* GREAT DICTATOR – FINAL SPEECH
* NATO SUMMIT ROUNDUP: HYPING THE POSSIBILITY OF VIOLENCE, EMANUEL’S LATEST SUMMIT SPIN
By Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake
Worldwide heads of the National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), military general and heads of state from the alliance’s twenty-eight member countries will be coming to Chicago for a summit on May 20-21. The city will be put on lockdown so the military arm of the G8—a group that can dial up a “humanitarian intervention” or war when it wants it—can further expand their global military agenda.
Many protesters have already traveled here. Hundreds are on buses headed to Chicago. Journalists and photographers are flying here to cover the summit. Security fencing made up of heavy metal has gone up around McCormick Place convention center where the summit will be held. The Field Museum will be closed. Wireless carriers have boosted their capacity for the summit. Chicago police will be on edge because they have to work long hours and, like Rahm Emanuel, they pretty much loathe activists.
The State’s Attorney will be on “high alert” to stop “sex trafficking.” And, if you want to get married this weekend, you’ll have to postpone your wedding. The Cook County Building will be closed, which means there will be no marriages or civil unions performed while protesters, generals and heads of state are here in town.
Here’s a roundup of some key stories happening in the buildup to the NATO summit: […]
* AS NATO MEETS IN CHICAGO, ACTIVISTS CONDEMN “MILITARIZED ARM OF THE 1 PERCENT
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Legendary Chicago activists Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers talk about this week’s protests in Chicago, where NATO will hold its largest summit to date. Thousands of protesters from a diverse coalition of organizations including unions, antiwar groups, immigrant rights organizations and Occupy are expected to march in the streets. Chicago is preparing a massive security operation, with the Department of Homeland Security declaring the summit a “National Special Security Event.” Civil liberties advocates have warned it could provide the first public test of a new law that expands the ability of the Secret Service to suppress protests in or around certain restricted zones. “We think that NATO should be meeting in an underground bunker or on a remote island,” Dorhn says. “[Chicago] is being treated as really a practice military zone … [while] we don’t have money here for community mental health clinics, we don’t have money for public libraries or for schools, we don’t have money for public transportation… We want peace and not permanent wars abroad and military war games and [the] national security state at home.”
* SURVEILLANCE DRONE SPOTTED NEAR CHICAGO – FOR NATO SUMMIT?
This was filmed in Elgin, Illinois about 40 miles from Chicago. I assume it’s for the NATO summit this week as a security measure.
* NYPD LOSES FACE AND FIRST OCCUPY WALL STREET TRIAL
This case could have been a slam dunk for the NYPD, had it not been for one thing: the video showing police claims of disorderly conduct during an OWS protest to be completely untrue.
Hundreds have been arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protests, but photographer Alexander Arbuckle’s case was the first to go to trial – and after just two days, the Manhattan Criminal Court found him not guilty.
Supporters of the OWS protest movement have already hailed the ruling as a major legal victory.
Arbuckle was arrested on New Year’s Day for allegedly blocking traffic during a protest march. He was charged with disorderly conduct, and his arresting officer testified under oath that he, along with the protesters, was standing in the street, despite frequent requests from the police to move to the sidewalk.
But things got a little embarrassing for the NYPD officer when the defense presented a video recording of the entire event, made by well-known journalist Tim Pool.
Pool’s footage clearly shows Arbuckle, along with all the other protesters, standing on the sidewalk. In fact, the only people blocking traffic were the police officers themselves. […]
* BILL CLINTON, BOEHNER, AND SOME OTHER RICH GUYS HAD A ”SUMMIT” AND AGREED: IT’S YOUR FAULT
By Richard Eskow, OpEdNews
Today a bunch of rich white guys held a “Fiscal Summit” and agreed that:
1. Despite the fact that unemployment is causing untold suffering for millions of people, it’s not very important.
2. Despite the fact that wage stagnation is destroying the middle class, that’s not important either.
3. Despite the fact that we need the social safety net more than ever after what they’ve done to the economy, it’s expendable.
4. Despite the fact that our government can borrow money at record low rates and use it to put people to work, thereby ending the recession and jumpstarting the economy, that option’s not even worth discussing.
5. Despite the fact that these men all possess great power, wealth, and/or influence, everything that’s wrong with the economy is your fault.
