Friday, August 21, 2009

Obama's gang signs

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Barack Obama: Change We Can Deceive In --A critique from the Left

Citizens For Legitimate Government is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose and resist US imperialism, corpora-terrorism, and the New World Order.


By Lori Price

Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama is selling out the left wing of his party - those who contributed $750 million to his campaign for 'change' - quicker than a Blue Cross rate rise in August. Mr. Obama won the Democratic nomination -- and the presidency -- on a wave of anti-Bush sentiment and the promise of 'change we can believe in.' But when the assertions and actions of the Obama Administration are critically examined, a conclusion can be drawn that the key difference -- thus far -- between Barack Obama and George W. Bush is their choice in breed of White House pet. 'Bipartisanship,' the bane of Obama's first eight months as president, is providing the groundwork for an extended (albeit educated, charming) Bush-light Administration. Those of us on the left are fearing a Bush-ultra Administration, wrapped in populist rhetoric, and disguised as everything but the same.

Barack Obama: Meteorological Nightmare

Nuclear Leaks and Response Tested Obama in Senate By Mike McIntire 03 Feb 2008 When residents in Illinois voiced outrage two years ago upon learning that the Exelon Corporation had not disclosed radioactive leaks at one of its nuclear plants, the state's freshman senator, Barack Obama, took up their cause. Mr. Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction and introduced a bill to require all plant owners to notify state and local authorities immediately of even small leaks. He has boasted of it on the campaign trail, telling a crowd in Iowa in December that it was "the only nuclear legislation that I've passed..." A close look at the path his legislation took tells a very different story. While he initially fought to advance his bill... Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks. Those revisions propelled the bill through a crucial committee. But, contrary to Mr. Obama's comments in Iowa, it ultimately died amid parliamentary wrangling in the full Senate.

Sound familiar? Just replace the words 'Exelon Corporation' with 'insurance companies' and the words 'Senator Obama' with President Obama' and here we are. 'Mr. Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction,' we learned in 2008, regarding Obama's reaction to the undisclosed radioactive leaks. In 2009, the president condemned the insurance companies for their record-breaking profits and role in the U.S. health care situation: Obama says insurance companies holding U.S. hostage,' Reuters, 14 August. In 2006, the Obama admonishment preceded the sellout, just as it likely will in 2009. Yup, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

The Exelon incident should have set off alarms in every progressive's brain from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. The corporate-owned media, determined to see the 'better' liberal -- Hillary Clinton -- lose the Democratic primary, waged a Hillary-bashing campaign, 24-7. This media bias was couched and defended in the enthralling possibility of the election of the first African-American U.S. president.

And so, the Exelon incident passed as insignificant -- the unnoticed fluffy cloud on a bright summer day. But to those of us in the meteorological know, we're aware of the path that a singular cumulus cloud can take. More cumulus clouds appear, then populate the horizon. Soon, cumulonimbus clouds form -- which lead to thunder, lightning and a nightmarish end to the day.

My Exelon-Obama umbrella has been with me since February of 2008, when New York Senator Hillary Clinton co-sponsored legislation to boot Blackwater and other mercenaries from Iraq and Afghanistan. Candidate Obama remained silent. Under President Obama, the mercenary industry is flourishing.

http://www.legitgov.org/price_obama_change_deceive_in_190809.html

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Play Nice

If adults were subjected to the same indignities as children . . .

PARTY

Zoe: Dad, I'm throwing a party tonight, so you'll have to stay in your room. Don't worry, though—one of my friends brought over his father for you to play with. His name is Comptroller Brooks and he's roughly your age, so I'm sure you'll have lots in common. I'll come check on you in a couple of hours. (Leaves.)

Comptroller Brooks: Hello.

Mr. Higgins: Hello.

Comptroller Brooks: So . . . um . . . do you follow city politics?

Mr. Higgins: Not really.

Comptroller Brooks: Oh.

(Long pause.)

(Zoe returns.)

Zoe: I forgot to tell you—I told my friends you two would perform for them after dinner. I'll come get you when it's time. (Leaves.)

Comptroller Brooks: Oh, God, what are we going to do?

Mr. Higgins: I know a dance . . . but it's pretty humiliating.

Comptroller Brooks: Just teach it to me.

 

CAPITOL HILL

Lobbyist: If you fail to pass this proposition, it will lead to the deaths of thousands. Any questions?

Senator: Why are you wearing a sailor suit?

Lobbyist: My children decided to dress me this way, on a whim. I told them it was an important day for me, but they wouldn't listen.

