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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 01/22/2012 - 01/29/2012
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It has become totally legal for rich people to run politicians the same way they might run horses or greyhounds

the above title is taken from a common dreams post by jennifer browdy de hernandez...
As in Germany before the Kristallnacht, none of us here in the U.S. wants to believe that anything could happen to destroy our cherished freedoms, our vaunted “American way of life.” We don’t want to admit, even to ourselves, the extent to which our freedoms are already being encroached upon, day by day.

Just last week, for example, there was an outrageous episode in Arizona, where the government declared a whole long list of books to be unsuitable for school use, and went so far as to direct the school librarians and teachers to pull them from the shelves, box them up and put them into deep storage.

Among the authors banned are some of my favorite writers—Gloria Anzaldua, Elizabeth Martinez, Paulo Freire.

Yes, that Paulo Freire, the famous Brazilian educator and free thinker who wrote Pedagogy of the Oppressed, a brilliant analysis of the way that traditional education indoctrinates students into conformity and submission to authority.

Freire proposed that instead of a banking style of education, where knowledge is deposited into students, who are then required to spit it back upon demand, education worth its salt should empower students to think for themselves.

Such a simple idea, but so powerful, too. Education should teach people to think for themselves, and to work with each other to come to consensus on issues of importance to the larger society.

Isn’t that just what the Occupy movements have been trying to do? If Freire were alive, he would be out there in the thick of the Occupy action, inspiring the young to shake off the false animation of Zombieland, and insist on dancing to their own authentic beat.

isn't it totally bizarre that education that empowers people to think for themselves should be so threatening...? of course, taken in the context of the super-rich elites who are so desperate to maintain their hold on money and power, i suppose it makes sense to keep people dumb, docile and locked in a fear-based mindset...

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Lawrence Lessig and Chris Hedges on Citizens United, the corporatocracy and the courts

occupy the courts...
On January 20th, occupiers across the country rallied together in protest against the insidious influence of the corporations over the judiciary. Shortly before the rally in Foley Square, New York CIty, Lawrence Lessig and Chris Hedges met in front of Occupy TVNY's cameras to discuss their vision of change.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Social media surveillance in the National Security State

i saw this article earlier today and, given how disgusted i am with most everything that's coming out of the obama administration, i have to confess, i merely shrugged, rolled my eyes and moved on... then it popped up again in another venue and i thought, well, hell, it deserves any additional visibility i might be able to give it...
FBI seeking social media monitoring tool

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking for a tool to mine social media for intelligence tips.

The US domestic law enforcement agency is asking information technology contractors about the feasibility of building a tool that would “enhance its techniques for collecting and sharing ‘open source’ actionable intelligence.”

The January 19 open request was published on a website offering federal business opportunities and was first reported by New Scientist magazine.

The FBI said it is seeking an “open source and social media alert, mapping and analysis application solution” for its Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC).

“Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations,” the FBI request said.

“Intelligence analysts will often use social media to receive the first tip-off that a crisis has occurred,” it said.

The FBI said the tool “must have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow SIOC to quickly vet, identity, and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats.”

It would need to be able to “instantly search and monitor key words and strings in all ‘publicly available’ tweets across the Twitter site and any other ‘publicly available’ social networking sites/forums.”

It would also need the ability to “search the data across a myriad of parameters and view terrorist activities by location, terrorist group, and type of attack and see trends and analytics.”

it's sad... five years ago, i would have been apoplectic over something like this, along with a lot of other people... now, after having gagged down serial surveillance atrocities and constitution-shredding maneuvers year after year, this is just one more in a long series...

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On the eve of the Citizens United SCOTUS ruling

how cool is this...?


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G8 & NATO in Chicago - Adbusters calls for #Occupy Chicago for the month of May

from adbusters...

Tactical Briefing #25

Hey you redeemers, rebels and radicals out there,

Against the backdrop of a global uprising that is simmering in dozens of countries and thousands of cities and towns, the G8 and NATO will hold a rare simultaneous summit in Chicago this May. The world’s military and political elites, heads of state, 7,500 officials from 80 nations, and more than 2,500 journalists will be there.

And so will we.

On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month. With a bit of luck, we’ll pull off the biggest multinational occupation of a summit meeting the world has ever seen.