6. Since it’s all your fault, you better get ready to pay up.
Oh, and one other thing:
7. They’re all very smart and very brave. It’s too bad the rest of you people are such jerks. […]
* FEDERAL COURT ENJOINS NDAA
An Obama-appointed judge rules its indefinite detention provisions likely violate the 1st and 5th Amendments
By Glenn Greenwald, Salon
A federal district judge today, the newly-appointed Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York, issued an amazing ruling: one which preliminarily enjoins enforcement of the highly controversial indefinite provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Obama last December. This afternoon’s ruling came as part of a lawsuit brought by seven dissident plaintiffs — including Chris Hedges, Dan Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Birgitta Jonsdottir — alleging that the NDAA violates ”both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
The ruling was a sweeping victory for the plaintiffs, as it rejected each of the Obama DOJ’s three arguments: (1) because none of the plaintiffs has yet been indefinitely detained, they lack “standing” to challenge the statute; (2) even if they have standing, the lack of imminent enforcement against them renders injunctive relief unnecessary; and (3) the NDAA creates no new detention powers beyond what the 2001 AUMF already provides.
As for the DOJ’s first argument — lack of standing — the court found that the plaintiffs are already suffering substantial injury from the reasonable fear that they could be indefinitely detained under section 1021 of the NDAA as a result of their constitutionally protected activities. As the court explained (h/t Charles Michael):
In support of their motion, Plaintiffs assert that § 1021 already has impacted their associational and expressive activities–and would continue to impact them, and that § 1021 is vague to such an extent that it provokes fear that certain of their associational and expressive activities could subject them to indefinite or prolonged military detention. […]
* ARMY VET GETS ARRESTED AT THE CAPITOL FOR REDRESSING GRIEVANCES MAY 15th
* 12 YEAR-OLD VICTORIA GRANT EXPLAINS HOW BANKS COMMIT FRAUD
12 year old spells out the fraud the banks are committing against the people.
Victoria Grant explains why her homeland, Canada, and most of the world, is in debt. April 27, 2012 at the Public Banking in America Conference.
* WHY THE COPS SHOULD BE KNOCKING ON JAMIE DIMON’S DOOR SOON
By Michael Crimmins, Naked Capitalism
The scandal surrounding JP Morgan’s losses in its Chief Investment Office is not going away, and for good reason. Its trading book continues to lose money at an astounding rate. The most recent report estimates that the losses have increased by at least 50% more than the bank’s original loss estimates. The total damage is anyone’s guess at this point.
This fiasco is beginning to look a lot like accounting control fraud. The Justice Department and the FBI have begun criminal probes. The SEC is also investigating. So far, the objectives of these investigations are under wraps, but if I were an SEC or DOJ enforcement official I’d be laser-focused on bringing a Sarbanes-Oxley case against Jamie Dimon.
Sarbanes-Oxley emerged out of the Enron frauds. This law requires the CEO to certify that internal controls are operating effectively to give comfort to readers of the financial statements that the disclosures contained in the reporting are reliable. There are civil penalties for filing a false certification and criminal penalties, including jail time, for false filings found to be fraudulent. So far none of the obvious candidates like Dick Fuld at Lehman or Jon Corzine at MF Global have been prosecuted under the law.
Jamie Dimon looks like a very attractive candidate to investigate for SOX violations. […]
* HAS THE GREEK BANK RUN STARTED?
By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge
While the long-term decline in bank deposits over the past 3 years has been well documented both on Zero Hedge and elsewhere, it is the most recent, acute post-election phase that has not gotten much coverage. Minutes ago Bloomberg sent out a notice that things in Greece may be on the verge of the final collapse. From Bloomberg: “Anxious Greeks have withdrawn as much as 700 million euros ($893 million) from the nation’s banks since the inconclusive May 6 election, President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders yesterday, according to a transcript of the meeting posted on the presidency’s website today. Papoulias said he got the information from the head of the Bank of Greece, the central bank, George Provopoulos, according to the transcript.” While this was likely a negotiation talking point to facilitate the formation of the government, the reality as we now know is that there has been NO government formed, which now means that the bank run will only get worse. Needless to say, a Greek banking system which is now virtually shut out of any extrenal funding except for the ELA, where it has a few billions euros in access left, will be unable to deal with hundreds of millions in deposit outflows. […]
* NATIONALIZED SPANISH BANK PLUMMETS ON NEWS OF BANK RUN
By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge
The problem with bank runs is that once they start, they don’t stop. And while the world was conveniently distracted by events in Greece, debating whether or not people were withdrawing money in droves (they were), the real bank run happened elsewhere, namely in Spain, where just nationalized bank Bankia moments ago plunged 30% and was halted following an El Mundo report that “customers had withdrawn €1 billion over the past week.” In other words – a bank run (but whatever you do, don’t call it that – it’s not the politically correct and accepted nomenclature) which has sent shockwaves through Europe, pushed the EURUSD under 1.27, and bond yields in their traditional “Europe is open” direction – wider.
