Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 10,501
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 10,501
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Sometimes on DU -- when things seem so hopelessly amiss with our corporate oligarchy in the USA -- there is a collective "sigh" and the question gets asked: "WTF can we DO?". The specter of mass surveillance (much of it by PRIVATE corporations), M$M merely regurgitating what corporations and the shadow government tells them, private prisons filled with minorities, Citizens United wholesale buying of elections by big-money, etc. and it all seems so irreversible, so hopeless.
This article deals head-on with this reality. It is 3 pages long, so you may want to bookmark for later.
The Imperative of Revolt
Posted on Oct 19, 2014 * Chris Hedges * Truthdig
TORONTO—I met with Sheldon S. Wolin in Salem, Ore., and John Ralston Saul in Toronto and asked the two political philosophers the same question. If, as Saul has written, we have undergone a corporate coup d’état and now live under a species of corporate dictatorship that Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” if the internal mechanisms that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible remain ineffective, if corporate power retains its chokehold on our economy and governance, including our legislative bodies, judiciary and systems of information, and if these corporate forces are able to use the security and surveillance apparatus and militarized police forces to criminalize dissent, how will change occur and what will it look like?
Wolin, who wrote the books “Politics and Vision” and “Democracy Incorporated,” and Saul, who wrote “Voltaire’s Bastards” and “The Unconscious Civilization,” see democratic rituals and institutions, especially in the United States, as largely a facade for unchecked global corporate power. Wolin and Saul excoriate academics, intellectuals and journalists, charging they have abrogated their calling to expose abuses of power and give voice to social criticism; they instead function as echo chambers for elites, courtiers and corporate systems managers. Neither believes the current economic system is sustainable. And each calls for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.
“If you continue to go down the wrong road, at a certain point something happens,” Saul said during our meeting Wednesday in Toronto, where he lives. “At a certain point when the financial system is wrong it falls apart. And it did. And it will fall apart again.”
“The collapse started in 1973,” Saul continued. “There were a series of sequential collapses afterwards. The fascinating thing is that between 1850 and 1970 we put in place all sorts of mechanisms to stop collapses which we can call liberalism, social democracy or Red Toryism. It was an understanding that we can’t have boom-and-bust cycles. We can’t have poverty-stricken people. We can’t have starvation. The reason today’s collapses are not leading to what happened in the 18th century and the 19th century is because all these safety nets, although under attack, are still in place. But each time we have a collapse we come out of it stripping more of the protection away. At a certain point we will find ourselves back in the pre-protection period. At that point we will get a collapse that will be incredibly dramatic. I have no idea what it will look like. A revolution from the left? A revolution from the right? Is it violence followed by state violence? Is it the collapse of the last meaningful edges of democracy? Is it a sudden decision by a critical mass of people that they are not going to take it anymore?”
“You need a professional or elite class devoted to profound change,” Saul said. “If you want to get power you have to be able to hold it. And you have to be able to hold it long enough to change the direction. The neoconservatives understood this. They have always been Bolsheviks. They are the Bolsheviks of the right. Their methodology is the methodology of the Bolsheviks. They took over political parties by internal coups d’état. They worked out, scientifically, what things they needed to do and in what order to change the structures of power. They have done it stage by stage. And we are living the result of that. The liberals sat around writing incomprehensible laws and boring policy papers. They were unwilling to engage in the real fight that was won by a minute group of extremists.”
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Mon Oct 20, 2014, 07:39 PM (1 replies)
Obama Could Reaffirm a Bush-Era Reading of a Treaty on Torture
By CHARLIE SAVAGE * OCT. 18, 2014 * NYTimes
WASHINGTON — When the Bush administration revealed in 2005 that it was secretly interpreting a treaty ban on “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” as not applying to C.I.A. and military prisons overseas, Barack Obama, then a newly elected Democratic senator from Illinois, joined in a bipartisan protest.
Mr. Obama supported legislation to make it clear that American officials were legally barred from using cruelty anywhere in the world. And in a Senate speech, he said enacting such a statute “acknowledges and confirms existing obligations” under the treaty, the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
But the Obama administration has never officially declared its position on the treaty, and now, President Obama’s legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view. It is considering reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders, according to officials who discussed the deliberations on the condition of anonymity.
The administration must decide on its stance on the treaty by next month, when it sends a delegation to Geneva to appear before the Committee Against Torture, a United Nations panel that monitors compliance with the treaty. That presentation will be the first during Mr. Obama’s presidency.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sun Oct 19, 2014, 02:12 PM (131 replies)
finding something that really IS newly posted is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sat Oct 18, 2014, 11:37 PM (2 replies)
I wish these kinds of "settlements" came out of the Police Retirement Funds.
