Park in Manhattan across from Judson Church, 55 Washington Sq. So. (at Thompson St.),

(SUBWAYS: “West 4th St.” on B, C, D, E, F, M trains; “8th Street” on R, N trains)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Minnesota GOP Legislation Written by ALEC, Funded by Koch Brothers and Wal-Mart, and More

From the Thom Hartmann News Report, Thurs. 8/4:
The Minnesota state government may be open for business again after a shut down a few weeks ago – but the legislators aren’t working on new laws. Instead – transnational corporations are. The group Common Cause just released a report that shows a number of bills passing out of the Minnesota state legislature last session were actually written by the shadowy, non-profit organization known as the American Legislative Exchange Council – or ALEC. The organization – which is funded by the likes of the Koch brother and Walmart – is comprised of current and former lawmakers – as well as the heads of some of the biggest transnational corporations in the world. And ALEC’s job is to write corporate-friendly legislation to pass on to state lawmakers to turn into law in their respective states. Among ALEC’s successes in Minnesota: legislation that makes it harder for people to vote – legislation that protects corporations from consumer lawsuits – legislation that prevents regulations of greenhouse gases – and legislation that gives tobacco companies tax breaks. So here we have elected lawmakers outsourcing their jobs to corporate interests – still don’t think the corporatocracy has replaced our democracy?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Aug. 5: REMEMBER HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI: NEVER AGAIN!

From The Granny Peace Brigade:

REMEMBER HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI: NEVER AGAIN!

Friday, August 5, 2011, Noon to 1:30PM

Armed Forces Career Center (former U.S. Military Recruitment Center)

7th Ave & Broadway
(near 44th Street)

As our recent track record (as a nation) seems to demonstrate, we Yanks have a tough time learning from our own history. So this Friday we're having a refresher course.

On the tragic and shameful anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we will gather in Times Square -- to remind a forgetful public of these past tragedies and to encourage the citizens of the world to join together to put an end to nuclear weapons.

Join us. On this infamous anniversary, lets renew our commitment to a peaceful and just world.

Billy Bragg sings "Never Buy the Sun" on the Murdoch hacking scandal

Billy Bragg sings "Never Buy the Sun" on the Murdoch hacking scandal. On Democracy Now Just for the record people from Liverpool are called "Scousers."

For the complete one hour interview with Billy Bragg on Democracy Now in which he discusses the song & the whole Murdoch scandal (and much more). He also sings (among others) "There's Power in the Union."

Billy Bragg: Legendary British Rocker on Norway Attacks, Activism & His Latest, “Never Buy The Sun”

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Murdoch, Homer & history

In an article, in this week's Economist (7/23/11), a writer named "Schumpeter", I don't know what if any relation he is to the famous Economist/political scientist Joseph Schumpeter, writes
He [Rupert Murdoch] saved the British newspaper industry from being destroyed by thuggish print unions, endured years of losses to make satellite television a success, cracked the American television triopoly with the creation of Fox and gave the world Homer Simpson.
I leave it to you to decide for which of these Murdoch will ultimately be remembered. I know which my choice would be - "doh!."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse follows a tragic rock tradition

The death of Amy Winehouse follows a rock tradition we could do well without. Winehouse (1983-2011) shares one thing in common with Rolling Stones' Brian Jones (1942-1969), Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970), Janis Joplin (1943-1970), Jim Morrison (1943-1971) & Kurt Cobain (1967-1994) besides being rock stars. If you do the math, you'll notice they all died @ 27. It does make you re-think the importance of fate in human events.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pushing Crisis: GOP Cries Wolf on Debt Ceiling In Order To Impose Radical Pro-Rich Agenda

Two things are becoming more & more clear as President Obama & Congress come to an agreement on how to resolve the current manufactured "debt limit" crisis. First, the corporate oligarchy is following the same historical pattern that Naomi Klein demonstrated so masterfully in The Shock Doctrine. After either a real or manufactured crisis - like the Aug. 2nd deadline to raise the debt limit - is created, the corporate oligarchy takes advantage of the shocks that emanate from the crisis to further enrich & empower themselves. This is, of course, enabled by the corporate-owned politicians & media. And that's effectively what Prof. Michael Hudson argues in this episode (7/22) of Democracy Now. He says:
What's happening across the world is an attempt by the financial sector to really make its move. ... This is their opportunity for a power grab...to carve up the public domain & give themselves enough money, they're taking the money & running,,,, The only question is how much can they take & how fast.
The other thing we're learning is much more about President Obama and his role in all this. Sometime ago, it was suggested that if there were still progressive Republicans, Obama would be a Republican. Michael Hudson says:
You could see it all coming before Mr. Obama took office when he appointed the Deficit Reduction Commission. He appointed opponents of social security [like] Republican Senator Simpson, Bowles, Clinton's Chief of Staff. Obama really believes in trickle down economics. He believes that Wall Street [are] job creators, not downsizers And outsourcers and foreclosers. That's the tragedy of all this. Now the question is how can a Democratic president put forth a Republican program? In reality there has to be a crisis [when] in reality there is no crisis at all.


