You are browsing the archive for 2014 December 06.

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5 Right-Wing Lunacies This Week: O'Reilly Goes Way Off the Deep End

December 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

“Protests are a vast left-wing conspiracy,” the conservative blabbermouth warns.

1.  Bill O’Reilly: There’s a vast left-wing conspiracy behind the protests of the Eric Garner decision.

Bill O’Reilly, or Papa Bear, as Stephen Colbert so fondly calls him, has a warning for all right-thinking Americans: There is a vast, left-wing conspiracy coming to get you. Those protests that erupted on the streets of New York City and around the country in the folowing the Eric Garner grand jury decision not to indict the cop who choked him to death? They are a plot. An orchestrated plot. “They are not spontaneous,” O’Reilly said, nice and slow, so his watchers could comprehend.

OMG, what are they Papa Bear?

“They are well-planned disruptions from professional, anti-establishment provocateurs,” O’Reilly said, again, very slowly, and using graphics to illustrate his point. “That’s important to understand, because it is the American system that is being attacked, not the individual sagas of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.”

After careful investigation, O’Reilly warned, his program has learned that “radical far-left groups” like the Service Employees International Union, as well the group “This Stops Today” are being funded by “shadowy radical billionaire George Soros.” (Those shadowy radical billionaires are the worst.)

You can tell this is all the work of dangerous leftists groups because they are using dastardly methods like social media to rally people to their cause. The horror. Also, as O’Reilly points out, New York is “Ground Zero” for the radical left, just as it was for Occupy Wall Street.

O’Reilly also named two other “grievance groups,” Communities United for Police Reform and “Hoodies for Justice,” as evildoers behind these peaceful protests. Some commentators have guessed that his impeccable researchers could have been referring to Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, which was an organization formed after the shooting death of hoodie-clad Florida teen Trayvon Martin and acquittal of George Zimmerman in 2012.

Earlier in the week, O’Reilly said that the members of the St. Louis Rams who made the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture indicating solidarity with the protesters in nearby Ferguson, Missouri—where another police officer escaped charges for the fatal …read more


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Yet Another Unarmed Black Man Shot Dead by Police

December 6, 2014 in Blogs

By JoanMar, Daily Kos

Add another name to the list of hashtags for unarmed black men killed by cops.

In Phoenix, Arizona, 30-year-old Rumain Brisbon was on his way to drop off lunch for his daughters, when he was allegedly accosted and killed by a 30-year-old unnamed white police officer.

From USA Today:

It's “open season for killing black men,” according to a community leader in Phoenix where another unarmed black man is dead at the hands of local police. An officer said he felt threatened by Rumain Brisbon before shooting him twice in the torso.

Police say that Brisbon went in the back of his vehicle and then grabbed for his waist. (Where have I heard that before?) The dead man's friend tells a different story than that offered by the police. From USA Today:

Brandon Dickerson, who said he was in the car with Brisbon shortly before the shooting and witnessed some of the incident, said Brisbon was dropping off fast food to his children in the apartment. On Wednesday evening, strewn french fries still littered the front porch.

Dickerson said he never saw the officer try to talk with Brisbon. He also said his friend wasn't yelling at the officer.

“Who's gonna argue with police?” Dickerson said. “He had no death wish yesterday.”

Yes, let me just put it out there, he was no angel, but he was an unarmed citizen of this country who deserved due process. It seems that black people have a new bar to jump; they must prove that they are angels before they are assigned any humanity. Rumain Brisbon had an arrest record, which has nothing to do with him joining the long list of people of color killed by white police officers.
This is madness!

One of the best tweets I have seen about this latest killing:

…read more


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White House Commission May End Up Training More Cops to Use Military Weapons

December 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

A national expert on abusive policing sees Obama making matters worse.

Last August’s police crackdown on protesters in Ferguson was so severe that within weeks the U.S. Senate held a hearing on federal programs that have militarized local police. One expert stood out for describing how police culture has changed since the 1980s, with too many officers adopting a confrontational and predatory mindset. AlterNet returned to Peter Kraska, a professor and chair of graduate studies and research in the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, for his perspective on President Obama's newly created police reform commission. Kraska was not just unimpressed, but fears it will lead to more violence.