As Denver faces a string of police brutality cases, a federal jury has awarded a historic $4.6 million in damages to the family of a homeless preacher killed while he was in the booking area of the Denver jail. Marvin Booker died after he was grabbed and then piled on by a team of officers who handcuffed him, put him in a chokehold and tasered him. The coroner ruled his death a homicide, but prosecutors declined to charge the deputies involved, and Denver Sheriff Department officials never disciplined them, saying Booker could have harmed someone and that force was needed to restrain him. The case highlights a history of alleged misconduct by the police department, and has added momentum to calls for reform both locally and nationwide in the aftermath of calls for justice in the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by an officer in Ferguson
Video and Transcript here: http://truth-out.org/news/item/26886-in-historic-police-brutality-case-family-of-homeless-denver-pastor-killed-in-custody-awarded-4-6-million
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sat Oct 18, 2014, 05:09 PM (7 replies)
Widow and Protesters Demand Answers After Phoenix Man Dies During a Run-In with Police
By Matthew Hendley * Fri., Oct. 17 2014 * Phoenix New Times
The widow of a man who died after an encounter with Phoenix police was at Phoenix City Hall Thursday with a group of supporters demanding to know more about the man's death. Balantine Mbegbu, a 65-year-old Phoenix resident, died on October 6 after being tased by a Phoenix police officer.
"I really want to know, why did they kill my husband?" asked Ngozi Mbegbu, Balantine's wife. According to Phoenix police, officers responded to the couple's home that night after a third party called 911 to report a fight between the Mbegbus.
Balantine Mbegbu "immediately became belligerent and confrontational" with responding officers, according to a statement provided by Phoenix police.
"As one of the officers was trying to calm him down, Mr. Mbegbu backed the officer across the room and assaulted him," the PPD statement continues. "The officers were then able to temporarily calm Mr. Mbegbu down. When the additional officers arrived to assist, Mr. Mbegbu began to actively fight with them and violently resisted arrest. Mr. Mbegbu spilled hot liquid on the officers and kicked an officer in the groin."
At that point, police say one officer deployed the taser, and shortly after being handcuffed, Mbegbu started having apparent medical problems. Police called for the fire department to respond and take Mbegbu to a hospital, and Mbegbu was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sat Oct 18, 2014, 01:51 PM (44 replies)
Firstly, I don't have enough of a grasp of the technical nuances of energy creation, but this sounds like it's still "nuclear" energy in some form, with radioactive consequences for all life-forms as we currently know them. Secondly, I do not trust the Lockheed Corporation to be "doing the right thing" vis-a-vis the environment and protecting the web of life we all depend on.
What do you energy science wonks think about this new development? Is it really "new"? Is it really "cleaner"? Etc.
Lockheed announces breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy
*100MW reactor small enough to fit on back of a truck
* Cleaner energy source could be in use within 10 years
theguardian.com, Wednesday 15 October 2014 11.57 EDT
Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade. Tom McGuire, who heads the project, said he and a small team had been working on fusion energy at Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works for about four years, but were now going public to find potential partners in industry and government for their work.
Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors, McGuire told reporters. In a statement, the company, the Pentagon’s largest supplier, said it would build and test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, and build a prototype in five years.
In recent years, Lockheed has become increasingly involved in a variety of alternate energy projects, including several ocean energy projects, as it looks to offset a decline in US and European military spending. Lockheed’s work on fusion energy could help in developing new power sources amid increasing global conflicts over energy, and as projections show there will be a 40% to 50% increase in energy use over the next generation, McGuire said.
If it proves feasible, Lockheed’s work would mark a key breakthrough in a field that scientists have long eyed as promising, but which has not yet yielded viable power systems. The effort seeks to harness the energy released during nuclear fusion, when atoms combine into more stable forms.
“We can make a big difference on the energy front,” McGuire said, noting Lockheed’s 60 years of research on nuclear fusion as a potential energy source that is safer and more efficient than current reactors based on nuclear fission.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Wed Oct 15, 2014, 03:16 PM (16 replies)
A Growing Movement Is Fighting the Criminalization of Homelessness
By Alice Speri * October 6, 2014 * Vice News
Homeless people and their advocates across the United States are pushing back against cities' attempts to erase the problem of homelessness by criminalizing it, and demanding that their basic rights be recognized and protected.
