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Nov 222011
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When even Shepard Fairey, the creator of the 2008 Obama “Hope” poster weighs in to hold President Obama accountable, you know we’re on to something.  This morning, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the U.S. is deeply concerned about the violence and is calling for restraint on all sides. He says despite the clashes between security forces and protesters, Egypt must proceed with a timely transition to democracy.

However, searches for any White House comments on the spate of violence from police departments around the country on peaceful, non-violent protesters turned up not a single statement.

It’s time for the president to weigh in on the actions turning the US into a police state.

photo by Josh Trujillo

On November 15, we were introduced to 84-year old Dorli Rainey after she was pepper sprayed by Seattle police for daring to be standing with the Occupy Seattle protesters.  We also heard that a pregnant woman was among the other victims of the spraying rampage of the power-drunk cops.  Today, we learned that 19-year old Jennifer Fox is no longer pregnant.  She suffered a miscarriage on Nov. 20th, five days after being abused by Seattle’s finest.

“I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in,” she says. “I was screaming, ‘I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.’” At that point, Fox continues, a Seattle police officer lifted his foot and it hit her in the stomach, and another officer pushed his bicycle into the crowd, again hitting Fox in the stomach. “Right before I turned, both cops lifted their pepper spray and sprayed me. My eyes puffed up and my eyes swelled shut,” she says.

Fox asked for medical attention—the now-famous photo by Josh Trujillo of her being carried to the ambulance is here (click to the second photo)—and was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, she says, where doctors performed an ultrasound and said that they “didn’t see anything wrong with the baby at the time.” Fox says she had also seen a physician at Harborview for prenatal care about five week before.

“Everything was going okay until yesterday, when I started getting sick, cramps started, and I felt like I was going to pass out,” Fox says.

A friend called for an ambulance near the community college campus. (Fox says she has been camping with Occupy Seattle since it first began in Westlake Park. She is homeless and says, “I don’t have a place. This is the place I call home.”) When she arrived at Harborview at 11:00 a.m., she says, a doctor told her that “there was no heartbeat” from the baby. “They diagnosed that I was having a miscarriage. They said the damage was from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the fetus], too.”

Sickened yet?  If not, just check out some of the comments after that story.  Of course, Jennifer Fox is being blamed for the miscarriage: “It was totally irresposible of this woman to put her unborn baby at risk in this way.”

And then there’s the ongoing saga at UC Davis, where Chancellor Linda Katehi apologized to the students for Friday’s horrendous actions by the UC Davis Police.  Unfortunately for the students there, it seemed to be too little too late.

The English Dept of UC Davis is quite ballsy. This is a screen-grab of what you’ll see today if you visit English.UCDavis.edu

To be continued, I’m sure…

Of course, the so-called Super Committee was not so super after all.  They couldn’t agree on how to cut the deficit.  It’s actually quite easy.  Put Americans back to work so we can pay taxes.  Deficit diminished.

Every Tuesday, the second hour of my show features a visit from GottaLaff of The Political Carnival. Today, we talked about these stories and more…

George W. Bush (the new Marcus?) to Michele Bachmann: “Why are you wearing those gloves?”

Poll-itics: “Fox News lead[s] people to be even less informed than those who don’t watch any news at all.”

VIDEO- Rep. Joe Walsh: 99%er war veterans advocate “anti-American… socialist solutions”

Occupy Hope

Police officers in UC Davis pepper spray incident placed on leave, but still, whatever you do, don’t curl up!

Video- Michele Bachmann Pours Water for the Rest of the Male Candidates at Family Forum Debate

Dep’t. of What Took So Long: Rick Perry’s fundraising dries up

Occupy Wall Street’s National Day of Action: Your “librul media” at work

GOP Thanksgiving Family Forum VIDEO- Newt Gingrich to #OWS: “Go get a job right after you take a bath.”