Senator: It's adorable.

Lobbyist: O.K. . . . but do you agree with the proposition? About the war?

Senator: Put on the cap.

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2008/08/04/080804sh_shouts_rich

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Iraq and 9/11

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BitTorrent: Under Attack but Needed for Innovation

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Written by Ernesto

Mininova, isoHunt, The Pirate Bay and other P2P sites are fighting out legal battles with the entertainment industry. Courts zealously document their contribution to copyright infringement. But copyright holders and courts ignore P2P's vital role in fostering innovation. Professor of Law Michael Carrier explains why this has to change.

Guest post by Michael Carrier, Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School in Camden.

BitTorrent: Attacked by Copyright Holders, Crushed by Courts, but Needed for Innovation.

The Pirate Bay and other P2P sites continually find themselves on the defensive. Copyright holders repeatedly threaten and sue them. Courts zealously document their contribution to copyright infringement. But copyright holders and courts ignore P2P's vital role in fostering innovation. I would like to change that.

In my book, Innovation for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Intellectual Property and Antitrust Law, I examine (1) why copyright holders continually seek to quash new technologies, (2) why courts fail to appreciate P2P, and (3) why we should lament these developments.

First, I trace the long history of copyright holders reacting with alarm to new technologies that threaten their business models. John Philip Sousa bemoaned the introduction of the player piano, which would lead to "a marked deterioration in American music." Jack Valenti warned that the market for copyrighted movies would be "decimated, shrunken [and] collapsed" by the VCR. And the recording industry, lamenting a decline in CD sales, has sued numerous P2P services.

In fearing the potential of the new business models, copyright holders offer a classic example of market leaders that fail to appreciate disruptive innovation. A decade ago, the recording industry responded to Napster, which was striving to be "the online distribution channel for the record labels," not by striking a deal that would have seamlessly transported the industry into the digital era, but by suing it. While the record labels may have won the battle in shutting down Napster, they began to lose the war, as former users migrated to other P2P networks.

Nor are copyright holders the only ones that fail to appreciate the new technologies. Courts also do. Why? Because of an innovation asymmetry. Courts downplay the future benefits of new technologies and overemphasize copyright owners' present losses. Copyright owners offer evidence of losses from infringement on a silver platter.

In contrast, non-infringing uses are less tangible. It is difficult to put a dollar figure on the benefits of enhanced communication and interaction. And when a new technology is introduced, no one knows all of the beneficial uses to which it will eventually be put. I offer numerous examples of this (including, just to pick two, the telephone, which Alexander Graham Bell thought would be used to broadcast the daily news, and the phonograph, which Thomas Edison thought would "record the wishes of old men on their death beds"). This asymmetry, combined with costly litigation (which ensnares small technology makers in a web of complex tests and unaffordable lawsuits) explains why courts do not sufficiently appreciate P2P.

This lack of appreciation threatens innovation. As this site's readers are well aware, BitTorrent and other P2P protocols offer revolutionary forms of interaction and distribution. By breaking up large files into many small pieces, BitTorrent speeds up transfer, allowing the distribution of numerous works, such as home movies, independent films, TV shows, video games, educational videos, computer software, and high-resolution images. Just a few of many examples discussed on this site that have utilized BitTorrent include (1) computer manufacturer Asus, which offers fast, cheap software updates, (2) the airing of a high-definition movie in Norway, and (3) FrostWire's offering of a service that promotes music of new artists.

Courts' failure to appreciate P2P and BitTorrent threatens to stifle the development of new business models that attempt to free participants from the shackles of traditional distribution methods. Independent artists would find it much more difficult to break away from mainstream record labels if they lacked an inexpensive method of rapidly and widely distributing their work. Independent filmmakers would no longer be able to reach the masses, instead having to rely on boutique movie theaters or direct DVD mailings.

And of course, we can only see the tip of the P2P innovation iceberg.

http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-under-attack-but-needed-for-innovation-090819/

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Blaming the Editors

Abandoned newspaper racksIt hurts to read Bill Wyman's blunt, sometimes savage piece on Five Key Reasons Why Newspapers Are Failing, but the veteran journalist says some things that need to be said. Unlike recent analyses that have mainly focused on the industry's business challenges, Wyman aims his guns squarely at the editors and reporters whom he believes fostered a culture of risk-aversion and self-absorption even as the need for change grew urgent. Although the piece is heavy on anecdotes and light on statistical evidence, we found ourselves nodding in agreement frequently as Wyman ticked off a list of editorial missteps.

