Mar 132012




Continental Congress 2.0

“What We Have in Common Is Revulsion at How Money Has Perverted 21st-Century American Democracy”

PHILADELPHIA, PA–(Marketwire – Mar 7, 2012) – Inspired by the words and actions of Occupiers across America, the 99% Declaration Working Group (“99D”) today announced further details about a spring election on the Internet and a summer convention in Philadelphia.

“This convention is an exercise of our Constitutional right to peaceably assembly and put all politicians on notice that the people they are supposed to represent do not approve of their self-serving behavior. We demand that they cut through the petty partisan politics and redress the American people’s real concerns or they will face the consequences at the ballot box in 2012 and 2014,” proclaimed Mauren Mower, who has been involved in preliminary planning for the confab and is one of the hundreds of candidates vying to be elected to go to Philadelphia the week of July 4th and draft a petition for redress of grievances.

“Our goals are no different from the Founders who met in Philadelphia for this purpose,” observed Karlie Cole, another 99D organizer. “Only our demographics are different. Last time around the drafters were all white, male, landholders or professionals. Our meeting might better be called ‘Continental Congress 2.0.’ Delegates to this convention include women and men. Black, white, and every hue in between. Jews & gentiles, true believers & infidels. What we have in common is revulsion at how money has perverted 21st-Century American democracy,” said Ms. Cole. Unified under the banner of the 99% Declaration Working Group, a group of non-partisan activists were galvanized by last Fall’s wave of Occupations, from Manhattan to Berkeley and from the Dakotas to Texas. As the winter months crept in, all around the nation, from Wall Street to Washington state the question echoed: What Next?

“We’d proven our mettle. But defying ‘The Man’ and taking over public spaces — while inspirational — is hardly a method for reforming and governing a continental nation,” said David Itkin, yet another organizer. “How can you count upward-wiggling fingers in Sheboygan when you’re sitting in Waukesha?” Itkin’s comment highlights the differences in style and philosophy that have caused groups like Occupy Wall Street to disavow the 99D. An ethic of leaderless, consensus-oriented decision-making animates many long-term Occupiers. They distrust representative democracy and fear “co-option” by a system they feel has utterly abandoned them. At an Occupy encampment, whether in Pennsylvania, New York, California or Texas, consensus is usually established when everyone attending a daily General Assembly points their digits upwards and flexes them. Without 100% agreement, discussion continues (or not) and no final action is approved or taken.

The non-partisan 99D convention, during the week of the Fourth of July, will follow a different model. Delegates will be elected by secure Internet balloting during the first week in June. Then, the elected delegates will consider a list of more than a score of draft grievances — compiled in Liberty Park during the first heady days of Occupy Wall Street and subsequently tweaked by dozens of like-minded activists from every corner of the blogosphere. Moreover, the declared delegate candidates have already begun to collaborate on the Internet so that they will be ready to ratify a final petition in Philadelphia after three days of debate, discussion and amendment.

“After that,” said 99D co-founder Michael Pollok, “We’ll serve it on all three branches of the federal government and request that all candidates running for office in November 2012 take a public pledge to redress the grievances listed in the ratified petition. If the ratified petition doesn’t lead to timely reform, the delegates will pursue our lawful remedies through the ballot box, the legal system and elsewhere. We’re in this for the long haul. Thanks to Occupy, Americans have become more aware. It’s not a question of whether the people will restore democracy and expel the oligarchic corporatists. It is only a question of when. This petition of, by, and for the people is a powerful step towards a second non-violent American revolution.”

For more information about the 99% Declaration, to register to vote or run for delegate, and to read the current set of draft grievances, go to

Contact Information:




Source: The Automatic Earth

[…] In central Athens, a stunning 29.6% of the businesses ceased operations, up from 24.4% in August; in Piraeus 27.3%, a 10-point jump since March. The whole Attica region lost 25.6% of its businesses. “This worsening of the survival index in the commercial sector … shows that resistance is waning,” said Vasilis Korkidis, president of the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce. And fourth quarter GDP was revised down to -7.5% on an annual basis. The Greek economy has shrunk about 20% since 2008.

Unemployment is veering toward disaster: 21% in December, announced Thursday, was horrid enough. But youth unemployment rose to a shocking 51.1%, double the rate before the crisis. A record 1,033,507 people were unemployed, up 41% over prior year. Only 3,899,319 people had jobs—a mere 36.1% of a total population of 10.8 million!

