Czar Donic's Blog

Occupy the English Language

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 31, 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Occupy the English Language!

Doesn’t translate well:
 
OCCUPY THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
 
            I once asked a friend how, a country like England, a country with about 100,000 people who could read and write in the late 16th and early 17th Century, could produce writers such as Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe, Greene, Nash, Shakespeare, Bacon, Ben Jonson (I’m cutting off at 1620), and we, with over a hundred million have produced maybe Eugene O’Neil, Hemmingway, and a few others in a much longer period of time.
            “Technology,” was his answer. 
            I have no response.
            But I would like to start with a quote from one of the playwrights of the period, just the first two lines of one of his plays, the Alchemist (1610):
            “FACE: Believe’t, I will
            Subtle: Thy worse. I fart at thee.”
Now there is literature, English at it’s best, and the play developes from there!
            So what do we get today?
            I’d like to illustrate some of what has been produced lately.  First, we have someone who actually is the favorite of far too many people to actually become President, Newt Gingrich.  Here is a quote someone sent me recently:
Gingrich: “It’s really useful in debates to use facts to win, and I think it’s really dangerous not to use non-facts to win,” Gingrich said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,”
Now wait.  If I understand that correctly, unless you use non-facts in a debate you will run into danger.  Now, fortunately, we have a place to find non-facts: Fox News.  They are free and plentiful.
            Recently, I tried to remember a statement our last President made, but knew I could not get it right.  In fact, I defy anyone with any sense of our language and in his right mind to be able to remember a singly quotation from George W. Bush.
However, the same friend found the quote and I think it might reflect Russia’s attitude towards us and the UN when it comes to vote on Syria, although I’m sure the Russian would be better.  The saying as it was taught to me in Chicago was, “The first time you fool me, that’s your fault.  The second time, it’s my fault.”  Here is how Bush has it:
 Bush: There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.
Ah yes, what a leader!  A few other of his statements:
People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in’s house and say I love you.
I’m thrilled to be here in the bread basket of America because it gives me a chance to remind our fellow citizens that we have an advantage here in America – we can feed ourselves.
I’d rather have them sacrificing on behalf of our nation than, you know, endless hours of testimony on congressional hill.
And so, in my State of the – my State of the Union – or state – my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation – I asked Americans to give 4,000 years – 4,000 hours over the next – the rest of your life – of service to America. That’s what I asked – 4,000 hours.
It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber.
Russia is no longer our enemy and therefore we shouldn’t be locked into a Cold War mentality that says we keep the peace by blowing each other up. In my attitude, that’s old, that’s tired, that’s stale.
Columbia carried in its payroll classroom experiments from some of our students in America.
The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself.
One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end.
I think the American people – I hope the American – I don’t think, let me – I hope the American people trust me.
There’s only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug but having committed the troops, I’ve got an additional responsibility to hug and that’s me and I know what it’s like.
The law I sign today directs new funds and new focus to the task of collecting vital intelligence on terrorist threats and on weapons of mass production.
I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will.
First, we would not accept a treaty that would not have been ratified, nor a treaty that I thought made sense for the country.
This administration is doing everything we can to end the stalemate in an efficient way. We’re making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end.
Ann and I will carry out this equivocal message to the world: Markets must be open.
We’re concerned about AIDS inside our White House – make no mistake about it.
I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well.
I’m hopeful. I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure.
Now, he was a master, no doubt about it to the famous statements of his predecessor:  “I did not have sex with that woman….”   Brilliant!  We will remember that for ages!
Or even better, another one “It all depends on what ‘is’ is.”
Well, yes, I suppose it does.
Another line that I have always wondered about was the line from JFK, somewhat plagiarized, that everyone quotes with such admiration: “Ask not what your country can do for you – Ask what you can do for your country!”  Inspiring, I suppose, until you realize that the best thing you can do for your country is to make sure it works for you, not for mega-corporations, wars, banks, and the 1%.  It is about time WE got a bit selfish for a change. 
Or to quote an old Chicagoism: “Where’s mine?” 
Posted by Czar Donic at 1:28 PM

0 comments:

 

Post a Comment

Occupy — more detail

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 30, 2012

onday, January 30, 2012

Occupy — Too much stuff being ignored on corporate media — full update

 
Ok, here is the update in more detail.  There is also some coverage on Military rape – our male soldiers are raping our female soldiers. 
 
Then, at the end, there is more misguided sympathy with the Syrian opposition.  Libyans are now beginning to understand what really happened to them when the French, British, and the U.S. were all-too-eager to As of today, there are about 12,000 U.S. troops on the ground as well as many Al-Quaeda operatives and capitalist Libyans exploiting all the others.  The alleged mercenaries turn out to have actually been Libyan citizens.  Finally, they found that Gaddafi had distributed the wealth fairly equitably.  The truth is emerging slowly (but it has not even made it to our independent media, much less our corporate media). 
 
Well, the same propaganda is at work on the Syria operation and, really, I am just too tired to point out yet another example of stupidity.  It will speak for itself eventually.
 

Rush Transcript

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
Donate

Related Links

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Oakland, California, where police have arrested more than 400 Occupy Oakland protesters as well as a number of journalists. One of the largest mass arrests since the Occupy protests began took place on Saturday and early Sunday when people attempted to convert a vacant building into a community center. On Saturday, after the crowd reportedly refused to follow police orders to disperse from the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, witnesses say police used tear gas, bean bag projectiles and flash grenades. Several hours later, police said some of the protesters broke into City Hall. However, demonstrators claimed they found the door to City Hall already ajar.
The Associated Press quoted Oakland Mayor Jean Quan as saying people who broke into City Hall burned a flag they found inside, broke an electrical box, and damaged art displays. Mayor Quan, later directly addressing Occupy Oakland and its supporters.

MAYOR JEAN QUAN: Occupy Oakland has got to stop using Oakland as its playground, and that people in the community and people in the Occupy movement have to stop making excuses for this behavior.

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, the Occupy Oakland Media Committee group issued its statement, saying police officers had violated their department’s code of conduct for dealing with protesters, calling the mass arrests “illegal.”
For more, we go now to a video report from Oakland filed by John Hamilton.

JOHN HAMILTON: Occupy Oakland billed Saturday as “Move-In Day,” as their afternoon march set its sights on the sprawling Kaiser Convention Center near downtown.
POLICE OFFICER: I hereby declare this to be an unlawful assembly and, in the name of the people of the state of California, command all those assembled to immediately leave the area.
BOOTS RILEY: Occupy Oakland is marching to go occupy a building to have a home base. They’re kicking folks out of Oscar Grant Plaza, so we’re going to go take a building.
JOHN HAMILTON: A crowd of some 2,000 hoped to turn the vacant convention center into a community space, but Oakland’s police department had other ideas.
POLICE OFFICER: You may be arrested or subject to removal by force, if necessary, which may result in serious injury.
PROTESTER 1: This is not an unlawful assembly. This is a lawful assembly. We are not doing any vandalism.
JOHN HAMILTON: Thwarted in their attempt to claim a new space for Occupy Oakland, protesters soon found themselves face to face with scores of riot police. Stephanie Demos is an Occupy Oakland activist.
STEPHANIE DEMOS: Police began firebombing the crowd. They were shooting rubber bullets, they were shooting explosive devices, and they were shooting tear gas. And we were all gassed. I was gassed.
PROTESTER 2: I started tasting a little tear gas in the back of my mouth, and then I saw a shot, and it landed right where some people had these like corrugated metal sort of barricady things. And everybody started running. And then you could really kind of taste the tear gas.
JOHN HAMILTON: The extraordinary violence came as protesters sought to reestablish a permanent occupation, following police raids last November which cleared their encampment outside City Hall.
STEPHANIE DEMOS: For Move-In Day, the objective was to get a large building where we might be able to have our meetings indoors, especially during winters, and have a good kitchen where we could provide not only for ourselves as a movement, but provide for the homeless population in this town who do not have kitchens and do not have food half the time, have spaces for people, you know, to gather and have a library and every other kind of regular social function that a community space would have.
JOHN HAMILTON: Members of Occupy Oakland say their campaign to challenge corporate power was dealt a serious setback after city officials denied them a permanent public space. Marla Schmalle is an Oakland community activist.
MARLA SCHMALLE: When we had the encampment, people could come down every night. But people lived here all day, and they kept talking, and the consciousness began to build. So when the camp was taken away, and it was cold anyhow out here, I mean, we really need a place in order to develop our consciousness about what’s happening.
JOHN HAMILTON: In all, about 400 people were arrested throughout Saturday’s day of action, many of them kettled by police in an area outside a YMCA during a nighttime march through Oakland’s downtown. Again, Stephanie Demos.
STEPHANIE DEMOS: And as they were marching, they were waylaid by police again and kettled in to in front of the YMCA, where they were surrounded by police. And when they were given an order to disperse, they were not given a path to disperse.
PROTESTER 3: We want to go. We want to leave. Let us leave.
PROTESTER 4: We don’t want to be here. We want to go.
STEPHANIE DEMOS: They were completely surrounded and pushed into the building. So, there were people working inside the building who voluntarily opened the doors to the building to let people get in and escape out the back way.
JOHN HAMILTON: But the day’s actions and the arrests that would follow were not done. Pacifica Radio host Mitch Jeserich witnessed a further protest at Oakland City Hall.
MITCH JESERICH: I didn’t see anyone break into City Hall. The door was open. Some people went inside. A lot of people didn’t go inside. You could tell there was—a lot of people were hesitant to go inside. It seemed like a very major thing to do. The people who did go inside, they went into, I believe, the city council chamber, brought out the American flag that was in there, and then tried to burn it. They didn’t burn the whole thing, but they tried to burn it out here. Then the police showed up, fired some flash grenades, smoke bombs, and it dispersed.
JOHN HAMILTON: Though they endured the largest day of arrests in their young movement’s history, members of Occupy Oakland say they’re preparing to escalate their campaign.
PROTESTER 5: Occupy Oakland will join in enthusiastically with the call for a national and global general strike on May 1st, May Day, 2012. And we encourage all other Occupies, all other social movements in the world, in this country, to join on to that call, as well, and make May 1st a massive general strike across the world.
PROTESTER 6: With 200 exactly votes yes, a strike has passed. No stand-asides, zero no’s, to voted, 200.
JOHN HAMILTON: For Democracy Now!, I’m John Hamilton, with Brandon Jourdan, in Oakland, California.

