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.

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Banks buy politicians — on sale, now!

Bill Moyers on PBS, February 13, 2009

On Tuesday, February 10, 2009 Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled the Obama administration’s plan to address the crisis in the financial sector. The strategy he outlined calls for the largest Federal intervention in banks and finance since the Great Depression, flooding as much as $2.5 trillion into the system. Given its size and scope — the bill’s lack of detail drew a widely negative response from analysts and economists.

Although he thinks the details are important, Simon Johnson, Professor of Economics at MIT, worries more that Geithner and the Obama administration won’t address a big underlying problem and be tough enough on the politically powerful banking lobby.

 

Too Big To Fail?

Johnson explains to Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL that the U.S. financial system reminds him more of the embattled emerging markets he encountered in his time with the International Monetary Fund than that of a developed nation. As such, Johnson believes that the U.S. financial system needs a “reboot,” breaking up the biggest banks, in some cases firing management and wiping out shareholder value. Johnson tells Bill Moyers that such a move wouldn’t be popular with the powerful banking lobby: “I think it’s quite straightforward, in technical or economic terms. At the same time I recognize it’s very hard politically.”Without drastic action, Johnson argues, taxpayers are merely subsidizing a wealthy powerful industry without forcing necessary systemic changes: “Taxpayer money is ensuring their bonuses. We’re making sure that banks survive. And eventually, of course, the economy will turn around. Things will get better. The banks will be worth a lot of money. And they will cash out. And we will be paying higher taxes, we and our children, will be paying higher taxes so those people could have those bonuses. That’s not fair. It’s not acceptable. It’s not even good economics.”


Bank on America

Bank on this.

Bank on this.

 

Community-based movements to halt the flood of foreclosures have been building across the country. They turned out in Cleveland once again in October, when a coalition of grassroots housing groups rallied outside the Cuyahoga County courthouse, calling for a foreclosure freeze and constructing a mock graveyard of Styrofoam headstones bearing the names of local communities decimated by the housing crisis. (They did not, unfortunately, stop the more than 1,000 foreclosure filings in the county the following month.) In Boston the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America began protesting in front of Countrywide Financial offices in October 2007. Within weeks, Countrywide had agreed to work with the group to renegotiate loans. In Philadelphia ACORN and other community organizations helped to pressure the city council to order the county sheriff to halt foreclosure auctions this past March. Philadelphia has since implemented a program mandating “conciliation conferences” between defaulting homeowners and lenders. ACORN organizers say the program has a 78 percent success rate at keeping people in their homes. One activist group in Miami has taken a more direct approach to the crisis, housing homeless families in abandoned bank-owned homes without waiting for government permission.

It’s unlikely, though, that any of these activists will be able to relax soon. 

The Nation

 

When I was a lad, I ran off to San Francisco, like hippies from all over, to be free and unconventional and rid of the whole corporate America trip.

I ended up working at the Bank of America, thanks to a pink collar stoner chick who fudged my typing test.

While working at their headquarters, I learned about the proud heritage of the bank, which had rebuilt San Francisco in the early 20th century, in the wake of its great earthquake. 

Today, of course, bankers are universally regarded as monuments to heroic greed, spectacular corruption and epic incompetence–one short step above child molesters on the social scale. Adrift in their bubbles, intoxicated by their own emissions, only they remain unaware of this downward turn in public perception.

When a reporter for the AP politely asked them what they were doing with billions of dollars of the taxpayers’ bailout ransom, they sniffily replied to this effect: “Listen, you tawdry little man–we don’t give a fig about you and your shabby readers. We have parties to attend. Kindly pay up and shut up. Then find your way out.”

Men have short memories. It wasn’t so long ago in the long view of history that, faced with a similar situation, the rabble roused themselves in the streets of Paris and handed the nobility their heads. Good times.

Today, gun shops can’t keep up with demand.

Being a peaceful sort and averse to noise, I got to thinking that maybe it doesn’t have to come to bloodshed and armed insurrection.

Is it conceivable that bankers today are capable, if only in theory, of once again doing the right thing? Could they ever, even in an imagined world, earn their fat paychecks and lead us out of the mess that is largely their own creation? 

Trying to wrap my head around that wild notion, I am once again transported back to a more innocent era.

All across the nation

Such a strange vibration …

 

 

 


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.