* FIRST GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT OUR NEW INDOOR BASE OF OPERATIONS
Submitted by Secretariat on Thu, 2012-01-19 17:00
When: Friday, January 20, 2012 – 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Location: 500 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616, Room 700
We have access to our winter home! Time to use it.
On Friday, January 20th, we will hold our GA in our new indoor space located at 500 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616. Here’s a map: http://g.co/maps/4r7rv. We will meet up at Jackson and LaSalle at 7 PM and go to the new space as a group at 7:10 or you can come on your own. To get there by public transportation you can get off of the redline at the Cermak stop and either walk or take Bus 21 towards North Riverside Mall and get off at Cermak and Lumber. The door is on Lumber past the door for the UHaul space, 2147 S Lumber St. The meeting room is on the 7th floor, room # 700, and there will be someone at the door to direct you to the right room if don’t come with the group from Jackson and LaSalle.
Come out for this historic day! See the new space!
We request that press and media refrain from bringing recording equipment at this time. We will hold a press conference to introduce press and media to our new space sometime during the coming week. The date and time for that press conference will be announced this Saturday, January 21st. […]
* OUTLAWING DISSENT: RAHM EMANUEL’S NEW REGIME
By Bernard Harcourt, Guardian UK
It’s almost as if Rahm Emanuel was lifting a page from Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine – as if he was reading her account of Milton Friedman’s “Chicago Boys” as a cookbook recipe, rather than as the ominous episode that it was. In record time, Emanuel successfully exploited the fact that Chicago will host the upcoming G8 and Nato summit meetings to increase his police powers and extend police surveillance, to outsource city services and privatize financial gains, and to make permanent new limitations on political dissent. It all happened – very rapidly and without time for dissent – with the passage of rushed security and anti-protest measures adopted by the city council on 18 January 2012.
Sadly, we are all too familiar with the recipe by now: first, hype up and blow out of proportion a crisis (and if there isn’t a real crisis, as in Chicago, then create one), call in the heavy artillery and rapidly seize the opportunity to expand executive power, to redistribute wealth for private gain and to suppress political dissent. As Friedman wrote in Capitalism and Freedom in 1982 – and as Klein so eloquently describes in her book:
“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When the crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function … until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.”
* SPAIN “INDIGNADOS” AND THE GLOBALIZATION OF DISSENT (VIDEO)
Source: The Real News
|PROTESTOR (through megaphone): “On May 15th, the citizens of this country – free, conscious and outraged!”NOAH GIMBEL: Before Adbusters called on activists to Occupy Wall Street, thousands of Spaniards set up camp in Madrid’s iconic Puerta del Sol, and in public squares across the country. Now, as the occupy movement around the U.S. sets its sights on the longer term struggle for social and economic justice with movements like Take Back the Land and Occupy Our Homes, the Spanish experience has valuable lessons to offer what is now a globalized popular front.
It started in Spring 2011 as the economic crisis in Spain worsened. A small group of activists sought to unify the country’s disparate social movements behind a common cause. They launched Democracia Real Ya – Real Democracy Now – and called for a day of action on May 15th for all people to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. Miguel Yarza, one of the spokespeople for the group, was a founding member.
MIGUEL YARZA: “Everyone in Spain was saying how bad the situation was, and that something needed to be done, but nobody did anything. So what that demonstration achieved was to join together the complaints of the society at large and bring a huge number of people into the streets. The following days, people camped in the Puerta del Sol, not from any initiative of DRY, but in a manner in which people decided to do so spontaneously. So that’s how this whole movement, known as 15-M, was born in Madrid.
We have arrived at an absolutely critical situation, and we start to hear the blame cast on the fact that Spaniards are living beyond their means. But if you ask anyone, they will respond that first, Spaniards haven’t been living beyond their means, second, they comply with everything they’re asked to do – they’ve bought houses like they were told by the political class – a political class whose responsibility should be to protect the people they are supposed to represent – a job they have never done. So we have ended up in a very serious crisis, with an unemployment rate almost twice that of the next European country. And this type of protest generates more and more people, discontent with the situation, fully conscious of its seriousness, knowing that things can change.” […]
* WE MUST STOP THIS CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
By Bernie Sanders, Common Dream
The corporate barbarians are through the gate of American democracy. Not satisfied with their all-pervasive influence on our culture, economy and legislative processes, they want more. They want it all.
Two years ago, the United States supreme court betrayed our Constitution and those who fought to ensure that its protections are enjoyed equally by all persons regardless of religion, race or gender by engaging in an unabashed power-grab on behalf of corporate America. In its now infamous decision in the Citizens United case, five justices declared that corporations must be treated as if they are actual people under the Constitution when it comes to spending money to influence our elections, allowing them for the first time to draw on the corporate checkbook – in any amount and at any time – to run ads explicitly for or against specific candidates.
What’s next … a corporate right to vote?