AMY GOODMAN: And you are watching and listening to Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, as we turn now to Berkeley, California, to Maria Lewis. She’s a participant in the Occupy Oakland movement, an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, where she is broadcasting to us from.
Maria, explain what happened this weekend and what happened to you.
MARIA LEWIS: Hi. Yeah. So, this weekend, despite the brutal police repression that the people of Oakland faced, I think was a really beautiful weekend. What we saw was thousands of people taking to the streets to reclaim what this economic and political system in this country has systematically denied us, which is the right to basic food, basic shelter, basic medical care, the things that the Oakland Commune, Occupy Oakland, used to provide in its encampment and has been unable to since that encampment was brutally repressed by the Oakland police. There were thousands of people in the street who fought to reclaim a building, a vacant building, and one of the hundreds of vacant buildings in the city, and to open that space up for people as a social center, as a place where we can get basic—our basic needs met and meet them ourselves. And while we weren’t able to secure that building this weekend, I was really amazed at the spirit and the voracity of the Oakland residents who were fighting in the street this weekend.
I think one of the other things we saw this weekend was a brutal police repression that was really revealing about the priorities of the city. So, tear gas, flashbang grenades, rubber bullets, beanbag guns were all used against Oakland residents who were attempting to retake an abandoned building. All of this was used to protect abandoned private property, and I think that that’s really revealing about the city’s priorities, that it’s really more interested in protecting abandoned private property than it is in human beings.
AMY GOODMAN: Maria Lewis, what about some of the reports that said that the protesters were violent?
MARIA LEWIS: Absolutely. There was a lot of anger this weekend, and I think that the anger that the protesters showed in the streets this weekend and the fighting back that did take place was reflective of a larger anger in Oakland that is boiling over at the betrayal of the system. I think that people, day by day, are realizing, as the economy gets worse and worse, as unemployment gets worse and worse, as homelessness gets worse and worse, that the economic system, that capitalism in Oakland, is failing us. And people are really angry about that, and they’re beginning to fight back. And I think that that’s a really inspiring thing.
AMY GOODMAN: Maria, you were not personally arrested, but you have—I mean, this weekend, we saw one of the largest mass arrests in the last year. Seven hundred people were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge at the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. Talk about your own choices in not being arrested, also being a student and your involvement with this movement, and how the arrests were conducted.
MARIA LEWIS: Yeah. So, what happened—there were several arrests that happened during the day, when we attempted to occupy the Kaiser center, but the majority of the arrests happened later that evening when we attempted to march to a backup location and to occupy a backup location. The police kettled the protesters twice. The first time we were kettled at 19th and Telegraph, we were surrounded on all sides and given no option to disperse and then tear-gassed while in the kettle. And it was only really through the scrappiness and resourcefulness of the protesters that we were able to escape that kettle by tearing down a fence and escaping. The protest was then kettled about 20 minutes later at another intersection. Some people were able to escape over a fence, and a few people were able to escape through the YMCA, which opened its doors to us once they realized what was going on. But many people did not escape, and I’ve heard estimates of up to 400 people arrested.
AMY GOODMAN: Oakland City Council Member Ignacio De La Fuente accused the Occupy movement of engaging in domestic terror.

CITY COUNCIL MEMBER IGNACIO DE LA FUENTE: It’s an escalation with our—I think that basically what, in my opinion, amounts to kind of a domestic terrorism, when these people start taking buildings, and they start costing the city incredible amount of resources.

AMY GOODMAN: Maria Lewis, your response?
MARIA LEWIS: Yeah. I think that that was—the idea that reclaiming vacant abandoned buildings is terrorism is very retelling of the city’s priorities and of what the city—what the Oakland Police Department serves and protects. They are more interested in protecting abandoned private property than they are the people. And the idea that opening up a social center is terrorism is very telling of the narrative of the police state.


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Rush Transcript

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
Donate

Related Links

AMY GOODMAN: There is also news that the Occupy protests in Washington, D.C., are about to be raided. The National Park Service has said it will begin enforcing a ban today on Occupy protesters camping overnight in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, two parks near the White House where people have been living since October. We’re joined on the phone, as well, from McPherson Square by Justin Jacoby Smith, a member of the Occupy D.C. media team.
Justin, what’s happening right now?
JUSTIN JACOBY SMITH: Hi, Amy.
Well, at the moment, we are very slowly moving a number of our tents and other items into the center of the park. And the reason we’re doing that is to make sure that the people that are at the center of our movement, the people that have been disenfranchised by the 1 percent and their greed and their purges of our democracy—we are going to do our best to make sure that they’re protected from what is effectively a criminalization of poverty and a criminalization of homelessness. By choosing to evict the people who have no place else to sleep, they’re effectively criminalizing those among us who are disenfranchised. And that’s something that we’ll stand against.
AMY GOODMAN: Occupy D.C. has been one of the few places that’s in two separate squares, that have not been raided by the police, have not been ended. What has been your strategy, and what exactly will be your strategy now?
JUSTIN JACOBY SMITH: Well, we have had the benefit thus far of being on federal parkland, which means that rather than having to deal with the particular Metropolitan Police Department, we are under the jurisdiction of the federal Park Police, who essentially understand that our First Amendment rights, generally speaking, trump the demands of someone like Darrell Issa, who really works hard to—who has worked hard to politicize our ongoing encampment in a way that reflects well on him, of course, the richest member of Congress, as opposed to the fact that we’re out here struggling against exactly everything that he represents. And so, thankfully, on federal parkland, we have the benefit of having a cooperative and understanding and First Amendment-supporting police force, for the most part, despite occasional stubbles and occasional moments of struggle.
AMY GOODMAN: Justin Jacoby Smith, I want to thank you very much for being with us, member of the Occupy D.C. media team. And I also want to thank Maria Lewis, participant in Occupy Oakland, an undergraduate at University of California, Berkeley. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. Of course, we’ll continue to follow the Occupy movement in Berkeley and Oakland, in D.C. and all over the country. But when we come back, we’re going to Syria. Stay with us.


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.
 
Posted by Czar Donic at 4:44 PM

 

Sunday, January…

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Occupy — Too much stuff being ignored on corporate media

Occupy stands firm – solidarity with Longview continues!

Submitted by admin on Fri, 01/27/2012 – 15:32

Occupy stands firm – solidarity with Longview continues!

Don’t stop mobilizing until the workers declare victory!

As you may have heard, EGT and ILWU are back at the bargaining table and scab work at the Longview grain terminal has stopped.  Did EGT come back to the bargaining table because Washington Governor Christine Gregoire asked them to?  NOPE!  It was you.  The determination of the workers in Longview, ILWU ranks in other locals, and the thousands of people in the Occupy Movement threatening to mobilize on an exploitative and union-busting boss have forced EGT into negotiations.  The strength we demonstrated on December 12th during the coordinated West Coast port shutdown showed that the Occupy Movement is capable of disrupting profit-making and affecting the means of production–the only thing the 1% really cares about.  
While a contract with ILWU will not change the fact that EGT and its parent companies, specifically Bunge Ltd., are “Wall Street on the Waterfront,” witnessed by their record of despicable practices that destroy communities here and abroad, Occupy absolutely supports Local 21 in determining the terms and conditions of their labor.  Our movement remains committed to fighting economic systems that pit worker against worker for the benefit of corporations that exploit our natural resources and destroy the fabric of our communities.  
As confidential negotiations between the ILWU and EGT continue, we will continue to stand beside the workers of Longview.  West Coast Occupations will not stop organizing and preparing to mobilize until the Longshore workers claim victory.  If members of Local 21 vote to approve the contract, we will go celebrate with them.  If negotiations stall or if the results are not satisfactory to the Local 21 rank and file, our caravan will be ready to go.   
 

Railroad Workers condemn use of military to escort scab grain

Submitted by admin on Tue, 01/24/2012 – 17:46
Railroad Workers United
Unity—Solidarity—Democracy: The Rank and File in Action!
railroadworkersunited.org l info@railroadworkersunited.org
(206) 984-3051 l PO Box 1053, Salem, IL 62881
 
RWU Resolution Condemning the Use of the U.S. Military to Escort Scab Grain Ship in Longview, WA.
Whereas, EGT, a joint venture led by multinational grain giant Bunge, had originally agreed to hire union Longshoremen when accepting millions in taxpayer funds to build a huge new grain exporting terminal at the Port of Longview WA, but once the terminal was built, has now tried to void its contract and refused to hire ILWU labor; and
Whereas, EGT has managed to get enough scab grain across picket lines into the new terminal that EGT appears poised to load a ship soon in violation of their agreement with the port; and 
Whereas, a solidarity caravan of thousands of union members and community activists – endorsed by ILWU Locals 10 and 21, the S.F. and Cowlitz County (Longview) labor councils and many others – is being organized to support our brothers and sisters in Longview, for an emergency mass protest when requested to do so; and
Whereas, according to Long shore & Shipping News, within a month, the empty grain ship will be escorted by armed U.S. Coast Guard vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility; and
Whereas, this is the first known use of the United States military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of management in 40 years – not since the Great 1970 Postal Strike when President Nixon called out the Army and National Guard in an (unsuccessful) attempt to break the strike; and
Whereas, the use of the armed forces against labor unions is something you might expect to see in a dictatorship or police state but never in a free and democratic society; and
Whereas, ILWU international President Bob McEllrath has stated: “ILWU’s labor dispute with EGT is symbolic of what is wrong in the United States today. Corporations, no matter how harmful the conduct to society, enjoy full state and federal protection while workers and the middle class get treated as criminals for trying to protect their jobs and communities”;
Therefore be it Resolved, that Railroad Workers United condemns any and all use of the United States military to provide an armed sea and air escort for the empty grain ship, which is due to call at the new EGT grain terminal, Port of Longview, Washington, to load scab grain for export to Asia; and
Be it further Resolved, that RWU join with allies in other cities on the West Coast to participate in any press conferences and demonstrations that are organized to denounce this use of the military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of the foreign-owned “Wall Street on the Waterfront”; and
Be it finally Resolved, that RWU circulate this resolution to all rail unions, and urge our labor leaders to take a strong stand against this brazen assault, by a foreign corporation and our own government on the labor rights and civil liberties of our brothers and sisters in the ILWU. An assault on their labor rights is an assault on ours. 
Adopted by the RWU Steering Committee January 24th, 2012

