While I'm preparing for tonight's Mike Malloy Show --- the last night of my latest week-long guest hosting stint for him --- and working on a story concerning the exclusive news we brought you on a disturbing new break in a years-long election fraud mystery in Pima County, AZ during Hour 2 last night (audio archive here, listen to "Hour 2"), I thought you might enjoy a very short, but fun clip from the first hour of last night's show.
"Fact, the world has divided into rich and poor as at no time in our history," warns Maude Barlowe, head of the Council of Canadians and a founder of the Blue Planet Project.
"Fact, global climate change is rapidly advancing, claiming at least 300,000 lives and $125 billion in damages every year," she says. "Called the silent crisis, climate change is melting glaciers, eroding soil, causing freak and increasingly wild storms, displacing untold millions from rural communities to live in desperate poverty in peri-urban centers. Almost every victim lives in the Global South in communities not responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and not represented here at the summit."
Speaking out as a counterpoint to last week's billion dollar, G-20 Summit, whose leaders she referred to as a "global royalty, who have more in common with one another than they do with their own citizens," and as leaders who came to Toronto with an agenda which offers "more of the bad medicine that made the world sick in the first place—environmental deregulation, unbridled financial speculation, unlimited growth, unregulated free trade, relentless resource exploitation, tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts to Social Security and a war on working people," Barlowe delivered a must-see, fact-filled condemnation of a bleak economic and ecological future that is at the heart of what she described as "savage capitalism."
* * *
The video and text transcript of excerpts from Barlowe's powerful "Savage Capitalism" speech, courtesy of the July 2nd, 2010 Democracy Now!, follow below...
It is vital that the American people come to appreciate the danger to liberty as well as community posed by doctrinaire libertarianism.
Despite widespread coverage of Rand Paul's absurd criticism of the provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as applied to private businesses, there has been a dearth of analysis as to how this absurdity was brought about by the serious intellectual deficiencies in doctrinaire libertarian philosophy; a philosophy which led to a second astounding Rand Paul remark.
In the face of horrendous safety records on the part of both Massey Energy, which had been found to have violated federal safety regulations thousands of times over the past several years, and BP, which had steadfastly fought off safety measures for deep water oil rigs, Rand summarily dismissed the significance of both the deadly West Virginia mine disaster and the deadly explosion at BP's deep water facility that has produced the worst oil spill in U.S. history with the cavalier, "accidents happen."
What Rand Paul has done is open a window into "libertarianism," which, contrary to the current Wikipedia definition, does not merge into "anarchism." The principle distinction arises because, as explained by Noam Chomsky, anarchism challenges not only authoritarian government but all authoritarian societal structures, including the work place.
Libertarians like Ron and Rand Paul focus exclusively on individual liberty vis-a-vis the government. They fail to appreciate that, especially in the 21st Century, the removal of government as a check against unfettered corporate wealth and power leads to "the tyranny of a corporate controlled economy"...
Among the many delights in this eminently-watchable video response by the indefatigable voice-over actor D.C. Douglas, aka "Lance Baxter," aka "D.C. Douglas L. Baxterstein, Jr.," who was recently fired by Geico in the wake of an Andrew Breitbart-fueled, FreedomWorks complaint campaign after he "drunk dialed a cyncial GOP-funded astroturf organization funded by a man with Dick in his name," is this tag near the video's end...
This public service announcement brought to you by:
The Andrew Breitbart Is To The Internet
What Gonorrhea Is To Your Genitals Fund
Californians have been drawn within the cross-hairs of a propaganda blitz bought and paid for by Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of eBay, who, since declaring her intent to run for governor in February, 2009, has already contributed $59 million of her own money to her "campaign" --- a one-sided political phenomenon which has seen a stealth candidate, with disturbing connections to Goldman Sachs, soar to the top of the polls because the electoral process has been emasculated by the absence of mandatory debates and meaningful investigative journalism.
The Los Angeles Times followed up on May 13 with a separate piece, "Companies challenged Poizner business claims," which revealed that a major portion of Poizner's wealth was acquired when SnapTrack Inc., the company Poizner founded, was sold to Qualcomm. Poizner claims SnapTrack invented mobile-phone GPS technology. In pending lawsuits, other companies accused SnapTrack of infringing intellectual property rights, and, the Times reports, "as SnapTrack developed its GPS technology, Poizner faced another test of his entrepreneurial skills, as a special interest trying to bend the Washington regulatory process his way."
