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Archive for September 16th, 2014

Cop’s Kid Critically Tased Over Broken Window

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Cop’s Kid Critically Tased Over Broken Window
Family and friends are questioning the use of force by Independence police after a struggle with an officer sent a 17-year-old, Bryce Masters to the hospital. The officer used a stun gun on the teenager who is now in critical condition. They are cooling his body to try and reduce swelling that may have been caused by hitting his head on the concrete or losing oxygen for a long period of time. Police say the officer did what he had to do to protect himself because the teen began to struggle with the officer. However, witnesses describe a different scene. “The cop was like, ‘you want to mess with me,’ and pulled out his Taser and tased him. I thought he shot him. Then he pulled him out of the car handcuffed him and drug him around the car,” witness Michelle Baker said. Masters’ father is an officer with the Kansas City Police Department.


First episode of ‘Roosevelts’ seen by 9 million

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

First episode of ‘Roosevelts’ seen by 9 million
NEW YORK (AP) — Once again millions of television viewers are transporting themselves to another century under the guidance of Ken Burns.

Iraq parliament rejects interior, defense nominees
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi lawmakers say the country’s prime minister has made his decision on the remaining posts in his Cabinet, including the critical positions of interior minister and defense minister.


Obama’s ISIS plan faces a grilling from all sides

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama’s ISIS plan faces a grilling from all sides
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry will spend the week facing tough questions about Obama’s ISIS strategy


St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor Troubled By Fox News, NY Post Ferguson Coverage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor Troubled By Fox News, NY Post Ferguson Coverage

St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor Gilbert Bailon criticized some conservative media outlets and national press for their coverage of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. 

Bailon singled out Fox News for focusing on looting and “chaos” while ignoring the “deeper story” in Ferguson, and also cited The Washington Post and the New York Post for running thinly sourced negative stories about Brown. 

Bailon, editor of the largest local paper covering the aftermath of the August 9 police shooting that left Brown dead and sparked a national debate on police tactics, spoke to Media Matters at the American Society of News Editors conference in Chicago this week.

While the editor and former ASNE president praised much of the national press coverage, he cited Fox News for criticism.  

“I think the national media has done a good job of capturing the story,” Bailon said. But he later said of Fox News: “I do think sometimes … it looks like the whole community was in flames, and it was really a few block area. Significant, but it wasn’t like St. Louis was on fire or out of control and there was mass chaos everywhere … it wasn’t like an all-consuming entire metropolitan area was hit by that, yet it commanded a huge presence of what was there.”

He added, “I think Fox took a different angle, their view was more of the view of the chaos, was really focusing on the looting and less of what was going on in the community pre-dating the looting. The looting was very dramatic…but there was the deeper story there. Some stayed on in town longer, I think there was a different viewpoint on them and less on the undercurrent. [Fox] didn’t look at it as deeply and as long as others, CNN did make an investment, MSNBC was there a lot.”

He also cited a Washington Post report that Brown had marijuana in his system and another from the New York Post that the officer who shot Brown suffered a fractured eye socket as facts his paper has yet to report because they cannot be verified.

“There’s been a couple of stories that I think the sourcing wasn’t quite as good on,” he said. “I don’t know whether these are wrong but we haven’t been able to verify it. There’s been talk that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system. Well that hasn’t been officially reviewed, we don’t know that yet. We haven’t reported that. The New York Post picked up some information about [police officer Darren Wilson] having an orbital fracture of his face … inflicted by Michael Brown. We have not found that to be true. In fact, it has been debunked by many.”


It’s Time for a National Strategic Agenda

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

It’s Time for a National Strategic Agenda
Nancy Jacobson, RealClearPolitics
If you wanted to distill the dysfunction in Washington down to one simple phrase, you could do a lot worse than this: “All tactics, no strategy.” In Congress, there are plenty of hearings being held and laws being proposed. In government agencies, there are countless programs, initiatives and imperatives. What we don’t have, as a nation, is any sense of where all of this is taking us. For too long, there simply hasn’t been a unifying vision that Americans can rally around. But there is now. On Sept. 17, No Labels is kicking off an unprecedented year-long effort…

Can Congress Be Responsible?
E.J. Dionne, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — There was a moment in the last quarter-century when the Congress of the United States made the nation proud. It did so across all its usual lines of division: Republican and Democratic, conservative and liberal, hawk and dove. In early January 1991, the Senate and the House staged searching and often eloquent debates over the first President Bush’s decision to wage a war to end Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait. The arguments, a prelude to votes on resolutions endorsing military action, were almost entirely free of partisan rancor and the usual questioning of adversaries’…


VIDEO: Passport delay victims ‘need refund’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

VIDEO: Passport delay victims ‘need refund’
Passport applicants who paid more than £30 extra for a “fast-track” service in an attempt to avoid processing delays should get refunds, MPs have said.