Perhaps the most damning point in the 9,000-word opus is when the author lists headlines from a "recent" (actually, it was well over a year ago) features section of an unnamed local newspaper (actually, it was the Arizona Republic). They include: "Post office food drive," "Fight Crohn's and colitis," "Mom and Estában," "Healthful salsa non-guilty pleasure," and

"Great gifts for teachers." The point: "There was nothing there of remote interest [to] just about any sentient being. But that's not what the paper's editors were aiming for. The point is that there was nothing there that could possibly offend anyone."

Wyman hammers home this point repeatedly. In his view, advertisers and editors joined in an unholy alliance decades ago in which watchdog journalism was sacrificed to reliable and profitable ad contracts, stable circulation and don't-rock-the-boat blandness. As a consequence, the guiding principle in editorial departments changed from informing the public to offending as few people as possible. Causing a reader to cancel a subscription was the ultimate sin. Better to under-inform than to antagonize.

As a longtime arts critic, Wyman has some stories to back up the premise. He tells of one arts editor who instructed him to avoid negativity in reviews because readers didn't want to "hear bad things about their favorite artists over breakfast." Reviews sections in local papers are almost unfailing positive, or at worst blasé, he notes. Arts sections are filled out with snippets from those stanchions of informational blandness: Press releases.

"Let's be honest. Most newspapers in the U.S. aren't watchdogs…Most papers are instead lapdogs, and the metaphorical lap they sit in isn't even that of powerful interests like their advertisers…The real tyrant the papers served was the tender sensibilities of their readers," he writes.

http://www.newspaperdeathwatch.com/blaming-the-editors.html

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What's Holding Up Holder in Firing Bushevik U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan?

Ask Dr. Cyril Wecht, a Partisan Victim

by Meg White

There is no doubt in my mind that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is a busy guy. His plate overflows with thorny questions over detainees, the Defense of Marriage Act, trafficking, discrimination, corruption and dozens of other issues spanning the capital, country and globe.

That said, there is some wisdom to cleaning one's own house before taking on the neighborhood. In that vein, Holder has no excuse for failing to have requested the resignation of U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Mary Beth Buchanan. Nor, for that matter, having taken this long to respond to an ethics complaint filed by forensic pathologist and Buchanan victim Cyril Wecht.

Wecht is the former coroner and medical examiner of Allegheny County, PA, and a doctor and lawyer who has lent his expert opinion to autopsies ranging from John F. Kennedy to JonBenet Ramsey. An outspoken Democrat in Pennsylvania, he quickly earned the ire of the FBI and local law enforcement by investigating deaths occurring in police custody.

Buchanan's case against Wecht was politically-motivated from the very beginning. The raid that initiated the case was eventually declared unconstitutional. The mistrial's aftermath also reeked of federal folly, with the FBI accused of contacting jurors after the trial to find out how deliberations went, in preparation for a retrial.

Furthermore, around half of the original 84 charges were dropped before the trial even opened. Some of the more fantastic claims -- such as Wecht trading cadavers in exchange for lab space rental -- were never substantiated, with supposed witnesses never having been even interviewed by the prosecution. As we reported earlier this year:

Buchanan's first attempt to prosecute Wecht ended last year with a hung jury, after which the judge on the case was ordered replaced. In May 2009, the new retrial judge threw out the bulk of Buchanan's evidence -- evidence that had been swept up in "a spectacular raid" four years earlier, as the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. To appeal the judge's ruling against her evidence, Buchanan would have needed approval from Obama Administration Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

Clearly upset at the verdict, Buchanan held a press conference in which she insisted Wecht was indeed guilty, and that if she had another chance she'd pursue him all over again.

Countless people, from the jurors on Wecht's case to conservative lawyers and other prominent Pennsylvanians to members of Congress have said the charges were unfounded and blatantly partisan. The former attorney general under President Reagan, Dick Thornburgh (who represented Wecht) told Congress that Wecht "would qualify as an ideal target for a Republican U.S. attorney trying to curry favor with a department which demonstrated that if you play by its rules, you will advance."

Now Thornburgh is advocating for an investigation of Buchanan's actions, having signed on to Wecht's formal complaint to Holder. In fact, Wecht said that some four weeks ago, Thornburgh ran into the current attorney General at a conference and Holder told him the department is following through on it.

