The thread abides.
By the end, the Occupy Memphis members and their audience ? made up mostly of whites over 40 years old ? reached common ground on some issues, such as their perception that the government and politicians no longer listen to and serve the people they represent.
They also found some agreement in their stances against taxpayer-sponsored government bailouts and "crony capitalism," the idea that close ties between lobbyists, businesses, and other self-serving interests can influence government officials and the exercise of capitalism.
"We all want the same form of government, which is one that listens to its constituents," said Tran, a business and American history student who said he served in Iraq in 2009 and 2010 with the Army.
But some disagreements also emerged. Tea party members expressed frustration with big, intrusive government, while the Occupy Memphis speakers opposed what they perceive as the corporate world's manipulative influence on government policy.
And herein lies the distinction. The Occupy movement seems to generally believe that the answer to crony capitalism is less Wall Street influence on government, whereas the tea party seems to believe that if you shrink government some more and just let Wall Street run the show, we'll all be fine. Also makes you wonder how many of those older white people in the tea part audience want big government to be less intrusive by withholding their social security and medicare.
The team which found that neutrinos may travel faster than light has carried out an improved version of their experiment - and confirmed the result.
If confirmed by other experiments, the find could undermine one of the basic principles of modern physics.
Critics of the first report in September had said that the long bunches of neutrinos (tiny particles) used could introduce an error into the test.
The new work used much shorter bunches.
Occupations in Lexington and Louisville are surviving and thriving.
In that they are the rule, not the exception.
There actually is a bit of good news on the Occupy front. Aside from the astonishing fact that the CBS Evening News last night actually mentioned - and played a portion of! - the BBC interview with Oakland mayor Jean Quan, where she 'fesses up to being on a nineteen-city conference call to discuss things like OWS (I wonder if the arrests of at least five reporters and the manhandling of several others in Bloomberg and Kelly's efforts to silence the press might have had something to do with this sudden volte-face on a usually-establishment-coddling network's part?), there was this:The General Executive Board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters unanimously passed a resolution today supporting the right of protesters at Occupy Wall Street to assemble at Liberty Park. The Teamsters further commended New York Supreme Court Judge Lucy Billings for issuing a restraining order this morning restoring protesters' constitutional rights.
"You can draw a direct line from the Wisconsin protests in the winter to Occupy Wall Street to the overwhelming rejection of an anti-union ballot question in Ohio," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "Occupy Wall Street is bringing new energy to a fight that labor has been engaged in from the beginning: The fight for an economy that works for everybody, not just the 1 percent."
English translation: "Dear Bloomberg, Kelly, Cuomo, Quan et al: Here is some salt. Go pound it up you know where. Love, Jimmy's Kid."
(photo credit: Steve Clemons)
Yesterday at the 2011 Halifax International Security Forum -- basically the Davos for defense and foreign policy junkies at which 18 defense ministers from around the world are in attendance (about a 1:10 ratio with other conference guests and participants) -- US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave a mostly compelling speech that has no title but should be called "Security Deliverables in an Age of Austerity?"
Panetta was upfront with the assembled defense ministers that the US and all of them would have to find ways to "sharpen the application of resources" to major security challenges, that the age of austerity was here -- and that the US needed others to pick up their game in bridging the gap between defense upgrades needed and their particular fiscal and political constraints. This was a call for greater efficiency, greater pooling of resources, and innovation across the board.
Panetta did offer a line that Senator Jon Kyl or John McCain might have made which is used to distract rather than enlighten citizens about real economic and security choices they are facing today. He said:
I refuse to believe that we have to choose between fiscal responsibility and national security.
In my view, juxtaposing these two choices is a red herring. The US has a shifting scope of security concerns -- and has to face squarely the kind of shifts in resources Panetta admitted in his comments but then seemed to take back in the statement above.
In 1985, the US share of global GDP peaked near 33%. Today, the US share of global GDP stands at about 23%. However, the US share of global defense expenditures is about 50%.
America needs to reorient its security objectives, how it delivers security deliverables, in a manner consistent with the resources it has on hand.
I can easily imagine a set of generals in Moscow before the dissolution of the Soviet Union or even in China today making this same statement:
I refuse to believe that we have to choose between fiscal responsibility and national security.
Panetta sounded like pre-Iraq War Don Rumsfeld in calling for greater efficiencies in this line addressing NATO members:
Secretary Panetta did highlight al Qaeda and terrorism writ large, nuclear proliferation, cyber threats, and Iran as defining threats of this era -- and in contrast to Senator John McCain who seemed to suggest that the dynamics of the Arab Spring would eventually topple Moscow, Panetta embraced Russia's potential cooperation with the US and NATO stating:
We must commit to ensuring that NATO addresses key shortfalls in areas such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, precision strike munitions and aerial refueling and lift capabilities. To fill these gaps, allied nations will need to pool their declining defense dollars to more efficiently and effectively.
