Fascism TV

I have nothing against cops on TV, per se. Like many others, I think The Wire was one of the best offerings in the history of television. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed Without a Trace, Law & Order and CSI. My new fave rave is Justified.

That said, I’m increasingly tired of the whole genre. It’s gone way beyond the saturation point. In recent years we’ve had The Shield, The Academy, Cold Case, and Flashpoint. Today, we have The Closer, Criminal Minds, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-O, Prime Suspect and multiple clones of Law & Order and CSI. We have NCIS and now NCIS: LA.

It gets better. Tuesday nights on CBS, all of prime time is dedicated to cop shows. Last week, I had a gander at the ironically titled Unforgettable. It’s about a beautiful woman cop who never forgets anything. It’s a predictable procedural, but with a twist. In this episode, she tells a bunch of activists to go ‘camp out in the park, knock yourselves out.’ You could cut the sneering condescension with an axe.

Friday night, confronted with a vast wasteland, I had a peek at CSI: New York, which is typically all too forgettable, and with no twist in sight. We find a noble cop talking with his adorable girlfriend. It’s an intimate morning-after scene and all very affectionate — right up to the point where she makes a smirking reference to some “sexually ambiguous” person of interest.

In the cop show called Person of Interest, we recently had the computer-savvy-nerd half of a vigilante team make an approving remark about fracking.

You get the picture.

Tyrants of the world, unite!

“Let the winds of doctrine blow me.” (Milton)

Russian treason bill could hit Kremlin critics

By DAVID NOWAK, Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW – A new law drafted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s Cabinet would allow authorities to label any government critic a traitor — a move that leading rights activists condemned Wednesday as a chilling reminder of the times under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The draft extends the definition of treason from breaching Russia‘s external security to damaging the nation’s constitutional order, sovereignty or territorial integrity. That would essentially let authorities interpret any act against the interests of the state as treason — a crime prosecutable by up to 20 years in prison.

Prominent rights activists said passage of the bill would catapult Russia’s justice system back to the times of Stalin’s purges.

“It returns the Russian justice to the times of 1920-1950s,” the activists said in a statement, urging lawmakers to oppose what they described as the “legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler.”

It has happened here

 

List of Journalists Arrested at the RNC

Posted on September 10.2008 by Josh Stearns

During and before the Republican National Convention police in St. Paul arrested numerous journalists, including Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and her staff, members of a number of independent video groups, an AP photographer and staff from local broadcast stations and newspapers around St. Paul.

Arresting and detaining journalists for doing their jobs is a gross violation of free speech and freedom of the press. Journalists must be free to do their jobs without intimidation. On September 5th, local citizens delivered more than 60,000 letters to St. Paul City Hall calling on Mayor Chris Coleman and local law enforcement officials to drop all charges against journalists arrested while covering protests outside the Republican National Convention.

Below we have begun collecting names of journalists who were charged and links to news reports about their arrests. This is a growing list. If you have information about a journalist who is not listed here please email Josh Stearns at jstearns@freepress.net.