Pushing Crisis: GOP Cries Wolf on Debt Ceiling In Order To Impose Radical Pro-Rich Agenda

What do Obama, the Gang of Six and Paul Ryan have in common by Jack Rasmus (Truthout)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aug. 7: Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial:

Sunday, August 7, 2:30-4:30 PM
Casserly Hall, below St. Joseph's Greenwich Village Church.
( Enter on Washington Pl just off Sixth Ave)

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial: This event is a commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and an appeal
to abolish nuclear weapons today. The theme is Interfaith Perspectives on Nuclear Weapons. It will provide an overview of Catholic Social Teaching on the topic and then hear from Buddhist and Muslim presenters.

Speakers: Hiro Sakurai, chairman of the UN Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, representing the Soka Gakkai NGO, a lay Buddhist organization, and
Ibrahim Ramey, Program Director of the Muslim American Society and former Program Director on Disarmament with Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Preceding the talk and discussion will be an interfaith prayer, followed by a public witness.

Whose side is Obama on?

Here's what President Obama said yesterday (7/19) about the "Gang of Six" plan on the economy:
The good news is that today, a group of senators, the "Gang of Six," Democrats and Republicans -- I guess now gang of seven, because one additional Republican senator added on -- put forward a proposal is that is broadly consistent with the approach that I've urged.
For Republican senators to acknowledge that revenues will have to be part of a balanced package that makes sure that nobody is disproportionately hurt from us making progress on the debt and deficits, I think is a very significant step.
Dean Baker co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), issued the following statement on the Gang of Six deficit plan:
In short, this is a plan that should be expected to please the wealthy since it will mean large reductions in their tax liability in the decades ahead. On the other hand, most of the rest of the country is likely to feel the effects of lower Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, in addition to other cuts that are not yet fully specified.


For more on this see Who Will Suffer Under the 'Gang of Six' Plan? | The Nation

Bachmann's problem is foot-in-mouth disease, not migraines

If anyone believes that it's migraine headaches that would prevent Michelle Bachmann from being a good president, they haven't heard a word that comes out of her mouth.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Neo-cons & Iran: Chalabi redux

What can we say about people who keep repeating the same action and expecting a different result? Here's the neo-con version of this psychiatric dilemma.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Right wing Agnotology or "culturally-induced ignorance..."

My friend Burt asked me if I had ever heard about the term agnotology, which according to Paul Krugman "is, culturally-induced ignorance or doubt." It seems to me that it explains allot about the current debate over increasing the debt limit.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quote of the day: Dean Baker, "Manufacturing deficit fear"

As survey after survey shows, the vast majority of the public are incredibly ignorant of the most basic facts about the budget and the economy. If we treated their teachers in the media the way the educational reformers treat public school teachers, few economics and budget reporters would have jobs.
From: Dean Baker, "Manufacturing deficit fear"

Friday, July 08, 2011

Israel's no fly zone: European airlines refuse to board pro-Palestinian activists by Dahr Jamail (Al Jazeera English)

Yes I.F. (Stone) "All governments lie", but Israel's leaders must now have the longest noses in the world. Here are just two examples of Israel's demonic fantasy world:
On July 5, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch called the activists "hooligans" and said they would be barred from entry.

Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said officers deployed at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport have been prepared to deal with scenarios such as airport officials being attacked or activists settings themselves on fire.