Don’t laugh. Just this month, the Republican National Committee filed an amicus brief in a US appeals court contending that the natural extension of the Citizens United rationale is that the century-old ban on corporate contributions directly to candidates and political parties is similarly unconstitutional. They want corporations to be able to sponsor candidates and parties directly while claiming with a straight face this would not result in any sort of corruption. And while, this month, they take no issue with corporations being subject to the existing contribution limits, anyone paying attention knows that eliminating such caps will be corporate America’s next prize in its brazen ambition for absolute control over our elections. […]
* THE ROBERTS COURT AND THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
By Franklin Strier, Dissent Magazine
[…] The phrase “separation of church and state” derives from a letter by President Jefferson in 1802 where he wrote: “Erecting the wall of separation between church and state…is absolutely essential in a free society.” The wellspring of American anti-establishment thinking, however, was Jefferson’s successor, James Madison—the principal drafter of the Bill of Rights. He believed the attempt to “employ religion as an engine of good citizenship” to be “an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.”
With Madison’s writings as its polestar, the Supreme Court has long interpreted the Establishment Clause as barring laws that favor one religion over another, or even religion in general over secularism. Government cannot declare any single religion to be the “true” religion; it cannot cede civil power to religious bodies; it cannot fund religious education directly or discriminate between religions in the distribution of funds. The Court has overturned numerous laws that violate the Establishment Clause, like those mandating bible reading, prayer, or the teaching of creationism in public schools. So important is the Clause that in the landmark 1986 case Flast v. Cohen, the Warren Court facilitated its enforcement with a remarkable and unique sanction: it ruled that every taxpayer has legal standing to challenge, as a violation of the Establishment Clause, the appropriation of congressional funds to finance religious instruction in schools.
At other times, however, the Court has shown timidity in applying the Establishment Clause. In the 2004 Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow case, for example, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance commonly recited in public schools violated the Clause. On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit on purely procedural grounds. Michael Newdow, a California attorney and emergency medicine physician, had brought the suit on his daughter’s behalf. The Supreme Court held that because Newdow’s wife had primary custody of his daughter, he therefore lacked standing to sue by himself. The Court never considered the constitutional issue at all.
No such timidity inhibits the Roberts Court. Its rulings suggest a “pro-church” bias, and have enfeebled and muddied the meaning of the Establishment Clause. […]
* THE NDAA: JUST ONE MORE LINK IN THE CHAIN OF TYRANNY (VIDEO)
By James Corbett and Stewart Rhodes, Global Research TV
With the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act into law, more Americans than ever before are wondering how the country could have descended so quickly into a police state. Far from a unique or isolated act, however, the NDAA is just the latest entry in a long list of steps toward the codification of outright martial law.
Find out more about the history of this agenda in this week’s GRTV Backgrounder.
TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: http://www.corbettreport.com/?p=3719
* DEMAND PROGRESS: U.S. RESPONDED TO BLACKOUT PROTEST WITH THE MIDDLE FINGER
By Eric W. Dolan, The Raw Story
The advocacy group Demand Progress condemned the Obama administration on Thursday after the FBI took down one of the most popular file sharing websites on the Internet, Megaupload.com.
“Unbelievable: After history’s largest online protest, the U.S. Government nonchalantly responds with the middle finger,” the group said in an action alert.
MegaUpload, which had more than 150 million registered users, was shut down by the FBI because of alleged copyright infringement. The site allowed registered users to upload files, which could then be downloaded by others.
The shut down of MegaUpload came after the largest online protest in history, where thousands of sites joined in a blackout protest on Wednesday against the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). […]
* MEGAUPLOAD TAKEDOWN: THE REAL MEANING
The Feds’ takedown of Megaupload shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that SOPA, PIPA or any similar legislation is wholly unnecessary.
As the Atlantic’s Dashiell Bennett correctly notes:
The shutdown inadvertently proved that the U.S. government already has all the power it needs to take down its copyright villains, even those that aren’t based in the United States. No SOPA or PIPA required.
Indeed, that might be why SOPA’s chief sponsor – who said he’d still push SOPA even after Wednesday’s web blackout – backed down right right after megaupload was taken down. (Granted, it could have also been because Anonymous’ hacking spree showed that draconian legislation won’t stop techies, or because of increased political pressure from other areas.) […]
* PATRICK LEAHY STILL DOESN’T GET IT; SAYS STOPPING PIPA IS A VICTORY FOR THIEVES
By Mike Masnick, TechDirt
from the time-to-educate-yourself dept
In a petulant, angry and totally uninformed rant, Senator Patrick Leahy whines about the vast majority of the public speaking out against his terrible Hollywood protectionism bill that attacked free speech, the internet and online security. He does so by, yet again. making things up. Let’s detail the problems with Leahy’s statement:
The United States Senate has identified a problem directly affecting American jobs, American workers and American consumers.