US Labor Against the War condemn use of U.S. military in Longview

Submitted by admin on Tue, 01/24/2012 – 17:26
Originally posted at US Labor Against the War
Professional Staff Congress, City Univ. of NY
January 23rd, 2012
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 22:11:40 -0800
Whereas, EGT, a joint venture led by multinational grain giant Bunge, agreed to hire union Longshoremen when accepting millions in taxpayer funds to build a huge new grain exporting terminal at the Port of Longview WA, but once the terminal was built has tried to void its contract and refused to hire ILWU labor. With the use of brutal police and courts and 220 arrests in the 225 member ILWU Local 21, EGT has managed to get enough scab grain across picket lines into the new terminal that EGT appears poised to load a ship soon in violation of their agreement with the port; and 
Whereas, a solidarity caravan of thousands of union members and community activists – endorsed by ILWU Locals 10 and 21, the S.F. and Cowlitz County (Longview) labor councils and many others – is being organized to support our brothers and sisters in Longview, for an emergency mass protest when requested to do so, to confront union- busting by Wall Street on the Waterfront; and 
Whereas, according to Longshore & Shipping News, within a month, the empty grain ship will be escorted by armed U.S. Coast Guard vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility. The Coast Guard is an integral part of the US Armed Forces, operating under the Department of Homeland Security (except when engaged in combat operations abroad, as it did in Iraq, when it operates under the Navy); and 
Whereas, this is the first known use of the US military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of management in 40 years – not since the Great 1970 Postal Strike when President Nixon called out the Army and National Guard in an (unsuccessful) attempt to break the strike. The use of the Armed Forces against labor unions is something you expect to see in a police state. This is part of a disturbing trend where the US military, acting as enforcers for the 1%, is poised to be used against our own people, as exemplified by the new law allowing the military to imprison US citizens indefinitely without trial; and 
Whereas, now the US military, which has been oppressing, bombing and threatening other nations [a military that’s paid for with the workers’ taxes] is now being used against us, against American working people and our unions. To quote ILWU international President McEllrath: “ILWU’s labor dispute with EGT is symbolic of what is wrong in the United States today. Corporations, no matter how harmful the conduct to society, enjoy full state and federal protection while workers and the middle class get treated as criminals for trying to protect their jobs and communities.” 
Therefore be it Resolved, that the PSC condemn in the strongest terms the announced use of US Armed Forces (Coast Guard) to provide an armed sea and air escort for the empty grain ship, which is due to call at the new EGT grain terminal, Port of Longview, Washington, to load scab grain for export to Asia. We condemn this use of the military as part of a union-busting campaign to lower the cost of labor on the waterfront and destroy the union; 
And be it further Resolved, that the PSC join with allies to support press conferences and demonstrations that are organized to denounce this use of the military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of Wall Street on the Waterfront; 
And be it finally Resolved, that the PSC circulate this resolution to the New York City Central Labor council, and the New York State AFL-CIO. and urge them to take a strong stand against this brazen assault on our labor rights and civil liberties. 
Passed by the PSC Delegate Assembly, Jan 19, 20, 2012

Occupy responds to ILWU & EGT tentative agreement for Longview

Submitted by admin on Mon, 01/23/2012 – 17:48
For Immediate Release 
January 23, 2012
 
Occupy responds to ILWU & EGT tentative agreement for Longview
Occupations will continue to mobilize until the agreement is finalized by ILWU membership
 
Longview, WA –Occupy protesters and members of labor are still poised to converge on Longview, despite news of a temporary agreement offered to the longshoremen of ILWU Local 21, who have been mired in a 6-month long battle with multinational grain holding company, EGT. Occupiers say news of the offer is not stopping their plans to blockade the loading of a grain ship. 
 
Besides the fact that there is no public knowledge of an alleged “temporary agreement” between EGT (Export Grain Terminal) and the ILWU–despite suggestions otherwise–occupiers are concerned the bargaining process will be rushed. “Any legitimate negotiating process will allow rank-and-file reasonable time to consider and to ratify details of an agreement with their employer,” says Jess Kincaid, an organizer with Occupy Portland.
 
Occupies Portland, Longview, and Oakland, who have coordinated an inter-occupy caravan of protesters from along the West Coast, say they are not swayed by the new development: “What we want is the best possible conditions for rank-and-file. Anything less, and Occupy will mobilize as planned,” promised Occupy Oakland’s Barucha Peller. The company– majority-owned by multinational grain exporter Bunge– has used private mercenaries, litigation, and other forms of pressure to break the ILWU’s contracted jurisdiction on the West Coast. 
 
“This temporary agreement could be a step towards maintaining the jurisdiction of the Longshore union. However, Occupy will continue mobilizing until rank-and-file Longshore workers reach an agreement,” said Paul Nipper, organizer with Occupy Longview.
 
Supporters of the Longview workers are continuing to mobilize and stand ready for defense of the rank-and-file workers.
 
Updates can be found at www.OccupyTheEGT.org

Family Farm Defenders solidarity with ILWU

Submitted by admin on Mon, 01/23/2012 – 17:20
For Immediate Release                                                                       Jan. 22, 2012
 
Contact:  John E. Peck, executive director  #608-260-0900
 
Family Farm Defenders Declares its Solidarity with International Longshore Workers
Denying Workers The Right to Organize is a Gross Violation of Food Sovereignty 
 
Family Farm Defenders, a national organization based in Madison, WI expresses its solidarity with International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 21, and strongly condemns all attempts to deny workers their basic right to organize.  
 
“Similar strategies of collective action have been successfully used by farmers and workers for centuries in their struggles against corporate robber barons and the fight being waged today on the docks in Washington State, pitting unionized longshore workers against greedy grain exporters, is really no different,” notes John E. Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders.  “It was this historic solidarity that brought ILWU members all the way from the West Coast to bolster the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of protesters outside the state capitol in Madison during the Cheddar Uprising last spring, and which is prompting workers and farmers in Wisconsin and across the nation to express our support for their effort now.  An injury to one is an injury to all.” 
As an active member of La Via Campesina, the largest umbrella organization for family farmers in the world, Family Farm Defenders is a staunch advocate of food sovereignty. One of the underlying principles of food sovereignty is that ALL workers deserve a living wage, dignified working conditions, and the right to organize.   This guarantee extends to everyone working in the food/farm system – not just farmers and farmworkers, but also meatpackers, retail clerks, restaurant servers, truck drivers, and dockworkers. 
 
The union-busting corporation, EGT Development, which is now hiring scabs to replace ILWU workers, is hardly unfamiliar to family farmers as its dominant partner, Bunge North America, has a notorious reputation for commodity price fixing and taxpayer subsidized dumping.   Bunge is among the world’s top three grain traders and saw its profits jump by 77% in the last quarter of 2007 thanks to speculation on the global food crisis.    By the end of 2010 Bunge saw its revenues balloon to $45.7 billion with $2.35 billion in reported profits.  As a major peddler of livestock feed and agro fuels, Bunge is also responsible for environmental destruction, industrial factory farm expansion, and biotech contamination worldwide.
 
“This crude attempt by EGT to consolidate its control over West Coast export facilities is clearly designed to take advantage of the latest round of bad trade deals such as the Korea U.S. Trade Agreement (KORUS) and the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP),” continued John E. Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders. “To be honest the ILWU will be doing U.S. taxpayers a huge favor, too, by blocking any load of scab grain headed overseas, since these cheap exports are only made possible by denying farmers a fair market price and larding massive subsidies onto outfits like Bungee.”
 
Family Farm Defenders will also be urging its members and allies to contact Pres. Obama to express their outrage that the White House is directing the U.S. Coast Guard to support EGT Development against the ILWU in this labor dispute. ###

Tags:

Call to action from Portland

Submitted by admin on Mon, 01/23/2012 – 17:18
 
ALSO Text @noegtpdx to 23559 to receive notification.
 
CALL TO ACTION:
 
One of the most important labor struggles of our generation is happening in our backyard. Just one hour away in Longview, WA, the 1% is making an historic grab to break the labor movement. EGT has broken the 80-year-long standing agreement with ILWU, a union well known for its role in supporting the struggles of 99%.
 
Join Occupy Portland, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Longview, and a growing number of unions and organizations in mobilizing to Longview as soon as we receive the call for solidarity. This is a massive mobilization and all eyes are on us in Portland to help provide housing and transportation for supporters from as far away as Florida!
 
Help spread the word far and wide. We’ve attached the LIUNA Laborers 483 Resolution as a sample resolution in support of this action. The online caravan sign up form (link above and below) will help us count our numbers and organize our emergency mobilization plan.
 
Our next planning meeting is on Tuesday 1/24 @6pm at the SEIU 503 Hall, 6401 SE Foster Rd.
 
 
More links to get involved:
 
See you in Longview!
 