Quotes-O-The-Day: GOP Thanksgiving Family Forum edition

Tomorrow, Joshua Hersh live from Cairo, Egypt and Oakland radio’s DaveyD. Plus, 11 years ago, a judge in Almaty, Kazakhstan approved my adoption of my daughter Alison. Happy Adoption Month!

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Nov 212011
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Pepper Spraying Pike

There’s a lot of these going around.  By these, I mean Fun with Photoshop™ pictures of Pepper Spraying Pike – the UC Davis cop responsible for this piece of tragedy:

The chicken shit cop with the pepper spray is one UC Davis police Lt. John Pike – who reportedly makes a base salary of $116,454!  And you wonder why your tuition is so high.

Although the coward has been suspended pending an investigation into the matter,  he’s being mocked in quite creative ways by people armed with a peaceful tool known as Photoshop!  Some of my faves…

 

and many more can be found here and other places on the interwebs.

As embarrassed as Pike and his fellow “peace officers” should be, it’s nothing like what UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi must have felt on Saturday evening.  As Lee Fang (formerly of Think Progress, soon to be of United Republic, now blogging at The Second Alarm) wrote and told us about on the show this morning:

After the outrage of the Friday pepper spray attack by UC Davis police, who were acting on orders from the UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, a press conference was called this afternoon. I listened to the call, and heard Katehi claim that she was acting in the best “health” interests of the students. I heard her dismiss the calls by faculty for her resignation as “blog” talk. But then I witnessed the students amassing outside the press conference, demanding a voice in the matter.

What transpired was awe-inspiring. I wrote up an account and you can read it here. I just posted a new extended video, of a young man who was among the kids affected by pepper spray on Friday, and it shows him leading the 1,000-strong Davis students in an incredibly disciplined, surprisingly restrained, collective shaming of the chancellor as she walked to her car. There was no intimidation or ‘hostage taking,’ as I understand some in the Sacramento media are portraying it — not to be cliche, but it was pure nonviolent people power.

Incredible! As someone many years the senior of those disciplined college students, I’m in awe. I don’t know that I could have been so quiet in the face of what I consider to be evil. Chancellor Katehi will speak at this afternoon’s General Assembly. Lee Fang will be there, tweeting about it.  We’ll give you the post-script on tomorrows show.

The OWS protests aren’t the only scenes of unrest in the world.  No doubt inspired by the people who occupied Tahrir Square earlier this year – in what began as a peaceful, non-violent revolution – the occupiers here must be watching the events unfolding in Cairo today with a mix of sadness and fear.

Huffington Post foreign policy journalist Joshua Hersh flew to Cairo on Thursday to cover next week’s elections.  He was at Tahrir Square in February, witnessing the ousting of Hosni Mubarek, and thought he was returning to report on the final chapter of Egypt’s transition to a democracy.  Little did he know that on Friday he’d see the start of police attacks on the people who had once again taken to Tahrir, culminating with the military moving in and the  deathsof 35 protesters.

On today’s show, I mentioned to Joshua Hersh a piece I had seen on gawker - suggesting that the violent police crackdowns were likely at least partially responsible for the tough tactics now being used there:

Two people were killed in Cairo and Alexandria this weekend as Egyptian activists took the streets to protest the military’s attempts to maintain its grip on power. And guess how the state is justifying its deadly crackdown.

We saw the firm stance the US took against OWS people & the German govt against green protesters to secure the state,” an Egyptian state television anchor said yesterday (as translated by the indispensable Sultan Sooud al Qassemi; bold ours).

Yeah—it gets harder and harder to maintain a moral high ground when videos like this andpictures like this are unavoidable. But American police haven’t killed anyone! Indeed! That’s definitely something worth bragging about: so far, cops here have only sent a single person to the hospital with brain damage. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Josh replied that he couldn’t say what was going on here at home was the cause of it, but he did note that tear gas canisters with “Made in the USA” on them were everywhere in Tahrir Square, and the police response to Occupy Wall Street encampments were a very frequent topic of discussion.  Follow his twitter feed for up to the minute reports from his balcony overlooking Tahrir Square.