No economy can service a gargantuan mountain of debt when only 36.1% of its people contribute (by comparison, the US employment population ratio is 58.6%, down from 64.7% in 2000). Hence, another bout of red ink. The “cash deficit” at the end of 2011 hit €24.9 billion, 11.5% of GDP, far above the general budget deficit. Government-owned enterprises, such as the public healthcare sector, couldn’t pay their bills. Total owed their suppliers: €5.73 billion.

Yet, forcing down the deficit is one of the many conditions that the bailout Troika of EU, ECB, and IMF have imposed on Greece. And: “If the Greek people or the Greek political elite do not apply all of these conditions, they exclude themselves from the Eurozone,” said Luxembourg’s Finance Minister Luc Frieden. All of these conditions. Then he added the crucial words: “The impact on other countries now will be less important than a year ago.” […]




Source:  Eagainst

Massive protests against government’s plan for labour reform took place this Sunday in 60 Spanish cities. These are the first mobilizations after the announcement of  a general strike on Μarch 29  against the policies of the conservative ruling Popular Party under Mariano Rachoi.

The measures include reduction of the redundancy pay to 33 days of work per year (from 45 today), reduction in wage raises, as well as plans for industrial reforms and cuts in spending of 8.9 billion, and a freeze on the public sector wages bill. Three-quarters of Spaniards do not believe that this reform will contribute to job creation, according to a recent poll.

The reform “hurts people, encourages redundancies and benefits the employers. We dismiss the entire government ” said Irene Chimeneth a 29 y.o worker in health care employment with only a three-month contract. “The reforms did not benefit the unemployed”, said also Jose Javier Rodriguez, civil servant, 53. “It is absurd to think that it would reduce unemployment by making it easier to people to become redundant,” he added. Antonio Martinez, also, one of the protesters in Madrid, a retired professor, said that neoliberalism leads to destruction. He was holding a banner with the slogan “Do not let our grandchildren become slaves.” (Source) […]




By Patrick Marley, Journal Sentinel

A Dane County judge struck down the state’s new voter ID law on Monday – the second judge in a week to block the requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls.

“A government that undermines the very foundation of its existence – the people’s inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote – imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people,” Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess wrote. “It sows the seeds for its own demise as a democratic institution. This is precisely what 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 does with its photo ID mandates.”

Niess’ eight-page ruling goes further than the one issued by another judge last week because it permanently invalidates the law for violating the state constitution. Tuesday’s order by Dane County Judge David Flanagan halted the law for the April 3 presidential primary and local elections, but not beyond that. […]




By Michelle Alexander, NYTimes

[…] “The truth is that government officials have deliberately engineered the system to assure that the jury trial system established by the Constitution is seldom used,” said Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the libertarian Cato Institute. In other words: the system is rigged.

In the race to incarcerate, politicians champion stiff sentences for nearly all crimes, including harsh mandatory minimum sentences and three-strikes laws; the result is a dramatic power shift, from judges to prosecutors.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that threatening someone with life imprisonment for a minor crime in an effort to induce him to forfeit a jury trial did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to trial. Thirteen years later, in Harmelin v. Michigan, the court ruled that life imprisonment for a first-time drug offense did not violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

No wonder, then, that most people waive their rights. Take the case of Erma Faye Stewart, a single African-American mother of two who was arrested at age 30 in a drug sweep in Hearne, Tex., in 2000. In jail, with no one to care for her two young children, she began to panic. Though she maintained her innocence, her court-appointed lawyer told her to plead guilty, since the prosecutor offered probation. Ms. Stewart spent a month in jail, and then relented to a plea. She was sentenced to 10 years’ probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Then her real punishment began: upon her release, Ms. Stewart was saddled with a felony record; she was destitute, barred from food stamps and evicted from public housing. Once they were homeless, Ms. Stewart’s children were taken away and placed in foster care. In the end, she lost everything even though she took the deal.  […]




By Kathleen Pender, SFGate

It’s hard to believe that Democrats, who brought you the Dodd-Frank financial regulation act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are solidly backing a bill that would weaken or obliterate many regulations designed to safeguard investors.

The bill, HR3606, sailed through the House Thursday with 222 Republicans and 168 Democrats voting for it. Only 23 members, all Democrats, voted against it. President Obama has endorsed the bill. The Senate is fast-tracking its own version, which could come to the floor Monday night.