-Occupy Portland Labor Solidarity Committee

Occupation of Itochu in SF to Stop Union Busting Against ILWU At Port Of Longview

Submitted by admin on Mon, 01/23/2012 – 17:17
Labor solidarity supporters of ILWU Local 21 in Longview, Washington occupied the offices of Itochu in San Francisco. Itochu is part of a union busting partnership to break the ILWU coast wide contract. They have arrested and attacked ILWU members and their families in Washington and plan to open a Wal-Mart type operation at the grain elevator at the port

 
Occupation of Itochu in SF to Stop Union Busting Against ILWU At Port Of Longview
http://youtu.be/W4NiyTaNQhM 
Supporters of ILWU Local 21 Longview longshore workers in their fight against EGK occupied the offices of Itochu in San Franciso on January 20, 2012. Itochu is part of EGT which is seeking to set up a Wal-Mart type operation at their grain elevator at the port of Longview in Washington. They demanded that Itochu stop their union busting. They also said they would be going to greet the scab ship when it arrives at the port later this month. 
This action was also in conjunction with http://www.occupyWallStreetWest.org in which actions took place throughout San Francisco against banks and union busters. 
For more information on the Longview battle go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/256313837734192/ or email committeetodefendilwu [at] yahoo.com 
Production of Labor Video Project http://www.laborvideo.org

Oakland protest against the US Coast Guard

Submitted by admin on Mon, 01/23/2012 – 13:21
 

KBOO FM: Longshore Battle Looms in Longview

Submitted by admin on Sun, 01/22/2012 – 14:04
 

program date: 
 Mon, 01/23/2012
The Interntional Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) local 21 in Longview, Washington has put out the call to all working class people to come to Longview [date TBD] for an historic protest.  EGT, a giant multi-natiional corporation which controls one-third of the world’s grain trade, is trying to bust the ILWU, one of America’s most progressive and powerful unions.  EGT’s first grain ship will be docking soon, escorted by the U.S. Coast Guard.  Host Jamie Partridge interviews Meredith Reese from the Labor Solidarity Committee of OCCUPY Portland about organizing for this pivotal battle of the 99% vs the 1%.
Length: 9:23 minutes (12.89 MB)

KBOO FM: Occupy Portland’s solidarity with the ILWU

Submitted by admin on Sun, 01/22/2012 – 14:00


program date: 
 Fri, 01/20/2012
Join ani and Lyn with their guests to discuss how on-going struggles are relating to the Occupy Movement.
Arlo Stone is involved with Occupy Portland, and is currently working with Occupy the EGT, an action in solidarity with the Longview ILWU.  The Longview ILWU has been engaged in struggle against the huge union-busting corporation EGT, which has a grain ship scheduled to come to Longview within the next couple of weeks.  They have asked that “friends of labor and the 99% everwhere” support them is this struggle.
Nora Callahan is the Executive Director of the November Coalition.  She has just returned from a 5-weeks spent with Occupy DC.
We’ll also hear an update of other actions coming up for Occupy, including Friday’s Occupy the Courts, a national day of action to demonstrate against corporate personhood on the anniversary of the Citizen’s United decision; January 25th: A day of solidarity with Tahrir Square on the 1st anniversary of their uprising; an action against the NDAA on February 3rd, and F-29 A day of action to shut down corporations (on February 29th)– to name but a few. 
Length: 60:00 minutes (54.93 MB)

Pages

 

WC Port Shut Down

occupytheport

occupytheport SUPPORT NEEDED ON FEB 7 #F7 Oakland City Council will vote on Schaaf/Fuente resolution preventing Port Shutdown. #oo#occupyoakland #osf5 days ago · reply · retweet · favorite
occupytheport@Deviantdreamer solidarity with ILWU and other laborers who are being hurt by EGT. Also, Goldman Sachs has interests in many ports.5 days ago · reply · retweet · favorite

Search form

Search

Participating Occupations for D12

Guest Author — A Pirate

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 24, 2012

The following is by a guest author, name quite unknown, found on Andora.org.  I reprint it here as it offers a fine manifesto and tome on the “Pirate”.  It seems to be a translation from the French.  It has received a high volume of commentary which I am excluding as you can make up your own minds.  I have hear so many arguments on both sides, the starving and hard working artist being deprived of his pay to the large corporations ripping of the profits.  One commentator even pointed out that the same corporations that pushed SOPA develop much of the piracy software and another attacked Disney for sexualizing children.  (I have no idea about the relevance of the last attack, but it is true, home of Hanna Montana.)  In any case, it is a point of view that is not found easily, so I provide it here.  I also enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

« Pourquoi je suis un pirate !

Why I’m a Pirate!

Le mercredi, janvier 18 2012, 09:56 :: advocacy,  albedo,  buzz,  drm,  musique

Traduction française

Dear copyright industry, I’m a pirate. I’m the typical user you are fighting. I’m downloading everything and not giving you one single penny. I don’t even attend concert. You hate me and it’s reciprocal.

When I discovered high-speed Internet, I was a naive young innocent. I was downloading to discover new stuffs. Whenever I liked something, I would go to the shop and buy the CD. I discovered lot of music thanks to the pirate networks. Randomly or following advices. In the end, I bought something like 200 CDs. The first group I’ve joined on Audioscrobbler was called “I still buy CDs“. But today I regret that. I’m asking everyone to not buy CD any more. Not a single one !

Because you are not offering a good service

When I want to discover an artist or a movie, I’m heading to The Pirate Bay, I launch a search and I click. In less than 10 minutes, I’ve a full movie on my disk. In 20, I’ve the complete discography of an artist.

 

I would pay for such a service if it is as simple, as fast and, unlike the Bay, if it can make some guarantees on the quality. But you don’t offer that. Instead, you are trying to build fences and limitations. You are asking for huge amount of money only through credit card and you don’t have half the music I’m looking for. That’s not convenient and it’s more expensive.

I don’t even talk about CDs any more. This is now only a huge quantity of plastic waste, sitting in my living room. They are expensive, they become unreadable through the years or, thanks to DRM, they are unreadable since the first day.

In summary, you are offering less for a more expensive price.

Because you don’t use my money well

I’ve probably spent something like 2000€ for my CDs. You need to add the taxes on all the blank CDs I used to burn Linux iso. From that money, how much went to the artists and their studio? 100€? 200€? Everything else was probably diluted in stuffs I don’t need: packaging, distribution, transport, marketing, …

Your companies are in the top richest ones. The artists that are the most downloaded live in huge luxury houses. Others are dead. Don’t you find it a bit shameful to try the “bad pirates are killing the poor artists” story?

I’m sorry but I don’t think you need my money. I’ve showed my support to small artists with Flattr,JamendoCDbaby or Magnatune. For everything else, you will have to live without my wallet.

Because you are messing with my life

That’s it. Every penny I will give you will be used against me. Firstly, by making it difficult for me to use what I buy. Zoned DVDs, encrypted movies on the DVD requiring illegal software to be read under Linux or DRM to be sure I’m not able to listen to a CD.

 

Worst, you will use my money to sue me in court because I would have downloaded something that I didn’t want to buy anyway! With the change left, you will pay lobbyists to ensure the governments make stupid and dangerous laws.

 

Do you want me to pay lawyers to sue myself and lobbyists to make laws to send me in jails? Really?

Because you are destroying the whole society

Messing with my life was not enough. You are even trying to destroy one of the pillar of our society: education. Your heavy marketing is starting to work, people now understand the importance of “intellectual property” and that “sharing is bad”.

Bloody ignorant morons.

Thanks to you, schools are now afraid to give lectures in case there are some copyrighted materials in them. Teachers fear to be sued. To the point where giving the strictly minimal lesson is better than giving some examples. Famous works are not part of the education any more.

Some teachers themselves start to consider their lectures as “copyrighted material”, refusing to share it with colleagues. And when they attend training sessions, offered by the state and paid with public funds, it is to hear that the material of the session can be read but has to be bought if the teachers want to use them in their own classroom.

You are destroying the very symbol of civilisation: the enjoyment of knowledge, the joy of sharing, the cooperation and the education. I will never forgive you for that. Never. If I’m not taking action right now, my children will be more afraid of reading a copyrighted book than stealing in a shop or hitting someone with a knife. Those crimes are anyway less punished by the law than sharing a song on the internet.

How can you look at yourself in the mirror after that? How can you still have a peaceful sleep ?

Because your time has come

If I’m a pirate, it’s not to have some cheap music. It is because the time has come for you to fuck off. In your arrogance, you are hurting the fundamental value of freedom only to save your little petty interests.

The only comfort is to know that you will disappear soon. And nobody will miss you.

Pirately yours, 

Picture by arbyreed 
Traduction française

 

 

 

pirate

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 24, 2012

pirate

OCCUPY CABLE NEWS

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 23, 2012

Originally posted on Czar Donic's Blog:

OCCUPY CABLE NEWS
 
 
 
 Image
 
 
 
Illustration:  Thanks to the source of this graph.  No factual check on the debt except this chart so far.  Also, per capita, George W. Bush put more people of “food stamps” then did Obama, but hey, it’s a crowd pleaser.  Newt obviously said that because South Carolina Republicans don’t like blacks, or African-Americans.
 
            I just started reflecting and decided to write something about the last R. debate, and I find out that there is another one on Monday, the 23rd.  Isn’t this number 20?  Hey, it’s free programming for the cable networks. 
 
          About the only place to check news on American television now is Current TV, the only cable network not owned by a corporation.  On the Absurd Times Annex, there is, I think, a bit on how CNN covered the Anonymous movement, but it was only 10 minutes long and of…

View original 351 more words

OCCUPY CABLE NEWS

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 23, 2012

OCCUPY CABLE NEWS
 
 
 
 Image
 
 
 
Illustration:  Thanks to the source of this graph.  No factual check on the debt except this chart so far.  Also, per capita, George W. Bush put more people of “food stamps” then did Obama, but hey, it’s a crowd pleaser.  Newt obviously said that because South Carolina Republicans don’t like blacks, or African-Americans.
 
            I just started reflecting and decided to write something about the last R. debate, and I find out that there is another one on Monday, the 23rd.  Isn’t this number 20?  Hey, it’s free programming for the cable networks. 
 
