* DR. CORNEL WEST – OCCUPY THE MIND
Dr. Cornel West speaks at the Riverside Church in NYC, Sunday January 22, 2012 (the same church that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his Beyond Vietnam speech on April 4, 1967) for the Occupy the Mind: Progressive Moral Agenda for the 21st Century panel discussion, which also included Dr. Serene Jones; Rabbi Michael Lerner; Professor Richard D. Wolff; Professor James Vrettos; and Reverend Stephen H. Phelps.
* FAULT LINES – HISTORY OF AN OCCUPATION
Fault Lines tells the definitive history of Occupy Wall Street from its early days through the movement’s rapid spread up to the brutal crackdown by state authorities.
* HOWARD ZINN ON THE POWER OF ORDINARY PEOPLE
Source: Bill Moyers
* HAVEL’S SPECTER: ON VACLAV HAVEL
Havel believed that under communism and capitalism, people are threatened by what he described in his 1984 essay “Politics and Conscience” as “the irrational momentum of anonymous, impersonal, and inhuman power—the power of ideologies, systems, apparat, bureaucracy, artificial languages, and political slogans.”
By Caleb Crain, The Nation
“A specter is haunting Eastern Europe,” the Czech playwright Václav Havel wrote in 1978, “the specter of what in the West is called ‘dissent.’” In echoing the opening salvo of the Communist Manifesto, Havel was thumbing his nose at the regime he lived under, but his words had an earnest intent as well as a satirical one. Like Marx and Engels, he was trying to call an intellectual force to arms. He hoped to convoke a new kind of human organization, ad hoc and by design temporary, accruing no power in itself, and led not by designated authorities but by individuals who happened to have charisma.
Timely writing often grows stale, especially if it’s about politics. Havel knew this. Many politicians “play a key role at a particular moment,” he wrote in his memoir To the Castle and Back (2007); “a long, dull life can sometimes erase the memory.” Yet Havel’s judgment has been contradicted by his early protest writings, which have gained new relevance as the specter of dissent has returned to haunt much of the planet, from the Chinese town of Wukan to Wall Street, Cairo and Moscow. In addition to being a playwright and a politician, Havel, who died in December, was a philosopher, and his insight into how humans in groups understand themselves still speaks to the way we live in the world.
Havel was born in 1936 into one of the grandest bourgeois families in Czechoslovakia. One of his grandfathers built a movie theater that was to become the first in the country to screen talkies; his other grandfather was ambassador to Austria and Hungary. His father was a Prague real estate magnate, and a gay uncle was a pioneer in the nation’s film industry. The family owned a six-story mansion in downtown Prague on the bank of the Vltava River, as well as a country estate. After World War II, Václav attended prep school, where his dorm’s resident adviser was the future director Milos Forman. After Communists came to power, in 1948, the government appropriated the Havel family’s country estate, cinema, film studio and all but two rooms on the top floor of the urban mansion. Václav was expelled from school because of his class background. Eventually even the family china was nationalized. […]
* CHAVEZ: WE HAVE TO MAKE THE ECONOMIC REVOLUTION NOW
By Rachael Boothroyd, VenezuelaAnalysis
During a telephone call from Cuba last Saturday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that the government would carry out an “economic revolution” within the coming years as he approved more funds for the industrial development of the country.
Speaking to a meeting of Vice-ministers in Caracas, Chavez said that his administration would build a “new industrialised model in Venezuela,” capable of satisfying the collective needs of the nation.
Making reference to Marxist intellectual Ivan Meszaros, Chavez spoke of the necessity to make Venezuela’s transition towards socialism “irreversible”, explaining that the country had experienced a political revolution but that the government “now had to make the economic revolution”. […]
* GERMANY THE VAMPIRE SQUID OF EUROPE
By Robert Brusca, ZeroHedge
Herr VAMPIRE SQUID revisited and affirmed-
Germany is in it for Germany, not for united Europe. When you look at Europe and see that Germay is a success and no one else is, there is a reason for that.
Germany, after ‘trapping’ many countries in the e-Zone ignored their situation while Germany continues to post increasingly lower-than-required rates of inflation as many in EMU ahve run higher rates. As a result of this, there is a huge competitiveness conundrum in the Zone. It seems to have been engineered by Germany-and they are great engineers.
see http://robertbrusca.blogspot.com/ for a previous discussion of this toipic. […]
* NATO PROTEST PERMIT SHOT DOWN AGAIN IN COURT
By Anders Fogh Rasmussen, HuffPo
[…] Activists were originally granted a permit to march past Daley Plaza during the G-8 Summit, one of two international assemblies Chicago was slated to host this summer. When the G-8 Summit was relocated, the group requested the permit be moved from Saturday, May 19 to Sunday, May 20 to coincide with the NATO summit, and the Chicago Transportation Department said no.
“Saturday, eight heads of state would have been fine; Sunday with 50 plus is not,” city law department spokesman Roderick Drew told the Associated Press, citing traffic issues and heightened security required for the much larger NATO Summit.
On Tuesday, activists appealed the ruling after threatening to sue the city for restricting their right to free assembly. Chicago administrative Judge Raymond J. Prosser rejected their appeal, according to NBC Chicago.
