Voting Rights Act of 1965 in danger; Republicans block students, minorities, elderly from polls – Daily Headlines 28 December 2011

December 28th, 2011

Voting Rights Act of 1965 in danger
Republicans block students from polls
Republicans block minorities from polls
Republicans block elderly from polls
Republicans block poor from polls

This video is on youtube Here

Is this what you got sprayed for?

The New York Times was pablum yesterday and today, but one editorial stands out, “Keeping Students From the Polls”

Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote.

Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election. Some have openly acknowledged doing so because students tend to be liberal.

Seven states have already passed strict laws requiring a government-issued ID (like a driver’s license or a passport) to vote, which many students don’t have, and 27 others are considering such measures. Many of those laws have been interpreted as prohibiting out-of-state driver’s licenses from being used for voting.

It’s all part of a widespread Republican effort to restrict the voting rights of demographic groups that tend to vote Democratic. Blacks, Hispanics, the poor and the young, who are more likely to support President Obama, are disproportionately represented in the 21 million people without government IDs. On Friday, the Justice Department, finally taking action against these abuses, blocked the new voter ID law in South Carolina.

Republicans usually don’t want to acknowledge that their purpose is to turn away voters, especially when race is involved, so they invented an explanation, claiming that stricter ID laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud. In fact, there is almost no voter fraud in America to prevent.

William O’Brien, the speaker of the New Hampshire State House, told a Tea Party group earlier this year that students are “foolish” and tend to “vote their feelings” because they lack life experience. “Voting as a liberal,” he said, ‘that’s what kids do.”

Wisconsin once made it easy for students to vote, making it one of the leading states in turnout of younger voters in 2004 and 2008. When Republicans swept into power there last year, they undid all of that, imposing requirements that invalidated the use of virtually all college ID cards in voter registration. Colleges are scrambling to change their cards to add signatures and expiration dates, but it’s not clear whether the state will let them.

Imposing these restrictions to win an election will embitter a generation of students

Is this what you got sprayed for?

Paul Krugman speaks out; EPA passes mercury regulations; Republicans attack environment Daily Headlines 26 December 2012

December 26th, 2011

Paul Krugman speaks out
EPA passes mercury regulations
Republicans attack environment
Vote progressive 2012
Occupy right winger campaigns

This video is on youtube Here

Hello this is Miguel Colombo bringing you the Daily Headline from

Even though the New York Times had Fox News on the front page this morning, they also had a column by Paul Krugman titled Springtime for Toxics.

Here’s what I wanted for Christmas: something that would make us both healthier and richer. And since I was just making a wish, why not ask that Americans get smarter, too?

Surprise: I got my wish, in the form of new Environmental Protection Agency standards on mercury and air toxics for power plants. These rules are long overdue: we were supposed to start regulating mercury more than 20 years ago. But the rules are finally here, and will deliver huge benefits at only modest cost.

So, naturally, Republicans are furious. But before I get to the politics, let’s talk about what a good thing the E.P.A. just did.

As far as I can tell, even opponents of environmental regulation admit that mercury is nasty stuff. It’s a potent neurotoxicant: the expression ‘mad as a hatter’ emerged in the 19th century because hat makers of the time treated fur with mercury compounds, and often suffered nerve and mental damage as a result.

Hat makers no longer use mercury (and who wears hats these days?), but a lot of mercury gets into the atmosphere from old coal-burning power plants that lack modern pollution controls. From there it gets into the water, where microbes turn it into methylmercury, which builds up in fish. And what happens then? The E.P.A. explains: ‘Methylmercury exposure is a particular concern for women of childbearing age, unborn babies and young children, because studies have linked high levels of methylmercury to damage to the developing nervous system, which can impair children’s ability to think and learn.’

That sort of sounds like something we should regulate, doesn’t it?

The new rules would also have the effect of reducing fine particle pollution, which is a known source of many health problems, from asthma to heart attacks. In fact, the benefits of reduced fine particle pollution account for most of the quantifiable gains from the new rules. The key word here is ‘quantifiable’: E.P.A.’s cost-benefit analysis only considers one benefit of mercury regulation, the reduced loss in future wages for children whose I.Q.’s are damaged by eating fish caught by freshwater anglers. There are without doubt many other benefits to cutting mercury emissions, but at this point the agency doesn’t know how to put a dollar figure on those benefits.

