Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's not easy being green

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Behind The Arizona Immigration Law: GOP Game to Swipe the November Election

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Captives of Sheriff Joe's prison, Maricopa County, Arizona. (Photos: Greg Palast)

Our investigation in Arizona discovered the real intent of the show-me-your-papers law.

Phoenix - Don't be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.

I don't buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.

What's new here is not the politicians' fear of a xenophobic "Teabag" uprising.

What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote - and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.

In 2008, working for "Rolling Stone" with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters . . . directed by one Jan Brewer.

Brewer, then secretary of state, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer's command, no fewer than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanic, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.

That statistic caught my attention. Voting or registering to vote if you're not a citizen is a felony, a big-time jail-time crime. And arresting such criminal voters is easy: After all, they give their names and addresses.

So I asked Brewer's office, had she busted a single one of these thousands of allegedly illegal voters? Did she turn over even one name to the feds for prosecution?

No, not one.

Which raises the question: Were these disenfranchised voters the criminal, non-citizens that Brewer tagged them to be, or just not-quite-white voters given the Jose Crow treatment, entrapped in document-chase trickery?

http://www.truthout.org/behind-the-arizona-immigration-law-gop-game-to-swipe-the-november-election58877

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The Real War Reporters

A good friend noted recently how little we hear of Iraq and Afghanistan in the news anymore, and further noted the deafening silence regarding those ongoing wars from what he described as "dishwater left-leaning political activists" whose disengagement from the issue, according to him, makes them full of something I can't repeat in print. That bogus disengagement, he asserts, stems from the fact that Obama is in office now, so everything must be OK. It isn't, of course, but it is hard to miss the fact that we haven't heard much about the wars, or the protesters, since a couple of Januarys ago.

It's hard to argue against his point, and worse, the sense of being made of dishwater myself is difficult to avoid. I've written about the deadly messes in Iraq and Afghanistan several times in the last year or so, but it is nothing compared to the focus I had on those two conflicts going back to 2002. Back then, and until 2009, I wrote three books on those two wars, discussed them in detail in this space on a weekly basis, joined political campaigns based solely on the candidate's stance on those conflicts, and went to dozens of public protests all over the country.

Why did my coverage of these conflicts get dialed back? There are several reasons, most of which sound like excuses. Obama's new administration brought forth a torrent of issues that also deserved coverage - the Sotomayor nomination, the retirement of Justice Stevens, the rescue of Detroit's auto industry, health care reform, and the eruption of right-wing insanity both in Congress and out in the streets, to name only a few - but in the end, my own attention has most definitely wandered from two wars that deserve much more attention.

Other reporters, like Truthout's own Dahr Jamail have certainly not stepped back from covering these conflicts. Jamail, who went to Iraq to see and report what was happening from the ground, has consistently reminded us that the mayhem and bloodshed continue unabated. In an article from last month, he noted:

It is highly unlikely that the US government will allow a truly sovereign Iraq, unfettered by US troops either within its borders or monitoring it from abroad, anytime soon. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the Iraqi and US governments indicate an ongoing US presence past both the August 2010 deadline to remove all combat troops, and the 2011 deadline to remove the remaining troops.

According to all variations of the SOFA the US uses to provide a legal mandate for its nearly 1,000 bases across the planet, technically, no US base in any foreign country is "permanent." Thus, the US bases in Japan, South Korea and Germany that have existed for decades are not "permanent." Technically. Most analysts agree that the US plans to maintain at least five "enduring" bases in Iraq.

You don't see stuff like that in "mainstream" news reporting, but it is a fact nonetheless.

http://www.truthout.org/the-real-war-reporters58914

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Iran a Threat? I Mean, Really?

by Ray McGovern

With all the current hype about the "threat" from Iran, it is time to review the record--and especially the significant bits and pieces that find neither ink nor air in our Israel-friendly, Fawning Corporate Media (FCM).

First, on the chance you missed it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said publicly that Iran "doesn't directly threaten the United States." Her momentary lapse came while answering a question at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 14.

Fortunately for her, most of her FCM fellow travelers must have been either jet-lagged or sunning themselves poolside when she made her unusual admission. And those who were present did Clinton the favor of disappearing her gaffe and ignoring its significance. (All one happy traveling family, you know.)

