The OB Media Rundown for 4/9/12

Higher MBTA fares, less service lie ahead

Starting July 1, riders who have been taking weekend trips on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Greenbush and Kingston/Plymouth rail lines will have to find new ways to travel.

Wait times for the Red Line trolley from Dorchester’s Ashmont Station to Milton and Mattapan will be considerably longer on Sunday and much of Saturday. On weekends, the ferry from Quincy to Boston won’t leave the dock.

And on almost all modes of public transportation in Greater Boston, rides will be significantly more expensive. (Boston Globe)

Use RICO statute to compel resignation of corrupt Supreme Court justices

While the use of the RICO act to prosecute corrupt judges, who take money for decisions, is not unprecedented, this would be the first time a judge as powerful as a Supreme Justice were targeted. In 2011, Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella was convicted of racketeering for the infamous “Kids for Cash” scam, in which he took money from prisons for sentencing children to jail time.

The first criteria to proving a RICO case against an individual is showing that they have committed at least two of thirty-five federal crimes in a period of no longer than ten years. Among the federal laws that compose RICO cases, there are several which could potentially be applied to corrupt members of the Supreme Court: honest service fraud, tax non-compliance, and obstruction of justice.

Is Cultural Liberalism Getting in the Way of Economic Equality – ‘Same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose do not cost the wealthy anything’

As White House aides and Congressional leaders flood the media with dueling leaks about just how far President Obama was willing to go last summer to meet the budget-cutting demands of House Speaker John A. Boehner, many liberals have reacted with shock and horror at how much of their historic achievement the president appears to have been ready to bargain away. If a Democratic president could consider cutting America’s shredded safety net further when unemployment remained stiffly high and the country was undergoing an explosion of inequality, was the “liberal moment” of American politics finally over?

Yet Maryland recently became the eighth state to join the same-sex marriage club (which includes the District of Columbia). Rush Limbaugh was force-fed a triple helping of crow for his failed attempt at “slut shaming,” after opening up the gender gap again. Women, young people, college graduates and mixed-race Americans, surveys indicate, are spurning conservative arguments about contraception, same-sex marriage and sexual freedom.

In other words, economic liberalism is on life-support, while cultural liberalism thrives. The obvious question is why. The simple answer is that cultural liberalism comes cheap. Supporting same-sex marriage or a woman’s right to choose does not cost the wealthy anything or restrict their ability to become wealthier. But there is more to it than that.

Welfare Limits Left Poor Adrift as Recession Hit 

Perhaps no law in the past generation has drawn more praise than the drive to “end welfare as we know it,” which joined the late-’90s economic boom to send caseloads plunging, employment rates rising and officials of both parties hailing the virtues of tough love.

But the distress of the last four years has added a cautionary postscript: much as overlooked critics of the restrictions once warned, a program that built its reputation when times were good offered little help when jobs disappeared. Despite the worst economy in decades, the cash welfare rolls have barely budged.
. . .

The poor people who were dropped from cash assistance here [AZ], mostly single mothers, talk with surprising openness about the desperate, and sometimes illegal, ways they make ends meet. They have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals, shoplifted, doubled up with friends, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans and returned to relationships with violent partners – all with children in tow.

Good News for Women: Democratic Leader Says There’s No GOP War on You 

Very good news today, coming from the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.  Mr. Cleaver is concerned about the tone of politics these days, and since it’s unfair for the Republicans to charge the President with waging a war on religion – because he isn’t – it’s only fair that Democrats stop claiming the Tea-Party GOP is waging a war against women – even though they are. [Warning: the video forces you to watch 30 seconds of oil company propaganda.]

This is a great moral victory for the advocates of false equivalency, not to mention the holy mostly-male warriors who have introduced and/or passed hundreds of bills in state legislatures and Congress to repeal or restrict women’s reproductive rights, rights to demand equal pay, and access to the benefits of government programs designed to benefit millions of women that are being systematically defunded by the GOP’s war on government (sorry).

Henceforth, those Tea-GOP efforts affecting women’s rights and benefits will be described more respectfully, using such words as “non-hostile” humanitarian actions.   Please adjust your vocabulary accordingly.

Obama’s ‘clear strategic shift to the right’

Back in the last Century, when Bill Clinton was running for re-election in the “permanent campaign” he, with the advice of the smarmy Dick Morris chose to co-opt Republican positions to pre-empt their using them against him. It was called “triangulation” but also disguised a clear strategic shift to the right that has now surfaced in the Obama campaign. It appears that Team Obama does not take the concerns or values of its liberal support base seriously. They think they can be mesmerised by selective symbolic stands and they have nowhere else to go.

