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Good Morning!

Japanese Dogwood. May, 2012. Photo credit: joanneleon
They’re complaining about the fact that Wall Street wrecked the economy three years ago and nobody’s held responsible for that. Not a single person has been indicted or convicted for destroying twenty percent of our national net worth accumulated over the course two centuries. They’re upset about the fact that Wall Street has iron control over the economic policies of this country and that one party is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wall Street and the other party caters to them as well.

~ Alan Grayson

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to say hello.


Thousands rally against Quebec protests ban
Crowds take to streets in Montreal to demonstrate against new law they say is intended to stifle protests by students.

Authorities had used the law to declare protests illegal, clearing the way for police to disperse protesters.

But about 10,000 people joined Saturday's demonstration, including some dressed as clowns, a man dressed in a panda costume and a young naked woman riding a bicycle.

A small police escort followed behind on horseback, by bicycle and by car.

While students formed the bulk of the protest, there were also some senior citizens who found some creative ways to show their discontent.

Third Case Against Occupy Wall Street Protester Is Thrown Out

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been quietly racking up legal victories in court with the third case in a row being thrown out by a judge Wednesday due to an “insufficient” summons.

[ ... ]

In a single month, Occupy secured three court wins, beginning with the case of Alexander Arbuckle.

[ ... ]

That was the police version of the story—told under oath.

As it turns out, Officer Elisheba Vera lied to the court. Arbuckle’s own photographs from the evening place him squarely on the sidewalk during the march, and all video from the NYPD’s Technical Research Assistance Unit also showed Arbuckle standing on the sidewalk.

The New Political Correctness

Remember the furor over liberal political correctness? Yes, some of it was over the top — but it was mainly silly, not something that actually warped our national discussion.

Today, however, the big threat to our discourse is right-wing political correctness, which — unlike the liberal version — has lots of power and money behind it. And the goal is very much the kind of thing Orwell tried to convey with his notion of Newspeak: to make it impossible to talk, and possibly even think, about ideas that challenge the established order.

Thus, even talking about “the wealthy” brings angry denunciations; we’re supposed to call them “job creators”. Even talking about inequality is “class warfare”.

Afghan family killed in NATO airstrike
Two adults and their six children killed in incident in eastern Paktia province, according to local officials.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition said it was aware of the allegation and was investigating the incident, which happened late on Saturday night.

Rohullah Samon, a spokesman for the Paktia provincial government, said on Sunday that a man, a woman and their six children were killed in a coalition airstrike at 8pm local time (15:00 GMT) in Suri Khail village of Gurda Saria district.

"This man had no connection to the Taliban or any other terrorist group," Samon told the AFP news agency, naming the man as Mohammad Shafi.

US drone strike kills four in Waziristan, Pakistan

At least 4 people have been killed in an attack by US drones in Pakistan's tribal region of Waziristan, officials said.

Security officials said those killed were Taliban militants, but this has not been independently verified.

The missiles struck a house outside the town of Miramshah. Residents told the BBC they were still sifting the rubble for bodies.

Thousands of people - militants and civilians - have died in such attacks.

h/t emptywheel
A Court Covers Up

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York has upheld the administration’s claim that cables describing the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of waterboarding and a photograph of a “high value” detainee, Abu Zubaydah, taken during the time he was subjected to repeated waterboarding, are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.

Biden turns the West Point commencement ceremony into a campaign stump.
Joe Biden: withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan allows military to refocus
Speaking to graduates at West Point, Biden lists Obama administration's achievements and rejects criticism from Romney
Speaking to graduates at West Point military academy, Biden countered Republican claims that the administration had been weak on foreign policy, citing the hit on Osama bin Laden and the scaling down of conflicts overseas.

[ ... ]

At the US military academy in West Point, Biden sought to rebuff assertions by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that Obama had become an apologist for America overseas.

[ ... ]

Referring to the team of US navy Seals that killed Bin Laden, Biden added: "Those warriors sent a message to the world that if you harm America, we will follow you to the end of the earth."

Biden's address echoes the themes that Obama outlined in a commencement speech to air force cadets earlier this week.

This sounds familiar.
UAE continues crackdown on activists
The Gulf state has reently detained 15 activists, mostly Islamists calling for political reforms.
The UAE government is nervous about groups that use Islam for political reasons, according to Sultan al-Qassemi, an Emirati commentator on Arab affairs. "I think to a degree the society is weary of them," he said. "It's not just the fact that they're Islamists. The whole country is Islamic." He also noted that political Islamists were the most organised group in the UAE, but "they never really come out with a political mantra - they are very ambiguous".

Some of the homes of the detained men, like that of Ahmed al-Tabour al-Nuaimi, have been searched, according to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR). On the day of his arrest, from 10pm until 3am, inspectors from the security services of Ras al-Khaimah raided the family dwelling.