The drastic change in the recent public opinion polls is tied not only to the fact that her fellow billionaire Poizner unleashed his own paid-for propaganda (ad) blitz, deconstructing Whitman's one-sided narrative. Nor is the change tied only to hard-hitting, if overdue, front page newspaper exposés on the facts behind how these two rapacious "business people" amassed their fortunes.
Disturbingly, Poizner's late gain in the polls may be attributed to his open embrace of Arizona's version of apartheid South Africa's infamous "pass laws." Poizner's is a cynically calculated effort to scapegoat immigrants while deflecting attention from the true source of California's fiscal woes: the very same billionaire sociopath economics in which both he and Whitman amassed their fortunes...
In Kansas, only a gubernatorial veto stands between women's right to self-determination and being reported to the state for having abortions.
Why now? Foes of women's sovereignty over their own bodies have been working on abortion restrictions for decades. But after standing pat during the Bush years, perhaps thinking that sooner or later George W. Bush would give them the magic prize they've coveted for so long, all of a sudden state after state is passing abortion restrictions that make very clear the misogynistic leanings of these states' legislatures. Forcing women to have invasive vaginal ultrasounds? Forcing them to view images? Mental health evaluations?
But is it just about misogyny? Or does it have something to do with the pee-in-the-pants terror of the teabag movement at the inevitable end of white majority that's coming in this country?
John, for those who may not know, particularly for those of you who have only found The BRAD BLOG over the past year, was for many years an integral part of this place. He was the co-founder of VotersUnite.org, the author of their indispensable Daily Voting News, which we ran virtually every single day here since Election Day of 2005, an irreplaceable friend, partner and frequent contributor here at The BRAD BLOG and an indefatigable and unwavering champion of Election Integrity, reform and voters' rights --- particularly of the right not only to cast a ballot, but to have that ballot counted accurately and transparently as per the voter's intent.
It was here at the Creekside Inn, a serene, modest hotel in Northern California set around a quiet ivy-lined creek, towering old tress and a lush green courtyard, that I, John's long-time Voters Unite co-founder Ellen Theisen and a small number of other dedicated folks from the Election Integrity movement in this country (shown here), crafted a deceptively simple mission statement of sorts, which we vowed to use as a yardstick for any and all future election reform initiatives. We came to call it The Creekside Declaration:
"Mission: To encourage citizen ownership
of transparent, participatory democracy."
- Creekside Declaration, 3/22/08
While John was not there in person, he certainly was in spirit. After hearing of the declaration, he began using the short statement of principle as his email signature line right up until his sudden passing one year ago today. He is here again, in both spirit and my heart, at the Creekside Inn today. That mission now continues in his honor.
His loss to us at the blog, in the EI movement, and to voters across the country cannot be adequately or fully described --- at least not by this writer.
And so, for whatever reason, one that I certainly couldn't even guess at right now, fate has returned me here today --- just the second time I have ever been here.
Well, may be I can take a guess. Perhaps it's John's handiwork somehow, trying to mess with my head, force me to remember how much I miss him on this day --- not that I need any such reminders on any day --- so that he can laugh and laugh and laugh about it all at my expense from the after life. If so, glad I could bring my old friend, confidante, partner and hero one last hearty chuckle.
Has anybody here seen my old friend John?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people, but it seems the good they die young.
I just looked around and he was gone...
Russian Television's English language satellite broadcast channel, RT, tracked me down on the road to comment on George W. Bush's speech yesterday at a conference on "Internet Freedom" at his George W. Bush Freedom Institute in Dallas.
A speech by Bush on "Internet Freedom"?! Irony much? Um, yes.
As it turns out, the Internet connection in the little town I was in was not stable enough to handle a Skype video interview, so my contribution had to be via telephone. Here's their story...
Amidst exploding bombs, smoke billowing from sinking battleships and dead bodies floating atop the oil slicked waters of Pearl Harbor, it was not all that difficult to appreciate the damage wrought by a surprise attack launched by the Empire of Japan. The same was true when we watched in horror as the smoldering twin towers of the World Trade Center precipitously collapsed on September 11, 2001.