But she said it. It's on the State Department Web site. Those who had been poolside could have read the text after showering. They might have recognized a real story there. Granted, the substance was so off-message that it would probably not have been welcomed by editors back home.

In a rambling comment, Clinton had charged (incorrectly) that, despite President Barack Obama's reaching out to the Iranian leaders, he had elicited no sign they were willing to engage:

"Part of the goal -- not the only goal, but part of the goal -- that we were pursuing was to try to influence the Iranian decision regarding whether or not to pursue a nuclear weapon. And, as I said in my speech, you know, the evidence is accumulating that that [pursuing a nuclear weapon] is exactly what they are trying to do, which is deeply concerning, because it doesn't directly threaten the United States, but it directly threatens a lot of our friends, allies, and partners here in this region and beyond." (Emphasis added)

Qatar Afraid? Not So Much

The moderator turned to Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Al-Thani and invited him to give his perspective on "the danger that the Secretary just alluded to"if Iran gets the bomb."

Al-Thani pointed to Iran's "official answer" that it is not seeking to have a nuclear bomb; instead, the Iranians "explain to us that their intention is to use these facilities for their peaceful reactors for electricity and medical use"

"We have good relations with Iran," he added. "And we have continuous dialogue with the Iranians." The prime minister added, "the best thing for this problem is a direct dialogue between the United States and Iran," and "dialogue through messenger is not good."

Al-Thani stressed that, "For a small country, stability and peace are very important," and intimated -- diplomatically but clearly -- that he was at least as afraid of what Israel and the U.S. might do, as what Iran might do.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Iran-a-Threat-I-Mean-Rea-by-Ray-McGovern-100427-55.html

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Will the iPhone Saga Bankrupt Gawker Media?

By Damien Hoffman

What's the secret? Gizmodo told the world they paid $5,000 to someone who found the phone after Apple (AAPL) engineer Gary Powell got so blitzed he left the priceless device at bar Gourmet Haus Staudt — just 20 miles from Apple's Infinite Loop headquarters. Of course, Powell is probably weaving a different story to keep his job. But does that necessitate the police acting as private security for Apple?

The Journalist's Shield

Worse, the police probably violated the California Journalist Shield Law — California Penal Code 1524(g) — which protects journalists from these exact types of seizures. Our friends at Business Insider obtained the letter Gawker COO Gaby Darbyshire wrote to Detective Broad describing the law and requesting that the San Mateo police return the confiscated property:

So, is Chen covered? Although we can't be 100% sure, it seems so. A consortium of lawyers called The Citizen Media Law project asserts:

[I]n California there is relatively clear precedent that online journalists like Chen are covered by the shield law. In O'Grady v. Superior Court, 139 Cal. App.4th 1423 (Cal. Ct. App. 2006), a California appeals court held that Apple could not get the identities of confidential sources from the publishers of "O'Grady's Power Page" and "Apple Insider," two sites devoted to covering stories about Apple products. While the court acknowledged that not all bloggers would qualify under the shield law, it explained that characteristics like frequency of publication, permanency of web address, and number of visitors per month made the two sites in question akin to a newspaper or "other periodical publication." Certainly, Gizmodo outstrips the two sites in O'Grady when it comes to these same characteristics.

On its face, it appears Chen should be protected under the Journalist Shield Law. But all that means is Chen will get all his confiscated crap back.

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/breaking-news/will-the-iphone-saga-bankrupt-gawker-media/?p=10198/

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The Fascist Moses

Daily Kos

By David Glenn Cox

 Let's kick Richard Nixon, it's great fun; we all did it at parties back in the 1970s. But that was the previous generation and this generation has missed out on the fun, like Woodstock. Unbeknownst to this current generation there would have been hundreds of fistfights and stabbings at Woodstock had it not been for three little words, "Fuck Richard Nixon!"

All one had to do was simply step between the adversaries and say, "Come on now, guys, hey, look. Fuck Richard Nixon!" Instantly the opponents would separate and begin to smile and agree, "Yeah, you're right, man. Fuck Richard Nixon!" The potential warriors would depart as buddies and would exchange bong hits until their eyeballs melted in their sockets and they would forget all about their conflicts.