          About the only place to check news on American television now is Current TV, the only cable network not owned by a corporation.  On the Absurd Times Annex, there is, I think, a bit on how CNN covered the Anonymous movement, but it was only 10 minutes long and of value only to those who knew nothing about it.  Also, Warner Brothers, and Time-Warner owns CNN, gets 25cents for the sale of any anonymous mask.
 
          It must have been hard for them to cover the protest against the SOPA act as their parent companies were lobbying for it!
 
          But anyway, the last debate, attended by South Carolina Republicans and other professional wrestling and NASCAR fans, opened with the CNN moderator, John King, being “bitch slapped” by Newt Gingrich over Newt’s sexual hypocrisy.  Since Newt won, if we watch any more cable news, we are likely to be treated to more mental images of Newt having sex.  A good opening question would have been, “Newt, where was your penis last night?”
 
          Herman Cain appeared in the run-up to the election saying, “Stay informed, ‘cause stupid people are ruining America.” Stephen Colbert was running as Herman Cain.  It looks as if he got 2% of the vote.
 
          We learned that Romney just lost the Iowa Caucus to saintly Santorum.   Is this yet another “flip-flop” on Romney’s part?
 
          The election was held on the anniversary of Newt’s punishment and $300,000 fine for ethics violations while Speaker of the House.  It was also the anniversary of the citizen’s United Verdict. Fulfilling, no?
 
            There were tornado warnings all day long during the primary.
 
          Judge Scalia came up with a solution for those who are upset with the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizen’s United: “just turn off your T.V.”
 
          Well, maybe he’s right.  Ceny Uygur is on at 6, EST and Keith Olbermann at 7, EST, and Jennifer Granholm at 8, EST on Current.  There is all the news you can tolerate right there and it is fairly accurate, unlike the corporate owned outlets. 
 
          “Whore-Monger” is the Elizabethan (16th Century) word for “pimp”.  “War Monger” is the same for Republican (except Ron Paul, who is crazy in almost every other area except drugs and prostitution.  Otherwise, he is a Republican).
 
          Anyway, that’s enough for this week, don’t you agree? 
 
          I’ll think about something less idiotic for next time.  Well, I’ll try to. J
 
           
 
 
 

Image

#operationpalestine

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 20, 2012

“#OpFreePalestine” 

60+ Sites Hacked By PCCS As a Part Of #OpFreePalestine 2:58 PM  Security-ray  No comments 
We all know that a few days ago the hacktivist group Anonymous announced their new mission “#OpFreePalestine”. After the announcement many hacking groups of the world joined in that mission “#OpFreePalestine”. The hacking group Pak Cyber Combat Squad(PCCS) from Pakistan have also joined to the mission by hacking 60+ websites where most sites are UK based. 

[Image]
Attached Video In Deface Page:



Hacked Sites And Mirror Links List:

http://pastebin.com/LdTADJVZ


Message In Deface Page:

“Unknown & Krayzie was here !
 
PAK CYBER COMBAT SQUAD
Free Palestine . . . We will not go down..Freedom is our goal. .// End the Occupation. . . . .
?

Stop Supporting israel

This is For the Child that is Searching for the answer !

Wish i could take your tears and replace them with laughter !

Long Live Palestine , Long Live Gaza. “

Posted in:  Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook 
You May Also Like -[Image]Operation Free Palestine #OpFreePalestine on th …[Image]Official Website Of Brazil Government And Brazi …[Image]Bank of Bhutan,Bhutan National Bank And Interne … [Image] [Image]

Labels: “#OpFreePalestine”
   

Occupy

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 17, 2012


Occupy!
Illustration: Another great depiction by Keith Tucker, at www.whatnowtoons.com
 
 
 
 
By
Ellis Dea
 
 
          I had first wanted to call this “Occupy Congress” as thousands are converging on Washington to stage an Occupy Congress movement.
          Then, I remembered that this Wednesday, January 18, Wikipedia, the 6th largest site, Reddit, and others are “going dark” from 8 to 8 in protest of the SOPA (Stopping of Piracy Act) and other movements driven by corporations to inhibit the flow of information on the internet in the name of “Intellectual Property”.  I worked in “Intellectual Property,” and believe me this would not be the answer.  This is an attempt to turn our internet or web into something like what happens in China (not many know how to use a proxy server). 
          Then I remembered that Obama signed the Defense act that allows him to order the military to arrest and detain any citizen, or anyone else, with no right to a lawyer, trial, and so on.  Do it indefinitely.  There is now a lawsuit against Obama for it and an interview about it is below.  It is brought by Chris Hedges who is in the interview along with his attorney who makes some excellent points.  I cannot remember a President who did not consider the Bill of Rights an offensive impediment to “good government”.
          I think of terms like morons, idiots, fools, and so on, and then realize that these once had technical meanings, I.Q. scores of certain levels.  Clods!  Yes, but then a lot of clods are not in the government.  They simply sit in the audience during Republican debates and boo and applaud and shout out inanities. 
          One of the best comments I heard on the whole thing was to regard the primaries as just another “reality show,” entertainment, wait to see who is kinked off the island last.  I tried, has a few laughs, then turned the thing off in disgust.  Morons!! As if any one of these puppets would do anything differently except appointing Supreme Court nominees.
          One thinks of the Military act in terms of Nazi Germany, but then I am weary of hearing about Nazi Germany.  Talk about “beating a dead horse”!  And if we had listened to Maynard Keynes, there would have been no Hitler as our capitalistic and greed Treaty of Versailles guaranteed another war.  Yes, Keynes was right then and his ideas are right now.  Was it the Gestapo or the SS that went after “Communists”?  Who cares?  Now it will be the Armed Forces of the United States, even though it doesn’t want to. 
          I decided to post all the transcripts from the Democracy Now program as they give pretty good detail on many of these issues.  Now frankly, I am becoming weary of this entire corporate state and all of its fascist activities and then writing about them, prolonging the agony.  However, it’s about all I can do, so here it is:
         

January 17, 2012

Journalist Chris Hedges Sues Obama Admin over Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens Approved inNDAA

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has filed suit against President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes controversial provisions authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world, without charge or trial. Sections of the bill are written so broadly that critics say they could encompass journalists who report on terror-related issues, such as Hedges, for supporting enemy forces. “It’s clearly unconstitutional,” Hedges says of the bill. “It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing.” We speak with Hedges, now a senior fellow at the Nation Institute and former New York Times foreign correspondent who was part of a team of reporters that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. We are also joined by Hedges’ attorney Carl Mayer, who filed the litigation on his behalf in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. [includes rush transcript]
Guests:
Chris Hedges, senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He is a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and was part of a team of reporters that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of a number of books, including Death of the Liberal Class andThe World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress. His most recent article is published on TruthDig, called “Why I’m Suing Barack Obama.”
Carl Mayer, a public interest lawyer who runs the Mayer Law Group. He is representing Chris Hedges in his complaint against President Obama and the National Defense Authorization Act.
Related stories