[ ... ]

Independent political activity in the Emirates is highly restricted, and is essentially banned in practice. Since the start of the Arab uprisings, Emirati authorities have paid great attention to citizens and organisations calling for political reforms and freedom of expression.

Syria blames Houla deaths on 'terrorists'
Syrian government spokesman denies its troops were responsible for killing scores of civilians and children in Houla.
Major General Robert Mood, the chief of the UN observer mission deployed to Syria, said monitors touring the area had counted 85 bodies, including 34 children under the age of 10 and seven women.

"Whoever started, whoever responded and whoever supported this deplorable act of violence should be held responsible."  Mood said about Friday's assault.
He told Al Jazeera that a residential area had been hit with a range of weapons, including "rifles, machine guns, artillery shells, tank shells," but stressed that the circumstances that "led to the tragic deaths" were still unclear.

"Whatever I learned on the ground in Syria ... is that I should not jump to conclusions."

Syria faces condemnation after dozens of children killed

Syria's fragile peace process is in shreds after what was claimed to be a regime-backed massacre left 32 children among more than 90 dead and triggered a wave of international revulsion. As UN observers in the central town of Houla confirmed one of the bloodiest death tolls of the 15-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, rebels said they were on the brink of abandoning a negotiated plan to end the conflict.

[ ... ]

The foreign secretary, William Hague, who is to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on Monday said Britain would co-ordinate a "strong response" to the massacre. "Our urgent priority is to establish a full account of this appalling crime and to move swiftly to ensure that those responsible are identified and held to account," he said. The Syrian chargé d'affaires has been summoned to the Foreign Office to hear Britain's condemnation of the massacre.

White House plan sets stage for arming Syrian rebels

The White House has signed off on a plan ordering American officials to begin laying the groundwork for arming rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian president Bashir al-Assad.

Under the plan, first reported by the Associated Press, U.S. government officials will begin vetting certain elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to evaluate whether they meet the criteria to receive military support.

The Imperial Mind
American rage at Pakistan over the punishment of a CIA-cooperating Pakistani doctor is quite revealing

That is the imperial mind at work. Its premises are often embraced implicitly rather than knowingly: American lives are inherently more valuable; foreign lives are expendable in pursuit of American interests; the U.S. has the inalienable right to take action in other countries that nobody is allowed to take in the U.S. (just imagine: “An Iranian drone fired two missiles at a bakery in the northwest U.S. Saturday and killed four suspected militants, Iranian officials said, as Iran pushed on with its drone campaign despite American demands to stop. This was the third such strike in the country in less than a week” or “Thirty five women and children were killed by a Yemeni cruise missile armed with cluster bombs which struck an alleged Marine training camp in Texas”).

These self-venerating imperial prerogatives are the premises driving the vast bulk of American foreign policy and military discourse. It is certainly what’s driving the spectacle of so many people pretending that the punishment of Dr. Afridi is some sort of aberrational act which the U.S. and other Decent, Civilized Countries would never do.

Harper is right: Foreign radicals are after the oil sands

The brothers practice what they preach: In 2010 a University of Massachusetts research institute named Koch Industries as one of the top 10 air polluters in the United States. According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, Koch Industries has spent more than $50-million to lobby in Washington since 2006.

But the Kochs are equally at home in the Alberta oil patch, as has now been comprehensively brought to light by InsideClimate News, an America-based non-profit organization dedicated to a clean environment. But their very long, impressively documented report cannot for a moment be dismissed as the biased work of tree huggers. Titled “Koch Brothers’ Activism Protects their 50-year Stake in Canadian Heavy Oils,” it carefully details their “long and deep investments in the tar sands,” investments that have been “central to the company’s initial growth and subsequent diversification since 1959.” Researching every conceivable source to uncover the holdings of this once ultra-secret family, the story lists Koch Industries interests in Canada [ ... ]

Blog Posts of Interest

Burnout & Soul Survival on DailyKos by Diane Gee

Paint it, Red - Yes, the Kids are All Right in Montreal on DailyKos by Scott in Montreal

Protest Held By Democrats In Front of Arizona Democratic Party Headquarters on DailyKos by thedamnliberal

Which side are you on, boys and girls? on DailyKos by One Pissed Off Liberal

Stunner! Gov’t “Secretly” Moves To Backstop Wall Street’s Derivatives Exchanges, Globally on DailyKos by bobswern

Rahm, you bungled the whole NATO weekend on DailyKos by BobboSphere

Regulator Indifference Seen at JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial at FDL News by David Dayen

Indigenous Authors Speaking on DailyKos by cosmic debris

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Sun May 27, 2012 at 07:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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