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Zuccotti Park, September 17, 2012 (Photo by joanneleon)
“These international bankers and Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests control the majority of the newspapers and the columns in those papers to club into submission or drive out of office officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government.”
– Theodore Roosevelt as reported in the New York Times, March 27th, 1922
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My State-Sponsored Assault, Courtesy of the NYPD
A journalist recounts his violent arrest by the NYPD - apparently for listening to the "People's Gong" during the Occupy anniversary celebrations - and his subsequent experience in custody.
After a lively march that I characterized on Twitter at the time as possibly the most festive I had ever seen for Occupy Wall Street, the protesters ended up at the corner of Nassau and Pine. The "ringing" of the People's Gong commenced, and shortly afterwards I was on the ground with an officer telling me, "it's all right, it's over now."
My attorney has advised me not to describe the specifics of the arrest until my case has concluded, but I can safely say I was standing on the sidewalk at the time of my state-sponsored assault. The force with which I was thrown to the ground slid my glasses down the bridge of my nose, giving me the appearance of some sort of cartoonish professor. [ ... ]
Two of the seven protesters in the arrest van had blood covering on their faces. I don't know the specifics of either arrest, but one, a traveler named Todd, had a nasty-looking cut above his left eye, and possibly a bruised eye as well. He works handing out Metro or AM New York newspapers in the subway in the morning.
"If I have to stay over night, I'm gonna lose my fucking job," he said as leaned his head back. Martina, a young Chilean woman, had also bled profusely from a cut above her eye. She had a makeshift bandage on her head such as you might see in an amateur Civil War re-enactment. Her flex-cuffs were on so tight, her hands were turning purple.
[ ... ]
"Wait, we can't take this guy's picture," which they were doing on our intake. The cop pointed at Todd's bloodied face and gave a what-do-we-do-about-this shrug. I think Todd ended up going to the hospital, as I don't recall seeing him in the group cell later on, though I could be wrong.
Unproductive and unloved, Congress heads home
WASHINGTON — The most disliked, unproductive Congress in decades planned to leave Washington this week until after the November election, departing without agreements on virtually every big issue it deals with: taxes, defense, spending, farms, even post office policy.
Lawmakers spent Thursday pointing fingers and charging opponents with cynical political posturing. Among Congress’ last decisions was a characteristic 2012 judgment: Punt action until later. It will let the farm bill, a broad measure that sets the nation’s agriculture and food and nutrition assistance policies, expire Sept. 30.
[ ... ]
The public is noticing, as the legislative failures stir uncertainty and further roil an already-weak economy. This Congress’ approval ratings were stuck at 13 percent in a Gallup survey Sept. 6-9, the lowest the pollster has ever logged this late in an election year since such measurements began in 1974.
Yet lawmakers are slinking out of town, after a September session that was on and off for less than two weeks, following a summer recess that ran from Aug. 3 to Sept. 10. Congress is expected to return Nov. 13.
Lawmakers may push "fiscal cliff" deadlines into 2013
(Reuters) - Slowly and quietly, the U.S. Congress may be arriving at a consensus on how to avoid falling off the "fiscal cliff" on December 31 - by simply putting off its own deadline for most of the major year-end budget and tax decisions.
[ ... ]
Congress created the hazardous end-of-year deadline in August 2O11 when it agreed to a deficit deal as a way out of a deadlock over raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
[ ... ]
RUNNING FOR COVER
The threat of a possible recession after such blanket spending cuts now preoccupies Washington.
Among the fearful are the big-company CEOs represented by the Business Roundtable, for example, and Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, who briefed members of Congress this week after declaring that "I don't think our tools are strong enough to offset the effects of a major fiscal shock" of the cliff.
Lehman Brothers found to be liable for losses
Characterising the products -- called synthetic collateralised debt obligations or SCDOs -- sold to the councils and community groups as merely a "sophisticated bet", Justice Rares found Lehman Brothers, through its former Australian subsidiary Grange Securities, had engaged in deceptive conduct, breach of contract and a breach of its fiduciary duties. It sold the SCDOs to the groups without disclosing the associated risks or Grange's interest as retailers of the products.
[ ... ]
"This is the first occasion that there has been a judge who has dealt with the issue substantively in a judgment arising from the fallout from collateralised debt obligations . . . What we dealt with in these proceedings was whether we could make accountable an investment bank that actually sought to target not-for-profit organisations by selling them collateralised debt.
"The creation and sale of CDOs and similar synthetic derivatives around 2005-06, together with the securitisation of subprime mortgages in the US, was a material cause of the GFC. Today's ruling will be carefully examined by investors and regulatory authorities around the world," Mr Walker said.
