Bank Of America Protests Begin At Shareholder Meeting
Activists from Occupy Wall Street, the environmental movement and labor unions, along with victims of home foreclosures, have begun massive demonstrations at Bank of America’s shareholder meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday morning.
[ … ]
Inside the Bank of America meeting, disgruntled shareholders [ … ] will force votes on proposals [ … ]
Outside the meeting, protesters promise a boisterous slate of events to draw attention to Bank of America’s relationship with the federal government, the coal industry and its long record of foreclosure abuse. Occupy Atlanta’s Tim Franzen said there are three marches planned, each with its own theme: the bank’s environmental record, the housing crisis and corporate accountability issues. The marches will converge into one big protest.
May 09 2012
May 09 2012
May 09 2012
“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.
Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt
Wednesday is Ladies’ Day
Katrina vanden Heuvel: On Saving Good Journalism
New models will allow investigative journalism to thrive
Last week, we awoke to a headline as sensational as anything the now-defunct News of the World might have printed: “Rupert Murdoch not fit to run a major company.” It was quite the fall for someone whose hope, reportedly, was “to conquer the world.” Murdoch’s protracted tumble from the top has exposed the incestuous relationships between the media, political and financial elite of England, and the corruption that imperils the very institution of British journalism. But here in America, where accountability journalism is also under siege, we would be wise to see the crisis across the pond as a cautionary tale. [..]
If we are to successfully combat the corporatization and gutting of media, we must develop new public funding sources for accountability journalism, and train the next generation of reporters to honestly and boldly seek the truth. This is not a radical proposition; other countries, including those at the top of The Economist’s index of free and democratic states – publicly fund independent journalism. But necessary change will not come until an engaged society demands it.
Friday’s jobs report seemed to grab headlines for one aspect in particular: the labor force participation rate, i.e., the number of people either working or looking for a job, fell to 63.8 percent, the lowest level since 1981. That means more and more people are dropping out-retiring, turning to something else like grad school or just giving up on the prospect of a job altogether. But there was a debate about how much of a bad sign this is. Is it because the recession has made people lose hope of finding gainful employment? Or is it just because baby boomers are hitting prime retirement age and moving to Miami?
It’s likely a combination of factors. But there seems to be a big difference in what’s driving men and women to leave the labor force.
The Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., is the official residence of the commandant of the Marine Corps. It is the home of the Marines who are the ceremonial guard for the president during official U.S. government functions and the security force for the White House and Camp David. The Marine Band, also located at the Barracks, is known as “The President’s Own.” The Barracks is the showplace of the Marine Corps with its Silent Drill Platoon giving weekly military precision performances for the public during the busy summer tourist season.
But the Marine Barracks has its dark and ugly side. It is also the home of officers and enlisted men of the Marine Corps who have been accused of sexually harassing, assaulting and raping female Marine officers and enlisted and civilian women who work there.
Linda McQuaig: Quebec Students Send a Message Against Austerity
No wonder those Quebec student protestors have been spooking the English Canadian establishment. If they get their way, the same ideas could catch on here, leaving the best-laid plans for austerity in tatters.
What seems to particularly gall some English Canadian commentators is the fact that the Quebec students – who reached a tentative deal with the province on the weekend after a three-month strike – have been protesting tuition hikes that would still leave them with the lowest tuition in the country. Why can’t these spoiled brats be grateful, and go back to watching video games and keeping up with the Kardashians like normal, well-adjusted North American youth?
It’s that old problem about Quebec. Somehow people there manage to shake a bit loose from the rigid corporate-imposed mindset that has gripped North America in recent decades, convincing us that we as a society must cut back on things – like university education and old age pensions – that were somehow affordable in days when our society was a lot less rich.
The Quebec students, more attuned to the outside world, have figured out that this self-denial has more to do with dogma than with some new reality allegedly necessitated by the global economy.
Allison Kilkenny: Occupy Our Homes Fights On as Media Ignores Foreclosure Plight
Georgia County Sheriff Evicts Four-Generation Family In Raid Resembling ‘Drug Bust’
One of Occupy Wall Street’s enduring legacies is the Occupy Our Homes movement that successfully managed to protect families from evictions at a time when not even the government of the United States seemed overly concerned with an epidemic of foreclosures. [..]
These kinds of Occupy victories used to receive a fair amount of news coverage, though never at the same level as the more dramatic aspects of the movement, such as violent camp evictions and mass arrests. However, as of late, the work done by Occupy Our Homes has almost entirely dropped off the media radar. [..]