Name Outlet Arrested Charge
Sharif Abdel Kouddous Democracy Now! Sept 1 and Sept 4 Suspicion of felony riot and unlawful assembly
Nicole Salazar Democracy Now! Sept 1 Suspicion of felony riot
Amy Goodman Democracy Now! Sept 1 Obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer.
Matt Rourke Associated Press Sept 1 Gross misdemeanor riot charge
Edward Matthews Univ. of Kentucky (journalism student) Sept 1 Riot charge
Britney McIntosh Univ. of Kentuky (journalism student) Sept 1 Riot charge
Jim Winn Univ. of Kentuky (journalism advisor) Sept 1 Riot charge
Lambert Rochfort PepperSpray Productions Sept 3 Held without charge
Joe LaSac PepperSpray Productions Sept 3 Held without charge
Stephen Maturen Minnesota Daily Sept 4 Peppersprayed and ziptied – only held momentarily.
Jonathan Malat KARE 11 Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Tom Aviles WCCO Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Amy Forliti Associated Press Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jon Krawczynski Associated Press Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Dean Treftz U-Wire (national college wire service) Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jeff Schorfheide Badger-Herald Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Matt Snyders University of Iowa / former reporter for Daily Iowan Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Christopher Patton Daily Iowan Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Rick Rowley Big Noise Films Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jon Wise MyFox Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Alice Kathloff MyFox Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Art Hughes Public News Service Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jerry Snook Westwood One Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Ben Garvin St. Paul Pioneer Press Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Jason Nicholas New York Post Sept 1 Unlawful assembly and obstructing the legal process
Wendy Binion Portland IndyMedia Sept 2 Felony conspiracy to riot
Geraldine Cahill The Real News Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Ania Smolenskaia The Real News Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Suzanne Hughes The Uptake Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Ted Johnson Variety Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Alice Kalthoff MyFoxdfw.com Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
John P Wise MyFox Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Eileen Clancy I-Witness Video August 26 Unknown
Anita Braithwaite Glass Bead Video Collective August 26 Unknown
Olivia Katz Glass Bead Video Collective August 26 Unknown
Nick Brooks Downtown Express Sept 4 Unlawful assembly and interfering with legal process
Sam Stoker Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Sept 4 Unlawful assembly
Paul Demko Minnesota Independent ? Unknown
Emily Forman I-Witness video group ? Unknown
Malisa Jahn I-Witness video group ? Unknown
Elizabeth Press Democracy Now! ? Unknown
Sheila Regan Twin Cities Daily Planet ? Unknown
Seth Rowe Sun Newspapers ? Unknown
Mark Skinner University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebel Yell reporter ? Unknown
Vlad Teichberg Glass Bead Video Collective ? Unknown
Nathan Weber Chicago Freelance Photographer ? Unknown
Tony Webster Twin Cities Independent Media ? Unknown
Alex Lilly Portland Indymedia ? Unknown
Charlie B MTV Think blogger ? Unknown
Andy Birkey Minnesota Independent ? Unknown
Matt Nelson University of Iowa Photojournalism student ? Unknown
Mark Ovaska Rochester freelance photographer ? Unknown
Chad Davis Freelance Photographer ? Unknown
Dawn Zuppelli Rochester IndyMedia ? Unknown

Fossil Men Refuse to Go Quietly

A polar bear swims recently in open water off the coast of Alaska. The shrinking sea ice increases the pressure on polar bears, who usually hunt on the ice.

A polar bear swims recently in open water off the coast of Alaska. The shrinking sea ice increases the pressure on polar bears, who usually hunt on the ice. (By Geoff York — World Wildlife Fund)

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 31, 2008

CHICAGO — The American Petroleum Institute and four other business groups filed suit Thursday against Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall, joining Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s administration in trying to reverse the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species.

On Aug. 4, the state of Alaska filed a lawsuit opposing the polar bear’s listing, arguing that populations as a whole are stable and that melting sea ice does not pose an imminent threat to their survival. The suit says polar bears have survived warming periods in the past. The federal government has 60 days from the filing date to respond.

One of the plaintiff in Thursday’s lawsuit, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), lauded the choice of Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee for reasons including her advocacy of Alaskan oil and gas exploration, which many fear could be affected by the bear’s protected status.

NAM and the petroleum institute were joined in the lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association and the American Iron and Steel Institute. They object to what they call the “Alaska Gap” in relation to the special rule the federal government issued in May in conjunction with the polar bear’s protected status. The rule, meant to prevent the polar bear’s status from being used as a tool for imposing greenhouse gas limits, exempts projects in all states except Alaska from undergoing review in relation to emissions.

NAM Vice President Keith McCoy said the group sees the rule as unfairly subjecting Alaskan industry to greenhouse gas controls and also opening a back door for greenhouse gas regulation nationwide.

… the heavens fall.

You got a problem with that.

You got a problem with that.

Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. (Napoleon)

The global financial crisis is set to get worse, with a large US bank likely to collapse in the next few months, a former IMF chief economist has warned.

Kenneth Rogoff’s comments came as shares in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sank on a report that the home lenders would, in effect, be nationalised.

Despite hopes that the US economy had turned the corner, Mr Rogoff claimed it was “not out of the woods”.

“I would even go further to say ‘the worst is to come’,” he said.

“We’re not just going to see mid-sized banks go under in the next few months,” said Mr Rogoff, who held the IMF role between 2001 and 2004.

“We’re going to see a whopper, we’re going to see a big one, one of the big investment banks or big banks.”