However, it remains unclear how much the 72 parties could receive from the judgment, with Mr Walker yesterday accepting the group was likely to get only 33c in the dollar from the $230m pool available to liquidators.
Feast of Fools: How American Democracy Became the Property of a Commercial Oligarchy
The ritual performance of the legend of democracy in the autumn of 2012 promises the conspicuous consumption of $5.8 billion, enough money, thank God, to prove that our flag is still there. Forbidden the use of words apt to depress a Q Score or disturb a Gallup poll, the candidates stand as product placements meant to be seen instead of heard, their quality to be inferred from the cost of their manufacture. The sponsors of the event, generous to a fault but careful to remain anonymous, dress it up with the bursting in air of star-spangled photo ops, abundant assortments of multiflavored sound bites, and the candidates so well-contrived that they can be played for jokes, presented as game-show contestants, or posed as noble knights-at-arms setting forth on vision quests, enduring the trials by klieg light, until on election night they come to judgment before the throne of cameras by whom and for whom they were produced.
[ ... ]
Paine had in mind a representative assembly that asked as many questions as possible from as many different sorts of people as possible. The ensuing debate was expected to be loud, forthright, and informative. James Fenimore Cooper seconded the motion in 1838, arguing that the strength of the American democracy rests on the capacity of its citizens to speak and think without cant. "By candor we are not to understand trifling and uncalled-for expositions of truth... but a sentiment that proves the conviction of the necessity of speaking truth, when speaking at all; a contempt for all designing evasions of our real opinions. In all the general concerns, the public has a right to be treated with candor. Without this manly and truly republican quality... the institutions are converted into a stupendous fraud."
Andrew Mitchell under pressure to resign over alleged volley of abuse at policemen
The clash came on Wednesday when Mr Mitchell tried to wheel his bicycle through the Downing Street gates, but was told he had to use the smaller entrance for pedestrians. The Sun reported him as saying: “I’m the Chief Whip and I’m coming through these gates.”
Mr Mitchell was reported to have raged: “Best you learn your f*** place. You don’t run this f** Government. You’re f*** plebs.” The newspaper also claimed he described the officers as “morons”.
Ex-VP Dick Cheney says US should fight back against protests in Islamic world
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Instead of pulling out of Afghanistan, the United States needs to flex its military muscles throughout the Islamic world to combat attacks on America, former Vice President Dick Cheney told nearly 2,000 movers, shakers, students and policy makers Thursday at Perspectives 2012.
"I want them to know if they're going to kill a U.S. ambassador, they're going to hear from us," said Cheney at the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's annual speakers forum.
War in Afghanistan is ignored by candidates
To many military families, Afghanistan is a war that dictates nearly every moment of their lives. But to many politicians, Afghanistan is a war of a bygone era, launched by a previous president after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. With thousands of brave Americans still serving, sacrificing, and suffering in Afghanistan, many of our nation’s leaders and would-be leaders are often silent.
Afghanistan - now what?
Yet, as the surge ends, aside from significant -- though not decisive -- setbacks for al Qaeda and the Taliban, what about the above rationale has changed?
[ ... ]
The plan for this accelerated development of the ANSF -- hinging on widespread partnered operations between both US and Afghan conventional and special forces -- has obviously been thrown into disarray by the alarming increase in insider attacks by Afghan security personnel on their Western partners within the past two years. And its failure was arguably officially acknowledged this week by the US military's resulting suspension of combat patrols with Afghan forces.
[ ... ]
Commentary on Afghanistan by contributors here at The Long War Journal has been negative for some time, but the accumulating snowball of bad news has reached a new level. It is hard to fathom what an attractive course of action looks like for US policy now. The best-case scenario: America maintains the tepid alliance with an Afghan government that permits help maintaining its existence during the protracted civil war likely to follow the US military's 2014 departure, while keeping a small force in country to conduct counterterrorism operations. And as unattractive as this best-bad-case-scenario option may seem for America, it's certainly bleaker for the people of Afghanistan.
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
Any hope. For a meaningful second term will be pressure on Obama from the left in his policies - not blindly supporting his personality -— John Cusack (@johncusack) September 21, 2012
Credit Crunch Anthem
We are ready for some serious change. We are ready to take up the tools of a free and analytic press to peacefully undermine the stranglehold of the kleptocrats on our battered democracy. We are ready to expose and publicize their greed, lies and illegal machinations and hold their enablers in government and the media to account. Are you in?
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