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Glenn Greenwald: The Boston Bombing Produces Familiar and Revealing Reactions


The Guardian

Tuesday 16 April 2013 09.52 EDT

The Boston bombing produces familiar and revealing reactions

As usual, the limits of selective empathy, the rush to blame Muslims, and the exploitation of fear all instantly emerge

Glenn Greenwald

There's not much to say about Monday's Boston Marathon attack because there is virtually no known evidence regarding who did it or why. There are, however, several points to be made about some of the widespread reactions to this incident. Much of that reaction is all-too-familiar and quite revealing in important ways:

(1) The widespread compassion for yesterday's victims and the intense anger over the attacks was obviously authentic and thus good to witness. But it was really hard not to find oneself wishing that just a fraction of that compassion and anger be devoted to attacks that the US perpetrates rather than suffers. These are exactly the kinds of horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade, with very little attention paid. My Guardian colleague Gary Younge put this best on Twitter this morning:

- snip -

Juan Cole this morning makes a similar point about violence elsewhere. Indeed, just yesterday in Iraq, at least 42 people were killed and more than 250 injured by a series of car bombs, the enduring result of the US invasion and destruction of that country. Somehow the deep compassion and anger felt in the US when it is attacked never translates to understanding the effects of our own aggression against others.

- snip -

I don't disagree with that sentiment. But I'd bet a good amount of money that the person saying it - and the vast majority of other Americans - have no clue that targeting rescuers with "double-tap" attacks is precisely what the US now does with its drone program and other forms of militarism. If most Americans knew their government and military were doing this, would they react the same way as they did to yesterday's Boston attack: "Idea of secondary bombs designed to kill the first responders is just sick. How does anyone become that evil?" That's highly doubtful, and that's the point.

- snip -

Regardless of your views of justification and intent: whatever rage you're feeling toward the perpetrator of this Boston attack, that's the rage in sustained form that people across the world feel toward the US for killing innocent people in their countries. Whatever sadness you feel for yesterday's victims, the same level of sadness is warranted for the innocent people whose lives are ended by American bombs. However profound a loss you recognize the parents and family members of these victims to have suffered, that's the same loss experienced by victims of US violence. It's natural that it won't be felt as intensely when the victims are far away and mostly invisible, but applying these reactions to those acts of US aggression would go a long way toward better understanding what they are and the outcomes they generate.

(2) The rush, one might say the eagerness, to conclude that the attackers were Muslim was palpable and unseemly, even without any real evidence. The New York Post quickly claimed that the prime suspect was a Saudi national (while also inaccurately reporting that 12 people had been confirmed dead). The Post's insinuation of responsibility was also suggested on CNN by Former Bush Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend ("We know that there is one Saudi national who was wounded in the leg who is being spoken to"). Former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman went on CNN to grossly speculate that Muslim groups were behind the attack. Anti-Muslim bigots like Pam Geller predictably announced that this was "Jihad in America". Expressions of hatred for Muslims, and a desire to do violence, were then spewing forth all over Twitter (some particularly unscrupulous partisan Democrat types were identically suggesting with zero evidence that the attackers were right-wing extremists).

Obviously, it's possible that the perpetrator(s) will turn out to be Muslim, just like it's possible they will turn out to be extremist right-wing activists, or left-wing agitators, or Muslim-fearing Anders-Breivik types, or lone individuals driven by apolitical mental illness. But the rush to proclaim the guilty party to be Muslim is seen in particular over and over with such events. Recall that on the day of the 2011 Oslo massacre by a right-wing, Muslim-hating extremist, the New York Times spent virtually the entire...


Chinese Consulate in New York Says Chinese National is 3rd Person Killed in Boston Blasts

Source: Associated Press

@BreakingNews: Chinese Consulate in New York says Chinese national is 3rd person killed in the Boston marathon blasts - @AP http://t.co/UQ1bfKRO3N


Apr. 16 7:30 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) The Chinese Consulate in New York says a Chinese national is the third person killed in the Boston marathon blasts.

An official at the consulate's press section, who was not authorized to give his name, said that one Chinese student was injured and another died in the blast.