Wecht told me in a phone interview Wednesday that he has no idea what the hold-up is, since most everything he's accused B

http://blog.buzzflash.com/analysis/885

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The Landmark Forum: 42 Hours, $500, 65 Breakdowns

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My lost weekend with the trademark happy, bathroom-break hating, slightly spooky inheritors of est.

AFTER NEARLY 40 HOURS inside the basement of Landmark Education's world headquarters, I have not Transformed. Nor have I "popped" like microwave popcorn, as the Forum Leader striding back and forth at the front of the windowless gray room has promised. In fact, by the time he starts yelling and stabbing the board with a piece of chalk around hour 36, it's become clear that I'll be the hard kernel left at the bottom of this three-and-a-half-day Landmark Forum. I have, however, Invented the Possibility of a Future in which I get a big, fat raise, a Future I'll Choose to Powerfully Enroll my bosses in, now that I am open to Miracles Around Money.

My reluctance to achieve Breakthrough Results is clearly not shared by many of my fellow Forum attendees. Even on day one, most seem positively elated to have plunked down 500 bucks for a more efficient, passionate, powerful life. "Hey, it's cheaper than therapy," a therapist-turned-real estate agent tells me. He ponders how to persuade one of his employees to pony up for the Forum. She's going through a rough patch, he explains—the recession, her marriage.

Not that being broke or brokenhearted would make her a minority in this room; several attendees talk about being between jobs, and one woman says she's on welfare. In the scribbled shorthand of my furtive notes, PW stands for "incidents of public weeping." I lose track after the PW count hits 65.

Landmark Education, a for-profit "employee-owned" private company, took in $89 million last year offering leadership and development seminars (and cruises, and dating services, and courses for kids and teens). It claims that more than 1 million seekers have sat through its basic training, which is offered in seven languages in 20 countries. Its consulting firm, the Vanto Group, has coached employees from Apple, ExxonMobil, JPMorgan Chase, and the Pentagon.

Though it's hardly a secret, Landmark does not advertise that it is the buttoned-down reincarnation of the ultimate '70s self-actualization philosophy, est. Erhard Seminars Training was founded by Werner Erhard, a former used car salesman who'd changed his name from Jack Rosenberg, moved to Northern California, and dabbled in Dale Carnegie, Zen, and Scientology before seizing upon the idea that you, and only you, are responsible for your own happiness or unhappiness, success or failure. Est's marathon Transformation sessions were legendary for their confrontational tactics (Erhard calling his students "assholes"), inscrutable platitudes ("What is, is, and what ain't, ain't"), and the pressure put on participants to bring in new recruits for the next cycle of seminars.

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2009/07/landmark-42-hours-500-65-breakdowns

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Best anti-car texting ad ever

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Priority Test: Health Care or Prisons?

At a time when we Americans may abandon health care reform because it supposedly is "too expensive," how is it that we can afford to imprison people like Curtis Wilkerson?

 
Mr. Wilkerson is serving a life sentence in California — for stealing a $2.50 pair of socks. As The Economist noted recently, he already had two offenses on his record (both for abetting robbery at age 19), and so the "three strikes" law resulted in a life sentence.

This is unjust, of course. But considering that California spends almost $49,000 annually per prison inmate, it's also an extraordinary waste of money.

Astonishingly, many politicians seem to think that we should lead the world in prisons, not in health care or education. The United States is anomalous among industrialized countries in the high proportion of people we incarcerate; likewise, we stand out in the high proportion of people who have no medical care — and partly as a result, our health care outcomes such as life expectancy and infant mortality are unusually poor.

It's time for a fundamental re-evaluation of the criminal justice system, as legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Webb has called for, so that we're no longer squandering money that would be far better spent on education or health. Consider a few facts:

¶The United States incarcerates people at nearly five times the world average. Of those sentenced to state prisons, 82 percent were convicted of nonviolent crimes, according to one study.

¶California spends $216,000 annually on each inmate in the juvenile justice system. In contrast, it spends only $8,000 on each child attending the troubled Oakland public school system, according to the Urban Strategies Council.

¶For most of American history, we had incarceration rates similar to those in other countries. Then with the "war on drugs" and the focus on law and order in the 1970s, incarceration rates soared.

¶One in 10 black men ages 25 to 29 were imprisoned last year, partly because possession of crack cocaine (disproportionately used in black communities) draws sentences equivalent to having 100 times as much powder cocaine. Black men in the United States have a 32 percent chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives, according to the Sentencing Project.

Look, there's no doubt that many people in prison are cold-blooded monsters who deserve to be there. But over all, in a time of limited resources, we're overinvesting in prisons and under investing in schools.