The city has pointed to limited peacekeeping resources as an explanation for their rejection of requests for marches and rallies, despite the news this week that on top of a $19 million federal grant to cover security costs, Emanuel’s NATO host committee has raised an additional $36.5 million from corporate donors, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. […]
* THE ROBERTS COURT DEFINES ITSELF
For anyone who still thought legal conservatives are dedicated to judicial restraint, the oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the health care case should put that idea to rest. There has been no court less restrained in signaling its willingness to replace law made by Congress with law made by justices.
This should not be surprising. Republican administrations, spurred by conservative interest groups since the 1980s, handpicked each of the conservative justices to reshape or strike down law that fails to reflect conservative political ideology.
When Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy were selected by the Reagan administration, the goal was to choose judges who would be eager to undo liberal precedents. By the time John Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito Jr. were selected in the second Bush administration, judicial “restraint” was no longer an aim among conservatives. They were chosen because their professional records showed that they would advance a political ideology that limits government and promotes market freedoms, with less regard to the general welfare. […]
* MONSANTO SHIFTS ALL LIABILITY TO FARMERS
Farmers like genetically modified (GM) crops because they can plant them, spray them with herbicide and then there is very little maintenance until harvest. Farmers who plant Monsanto’s GM crops probably don’t realize what they bargain for when they sign the Monsanto Technology Stewardship Agreement contract. One farmer reportedly ‘went crazy’ when he discovered the scope of the contract because it transfers ALL liability to the farmer or grower.
Here is the paragraph that defines Monsanto’s limit of liability that shifts it to the farmer:
“GROWER’S EXCLUSIVE LIMITED REMEDY: THE EXCLUSIVE REMEDY OF THE GROWER AND THE LIMIT OF THE LIABILITY OF MONSANTO OR ANY SELLER FOR ANY AND ALL LOSSES, INJURY OR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM THE USE OR HANDLING OF SEED (INCLUDING CLAIMS BASED IN CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, PRODUCT LIABILITY, STRICT LIABILITY, TORT, OR OTHERWISE) SHALL BE THE PRICE PAID BY THE GROWER FOR THE QUANTITY OF THE SEED INVOLVED OR, AT THE ELECTION OF MONSANTO OR THE SEED SELLER, THE REPLACEMENT OF THE SEED. IN NO EVENT SHALL MONSANTO OR ANY SELLER BE LIABLE FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES.”
G. Edward Griffin, author of ‘The Creature From Jekyll Island’, and numerous other books and documentary films, and Anthony Patchett, retired assistant Head Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County Environmental Crimes/ OSHA Division explain the consequences of the Monsanto contract in the video below. […]
* THIS WEEK IN POVERTY: FRESNO TO HOMELESS PEOPLE – GET OUT
By Greg Kaufmann, The Nation
In 2008, the City of Fresno and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) paid a hefty settlement of $2.3 million for seizing and destroying homeless residents’ personal property and signed an agreement on how to deal with homeless encampments in the future.
But according to nine lawsuits filed last week on behalf of twelve homeless residents, the city and Caltrans have resumed a policy of “demolition and destruction of dwellings and personal property” since October of last year. Central California Legal Services (CCLS) has interviewed over 100 people and more legal action is expected in the coming weeks.
“Starting last September, the city clearly made a decision to try to get rid of all the homeless encampments that there are in Fresno,” says Chris Schneider, director of CCLS, where he has worked for nineteen years. “They started doing what they call ‘cleanups’ but it’s really just destructions of the encampments. The city comes in and says, ‘You’ve got to get out of here.’ Then as soon as people set up somewhere else the police come and tell them to move on from there too. There is just less and less space to go to, while the number of homeless have risen in the bad economy.” […]
* NO DEMOCRACY IN MICHIGAN?
By Josh Sager, The Boston Occupier
A vital but drastically under-reported political fight in the USA today is that of the unprecedented attacks on local democracy by the governor of Michigan. The 2011 expansions of the Michigan “emergency financial manager” law and the powers held by those appointed, by Governor Rick Snyder has led to a near-complete degradation of local democracy in some areas of Michigan. The basic premise of assigning an emergency financial manager is that an appointed specialist can assist a locale in fixing its budget issues more effectively than elected officials; this concept is not new, but it has been drastically expanded by the Snyder administration in Michigan In Michigan, wherever there is a severe budget deficit or “financial emergency”, an emergency manager can be put in charge of a city, town, or school district in order to take control and fix the crisis. In the past, such managers have been appointed over school districts and given broad discretionary powers to control spending. In 2011, the Snyder administration massively expanded the power and reach of emergency managers, while reducing oversight, accountability, and the requirements for a locale to be put under financial martial law.
Under the new financial martial law legislation, an “emergency financial manager” can be appointed over any locale declared to be in a state of “financial emergency,”; a financial emergency is a wide classification, determined entirely by the judgment of the governor, that could be something as simple as a single year where there is a substantial budget deficit. The emergency financial manager has broad powers yet virtually no accountability. He or she has the ability to relieve elected and appointed officials from duty, cut programs, summarily dissolve contracts between the state and other entities (unions, pensions, etc.), and sell off publicly owned goods to private entities.
These managers are appointed by the executive branch of the state, thus are not elected or accountable to the citizens of the state; they have no conflict-of-interest rules, nor are they accountable to any state or federal agency unless they blatantly break certain laws, (such as embezzlement, bribery, etc.). In compensation for their work, emergency managers receive six-figure salaries (Ex. The Pontiac emergency financial manager receives $150,000 annually, with benefits), which is odd, considering the fact that they are paid by “struggling” areas in need of emergency management. […]