The official said a work group from the consulate was in Boston to investigate the situation and assist relatives of the victims.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that relatives have requested that the deceased not be identified.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/consulate-chinese-national-killed-boston

Dead California Teen's Family Sue Suspects in Sexual Assault Case

Source: Reuters

Dead California teen's family sue suspects in sexual assault case

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA | Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:41pm EDT

By Laila Kearney

SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - A California teen who family members say killed herself after classmates circulated a photo of her being sexually assaulted by three boys was also scribbled with "markings" that "served to taunt and demean her," her parents' lawyer said on Friday.

New details of events leading up to last September's suicide of Audrie Pott, 15, allegedly assaulted while passed out drunk during a party at a friend's home near San Jose emerged as the girl's parents spoke publicly for the first time about her death and filed suit against the three boys accused in the attack.

Her family says Pott was the latest victim in a disturbing series of cases involving girls or young women being brutalized by sexual assault, then further humiliated when electronic images of their attack are distributed via social media.

The three boys accused of violating her were arrested last week on suspicion of sexual assault by digital penetration and distributing a photo of a minor in sexual positions - both of which are felonies in California.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE93F04320130416

NBC News: Law enforcement official confirms one of 2 people killed in explosions was 8 years old

@NBCNews Law enforcement official confirms that one of two people killed in today's explosions was eight years old. #BostonMarathon

Breaking: US Supreme Court Declines to Hear Gun Rights Case (Upholds New York's Gun Control Laws)

Source: Reuters

@BreakingNews: RT @breakingpol: US Supreme Court upholds New York State's gun control laws - @BloombergTV

Supreme Court declines to hear gun rights case

By Lawrence Hurley

Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:57am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Staying out of the raging national debate over guns, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to weigh in on whether gun owners have a constitutional right to carry handguns outside the home.

The court decided not to hear a challenge to a New York state law that requires those who want to carry a concealed handgun to show they have a special reason before they can get a license.

The gun owners challenging the law said that the right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not limited to the right to keep a handgun at home.

In recent years, the Supreme Court has expanded gun rights, first by finding in the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual right to bear arms and then ruling two years later in McDonald v. City of Chicago, that the earlier ruling applied to the states.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE93E0L820130415

At least 22 people killed, over 100 wounded in string of attacks across Iraq

Source: Associated Press

@BreakingNews: At least 22 people killed, over 100 wounded in string of attacks across Iraq, officials say - @AP

Apr 15, 3:48 AM EDT



BAGHDAD (AP) -- A series of attacks across Iraq killed 27 people and wounded well over 100 on Monday morning, officials said.

The attacks, many involving car bombs, took place less than a week before Iraqis in much of the country are scheduled to vote in the country's first elections since the 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal. The vote will be a key test of security forces' ability to keep voters safe.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but coordinated attacks are a favorite tactic of al-Qaida's Iraq branch.

Iraqi officials believe the insurgent group is growing stronger and increasingly coordinating with allies fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad across the border. They say rising lawlessness on the Syria-Iraq frontier and cross-border cooperation with the Syrian militant group Nusra Front has improved the militants' supply of weapons and foreign fighters.

Nearly all of the deadly attacks reported by police officials were bombings, which struck Baghdad, in the western city of Fallujah, the contested northern city of Kirkuk and towns south of the capital. Another 100 people were wounded.

Windows rattled from the force of a blast in central Baghdad when a bomb struck the central commercial district of Karrada. That blast and others in the capital, including one caused by a parked car bomb that went off in a bus station, killed 10.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_IRAQ

CBS's Good Wife Ripped From Headlines Again Tonight: Anonymous & Party Rape Tweeting

& Aaron Schwartz

Half-way over, but very interesting.

Sunday's DOONESBURY - The Return of Bush: 'Freedom, Torture & Freedom!'

SLATE.COM LINK: http://doonesbury.slate.com

Taibbi: Many Self-Congratulating Millionaires Aren't 'Self-Made,' But Actually Living Off Your Money


One thing that people need to realize about Wall Street and the financial system in general: many of the self-congratulating millionaires and billionaires you read about in the news aren't "self-made" in any real sense, but actually live either directly or indirectly off of your money. The quickest way to extreme wealth in this world is to attach oneself to giant piles of institutional money like public pension funds.

