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Hissyspit

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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 43,690

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Group Says FBI Snoops on Wikileaks Supporters; Files Suit

http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/31/43485.htm

Group Says FBI Snoops on Wikileaks Supporters
By IULIA FILIP 

WASHINGTON (CN) - A nonprofit government watchdog claims the FBI refuses to release information on "the government's identification and surveillance of individuals who have demonstrated support for or interest in WikiLeaks."

The Electronic Privacy Information Center sued the Department of Justice's Criminal Division and National Security Division, and the FBI, in a FOIA complaint in Federal Court.

It claims the Justice Department and FBI refuse to disclose a single record of their tracking of people who are sympathetic to WikiLeaks.

EPIC, a public interest research organization, says it based its request for information "on the need for the public to obtain information about government surveillance of individuals exercising the rights to freedom of speech and association guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

Police Clash with Oakland Protesters, 100 Held

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE80S00520120129?irpc=932

Police clash with Oakland protesters, 100 held

By Laird Harrison
Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:51pm EST

OAKLAND (Reuters) - Riot police arrested more than 100 anti-Wall Street protesters during a series of clashes in the streets of Oakland on Saturday that saw officers in riot gear firing tear gas at activists who tried to take over a shuttered convention center.

Three officers were injured during the running confrontations, which police said first erupted when the crowd began destroying construction equipment and tearing down fencing at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center in downtown Oakland in the early afternoon.

"Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares," the Oakland Police Department said in a statement. "Oakland Police Department deployed smoke and tear gas."

The scuffles marked the latest confrontation between police and Occupy activists seeking to regain lost momentum in their movement against economic inequality after authorities cleared protest camps across the country late last year.

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Occupy DC Protesters Demonstrate Outside VIP Dinner

Occupy DC protesters demonstrate outside VIP dinner

By Courtney Battle, CNN
updated 10:07 PM EST, Sat January 28, 2012

Demonstrators gather outside of Alfafa Dinner for high-level dignitaries
The group attempts to create a human blockade as guests arrive
Some attendees, including Joe Lieberman, are doused with glitter


Washington (CNN) -- Occupy DC protesters gathered to demonstrate Saturday outside the 99th annual Alfalfa Club dinner thrown for high-level dignitaries, including President Obama.

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Marching through the streets, the demonstrators chanted "Whose streets? Our streets!" and "We are the 99%," until they reached barricades outside of the hotel. Once at the barricades, protesters continued to chant and attempted to create a human blockade to hamper the guests from entering the dinner.

The Alfalfa Club is an organization comprised of Washington VIPs such as congressmen and business executives whom Occupy DC activists say personify the "1%" members of the movement have been rallying against since last year.

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"I am out here today dressed up as myself; middle-class, middle-aged PTA parent to show that the 99% includes regular people like me," Occupy DC protester Eric Lotke told CNN. "What we need to do is start listening to the people, and if we listen to the people, they want the clean energy, they want the money out of politics, they want the health care, they want these things and they can't get them because there's a ruling class that wants things to be done differently."

Subpoenas Issued to Financial Firms in Expanded Probe

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE80Q27U20120127?irpc=932

Subpoenas issued to financial firms in expanded probe

By Aruna Viswanatha and James Vicini
WASHINGTON | Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:49pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Justice Department issued civil subpoenas to 11 financial institutions as part of a new effort to investigate misconduct in the packaging and sale of home loans to investors, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday.

Holder declined to provide specifics, including the names of the firms.

"We are wasting no time in aggressively pursuing any and all leads," Holder said at a news conference announcing details of a new working group to investigate misconduct in the residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market, "you can expect more to follow."

President Barack Obama said he directed Holder to create the new unit in his State of the Union speech late Tuesday, saying it was needed to "help turn the page on an era of recklessness."

Old Mortgages Rise From the Dead, Haunt Homeowners

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE80P0SJ20120126?irpc=932

Old mortgages rise from the dead, haunt homeowners

Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:46pm EST

By Michelle Conlin

(Reuters) - In July 2009, Roy and Sheila Bowers refinanced the mortgage on their suburban ranch home in Topeka, Kansas. The couple wanted to take advantage of the low interest rates that were all the rage at the time.

- snip -

But what the Bowers never imagined was that their old loan, the one Wells Fargo told them was paid off, would resurrect itself, trashing their credit report, scotching their son's student loans and throwing the whole family into foreclosure. All, they say, even though they didn't miss a single mortgage payment.

- snip -

"It's the most egregious manifestation of an industry that's seriously broken," said Ira Rheingold, a lawyer who is the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocate.

Diane Thompson, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, says she has defended hundreds of foreclosure cases, and in nearly all of them, the homeowner was not in default. "The record-keeping on the part of the mortgage servicers is not to be trusted."