We are also hoping that missile defense will provide NATO and Russia an avenue for its most meaningful cooperation yet, presenting an opportunity for former adversaries to firmly turn a page on the past and deal meaningfully and effectively with the real threats that emanate out of the Middle East.Panetta's full speech is here. It mostly interested me in the sense that it is the first time that I have heard any US defense secretary in recent years begin to struggle publicly with the reality of diminished budgets.
Just as The Oregonian photographer captured the now-iconic photo of a Portland riot police officer directing a forceful spray of mace directly in the face of an #OccupyPortland demonstrator, Portland Police Bureau Chief and likely mayoral candidate Mike[...]
Read The Full Article:
Police dressed in riot gear approached the peaceful group of students and began attacking them with peppy spray, forcing them to cover their faces. Many of them falled over. “What is wrong with you?” demanded one student. “You’re supposed to protect us!” yelled another. Watch it:
Professor Nathan Brown, who is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University, has written an open letter calling on Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to resign in response to the incident. “I have also taken an active role in supporting the student movement to defend public education on our campus and throughout the UC system. In a word: I am the sort of young faculty member, like many of my colleagues, this campus needs. I am an asset to the University of California at Davis,” it reads. ?You are not.?
Republican leaders are learning the hard way what Robespierre learned a long time ago: That eventually all revolutions eat their children. Live by the mob, die by the mob.
How a party thinks is more important than what it thinks. And so, Kathleen Parker on the right and Paul Begala on the left are in bi-partisan agreement: Republicans have become the Party of Idiots.
In a recent Daily Beast essay Paul Begala called Republicans "The Stupid Party" and in her Washington Post column today Kathleen Party says lots of Republicans "quietly" agree. "They just can't seem to stop themselves."
Conservatives like Parker often find themselves trapped in a No-Man's-Land between their head-scratching lamentations about the sorry state of their Republican Party and the angry -- almost anguished -- rants they hurl against Democrats for not doing more to work with these people.
Parker revisits the familiar Republican glory days where an erudite William F. Buckley once tossed the John Birch Society out of the Republican's Big Tent, but whose learning and wit has been "supplanted by talk radio hosts who love to quote Buckley but who do not share the man's pedigree or nimble mind."
Worse yet, she says "the big tent fashioned by Ronald Reagan has become bilious with the hot air of religious fervor," where fundamentalist views have increasingly "forced the party into a corner where science and religion can't coexist."
Instead of embracing science as "the engine that propels intellectual inquiry" the Republican worldview has "morphed into skepticism of science fueled by religious certitude" and where Republican candidates must now "tack away from science" and toward the theistic position that "only God controls climate."
It takes courage to swim against the tide of Republican know-nothingness that Parker describes as "the Palinization of the GOP," where the least informed earn the loudest applause.
Parker undermines her case, however, when she seems to endorse Newt Gingrich, who she says, "despite the weight of his considerable baggage, is no intellectual slouch."
For his part Paul Begala is perfectly willing to pile on. Republicans, he says, once looked up to intellectuals like Bill Buckley and the increasingly hackish George F. Will. But now Republicans are more likely to "mimic Rush Limbaugh" since the GOP has become a party of "ideologues, not ideas."
Begala is a Texas Longhorn who's as offended as the next guy by snobbish, Harvard intellectual smarty-pants who flaunt their degrees and academic learning. But Begala still wonders: Do Republicans really have to go so far as to humiliate themselves with their base by pretending that The Flintstones is a documentary?
As with everything in politics, says Begala, know-nothingness will succeed with the GOP - until it doesn't.
The Wall Street plutocrats who run the Republican Party are willing to indulge the anti-Darwin obsessions of their Christian Fundamentalist base just so long as it's in their financial interest to look the other way at this lunacy. That's because when the Religious Right doubts the credibility of evolution science it also undermines confidence in all science - especially the climate science that might cost Republican oil barons billions at the pump.
Likewise, when Wall Street was put on the hot seat and asked to account for the mountain of highly-leveraged debt it piled atop the molehill of million dollar mansions sold to people without incomes, the moneymen of high finance could count on the support of a Religious Right that would point the finger of blame at all those morally and financially bankrupt poor people who let greed get the better of them as they reached for homes they did not deserve.
And when the Wall Street oligarchy sought to dismantle a federal government that taxed its profits and told it what it could and could not do with others people's money, these plutocrats could always count as allies those Southern populists ready to take apart a federal government that stood between them and their dreams of a white Christian Nation.
But the price of indulging such anti-intellectual populism is that the lunatics have now taken over the insane asylum formerly known as the Grand Old Party.
Just as the housing bubble worked economically for the plutocrats who run the Republican Party right up until the moment it popped, so too did the plutocrats' courtship of a cognitively-challenged base work for them politically -- until it didn't.
So now that the right wing Tea Party mob has scared away all the sensible candidates who might have competed for the Republican Party's nomination, GOP leaders will just have to learn to live with the consequences.