After a news update from TRNS, it was time for our regular Monday morning dissection of the Sunday talking head shows.  Crooks & LiarsNicole Belle watches them so we don’t have to, and much of this week’s discussion was about the weirdness that is Newt Gingrich….

Sometimes, there’s only so much stupidity that one can take before resorts to just writing off the entire GOP field. I suspect that Paul Krugman has reached that point, because in discussing the current crop of presidential hopefuls, he tells the This Week panel—including the pearl-clutching Peggy Noonan– that “only fools and clowns” believe in Republican ideology. I have to give Krugman credit for the single best soundbyte description of Newt Gingrich: He’s a stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.

And as if to prove Krugman’s point, Newt Gingrich told an audience at Harvard University that child labors laws are stupid. No, seriously.

Amazingly enough, it’s not this latest insanity that makes the Fox News panel agree that Newt doesn’t have much of a chance of winning the nomination.

However, not all Republicans think that Newt is spouting off nonsense. Sen. Jon Kyl—invited on as a member of the Super Committee on deficit reduction—thinks that Newt’s comments at the evangelical faith debate this past Saturday (that OWS protestors should take a bath and get a job) are absolutely spot on.

Of course, there’s not going to be anything positive said about OWS on Fox News either. In a tangential comment over the Super Committee’s ability to come to some agreement, Juan Williams made the mistake of saying something good about OWS and host Chris Wallace had to jump in and cut him off.

And if we have time, on the subject of the Super Committee, member John Kerry made sure that David Gregory knows that if the committee does fail, it’s entirely because the Republicans absolutely refuse to give up the Bush tax cuts.

Tomorrow – the lastest from UC Davis, Cairo and the Super Committee (!), and a visit from @GottaLaff of The Political Carnival…

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Oct 102011
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A sign I saw in Washington DC’s Freedom Plaza read “The Beginning is Near!”.  It’s obviously a play on the paranoids’ “the end is near” theme.. but it was wrong.

The Beginning is HERE!

This morning on the show, I told about my trip to DC to participate in the Take Back the American Dream conference, sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future, Rebuild the Dream, and MoveOn.org, plus the Stop the Machine – Create a New World October2011.org occupation of Freedom Plaza.  I was straddling both worlds of the progressive movement to change this country for the better…

I spoke with Greg Basta of NYCC (New York Communities for Change) , who has been working with the folks at Occupy Wall Street to help grow the movement, and bring organizations to help grow the movement.  Follow some of the actions planned in NYC in the coming week on their facebook page: facebook.com/beyondMay12.

I also got hold of Kevin Zeese, one of the October2011 organizers, still at Freedom Plaza in DC, intent on continuing the occupation, even after their permits expired last night at 10pm.  We spoke about the peaceful protest, Thursday’s events and march (in which I participated), the agent provocateur who created the conflict at the Air & Space Museum on Saturday, and what they’re planning going forward.  I also asked him about their fear of being “co-opted” by establishment progressives.

Although I don’t agree with Kevin on that last part, I am quite supportive of what they are doing.  I just believe there’s room for all of us on this side  in this fight for what’s right.

In hour two, Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars joined me for our weekly “Fools on the Hill” segment, in which we recap the Sunday (and other) talking head shows.  This week, she brought us this:

One of the things that I find so disheartening about living in this country at this particular time is the triumph of stupidity over knowledge. There’s a whole lot of stupidity happening on the Sunday shows and sadly, the media—whom the public expects to inform—contributes to the stupidity constantly.

For example, David Gregory proves his complete lack of worth as host of Meet the Press in an interview with Paul Ryan. Ryan pulled some interesting facts out of his P90Xed posterior—that the House has passed “dozens” of jobs legislation that the Senate refuses to consider– which makes no sense if you think about it even a little, yet David Gregory completely abdicated his responsibility to exercise a little journalistic skills and ask Ryan to explain.