That was in the twilight's last gleaming of American democracy, when a President could still be removed from office for malfeasance. Let me rephrase that, Richard Nixon could be removed from office for malfeasance; it's doubtful whether anyone else could be. I know all about George W. Bush and Bush was a drunken, coke-snorting, mean-spirited, frat boy. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the truest definition of a sociopath, but Nixon was just plain crazy.

Nixon had paranoid delusions that people were out to get him and so he responded with bile, tirades, enemy lists and dirty tricks. Because of his paranoid delusions he alienated everyone around him until even members of his own party would walk all the way across the street just to piss on Richard Nixon. Eventually these self-fulfilling, paranoid delusions gave to Richard Nixon a kind of an Eeyore quality.

Nixon's most trusted advisor was Henry Kissinger and Nixon only trusted him while he was in the room. Kissinger's first government job was as a translator for the head of the CIA, Allen Dulles. Kissinger was his protegee and it was Dulles who helped to plan the Bay of Pigs invasion and Dulles who told Kennedy that he needed to launch an unprovoked, full-scale military attack on Cuba. Kennedy fired Dulles and his Deputy Director Charles Cabell, whose brother Earl Cabell changed the presidential motorcade route in Dallas.

Nice folks. It was Dulles who proposed a plan to fake an aircraft hijacking and to blame it on Cuba.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/4/26/860856/-The-Fascist-Moses

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It’s Official: The Tea Party is Racist

The University of Washington has just published a multi-state study that offers convincing evidence that members of the Tea Party are far more likely to be racist than average Americans. Their results agree with a recent NY Times / CBS News survey that found similar racist attitudes. But Tea Partiers know they should not use overtly racist language, "so they use coded language". Like about "taking our country back" … but from whom?

If you doubt this, here's a simple exercise you can do. Imagine the Tea Party doing and saying the same things it does now, but its members are black (or Arabic, or Latino), and the president is white.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired.

Because Tea Partiers did that.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters — the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn't like were enforced by the government.

White gun enthusiasts and Tea Partiers did that.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by "hating black people," or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn't want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—"living fossils" as he called them—"so we will never forget what these people stood for."

Yup, Rush Limbaugh said all that.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been "destroying" the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to "hang 'em high." And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for "speaking common sense" and likened his hate talk to "American values?"

Michael Savage said those things, and Texas Congressman John Culberson praised him for it.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: "He's a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun."

Rocker Ted Nugent said that about President Obama.

http://politicalirony.com/2010/04/27/the-tea-party-is-racist/

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The Importance of Getting Wall Street Out of Washington, and Washington Out of Wall Street

by Robert Reich

Washington's relationship with Wall Street is growing more schizophrenic by the day. On the one hand, Congress is trying to show how tough it can be on the financial sector by enacting a law ostensibly designed to prevent another near-meltdown and taxpayer-supported bail-out. As the mid-term election looms, a staggering number of Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, and most Americans blame Wall Street (whose top bankers are raking in almost as much money as they did before the crisis). The lawsuit launched by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Goldman Sachs for alleged fraud only confirms the view held by many that the economic game is rigged.

On the other hand, both parties are going to Wall Street seeking campaign donations to fund critically important television advertising in the months ahead. After all, the Street is where the money is, and TV ads demand huge amounts of it. In recent years, the financial industry has become the second-biggest source of campaign contributions in America – just behind the healthcare industry.

Even as Congress debates legislation to tame it, Wall Street is conducting a bidding war between the parties for its continued beneficence. More than 60 per cent of the $34m given by the financial industry to fund the 2010 elections has so far gone to Democrats, but since January the Street has switched its allegiance to the Republican camp. In the first quarter of this year, Citigroup, Goldman, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley donated twice as much to Republicans as to Democrats.

It is hard to bite the hands that feed you, especially when you are competing for food.

http://robertreich.org/post/548818745/the-importance-of-getting-wall-street-out-of

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I’ll Tell You When Chinese Bubble Is About to Burst

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Simple plea

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