VIDEO: UK party leaders sign No vote pledge
The three main UK party leaders – David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg – have signed a pledge promising “extensive new powers” for the Scottish Parliament.

Climate change remedies ‘affordable’
A global commission says the extra costs of tackling climate change will be ‘modest’, but doing nothing could put the world economy at risk.


GOP: Obama’s Syrian aid won’t pass without big Democratic vote

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

GOP: Obama’s Syrian aid won’t pass without big Democratic vote
Some Republicans aren’t sure a majority of their conference will back vote.


Three Years Later, What Has Come of Occupy Wall Street?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Three Years Later, What Has Come of Occupy Wall Street?
This week marks the third anniversary of protesters descending on Wall Street to protest the havoc wrought by the 2008 Financial Meltdown, which had hit all Americans hard, except for the ones who had caused it.

What began as an open call from Adbusters to show up with a tent grew from dozens to hundreds, to thousands, to tens of thousands. Far from rejecting the extended sit-in, area businesses plied demonstrators with food and support. Those who could not make it to New York started their own hometown Occupy protests in solidarity, hundreds of them, across the country and around the world.

Adhering to the advertised mantra, “What is our one demand?” the Occupy activists connected with like-minded organizers in social justice and helped paint a portrait of the larger malfeasance plaguing society today: Bankers who had pushed derivatives industry-wide as a credible investment, while knowing they were bogus funds made of worthless mortgages, had led the stock and housing markets into a punishing recession, while using government bailouts to give themselves obscene bonuses despite their negligence. At this same time was an emerging generation of unemployed millennials saddled with unprecedented student debt, as the banks had consolidated the student loan racket with high interest rates and no chance of bankruptcy protection under President Bush.

And who was looking out for Americans in this modern Depression? Basically, no one, because things got so bad in the first place because our elected leaders have become so beholden to their campaign donors. Since the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United allowed unlimited outside spending in elections, candidates had dropped all pretense of serving their constituents, instead shifting their attention (and positions) in deference to billionaire kingmakers and Super PACs.

When beholding such a zero-sum option, it might seem clear why the only option left would be to get everyone you know to go out to the streets and bring this messed up paradox to the attention of everybody. Which is why, for whatever Occupy Wall Street is remembered for at its height, it should be considered an intervention for the country — a staged disruption by those who care, trying to alert an ailing entity to the damage it is inflicting. In this case, that entity with the destructive addictions is our modern political process, where who has the most money makes the rules, at the cost of all else — if it’s a Texas fertilizer plant exploding near a school, a chemical company polluting drinking water for all of West Virginia, or gun manufacturers decrying regulations despite massacred children.

With that is mind, assessing the impact of Occupy Wall Street might be best done by considering the goals of those who camped out in Zuccotti Park. For one, this was a protest, not a political party, so comparisons to the Tea Party are like apples and oranges. While the Tea Party turned outrage at the government into electoral gains (with a lot of help and money from the Kochs), Occupy Wall Street was at the opposite end of the spectrum – the end of the spectrum that views officeholders as courtesans for the corporate class. Asking Occupy activists why they didn’t just start a political party and run for office is like asking an atheist why they didn’t just pray harder.

Another essential in gauging the importance of Occupy Wall Street is recognizing that the Occupy movement did not simply fizzle out or lose steam. The fact is, Occupy encampments were broken up in a coordinated effort led by the Department of Homeland Security working with local police departments. This coordination was reported by Jason Leopold after acquiring DHS documents through the Freedom of Information Act. Far from losing momentum, the Occupy presence had grown so intense nationwide, gaining sustained media coverage, that this had become the biggest threat to the status quo in modern times. In widely documented raids, police drove protesters from public lands with blunt force, tear gas, and arrest, then proceeded to blame Occupy protesters for the mess that was left behind. Young protesters sprayed in the face with pepper spray without warning or provocation, rubber bullets fired at peaceful demonstrators, police charging with batons, this is what oppression looked like in 2011. This marked the era of the militarized police force, which has come under scrutiny in the wake of the Ferguson PD’s effort at martial law in Missouri.

So, besides the realization that heavily armed police forces consider themselves at war with their own communities, what else can we attribute to Occupy Wall Street with the benefit of hindsight? The immediate impact seemed to be how the debate in America changed almost overnight. No sooner had President Obama assumed office in 2009 than Republicans and conservatives began howling about deficit reduction. This sounds like a normal thing you do when you are running a first-world nation, but a more accurate way to look at it is that Republicans and Tea Partiers were demanding that Obama pay off the credit card charges from Bush/Cheney’s trillion dollar war, as well as their $2 trillion giveaway in taxes to the very rich. And they were acting like these bills arrived with the Obama family in the White House. Without fail, the mainstream media and Beltway punditry wrung their hands about what Obama was gong to do with this mess, that he better do something or we’d go off the fiscal cliff that John Boehner just made up, and it would be all Obama’s fault that Boehner refused to hold a vote on basic government funding like every Congress before him.