Indeed, education spending may reduce the need for incarceration. The evidence on this isn't conclusive, but it's noteworthy that graduates of the Perry Preschool program in Michigan, an intensive effort for disadvantaged children in the 1960s, were some 40 percent less likely to be arrested than those in a control group.

Above all, it's time for a rethink of our drug policy. The point is not to surrender to narcotics, but to learn from our approach to both tobacco and alcohol. Over time, we have developed public health strategies that have been quite successful in reducing the harm from smoking and drinking.

If we want to try a public health approach to drugs, we could learn from Portugal. In 2001, it decriminalized the possession of all drugs for personal use. Ordinary drug users can still be required to participate in a treatment program, but they are no longer dispatched to jail.

"Decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal," notes a report this year from the Cato Institute. It notes that drug use appears to be lower in Portugal than in most other European countries, and that Portuguese public opinion is strongly behind this approach.

A new United Nations study, World Drug Report 2009, commends the Portuguese experiment and urges countries to continue to pursue traffickers while largely avoiding imprisoning users. Instead, it suggests that users, particularly addicts, should get treatment.

Senator Webb has introduced legislation that would create a national commission to investigate criminal justice issues — for such a commission may be the best way to depoliticize the issue and give feckless politicians the cover they need to institute changes.

"There are only two possibilities here," Mr. Webb said in introducing his bill, noting that America imprisons so many more people than other countries. "Either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States, or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/opinion/20kristof.html?th&emc=th

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Nataline Sarkisyan and private insurance "death panels"

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 title=AP/AR is is business shorthand for "accounts payable / accounts receivable". In theory, as long as AR > AP on the corporate ledger, a company is profitable and satisfies the needs of its stakeholders (business partners, customers, vendors, employees, and stockholders). So, most large companies employ teams of individuals who manage corporate risk. Guidelines and protocols are established to enable these teams to make decisions on when it makes economic sense to spend money, approve projects, and invest in research and development.

It's all about risk management. Keep this in mind as you read further — because you are a risk, not a client — to your healthcare, life, auto, and homeowners insurance providers.

Many Americans were outraged in Dec., 2007 by the case of 17 year old Nataline Sarkisyan. The short story, for those who may need their memories refreshed:

Ms. Sarkysian had leukemia, and was admitted to a California hospital for a bone marrow transplant. As is possible with such procedures, there were complications, and her kidneys and liver failed. Her brother donated a kidney. She was ready for a liver transplant (a relatively routine procedure in this day and age), but even though hers had failed, her family's insurance company would not approve the procedure by claiming it was "experimental". In other words, a bean counter at Cigna made the decision that since they had already shelled out a lot of cash for the bone marrow and kidney transplant, that the cost of a liver transplant and followup care was just too high.

The bean counter at Cigna effectively sentenced Nataline Sarkisyan to death. Even after Cigna reversed course following a public outcry, it was too late. Ms. Sarkisyan passed away the evening that Cigna finally agreed to cover her procedure.

So, what was the value of Nataline's life to the risk managers at Cigna? I did about two minutes worth of research, and found the following:

   

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), estimated charges for liver transplantation are:

   Estimated First-Year Charge: $314,600
   Estimated Annual Follow-up Charge: $21,900

To Cigna, the cost of Nataline's transplant was like buying a Nintendo Wii. When you buy a Wii, it's not so much the initial investment in the game machine, but the ongoing followup costs in purchasing games and other hardware add-ons. The risk managers at Cigna who made the decisions in Nataline's case weren't so much looking at the cost of the initial transplantation procedure, but the annual cost of followup care and medication.

Nataline was 17 years old. The average lifespan of a woman in America is 79.1 years. So, rounding off, for actuarial purposes she had the potential to live another 62 years. In effect, the costs of the transplant and her first year care ($314,000) were chump change to Cigna. Plus, there were already "sunk costs" - business jargon for payouts already made for her prior procedures. So what was the value of Nataline's life to Cigna?

The cost of her followup care for the next (projected) 62 years: $1,302,000.

When I first heard the story of Cigna's denial of coverage for Nataline, two thoughts entered my mind. Why doesn't the hospital just do the damn procedure, then sort out the financial details afterwards? The second thing: where are the screaming hoards that descended upon Terri Schiavo's deathbed in Florida back in March of 2005? Wasn't Nataline's life just as important? Wasn't Cigna (in effect) removing her feeding tube by denying coverage?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/8/11/764866/-Nataline-Sarkisyan-and-private-insurance-death-panels

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Sit tight

Have any Grey Poupon?