Not only have Occupy’s successfully thwarted evictions gone unreported, but the establishment media has more or less completely lost interest in the ongoing epidemic of foreclosures. Just as Occupy is no longer shiny and new and exciting, so too have the images of families being ousted from their homes of decades grown tiresome and repetitive and, like, totally depressing.
Jessica Valenti: MCA’s Feminist Legacy
The news of Adam Yauch’s death felt like a punch to the stomach. It wasn’t just because I was a fan. (Though it should tell you something about the level of my love for this band that on the day of Yauch’s death I got an e-mail from an ex I had parted ways with ten years ago checking in on me.) It wasn’t just because-like a lot of people who grew up during a certain time in New York City-the Beastie Boys felt like a cultural touchstone.
For a female hip hop fan-for this female hip hop fan, at least-the Beastie Boys meant so much more.
Much has been made of Yauch’s Buddhism and dedication to philanthropy. Pieces have even acknowledged the Beastie Boys’ explicit move towards feminism by noting, in passing, MCA’s famous line from “Sure Shot”:
I want to say a little something that’s long overdue / The disrespect to women has to got to be through / To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect till the end
May 09 2012
Look at Amendment 1 in NC! Obama narrowly won the state in 08, and probably has a narrow edge right now.
Is it worth the risk of losing even (a) few crucial supporters?
Let Obama lose the election on this issue, because Romney would be wonderful for gay rights. That’s totally selling out gay voters.
North Carolina, Uppity Negroes, and Pushy Homosexualists
Posted by Gen. JC Christian, Patriot
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Emancipation sentiment was ascendant in the South after 1783 though Northern inventions like the cotton gin and mills hungry for raw cotton perpetuated the existence of slave labor on Southern plantations. Fearful of slave revolts as the black population grew, and shaken by the Nat Turner massacre of women and children, Southerners erected anti-emancipation laws to control slave populations. The constant agitation of slave revolt by abolitionist fanatics culminating in John Brown’s crime in Virginia, was an effective means to end even voluntary emancipation in the South. Peaceful emancipation initiatives from the North would have had a better effect and avoided war.
All those complaining about last night’s Amendment One results should take a lesson from Brother Thuersam’s historical account. The good people of North Carolina wouldn’t have passed Amendment One if homosexualists wouldn’t go around demanding basic human rights.
ENDA: That’s the Sound of Jim Messina’s Blood Curdling
By: Jane Hamsher, Firedog Lake
Tuesday May 8, 2012 12:32 pm
Unless I miss my guess, “we have heard from at least half a dozen major gay and progressive donors” is code for what used to be known in donor circles as “the Cabinet” or “the Gay 8.” The group has grown over the years, and it includes many of the biggest Democratic Party donors of the past decade. In addition to Jonathan Lewis, it now includes David Bohnett (Geo-Cities), Jon Stryker (Stryker Corp), Tim Gill (Oracle), James Hormel (Hormel), Henry van Amerigen (International Flavors & Fragrances), Linda Ketner (Food Lion), Weston Milliken (Milliken & Co.), Esmond Harmsworth (Daily Mail) and Laura Ricketts (Chicago Cubs).
While most in the group have already maxed out to Obama campaign and the DNC, that’s small potatoes. The Obama campaign has recently been tapping members for multi-million dollar donations to the 527s – but according to Open Secrets, all conspicuously missing from the top 2012 election cycle donors.
The White House is pushing back on the Sargent article and telling journalists that there really are no problems. But if that’s the case, where are the traditional LGBT 527 donors? They should name the ones that already have, or plan to donate.
The decision of LGBT donors to shut off campaign donations over Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order on ENDA has tremendous downstream implications. It could have serious consequences for members of congress who rely not only on LGBT donors themselves, but who will need well-funded GOTV support for 2012 as well.
LGBT donors can check to see whether the names of their representatives appear on the naughty or nice lists when it comes to signing the letter to President Obama, asking him to issue an Executive Order on ENDA.
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
Some have asked: “Why didn’t you give the new city administration time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.
I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: “My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.” They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.
May 09 2012
Greek, French and German voters went to the polls this past weekend and
rejected pretty much told the European leaders they were very unhappy with the austerity measures that were being forced on them to bail out European banks. It took until yesterday for the world markets to react to this new reality with the Dow closing below its inflated 13,000 mark. Germany, the chief cheerleader for austerity, is not happy with France and very displeased with the new Greek leadership that blithely told Germany what to do with its austerity measures:
Alexis Tsipras, whose bloc came second in Sunday’s vote, said Greek voters had “clearly nullified the loan agreement”. [..]