Like these two earlier pivotal events, January 21, 2010 is, "a date which will live in infamy." Yet, unlike Pearl Harbor and 9/11, most Americans do not recognize it as such. This attack came not by way of planes or bombs delivered by some foreign menace. It came from within courtesy of what Professor Cass Sunstein aptly described as "radicals in robes" --- four directly connected to the Robert-Bork founded, billionaire-funded Federalist Society; all five as appointees of the Reagan and two Bush administrations. Men bent on unraveling the very constitution they had all solemnly sworn to uphold.
Their assault, though subtle, wrought far greater devastation than either Pearl Harbor or 9/11. They did not merely attack planes, ships and buildings. They assaulted the very foundations of our constitutional democracy...
House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has just issued a statement [posted in full below] calling on the FBI to fire those who broke the law by issuing improper letters from the FBI in order to receive access to thousands of Americans' phone records from 2003 through 2006 under the guise of "national security."
"I call upon FBI Director Mueller to take immediate action to punish those who violated the rules," Conyers says in the statement, "including firing them from the agency."
"Today's hearing showed that the FBI broke the law on telephone records privacy and the General Counsel's Office, headed by Valerie Caproni, sanctioned it and must face consequences," said Conyers. "In some cases agents sent letters with information known to be false."
His statement even quotes the former Republican chair of the Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), sharing the sentiment:
'I'm extremely disappointed that every time Congress has tried to plug potential civil rights and civil liberties violations in our counterterrorism activities, the FBI seems to have figured out a way to get around it.
In a related matter, late last month a federal judge found the Bush Administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program to be illegal. So this would be the second time in several weeks where the former administration was found to have violated the law and the U.S. Constitution in order to spy inappropriately and illegally on American citizens.
Will those Tea Baggers who claim to believe in the Constitution and the Rule of Law join the call for accountability yet? (Careful: It's a trick question, Tea Baggers, since the accountability would include members of the Bush Administration, and we realize your calls for "accountability" only go so far. On the other hand, if it's okay for Bush to have done it, we'll presume you don't mind if Obama spies on you either.)
Conyers' complete statement, issued late this afternoon, follows below...
Our old friend, the disgraced and disgraceful ACORN "Pimp" Hoax con-man Andrew Breitbart, is up to the same old tricks, according to AP. But this time they don't seem to be going as well for him.
In a deceptive effort to prove that Tea Baggers did not yell racial epithets at Democratic lawmakers during demonstrations against health insurance reform last month, Breitbart posted "VIDEO PROOF" from a different moment during those protests, the news service has found.
We're shocked he'd try to pull off such a scam. Even more shocked CNN hasn't hired him as a contract player yet.
Could the media finally be catching on to Breitbart's scams now that he's been caught lying time and again?
Glad to see AP holding Breitbart accountable for his bullshit, finally, but it's time for them to knock off their own lazy coverage, and start issuing corrections and apologies for their own months of misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax.
AP's email address for corrections is: Info@AP.org. We've already sent such a request ourselves, but haven't heard back. Perhaps it will help, as it did at the New York Times, if they hear from a lot of readers.
I just spoke with CODE PINK co-founder Jodie Evans who tried again --- as she did last month in Los Angeles --- to file a citizen's arrest against Karl Rove. This time Rove, whom she accuses of war crimes, was at a Barnes & Noble book signing event in Las Vegas. Last time, Rove was forced to cancel his plans to sign books after his speech in L.A.
Evans writes to say that she and several others from CODE PINK, including an army vet who is a member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), attempted to hand-cuff Rove at the table where he was signing copies of his new book, while unfurling a "Rove is a War Criminal" banner.
"We get to the table, he looks up to take my book and jumps back against the book shelves," Evans says. He then points to three security guards and says "it's her," before the guards "pile in," according to her account.
One member of the team then takes out the banner --- which had been hidden in her skirt, since purses were confiscated before citizens were allowed in line --- "while I pull out the handcuffs and try to reach for him and then pull the arrest complaint out of the book, trying to argue that he needs to be arrested and I have a right to be there. They argue private property and lead us out."
She went to add that he was "standing freaked against the books" before he was then handed the next book to sign "as we are ushered out. We were physically pushed out the door with our unsigned book."
"The women behind us tell us we are 'rude,' to which I answer not as rude as Rove who has killed over 4,000 of our US Soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi," writes Evans.
She indicates there may be video available of the event later. We'll try to update this item with it, if so. [Update: A bit of video from the encounter is now posted at the bottom of this item.]