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. 
Donate

RELATED LINKS

·                     “Why I’m Suing Barack Obama.” By Chris Hedges
AMY GOODMAN: During Monday night’s debate in South Carolina, Republican candidates sharply disagreed over a new policy to indefinitely detain American citizens. President Obama approved the measure as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which includes controversial provisions authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. President Obama added a signing statement when he signed the NDAA, stating, quote, “I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”
Well, last night, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney defended Obama’s approval of the bill, saying he would have done the same.
KELLY EVANS: Governor Romney, as president, would you have signed the National Defense Act, as written?
MITT ROMNEY: Yes, I would have. And I do believe that it’s appropriate to have in our nation the capacity to detain people who are threats to this country, who are members of al-Qaeda. Look, you have every right in this country to protest and to express your views on a wide range of issues, but you don’t have a right to join a group that has challenged America and has threatened killing Americans, has killed Americans and has declared war against America. That’s treason. And in this country, we have a right to take those people and put them in jail.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Republican presidential front-runner Romney, talking about the controversial indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA.
Meanwhile, Rick Santorum said a U.S. citizen who’s detained as an enemy combatant should have the right to a lawyer and to appeal his case before a federal court. And Ron Paul said holding American citizens indefinitely is a breach of the U.S. judicial system.
When President Barack Obama signed the NDAA, sections of the bill were opposed by key members of his administration, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta,FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Many civil liberties activists believe the law is unconstitutional.
Well, today, an announcement is being made in New York, filing a complaint in the Southern U.S. District Court against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the NDAA. Their plaintiff is none other than veteran war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges.
For more, we’re joined by Chris Hedges himself, senior fellow at the Nation Institute, who recently wrote a piece for TruthDig called “Why I’m Suing Barack Obama.” Chris Hedges is a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times, was part of a team of reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terror. He is author of a number of books, including Death of the Liberal Class and The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.
And we’re joined by Chris Hedges’ attorney Carl Mayer, who filed the litigation on his behalf.
Chris Hedges and Carl Mayer, welcome to Democracy Now!
CHRIS HEDGES: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Chris, why are you suing President Obama?
CHRIS HEDGES: Because it’s clearly unconstitutional, for starters. But secondly, it is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing. And even that passage that you read from the White House, I think, is deeply disingenuous, because Dianne Feinstein had a resolution by which, within that bill, Americans would be exempted from this, and the Democratic Party and Barack Obama rejected it. All of the debate with Carl Levin, who, with McCain, sponsored the bill, was a struggle between the White House so that they would assume—they would have the right to assume which Americans would be detained by the military without due process and held indefinitely until the end of hostilities, this kind of endless war on terror. It’s an extremely frightening step backwards for American democracy. And as someone who’s spent 20 years overseas and has lived in countries where the military has that kind of power, I have friends who have disappeared into these military gulags. We have unleashed something that I think is truly terrifying.
And as discontent grows, of course, the criteria by which people can be investigated in this country are so amorphous, even bizarre—I mean, somebody who is missing fingers on a hand or somebody who has more than seven days’ worth of food. It’s a very seamless step to include in that list some of the obstructionist tactics of the Occupy movement. And I think that for those of us who care about civil liberties, the right of dissent and freedom, we have to stand up. And that’s why Carl and I have decided to do this.
AMY GOODMAN: Carl Mayer, how does this—how does this litigation work?
CARL MAYER: Right, well—
AMY GOODMAN: And why not a class action lawsuit, where many people file?
CARL MAYER: Right. Well, the purpose of the litigation is to have a federal court declare this act unconstitutional. And that would apply to everyone.
Chris is an important plaintiff in this, because—you just showed the clip from Mitt Romney. I’m not sure that Mitt Romney has read this bill. The act is so broad and vague that it covers, in its writing, any persons who give, quote, “substantial support to al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or,” quote, “associated forces,” which are incredibly broad, nebulous terms and could capture, within those—their terms, journalists like Chris Hedges, who courageously has gone around the world to interview members of opposition parties, to interview members of terrorist groups, to report the truth. And so, when Mitt Romney says these are people who are in terrorist organizations, that’s not how the bill is written. It’s written so broadly that it could encompass a journalist like Chris Hedges. It could encompass people who are engaged in free speech and in all sorts of activities that have nothing to do with what Mitt Romney, etc., are talking about.
And so, we filed this action. I filed it in conjunction with my colleague Bruce Afran, who’s a professor of constitutional law at Rutgers Law School, another veteran public interest attorney. And what we’re asking the court to do is to declare that this law violates not only the First Amendment rights of citizens like Chris to report and to speak about these issues, but also the Fifth Amendment right to due process, because what this—what this bill does is it sends people to military tribunals, and it allows for the indefinite detention of these people. It even allows for the rendition of covered persons, which is not defined in the act, to render these people to foreign countries.
AMY GOODMAN: And explain what you mean by that. This is extraordinary rendition.
CARL MAYER: Right. And so, what the act permits is that if someone is deemed under the act to be giving, quote, “substantial support” to, quote, “associated forces” that are associated with terrorists, they could be sent overseas at the determination of the American military, or they could be held in a military prison here indefinitely, or they could be tried in a military court. And as Chris Hedges, who is courageously bringing this as a plaintiff, pointed out, there is a longstanding Supreme Court decision called ex parte Milligan, which dates to the Civil War period, in which several people were held by the military for plotting to overthrow, during the course of the Civil War, the governments of Indiana and Ohio. And they were sentenced to death. The Supreme Court ruled, after the Civil War, that as long as there are civilian courts operating, you cannot try these people in military courts, even people who are—whose avowed purpose was to overthrow the civilian governments of Ohio, Indiana, etc. So, it is that level of protection that is built into the Constitution. And that’s what our ancestors fought for, is to uphold the Bill of Rights, due process rights, right to a trial by jury. And all of this is being abrogated by this legislation.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to bring in what Rick Santorum said last night at the Republican debate in South Carolina about a U.S. citizen detained as an enemy combatant having the right to a lawyer to appeal their case before a federal court.
RICK SANTORUM: First off, I would say this. What the law should be and what the law has been is that if you are a United States citizen and you are detained as an enemy combatant, then you have the right to go to federal court and file a habeas corpus petition and be provided a lawyer. That was the state of the law before the National Defense Authorization Act, and that should be the state of the law today. You should not have—you should not have—if you’re not an American citizen, that’s one thing. But if you are a citizen and you’re being held indefinitely, then you have a right to go to a federal court. And again, the law prior to the National Defense Authorization Act was that you had the right to go to a court and for that court to determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether you could continue to be held. That is a standard that should be maintained, and I would maintain that standard as president.
AMY GOODMAN: Chris Hedges, Rick Santorum versus President Obama?
CHRIS HEDGES: He’s not a politician I usually have much in common with, but this is right. I mean, this is about the egregious destruction of the rule of law. I mean, we have to remember that under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act, some of this was already happening. José Padilla, for instance, was picked up by military courts, held without trial, access to due process—again, a U.S. citizen—went to the Supreme Court, and by that time, they handed him over to civilian court to—and the Supreme Court never made a ruling on it. But I think that this essentially codifies this very extreme interpretation of this 2001 act into law.
And more importantly, it expands the capacity by the state in terms of defining who is, quote/unquote, “not only a terrorist, but somebody who is,” in their terms, “associated forces” or substantially supports people defined as terrorists. And, of course, the reason for that is that many of these groups that are being attacked in Yemen and other places had nothing to do with 9/11—they didn’t even exist when 9/11 happened—and to expand this into the civilian population of the United States. And I think, Amy, one of the most sort of disturbing aspects of this is that the security establishment came out against it—the CIA, the FBI, the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence. None of them wanted it.
AMY GOODMAN: President Obama said he was going to veto it.
CHRIS HEDGES: President Obama said he was going to veto it, but we now know from leaks out of Levin’s office that that’s because the executive branch wanted to decide. They wanted the power to decide who would be tried, who would be granted exemptions. It wasn’t actually about the assault against due process.
And I think we have to ask, if the security establishment did not want this bill, and the FBI Director Mueller actually goes to Congress and says publicly they don’t want it, why did it pass? What pushed it through? And I think, without question, the corporate elites understand that things, certainly economically, are about to get much worse. I think they’re worried about the Occupy movement expanding. And I think that, in the end—and this is a supposition—they don’t trust the police to protect them, and they want to be able to call in the Army. And if this bill goes into law, and it’s slated to go into law in March, they will be able to do that.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you a quick question about a comment Texas Governor Rick Perry made last night, in a related, but not exactly the same thing as what you’re talking about. He said on Sunday the Obama administration has gone “over the top” in criticizing marines who were videotaped urinating on Afghan corpses.
GOV. RICK PERRY: What bothers me more than anything is this administration and this administration’s disdain all too often for our men and women in uniform, whether it is what they’ve said about the Marines—now, these young men made a mistake. They obviously made a mistake.
BRET BAIER: You’re talking about urinating on the corpses?
GOV. RICK PERRY: They made a mistake that the military needs deal with, and they need to be punished. But the fact of the matter—the fact of the matter is this. When the Secretary of Defense calls that a despicable act, when he calls that utterly despicable—let me tell you what’s utterly despicable: cutting Danny Pearl’s head off and showing the video of it, hanging our contractors from bridges. That’s utterly despicable.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Rick Perry, Texas governor. Chris Hedges, you were a longtime war correspondent.
CHRIS HEDGES: Well, you know, when people are killed on a battlefield, and those who are deemed the enemy are, at best, treated like human refuse. But usually they’re treated like trophies. They’re often dismembered. I mean, one of the first things you do after you kill an enemy combatant is go through their pockets. And in war after war that I covered, the desecration and mutilation of corpses was extremely common. So, I think that what we saw was a window into the reality of war, one that has essentially been censored from public view.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us, Chris Hedges, Carl Mayer.

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

January 17, 2012

Wikipedia, Reddit to Shut Down Sites Wednesday to Protest Proposed Stop Online Piracy Act

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia and sixth most visited site in the world, will join websites like the content aggregator Reddit to “go dark” on Wednesday in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its companion bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), which are currently being debated in Congress. “What these bills propose are new powers for the government and also for private actors to create, effectively, blacklists of sites that allegedly are engaging in some form of online infringement and then force service providers to block access to those sites,” says Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “What we would have is a situation where the government and private actors could censor the net.” Chief technology officials in the Obama administration have expressed concern about any “legislation that…undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.” But the bills’ main backers—Hollywood movie studios and music publishers—want to stop the theft of their creative content, and the bills have widespread bipartisan support. A vote on SOPA is on hold in the House now, as the Senate is still scheduled vote on PIPA next Tuesday. [includes rush transcript]
Guest:
Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, where she specializes in intellectual property and free speech issues.
Related stories