The European Commission and Germany say countries must stick to budget cuts.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday: “What member states have to do is be consistent, implementing the policies that they have agreed.” [..]
Mr Tsipras made his position clear to reporters in a five-point plan:
- Cancelling the bailout terms, notably laws that further cut wages and pensions
- Scrapping laws that abolish workers rights, particularly a law abolishing collective labour agreements due to come into effect on 15 May
- Promoting changes to deepen democracy and social justice
- Investigating Greece’s banking system which received almost 200bn euros of public money
- Setting up an international committee to find out the causes of Greece’s public deficit and putting on hold all debt servicing
It looks increasingly like the Greeks will be abandoning the Euro, it’s just a matter of when:
“Germans are now predominantly of the opinion that they would be better off if Greece left the euro zone,” said Carsten Hefeker, a professor of economics and an expert on the euro at the University of Siegen. “If the country really is continuing on the path they are taking now, it would be hard to justify keeping them in. How do you deal with a country that says we don’t want to keep any of the commitments we have made?” [..]
Perhaps the one card Greece has to play is the danger its exit could pose to other, much larger members like Spain and Italy, with far greater consequences. If Greece were pushed out, Mr. Hefeker said, the bond markets would start betting on the next country to be kicked out. “Then Spain or Italy would be put under pressure, and the danger would be of the whole euro zone collapsing,” he said.
There are few options are open for the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund which is holding most of Greece’s debt and easing the threat to the banks.
First, the so-called “troika” could release just enough funds to keep the government running until the political situation stabilizes;
The terms of the agreement could be renegotiated with the creditors:
Or, lastly, the “troika” could just refuse to give Greece any money, as the IMF did over 10 years ago when Argentina faced similar economic crisis. This actually turned out well for Argentina over a shorter recovery than is predicted for Greece under the current terms.
Perhaps it is past time for Greece to go it on its own and let the Eu continue the blood letting without them.
May 09 2012
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
Click on images to enlarge
May 9 is the 129th day of the year (130th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 236 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1860, James Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, is born in Scotland.
Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM (9 May 1860 – 19 June 1937) was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan. The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland. He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright. There he met the Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired him in writing about a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (included in The ), then to write Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, a “fairy play” about this ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland. This play quickly overshadowed his previous work and although he continued to write successfully, it became his best-known work, credited with popularising the name Wendy, which was very uncommon previously. Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys following the deaths of their parents. Before his death, he gave the rights to the Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which continues to benefit from them.
The classic Peter Pan starring Mary Martin. This is the 1960 version for NBC. Has been very limited in its showing. The DVD is long out of print and expensive to own.
May 09 2012
Shakespeare, so it’s by definition deep. Read carefully, there’s a quiz at the end.
Part, The First…
Citizens: We will be satisfied! Let us be satisfied!
Brutus: Then follow me and give me audience friends. Cassius, go you into the other street and part the numbers. Those that will hear me speak, let ’em stay here. Those that will follow Cassius, go with him. And public reasons shall be rendered of Caesar’s death.
First Citizen: I will hear Brutus speak.
Second Citizen: I will hear Cassius and compare their reasons when severally we hear them rendered.
Third Citizen: The noble Brutus is ascended. Silence!
Brutus: Be patient till the last. Romans, countrymen, and lovers- hear me for my cause and be silent that you may hear.
Believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer- not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead to live all free men?
As Caesar loved me, I weep for him. As he was fortunate, I rejoice at it. As he was valiant, I honour him but, as he was ambitious, I slew him.
There is tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honour for his valour, and death for his ambition. Who is here so base that would be a bondman? If any, speak- for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any, speak- for him have I offended. Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak- for him have I offended.
I pause for a reply.
All: None, Brutus, none.
Brutus: Then none have I offended. I have done no more to Caesar than you shall do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy, nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.
Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying; a place in the commonwealth, as which of you shall not?
With this I depart, that as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself when it shall please my country to need my death.
All: Live, Brutus! Live, live!
First Citizen: Bring him with triumph home unto his house.
Second Citizen: Give him a statue with his ancestors.
Third Citizen: Let him be Caesar.
Fourth Citizen: Caesar’s better parts shall be crown’d in Brutus!
First Citizen: We’ll bring him to his house with shouts and clamours.
Brutus: My countrymen…
Second Citizen: Peace, silence! Brutus speaks.
