Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Undercover cops in Denver instigate trouble (ACLU Report)
Now Playing: Denver (DNC) 2008 - cops use provocateur
z3 readers here is where I ... FOUND THIS STINKY STORY:
Undercover police officers posing as protesters staged a fight with a police commander during the Democratic convention, and it was so convincing they were pepper-sprayed by a deputy who wasn't in on the ruse, a civil liberties group says.
The officers pretended to struggle with the Denver police commander so it would look like they were being forcibly removed from a big demonstration and their cover wouldn't be blown, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado said.
The ACLU said it obtained a police report on the incident under a state criminal justice records law.
In a letter to city officials, the ACLU questioned whether the fake confrontation worsened a tense situation with demonstrators and violated police rules.
Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said he was unaware of the report and couldn't comment.
ACLU staff attorney Taylor Pendergrass asked the city of Denver's independent police monitor to order an investigation. The monitor, Rich Rosenthal, said he received the request and was looking into it.
The incident occurred on Aug. 25, the opening night of the convention. Police arrested 106 people that night, the most of any day during the convention.
Police have said anarchists planned to cause trouble near convention delegates' hotels and downtown businesses and that officers were trying to control the crowd.
A police "Use of Force" report released by the ACLU said, "In order not to be recognized as undercover detectives, some of the detectives put up a struggle with Commander Kroncke." Kroncke's first name wasn't immediately available.
Sheriff's deputies from neighboring Jefferson County were helping Denver police at the scene, and one deputy "thought that Commander Kroncke was being attacked" and sprayed the undercover officers, the report said.
The report said Kroncke was also sprayed. It doesn't say how many officers were involved or how badly anyone was affected by the spray.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 3:49 PM PST
File Sharring and Professor Nesson
Now Playing: Professor fights back at song-swapping lawsuits
Hello Z3 Readers
Todays reading is all about a Harvard Law School professor who is fighting back against the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999
This sucessful professor, (Nesson) who is the founder of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said in an interview that his goal is to "turn the courts away from allowing themselves to be used like a low-grade collection agency." He also argues that the digital theft law passed in 1999 is unconstitutional.
The full article is here:
Professor fires back at song-swapping lawsuits
By Rodrique Ngowi
The Associated Press
Nov. 16, 2008
BOSTON - The music industry's courtroom campaign against people who share songs online is coming under counterattack.
A Harvard Law School professor has launched a constitutional assault against a federal copyright law at the heart of the industry's aggressive strategy, which has wrung payments from thousands of song-swappers since 2003.
The professor, Charles Nesson, has come to the defense of a Boston University graduate student targeted in one of the music industry's lawsuits. By taking on the case, Nesson hopes to challenge the basis for the suit, and all others like it.
Nesson argues that the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 is unconstitutional because it effectively lets a private group — the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA — carry out civil enforcement of a criminal law. He also says the music industry group abused the legal process by brandishing the prospects of lengthy and costly lawsuits in an effort to intimidate people into settling cases out of court.
Nesson, the founder of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said in an interview that his goal is to "turn the courts away from allowing themselves to be used like a low-grade collection agency."
Nesson is best known for defending the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers and for consulting on the case against chemical companies that was depicted in the film "A Civil Action." His challenge against the music labels, made in U.S. District Court in Boston, is one of the most determined attempts to derail the industry's flurry of litigation.
The initiative has generated more than 30,000 complaints against people accused of sharing songs online. Only one case has gone to trial; nearly everyone else settled out of court to avoid damages and limit the attorney fees and legal costs that escalate over time.
Z3 Readers can keep reading this here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27756456/
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 2:58 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 18 November 2008 2:59 PM PST
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Trampled While Trying to Enter Final Presidential Debate
Now Playing: Vets Trampled by Police at 2008 Debates
Anti-War Veterans and Supporters Arrested and
Trampled While Trying to Enter
Final Presidential Debate
HEMPSTEAD, NY — Ten members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), a group of military veterans who are calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, were arrested along with at least five civilians outside the final presidential debate at Hofstra University on Wednesday, October 15. The group had been trying to get answers for their questions from the candidates. "Neither of the candidates has shown real support for service members and veterans," said Jason Lemieux, a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps who served three tours in Iraq, and member of IVAW.
