An October 9 Time Magazine poll revealed that 89% of Americans agree that Wall Street exerts too much influence on our political system; 79% feel the gap between rich and poor is too large; 71% feel the executives from the major financial institutions responsible for the 2008 economic meltdown should be prosecuted; and that only 6% of Americans identify themselves as "Tea Party" followers.
Previous MSM efforts to either ignore what amounts to a genuine democratic uprising or to disparage Occupy Wall Street by falsely claiming the movement has no goal have obviously fallen flat. Against that backdrop, the corporate-owned Los Angeles Times launched a desperate effort to deceptively depict the movement as a transient phenomenon which has had its say and should now fade away.
Despite such efforts, neither the dire underlying conditions which have been brought on by history's greatest wealth disparity and the tyranny of the corporate security state, nor the people's desire to realize America's still-unfilled egalitarian democracy is likely to dissipate any time soon. As the Mavis Staples song says, "We shall not be moved!"...
But the fact is, the wholesale takeover of the American government by corporate "persons" --- and the (at least) 30 years of corruption and crapping on the middle class that has come with it --- has some 99% of us with a long, 30 year-list of complaints. They don't easily fit on one single bumper sticker. Ultimately, though, there seems just one thing that underscores all of those complaints: the end of any real accountability for every one of those corrupting influences and often criminal acts.
It has become almost unimaginable that flagrant lawlessness by the elite --- be they in government or corporatist America --- will ever be met with any sort of real accountability, any kind of accountability that might actually dissuade others from the same behavior in a way that might serve to reverse the ever increasing race to lower the bar below ground. That, I suspect, is the frustration at the heart of every Occupation and ever Occupier or those who support them in the country.
Two back-to-back interviews on Tuesday night's Rachel Maddow Show seemed to make these points as plain as could be, and one even offered some hope in the bargain. The first was with NY state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who actually suggests he gets it, and is actually pursuing real accountability, with real investigations into criminality by the banks and the banksters before, during and after the explosion of the mortgage crisis. We'll see if he means it (or if he gets "caught" with a hooker first.) The second interview was with Constitutional attorney, Salon blogger and author of the new book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, Glenn Greenwald.
Key points on accountability from both interviews are excerpted below, and the full videos of each are embed below that. Both are worth reading and/or watching in full if you haven't. It's about the accountability, stupid...
Occupy Albany protesters in New York’s capital city received an unexpected ally over the week: The state and local authorities.
According to the Albany Times Union, New York state troopers and Albany police did not adhere to a curfew crackdown on protesters urged by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Albany mayor Gerald Jennings.
Mass arrests seemed to be in the cards once Jennings directed officers to enforce the curfew on roughly 700 protesters occupying the city owned park.
With protesters acting peacefully, local and state police agreed that low level arrests could cause a riot, so they decided instead to defy Cuomo and Jennings.
What part of the Constitutional First Amendment "right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," do so many of the other cops across the nation not yet understand?
* * *
By the way, with Cuomo's attempted crackdown and Obama's former Chief of Staff, now Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel's approval of the arrests of 175 peaceful Occupiers in Chicago over the weekend, can we stop with the "Occupiers are just fronts for Democrats!" bullshit yet?
As registered nurses --- a number of whom were held in jail for some 23 hours after being arrested Saturday night, early Sunday morning while offering medical services to demonstrators in Grant Park --- protested the arrests outside Emanuel's office this morning, he was quoted by the Chicago Trib as saying: "I have to enforce the law as well as respect peoples’ 1st Amendment rights."
And when those two things come in to conflict, which one do you suppose Emanuel decided took precedence over the other?
* * *
Also...not from Albany, though somewhat related to the above. From from New York City, via ThinkProgress, a couple of weeks ago...
...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Isn't that quaint?
Josh Holland takes a look at what happened to that apparently antiquated notion from the document which used to carry some weight in the way this country was governed, as he notes that some 1,500 American citizens have now been arrested while peaceably assembling to petition the Government for a redress of grievances over the past month since Occupy Wall Street began.