First Citizen: Peace, ho!
Brutus: Good countrymen, let me depart alone.
And, for my sake, stay here with Antony. Do grace to Caesar’s corpse, and grace his speech tending to Caesar’s glories which Mark Antony by our permission is allow’d to make.
I do entreat you, not a man depart save I alone ’til Antony have spoke.
May 09 2012
It will be a Democratic Congress and President that will destroy the social safety. Ryan Grimm at Huffington Post reports that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supports the Simpson-Bowles plan:
During a recent press conference, and again during an interview with Charlie Rose, the California Congresswoman said that she would support what’s known as the Simpson-Bowles plan, a budget proposal that was created by the co-chairs of a fiscal commission set up by President Obama (dubbed the “Catfood Commission” by progressives). The plan was rejected by members of the commission, failing to win the necessary votes to move to a vote in Congress. Yet the co-chairs — former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Morgan Stanley director Erskin Bowles, a Democrat — have worked recently to revive it, and the political class speaks of it as if it passed and is an official recommendation of the commission.
At the end of March, a version of the Simpson-Bowles plan was given a vote on the House floor. It was annihilated, 382-38, with Pelosi and most Democrats voting against it.
But Pelosi, the day after the vote, said that she could still support the plan if it stuck more closely to the original version put out by Simpson and Bowles. “I felt fully ready to vote for that myself, thought it was not even a controversial thing … When we had our briefing with our caucus members, people felt pretty ready to vote for it. Until we saw it in print,” she said. “It was more a caricature of Simpson Bowles, and that’s why it didn’t pass. If it were actually Simpson-Bowles, I would have voted for it.”
Yet when the Simpson-Bowles plan had been originally unveiled, Pelosi called it “simply unacceptable.”
In early April, Pelosi was asked about her initial opposition. “My problem with it was what it did as far as Social Security is concerned. Apart from that we said, there’s a lot to work with,” she told Charlie Rose. “It was a good framework in terms of revenue and in terms of cuts, in terms of defense spending and the rest. It was very bold.”
The Simpson-Bowles plan is a mix of tax increases and spending cuts that trims four trillion dollars off the deficit in ten years. Its cuts to social spending and entitlement programs made it “simply unacceptable” to the Democrats’ liberal base almost as soon as it was announced. Pelosi’s rhetorical retreat from that hard-line position has progressives worried they’ll have nobody left to defend the social safety net, even Medicare and Social Security.
Progressives need to be really worried, as Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog tells us the “push is on” to “compromise” on Social Security:
All you need to know? Pete Peterson lives for one reason only – to kill off Social Security. Every crazed billionaire has a project. This is his. (No exaggeration; check the link. It’s an excellent William Greider piece.)
From the “Summit” invite (but click fast; pages that name these names disappear fast at the “Summit” website). The underscoring below is mine:
PETERSON FOUNDATION TO CONVENE 3RD ANNUAL FISCAL SUMMIT IN WASHINGTON ON MAY 15
Participants to include President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Senator Rob Portman, Congressman Paul Ryan, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Co-Chair Alan Simpson
NEW YORK (May 08, 2012) – Against the backdrop of the upcoming elections, and with a series of key fiscal deadlines approaching at the end of the year, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2012 Fiscal Summit: America’s Case for Action will feature the nation’s leading experts and elected officials in discussions about the fiscal, economic, and political crossroads facing the country. …
This year’s summit will explore opportunities for compromise and establish the urgent need for action on these challenges, as well as highlight the voices of engaged citizens from across the country. The 2012 Fiscal Summit will work to generate the momentum necessary to motivate lawmakers to take action essential to preserving the American Dream.
Two videos that Gaius featured are significant because as he points out President Barack Obama is on the same page Bill Clinton, Paul Ryan and Pete Peterson.
5-25-2011 Leaked cell phone footage of Bill Clinton cozying up to Paul Ryan. The day after the stunning upset in the special congressional election in upstate New York, Rep. Paul Ryan is a man under fire.
Barack Obama’s speech on April 5, 2006 at the launch of The Brookings Institute’s Hamilton Project where Obama says that “most of us are strong free traders” and praises the goals of the Hamilton Project.
This is the “real grand bargain”
The real Grand Bargain isn’t between the Dems and Republicans. It’s between both of them and
you. They’re offering to sell out your children’s Social Security, in exchange for letting you keep your own.
Send Nancy a message. Sign the petition and tell her: Draw a line in the sand on cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits