Apr 062012



Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTvxpX3U8rw

PHOTOS @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17621939



By Anthony Verias, OccupiedGreece

Now I should be writing about the tragic suicide of an elderly man yesterday in Syntagma Square and the (mostly) peaceful gathering that followed that night to pay respects.

Unfortunately the Greek Gestapo had plans of ruining a somber vigil with candles and flowers. The first incident occurred when mourners went to place a candle at the tomb of the unknown soldier, police responded with tear gas.

This, however, was not the most shocking event of the night. That occurred when police were able to surround a female photographer and violently beat her to the ground. There were also reports of at least one other journalist being attacked. […]

READ / PHOTOS / VIDEOS @ http://occupiedgreece.blogspot.com/2012/04/greek-police-attack-female-journalist.html



Source: Keep Talking Greece

UPDATE: The President of Greek Photo-Reporters Union, Marios Lolos is set to undergo brain surgery due to injury he suffered after beaten by riot police. According to the Photo Union,  Marios Lolos was submitted to the hospital with  “with traumatic brain injury caused by baton (fractured skull-impressed), injury which requires surgical intervention!” The PhotoUnion asks for the support of foreign associations and other bodies.

For second consequent day riot police attacked journalists and photo-reporters covering the protest outside the Greek parliament. Riot police was adamant in not allowing anyone coming close to the Greek Parliament and started to push, kick and punches protesters, even journalists and photo reporters covering the second commemoration day for retired pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas who committed suicide on Wednesday morning.

Video: Tension, Camera Goes Out…

READ / PHOTOS / VIDEOS @ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/04/05/greek-police-beats-journalists-photo-reporters/



By Brad Plumer, Washington Post

[…] Why is Spain in so much trouble? The country is still mired in what the Financial Times’ Gavyn Davies calls “the austerity trap.” Last year, the country was supposed to whittle its budget deficit down from 9.3 percent of GDP to around 6 percent. Spain whiffed on that goal by a lot — its final deficit ended up being about 8.5 percent of GDP. In part that’s because economic growth was so poor, and in part it’s because regional governments were hesitant to cut spending sharply enough to hit the targets. (Madrid has only limited control over the provinces in this regard.)

So this time around, Spain’s Conservative government is promising an even stricter austerity plan, vowing to reduce the deficit from 8.5 percent of GDP down to 5.3 percent by the end of the year. Yet this sort of sharp budget-cutting could kneecap Spain’s growth even further. Keep in mind that the country’s unemployment rate already sits at a staggering 23 percent. A deeper contraction could, in turn, cause Spain’s housing and banking sectors to deteriorate further. So it’s not surprising that financial markets are nervous about lending Spain more money: The country’s borrowing costs have soared, with 10-year yields now at 5.75 percent, the highest level in 2012. […]

READ @ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-spains-now-threatening-to-drag-down-europe/2012/04/05/gIQA66XSxS_blog.html



A document advising the Bush administration against torture has resurfaced, despite his best efforts to hide it

By Jordan Michael Smith, Salon

In February of 2006, Philip Zelikow, counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, authored a memo opposing the Bush administration’s torture practices (though he employed the infamous obfuscation of “enhanced interrogation techniques”). The White House tried to collect and destroy all copies of the memo, but one survived in the State Department’s bowels and was declassified yesterday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive.

The memo argues that the Convention Against Torture, and the Constitution’s prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment, do indeed apply to the CIA’s use of “waterboard[ing], walling, dousing, stress positions, and cramped confinement.” Zelikow further wrote in the memo that “we are unaware of any precedent in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any subsequent conflict for authorized, systematic interrogation practices similar to those in question here, even when the prisoners were presumed to be unlawful combatants.” According to the memo, the techniques are legally prohibited, even if there is a compelling state interest to justify them, since they should be considered cruel and unusual punishment and “shock the conscience.”

Chillingly, the memo notes that “corrective techniques, such as slaps,” may be legally sustained, as might be “[C]ontrol conditions, such as nudity, sleep deprivation, and liquid diets…depending on the circumstances and details of how these techniques are used.” However much distress Zelikow’s memo caused the White House, it was not an ACLU briefing paper. […]

READ @ http://www.salon.com/2012/04/04/the_memo_bush_tried_to_destroy/singleton/



Frustrated by a lack of political power and fed up with blindly donating to politicians who consistently vote against the industry’s interests, a handful of leaders are determined to shake things up.

By Barbara A. Rehm, AmericanBanker

[…] “Congress isn’t afraid of bankers,” adds Roger Beverage, the president and CEO of the Oklahoma Bankers Association. “They don’t think we’ll do anything to kick them out of office. We are trying to change that perception.”

Unlike traditional banking PACs, which target hundreds of House and Senate races, the SuperPAC instead is focusing on making a big difference in just a handful of close elections.

SuperPACs are the latest campaign finance innovation, made possible by two 2010 court decisions. They are officially known as “independent-expenditure only committees” because they are not allowed to coordinate their activities with candidates. SuperPACs are attractive because there are no limits on contributions or expenditures.