Israel's no fly zone from Al Jazeera English

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The-Plot-Thickens-on-2012-Race (CCDSLinks--Weekly News and Views)

This looks like a link worth following, I'm going to add it to the blog links & follow it for a while

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/-The-Plot-Thickens-on-2012-Race----CCDSLinks--Weekly-News-and-Views---June-24--2011.html?soid=1103584185760&aid=LoDOB-6PZHU

The latest news from the Freedom Flotilla (Al Jazeera English)

A French boat has set sail for Gaza from Corsica in the latest attempt by activists to deliver aid to the Palestinian territory, according to a journalist aboard the vessel.
Meanwhile, the captain of a US ship, who was arrested by Greek authorities, was released on [today] and all charges against him dropped, Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal reported from Athens.
"He has not been fined for anything, and he is a free man. This after Greek authorities arrested him or detained him late on Friday as he tried to bring his ship out and take the passengers to Gaza," Elshayyal said.


French flotilla boat sets sail for Gaza (Al Jazeera English)

Monday, July 04, 2011

Hope lost, audacity found: the latest on the flotilla (from: Al Jazeera English)

While watching the 4th of July fireworks from our living room (our video of some of it is on Facebook) I couldn't help but wonder what we were celebrating, certainly not freedom w/ the Gaza Freedom Flotilla mired in Greek waters. Today a second flotilla boat was hauled back by the Greek Coast Guard after attempting to sail to Gaza. This article from AJE is an interesting comparison of Obama & the flotilla and JFK & the freedom riders in the '60s. Obama could be demanding that U.S. citizens be allowed to sail to Gaza if they so choose, but instead he's threatening to arrest them. While liberty is celebrated above the Hudson River, we are clearly losing more & more of ours every day.

Hope lost, audacity found - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Israel proves I.F. Stone right again, "All governments lie..."

(Photo: Reuters)

News note: A Jordanian union leader told Agence France Presse that a boat has been purchased for $800,000 in Greece to carry construction materials, medical supplies, and 200 additional passengers to join the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of ten ships and several hundred passengers from 20 countries. [As I'm sure you already know] The Flotilla, which was scheduled to depart last week, is currently being delayed by Greek authorities. (from IMEMC News) Also eight Flotilla Activists, who were arrested while on a hunger strike at the U.S. embassy in Greece, have been released. U.S. Boat to Gaza

The full I.F.Stone quote is "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." Without in any way suggesting that the courageous flotilla activists shouldn't stick with it, it's also time to declare victory. The flotilla has forced Israel to attack boats that haven't even left Greece. What are they afraid of? Talk about terrorism, what about sabotaging boats in Greek waters, just to keep them from heading for Gaza. Here's a perfect example of how much Israeli spokespeople can be trusted:

It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the situation of Palestinians (particularly in the occupied territories) that the U.S. media would echo the Israeli propaganda. Richard Falk writes:
On a second level of Orwellian distortion, a somewhat more subtle case against the flotilla has been put forward. The daily existence of the entrapped, impoverished, and mentally and physically debilitated Gazans have been depicted by Israeli propagandists as if they were enjoying a glitzy pleasure kingdom that benefits its 1.6 million inhabitants. No less a journalistic personality than Ethan Bronner, long a skilled Israeli apologist, opens a front page story in the New York Times newspaper on June 28, 2011, ... [an] absurdly glowing description of the situation in Gaza
What makes this travesty on conditions in Gaza newsworthy is not these good things that are supposedly happening, but its relevance to the Israeli contention that the humanitarian rationale for the flotilla mission is fatuous and unnecessary because life for Gazans, despite appearances to the contrary, is going along in sprightly fashion behind the barbed wire and walls that enclose the enclave.
In other words, as usual, Israel lies and the U.S. media swear to it.

International support for the Flotilla is growing. There may be counter pressure on the Greek government to let the Flotilla sail to Gaza forcing Israel to act openly instead of under the radar.

Friday, July 01, 2011

US BOAT TO GAZA STOPPED! EMERGENCY RESPONSE! MEET AT 5PM AT TIMES SQUARE

U.S. BOAT STOPPED! EMERGENCY RESPONSE! MEET TODAY, 5 PM, TIMES SQUARE, BETWEEN 46TH AND 47TH ON BROADWAY.

EMERGENCY PROTEST: LET THE AUDACITY OF HOPE SAIL!

At 9:45 am EST, the Audacity of Hope set sail from Greece, but less than half an hour later the Greek Coast Guard stopped the boat and demanded it return to port (see updates below).

Emergency protests are being called all around the US.

Join the NYC protest today (Friday), 5 pm!

LIVE BLOG: Greek Authorities Intercept U.S. Boat For Gaza Minutes After It Set Sail (Updated 12:45 p.m. EDT)

July 4th: Annual Public Reading & discussion of the Constitution w/ Norman Siegel

Monday, July 4th, 12:00 noon

Central Park Constitution Festival with Norman Siegel

Strawberry Fields

Join famed civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel at the Annual Constitution Festival! We will discuss the various articles and amendments and determine how well or how poorly they are being applied and interpreted today. If it rains, worry not - there is a nearby sanctuary!

Enter at Central Park West and 72nd Street and follow the sign to Strawberry Fields, about a block away.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Supes: love violence, fear sex

Robert Scheer writes on Truth Dig "Yes to Violence, No to Sex" in response to the latest Supreme Court decision on free speech for minors, especially as enunciated in Scalia's opinion. In which while opposing any ban on violent video games, he reaffirms the Court ban on "prurient" & "obscene" materials for minors and most other Americans.

I agree, as does Scheer, with the Supe decision against any government ban on violent video games; but not with its hypocritical reaffirmation of its agreement with bans on sexuality. After all, unlike violence, sex is the most natural act human beings can engage in. Although I do believe that parents should have the right (obligation?) to control what their minor children see, I don't believe that viewing a nude body or even a loving sex act will damage their little psyches. In fact, there's probably reason to believe that it might make American adults more comfortable with nudity and sex. This raises the question: why is the male majority on the Supreme Court in love with violence and afraid of sex.? To what extent do they mirror the male population of the country? Unfortunately, I believe too much.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Catholic leadership reaction to same sex marriage: predictable


It's fascinating how the "religious leaders" have reacted to the State Senate vote to legalize lesbian & gay marriage, according to today's (6/26) Daily News. First of all they are both Catholic. I'm not sure how other "religious leaders" are reacting. But the Catholic bishops are reacting totally predictably. New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said
I think for anybody, especially state government, to tamper with something as sacred and timeless and as much a part of the human condition as marriage is careless.
I agree 100%. The state should not say who can and who can't get married.

The state was absolutely correct to step out of the business of "tamper[ing] with ... marriage," in particular, who can and who can't indulge in "something as sacred and timeless and as much a part of the human condition as marriage". Historically, the Catholic leadership has taken the position that when the state acts to make illegal what they oppose (see abortion), the state is doing the right thing. But when the state decides to step out of the business of deciding which people (women, gays) can make their own choices, then it is "careless".

This nonsense was echoed by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. He told The Daily News, "The state should not be concerned abut regulating affection." Exactly. And that's what 33 senators said with their votes on Friday night. Di Marzio said some other ridiculous things, but I will only mention one more.
It [passage of same sex marriage] is destructive because we fail to view marriage in the context of a vocation: a calling to participate in the great enterprise of forming the next generation. Marriage is reduced to an empty honor.
He says this despite the fact that it is obvious that lesbians and gay men are more than capable of "forming the next generation" by bringing up wonderful children. He should be advocating - if he is to be taken at all seriously - that no one (or two) who want a childless marriage should be issued a marriage license, no matter their sexual orientation.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gov. Cuomo signs bill legalizing gay & lesbian marriage in New York State

And that's our neighbor and friend Sen. Tom Duane - the bill's primary sponsor in the Senate - hidden in the back between the other two on the right. Congratulations.

N.Y. becomes sixth (& largest) state to recognize gay& lesbian marriage


Finally! Gay men and lesbians are going to be treated as human beings with the same rights (to marry) as everyone else in New York State. A struggle for equality, which began at the Stonewall Inn on the night of June 27, 1969, has finally led to one of the most basic of human rights - the right to marry the person you love. In other words, the right to be treated as a human being.

Although it took eons to become a reality, is it possible to imagine a better weekend for the "right to marry" to become a reality. There is still much to be done, but Sunday will be one hell of a Pride March. And we'll be there as we have been since 1976.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Video: "The End of the American Dream

I'm not at all sure for who the "American Dream" actually existed. Or maybe better put, I think the dream existed for many people, but it was never a reality for most Americans. The dream is what kept Americans going - particularly to work - from day-to-day. Now that there are far more people than jobs, the corporate oligarchs and their political and media pets no longer need even to make believe that most Americans can share in the "Dream". Now the oligarchs can simply keep virtually the whole pie for themselves. And that's exactly what they are doing.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Tell Fox to fire "Follow the Money" host Eric Bolling for race-baiting

Dear Dan,

Since Tuesday, more than 65,000 people have signed onto a petition calling on Fox Business Network Chairman Roger Ailes to fire “Follow the Money” host Eric Bolling for his race-baiting comments targeting President Obama. Will you join us? Your voice can make a real difference.

The response has been tremendous, and major media are covering the campaign.1 Clearly Bolling and Fox are feeling the heat. Bolling issued a weak pseudo-apology earlier this week saying that he had gotten, “a little fast and loose with the language.” But his “apology” was disingenuous, as the offensive material was obviously scripted and premeditated.2

Which is why we’re keeping the pressure on. We plan to deliver the petitions to Fox Business chief Roger Ailes soon. Can you help us get to 80,000 before we do?

It takes just a moment to add your voice — just click below. After you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.

act.colorofchange.org

Thanks and Peace,

-- Rashad, James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha, and the rest of the ColorOfchange.org team
June 17th, 2011

References:

1. “Black political group demands firing of Fox Business Network host,” Los Angeles Times, 6-16-11

2. “Tell Fox: Fire Eric Bolling,” Huffington Post, 6-16-11

June 24: NYC Drag March

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 23: Donna Minkowitz & others @ Bluestockings

Thursday, June 23rd, 7PM - $5 Suggested
Lesbian & Bisexual Literary Pride Showcase
Hosted by Donna Minkowitz

BLUESTOCKINGS
172 Allen Street @ Stanton
(We host events nearly every night and you will not be turned away from an event at Bluestockings for lack of money.

bluestockings.com


Featuring Ellis Avery, Rachel Simon, Alison Smith & Aoibheann Sweeney

Get some doses of (L)esbian and (B)i-sexual literature into your LGBTQ life with Lambda winners and featured writers. Tonight's show features queer pride with a great lineup of writers, including: journalist Donna Minkowitz ("Ferocious Romance"), novelist Ellis Avery ("The Teahouse Fire"), poet Rachel Simon ("Theory of Orange"), chronicler Alison Smith ("Name All the Animals"), and mythologist Aoibheann Sweeney ("Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking").

Thoughts on Weiner's resignation & its aftermath

Rep. Anthony Weiner has resigned and has sort of faced the media. A few thoughts about Weiner & his resignation. But first let me quote from Rob Kall on OpEdNews on why Rep. Weiner should stay:
The truth is, if Weiner resigns, as he is being pushed to do by his hypocritical, moral midget critics, then his replacement will be appointed by a moderate and will surely be a weak, compliant team player, unlike Weiner, who has stood out for his strong progressive positions.

He should not resign. He should get help, get counsel and stay in the role he was elected to serve. Sanctimonious, self-righteous, hypocrite Republicans and immoral, sell-out Democrats have no right to tell him what to do. Let his constituents decide.
Basically I perceive two arguments against his resignation in Kall's comments. (1) The people calling for his resignation are hypocrites - both Republicans & Democrats; (2) His replacement will not be as progressive as Weiner & we will lose a spokesperson. My concerns are quite different. Just as when President Clinton was caught messing around with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office my main concern was and is: what kind of message does this send to young people, especially young men (Andrew was a young teenager at the time). When people take on the responsibilities of public office (as well as athletes & entertainers to a lesser extent) they take on the responsibility of being role models for young people. Whether they want to or not. It's simply part of the job. What kind of message does Weiner's behavior send to young men about how to treat women. Clearly even more so than Clinton who was engaged in a mutually initiated affair (although by no means an equal one), it seems that Weiner, in most instances, initiated a relationship with women who contacted him in a political not a sexual context. In other words, they said we really admire your work and he replied: "What about my penis?" So I think his resignation is the best thing he could have done, especially since he spent the first week of this mess lying to everybody. Real politics requires trust.

With regard to the second of Kall's points about losing a progressive voice the best thing we can do is put pressure on Cuomo to appoint a true progressive to fill the seat. Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tonight at midnight, New York’s rent laws expire. We have to act now.

Dear Dan,

Tonight at midnight, New York’s rent laws expire.

An estimated 2.5 million New Yorkers depend on the rent regulations to keep their housing costs stable in an unstable economy. But even if the current law is renewed, it’s not enough. We need to strengthen the law and end the “vacancy decontrol” giveaways to the Big Landlords.

Legislators are scrambling over the next few days trying to put the new law in place. Governor Cuomo is leading the fight, and has said he will not let the legislature adjourn until they do so. We applaud his leadership.