Last night, while the GOP debated Casino Capitalism (in an actual casino!), Give Me Liberty author and reporter Naomi Wolfe became one of the latest to have had her Constitutional right to peaceably assemble for redress of grievances taken away from her, as seen in the following video (in which that "Democrat Party-sponsored""mob" was attempting to petition Democratic NY state Governor Andrew Cuomo for a redress of grievances)...
Wolf wrote about her arrest seen above, "for standing lawfully on the sidewalk in an evening gown" at the UK's Guardian today, noting that she explained to the NYPD before she was cuffed that she was both a "NYC citizen and a reporter".
As her article's sub-header notes, "Arresting a middle-aged writer in an evening gown for peaceable conduct is a far cry from when America was a free republic."
"I became exhibit A in a process that I have been warning Americans about since 2007," Wolfe writes. "First they come for the 'other' – the 'terrorist', the brown person, the Muslim, the outsider; then they come for you – while you are standing on a sidewalk in evening dress, obeying the law."
So, where are all the outraged "Tea Partiers" who used to decry supposed abuses of the U.S. Constitution under our authoritarian regime? Oh, right, they were just pretending to give a damn about any of it...like good little scammed Fox "News" soldiers.
* * *
P.S. Here's hoping Wolf makes out as well following her inappropriate arrest as Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman did after hers.
* * *
UPDATE 10/19/11: In her Guardian piece, Wolf explained that the NYPD had told her the permit for the event she was attending (an annual Huffington Post event which Gov. Cuomo was also scheduled to attend, thus the protesters) when she came across the #OWS folks, forbade protesters from using the public sidewalks outside the building. Suspecting the claim from the police was bullshit, she says she requested to see a copy of that permit prior to her arrest, but was not allowed to.
Since posting the article above, Wolf contacted me to note that she has finally tracked down a copy of the type of permit HuffPo had last night and --- surprise, surprise --- the claim by cops appears to, in fact, be bullshit...
Douglas Rushkoff's CNN article from where the above was found --- in which he slams his colleague, CNN's Erin Burnett as "condescending and reductionist" --- is well worth the read as well.
We will continue to #OccupyYOURPublicAirwaves and cover the uprising on tonight's nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show, which I'm guest hosting through Friday night as Mike emcees at the kick off for today's OccupyWashingtonDC.org.
(Last night's very lively show is now archived, commercial-free, right here, in case you missed any of it!)
Let's see. #OccupyWallStreet is an ever-growing group of American citizens actually doing something unprecedented, while facing impossible odds and putting their lives on the line in hopes of positively changing the course of the nation. NJ Gov. Chris Christie isn't.
No wonder he gets so much more national media attention.
The case arises from the secret video taping by O'Keefe and Giles of then ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera, as part of the deceptively edited hit videos the pair would later release on Breitbart's several propaganda websites. Vera was terminated after the release of the videos, despite having committed no wrongdoing --- he had even notified local police about the pair, after he suspected they were up to no good --- as confirmed in a detailed report by the California Attorney General last year. O'Keefe and Giles, on the other hand, as the CA AG found, most likely "violated state privacy laws." While they were given criminal immunity by the AG in exchange for the raw, unedited video tapes, they remain liable for civil violations of the that law.
Now it appears Breitbart himself may be pulled into the case, and we're likely to soon learn how much he paid O'Keefe and Giles for their hit tapes.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin has adjudicated a discovery dispute by ordering both O'Keefe and Giles to disclose payments Breitbart made to them, as well as email communications and other relevant documents concerning the illicit video taping of Vera.
While that is likely to offer an interesting expansion of this story soon (and we'll offer a few more details from the court's ruling below), more than anything what caught our eye in this story for the moment, was the reporting by local journalist Heather Johnson of Courthouse News. She broke the story this week, and managed to actually report accurately on the details of O'Keefe and Giles' ACORN hoax.