The veterans and their supporters were met by riot police as well as police on horseback. After a tense standoff for five minutes, police used their horses to attack the crowd, knocking over and trampling several — including Army Sergeant Nick Morgan (pictured), who suffered a broken cheekbone. Read Reports by Ben Dean-Kawamura | by Alex Kane | Photo by Bill Perry
The questions IVAW wanted to ask were:
* (To Obama): "As President of the United States of America, are you prepared to back up your own words [about the illegality of the Iraq War] and the U.S. Constitution by supporting service members refusing to participate in what you describe as an illegal occupation?"
* (To McCain): "What promises are you willing to make, as a veteran, as a senator, as a presidential candidate, to the veterans of the United States, to prove that you will ensure the V.A. is fully funded, staffed and capable of preventing troops from suffering as they are now?" Demands in full: IVAW Send Letter to Schieffer, Plan Protest at Hofstra Univ. Debate
MORE COVERAGE: Photos by Jamie Lehane | Video from DN! | Video from IVAW | IVAW Press Release
RELATED: Will YOUR vote count? State's polls lack uniform standards | Anti-War Sentiment Still Strong Six Years After Congressional War Vote
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:16 PM PST
Friday, 14 November 2008
see you in Hell "racists"
Now Playing: Hate is on the rise against people of brown color
This makes me sick Z3 Readers
The link I found this is here:
An estimated half-million immigrants are living in the U.S. in defiance of deportation orders. The government has stepped up efforts to catch them, and has made 34,000 arrests in the past year.
The comment page is here:
I posted comment #145 and it is as follows:
joe-anybody wrote:How ignorant (is this a KKK site?) The Native Americans were here 1st and we "screwed them over" and TOOK their land How dare we act so pretentious These are humans these are people with hearts and souls All you who talk crap about "other people" will meet your maker someday and just to let you know "he is not racist nor does he (your maker) keep track of borders. How selfish, cruel and sick allot of you sound and "no doubt are"
Respect your fellow man or get on your "high horses" I dare you and challenge you to "try loving one another" You don't have it in you do you....? I might (inform you while I'm here) with "Hate in your Heart" you cant love your fellow man. Wow! No love... just all selfish crap talk about injustice and mean spirited laws. Don't bother arguing with me about "rules" or "laws" it all boils down to ONE THING...you either have LOVE or ....you have HATE......pick your sides and but be careful we don't see ya in hell ...for there are "no borders in heaven ... But "hell is full of Selfish, I got mine, beat down the poor-man, kind of people.
You make your bed on stolen Native American land ...and justify it by self-made white man law... and then you act as if God told you were better. Everyone of you who are for this insane treatment of fellow humans, should be "rounded up" by the real owners of this dirt you all parked your asses on. This land was stolen and now you point at others who skin is a different color.
Let me also add your opinions are the SAME as the KKK and other racist groups.... you are in league and "in bed" with white supremists... wither you like it or not your ideas both mesh along the SAME principles. They too will agree with you. Cool to be lock step with Racists huh! real true "Americans "Its ok for you will have friends in hell .... its full of people who think, act, and make laws that jail and criminalize others who only want a meaningful life and a chance to live. Justice is coming to people who hate! I cant wait!
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:59 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 15 November 2008 4:26 PM PST
Thursday, 13 November 2008
The sheepel's plate of slop is now served
Now Playing: The "daily slop" has been served to the masses
Topic: ANYBODY * ANYDAY
Hello my faithful Z3 Readers
I am sooooo happy I have this blog to report on all the great news of the day I have found this afternoon
This blog is sooooo great for sharing the stories that make me sick and a litany of travesties that I find in this sick world I live in.
So as I walk like a zombie through this corrupt world of greed, capitalism, hate, killing, and faux terror, I bring you today, more great snips of the funky shit that is put on our plate to digest form the corporate media whores.
I’m not gonna eat it …. Zombies don’t eat plates of dished up shit!
But for the non informed gullible sheeple this is your plate of slop, read on and enjoy:
Today sloppy serving will come from the “corporate rag” called ...
"USA Today" (yippiee!!)
Military reaches out to fix wounded vets' health care issues
By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAYThe military is trying to find at least 2,300 wounded veterans to see whether they are missing out on health and other benefits.
CIA: Al-Qaeda 'single biggest threat' to U.S.
Osama bin Laden is isolated from al-Qaeda's daily operations but the terrorist organization he built is spreading its influence.
Crimes by air marshals raise questions about hiring
By Michael Grabell, ProPublicaAn examination of official documents shows that 18 air marshals have been charged with felonies.
FDA to detain food shipments from China
Federal health officials Thursday slapped a sweeping detention order on all products that contain milk or "milk-derived ingredients."
Monthly foreclosures up 25% from a year ago, study says
But filings in California fell by double-digit percentage points for the second month straight due to a state law slowing the process.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:51 PM PST
Updated: Thursday, 13 November 2008 5:10 PM PST
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
What are the top reasons for impeaching Bush?
Now Playing: Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire ... and why Impeachent is necessary
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
Do I need to explain this? Well if you have been following the Zebra 3 Reports I bet you already know it all ... but for the sake of the "record" (haha!) here it is in print:
What are the top reasons for impeaching Bush?
Invading Iraq without any threat to the U.S.
Lying about Iraqi WMD's to Congress and the American people
Causing the deaths of over 2,000 U.S. troops and the maiming of over 10,000 more
Failing to provide adequate equipment and armor to U.S. troops
Allowing illegal torture and murder of prisoners
Causing the deaths of 100,000 Iraqi civilians
Spending $300 billion in just two years for an occupation that could last for decades
Letting Halliburton steal billions through no-bid contracts
Using vast quantities of depleted uranium weapons that will poison Iraq now and for generations to come
Ignoring countless warnings of an attack in the U.S.
Reading "My Pet Goat" during the attack
Letting Osama Bin Laden escape from Afghanistan
Holding no bureaucrat accountable for ignoring warnings
Delaying and obstructing the 911 Commission investigation
Turning Afghanistan into the world's largest opium producer
Allowing international terrorism incidents to quadruple and trying to cover up the facts
Failing to secure our borders and ports to prevent terrorism
Creating a new generation of terrorists through the invasion of Iraq and the killing of 100,000 civilians
Letting terrorists buy high-powered weapons inside the U.S.
Letting North Korea build nuclear bombs and missiles that can cross the Pacific Ocean
Refusing to shut down Pakistan's nuclear weapons exports
Turning the world against the United States
Preparing for another war with Iran
Signing treaties that cost America jobs and undermine American laws
Letting gasoline prices double at devastating cost to the economy while oil companies make record profits
Letting corrupt companies like Enron steal billions from consumers and employees
Cutting taxes for the rich and turning a $5 trillion budget surplus into a $5 trillion budget deficit
Adding trillions to the national debt, which our children and grandchildren will have to pay off with interest
Letting millions of American jobs go overseas
Letting bureaucrats wiretap Americans without a court order
Locking up suspects for years without charges or trials
Arresting nonviolent protesters at Bush events
Packing the courts with right-wing judges to outlaw abortion
Ordering federal courts to interfere in the Terri Schiavo tragedy
Taking away our right to sue corporations through class actions
Taking away our right to declare bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and forcing middle-class Americans into debt slavery
Stealing the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004
Refusing to investigate the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters in Florida and Ohio
Promoting black-box electronic voting machines without paper trails
Embracing dictators in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Russia, and China
Overthrowing democratically-elected leaders in Haiti and Venezuela
Allowing global warming, which will cause massive environmental damage
Allowing more toxic mercury in the air and water
Allowing oil drilling in wilderness areas
Illegally "outing" CIA agent Valerie Plame, an important anti-terrorism official
Letting a gay male prostitute (Jeff Gannon) roam free in the White House
Paying journalists to give favorable coverage to the administration
Relying on an earpiece for answers during debates and press conferences
Going AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard in 1972 and covering it up ever since
Defending the most corrupt Member of Congress (Tom DeLay)
MORE INFO & REASONING
FOLLOWS IN BLUE TEXT
1. Conspiring to out Valerie Plame and obstructing justice by commuting the sentence of Scooter Libby.
2. Refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas.
3. Illegally wiretapping the calls and emails of virtually every American citizen.
4. Issuing Signing statements that led to illegal actions as documented by GAO.
Since Speaker Pelosi is adamantly opposed to impeachment hearings for President Bush, which of these are the strongest grounds for impeaching Vice President Cheney?
Behind the scenes, Cheney and his Chief of Staff David Addington are key players in all of these battles. But because they operate behind the scenes, it is hard to indict them specifically - with the exception of #1, conspiring to out Valerie Plame and obstructing justice by commuting the sentence of Scooter Libby.