Even so, the payoff to the new rules is huge: up to $90 billion a year in benefits compared with around $10 billion a year of costs in the form of slightly higher electricity prices. This is, as David Roberts of Grist says, a very big deal.

And it’s a deal Republicans very much want to kill.

With everything else that has been going on in U.S. politics recently, the G.O.P.’s radical anti-environmental turn hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. But something remarkable has happened on this front. Only a few years ago, it seemed possible to be both a Republican in good standing and a serious environmentalist; during the 2008 campaign John McCain warned of the dangers of global warming and proposed a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. Today, however, the party line is that we must not only avoid any new environmental regulations but roll back the protection we already have.

And I’m not exaggerating: during the fight over the debt ceiling, Republicans tried to attach riders that, as Time magazine put it, would essentially have blocked the E.P.A. and the Interior Department from doing their jobs.

Oh, by the way, you may have heard reports to the effect that Jon Huntsman is different. And he did indeed once say: ‘Conservation is conservative. I’m not ashamed to be a conservationist.’ Never mind: he, too, has been assimilated by the anti-environmental Borg, denouncing the E.P.A.’s ‘regulatory reign of terror,’ and predicting that the new rules will cause blackouts by next summer, which would be a neat trick considering that the rules won’t even have taken effect yet.

More generally, whenever you hear dire predictions about the effects of pollution regulation, you should know that special interests always make such predictions, and are always wrong. For example, power companies claimed that rules on acid rain would disrupt electricity supply and lead to soaring rates; none of that happened, and the acid rain program has become a shining example of how environmentalism and economic growth can go hand in hand.

But again, never mind: mindless opposition to ‘job killing’ regulations is now part of what it means to be a Republican. And I have to admit that this puts something of a damper on my mood: the E.P.A. has just done a very good thing, but if a Republican — any Republican — wins next year’s election, he or she will surely try to undo this good work.

Still, for now at least, those who care about the health of their fellow citizens, and especially of the nation’s children, have something to celebrate.

Whatever you do, go out and vote for a progressive-minded representative in the 2012 elections.

Moscow protests underway; Justice department blocks racist voting law; Voting rights under attack in eight states – Daily Headlines 24 December 2011

December 24th, 2011

Moscow protests underway
Justice department blocks racist voting law
Voting rights under attack in eight states

This video is on youtube Here

The Moscow protest is underway, and here are a few early photos. Tens of thousands have gathered in Moscow to protest the Russian government of Vladimir Putin and its policies.

Meanwhile here at home, a critically important story is getting buried. It’s been bumped from the front page online, but the New York Times print edition had a front page article describing the U.S. Justice department blocking a new South Carolina law that would require voters to present photo identification, a clear attempt to limit poor, minority and underprivileged voters from casting their votes in the general election next year.

We have fought racial inequality for 150 years in this country, and the battle is not yet over — from immigration laws in Alabama and Arizona targeting Latinos, to these discriminatory voting laws in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

This is a big deal. In 1948 President Harry Truman ordered the military to end discrimination and segregation. In 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the National Guard to enforce school integration laws in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1965 president Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act,

Up to 1957, only 20% of African Americans had registered to vote. In the South plain intimidation and official apathy and obstacles meant that very few African Americans registered their vote. The 1957 Civil Rights Bill aimed to ensure that all African Americans could exercise their right to vote.

On November 7, 2000, millions of Florida voters arrived at their designated polling places to cast their votes. Countless voters were denied the opportunity to vote because their names did not appear on the lists of registered voters. Poll workers refused to permit persons to vote whose names did not appear on the rolls at their precinct. Numerous Floridians were turned away from the polls on Election Day without being allowed to vote and with no opportunity to appeal the poll workers’ refusal.

Under orders from Florida Governor Jeb Bush, George W Bush’s brother, state troopers near polling sites delayed people for hours while searching their cars. Uncounted ballot boxes went missing or were found in unexplained places or were never collected from certain African-American precincts. During the recount, GOP agitators shipped in from Washington D.C. by the Republican national leadership stormed the Dale County Canvassing Board and created a climate of intimidation that caused the board to abandon its recount and accept the dubious pro-Bush tally.

Then a five-to-four conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court handed Florida’s electoral votes and the presidency to Bush, a stolen election in which the conservative activists on the Supreme Court played a key role.

The racists are still at it, make no mistake about it. We need to support Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration in this crucial effort.