But the Republican-led state senate is standing in the way. They’ve been bought and paid for by the landlords lobbying association, the “Rent Stabilization Association.” Ironic name. They’re not interested in stabilizing anything other than their profit margins.

It’s bad enough when you’re an upstate Republican who is willing to meddle in New York City’s housing laws in exchange for contributions from the Big Landlords. But it’s even worse to sign onto the Big Landlords’ reckless anti-tenant agenda when you represent one of the five boroughs.

That’s why State Senator Marty Golden is so important.

Golden has gotten contributions from the RSA. However, he has 37,900 rent regulated units in his Brooklyn district. That’s about 95,000 tenants who will be put at risk in his very own district if the RSA gets its way.

The RSA’s president was caught on video saying he “emptied our piggy bank” to keep the Republicans in power and in line with their agenda.

Please, tell Marty Golden that the only agenda that should matter to him is his own constituents. Ask him to stand up to the RSA and to end the loopholes:

To make sure Marty Golden knows we're counting on him to stand up for his constituents, we want to gather signatures from thousands of New Yorkers .

We’ll be watching where each state senator and assembly member falls in this fight. Whether they’re with us and the tenants or with the Big Landlords and lobbyists. And we’ll remember come election time.

Thanks for all you do,

Bill Lipton
Deputy Director, WFP

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 15: Solidarity march across the Brooklyn Bridge

From the AFL-CIO:

Wednesday, June 15. Assemble beginning at 1 p.m. for a 2:30 p.m. march

Solidarity march across the Brooklyn Bridge

Enter Cadman Plaza Park by the Brooklyn War Memorial (middle of the park) and look for your delegation.
The address is 89 Cadman Plaza West, Brooklyn, N.Y. (A or C trains to High Street)

March for the Middle Class

As a showing of solidarity for working people across the nation facing attacks on their livelihood, NYC area working families will join together to march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Be there.
If you're in a union, remember to show your union colors proudly.

We still believe an attack on one is an attack on all. That is why a march to show that we stand united is so important.

The attacks on collective bargaining rights go too far and come at the expense of solving our jobs crisis and other real problems that are delaying the economic recovery. We cannot let the misinformation continue. This is about workers’ rights, fixing the economy and the future we leave for our children.

In Solidarity,

Manny Herrmann
Online Mobilization Coordinator, AFL-CIO

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, might take bittersweet satisfaction to know that he was not the last smart president to prolong unjustifiably a senseless, unwinnable war, at great cost in human life... He would probably also feel vindicated (and envious) that ALL the crimes he committed against me -- which forced his resignation facing impeachment -- are now legal."

-- Daniel Ellsberg, in an interview with CNN.

(from Taegan Goddard's Political Wire)

June 15: Protest at Gov. Cuomo's NYC Office

Protest at Gov. Cuomo's NYC Office
Will be the day that rent regulations are set to expire:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
633 3rd Avenue @ 41st Street, Manhattan
(Subway: 4, 5, 6, 7, or Shuttle to Grand Central)

June 25: BBQ to honor Leonard Peltier


BBQ for Native American
Prisoner of War Leonard Peltier
Saturday June 25, 1 pm-4 pm
(Rain Date: Sunday June 26, 2011)

Dias y Flores Community Garden
(13th Street between Avenues A & B)

Native American Flute by Franc Menusan

Potluck BBQ: To arrange what dish to bring for the potluck,
call MD (our food coordinator) after 7 pm: 347-731-9947

The three years following the occupation of Wounded Knee are often referred to as the Pine Ridge “Reign of Terror” because anyone associated with the American Indian Movement was targeted for violence. People’s homes were burned and their cars run off the road. People were struck by cars, shot in drive-by shootings and beaten. Between 1973 and 1976, over 70 traditionalists were murdered and scores more were assaulted. As the situation worsened, the traditionalists asked AIM to return to the reservation to offer protection. Leonard Peltier was among those who answered the call. He and a dozen others set
up camp on the Jumping Bull ranch at Pine Ridge, the home of a number of traditional families. In Native American history, June 26th is a day of anguish. On that date in 1975, two FBI agents in unmarked cars pursued a red pickup truck onto the Jumping Bull ranch. Gunshots rang out. While mothers fled the area with their children, other residents started to return fire.
A shootout erupted between the FBI agents and the residents. Law enforcement immediately mobilized. Within a couple hours, over 150 FBI swat team members, Bureau of Indian Affairs police and GOONs surrounded the ranch. Peltier helped lead a small group of teenagers out of the Jumping Bull area, barely escaping through the hail of bullets. He fled to Canada and was illegally extradited to the U.S. on Feb. 6, 1976 based on false information provided by the FBI.
This assault has not ended. For 35 years, Leonard Peltier, a Lakota/Anishinabe organizer of the American Indian Movement (AIM), has been in prison, falsely accused of killing the FBI agents. U.S. prosecutors have publicly admitted that they do not know who actually fired the shots that killed the agents, but they have refused to consider Peltier for parole or to turn
over thousands of pages of documents that could prove his innocence.