Libertarians get medieval on women – Debates on birth control show modern conservatism is just a neoliberal gloss on medieval domination

The real reason [Austrian School  economist Ludwig Von] Mises’ arguments about women are so relevant, it seems to me, is that in the course of making them, he reveals something larger about the libertarian worldview: Libertarianism is not about liberty at all, or at least not about liberty for everyone. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Here’s Mises describing the socialist programme of “free love”:

Free love is the socialists’ radical solution for sexual problems. The socialistic society abolishes the economic dependence of woman which results from the fact that woman is dependent on the income of her husband. Man and woman have the same economic rights and the same duties, as far as motherhood does not demand special consideration for the women.

Public funds provide for the maintenance and education of the children, which are no longer the affairs of the parents but of society. Thus the relations between the sexes are no longer influenced by social and economic conditions… The family disappears and society is confronted with separate individuals only. Choice in love becomes completely free.

Fox Orlando affiliate calls neo-Nazis who claim to be conducting armed patrols now in Sanford, FL, ‘a civil rights group’ 

A Fox Orlando affiliate decribed Neo-Nazis as “a civil rights group” on a television broadcast and online. The group of Neo-Nazis, known as the National Socialist Movement, has been conducting armed patrols of the streets of Sanford, Florida, the town where Trayvon Marting was shot dead.

Public banking in America: Philadelphia Freedom: Birthplace of the Constitution Takes Center Stage

It is well known that Philadelphia was the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution and American democracy.  Less well known is that it was also the birthplace of public banking in America.  The Philadelphia Quakers originated a banking model involving government-issued money lent to farmers.  The profits returned to the government and the people in a sustainable feedback loop that nourished and supported the local economy.

Both landmark events will be commemorated in upcoming gatherings in Philadelphia.  On April 7th, during Occupy Philly’s celebration of its six month anniversary on the mall in front of Independence Hall, the Occupy Philly General Assembly reached consensus in support of the National Gathering Working Group proposal to hold an Occupy National Gathering at the same location from June 30 to July 4, 2012.  The endorsement included a commitment by Occupy Philly to provide the resources necessary to make the first Occupy national gathering in history a resounding success.  The stage was thus set for what could be a revolutionary event located at the historic birthplace of the First American Revolution.

Resonating with that theme, on April 27th-28th the Public Banking in America Conference will be held at the Quaker Friends Center in Philadelphia, hosted by the Public Banking Institute (PBI).  PBI’s vision is to establish a network of public banks across the country to generate affordable credit according to the priorities of real people, not corporate persons or banks.  These priorities include student loans, sustainable agriculture, worker-owned coops, renewable energy, and so on.  The  Bank of North Dakota, currently the only publicly-owned depository bank in the USA, has over two dozen loan programs reflecting the priorities of the people of North Dakota.

Channel 5 camera man assaulted by Minneapolis PD at Reoccupy Minneapolis Nicollet Mall slo-mo

if you see the video’s from the Re-Occupy and read the comments from people who were there, it is much different than what the Minneapolis Police spokesperson has to say and how the news reported it.

Here you see Channel 5′s camera man assaulted by MPD for just doing his job. Shouldn’t that be on the news?

Look for short camera guy behind the cop car.. the abusive officer comes from the right.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton greeted by student protests on campus

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton spoke about international threats to the U.S. Wednesday night at the Lied Center. Sponsored by the Business School as part of the Vickers Lecture Series, Bolton addressed national security threats he foresaw posed by China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Egypt.
. . .

The speech was met by protests from Occupy KU, Young Americans for Liberty and Peace Warriors. Before the speech, student members of Occupy KU laid in front of the Lied Center’s entrance, pretending to be dead victims of war. Police eventually asked them to move to prevent blocking of the front doors.

“The best we can do is encourage student consciousness and involvement,” said Tim Clark, junior from Lawrence and member of Occupy KU.

COMMENTARY: Should Congress raise the minimum wage? 

In 1968, the federal minimum wage stood at $1.60 per hour. If workers were earning the same amount in today’s dollars, adjusting for inflation, they would be paid more than $10 per hour, not the current $7.25 per hour.

During that same time, median household income has risen roughly 14 percent, while the value of the minimum wage has fallen by 30 percent.

The solution is obvious: Congress should restore the minimum wage to its historic purchasing power by raising it to $10 per hour. It would enable low-wage employees to be rewarded for their hard work. It also would help boost the economy by getting income into the hands of those most likely to spend it, thereby creating additional demand that businesses sorely need during this shaky economic recovery.