Under the guise of creating jobs, the House bill would make it easier for companies to raise money from the public without fulfilling some – or in certain cases virtually all – of the obligations designed to protect investors in public companies. However, there is no requirement or guarantee that companies would use any of the money to hire a single person. […]




By Energy Interns, Climate Progress

Today, NPR just filed a stunner of a story: Air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan costs $20.2 billion annually, when factoring in the manpower and logistics to deliver fuel.

That’s more than NASA’s budget. It’s more than BP has paid so far for damage during the Gulf oil spill. It’s what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia.

To power an air conditioner at a remote outpost in land-locked Afghanistan, a gallon of fuel has to be shipped into Karachi, Pakistan, then driven 800 miles over 18 days to Afghanistan on roads that are sometimes little more than “improved goat trails,” [retired Brigadier General Steven] Anderson says. “And you’ve got risks that are associated with moving the fuel almost every mile of the way.” […]




Jeff Sparrow on Aimé Césaire, the war in Afghanistan and the legacy of humanitarian imperialism

By Jeff Sparrow, Overland

In 1955, Aimé Césaire, the great anti-colonial poet and agitator, published his classic Discours sur le colonialisme.

‘Colonisation,’ Césaire argued, ‘dehumanises even the most civilised man; … colonial activity, colonial enterprise, colonial conquest, which is based on contempt for the native and justified by that contempt, inevitably tends to change him who undertakes it; … the coloniser, who in order to ease his conscience gets into the habit of seeing the other man as an animal, accustoms himself to treating him like an animal, and tends objectively to transform himself into an animal.’

The C-word sounds crass in the context of Western involvement in Afghanistan: this is, we’re told, a temporary deployment, nothing more. Colonialism implies rapine and despoliation, whereas our intervention in Afghanistan was framed, right from the start, by ostentatious declarations of high-mindedness.

Nonetheless, with the occupation now lasting twice as long as the Great War, it seems well past time to investigate the domestic consequences of what’s becoming a decidedly neocolonial conflict: to ask, like Césaire, not only what we have done to Afghanistan but what Afghanistan has done to us. […]




Source: Sleepless in Gaza

To my unborn children,

I know you probably won’t be there to read this. Maybe I would be dead before you see the light. Or rather, witness how very inhumane and so unjust this world has become. I’ll just write anyway, maybe at least your elder brother or sister witnesses all that and read this.

Ever since I came to Gaza, I’ve been dreaming of a better life. Peaceful and quiet. No explosions or blood. No injuries or martyrs. Nothing but a regular peaceful life each and every one of us would wish for.

In Gaza, everything is different. In Gaza, Israeli F16s substitute birds. In Gaza, we sleep on the continuous buzzing coming from the ever-existent drones. We wake up to find that there’s no electricity. In Gaza, explosions are the sunshine and the smell of ash is the scent of the city.

Electricity barely comes in Gaza, where it’s very dangerous to live in. Every moment you live is considered a new life because it’s very dangerous and Israelis bring their toys over to Gaza and play with us the hard way.

My beloved unborn children, being a Gazan means that you’re strong willed, courageous, and like no other. As you grow up, you’ll learn all about the different kinds of weapons and arms both allowed and internationally forbidden. What’s different in Gaza is that Israel doesn’t distinguish its targets. Meaning, they kill anything that moves with a smile. Frankly, they would kill us more than once if possible.

Growing up in Gaza isn’t easy. Growing up in Gaza is a challenge. A quest. And the reward is a strong courageous personality. So brave to the point that you’d stand in front of a tank with a bare chest and a rock. Daring it to move forward yelling ‘over my dead body’. More like mashed if you want to know.

Another thing you’ll gain as a Gazan is that you’ll be able to distinguish the sounds of whatever that kills. Be a M-16, AK-47, .50 Cal, Shells from the Israeli warships in the sea, warplanes in the sky, tank shells, and the list goes on forever. Living in Gaza is a challenge of patience. Only the strong and the brave can survive. By survive, I mean living yet another day of struggle and a million hardships a day.

Last but not least, don’t leave Palestine. It’s where you belong. It’s where everything counts and where whatever little will make a huge change. Don’t leave Palestine because it’s my motherland. Your motherland. Don’t leave Palestine because at the end of the day, it’s all you’ve got left. Don’t leave Palestine even if you’ll be living on olive oil and thyme all your life.

PS: tell your mother that I love her so much. Kiss her cheeks and forehead for me.

With all my love,




Source: youtube

Clip of the NATO Game Over campaign 2012.

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