Steven Rosenfeld: It didn’t take long before people who follow abusive policing and the militarization of America’s police started raising red flags concerning Obama’s announcement they he was creating a commision to report back on ways that local police could demilitarize their operations. One red flag was the appointment of Charles Ramsey as a co-chair, because when he was Washington D.C.’s police chief he ordered crackdowns on protesters that led to $22 million in settlements. Others were concerned that Obama didn’t talk about the process of policing—and procedures for evaluating operational details. I am very curious what you think is missing or needs to be on the agenda, but may not be?

Peter Kraska: When I testified to the U.S. Senate [in September on militarized tactics seen at the Ferguson protests], the White House ended up getting in touch with me. And they asked me to do some sort of telephone information session where I talked to high-level White House administrators. They were putting this all together and trying to think it through and we had a good two-hour-long conversation. One of the things that concerned me about the conversation, and it concerned me during the U.S. Senate hearing is all of the critique of police militarization would devolve into, ‘Let’s give them more training.’ 

SR: What is the problem with that?

PK: Real specifically, the 1033 program [distributing military surplus weapons to local departments] is providing lots and …read more


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New ‘Lost’ Ayn Rand Novel Will Bring Her Crimes Against Literature to New Generation of Jerks

December 6, 2014 in Blogs

By David Ferguson, Raw Story

Rand wrote the novel in her late 20s but never published it.

It was once wryly observed by author John Rogers that “(t)here are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

Now those emotionally stunted, socially crippled man-children have new reason to rejoice. No, not the mid-term elections. No, no, not the release of Grand Theft Auto V.

No, my friends, I’m afraid it’s much, much worse than that. It’s a new Ayn Rand novel.

For the first time in more than 50 years, publishers are rolling out a new novel by the godmother of libertarianism, the previously unpublished Ideal. The book tells the story of a movie actress who is accused of murder.

Rand wrote the novel in her late 20s, but never published it, although at one point, she did write a stage adaptation, which will be included in the new edition along with the short novel.

The “objectivist” author’s works — particularly the novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged — have been held up by pro-business, anti-government zealots as exemplars of political fiction. Her acolytes praise her as one of the greatest minds of the 20th century and have made her, essentially, the patron saint of people who don’t tip.

Literary critics, however, find that the often uneasy mix of political proselytizing and fiction writing produced particularly dismal results in Rand’s typewriter. Her characters have been slammed as one-dimensional and wooden, her plots as flowing like mud, and when her characters aren’t declaiming for seven straight pages about the evils of socialism, the dialogue they speak is about as natural as a bright pink aluminum Christmas tree.

Richard Ralston, publishing manager at the Ayn Rand Institute, stumbled across the unpublished manuscript in 2012 and said that he is very excited to be adding to Rand’s small published canon of works.

“I’ve heard wishful …read more


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This Country Needs a Truth and Reconciliation Process on Violence Against African Americans—Right Now

December 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Fania Davis, YES! Magazine

What response can disrupt patterns set by centuries of racism?

I am among the millions who have experienced the shock, grief, and fury of losing someone to racial violence.

When I was 15, two close friends were killed in the Birmingham Sunday School bombing carried out by white supremacists trying to terrorize the rising civil rights movement. Only six years later, my husband was shot and nearly killed by police who broke into our home, all because of our activism at the time, especially in support of the Black Panthers.

As a civil rights trial lawyer, I’ve spent much of my professional life protecting people from racial discrimination. In my early twenties, I devoted myself to organizing an international movement to defend my sister, Angela Davis, from politically motivated capital murder charges aimed at silencing her calls for racial and social justice. Early childhood experiences in the South set me on a quest for social transformation, and I’ve been a community organizer ever since, from the civil rights to the black power, women’s, anti-racial violence, peace, anti-apartheid, anti-imperialist, economic justice, political prisoner movements, and others.

After more than three decades of all the fighting, I started to feel out of balance and intuitively knew I needed more healing energies in my life. I ended up enrolling in a Ph.D. program in Indigenous Studies that allowed me to study with African healers.

Today, my focus is on restorative justice, which I believe offers a way for us to collectively face this epidemic, expose its deep historical roots, and stop it.

The killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York have sparked a national outcry to end the epidemic killings of black men. Many note that even if indictments had been handed down, that wouldn’t have been enough to stop the carnage. The problem goes far beyond the actions of any police officer or department. The problem is hundreds of years old, and it is one we must take on as a nation. Truth and reconciliation processes offer the greatest hope.