BBC

———–

Meet the rich
The gap between rich and poor is wider than ever. But that doesn’t seem to bother Britain’s wealthiest earners. In an extract from their new book, Polly Toynbee and David Walker describe the jaw-dropping arrogance they encountered when they asked some of the fat cats to justify their lives of luxury.

From the marbled 20th floor of a glass tower in Canary Wharf the view of the river is breathtaking. It snakes down to the Thames barrier, glinting in the sunset. Close to the new city lie the serried ranks of East End estate blocks. The view is typical of London: glossy new wealth nestling close to old and persisting penury. Precious little money has trickled down from this gilded new town in the sky to its neighbours below.

Unjust Rewards

The view is a reminder of the widening gap. History, many like to believe, is a Whiggish tale of wealth, social progress and fairer distribution, an onward march: we all wear the same clothes, meet on equal terms on Facebook. Yet background predicts who will run the banks and who will clean their floors. It’s not happenstance; it is largely pre-programmed. General mobility is a myth. The top 10% of income earners get 27.3% of the cake, while the bottom 10% get just 2.6%. Twenty years ago the average chief executive of a FTSE 100 company earned 17 times the average employee’s pay; now it is more than 75 times.

———-

Not Keeping Up With Our Parents: The Decline of the Professional Middle Class

by Nan Mooney

From Publishers Weekly
Young people who were raised to believe that a college education guarantees them a spot in the middle class are instead grappling with rising levels of debt, stagnant wages and ballooning basic expenses, argues Mooney, [who] suggests that college graduates who choose creative or service professions, such as journalism, teaching and social work, generally find themselves in low-paying jobs that, paradoxically, require high-priced educations and even graduate degrees. The struggle to pay off student loans sets off a spiral of financial insecurity, as these educated professionals face escalating costs for housing, health insurance and child care.

Save the Internet: Take Action

Look at it this way: If the fat cats take over the Net, it will start to look like prime time TV — full of vacuous “reality” programs featuring no-talent buffoons fattening the wallets of brain-dead producers.

Noooooooo! It’s too horrible to contemplate. Act now, before it’s too late!

Save the Internet: Take Action:

How convenient for them

Your Pain, Their Gain

Peter J. Schwartz 05.05.08, 12:00 AM ET

Crumbling home prices and $100 oil helped Wall Street’s Highest Earners pull in $19 billion last year

Problems paying the mortgage, filling the gas tank and feeding the family have eroded living standards for millions of Americans during the past several months. Not so for people who manage big piles of money–many of them made a fortune betting correctly on the housing debacle and rising commodity prices last year.

Our second annual look at the pay of folks who run hedge and private equity funds shows that the top 20 took home a collective $18.7 billion last year, 43% more than in 2006. To even make the list you needed minimum earnings of $350 million, which is $90 million higher than the year before. No chief executive of a traditional Wall Street investment bank even came close.

Our top-ranked earner, hedge fund manager John Paulson ($3.3 billion), reaped much of his bounty from shorting the ABX Index, which tracks the strength of the subprime mortgage market. Paulson earned an estimated $2.3 billion from his share of fees charged to investors and $1 billion from the appreciation of his own capital invested in Paulson & Co. funds.

Fund manager Philip Falcone, who ranked third with $1.7 billion, posted triple-digit returns by shorting subprime credit, resulting in $11 billion of growth for his two Harbinger Capital funds, excluding assets raised from new investors. John Burbank, who runs San Francisco hedge fund Passport Capital, made $370 million last year, also in large part by shorting home mortgage companies and mortgage-related debt ( see story).

Some members of our list, like Texans T. Boone Pickens ($1.2 billion) and John Arnold ($700 million), made their fortunes the old-fashioned way: betting on energy. Pickens’ $2.7 billion BP Capital Equity Fund grew by 24% after fees, while his $590 million Commodity fund grew 40% thanks to large positions in Suncor Energy (nyse: SU news people ), ExxonMobil (nyse: XOM news people ) and Occidental Petroleum (nyse: OXY news people ). For hedge fund billionaires Pickens and second-ranked George Soros ($2.4 billion), whose own investments compose a significant portion of their funds, there’s more to be made from asset appreciation than from fees. Soros made $2 billion from the growth of personal investments within his $17 billion Quantum Endowment Fund, which returned 32% for the year.

http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2008/0505/038.html