This event is honoring AIM warrior Leonard Peltier, so no alcohol or drugs are permitted.

NYC Leonard Peltier Defense-Offense Ctte • nyclpdoc@gmail.com • 718-325-4407

Who Cares - I Do: Spread the Word

"WHO CARES? I DO." IS A GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN supported by individuals, organizations, businesses, policy makers, philanthropists, and many others who recognize how critical human services are to New York and all its communities — whether it's an after-school program, a senior center, shelter for the homeless, a food pantry, assistance for domestic violence victims, a mental health clinic, a home for foster children, or a day care center. Our mission is to make government accountable to the needs of all New Yorkers by honoring the commitments made to our communities.

WE MUST:
(1) let our elected leaders know that too many cuts to important services will hurt, not help, economic recovery

(2) illustrate that the work performed by nonprofit human services providers is essential to communities throughout New York

(3) demonstrate vast support for the continuation of critical programs in our communities


Who Cares - I Do: Spread the Word

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 13: Tell U.S. labor officials: Dump Israeli Bonds


MONDAY, JUNE 13, 5-7 PM
GOTHAM HALL
1356 BROADWAY (36 ST.)

Support Palestinian workers. Picket apartheid.
Tell U.S. labor officials: Dump Israel Bonds.

Israel Bonds are an investment in apartheid and U.S. unions have invested billions of U.S. workers; retirement and pension dollars in Israeli apartheid bonds. Palestinian workers and labor unions, facing siege, invasion, and occupation, have called upon the international labor movement to divest from Israel Bonds. Tell labor officials Stuart Applebaum and Denis Hughes to stop investing in apartheid.

For more info.: www.laborforpalestine.net or 718-228-8636

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

No Taxes on the rich is about the system not the individuals

My friend Moshe Rothenberg recently posted this on Facebook:

Why would millionaires tax themselves when they hold the controls of power? Virtually every Senator in Congress is at least a millionaire. This system has never been rational; why would they start now? Because Facebook exists? I don't think so.
Moshe
I'm not sure where this concern about taxation comes from and I'm not sure what Facebook has to do with it, but I think the argument that because Congress is made up of a bunch of millionaires, they wouldn't tax themselves, largely oversimplifies the question. It seems to me that it focuses the argument on the characteristics of the individuals rather than the characteristics of the system. I think both Moshe & I would agree that the problem is the system, capitalism. I don't know how many members of Congress are in fact millionaires but I do know that they are all bought and paid for by the corporate oligarchy ("ruling class" if you prefer). As the cost of political campaigns escalates, the politicians are more and more subjected to that small minority that owns and controls the source of political financing the corporate owners. Without suggesting that the U.S. has ever been a democracy, what used to be considered bribery and resulted in jail terms - with the consent of the Supreme Court - is now labelled campaign contributions and is perfectly legal. I think this is one of a number of reasons capitalism & democracy are essentially incompatible.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Geronimo Pratt, 1947-2011

Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt, a symbol of the desperate and illegal measures utilized by the U.S. government and the FBI to destroy the Black liberation movement, died on June 2 in a Tanzanian village. He was 63. The top leaders of the movement - Malcolm X, Martin Luther King & Fred Hampton - were assassinated; the activists just below that level were falsely imprisoned. After spending 27 years in prison for a Santa Monica, Calif murder in he did not commit, in 1997 Pratt's conviction was overturned on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct. In 2000 he received $4.5 million from the federal and local governments for wrongful imprisonment. Although there were a number of reasons that California Superior Court Judge Everett Dickey vacated the conviction, the main one was that the LAPD, the FBI and the prosecutors failed to inform the defense that their star witness was a government informant. A juror told the NYT:
If we had known about Butler's [the government's eye-witness] background, there's no way Pratt would have been convicted.
Geronimo Pratt spent most of his post-prison life in Imbaseni, a Tanzanian village, following the same ideals that had drawn him to the Panthers in the first place. Among other things he helped install an irrigation system .
