So, to offer you (and, actually, the New York Times) an idea of what accurate reporting on O'Keefe --- a man who has, since his ACORN con, also pled guilty to a scheme involving an attempted wire-tap plot of a sitting U.S. Senator --- looks like, just read the first three grafs of Johnson's coverage this week...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Hurricane Irene Special Report: Assessing the damage, and the response; Catastrophic flooding in VT; Rightwing's nutty response to disaster (We're talking to you, Howard Kurtz, George Will, Eric Cantor & Ron Paul!); PLUS: Making the link with climate change - the corporate media won't do it, so we will ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Despite protests, Keystone oil sands pipeline moves one step closer to approval; NASA's Hansen: We Will Continue To Fight Tar Sands Pipeline; Climate scientist vindicated again; Koch Industries fighting against tougher national security rules on chemical plants; Calfornia's 'solar highways' faces regulatory speed bumps; Reversible OLED Solar building tiles light the night; Powering your car with old newspapers?; Wind Power Gains As Gear Improves; More oil drilling in Obama era than Bush era; Earthquake may have exceeded VA nuclear plant's safeguards; Source of Gulf oil sheen near BP oil well is unclear; After Recall, Egg Farms Rack Up Violations; UN warns new mutant strain of bird flu on the rise; Monsanto GMO corn losing bug resistance ... PLUS: Republicans Against Science ...
[UPDATED a number of times at bottom of article, with more extraordinary photos and videos of devastating "hype" in NY, MA, NC and VT leading their governor to declare Sunday that the state has "a full-blown flooding catastrophe on our hands." ||| To date, at least 45 are now dead in 13 states in 3rd deadliest U.S. storm in more than 30 years.]
* * *
Setting aside that at this time following 2005's Hurricane Katrina --- the morning after --- most in the media were breathing a sigh of relief that New Orleans had "dodged a bullet", one wonders if the folks in Wilmington, Vermont today...
...are inclined to agree with insightful media critic Howard Kurtz' assessment that Irene amounted to little more than "A Hurricane of Hype":
National news organizations morphed into local eyewitness-news operations, going wall to wall for days with dire warnings about what would turn out to be a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest possible ranking.
Um, surely Howard knows that category rankings for hurricanes refer to wind speed and velocity, not the amount of moisture in the storm or the possibilities of life-threatening floods that may accompany it, along with the storm surge to follow, right? Surely he has many reliable sources that have explained that to him by now, doesn't he?
Does anyone seriously believe the hurricane would have drawn the same level of coverage if it had been bearing down on, say, Ft. Lauderdale?
Dunno, Howard. Would a storm bearing down on Ft. Lauderdale have some 65 million people in its path, as Irene had? Please, Howard, have some apples with your oranges...
I'd returned to NYU from my parents' home in St. Louis a few weeks earlier than usual in the late Summer of 1985 to produce and direct a play I'd written, PUCK: A Power Play --- about two hockey players in the desert, naturally --- so we'd be able to open during the first week of classes.
We were forced to postpone opening weekend thanks to Hurricane Gloria, the last hurricane, prior to this weekend's Irene, to have drawn a bead on New York City.
"Play Canceled Due to Hurricane" seemed as unthinkably bizarre at the time, to someone like me from the Midwest, anyway, as "Play Canceled Due to Volcano" or "Play Canceled Due to Plague of Locusts."
It was in the pre-Katrina, pre-Ike, pre-Tuscaloosa, pre-Joplin, pre-100 year flood, fire, and drought days, however. So while the city took things relatively seriously, I suspect its nothing like what's going on there this weekend.
Gloria ended up taking a right turn at the last minute, and little more than the barest drizzle ended up hitting the empty streets of Manhattan that weekend, though I remember well the big white Xs taped across virtually every window in town --- NYC's version of "boarding" things up.
Here's hoping Irene changes her mind as Gloria did 26 years ago(!), in the Summer of 1985. And here's hoping our friends on the entire Eastern Seaboard stay safe, smart, and dry over the next few days.
You can always open the play next weekend instead. We did. And lived to tell the tale.
P.S. Yes, I'm still buried in work on the series of exclusives I've cryptically alluded to previously (here and here), even while prepping to guest host tomorrow night's Mike Malloy Show again. So your patience while I'm otherwise distracted with those important items continues to be much appreciated!
Moments ago, the New York state Senate approved a marriage equality bill by a vote of 33 to 29. The legislation, previously approved in the state Assembly, will result in NY becoming the sixth state where same-sex marriage is allowed.