Cheney's role in the outing of Valerie Plame was partially revealed through the Libby trial. Just before Scooter Libby outed Plame to Judith Miller of the New York Times, Libby met with Cheney about disclosing classified information. Libby claims Cheney authorized him to disclose favorable parts of the pre-war National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, but that information was leaked to the press days earlier, and neither the Special Prosecutor nor the jurors believed Libby's story.
Beyond the trial record, there is testimony by Bush and Cheney that has not been published and can be subpoenaed. Also Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could be asked to prepare a report on these questions. After reviewing all available evidence, Congress could put both Libby and Cheney under oath and ask whether they discussed outing Valerie Plame or not.
After Scooter Libby was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison, Bush's commutation was widely viewed as intended to keep him from finally telling the truth to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, and thereby protecting his boss, Dick Cheney. News reports said Cheney urged Bush to commute Libby's sentence. After collecting all available evidence, Congress could put Cheney and all other witnesses under oath to determine if Cheney urged Bush to commute Libby's sentence - and whether it was to protect himself.
Under this scenario, several things could happen:
- Libby and Cheney could refuse to testify, but since these would be impeachment hearings, Cheney's defiance of duly-issued subpoenas would itself be an impeachable Contempt of Congress. This was Article 3 of the Articles of Impeachment for President Nixon.
- Libby and Cheney could lie to Congress, but that would be very difficult because of all the testimony collected in the Libby trial and the exhaustive analysis of that evidence by bloggers like Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel).
- The White House could attack Congress for daring to hold such hearings, but public support for Bush (and especially Cheney) is so low that these attacks would have no political impact.
Of course the major obstacle to impeachment is the belief by Democratic leaders that any form of impeachment would backfire politically. Therefore there would have to be really powerful arguments for pursuing impeachment, and I would offer these:
- Outing Valerie Plame was a devastating blow to our essential efforts to stop terrorists from acquiring WMD's, which is the single most important lesson of 9/11
- Outing Valerie Plame may have cost the lives of Plame's spies
- Lying to the FBI, and grand jury, and a Special Prosecutor is intolerable by any elected or appointed government official
- No elected official, including the Vice President and the President, can be above the law
- We cannot allow the Vice President and the President to spend their final year in office destroying evidence of numerous official crimes and pardoning those who committed them
- As every primary poll shows, the American people still want change, just as they did in November 2006 when they swept Republicans out of power in Congress. Holding the Vice President accountable for one of his gravest crimes is a powerful way to begin real change.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:08 PM PST
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Ex Nihilo: A Few Words From Those Who Have Heard The Call
Now Playing: capitalism and rising above the mess it created
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
Ex Nihilo: A Few Words From Those Who Have Heard The Call
(Being A Regurgitation And Temporalization)
What once hypnotized have now become un-affordable luxuries. When someone can barely afford to drive to work, they cannot afford cable television. When driving long commutes becomes economically impossible, people will move out of the soon-to-collapse rural cluster developments. Or, by that point, they will have been kicked out. More and more people are faced with a common reality in the USA, a common reality that is bleak and increasingly free of illusion.
But our once radiant and glowing mono-culture has trained many people into finding their niche, their group, their 'identity'. Now that the wallets are growing lighter and the daily drudgery more unbearable, these security blankets are becoming tattered and worn. They appear as they are: cheap masks dispensed by those at the top of the pyramid. These 'identities' have been manufactured for consumption and will die once no one CHOOSES to buy them. Or at least cannot afford to buy them.
The wars of the USA were hidden. The wars of the anarchists against the capitalists which took place from the late 19th to the early 20th century all across the country have been blacked out by those who write and dispense 'history'. The war of genocide against the native population is veiled under the blood red American flag. The militants who were exterminated in the 70's are non-understood images seen once on a screen and never explained. The militants who escaped were reabsorbed into society. The last time the upper classes fought themselves (by having other people die for them) in this country was nearly 150 years ago. This country has been dispensing a relatively stable comfort for those who bought into its system since the end of WWII. It has dispensed it consistently and adapted to all crises. Until now.
This comfort is vanishing. This comfort is a cork coming out of a champagne bottle. Soon it will all be gone. And when people reach for another drink, there will be nothing to distract them any longer. Capitalism ensured that its enchantments were affordable to everyone in order to generate a uniform non-reality, non-history and non-thinking: the mono-culture. These enchantments have worked miraculously for them. That is, once again, until now.
But what does a recently mind-controlled population do when its wide-screen gods die? When there is no more faith in the gadgets and garbage, all that is left is the grim reality stretching off into the distance. This reality is so bleak, overwhelming and powerful that it acts (by its very nature) as a unifying force. It connects worlds that were separate. The challenge, then, is to not unify around a dark negative but rather around a refusal of all dualities. A refusal of all that came from the minds in Hollywood and the Pentagon. A refusal of all that is dead. With this refusal must come an affirmation, an affirmation of affinity and of our abilities to make something out of nothing. Because that is where we all must start: from nothing.
We must not be solely reactive nor solely defensive. We must be solely nothing. Nothing at all. We must respond when it is best to respond and get high when it is possible to get high. Necessity should inform our defense and imagination inform our attack. If we still hold an 'identity' we should shed it. Our dying culture branded us with these hollow 'identities'. It is possible to have an identity. But it is yours and yours alone. Affinity is not identity.
In Kansas City, the Sand Liberation Front break the windows of an Obama campaign office. In Lawrence, a group of people throw bricks through a US Bank windows and ask for others to make similar deposits. In San Francisco, 10,000 people shut down the streets and walk off into the night. At the same time, those furious at the passage of a new fascist marriage law begin to lash out at the fundamentalist supporters of Proposition 8 by committing acts of vandalism. In Jonesboro, Arkansas, the energy which Obama has harnessed is unleashed against the police indiscriminately. Those wearing shirts with his face on them proceed to bloody the police.
Obama is a release valve. He is a pressure diffuser. His supporters have been tricked into confusing their own power with his. And in effect they feed him what is necessary for action. What is the next step in this situation? What fold exists for people to be brought into? We cannot draw people to a subculture. It is simply another 'identity'. There is only one way out of this Ouroboros-like fugue: to "shut the fuck up" and begin to build relationships with those around you from the ground up.
We begin, but we begin ex nihilo. That is, from nothing. If no one around us speaks Latin, we must not speak Latin if we wish to communicate with them. There is no other way to talk, to share, to grow. Our internal languages cannot ever become a universal language. If they ever did, they would be nothing better than the mono-culture. We will have many. And we have no choice in the matter.
Find your friends, friends whom have all freed themselves. Combine your thoughts and imaginations. Locate the cracks. Hit the cracks. When others act, watch what they do. Determine if there is commonality. Amplify or alter their efforts. Wait. Talk to those in YOUR communities, find out what they are thinking, what they wish would happen, and encourage them to act on their desires. Continue talking with them. Continue to locate the cracks. Sometimes you might find that the cracks you saw have already been hit by others. Soon, these cracks will become holes. Vacant, empty holes. Nothing will ever fill these holes again. The tower is crumbling. And will soon be gone.
These are our words and ours alone. If you are one of the unfortunate, over-educated ones, you should write your own words. Those of you who choose to not write are lucky. You have nothing but your bare hands and fire to make art with.
This was copied in full from Portland Indy Media
the link is below:
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:59 PM PST
Report the truth about Bush = Go To Jail for reporting it
Now Playing: The truth in Media met with JAIL for honest reporter
Zebra 3 Readers let me say this
"Im Mad As HellAnd Not Gonna Take This Shit Sitting Down"
Now that Im pissed off and "standing" ....please read about this fucking shit:
NEWS: The Bush administration's preoccupation with serving reporters with subpoenas could have long-lasting effects beyond Washington.
September/October 2008 Issue
James Risen should know a thing or two about government spying on Americans. Three years ago he, along with New York Times colleague Eric Lichtblau, exposed the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. Today he finds himself a subject of one of the Bush administration's leak investigations—and, ironically, what he suspects is a warrantless effort to trace his communications with sources.
This past January Risen got a subpoena demanding that he appear before a grand jury convened by the US Attorney in Alexandria, Virginia, to testify about the identity of the sources for a chapter in his 2006 book, State of War, dealing with cia operations against Iran. (He hasn't testified, and his refusal to cooperate could land him in jail.) "One of the great ironies is that I may be the only one who has to go to jail out of all this," Risen told me, "while Congress is trying to give immunity to the telephone companies."
Contacts of his have also been called to testify: "The intimidation begins with the document itself," says one who asked to remain anonymous. "'You are commanded to appear'—that will get your attention. It's delivered by a couple fbi guys. The trick is, too, they can impoverish you. You should expect to pay minimum 10 grand" for the lawyer needed to prepare for a grand jury appearance.
How did Justice track down Risen's contacts? Those who appeared before the grand jury were shown what they were told were Risen's phone records—even though neither Risen nor his newspaper have actually been subpoenaed for those records. Risen and the Times suspect that the government is monitoring Risen's communications using some other means, perhaps a "pen register" device that records the numbers called from a particular phone. A pen register does not require a warrant (though it requires approval by a judge).
The Bush administration's preoccupation with journalists and their sources may have long-lasting effects beyond Washington. Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, notes that a 2007 study found that news outlets around the country have seen a fivefold increase since 2001 in the number of subpoenas seeking information on confidential sources. Press freedom advocates have been pushing a federal shield law for journalists (a version passed in the House and at press time another was pending in the Senate). But the measure has a national security exception that could leave the likes of Risen and Lichtblau unprotected—and Bush has vowed to veto it if it passes.
Laura Rozen is national security correspondent at Mother Jones
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 3:47 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 November 2008 3:57 PM PST
Friday, 7 November 2008
David Rovics sends out an email about the future with our new president Obama
Now Playing: No change with the Obama .... or will America demand change
Hi My Friendly Z3 Readers I recieved this email today and knew it needed to be shared. Just how good is our "new hope and change" president going to be?
Well read on .... might as well as cross your fingers, and keep your "protest signs close by and handy"
~peace joe anybody
Some Thoughts on Obama
by David Rovics
Friends around the world keep asking me questions. Are you excited? What do you think of Obama? Others are simply congratulating me. And I must say, it was a thrilling moment.
As a teenager, in 1984, I volunteered for the Mondale/Ferraro campaign, mostly pushing bumper stickers. An anti-nuclear group was doing this, in the belief that Mondale would be less likely to cause Armageddon. I grew up in an overwhelmingly white, Republican town. I was a news junky from an early age, though, and politically active in one way or another. Of the Democratic candidates my favorite was Jesse Jackson, but looking around me I reasoned he had a slim chance of getting elected.
As an adult, living in urban areas all over the US, I saw little to dispel this illusion. There were more African-Americans getting elected to political office, but usually we were talking about mayors of majority-Black cities or Congresswomen from hotbeds of progressivism like Berkeley. But here I was, hanging out with my toddler, listening to my favorite local band, the Pagan Jug Band, sitting in a pub in Portland, hearing that Barack Obama has been elected President.
My initial reaction was that of Jesse's. I got a lump in my throat, and tears came to my eyes, thinking about the insanity of all the suffering that has gone down for so many centuries, the homes, dreams, and bodies broken by slavery and racism. And in fact until very recently, on the news broadcasts when they would mention the number of Black people in the Congress, in order to be factually accurate they always had to include the caveat, "since Reconstruction." More than that is rarely said about this ten-year period of Union Army occupation that allowed something approximating democracy, and even serious land redistribution, to exist in the South, before the Union withdrew and the South was plunged into at least a century of Apartheid rule.
Whether South or North, the prisons are filled with mostly dark-skinned people from places where you can graduate from high school without having learned how to read, where you can get asthma from breathing the air, where the police shoot first and ask questions later. They're in prison, but Barack Obama's not, he's on the TV giving a humble victory speech, quoting Lincoln. And this crowd of mostly young white people around me at the pub are all cheering at the TV screen, shouting his name, laughing, crying, and drinking. I'm pretty sure they all voted for him. Or if some of them were slacking too much to get around to it, they would have voted for him.
I had just gone there to hear the music, but it turned into a spontaneous Obama party, at that pub and at pubs and sidewalks and streets in cities all across the US, and apparently in other parts of the world as well. I remember being near the front of a march of tens of thousands of people back in 1985 or so, seeing Jesse Jackson at the front of the march with many of his volunteers lining the marchers, all wearing football-style shirts that read "88" on them, for his next Presidential campaign effort. I remember seeing on the faces and the placards of this mostly white crowd of marchers, an admiration and affection for the man at the front of the march, and I was wishing the whole country could be more like this crowd. And I feel so gratified that all the people talking about the so-called Bradley effect were wrong, that a majority of our eligible voters (not counting those millions of ineligible felons) would really end up voting for Obama.