With a regular political action committee, like the American Bankers Association’s BankPAC, an individual may donate no more than $5,000 a year. Then the PAC may contribute up to $10,000 to any one candidate in an election cycle — $5,000 for the primary and another $5,000 for the general election. […]

[…] “BankPAC is much broader and covers lots of different candidates. This is much more surgical,” Packard says. “If someone says I am going to give your opponent $5,000 or $10,000, you might say, ‘Yea, okay.’ But if you say the bankers are going to put in $100,000 or $500,000 or $1 million into your opponent’s campaign, that starts to draw some attention.[…]

READ @ http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/177_66/SuperPAC-banking-Howard-Headless–Friends-of-Traditional-Banking-1048138-1.html?zkPrintable=1&nopagination=1



By Jessica Mason Pieklo, Reality Check

Among the new restrictions appearing in anti-choice bills nationwide, it is the medical malpractice liability shields that have the potential to alter, perhaps permanently, women’s relationship with the civil justice system.

In both Kansas and Arizona measures are advancing that exempt doctors from medical malpractice suits should they withhold medical information in order to prevent a woman from having an abortion. These bills also shield doctors from malpractice claims if a woman suffers an injury from a pregnancy as a result of information withheld from her to prevent an abortion. Georgia just snuck a liability shield into their 20-week abortion ban. We can expect more to follow.

Proponents of these “wrongful birth” bills argue they are necessary to stem the tide of lawsuits like one in Oregon where parents sued for costs related to the care of their daughter who was born with Down’s Syndrome. In that case the parents argued that the medical professionals were negligent in conducting the genetic testing, and that had they known their daughter would be born with a disability, they would have had an abortion.


In practice this means that instead of an objective inquiry into the medical treatment and advice given to a pregnant woman based on what the profession as a whole considers competent medical treatment, the individual beliefs of the doctor will determine if advice given or care rendered was reasonable. In legal terms that changes the inquiry from objective to subjective meaning; there is no real basis to judge conduct against. It will no longer matter what a doctor’s peers believe to be considered good medical care: it will only matter if that particular doctor thought the care would avoid an abortion.

Furthermore, that inquiry won’t be focused on advice given or care rendered in the scope of protecting the health and life of the mother, but instead on decisions and care motivated solely to perpetuate a pregnancy. This erases the mother as primary patient to at best, a secondary consideration. What the medical community considers to be competent advice and care will cease to be relevant as the only concern will be: did this individual doctor make this individual decision based on his or her individual desire to prevent an abortion? In no other area of tort law do we allow this. And for good reason. […]

READ @ http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/04/02/medical-malpractice-shields-threaten-to-permanently-alter-medical-care-women



Believe me, you don’t want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. And yet, it’s exactly what is happening. History shows that the use of forced nudity by a state that is descending into fascism is powerfully effective in controlling and subduing populations.

By Naomi Wolf, Guardian UK

In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the “trespass bill”, which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement.

Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit, Albert Florence, described having been told to “turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.” He said he felt humiliated: “It made me feel like less of a man.”

In surreal reasoning, justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because the 9/11 bomber could have been stopped for speeding. How would strip searching him have prevented the attack? Did justice Kennedy imagine that plans to blow up the twin towers had been concealed in a body cavity? In still more bizarre non-logic, his and the other justices’ decision rests on concerns about weapons and contraband in prison systems. But people under arrest – that is, who are not yet convicted – haven’t been introduced into a prison population. […]

READ @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/05/us-sexual-humiliation-political-control



Even as states and schools try to put in place anti-bullying policies, the Christian right is mobilizing to undo them.

By Katherine Stewart, AlterNet

For four years at his Tennessee high school, Jacob Rogers was bullied for being gay. He repeatedly appealed to school administrators for help, but didn’t get much. Around Thanksgiving of last year, it got so bad that he quit going to school. In early December, not long after turning 18, he killed himself. Jacob, who lived with his grandmother, left her with passwords to his phone and email accounts, so that she and investigators might understand why he chose to take his own life.

In the recently released film Bully, filmmaker Lee Hirsch reminds us just how much cruelty young people are capable of displaying toward one another. The documentary records the grief and the determination of the parents of Ty, a boy who committed suicide at the age of 11, as they fight to change the system that served their son so poorly. It follows Alex, who faces daily torment on the school bus. And it tells the story of Kelby, a one-time star athlete in Tuttle, Oklahoma, who comes out as a lesbian – only to be kicked out of the school sports team amid an outpouring of hate.

Thirteen million children are bullied every year, says Hirsch. According to the American Psychological Association, approximately “40% to 80% of school-age children experience bullyingat some point during their school careers.” Suicides like Jacob’s take place somewhere in America every single month. According to a Yale University study, children who are bullied are two to nine times more likely to end their own lives. Kids are bullied for all sorts of reasons: for being fat, shy, poor, rich and for no reason at all, although everyone familiar with the phenomenon knows that sexual orientation is a common excuse. […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/story/154863/the_bully_backlash:_how_the_christian_right_is_attacking_efforts_to_help_kids?page=entire

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