Sometime the truth isn’t what even the media wants to hear. On the new Fox Channel show “The Five”, they agreed that it’s just terrible that Sesame Street has created a new Muppet character to introduce the concept of food insecurity in a prime time special. I mean, who wants children to be aware that some of their classmates may be going to bed hungry and malnourished? That might make them empathetic and they’ll be less likely to be Fox News viewers.

As the Perrys and Palins fall by the wayside in the Republican primary race, the other candidates are jockeying around, trying to find frontrunner Mitt Romney’s weakness. It appears that Romney’s faith may be that Achilles’ heel. After Pastor Robert Jeffress told John King that he couldn’t—as a God-fearing Christian—support a Mormon candidate like Mitt Romney, because Mormonism “is a cult,” Candy Crowley used that as a launching off point to question fellow candidates Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann if they agreed that Romney was not a Christian. Way to kneecap your candidate ahead of the general election, folks.

Surprisingly, the only host that actually practiced some halfway decent journalism was Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday. “ Wallace asked Rick Santorum about his pledge to revoke the revoking of DADT. Wallace reads a quote to Santorum about “using the military for a social experiment” and asks him if he agrees with the sentiment. Santorum says that he basically does and then Wallace tells him it’s a quote from a 1941 treatise regarding racial integration. Santorum then has to backtrack and say that the difference is that homosexuality is a “learned behavior”. Uh huh…all science to the contrary, but hey, let’s not let that bother us.

Finally, we had one of our own on the news shows this week…finally. Jesse LaGreca, better known as Ministry of Truth on DailyKos, was on “This Week” to give his perspective on the Occupy Wall Street protests. And he stood toe to toe with the inane stupidity that is Village wisdom from George Will and made him and the whole status quo protectors look pathetic. If we have enough time, Van Jones and Naomi Klein were on “Up with Chris Hayes” to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests and for all their talk of lack of message clarity, Jones reminds DC and Wall Street that the protesters have the MORAL clarity.

 

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Sep 262011
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I’m still in shock over the NYPD’s brutality this weekend.  I grew up learning about the unique rights we have here in the United States. Chief among them is our freedom of speech, which includes our rights of peaceful assembly and protest.

This weekend in NYC the police brutally assaulted young people exercising their rights, and corralled a group of women who were breaking no laws while a police captain – Anthony Bologna -  violated them by spraying them with pepper spray.  The video is below, in an entry posted Saturday evening.

This morning, I came upon USLaw.com, who slowed the video down to show us exactly what happened in slow motion:

Are you outraged yet? If not, read this account given to the Village Voice by the woman with the long hair. Her name is Chelsea Elliott.

I heard screams near me, and this young girl near me was shoved down [by the police] — their hands were on her head until she reached the pavement (she was yelling because the cops were beating up some 19-year-old kid). I screamed something like, “Stop! Why are you doing this?” There was blood and shit; it was terrifying. I looked at the cop I’d been talking to, and he had a blank but worried expression. Then this cop in a white collared shirt came around and just sprayed us, not even one steady stream, more like you were spraying a plant — me and three or four other girls. I fell to the ground, and the girl behind me, this pretty, thin girl, a total hippie, with short hair and a gray tank top, they got her so bad! We were just lying on the ground, it was extremely painful. The cop I was talking to, he talked to the cop who sprayed us, and was like, “Thanks for the warning.” I think he got maced in the eye, too.

What happened then?
We lay on the ground like little worms. One of the other girls was a medic, and was able to pour milk in her eyes. The cops left. They moved the net. All I know from what happened afterward, I watched on YouTube. For like 15 minutes, I couldn’t see; I couldn’t breathe at first. It was so out of the ordinary and unprovoked. Our medical group poured milk into my eyes for like 10 minutes, and apple cider vinegar on my face.

Read more here... But the police claim they used the pepper spray “appropriately“.