And this time around we’re not going to put up with the kind of police repression that happened during the Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, 1968 … nor will we abide by any phony restrictions the City of Chicago may want to impose on our first amendment rights. We’ll go there with our heads held high and assemble for a month-long people’s summit … we’ll march and chant and sing and shout and exercise our right to tell our elected representatives what we want … the constitution will be our guide.

And when the G8 and NATO meet behind closed doors on May 19, we’ll be ready with our demands: a Robin Hood Tax … a ban on high frequency ‘flash’ trading … a binding climate change accord … a three strikes and you’re out law for corporate criminals … an all out initiative for a nuclear-free Middle East … whatever we decide in our general assemblies and in our global internet brainstorm – we the people will set the agenda for the next few years and demand our leaders carry it out.

And if they don’t listen … if they ignore us and put our demands on the back burner like they’ve done so many times before … then, with Gandhian ferocity, we’ll flashmob the streets, shut down stock exchanges, campuses, corporate headquarters and cities across the globe … we’ll make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear.

Jammers, pack your tents, muster up your courage and prepare for a big bang in Chicago this Spring. If we don’t stand up now and fight now for a different kind of future we may not have much of a future … so let’s live without dead time for a month in May and see what happens …

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

if nothing else, it would be nice to be able to give rahm the finger in person...

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Betrayal by the “good guys” for whom I have ended up voting has become the norm

robert scheer...
I’ll admit it: Listening to Barack Obama, I am ready to enlist in his campaign against the feed-the-rich Republicans ... until I recall that I once responded in the same way to Bill Clinton’s faux populism. And then I get angry because betrayal by the “good guys” for whom I have ended up voting has become the norm.

Yes, betrayal, because if Obama meant what he said in Tuesday’s State of the Union address about holding the financial industry responsible for its scams, why did he appoint the old Clinton crowd that had legalized those scams to the top economic posts in his administration? Why did he hire Timothy Geithner, who has turned the Treasury Department into a concierge service for Wall Street tycoons?

Why hasn’t he pushed for a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, which Clinton’s deregulation reversed? Does the president really believe that the Dodd-Frank slap-on-the-wrist sellout represents “new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again”? Can he name one single too-big-to-fail banking monstrosity that has been reduced in size on his watch instead of encouraged to grow ever larger by Treasury and Fed bailouts and interest-free money?

When Obama declared Tuesday evening “no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas,” wasn’t he aware that Jeffrey Immelt, the man he appointed to head his jobs council, is the most egregious offender? Immelt, the CEO of GE, heads a company with most of its workers employed in foreign countries, a corporation that makes 82 percent of its profit abroad and has paid no U.S. taxes in the past three years.

scheer goes on to list more grievances but, imho, is seriously remiss in not citing obama's disgraceful record in foreign policy and civil liberties...

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U.S. tied for 47th place with Argentina and Romania in Press Freedom

every u.s. citizen that pretends to be informed should be able to cite this statistic and to understand that the country we love to label the "land of the free" is, in reality, not so much... not when countries like jamaica (16), namibia (20), mali (25), niger (29), papua new guinea (35), el salvador (37) and ghana (41), rank as having more freedom of the press than we do...

also note the ranking of the two countries where the u.s. has been most deeply involved in promoting "democracy," afghanistan (150) and iraq (152)...

Press Freedom Index 2011/2012

In order to have a bigger spread in the scores and increase the differentiation between countries, this year’s questionnaire had more answers assigning negative points. That is why countries at the top of the index have negative scores this year. Although the point system has produced a broader distribution of scores than in 2010, each country’s evolution over the years can still be plotted by comparing its position in the index rather than its score. This is what the arrows in the table refer to – a country’s change in position in the index compared with the preceding year.