Truth and reconciliation in Ferguson and beyond

A Ferguson Truth and Reconciliation …read more


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Long-Term Global Interest Rates in Sync Thanks to Low Inflation, Slow Growth

December 6, 2014 in Economics

By Alan Reynolds


Alan Reynolds

Why are long-term interest rates so low and so similar in so many countries?

Recent yields on 10-year government bonds, according to the Economist, were 2.24% in the U.S., 2.16% in Italy, 2.19% in Britain, 2.28% in Singapore, 2.15% in Israel, 1.98% in Spain, 2.03% in Norway and 1.94% in Canada.

Bond yields are not just remarkably similar, but also move up and down together with the synchronization of the Radio City Rockettes.

The graph with this piece shows quarterly yields on 10-year government bonds for five very different countries — each with its own currency. Exchange rates float between these currencies, yet their bonds move as if they were tied together.

Global synchronization of bond yields encompasses all countries with strong currencies, low inflation and little risk of default. This is mainly due to arbitrage — a fancy word for incentives to buy low and sell high.

The fact that long-term interest rates move up and down together cannot possibly be caused by policies or economic news unique to each country. These coordinated gyrations of global bond yields are unrelated to the U.S. fed funds rate, for example, which has remained unchanged since December 2008.

In the recent past, most U.S. and British economic reporters uncritically attributed low yields to “quantitative easing” (QE) in those countries.

But that story never fit the facts.

For one thing, U.S. and British yields were commonly higher than those of other countries that shunned quantitative easing. And U.S. yields have fallen further than British yields, while the U.S. ended QE and the U.K. did not.

Another problem with attributing global bond yields to national monetary experiments is that the timing is all wrong. In fact, U.S. yields rose whenever QE was expanded and fell when it stopped.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries dropped from 3.85% to 2.54% between April 2010 and October 2010, when the first phase of QE had ended, and then began rising again only after Nov. 3, when the Fed announced a QE program buying $600 billion of Treasuries.

The last QE program began September 13, 2012, with $40 billion monthly purchases of mortgage-backed securities plus an extra $45 billion in monthly purchases of Treasuries after Dec. 12, 2012.

The 10-year yield was 1.6% in the three months before QE began, and then climbed steadily to 2.9% by December 2013 before falling steadily as the QE program was phased out from January to October.

Quantitative easing can’t explain why so many …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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6 Jailed, 9 Arrested in Ongoing Battle Against Methane Gas Storage in New York

December 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Stefanie Spear, EcoWatch

Nineteen people were arraigned for blockading the gates of a proposed storage site for fracked gases.

Republished with permission from EcoWatch.

New York’s Town of Reading courtroom was full Wednesday night when 19 people were arraigned after being arrested for blockading the gates of Crestwood Midstream in an ongoing “We Are Seneca Lake” campaign protesting the storage of fracked gas along the shores of Seneca Lake.

Nearly four hours in the courtroom resulted in jail terms of wildly different lengths for six of the defendants and a mix pleas. The court hearing took place after a rally outside the courthouse in blustery, cold conditions with more than 100 supporters. Former Schuyler County legislator, Ruth Young, 77, and current Town of Caroline council member, Irene Weiser, led the rally and later pled not guilty to their trespassing charges and were given April 15 trial dates.

Yesterday, nine more people were arrested for blockading Crestwood’s gates, bringing the total number of arrests to 92.

All of the defendants who pled guilty before Justice Raymond H. Berry Wednesday night petitioned the court for reduced fines or minimum sentences. Those who refused to pay the fine and accepted jail sentences said they did so on ethical grounds.

Many defendants gave impassioned pre-sentencing statements in order to petition the court for less-than-maximum sentences—a $375 fine or 15 days in jail—on the grounds that they did not seek to impose ruinous costs on Schuyler County for jailing them and that, as civil disobedients, their motivation in breaking the law was to protect, rather than cause, harm. Their appeal was echoed throughout the evening by attorney Sujata Gibson, of Ithaca, New York who acted as legal advisor to the group.

So far throughout the six-week campaign, Justice Berry has consistently meted out maximum sentences to all protesters who appeared before him and pled guilty.

“I would like to know why the trespass violations are being pursued so vigorously by Reading Town Court with maximum sentences handed down, while Crestwood seems to be in violation of the Town of Reading’s own land use law of 1992 and nothing is being done about it,” said John Dennis, a 64-year-old environmental planner and consultant from Ithaca.

Dennis received the maximum sentence of 15 days in jail and was transported …read more