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. 
Donate

RELATED LINKS

·                     Electronic Frontier Foundation
AMY GOODMAN: If you want to know more about two controversial internet anti-piracy bills moving through Congress, you won’t be able to consult Wikipedia on Wednesday. The online encyclopedia and sixth most visited site in the world will join websites like the content aggregator Reddit to “go dark” for 12 to 24 hours in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy, or SOPA, Act and its companion bill, the Protect IP Act. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales announced the decision to bring down his website last night on Twitter, writing, quote, “Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”
The White House responded over the weekend to two petitions opposing the bills. The administration’s chief technology officials wrote on White House blogSaturday, quote, “We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”
While the White House did not take a definite position on SOPA and the Protect IP Act, it has called for legislation to combat online piracy that has hurt the legislation’s main backers: Hollywood movie studios and music publishers who want to stop the theft of their creative content. Now a vote on SOPA is on hold in the House. The Senate is still scheduled to vote on the piracy issue next Tuesday, a week from today.
Well, to talk more about the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and the Protect IP Act, we go to San Francisco to talk Corynne McSherry, who is the intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
We welcome you to Democracy Now! Please explain both of these bills. It’s very tough, I think, for most people to understand the technical aspects of this legislation.
CORYNNE McSHERRY: Sure. In a nutshell, what these bills propose are new powers for the government and also for private actors to create, effectively, blacklists of sites that allegedly are engaging in some form of online infringement and then force service providers to block access to those sites. And that’s why we call these the censorship bills, because effectively what we would have is a situation where the government and private actors could censor the net. So, U.S. citizens would basically get a different version of the internet, different from what you might get in, say, Italy or even China.
AMY GOODMAN: So, explain the difference between SOPA and the Protect IP Act.
CORYNNE McSHERRY: Well, currently they’re quite—they’re quite similar. As drafted, SOPA was much broader than the Protect IP Act, and the folks behind the bill realized that maybe it was a little bit too broad, so they tailored it down. So now they’re quite similar. One of the differences is that SOPA is, finally, after a great deal of activism, more or less on hold for now. But Senator Reid is saying that he’s going to push forward the Protect IP Act, despite all of the opposition.
AMY GOODMAN: And explain who is behind these two acts.
CORYNNE McSHERRY: Well, that’s not a great mystery. Both of these acts are clearly being pushed hard by the big media industries, who seem to think that online piracy is why they’re having trouble, and actually, who insist that they’re having all kinds of trouble and they’re failing immediately if something doesn’t—if legislation isn’t passed immediately, they’re going to all go under, which is not true. In fact, the motion picture industry has been posting record profits for five years straight.
AMY GOODMAN: In a December hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Congress Member Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, talked about the lack of expert consultation in drafting SOPA.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ: I was trying to think of a way to try to describe my concerns with this bill, but basically, we’re going to create—we’re going to do surgery on the internet, and we haven’t had a doctor in the room tell us how we’re going to change these organs. We’re basically going to reconfigure the internet and how it’s going to work, without bringing in the nerds, without bringing in the doctors. And again, I worry that we did not take the time to have a hearing to truly understand what it is we’re doing. And to my colleagues, I would say, if you don’t know what DNSSEC is, you don’t know what you’re doing. And so, my concern is that there is a problem, but this is not necessarily the right remedy.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Utah Congress Member Chaffetz. Corynne McSherry, your response?
CORYNNE McSHERRY: I think he’s absolutely right. SOPA, in particular, was negotiated without any consultation with the technology sector. They were specifically excluded. And one of the things I think is really exciting, though, is that—you know, no one asked the internet—well, the internet is speaking now. And so, we’re seeing all kinds of opposition all over the web. And there’s going to be a day of action tomorrow. People are really rising up and saying, “Don’t interfere with basic internet infrastructure. We won’t stand for it.”
AMY GOODMAN: What do you make of President Obama’s position on the bill, Corynne?
CORYNNE McSHERRY: Well, it was heartening to see the White House statement and see the White House sort of stand with the internet and stand with its own commitments against censorship and against online censorship, in particular. Up until recently, we have been very concerned that there seemed to be a contradiction. On the one hand, you had Hillary Clinton criticizing foreign governments for online censorship and for censoring web results and so on. But at the same time, you had these bills rocketing through Congress that would propose very similar things. So, it was good to see the White House stand against that and criticize these bills. On the other hand, I am concerned that the White House seems to think that some kind of legislation needs to be passed this year. And I actually don’t think the case has been made for that.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the whole issue of the protection of artists, for example, the music industry and their concerns.
CORYNNE McSHERRY: Well, look, there’s no question that there’s plenty of infringement online. That’s been true for a long time now. The question is how you’re going to answer it. And the best way to respond—it’s very clear at this point. The best way to respond to online infringement is to give people a better alternative. And when that happens, people go to that. So that’s the best way to do it. It’s not to pretend that the Pirate Bay doesn’t exist; it’s to give people an alternative to the Pirate Bay. And one of the things that we’ve seen is that, actually, independent artists are taking advantage of new technologies to reach the—reach new audiences. Music fans have more access to more music than they ever had before, and different kinds of music. And that’s what happens when you take advantage of new technologies, as opposed to running away from it.
AMY GOODMAN: Let me read you a tweet that Murdoch sent out this weekend: “So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery.”
CORYNNE McSHERRY: Well, you know, I think it’s ironic to talk about paymasters, given the amount of money that Hollywood has been spending in Congress to try to ram these bills through. I think it is true that the Obama administration has somewhat stood with Silicon Valley here, but I think Silicon Valley knows how to protect itself against so-called software piracy better than Rupert Murdoch will.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, the votes, where they stand this week?
CORYNNE McSHERRY: Well, what we’re seeing now is Harry Reid, Senator Reid, is insisting that he’s going to go forward with a vote next Tuesday on the Protect IP Act. We’ll see what happens over the course of the week. Things have changed a lot. And after the day of action tomorrow, a lot of us are hopeful that Senator Reid will think better of trying to push this bill through, given the level of opposition. It’s really just a bad idea, particularly when you think about what they’re doing here. This is basic internet infrastructure that they’re messing with. And I think that Representative Chaffetz had it exactly right. It’s foolish to go in and interfere with internet infrastructure when you don’t know what you’re doing.
AMY GOODMAN: And overall, SOPA and PIPA, how they’ve been separated?
CORYNNE McSHERRY: Well, SOPA seems to be on hold for now. If PIPA is rammed through, it may be that in the House of Representatives they will try to revive SOPA and sort of bring the two bills in line. I certainly hope not, because that would be very, very dangerous for human rights, for internet security, and send an extremely negative signal around the world that the United States government does in fact support censorship, as long as you say that you’re doing it in the name of intellectual property enforcement.
AMY GOODMAN: Corynne McSherry, I want to thank you for being with us, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. When we come back, we’ll be joined by author Rebecca MacKinnon. She has just written the book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom. This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute.

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.
 

January 17, 2012

“Internet Censorship Affects Everybody”: Rebecca MacKinnon on the Global Struggle for Online Freedom

As protests mount against two controversial internet anti-piracy bills moving through Congress, we speak with Rebecca MacKinnon, author of the forthcoming book, “Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom.” “If we want democracy to survive in the internet age, we really need to work to make sure that the internet evolves in a manner that is compatible with democracy,” MacKinnon says. “And that means exercising our power not only as consumers and internet users and investors, but also as voters, to make sure that our digital lives contain the same kind of protections of our rights that we expect in physical space.” She argues that for every empowering story of the internet’s role, there are many more about the quiet corrosion of civil liberties by companies and governments. [includes rush transcript]
Guest:
Rebecca MacKinnon, senior fellow at the New America Foundation and co-founder of Global Voices Online. Her new book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom, will be out at the end of this month.
Related stories