Topless women FEMEN protesters in Ukraine and Russia; Tinanenmen Square – Daily Headlines 22 December 2011

December 22nd, 2011

Topless women FEMEN protesters in Ukraine and Russia
Tianenmen Square protester stops tanks with his body
Oakland port shutdown
Los Angeles protesters evicted
Occupy Wall Street disrupts business in New York
Tens of thousands of protesters in Madrid
Zuccotti park campers evicted
Worldwide uprising map

This video is on youtube Here

Today, we review some world protest movements.

The FEMEN topless women protesters from Ukraine have demonstrated in Kiev and Moscow and across Europe.

And of course everybody remembers this courageous guy in Tinanmen Square in 1989, who stopped a line of tanks.

The Oakland port shutdown on December 12 brought the message home, and showed that workers and protesters are together. Several Oakland docks were shut down for the day.

Los Angeles protesters were evicted from their encampment across from city hall after 8 weeks.

Demonstrators gathered outside the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.

Occupy Wall Street disrupted business in New York for several weeks.

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Espana.

Zucotti Park campers were finally forcibly evicted on orders from Mayor Bloomberg.

It’s a worldwide uprising, make no mistake about it.

Topless women protestors in Europe; FEMEN; Bradley Manning; Iowa Caucus of the 99% – Daily Headlines 21 December 2011

December 21st, 2011

FEMEN topless women protests
FEMEN in Ukraine, Moscow, Paris, Zurich, Vatican
Russia protests largest in post-Soviet era
Protests at trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning
Caucus of the 99% chasing candidates in Iowa

This video is on youtube Here

Thanks to for great photos of the Ukraine’s Femen group of topless female protesters who have been baring their breasts in public in Ukraine, Belarus, Moscow, Paris, The Vatican, and other places in Europe.

In Kiev, Ukraine, on December 16 police and firemen removed a woman from a fence in front of the Ministers building, during a protest against the lack of women in Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s government.

In Moscow on December 9, Femen protested outside the Christ the Saviour cathedral. The post-election protests in Moscow drew thousands and continued for several days in the biggest ever challenge to Putin, reflecting a growing public frustration with his rule that may complicate his bid to reclaim the presidency in next March’s vote. Protesters demanded that Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that he stop his political activities. Putin, who became premier in 2008 after serving two Kremlin terms, filed this week his application to stand in the March elections.

On December 2, Femen protesters held placards reading ‘EURO-2012 without prostitution’, ‘UEFA attacked our gates’ and others during a protest in front of the Olimpisky Stadium in Kiev.

On November 10, Ukraine’s Femen protesters hold banners reading ‘woman is not a commodity’ as they stage a topless protest against prostitution and woman as a commodity in an official prostitution street in Zurich.

On November 6, activists from the Ukrainian women’s movement Femen were arrested by policemen in front of St Peter’s basilica after holding placards asking for ‘Freedom for women’ at St Peter’s square at The Vatican following Pope Benedict XVI’s Angelus prayer .

On October 31, Femen activists dressed as housemaids staged a topless protest against French former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in front of his residence in Paris

On December 16, at Fort Meade, MD, Pfc. Bradley Manning faced court-martial in the WikiLeaks classified leaks case. Protesters supporting Manning marched outside the gates.

On December 11, Russian nationalists rallied at Bolotnaya Square in Moscow near the Kremlin. Protesters are demanding a bigger say for ethnic Russians in the country’s politics. The previous day, December 10, tens of thousands of people held the largest anti-government protests that post-Soviet Russia has ever seen to criticize electoral fraud and demand an end to Vladimir Putin’s rule. Russian nationalists shouted holding old Russian imperial flags during their rally. Protesters held a red banner and shouted anti-Putin slogans. Russians angered by fraudulent parliamentary elections and the country’s ruling party took part in protests Saturday in cities from the freezing Pacific Coast to the southwest, eight time zones away.

In Des Moines, IA, Caucus of the 99% member were arrested. In the final days of the campaign the group plans to “chase the candidates and their Wall Street cronies around the state of Iowa”.

Melbourne police brutalize protestors; Police and firefighters lose pensions; Obama Iowa headquarters occupied – Daily Headlines 20 December 2011

December 20th, 2011

Australia video
Melbourne police brutalize protestors
Fox News shows protesters
Police and firefighters lose pensions
Egypt protests
Brooklyn foreclosure
NY Times sells regional papers
Obama Iowa headquarters occupied
New Jersey police taser training

This video is on youtube Here

Great video footage from the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Australia

Meanwhile Fox news has protesters in Texas who want to keep a nativity scene in place, thanks for that Fox…

In Central Falls, Rhode Island, retired police and firefighters are having their pensions cut, in a move that could prompt similar attempts by other distressed governments.

Protests continue in Egypt. In a fifth day of unrest, Egyptian troops and riot police have tried to remove demonstrators from Tahrir Square, leaving a 15-year-old protester in a critical condition with a gunshot wound in the neck.

In New York, Margaret Passley, who works up to 70 hours a week, lost a Brooklyn home to foreclosure.

And the New York Times is selling it’s regional newspapers, following their sale of other assets. Is the times going broke?

In Des Moines, Iowa, the Obama campaign headquarters was occupied, and occupiers were arrested.

And in Trenton, New Jersey, police train with tasers.

Violence Enters 5th Day as Egyptian General Blames Protesters

The raid before dawn was the second in as many days, and it left a 15-year-old protester in a critical condition with a gunshot wound in the neck, The Associated Press reported, citing a volunteer at a field hospital in Tahrir Square.

Security forces had initially forced the protesters out of the square, the report said, but they regrouped and re-entered the area from a different route. Troops and police officers withdrew after clashes in which both sides hurled rocks.

The clashes came after days of street fighting that has left 13 people dead.

But in a scornful news conference on Monday, Gen. Adel Emara of the ruling military council insisted that the military had never used violence against peaceful protesters.

“The armed forces and the police pledged not to use violence against protesters actively or even verbally,” he said. Instead, he said, the protesters had deliberately provoked soldiers into clashes as part of a plot “to destroy the state.”

Egypt will never fall, he declared, “as long as it has heroes from the armed forces.” And rather than apologize for the military’s violence, he threw back the challenge to the Egyptian news media: “Why don’t you talk about the excessive use of violence by the other side?”

Occupy Philadelphia arrests; Egypt Bahrain Kazakhstan London Oakland Portland San Francisco New Haven – Daily Headlines 19 December 2011

December 19th, 2011

Occupy struggle continues worldwide
Egypt Bahrain Kazakhstan London
Oakland Portland San Francisco New Haven
Philadelphia meetings interrupted
Philadelphia street protest
Robert Reich speaks out

This video is on youtube Here

Media corporations are suggesting the occupy movement is over after forcible police evictions.

However public meetings and street protests in Philadelphia tell another story.

Robert Reich, former secretary of labor and now a professor at University of California, was asked by the LA Times:

“You spoke at Occupy events here in L.A. and in the Bay Area. What has the Occupy movement accomplished?

It’s had a huge effect on the national conversation. President Obama’s speech [in Kansas] focused on precisely the themes the Occupiers have been emphasizing: the concentration of income, wealth and political power at the top, the failure of big corporations and Wall Street to keep the economy going for the rest of us. I don’t think this sort of speech would have happened had it not been for the Occupy movement and the change in public debate it’s created.

Polls show most Americans today don’t believe their children are going to live as well as they do. A large percentage feel the game is rigged against them. Upward mobility is now far more difficult to achieve. So the issue of class has emerged as very real and very tangible. For most of us, the America we knew was one in which anyone could make it with enough gumption and guts and drive. We truly believed that America was a place where there were no class distinctions, although we saw the plight of the poor, particularly poor minorities. What’s new is this sense that a relatively small number of people have rigged the game or loaded the dice in such a way that their positions of power and privilege are entrenched.

Essentially, every time the excesses of capitalism threaten to destroy it, we save capitalism from itself. We did it in the Progressive era, we did it in the New Deal, and hopefully we are at least beginning to do it now. The question is how bad things have to get before average people begin mobilizing. Sometimes we revert to third parties. Sometimes we make such a ruckus, as we did with civil rights and Vietnam, that we force change. These movements must always start at the grass-roots, and they always start with moral outrage.