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And the Lord said, perhaps you should think twice about hitting "send" on that one.Markos is away this weekend, so it's left to me to bring you this week's hate mail. I have to say, it's slim pickings this week, but we'll take whatever we can get. At least there's the usual multiple-gay-slurs-in-every-sentence entry. We'll start with that one, below the fold.
Click here to view this media
This post is written more in sorrow than in anger. You would think The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell would be an oasis of transparency in a muddled and corrupted news media.
Thursday night on Last Word, David Gregory was invited on to promote his web-only show "Pass with David Gregory." I guess the "pass" is, "I'll pass on mentioning, in all my Freddie / Fannie investigations, that my wife, Beth Wilkinson, was one of the four top executives in Fannie Mae who resigned as the federal government took it into receivership in 2008."
I'm not accusing Beth Wilkinson of corruption or vice. She's clearly an accomplished attorney, and she joined Fannie as Dodd-Frank was being passed. I have no access to what she did or did not do as a Fannie Mae VP.
But then David Gregory comes on a television show and says (at the 2:22 mark)
The background's important: Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac are quasi-public/private agencies -- they survived, and they made a great deal of money, because they worked the Hill. But they went way beyond working the Hill -- they had the Hill by the throat. This is Republicans, this is Democrats, both sides of the aisle, made a lot of money through these companies! So, that's the backdrop...
Okay, David, but where in the "backdrop" is the fact that your wife was executive vice-president and general counsel of Fannie Mae when they stopped being "quasi-private" and got bailed out by the taxpayer?
The Georgetown cocktail circuit that lets this kind of no-transparency BS stand for watchdog media is, ahem, 99 percent of the problem. They come from a world where David Gregory's wife's planned purchase of Jimmy Choo's for spring got splashed on the pages of Washingtonian Magazine, at exactly the same time that Newt collected 30K a month from Freddie Mac for history lessons. And the GE-owned "liberal network" doesn't see fit to mention it? Why give right-wingers that much ammo, Lawrence?
And the Chicago Tribune reports that the tentacles of Fannie and Freddie spread throughout the Beltway:
While presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was forced to defend his lucrative former role with Freddie Mac this week, the mortgage giant and its larger cousin Fannie Mae had a roster of Washington heavyweights on their payroll for years, many of them Democrats.
Fannie and Freddie hired figures such as Tom Donilon, now President Barack Obama's national security adviser, and Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former White House chief of staff, as part of a campaign aimed at protecting government ties that allowed them to borrow money cheaply from financial markets.
"It was a mob-like operation," said a senior congressional official who over the years dealt with the political and lobbying operations at the firms, the two biggest sources of U.S. mortgage finance. "They had tentacles everywhere."
Gingrich was just one of a lengthy list of political power brokers with close ties to Congress and Republican and Democratic administrations hired by Fannie and Freddie as either board members, senior executives, lobbyists or consultants.
Fannie also hired other Washington power brokers during this time, including Bill Daley, who is now Obama's current White House chief of staff; Jamie Gorelick, a deputy attorney-general under Clinton; and Robert Zoellick, the current head of the World Bank.
From 1993 until 1997 Zoellick served as Fannie Mae's executive vice-president. Gorelick was vice chairman of Fannie Mae from 1997 to 2003, after she left the Clinton administration.
Kenneth Duberstein, former White House Chief of Staff for Republican President Ronald Reagan, served on the board of Fannie Mae from 1998 until 2007.
Financial institutions buying influence in Congress is nothing new. Then the taxpayers are asked to bail out those institutions, and even the media is married (sometimes literally, Mrs. Greenspan and Mr. Wilkinson) to the executive power structure of those institutions. THEN the media neglects to mention that relationship in covering the corruption that ensues.
So much for the "liberal media." The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell just gave Newt Gingrich a lovely talking point for the Hannity Show: "David Gregory should talk." Good lord, not to mention Clarence Thomas. Why should Clarence Thomas recuse himself for his wife's activities when David Gregory doesn't have to?
Seriously. If you're going to lie, at least come up with a plausible one that isn't disputed by the video evidence. The cops had to use the pepper spray to escape? That's not true. They didn't shoot it at the perimeter, where they would shoot it if they were trying to escape - they shot it at a dozen kids sitting on the ground in front of them. How did that facilitate their escape? This is a lie. From Jason Cherkis:
Claudia Morain, a UC Davis spokesperson, told The Huffington Post that there were 35 police officers on the scene, 50 occupiers and 200 bystanders.Go back to my original post. Watch the video.
She said that UC Davis officials had warned the occupiers that they could not set up a tent city. They were given notice that they had to clear out their tents by 3 p.m. on Friday. Some complied. Others did not.
"I can't speak for the thought process for the officer," Morain noted about the use of pepper spray. She said that the officers were essentially trapped (the videos suggest otherwise) and had to transport several of the arrested students. "The pepper spray was used because they needed to get out of there," she said, emphasizing that the students were repeatedly warned before the spray was deployed.