The right to marry was confirmed by conservative Supreme Courts in both California and Maine, but in each state, ballot initiatives were passed in hopes of nullifying that right. California's Prop 8, a state constitutional amendment banning equal marriage rights, has since been found unconstitutional in federal court, and is likely to be decided, eventually, in the U.S. Supreme Court.
NY's state Senate is the first legislative body with a Republican-majority to approve a bill for marriage equality.
The victory for real conservatives will result in a doubling of the number of Americans guaranteed equal marriage rights under the law.
And, once again, as a service to fake conservatives --- such as those who oppose equal rights for gay, fellow citizens, to marry each other --- a reminder: Even once this bill is signed into law, gay marriage will remain optional, not mandatory, in the state of New York.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed New York's gay marriage bill, starting what is expected to be a crush of gay weddings starting in 30 days.
The Democratic governor signed the measure shortly before midnight Friday, following up on a promise to put his name on the legislation as soon as he received it rather than wait the usual 10 days to sign it for it to become law.
While prepping for tonight's Mike Malloy Show (which I will be busy guest hosting all week), here are just a few of the items which caught my eye so far today...in no particular order...
Record amounts of cash being spent by labor unions and the (supposedly grass-roots) "Tea Party" on tomorrow's Supreme Court election in Wisconsin, as the race between the unabashedly pro-Walker Justice David Prosser and Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has turned into a proxy battle between the two clashing ideologies right now in WI. A defeat of Prosser would tilt the court's 4-3 majority from Right-leaning to not Right-leaning. The race is also seen as a bellwether for upcoming recall elections of GOP state Senators likely to occur there in the near future, as Ernie Canning reported on earlier today at The BRAD BLOG.
Nuclear triage. Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan are dumping 11.5 tons of "low-level" radioactive water into the ocean to make room in filled storage containers for the more radioactive water leaking from reactor Unit 2. They say they have "no choice," but to dump that water (with radiation levels 100 times over the legal limit) as they must continue injecting new water to cool the plant's four crippled reactors, even as the radiated water floods out. Over the weekend, workers were unsuccessful in their attempt to use polymer, sawdust and newspaper (BP "JunkShot" anyone?!) to plug an 8 inch crack in a flooded tunnel at Unit 2 said to be gushing highly radioactive water, at 100,000 times legal levels, into the ocean.
A sweeping new election law in Florida is working its way through the GOP-controlled state legislature along predictably partisan lines, just in time for the 2012 Presidential election there. Some of the proposed changes will make it much more difficult for non-partisan voter registration groups, such as the League of Women Voters, to do their work, and will likely lead to a huge increase in "provisional" (and, therefore, frequently uncounted) ballots. Leon County's highly-respected Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho has called the bill "a travesty".
Former U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley --- recently forced to step down for referring to the treatment of alleged WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning as "stupid" --- compares WikiLeaks to the New York Times. The paper's Editor-in-Chief, who has been bashing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks themselves of late, even though the "paper of record" has written hundreds of stories based on WikiLeaks documents, will not be happy. Good. (Coverage at RAW STORY courtesy of BRAD BLOG alum David Edwards.)
Even Republican state Senators in Maine are beginning to become uncomfortable with the radical statements and extremist behavior of the state's new GOP Governor Paul LePage and are asking him to "tone it down". Beginning to see the writing on the wall, boys?
It's a well-deserved "Spring Break" for the Malloys, so once again, we're thrilled to be back and "keepin' it lit" for the next six weeknights as guest host for the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show!
We'll be BradCasting LIVE again each night from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as ever, during the show. So please come on by and say hey while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
JOE LINEHAN Chicago's brilliant and extremely subversive political satirist, and man of many characters, joins us for our special First Day of April edition of the Mike Malloy Show!
PLUS: Has there been anything else in the news since we were last guest hosting the Malloy Show in early Feb? Any popular uprisings, new wars, natural disasters or nuclear catastrophes? Sigh... All of that, and your calls at 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.
* * *
POST-SHOW UPDATE: What a fun show! I'll not give anything away, in case you've yet to listen, as the audio archives are now posted below (along with archives for the chat room, if you're interested)...