Meanwhile, many people are gearing up to occupy Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. beginning on October 6 -the 10th anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan. One is a regular listener of my show, Carrie Stone, who is walking the walk!  She joined me on the show this morning, as she’s heading out tomorrow morning beginning at 8am ET, walking from her home in West Virginia to Washington DC.   Follow her on twitter @papercrete.

On her “Walking the Walk”  facebook event page, she explained what it’s all about:

On October 6, 2011, people from all walks of life and areas of the country will gather on Freedom Plaza in Washington DC to begin what organizers hope will be America’s version of the occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt and other cities across the Middle East.

To help publicize this event and inspire others to join in the occupation of the plaza, a group of us are planning to WALK 200 MILES from Clarksburg West Virginia to DC.

We will begin walking from the K-Mart parking lot, Eastpointe Shopping Center, Emily Drive, Clarksburg WV on September 27 at 8:00 am.

If you can only walk with me “in spirit” please consider contributing a bit to help with my expenses!

To donate visit http://www.builtfromtrash.com/ and click on the ‘Chip In’ button on the left side of the web page.

We mapped the route and determined – if we average 22 miles per day we can make it in 9 days, arriving the late afternoon or evening of October 5th.

A large majority of the American people support the following:

–Tax the rich and corporations
–End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending
–Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security –Improve Medicare for all
–End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
–Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation
–Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages
–Get money out of politics

The government, dominated by elite economic interests, is going in the opposite direction from what the people want. The American people’s agenda is our agenda.

For more information about the Walk (and to see a map of the route), please visithttp://builtfromtrash.com/take-action/38-walking-the-walk. If you would like to join us for all or part of the walk, or if you live along the route and want to cheer us on or bring us water and/or sustenance, please send an email to walkthewalk@builtfromtrash.com.

For more information about the occupation of Freedom Plaza, visit http://october2011.org/

This morning’s show continued with Karl Frisch, syndicated columnist, Democratic strategist, and progressive radio personality.  We talked about the Occupy Wall Street movement, today’s politics, and his latest column, “Forget Class Warfare, Republicans Engage in Class Genocide”.

And as we do every Monday morning, I chatted with Crooks and LiarsNicole Belle about the Sunday talking head shows in a segment we call “Fools on the Hill”.

Every week I become more discouraged by the failures of our media to even have an honest conversation, much less an honest reporting of the issues of the day. The media doesn’t want to discuss populist movements, like the OccupyWallStreet protests, doesn’t want to offer a point of view that doesn’t favor the very wealthy or the status quo or point out the contradictions or hypocrisy in politicians’ spin. In fact, often they are the very purveyors of these partisan narratives.

Like Chris Wallace, who did his level best while talking to WH adviser David Plouffe to keep that “class war” meme pointed at those below the poverty level. Listen to him tell Plouffe that the rich *are* paying their fair share of taxes.

And while we’re on the subject, can we just dispense with that notion that the very wealthy are paying their fair share altogether? On his sophomore weekend, Chris Hayes points out how that particular Republican talking point is not actually painting the real picture.

David Gregory can also always be reliably pushing Republican memes. On Meet the Press, he actually wasted three minutes grilling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he liked Obama as much as he liked Bush. No, seriously.

Of course, Bill Kristol, Brit Hume and AB Stoddard agree that they would like Barack Obama a whole lot more if he would just go back to that capitulating and accommodating politician willing to give just about everything for a “grand bargain.” Let’s hope Obama doesn’t take their advice.

And finally, Lamar Alexander made news this week by resigning his leadership positions within the Senate GOP. I had hoped that it was because he was just tired of the caricature that the tea party has made of his party, but based on this appearance on State of the Union, I think that was overly optimistic of me. After Mark Warner bemoaned the tea party antics bringing the country back to the brink of yet another government shutdown as the Democrats try to get much needed aid to Hurricane Irene victims, Alexander said that it was actually Harry Reid’s fault, for creating a crisis that doesn’t actually exist.

 

 

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