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Gawker: Your Guide to Mitt Romney’s Obscene Tax Situation

http://gawker.com/5878851/your-guide-to-mitt-romneys-obscene-tax-situation?utm_source=Gawker+Newsletter&utm_campaign=c7a0bf8ce7-UA-142218-2&utm_medium=email#viewcomments

Your Guide to Mitt Romney’s Obscene Tax Situation

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How Mitt Romney made it worse

Romney had deflected hits like this before but oddly, after running for president for six years, he had no clear response to this very obvious thing that was going to come up at some point. He explained that he was following the law and didn't have to release anything but maybe would in a few months anyway. In one South Carolina debate, when the moderator pointed out that his father, George Romney, voluntarily released 12 years' worth of tax returns in his 1968 candidacy (he lost) and asked whether Mitt would do the same, his response was "Maybe." Innocent darling Newt Gingrich noted that he paid a 31% tax rate last year, like an honest man would.

The poison pens of the media, meanwhile, were examining his offshore investments in the Cayman Islands. This didn't help.

- snip -

What's in his tax returns

He made $20.9 million last year and $21.7 in 2010 — off years, sure, but just enough to put a steak on the dinner table every now and then. Most of this came from investment income like dividends, capital gains, and carried interest, which is taxed at 15%. He made great use of charitable deductions, too, giving away $7 million in the last two years, $4.1 million of which went to the Mormon church as a tithe. After that, what he wound up paying was an effective 15.4 percent ($3.2 million) of his 2011 gross income and a 13.9 percent ($3 million) of his 2010 gross income.

They're about as predicted. The most embarrassing nugget, though, is probably that he had a fancy-sounding Swiss bank account that was closed in 2010 because advisers thought it could be "politically damaging." Well, now it's going to be politically damaging because you said that, suckers.

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New Bruce Springsteen: 'We Take Care of Our Own'



http://www.backstreets.com/news.html

The ultra-anthemic "We Take Care of Our Own" marches in with one of Springsteen's most martial rhythms — a kickdrum on every downbeat since "Badlands." And you better believe it has some of the same "trouble in the heartland" concerns, too. But then there's that chorus: rousing, uplifting, and positioning "We Take Care of Our Own" to not only be Springsteen's most misinterpreted song since "Born in the U.S.A.," but misinterpreted in precisely the same way. With its imagery of flying flags, it's practically begging for it.

And there are takers. The L.A. Times' Randall Roberts describes the song as "an affirmation of national glory," with a chorus that reveals the song to be "about the country and hardship, but also about community and pride." The Atlantic Wire cheerily reports, "it's really, really good. This is to be expected, because it's Springsteen, and also because the song involves flags, loyalty oaths, and going through life with a heart-as-big-as-all-outdoors."

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I'd argue that there are more than two ways to view the title. Aside from the ironic interpretation, it can also be heard as an accusation: we don't take care of everyone in this country; we take care of our own. With a subdivided America suffering from paralyzing partisanship as well as racism, homophobia, xenophobia... who exactly consitutes "our own" has become a far narrower subset than everyone who lives under that flying flag. As Bruce sang in "American Land," "The hands that built the country we're all trying to keep down." In that sense the phrase "we take care of our own" suggests bailed-out banks giving management bonuses, the wealthy giving tax breaks to the wealthy, "Marriage Protection," and a Federal Emergency Management Agency that shockingly appeared to view an American city as "other" in its response to Katrina.

Which leads to a darker connotation of "We take care of our own," a phrase often invoked by groups wanting to keep outsiders out, to justify violent, illegal, or immoral acts. Chew on this, from a 2009 article in The Nation called "Katrina's Hidden Race War," about a white "militia" shooting at least 11 African-American men "in the days after the storm, when the city fractured along racial fault lines as its government collapsed":

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Republican Racism in Debates is an Air Raid Siren, Not a Dog Whistle

http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/153819/republican_racism_is_an_air_raid_siren%2C_not_a_dog_whistle/?page=entire

AlterNet / By Chauncey DeVega 2 COMMENTS

Republican Racism is an Air Raid Siren, Not a Dog Whistle

Republican candidates are overtly signaling that whiteness and American identity are intertwined.

January 19, 2012
 
On his MSNBC show Hardball, Chris Matthews called out Newt Gingrich and other Republicans for what he described as their "dog whistle" appeals to white racism during the South Carolina debate on Monday night.

He was correct in identifying the work that racism does for the Tea Party GOP and its candidates in their efforts to win over white conservative voters. However, Chris Matthews was too generous and kind. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and other Republican candidates are not engaging in subtle dog whistles to their faithful, where racism and white racial anxiety hides in the background, masked and hidden by other language.

Definitions matter: dog whistle politics are based on a signal or cue to the in-group, and one so subtle that those not in the know will overlook it as no more than quixotic background noise, a blip, a comment without context or meaning.

- snip -

In all, the Tea Party GOP's campaign for the presidency rests upon marshaling white anger and rage at The Usurper, a perpetual Other, and one not fit for the presidency by virtue of his birth and skin color--he who we know as President Barack Obama. If Birtherism is not based on this calculation, on what else does it rest?

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