Evans and the "Pink Tank" crew will be protesting Rove again tonight at the Performing Arts Center at UNLV where he is scheduled to speak.
She'll also be joining me on the Mike Malloy Show, which I am guest hosting again tonight from 6p-9p PT (9p-Mid ET), just before the event begins. So please tune in! We'll have live listening links posted here before show time, or see Malloy's site above.
CNN's video report of Evans' attempt to arrest Rove last month --- during which Rove ironically (in more ways than we have the time to point out right now) declared "with all due respect, this goes to show the totalitarianism of the Left. They don't believe in dialogue. They don't believe in courtesy. They don't believe in First Amendment rights for anybody but themselves" --- is reposted below...
"You've got a small number of multinational corporations that control the entire food system from seed to the supermarket. This isn't just about what we're allowed to eat. This is about what we're allowed to say; what we're allowed to know. It's not just our health at risk...They have managed to make it against the law to criticize their products. There is an effort to make it illegal to publish a photo of any industrial food operation." - Food, Inc. narration.
We hear it constantly from Republicans; an ideological mantra to the effect that government, especially government programs that would place the interests of public health, safety, and equality above the profits and power of those who already have too much of both, threatens our liberties.
Perhaps in a manner even more successful than Michael Moore's very powerful presentations in Sicko! and in Capitalism: A Love Story, Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, in their Academy Award nominated documentary feature Food, Inc. (trailer posted at end of article), expose the lie behind the myth that so-called "free markets" make us free....
WASHINGTON — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush.
The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration’s claims that its surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans’ international e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.
[Plaintiff's attorney] Jon Eisenberg, said Judge Walker’s ruling was an “implicit repudiation of the Bush-Cheney theory of executive power.”
“Judge Walker is saying that FISA and federal statutes like it are not optional,” Mr. Eisenberg said. “The president, just like any other citizen of the United States, is bound by the law. Obeying Congressional legislation shouldn’t be optional with the president of the U.S.”
The ruling is the second time a federal judge has declared the program of wiretapping without warrants to be illegal.
But Judge [Vaughn R.] Walker limited liability in the case to the government as an institution, rejecting the lawsuit’s effort to hold Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, personally liable.
So, it was illegal, as long argued. Yet nobody will go to jail for it, naturally, because Presidents, particularly George W. Bush, and their men, though theoretically "bound by the law," as Eisenberg says, are still above the law, apparently.
For you Tea Baggers: The comment section below is open so that you can let us hear your arguments as to why you believe that Barack Obama should be allowed to violate the law and the Constitution in order to read your emails and listen to your phone calls, at any time, and for whatever reason he chooses, without ever receiving court approval, the way you used to argue that Bush was allowed to do.
For you non-Tea Baggers in the reality-based world: We'll note here that the Judge in this case also, thankfully, rejected the DoJ's attempt to invoke the so-called "State Secrets Privilege" as "first asserted by the Bush administration and continued under President Obama."
The SSP is what the Bush Administration had twice used to gag FBI whistelblower Sibel Edmonds for so many years, successfully ensuring that her case would never see the light of day in a court of law, despite her appealing the Administration's use of the draconian and (previously) rarely-invoked "privilege" all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Can we assume then that the "State Secrets" the Bush Administration was hoping to keep from seeing the light of day in the Edmonds case were even more of a national security threat than exposing the fact that the Government was spying, illegally, on anybody in this country that they wanted to?
I had the pleasure to appear on San Francisco public radio's "Friday Media Roundtable" on their Your Call program today (heard on KALW in San Francisco and KUSP in Santa Cruz).
Along with the NYT's massive ACORN "Pimp" Hoax fail, we also discussed and critiqued media coverage of healthcare insurance reform, the latest in the U.S./Israel diplomacy theatrics, and even a bit on the guilty verdict for Kentucky election officials yesterday. Joining me on today's panel, along with host Sandip Roy, were Alex Wayne of Congressional Quarterly and Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera English.
The audio is posted below, and I believe it's well-worth giving a listen to --- particularly in regard the direct disagreement that Wayne and I got into over the media's failure (as I see it, though he didn't), to have covered the substance of healthcare insurance legislation, while devoting an inordinate amount of coverage to the politics of that debate instead.
(Continue reading below for more on that, more on how the NYT's Public Editor Clark Hoyt illustrated the very crux of the media's failure on so many stories of importance to the public, and for the audio of the show itself)...