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"Bridesmaids" A review

The boys have had their chances at least since Animal House and more recently in Judd Apatow's Hangover and Knocked Up (Apatow, by the way, is also a producer of Bridesmaids). Now thanks to SNL's Kristen Wiig, the girls get theirs. But because of Wiig's particular comedic sensibility, Bridesmaids is much more than the usual Apatow film. The boy's films are generally about a bunch of adult teenagers trying desperately not to grow up. But Bridesmaids is about a bunch of women trying to come to terms with grown-up life. The wedding of Annie's (Wiig) best friend Pauline ( Maya Rudolph) is just the mechanism with which this happens, and it's hilariously funny. I really loved Melissa McCarthy (fourth from the left in the photo), who often gets more laughs and is more real than any of the other characters (as often happened on The Gilmore Girls)

June 8: SIT-IN @ THE LGBT CENTER

SIT-IN @ THE LGBT CENTER

June 8 at 6:00pm

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid was supposed to have our meeting at the Center at that time... but since the Center won't stand up for us, we have to SIT IN!

And this Sunday 6/5, march with NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in Queens Pride!
Meet at 11:30am at 37th Ave between 75th and 85th Sts.
(For info: NoPrideInOccupation@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook.)

Please note this important message - and for an excellent historical run-down on the whole Center mishegoss, go to and type Pauline Park into the search box - Pauline's excellent chronology is there. And come on Sunday! And come on Wednesday! Love, Brad

The Center has done it again. After a brief flirtation with openness, the NYC LGBT Center has capitulated to right-wing pressure – and shut down progressive queer political organizing again.

Last week, the Center responded to community demands that the Center remain open to queers, by finally granted meeting space to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. But on Thursday, after a new round of threats and bullying from the right, the Center cancelled all future QAIA meetings. In short, the Center has said that it won't stand up for queers' right to organize if that organizing becomes “controversial.” (Read statements from the Center and QAIA here.)
Please call and/or e-mail Center director Glennda Testone and board president Mario Palumbo (again!) Tell them they can't avoid controversy just by slamming the door on queer activists. You can email from here:

And this Sunday 6/5, march with NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid
in Queens Pride!
Meet at 11:30am at 37th Ave between 75th and 85th Sts.
For info: NoPrideInOccupation@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hispanic Population, Rising Faster Than Anticipated, A 'Huge Weapon' For Obama,"

"Hispanic Population, Rising Faster Than Anticipated, A 'Huge Weapon' For Obama," Sam Stein reports for the Huffington Post. And you were wondering why the Republican's top priority is interfering with the voting rights of poor people and people of color. You remember the bogus attack on ACORN (with which the stupid Democrats went along). They are also trying to pass laws that will require separate identification in order to vote. In other words it's the new Republican "Southern Strategy." This is only the beginning of massive population changes in the U.S. voting population, none of which will bode well for the Republicans.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/31/hispanic-population-rising-faster-than-anticipated_n_869209.html?ncid=webmail

Obama to Israel: Take whatever you want - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Obama to Israel: Take whatever you want - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

As Obama's campaign for re-election moves forward, as in 2008, the "Jewish vote" becomes more & more important. But after all why wouldn't an American president back Israeli expansionism - in the name of security - since it almost perfectly mirrors the U.S. genocide against the indigenous people here in order to steal their land & resources.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

June 6th: Marriage Equality Monday!


Marriage Equality Monday!

Monday, June 6, 6:30pm - 9:30pm

Outside Marty Golden's Office
7408 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

Show your support for marriage equality on Monday, June 6, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Rally outside of State Senator Marty Golden's office.

Not only does Senator Golden vehemently oppose marriage equality, he now wants to stop New York State from recognizing same-sex marriages that were performed outside of New York.

Golden boldly told reporters that the people in his district "don't give a rat's ass about social issues." If his constituents "don't give a rat's ass about social issues," why is he acting like such a horse's ass about marriage equality?

Come down and let him know how you feel!!

Together we can secure the right for ALL New Yorkers to enter into legally recognized civil marriages.

Co-Sponsored by...
Bay Ridge Democrats
Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats
Lambda Independent Democrats
New Kings Democrats
(list in formation)