Shares in Bankia, the Spanish bank which was part-nationalised last week, plunged by over a quarter on Thursday morning, after a report that customers had withdrawn €1bn from the bank over the past week.
Shares fell 27 per cent to €1.21 after El Mundo, a national Spanish newspaper, reported customers had withdrawn €1bn from the bank over the past week, citing information from a recent board meeting.
The self-styled “the leader of the new banks” was formed from seven cajas last year and has now shed nearly 70 per cent of its market capitalisation since its shares were listed in July of last year.
The fall helped to drive the broader IBEX 35 index down 2 per cent to 6,480.7. […]
* NO COUNTRY FOR RICH MEN
By Sam Pizzigati, Other Worlds
Back in 1863, a short story took the American reading public by storm. Edward Everett Hale’s The Man without a Country told the tale of a poor treasonous soul sentenced to spend the rest of his life endlessly sailing the world in perpetual exile, as a prisoner aboard Navy warships.
Today’s awesomely affluent are just as transient — by choice.
Take Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. This billionaire renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2011, a move perfectly timed to potentially save him hundreds of millions in taxes when Facebook goes public.
Saverin has plenty of company. The number of Americans who formally renounced their U.S. citizenship soared to 1,780 last year from 235 in 2008. […]
* UNCOVERING OTHER ALECs
By Sarah Blaskey and Steve Horn, Truthout
Taxpayer-subsidized stealth lobbyists: Lobbyists who circumvent normal lobbying regulations and procedures to advance the corporate agenda in statehouses nationwide on the taxpayer dime.
If Washington DC is the new Versailles, run by corporate overlords and their lobbyist-hired guns, then the 50 statehouses are its paternal twins. That is, while they look different in form, they share the same genetic function as avenues for the fulfillment of the corporate agenda.
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has made this abundantly clear through its ongoing ALEC Exposed project, bringing sunshine to the tax-deductible, statehouse-level influence-peddling efforts made by corporations through the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC has been described by CMD as a “corporate bill mill.” (Full disclosure: Steve Horn is a former reporter and researcher at CMD. He was on the team that broke ALEC Exposed in the summer of 2011.)
ALEC, though, is not the only “corporate bill mill” playing this game.
“Taxpayer-subsidized stealth lobbyists” have upped the ante and skillfully advanced their agendas through bipartisan “trade associations” for state government officials – in particular, the Council of State Governments (CSG) whose multimillion-dollar budget is mostly funded by taxpayers. Through CSG and Friends, lobbyists exploit a well-tethered network of nonprofits representing state-level officials to advance the agenda of their corporate clientele. […[
* NUCLEAR CHEERLEADERS US VOODOO SCIENCE TO PRETEND LOW LEVELS OF RADIATION ARE SAFE … OR EVEN GOOD FOR YOU
Source: Washington’s Blog
Department of Energy Pretends that Low Levels of Radiation Are Safe
Dr. Peter Karamoskos – a nuclear radiologist and a public representative on the radiation health committee of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency – wrote in the Sydey Herald last year:
You have to hand it to the nuclear industry and its acolytes. In the middle of the second-worst nuclear power disaster in history at Fukushima, and with still no end in sight, you would think they would respond with contrition, humility and profuse mea culpas. Not on your life. The industry representatives and its acolytes came out swinging in full denial attire.
But more insidious and objectionable is the creeping misinformation that the nuclear industry has fed into the public sphere over the years. There seems to be a never-ending cabal of paid industry scientific ”consultants” who are more than willing to state the fringe view that low doses of ionising radiation do not cause cancer and, indeed, that low doses are actually good for you and lessen the incidence of cancer.
It is not only the nuclear companies who are pushing this junk science. […]