There was one black-clad young man from Olympia who happened to be at the crowded pub, which was more crowded than I had ever seen it before. He bummed a light from me and started to talk. "This is great, you know, but I just can't help but think, 'meanwhile, in Afghanistan...'"
Every party needs a spoiler, and here he was. Too cynical to be entirely swept up in the moment, he was worried about the possibility that Obama might actually follow through with his campaign promises and send more troops to Afghanistan. And then over the past few days, the news gets more and more grim. Rahm Emanuel, a zealous supporter of Israeli Apartheid for Secretary of State. Larry Summers, Clinton's chief advocate for the World Trade Organization and deregulation of the financial sector, is being suggested as an economic advisor. Joe Biden, who voted for the war in Iraq, is already his VP.
Obama is surrounding himself with folks from Bill Clinton's administration. I remember those eight years well, I was protesting his policies the whole time. Welfare was reformed and social spending was gutted even more. The prisons became even more crowded with nonviolent drug offenders. The sanctions and ongoing bombing campaign in Iraq that happened on Clinton's watch killed hundreds of thousands of children, and his Secretary of State said the price was worth it. NAFTA was passed and then the WTO was formed, all with Clinton's blessings. These trade deals that Clinton and most of his party supported plunged millions of people around the world into poverty and an early death. Yugoslavia and Iraq will glow for thousands of years because of the nuclear waste littering the land that fell during the Clinton years.
Of course, Clinton inherited the mess in Iraq, and Clinton certainly did not invent neoliberal economics, nor did Clinton start the process of the de-industrialization of the US, the growth of Mexican sweatshops, or the support of the death squad regime in Colombia. But he embraced all of that, and much, much more.
On the other hand, in previous generations, things were different. Before the export of America's manufacturing base, before all the free trade agreements, before real wages in the US lost half their value, the US was run by liberals. Liberals like FDR and Nixon. Nixon? Yes, well, I studied economics a little, and social spending in the US actually continued to increase from the time of FDR to the time of Nixon. It was under Nixon that the EPA, the NEA and other such institutions were born. It was after Nixon that the budget-cutting began in earnest. From FDR to Nixon, whether the administration was Democratic or Republican, social spending increased. Since Nixon, under Democratic and Republican administrations, social spending has decreased.
There have, of course, been variations. FDR enthusiastically bombed Japan into the stone age, killing millions of innocents. Eisenhower was a Republican president, he preferred to bomb Koreans and Vietnamese. Johnson bombed them a lot more, killing millions. Nixon did it, too, of course. All along the way, by and large, there was overwhelming bipartisan support for these policies. Not among the population, but among the elite who rule it.
Several days ago I was exchanging email messages about the state of the world with my good friend Terry Flynn, a professor of economics and the social sciences at Western Connecticut State University. In one email he wrote, "a damn interesting time. The hegemon is rocked. I'm sure we're witnessing a re-configuration of the global order on par with the post-WW2 period." I asked what kind of reconfiguration did he see happening, and this was his eloquent reply:
It's a shift from one hegemonic era to another. The U.S. took over from the U.K. after the war. But our time is up. Don't know which country or alliance will dominate in the next cycle. The major contenders are China and India. But Russia is working very hard to leverage its massive geopolitical presence, natural resources, and techno-military culture, despite huge demographic deficits in comparison with the former countries. Russia has Europe by the balls due to, e.g., Germany's utter dependency on Russian natural gas. And it's far superior to India and China in many important ways. It's still a fucking wreck in terms of law and economic and social policies. But this whole transition is probably a 20 year affair. I just think that the catastrophic U.S. response to 9/11 and the current financial crisis push the regime change hard against the U.S.
If Obama wins the election, he might very well be a fine negotiator for the new, diminished role for this country. He can sell it as enlightened internationalism, not the decline of the American Empire. Of course, the patriots here will insist on waving the flag and encouraging the barbarians to bring it on. They won't go down without a fight. However, the U.S. simply can't afford to sustain its customary role. And there's no reason that China will continue to lend money for us to do so.
Anyway, that's a taste of my thinking on this matter. Oh, by the way, I don't for one minute expect that the new regime will be any kinder to the working classes. They'll still be global capitalists with a lust for power. In principle, no better or worse than the present crew. But as our country is diminished we might start talking seriously about peace and environmental degradation, etc. That could be ironic.