As the national momentum grows around individual states' proposals for a "Homeless Bill of Rights," dozens of social justice and homeless advocacy groups in three states have united in the effort, surveying homeless people about their priorities and working to draft legislation they hope to put before lawmakers early next year.
"We want basic human rights, we want to be able to pee, we want to be able to sleep, we want to be able to sit down," Ray Lyall, a member of Denver Homeless Out Loud, one of the groups behind the initiative, told VICE News.
More US cities are cracking down on feeding the homeless. Read more here.
"Homeless people are almost always told to get up, to move along; they can't sleep, they can't sit," added Lyall, who is himself homeless. "They are trying to stop the sharing of food, there's a lot of the general public that comes out and hands food out, and they're trying to stop that. And we did a report on the availability of bathrooms here in Denver, and there's absolutely none that's open 24 hours."
Lyall says he is very optimistic a homeless bill of rights will eventually pass in Colorado, and has been doing outreach with Denver's 11,000 homeless residents to build support for the initiative.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Wed Oct 15, 2014, 02:44 AM (10 replies)
Colorado family stunned: Cop breaks in, fatally shoots man in back, and ‘no one knows why’
DAVID EDWARDS * 13 OCT 2014 * Raw Story
Colorado family said that it was stunned over the weekend when an officer broke down their door, and fatally shot one of the residents in the back without an explanation.
Sara Lindenmuth told KRDO that a Rocky Ford police officer forced down the door to their home sometime after her brother-in-law, 27-year-old Jack Jacquez, came home around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
She recalled that the two men started shouting at each other.
“He was standing next to his mom, his back turned toward the officer and then he shot him twice in the back and then pepper sprayed him,” Lindenmuth said. “Then they hand cuffed his fiancée, for reasons I don’t know why. And the mom went to call the cops and the cop took her phone and threw it against the wall.”
“He just showed up,” she insisted. “No one knows why he just showed up. It just all happened unexpectedly.”
Jacquez’s fiancée, Mariah, told KKTV that he had been out late because he was helping a friend babysit. She said she was asleep when she heard the gunshots.
“Came out, gun shots firing. Found my fiancé on the floor. He couldn’t breathe,” she explained.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was reportedly investigating the case. KKTV identified the officer as James Ashby. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Authorities said that there would be no additional details released until the investigation concluded.
Watch the video below from KRDO, broadcast Oct. 12, 2014.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Tue Oct 14, 2014, 02:01 PM (26 replies)
Can the Corporate Media Finally Handle the Truth Gary Webb Exposed?
Consortium News * By Robert Parry * Oct. 12, 2014
Big newspapers could have taken the opening created by “Kill the Messenger” to make amends for their egregious behavior in the 80s.
The mainstream news media’s reaction to the new movie, “Kill the Messenger,” has been tepid, perhaps not surprising given that the MSM comes across as the film’s most unsympathetic villain as it crushes journalist Gary Webb for digging up the Contra-cocaine scandal in the mid-1990s after the major newspapers thought they had buried it in the 1980s.
Not that the movie is without other villains, including drug traffickers and “men in black” government agents. But the drug lords show some humanity and even honesty as they describe how they smuggled drugs and shared the proceeds with the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, President Ronald Reagan’s beloved “freedom fighters.”
By contrast, the news executives for the big newspapers, such as the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, come across as soulless careerists determined to maintain their cozy relations with the CIA’s press office and set on shielding their failure to take on this shocking scandal when it was playing out in the 1980s.
So, in the 1990s, they concentrated their fire on Webb for alleged imperfections in his investigative reporting rather than on U.S. government officials who condoned and protected the Contra drug trafficking as part of Reagan’s Cold War crusade.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Mon Oct 13, 2014, 03:28 PM (0 replies)
Well the teen did have some weed on him, but still .. this is just one more reason to legalize pot.
Let's criminalize police brutality, not drugs.
BROOKLYN — Two NYPD officers are under criminal investigation after punching and bashing a 16-year-old suspect in the face with a gun despite the teen raising his hands to surrender, according to a video obtained by DNAinfo New York.
The surveillance footage obtained exclusively by “On The Inside" shows the two officers catch up to marijuana suspect Kahreem Tribble after a brief chase in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
As the teen stops running, one officer throws a punch at his face. Then, as the suspect raises his hands, the other officer clocks him with his gun.
Tribble was arrested for possessing 17 small bags of marijuana and disorderly conduct on Aug. 29. At his arraignment, he pleaded guilty to a violation and was released with cracked teeth and bruises.
The officers from the 79th Precinct are now targets of a criminal investigation conducted by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Tue Oct 7, 2014, 03:07 PM (5 replies)