But a funny thing happened when a few folks started talking about the richest one percent using their money to work the political system to get even richer. “WE ARE THE 99%” became the rallying cry of a generation. The simplicity and inclusivity was said to be worthy of Madison Avenue. At once the conversation had shifted, and in that discourse, a word started coming up that used to seem unspeakable: class. To at once dispel that American notion that we are so different from other countries while decrying staggering inequality made the struggle of others real. Not like a news piece on a family clipping coupons during a recession. Real, like this weighs on you, and becomes a sense of indignation for your fellow American, the way you were outraged when you saw New Orleans submerged from broken levees and its citizens struggling for days following Hurricane Katrina.

That awareness was more than a narrative, more than a meme, more than a point in a debate. The broad perception was that America wasn’t just on the wrong track, it had been held up by railroad bandits.

What this really did was set the stage for the 2012 elections.

Through the drifting clouds of tear gas, stepping over the trampled bodies of demonstrators, and grinning into the same cameras that just showed all hell breaking lose, came Mr. Magoo, the most awe-inspiring tone-deaf candidate for president at the worst/best possible time. With Bain Capital affirming his vulture cred, an income so huge he refused to reveal his tax returns, he ran on absolutely nothing except saying what we have now isn’t working, even though it seemed to be working fine for him.

This was the guy with his finger on the pulse of America who insisted, “Corporations are people, my friend,” presumably thinking he was talking to a corporation. Corporate personhood had been a target of ire for Occupy Wall Street since it tends to indemnify financial criminals, and also because Citizens United had granted corporations VIP access to politicians. If Occupy Wall Street had been criticized for calling out how 1% of the people own 40% of the wealth, it sure seemed kinder than insisting that 47% of Americans would never take care of themselves and only live off of the government. When he lost by five million votes, he was the only one surprised, and blamed the weather.

But the disconnect was real, and continued. It seemed every few months there was another tortured outburst in print from some of the wealthiest men in Manhattan about how unfair the scorn was they faced, even though this was years after the protesters left Zuccotti. The people who seemed to be taking Occupy Wall Street the most seriously were the ones that it was intended for.

As I screen my documentary PAY 2 PLAY, I am asked sometimes what happened to Occupy, since it is included in our film about outsiders trying to have a voice in our political system. I will tell them about how I have met others at our screenings that preface their activism by saying they got motivated first from Occupy Wall Street. I met a young woman in Seattle who had mobilized first as a local Occupy organizer, who had since been elected to city council. Some of the very entities hosting our film about the problems with money in politics were off-shoots from local Occupy groups.

But I think more than anything, the point of Occupy was using your voice to speak out and finding out that you are not alone, there are many who feel the same way, and you are energized by this shared recognition. And once that common reality and strength is realized, you can go back to sleeping in bed and still live in accordance to your own mission.

Maybe someday we’ll have a reunion for the Class of 2011. But for now, our gratitude and admiration go out to all who occupied and inspired. Thank you for showing us that we are not alone. Our patriotism and compassion will push this pay-to-play system into the dustbin of history.

John Wellington Ennis’s documentary PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes is now having an extended run in NYC, LA, and DC.


Potosi Journal: For Miners, Increasing Risk on a Mountain at the Heart of Bolivia’s Identity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Potosi Journal: For Miners, Increasing Risk on a Mountain at the Heart of Bolivia’s Identity
A silver-rich mountain — seen by many Bolivians as a potent national symbol — is caving in after centuries of mining, but many of the men who work on the mountain do not want to move.



Chinese Leader Visits Sri Lanka, Challenging India’s Sway
President Xi Jinping of China arrived in Colombo, the capital, to sign a raft of agreements, after visiting the Maldives to sign agreements there.



Op-Ed Contributor: Israel’s N.S.A. Scandal
Is American intelligence data being used to persecute Palestinians?

Separatism Trial of Uighur Scholar Set to Begin in China
Ilham Tohti, widely considered a moderate voice who has promoted dialogue, is to be tried Wednesday on charges of separatism, which could result in a death sentence.




New York Man Charged With Trying to Support ISIS

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 16th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

New York Man Charged With Trying to Support ISIS
The most significant accusation in the seven-count indictment of Mufid A. Elfgeeh of Rochester asserts that he tried to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State.