Actually, it has not. It has identified an issue — but it has not correctly diagnosed the real problem. It sees a symptom — infringement — and incorrectly assumes that the problem is lack of regulation or law enforcement. That’s wrong and there is no evidence to support those claims. Instead, the problem is the failure of some big industries to adapt with smarter business models. Instead, they’re focused on propping up artificial scarcity in a market where such scarcities don’t work. The end result is infringement — not because there’s a legal problem — but because there’s a service problem. The companies are not giving people what they want, in a format they want, in a convenient manner at a good price. When you understand that, the solutions become obvious. You don’t pass a new law — you have businesses adapt and innovate. And in that way, everyone wins.
* DEFEND OUR FREEDOM TO SHARE (OR WHY SOPA IS A BAD IDEA) (VIDEO)
What does a bill like PIPA/SOPA mean to our shareable world? At the TED offices, Clay Shirky delivers a proper manifesto — a call to defend our freedom to create, discuss, link and share, rather than passively consume. http://www.ted.com
* LABOR, CONSUMER AGENCY FIGHTS AREN’T OVER: NOW REPUBLICANS TRY TO DEFUND THEM
By Dave Johnson, OurFuture.org
[…] Now that the President has gotten these agencies up and running, protecting people and legitimate businesses from these shady operators, the scammers are paying off politicians to try to shut these agencies back down.
Republicans are responding by attempting to block funding to keep these agencies operating. They are doing so in exchange for a cut of the profits this generates for companies that operate in ways these agencies are supposed to regulate. The Hill has the story: GOP looks to limit CFPB, NLRB powers in reaction to ‘recess’ appointments,
Rep. Jeff Landry (La.) and 20 other House Republicans introduced legislation this week that would limit the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to operate as long as they are headed by appointees who were recess-appointed while the Senate was not in recess.
Don’t let the Republicans get away with this. The NLRB and CFPB protect We, the People, the 99%, from exploitation by the wealthy and powerful 1%. […]
* THE WORLD WAR ON DEMOCRACY
By John Pilger, Information Clearing House
Lisette Talate died the other day. I remember a wiry, fiercely intelligent woman who masked her grief with a determination that was a presence. She was the embodiment of people’s resistance to the war on democracy. I first glimpsed her in a 1950s Colonial Office film about the Chagos islanders, a tiny creole nation living midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean. The camera panned across thriving villages, a church, a school, a hospital, set in a phenomenon of natural beauty and peace. Lisette remembers the producer saying to her and her teenage friends, “Keep smiling girls!”
Sitting in her kitchen in Mauritius many years later, she said, “I didn’t have to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in the islands, my paradise. My great-grandmother was born there; I made six children there. That’s why they couldn’t legally throw us out of our own homes; they had to terrify us into leaving or force us out. At first, they tried to starve us. The food ships stopped arriving [then] they spread rumors we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs.”
In the early 1960s, the Labor government of Harold Wilson secretly agreed to a demand from Washington that the Chagos archipelago, a British colony, be “swept” and “sanitized” of its 2,500 inhabitants so that a military base could be built on the principal island, Diego Garcia. “They knew we were inseparable from our pets,” said Lisette, “When the American soldiers arrived to build the base, they backed their big trucks against the brick shed where we prepared the coconuts; hundreds of our dogs had been rounded up and imprisoned there. Then they gassed them through tubes from the trucks’ exhausts. You could hear them crying.”
America is now a land of epidemic poverty and barbaric prisons: the consequence of a “market” extremism which, under Obama, has prompted the transfer of $14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street. The victims are mostly young jobless, homeless, incarcerated African-Americans, betrayed by the first black president. The historic corollary of a perpetual war state, this is not fascism, not yet, but neither is it democracy in any recognizable form, regardless of the placebo politics that will consume the news until November. The presidential campaign, says the Washington Post, will “feature a clash of philosophies rooted in distinctly different views of the economy.” This is patently false. The circumscribed task of journalism on both sides of the Atlantic is to create the pretence of political choice where there is none.
* STEALING A NATION — JOHN PILGER (VIDEO)
* GOVERNMENTS HAVE BEEN COVERING UP NUCLEAR MELTDOWNS FOR FIFTY YEARS TO PROTECT THE NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY (VIDEO)
As a History Chanel special notes, a nuclear meltdown occurred at the world’s first commercial reactor only 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles, and only 7 miles from the community of Canoga Park and the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.
* MEET THE 40 MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL KOCH CAUCUS (CHART)
By Brad Johnson, Think Progress
Five senators and 40 congressional representatives received a perfect 100 percent score from the Koch brothers’ astroturf group Americans For Prosperity for the first half of the 112th Congress. AFP judged Congress on their votes to protect the Koch brothers’ right-wing petrochemical empire on such issues as the repeal of President Obama’s new health care law, pre-empting EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget to end Medicare, ending ethanol subsidies, several Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval to overturn new regulations, and the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills.
In a previous post, ThinkProgress Green reviewed the five Koch senators and their massive haul of campaign contributions from the Koch empire. Below is a compilation of the 40 members of the Congressional Koch Caucus, in addition to their contributions received from Koch Industries, according to data compiled from OpenSecrets.org. […]