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. 
Donate

RELATED LINKS

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined by Rebecca MacKinnon in Washington, D.C., author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom.
We welcome you to Democracy Now! Rebecca, the internet has been touted as such a tremendous liberating force. When we look at the events of this past year, the uprisings throughout the Middle East, part of the discussion of how that moment came is because of the internet, because of social media. And yet you talk about, more often than not, the internet is being used to spy on, to crack down on—spy on people, crack down on civil liberties. Talk about what you have found and how this relates to the legislation that we’re seeing now being developed in Washington.
REBECCA MacKINNON: Well, thanks very much, Amy, for having me on here today.
And just to connect my book to the issues that you were just discussing in the previous segment about the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act, I think the reason why this—these issues are so important for ordinary Americans and really go beyond just sort of a nerdy, geeky technical issue is that in today’s society, we, as citizens, increasingly depend on internet services and platforms, mobile services and platforms, not only for our personal lives and our businesses and our jobs, but also for our political discourse and political activism, getting involved with politics. And so, it’s very important that people who are exercising power, whether they’re corporate or whether they’re government, that are exercising power over what we can see, over what we can access, over what we can publish and transmit through these digital spaces, need to be held accountable, and we need to make sure that power is not being abused in these digital spaces and platforms that we depend on. And so, that’s why this SOPA andPIPA legislation and the fight over it is so important, is who are you empowering to decide what people can and cannot see and do on the internet, and how do you make sure that that power is not going to be abused in ways that could have political consequences. And we’ve actually seen how existing copyright law has sometimes been abused by different actors who want to prevent critics from speaking out.
But coming back to the Arab Spring, my book is not about whether the good guys or the bad guys are winning on the internet. The internet is empowering everybody. It’s empowering Democrats. It’s empowering dictators. It’s empowering criminals. It’s empowering people who are doing really wonderful and creative things. But the issue really is how do we ensure that the internet evolves in a manner that remains consistent with our democratic values and that continues to support people’s ability to use these technologies for dissent and political organizing. And while the internet was part of the story in the Arab Spring in terms of how people were able to organize, it’s not so clear to what extent it’s going to be part of the story in terms of building stable democracies in countries like Tunisia and Egypt, where the dictators did fall, let alone in a number of other countries.
In Tunisia, for instance, there is a big argument going on, now that they’ve had their set of democratic elections to the Constitutional Assembly, and they’re trying to write their constitution and figure out how to set up a new democracy. And Tunisia, under Ben Ali, was actually one of the most sophisticated Arab countries when it came to censoring and surveillance on the internet. And quite a number of the people who have been democratically elected in Tunisia are calling for a resumption of censorship and surveillance for national security reasons, to maintain public morals and public order. And there’s a huge debate going on about what is the role of censorship and surveillance in a democracy, and how do you make sure that power is not abused.
And they turn and look at the United States, they look at Europe, and censorship laws are proliferating around the democratic world. And there’s not sufficient discussion and consideration for how these laws are going to be abused. And we’ve seen, actually, in Europe, with a number of efforts to censor both copyright infringement as well as child pornography and so on, that a lot of this internet blocking that happens, even in democracies, oftentimes exercises mission creep, so things that weren’t originally intended to be blocked end up getting blocked when the systems are in place. It’s really difficult to make sure that the censorship does not spread beyond its original intent. It’s very hard to control. So, this is one of the issues.
It’s not that the internet isn’t empowering. It’s not that the internet can’t help the good guys—it certainly does. But we’re at a critical point, I think, in history, where the internet is not some force of nature. How it evolves and how it can be used and who it empowers really depends on all of us taking responsibility for making sure it evolves in a direction that’s compatible with democracy, and that it doesn’t empower the most powerful incumbent governments or the most powerful corporations to decide what we can and cannot see and do with our technology.
AMY GOODMAN: Rebecca MacKinnon, talk about the phenomenon, Control 2.0.
REBECCA MacKINNON: Right. So, Control 2.0 is what I refer to in terms of how authoritarian governments are evolving in the internet age. And so, one example I use is China. And China, in many ways, is exhibit A for how an authoritarian state survives the internet. And how do they do that? They have not cut off their population from the internet. In fact, the internet is expanding rapidly in China. They now have over 500 million internet users. And the Chinese government recognizes that being connected to the global internet is really important for its economy, for its education, for its culture, for innovation. Yet, at the same time, they have worked out a way to filter and censor the content overseas that they feel their citizens should not be accessing.
And what’s even more insidious, actually, is the way in which the state uses the private sector to conduct most of its censorship and surveillance. So, actually, what we know as the Great Firewall of China that blocks Twitter and Facebook, that’s only one part of Chinese internet censorship. Actually, most Chinese internet users are using Chinese-language websites that are run by Chinese companies based in China, and those companies are all held responsible for everything their users are doing. And so, they have to hire entire departments of people to monitor their users at the police’s behest and also to not just block, but delete content that the Chinese government believes infringes Chinese law. And, of course, when—in a country where crime is defined very broadly to include political and religious dissent, that involves a great deal of censorship. And it’s being conducted, to a great degree, not by government agents, but by private corporations who are complying with these demands in order to make a profit in China.
AMY GOODMAN: Rebecca, talk about specifics, like Facebook, Facebook—changes in Facebook features and privacy settings, exposing identities of protesters to police in Egypt, in Iran. Talk about Google. Talk about Apple removing politically controversial apps.
REBECCA MacKINNON: Right. So, for instance, with Facebook, Facebook has its own kind of type of governance, which is why I call private internet companies the “sovereigns of cyberspace.” And so, Facebook has a rule where it requires that its users need to use their real name, their real identity. And while some people violate that rule, that makes them vulnerable to having their account shut down if they are discovered. And so, the reason they do this is that they want people to be accountable for their speech and prevent bullying and so on. And that may make sense in the context of a Western democracy, assuming that you’re not vulnerable in your workplace or anything like that, which is even a question, but it means that you have to be—as an Egyptian activist or as an activist in Syria and so on, you’re more exposed, because you have to be on Facebook using your real name.
And actually, a group of prominent activists in Egypt who were using Facebook to organize an anti-torture movement were doing so, before the regime fell, under fake names, and actually, at a critical point where they were trying to organize a major protest, their Facebook group went down, because they were in violation of the terms of service. And they actually had to find somebody in the U.S. to take over their Facebook page so that they could continue to operate.
And you also have a lot of cases of people in Iran. There have been a number of reports of people being tortured for their Facebook passwords and so on. And the fact that Iranian users are, in most cases, using their real names makes them a great deal more vulnerable.
And as you know, here in the United States, Facebook recently was subject to a fine and had to reach a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission because of the changes in its privacy settings that had been sudden at the end of 2009. People had made assumptions about whether their friends could be seen or not publicly. Suddenly those settings changed, and it exposed a lot of people in ways that, in some cases, were very dangerous.
But also, let’s take some other companies and some of the issues that users face. Apple, in its App Store, it has different versions of its App Store in different parts of the world. And their Chinese App Store censors applications that the Chinese government believes to be controversial. So, for instance, the Dalai Lama app in the Apple Store is not available in China. But Apple employees are also making a lot of other judgments about what content is and isn’t appropriate, that goes according to standards that are much more narrow than our First Amendment rights. So, for instance, an American political cartoonist, Mark Fiore, had an app in which he was making fun of a range of politicians, including President Obama, and Apple App Store nannies decided to censor that app, because they considered it to be too controversial, even though that speech was clearly protected under the First Amendment. So you have companies making these judgments that go well beyond sort of our judicial and constitutional process.
You also have Amazon, for instance, dropping WikiLeaks, even though it had not been accused, let alone, convicted, of any crime, simply because a number of American politicians objected to WikiLeaks. And so, there is this issue of: are companies, in the way in which they operate their services, considering the free expression rights and privacy rights of their users sufficiently to ensure that we’re able to have robust dissent, that people can speak truth to power in a manner that may be making current government officials very, very uncomfortable, but which is clearly protected both under our Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
AMY GOODMAN: Rebecca—
REBECCA MacKINNON: Should we be expecting companies to push back a bit more?
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about the newly released government documents that reveal the Department of Homeland Security hired the military contractor General Dynamics to monitor postings of U.S. citizens on dozens of websites. The sites monitored included Facebook and Twitter, as well as several news sites, including the New York TimesWiredThe Huffington Post. General Dynamics was asked to collect reports that dealt with government agencies, including CIA, FEMA, ICE. Your thoughts?
REBECCA MacKINNON: Well, this is exactly the kind of issue that we need to deal with in a democracy. Now, if they have been hired to monitor postings that citizens are putting on a public website, I think that’s a reminder that our public information is public and that it’s being mined and watched by all kinds of people. But it’s also an example of why privacy settings are so important and why—why it’s important that people should be able to be anonymous if they want to be on the internet, if they fear consequences or if they fear misuse of the way in which they’re carrying out political discussions that could be used against them in different ways.
And there’s also a real issue, I think, in the way in which our laws are evolving when it comes to government access to information stored on corporate servers, that is supposed to be private, that we are not intending to be seen in public, which is that, according to the PATRIOT Act and a range of other law that has been passed in recent years, it’s much easier for government agencies to access your email, to access information about your postings on Twitter, even if they’re anonymous, than it is for government agents to come into your home and search your personal effects. To do that, they need a warrant. There is very clear restriction on the government’s ability to read your mail. Yet, according to current law, if your email is older than 180 days old, the government can access your email, if it’s stored on Gmail or Yahoo! or Hotmail, without any kind of warrant or court order. So, there’s a real erosion of our Fourth Amendment rights, really, to protection from unreasonable search and seizure. And this is going on, I think, to a great degree without a lot people realizing the extent to which our privacy rights are being eroded.
AMY GOODMAN: Rebecca, we have 30 seconds, but the significance of Wednesday, of tomorrow, of Wikipedia and many other websites going dark in protest of the legislation here in the United States? What do you think is the most important issue people should take away from what’s happening and also from your book, Consent of the Networked?
REBECCA MacKINNON: Well, I think the action tomorrow really demonstrates that internet censorship affects everybody, it’s not just affecting people in China, that this is an issue that we all need to be concerned about, and it can happen in democracies as well as in dictatorships.
And the core message of my book is that if we want democracy to survive in the internet age, we really need to work to make sure that the internet evolves in a manner that is compatible with democracy, and that means exercising our power not only as consumers and internet users and investors, but also as voters, to make sure that our digital lives contain the same kind of protections of our rights that we expect in physical space.
AMY GOODMAN: Rebecca MacKinnon, I want to thank you very much for being with us, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, co-founder of Global Voices Online. Her new book is called Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom.

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.
 
           
         
 
 

Image

Tagged with:

Occupy Religion

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on January 14, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

OCCUPY RELIGION

 

OCCUPY RELIGION
BY
Jock Strap
 
 
 
 
 
          The idiocy of cultism and religious indoctrination is endemic.  All over the United States, between school classes, kids drop to one knee and bow their heads.  They are imitating a professional quarterback named Tim Tebow who does this every time he gets lucky during a game (which has been too often this season).  He is thanking Jesus for helping him complete a forward pass.  This seems to me to be the equivalent of having twelve men on the field, but so far no penalty has been called.
 
          I am all-too-familiar with this sort of stupidity.  See, I have to confess here that I managed to put myself through college by playing semi-professional baseball in Illinois.  I was offered a baseball scholarship, but I compared the situations.  On the one hand, if I pitched an won four games during the summer, or played in eight, I could pay room, tuition, and board at a major Midwestern University – the state was more sensible and had better priorities then.  On the other hand, I could have my tuition paid and get to live in an athlete’s dormitory and eat with them.  It would only take about half of my time during the school year.  All I had to do was retain armature status. 
 
          Back then, college baseball players were very seldom afforded any opportunity to get to the Major Leagues.  The path was the minor leagues (and I turned down a contract there too).  See, they had this clause, before Curt Flood, that made you an indentured servant.  You could choose not to play once you signed, but you could not negotiate with another team if you had a good year.  So, screw that.
 
          As far as spending half my day playing baseball, dragging the infield, pitching batting practice, shagging fly balls, and sleeping near people with limited vocabularies was concerned, I declined that as well.
 
          So, it became particularly important for me to play those summer games, and better to become the winning pitcher.   Now, umpires and catchers were often a problem.  Umpires were not very well-paid and some had narrow strike zones.  I could live with that if it stayed consistent, but it often didn’t.  With some, if you threw the first pitch right down the middle and the catcher caught it, just about everything else was a strike.  Great, but it took awhile to figure that out.  Often, if the umpire took a dislike to you, everything was called a ball unless the batter swung at it.  If a batter did get on base, and then ran to second, the catcher would almost wind up and then throw to second and by that time the runner was on second.  Wonderful.  
 
          Once I got thrown out of a game for laughing or giggling.  There was this one batter in a very important game that I just could not get out.  I threw everything at him and the weakest hit he got was a double.  Things like that happen.  Well, it was a critical situation and he came to bat.  I threw the first pitch at him as hard as I could, aiming it at his temple.  He went one way, the bat the other, and his helmet was the only thing left in the batter’s box.  I put my hand on my mouth and said “Oh my god, are you ok?”  (Smirk).  I threw a slow curve on the outside corner next and he popped up to the second baseman.
 
          The next time he came up, I looked in for the signal and somehow disassociated.  All I saw were three sets of eyeballs looking at me, staring in fear, as I looked for the signal.  Those worried eyes were becoming comical.  I started to grin.  The eyes grew wider.  I smirked.  The eyes grew even wider.  I laughed.  I was thrown out of the game, still laughing, glad that the men in white suits were not called.
 
          Ok, to get to the point.  Most irritating after that freak show were batters who would cross themselves as they stood in the batter’s box.  I’d throw the first pitch at them, and then they would behave.  One day, another coach or manager arrived and asked “Wat da fuck d’ya tink yer doin?”
 
          I said, “I have enough to contend with, what with the catcher and the incompetent umpire, and do not intend to pitch against god as well.  It is unfair.”
 
          He never let me start another game.  Fortunately, it was time for graduate school and I got a teaching assistantship.
 
          So, Tim Tebow, you are lucky you were not an opposing batter.  And I hope you and your team loses.
 
          It does not make sense to try to translate this one, so next time, Deutschland!
 
Posted by Czar Donic at 1:46 PM

0 comments:

 

Post a Comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 416 other followers