1 Finland -10,00
- Norway -10,00
3 Estonia -9,00
- Netherlands -9,00
5 Austria -8,00
6 Iceland -7,00
- Luxembourg -7,00
8 Switzerland -6,20
9 Cape Verde -6,00
10 Canada -5,67
- Denmark -5,67
12 Sweden -5,50
13 New Zealand -5,33
14 Czech Republic -5,00
15 Ireland -4,00
16 Cyprus -3,00
- Jamaica -3,00
- Germany -3,00
19 Costa Rica -2,25
20 Belgium -2,00
- Namibia -2,00
22 Japan -1,00
- Surinam -1,00
24 Poland -0,67
25 Mali 0,00
- OECS 0,00
- Slovakia 0,00
28 United Kingdom 2,00
29 Niger 2,50
30 Australia 4,00
- Lithuania 4,00
32 Uruguay 4,25
33 Portugal 5,33
34 Tanzania 6,00
35 Papua New Guinea 9,00
36 Slovenia 9,14
37 El Salvador 9,30
38 France 9,50
39 Spain 9,75
40 Hungary 10,00
41 Ghana 11,00
42 South Africa 12,00
- Botswana 12,00
44 South Korea 12,67
45 Comoros 13,00
- Taiwan 13,00
47 United States of America 14,00
- Argentina 14,00
- Romania 14,00
50 Latvia 15,00
- Trinidad and Tobago 15,00
52 Haiti 15,67
53 Moldova 16,00
54 Hong-Kong 17,00
- Mauritius 17,00
- Samoa 17,00
57 United States of America (extra-territorial) 19,00
58 Malta 19,50
- Bosnia and Herzegovina 19,50
- Guyana 19,50
61 Italy 19,67
62 Central African Republic 20,00
63 Lesotho 21,00
- Sierra Leone 21,00
- Tonga 21,00
66 Mozambique 21,50
67 Mauritania 22,20
68 Croatia 23,33
- Burkina Faso 23,33
70 Bhutan 24,00
- Greece 24,00
72 Nicaragua 24,33
73 Maldives 25,00
- Seychelles 25,00
75 Guinea-Bissau 26,00
- Senegal 26,00
77 Armenia 27,00
78 Kuwait 28,00
79 Togo 28,50
80 Serbia 29,00
- Bulgaria 29,00
- Chile 29,00
- Paraguay 29,00
84 Kenya 29,50
- Madagascar 29,50
86 Guinea 30,00
- Kosovo 30,00
- Timor-Leste 30,00
- Zambia 30,00
90 Congo 30,38
91 Benin 31,00
92 Israel (Israeli territory) 31,25
93 Lebanon 31,50
94 Macedonia 31,67
95 Dominican Republic 33,25
96 Albania 34,44
97 Cameroon 35,00
- Guatemala 35,00
99 Brazil 35,33
100 Mongolia 35,75
101 Gabon 36,50
102 Cyprus (North) 37,00
103 Chad 37,67
104 Ecuador 38,00
- Georgia 38,00
106 Nepal 38,75
107 Montenegro 39,00
108 Bolivia 40,00
- Kyrgyzstan 40,00
110 Liberia 40,50
111 South Sudan 41,25 nc
112 United Arab Emirates 45,00
113 Panama 45,67
114 Qatar 46,00
115 Peru 51,25
116 Ukraine 54,00
117 Cambodia 55,00
- Fiji 55,00
- Oman 55,00
- Venezuela 55,00
- Zimbabwe 55,00
122 Algeria 56,00
- Tajikistan 56,00
- Malaysia 56,00
125 Brunei 56,20
126 Nigeria 56,40
127 Ethiopia 56,60
128 Jordan 56,80
129 Bangladesh 57,00
130 Burundi 57,75
131 India 58,00
132 Angola 58,43
133 Israel (extra-territorial) 59,00
134 Tunisia 60,25
135 Singapore 61,00
- Honduras 61,00
137 Thailand 61,50
138 Morocco 63,29
139 Uganda 64,00
140 Philippines 64,50
141 Gambia 65,50
142 Russia 66,00
143 Colombia 66,50
144 Swaziland 67,00
145 Democratic Republic of Congo 67,67
146 Indonesia 68,00
- Malawi 68,00
148 Turkey 70,00
149 Mexico 72,67
150 Afghanistan 74,00
151 Pakistan 75,00
152 Iraq 75,36
153 Palestinian Territories 76,00
154 Kazakhstan 77,50
- Libya 77,50
156 Rwanda 81,00
157 Uzbekistan 83,00
158 Saudi Arabia 83,25
159 Côte d’Ivoire 83,50
- Djibouti 83,50
161 Equatorial Guinea 86,00
162 Azerbaijan 87,25
163 Sri Lanka 87,50
164 Somalia 88,33
165 Laos 89,00
166 Egypt 97,50
167 Cuba 98,83
168 Belarus 99,00
169 Burma 100,00
170 Sudan 100,75
171 Yemen 101,00
172 Vietnam 114,00
173 Bahrain 125,00
174 China 136,00
175 Iran 136,60
176 Syria 138,00
177 Turkmenistan 140,67
178 North Korea 141,00
179 Eritrea 142,00

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