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How Much Do Protests Matter? A Freakonomics Quorum

 
By Stephen J. Dubner

By Stephen J. DubnerIran's citizens take to the streets en masse after a disputed election. Gay men in Salt Lake City hold a kissing protest. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church voice their anti-just-about-everything views to military funerals and elsewhere.

Beyond the media attention they inevitably garner, what do protests actually accomplish?

We rounded up a few people who have thought a lot about this topic — Chester Crocker, Bernardine Dohrn, Donna Lieberman, Juan E. Méndez, David S. Meyer, and Howard Zinn — and asked them how much protest matters in this day and age, and why.

Here are their answers.

Howard Zinn is professor emeritus in the political science department at Boston University, and author of the book A People's History of the United States.

"Testing is always a gamble, but one worth taking, because if you don't take the risk, you will be stuck with the status quo and I suppose we all agree: the status quo is extremely undesirable."

Do protests work? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes very soon, sometimes there is a long-term effect. Sometimes you can see a direct connection between the protest and the result, and sometimes it's difficult to trace.

What this means is that you must not desist from protesting because you don't see an immediate result. What immediately looks like a failure may turn out to be a success. Testing is always a gamble, but one worth taking, because if you don't take the risk, you will be stuck with the status quo and I suppose we all agree: the status quo is extremely undesirable.

Some examples:

There was protest when the founding fathers concluded their work in drafting the Constitution in Philadelphia because there was no Bill of Rights. With the protests threatening the successful ratification (the vote was close in major states: New York, Massachusetts, Virginia) the Founders agreed they would add it, and they did in 1791.

The anti-slavery movement had to keep protesting for decades, from the 1830's to the early 1860's, until it had an effect on Lincoln and the Congress, first with the Emancipation Proclamation, then with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution.

The nation-wide strikes in the 1880's resulted in winning the eight-hour work day in many places. The demands of the Populist movement resulted in regulatory legislation in various states and resulted in national reforms years later in the New Deal measures to help farmers.

The sit-down strikes of 1936 to 1937 led to recognition of the C.I.O. unions and contracts and better wages and conditions.

The wave of protests in the early 1930's — by the Unemployed Councils blocking evictions; by the Tenants of organizations winning rent control in the Bronx, for instance, but also other places — led to the New Deal measures that helped the poor.

The various protests against racial segregation, taking various forms, are well known — the Montgomery bus boycott, the sit-ins, the various demonstrations in the South — and all led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and various Supreme Court decisions that effectively ended legal racial segregation in the South.

The protests against the Vietnam War certainly helped Lyndon Johnson come to his conclusion in early 1968 that he would not run for president again, that he would begin negotiating with the North Vietnamese, and that he would not send more troops to Vietnam as General Westmoreland had requested.

The protests of G.I.'s during the Vietnam War — desertions, fragging, public disclosure of massacres — helped build public opinion against the war; and if you study the Pentagon Papers you will see how often the officials in Washington worried about public opinion, and why Nixon promised an end to the war, though it took years.

After the Vietnam-Watergate era, the protests of disabled people certainly led to the Disabled Persons Rights Act.

The feminist movement of the 1960's and 1970s undoubtedly led to affirmative action for women, moving more women into better positions in the economy.

There is much more historical evidence, but I am running out of space and time.

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/do-protests-matter-a-freakonomics-quorum/

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Neo-nazi hate blogger paid by FBI to incite, says attorney

 
082009picture-28.pngHal Turner, the blogger and radio personality, remains jailed pending charges over his recent online rants, which prosecutors claim amounted to an invitation for someone to kill Connecticut lawmakers and Chicago federal appeals court judges. But behind the scenes the reformed white supremacist was holding clandestine meetings with FBI agents who taught him how to spew hate "without crossing the line," according to his lawyer, Michael Orozco.

"Almost everything was at the behest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Orozco said in a 45-minute telephone interview from New Jersey. "Their job was to pick up information on the responses of what he was saying and see where that led them. It was an interesting dynamic on what he was being asked to do."

Lawyer: FBI Paid Right-Wing Blogger Charged With Threats (wired.com, via Oxblood Ruffin)

Los del Dramatica have a lot to say about this. May he serve 420 years in jail.

The Southern Poverty Law Center saw this one coming. Did COINTELPRO ever really end?

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/08/20/right-wing-hate-blog.html

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A celebration at FreedomWorks Headquarters...

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