Dan Loeb, Hedge Fund King With Balls

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

13 April 13

- snip -

In other words, Loeb has been soliciting the retirement money of public workers, then turning right around and lobbying for those same workers to lose their benefits. He's essentially asking workers to pay for their own disenfranchisement (with Loeb getting his two-and-twenty cut, or whatever obscene percentage of their retirement monies he will charge as a fee). If that isn't the very definition of balls, I don't know what is.

- snip -

Weingarten quickly wrote back to shore up the meeting, letting Loeb know that there would be some other voices at the table. "A small group of pension fund trustees are interested in joining us," she wrote, "including two funds that are current clients of yours."

It seemed that representatives from New Jersey and Ohio, along with several groups from states like New York, Pennsylvania and California who had not yet invested with Loeb, wanted to meet with him personally to clarify his views on public pensions before making a decision about whether to invest (or, perhaps, disinvest).

After receiving this letter, Loeb suddenly changed his mind about wanting to meet. "Unfortunately, I am not free following my presentation as I have made a prior commitment and am then leaving for New York." He added:

I have learned that SFNY advocated a choice between the two types of plans, a recommendation favored by a majority of younger teachers. Beyond that, I'd be pretty useless in a discussion on such an esoteric copy, so I suggest that Ms. Weingarten discuss her concerns with either Michelle Rhee, the national director of Students First and a member of our board, Joel Klein, our Chairman, or Micah Lasher, our executive director.

This one doesn't need much of a translation. Yeah, I know you represent $800 billion, and that some of your members have already given me tons of cash, but I'm busy, so blow me.

- snip -

One thing that people need to realize about Wall Street and the financial system in general: many of the self-congratulating millionaires and billionaires you read about in the news aren't "self-made" in any real sense, but actually live either directly or indirectly off of your money. The quickest way to extreme wealth in this world is to attach oneself to giant piles of institutional money like public pension funds. The subprime mortgage crisis was fueled in large part by sociopathic hotshots from banks and hedge funds who convinced institutional investors - your corporate retirement fund, your public pension, your union - to buy crappy mortgage-backed securities.

Guys like Dan Loeb, they don't actually do anything, other than shave cuts off of other peoples' money. The psychological justification for taking such high fees is that they earn for their clients, but even that's debatable in some cases (AFT points out that some of Loeb's funds haven't even outperformed the S&P).


The Lost Roles of Stephen Colbert


The Lost Roles of Stephen Colbert

by Bradford Evans | April 11th, 2013

Before becoming a correspondent on The Daily Show (under original host Craig Kilborn) in 1997, Stephen Colbert spent a decade as a wildly funny performer at Second City Chicago who wasn't getting the amount of career attention he deserved, being passed over for numerous big jobs. The Daily Show was Colbert's big break, but it wasn't until Jon Stewart took over as host that Colbert and the show really started to hit their strides. After spending eight years on The Daily Show, Colbert was finally given his own series. There, he quickly proved he was capable of anchoring his own show and achieved national treasure status. Let's take a look back at some of Colbert's earlier career attempts that didn't work out, like auditioning for Saturday Night Live, writing movies, and serving as an on-air correspondent for Good Morning America:

1. Saturday Night Live (1992)

In a 2011 oral history of The Dana Carvey Show for GQ, Stephen Colbert revealed that he had tried out for SNL during a showcase for the show's writers and producers at Second City Chicago. Colbert, who was Steve Carell's Second City understudy at the time, recalls, "Robert Smigel had seen me perform at Second City when he was one of the people scouting for Saturday Night Live. When was Carvey? 1996? So that was in 1992 and I didn't get hired for SNL that time." While Colbert didn't get an SNL job, he did impress Robert Smigel, who tells GQ, "Colbert completely blew me away. I was all about the understudy. Like, 'Who's the understudy?'"

Smigel ended up hiring Colbert as a cast member and writer for The Dana Carvey Show a few years later. When ABC canceled Carvey Show, Colbert briefly served as a writer on SNL in the fall of 1996. He even managed to make it on camera in small parts in a few sketches (like in the commercial parody below)...
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