The Critic and His Critics: Hedges vs. the Black Bloc 


NATO: The Military Enforcement Wing Of The West 1%

On April 7 Fox News Chicago reported on Occupy Chicago’s march through the city’s downtown, the Loop, recording that hundreds of protesters chanted “End the war, tax the rich” during part of the group’s Chicago Spring actions throughout the city “as the movement prepares for NATO.”

Earlier in the day Occupy activists received training for the anti-NATO march and other activities to be held on May 20 and 21 as the military bloc and its leaders descend on the Windy City, including preparing for arrests and other harassment they may be subjected to by the Rahm Emanuel administration. The main march on May 20 and other anti-NATO activities are being organized by the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda with the participation of Occupy, the United National Antiwar Coalition, the American Friends Service Committee, the 8th Day Center for Justice and other peace and social justice organizations.

Three weeks before, the Chicago Tribune reported that Occupy leaders from around the nation met in St. Louis to “set their sights on their biggest target of the spring — the NATO summit in Chicago,” with Occupy representatives from Chicago urging their counterparts in attendance from twenty other cities to plan for the Chicago summit and actions to be held against it with their respective general assemblies.

Occupy Chicago Protesters March Through Downtown

Now that spring is here, the Occupy Chicago protesters are back.

Several hundred people participated in a Saturday march through downtown streets that ended in Grant Park, adjacent to Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway.

The Occupy movement in Chicago never really went away over the winter. It helped to facilitate numerous protests, news conferences and rallies. Now, they hope to put some of the protesters’ energy to work.

Protesters at RNC in Tampa face grueling tropical summer weather 

Protesters at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August will confront more than politics and police barricades. They likely will be stifled by 90-plus degree heat and smothered by 93_percent humidity in what typically is the hottest, muggiest and wettest month of the year.

“Heat is going to be huge issue during this event,” said Ryan Pedigo, director of public health preparedness for the Hillsborough County Health Department.

“Our big concern is that we’re going to have a lot of people not used to the Florida heat and humidity who want to spend an excessive amount of time outdoors,” he said. “When that happens there is a very high potential of being overcome by heat and humidity.”

Occupy Vanderbilt Wants Answers from Administration

Occupy Vanderbilt has sprung up seemingly from no-where. But there’s a story to how those students got angry and decided to take a stand. The students’ seven months of investigation into Vanderbilt’s investment with EMVest, along with years of investigation into Vanderbilt’s investments in HEI Hotels & Resorts, play a large role in that.

Here’s a recap. In June 2011, the Oakland Institute, an independent policy think tank that studies various facets of the economy in Africa-land rights, food, poverty, foreign aid and investment, for example-found a huge number of companies to be engaging in unethical practices in the African continent.

The unethical practices, as laid out by the Oakland Institute researchers, derives from these companies abusing African land and African peoples for the betterment of these foreign investment companies. EmVest, one of these investment firms, says that it is collecting unused, but arable land which has been “lying fallow,” to farm and return a very quick profit in Mozambique, expecting and hoping for a large increase in land prices because of speculation – essentially rapid and unhindered globalization.

Salt Lake Occupiers move tents to new location

Occupy SLC activists who maintained a round-the-clock presence in Salt Lake City’s Gallivan Center this past winter on Friday packed up their tents and moved a few blocks south to Library Square, a grass-and-gravel area east of the Salt Lake City Library at 210 E. 400 South.

Since Oct. 6, the Salt Lake contingency has stood in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, a grass-roots movement decrying corporate greed and its influence on society and the political process.

In London, Occupy architect battles campus ban

An architect of the Occupy London movement is calling on Western University to overturn a one-year ban imposed on him for taking part in a campus demonstration. Mike Roy, 44, was one of about two dozen people who gathered at the University Community Centre to protest an event organized by Israel On Campus.

The group of protesters, which included members of Occupy London, wore tape over their mouths and carried signs denouncing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Roy says he was filming the protest and wasn’t approached at any time by campus police.

London police contacted Roy in March and asked him to meet with them. At the meeting, an officer delivered a letter from campus police informing Roy he’s been banned from Western for one year for “participating in a prohibited activity.”

In the UK, Occupy Lancaster holds a mock funeral for the death of the National Health Service

PROTESTORS made their feelings known about the Government’s NHS reforms by leading a mock funeral procession – complete with coffin – through the streets of Lancaster.

A black-hatted “funeral director” led the cortege of mourners from Occupy Lancaster. The plaque on the coffin reads RIP NHS July 5 1948 – March 27 2012.

At Horseshoe Corner and Market Square the procession paused to hold a memorial service consisting of a reading of Nye Bevan’s three core principles for the NHS, a eulogy and a reading of “balm 23″, a satirical reworking of psalm 23.

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