The Democrats have gotten more corporate donations than the Republicans in this last election cycle. The corporate elite has mostly decided that the Dems are better for business now. Better to send them in to clean up the mess. Obama is most definitely his own man, and an extremely intelligent, eloquent, youthful, good-looking and well-organized one at that. He has a brilliant background in community organizing and a first-hand familiarity with reality, the realities, for starters, of poverty, racism and US foreign policy -- those realities that, among others, so desperately need to be changed. Not only is he his own man, but he's the man of the people, of so many people, who so enthusiastically have supported his campaign, going door to door as part of his well-oiled campaign machine, giving him hundreds of millions of dollars in small donations, packing stadiums around the country and around the world, and waiting in line for hours to vote for him in the polls.
But he is also the man of the corporations, of the banks, of the insurance industry, who have funded his campaign massively, and are expecting a dividend for their investments. And they're getting it already, in the form of the appointment of those "liberals" (whatever that means) who supported Clinton's wars, sanctions and neoliberal economic reforms.
Obama has promised to raise taxes on the rich back to what they were under Clinton. I haven't carefully studied the numbers, but I believe we are talking about increasing the income tax on anything above $100,000 from 35% to 38%. Nobody is talking about returning it to what it was when the Progressive Income Tax was formed -- 90%. He is talking about taking soldiers out of Iraq and sending them to Afghanistan -- not bringing them all home and cutting military spending by 90%, in line with international norms, and doing away with this rapacious empire. He is talking about the middle class, and sure, he had to do that to get elected, but when does he ever talk about the poor, the imprisoned millions, the thousands of homeless walking cadavers haunting the streets of every major American city? Every politician talks about building schools, but what about free education through graduate school like they have in most European countries?
No, the scope of debate is far more limited than that. It is a scope defined by that increasingly narrow grey area in between "conservative" and "liberal." There are distinctions, some of them important. That 3% tax increase will do good things for many people, I hope. Perhaps we won't start any new wars, I don't know. Perhaps we'll withdraw from Iraq, but I'll bet no reparations for what we've done there will be forthcoming. Perhaps there will be no new wars on our civil liberties in the next few years, but I'll bet the prison population will not get much smaller.
I hope I'm wrong. But if I am to be proven wrong and there are to be serious changes in the welfare of people in the US and around the world, it will only be as a result of a popular uprising of people calling for a real New Deal for the 21st century, an end to the empire, housing, health care and education for all, and so on. Because even if Obama secretly wants all of these things, as so many of us would desperately like to believe, he's going to need plenty of popular pressure to point to if any of these things are going to become reality. If he really is the socialist wealth redistributor his opponents said he is, he's going to need massive popular support just to avoid being impeached for treason by those corporate stooges who dominate both parties in the Congress.
And if, on the other hand, he really believes his own campaign promises of meager tax increases for the rich, raising the salaries of teachers a bit, fighting terrorism, passing more free trade agreements, being Israel's best friend, and so on, then what we have in store is another Democratic administration. Different kind of like Starbucks is different from McDonald's -- they both pay poverty wages and feed you shit, but Starbucks includes health insurance.
David Rovics is a singer/songwriter and unashamed socialist based in Portland, Oregon.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:57 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 November 2008 3:59 PM PST
Terror Label Unconstitutional (for Oregon Charity)
Now Playing: A fucked up system - God Help America (please!)
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
Over at The Mercury there is an excellent article by Matt Davis titled:
Judge: Terror Label Unconstitutional
For Oregon Charity
Posted by Matt Davis on Fri, Nov 7 at 2:22 PM
Back in April I covered efforts by lawyers for the Ashland-based Al Haramain Islamic Foundation to get the Treasury Department to unfreeze its assets. The story was later covered by the New Yorker. In terms of how the government has acted since 911, the story is a massive, Orwellian deal. Yet I think there is something off-putting to most average readers in the complexity of the case...Nevertheless, the decision to pursue this policy by the treasury came about as the result of a Bush executive order. Let's hope this is the last time such a case has to come before the court.
Simply put, the government seized the property of an Islamic charity without justifying why. Yesterday, a federal judge said that's against the fourth amendment of the constitution, unless the government can provide more information to justify the designation. ..... (keep reading)
More to this story here in link below
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 2:39 PM PST
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