Former Iraq chaplain arrested; Occupiers interrupt foreclosure auctions

December 18th, 2011

Occupy marches on
Bishop arrested occupying Duarte Park, New York
Bishop George Packard, former Iraq chaplain arrested
Occupy movement spreads around world
Occupiers interrupt foreclosure auctions
UK labels occupiers as terrorists
Occupying vacant buildings
SEC prosecutes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives

This video is on youtube Here

Yesterday in New York City, a retired Anglican bishop was arrested along with occupy protesters at Duarte Park. Bishop George Packard, who was once a military chaplain in Iraq, joined other protesters climbing over a chain-link fence. Just before the protest he had written on the internet: “What awaits us I do not know. I do know that for me, and the OWS, I know no violence is intended, only peaceful disobedience if it comes to that.” Gideon Oliver, president of the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, said between five and 10 members of the clergy were among those arrested. The protest movement against financial inequality has spread to cities throughout the United States and other countries. After Bishop Packard tumbled over the fence, he climbed onto a wooden bench and waved for the crowd to follow. Other priests mounted the ladder while the the crowd yanked up the base of the fence to make a large opening. Someone cut the lock on a gate, and dozens of people streamed inside, talking, dancing to rap music from a boom box, and urging the rest of the crowd to join them. But the party couldn’t last. The police, taken off guard at first, came pouring through the gate with flex cuffs and arrested everyone who didn’t flee, including Packard.

Ever since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government in 2008, questions have swirled over who was responsible for their collapse. Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission weighed in, filing fraud charges against former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd, former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron and four other former executives.

Federal officials say the mortgage giants lied to investors about the number of subprime loans they had on their books at the height of the credit boom. They also say the executives knew what was happening and even encouraged the deception.

The SEC says both companies loaded up their balance sheets with many billions of dollars in risky subprime mortgages. Both companies took pains to conceal their holdings from the public. The company had $141 billion of subprime exposure to loans. Syron and his colleagues were well aware of how risky its portfolio was. Fannie Mae acknowledged a small number of subprime loans, but failed to tell investors it also held risky Alternative-A mortgages, which require little or no documentation of a borrower’s income. Senior executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac consciously withheld this information from shareholders because it would hurt the value of the company’s stock and hurt the compensation that these executives received.

Meanwhile the occupy protests continue around the country interrupting foreclosure auctions and placing homeless people in vacant houses.

Iraq veteran Scott Olsen marches again; Oakland port shutdown photos – Daily Headlines 14 December 2011

December 14th, 2011

Iraq veteran Scott Olsen marches again
Oakland port shutdown

This video is on youtube Here

Iraq veteran Scott Olsen, who was brutally beaten by Oakland police in October, has recovered from his injuries enough to march to the Port of Oakland with thousands of other Occupy Oakland protesters on Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 in Oakland, Calif.

From the san jose mercury news

The Occupy protest Monday erased millions of dollars in economic activity linked to the besieged Port of Oakland and harmed middle-cl `ass truck drivers, port officials and truckers said Tuesday.

“For the day, it was a loss of $4 million to $8 million, easily,” said Isaac Kos-Read, director of external affairs for the Port of Oakland. “The ripple effects are much greater than that.”

The Oakland port, which was hit by a similarly costly Occupy protest in November, generates about $8.5 million a day in economic activity, he said. Yet the economic impact extends well beyond the port facilities. Imports from Asia, along with exports from places such as the Central Valley’s farming hubs, are also affected by port shutdowns or disruptions.

“The port activities support wages that are paid, taxes that are paid, business revenue that is collected,” Kos-Read said.

Demonstrations by the Occupy movement at the entrances to the Oakland commerce hub disrupted the operations of six out of seven terminals Monday, idled longshoremen and other dock workers, and forced truck drivers to delay deliveries and pickups.

“The Occupy people say they respect the 99 percent, when they disrespect and disrupt what we do,” said Lavelle Brown, an independent trucker who lives in San Francisco. “If they want to protest the 1 percent, they should go to the Financial district.”

But another independent trucker, Andy Sanchez, of Fresno, said he supports the Occupy movement and its demonstrations.

“They are helping us. They are for the people,” Sanchez said. “A lot of people are suffering. A lot of people don’t have jobs or are losing houses.”

On Monday, three Oakland port terminals were shut all day, and three suffered partial disruptions. Only one terminal operated all day.

Truck drivers on Tuesday said they lost $500 to $1,000 each by not being able to drop off or pick up cargo because of the port occupation this week. And they
said they had to spend hours in line Tuesday because of work orders that were delayed Monday.

Port officials also noted that the demonstrations prevented members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union from handling cargo at the docks Monday. The port has about 2,000 ILWU workers, who make between $100,000 and $200,000 a year.

Asa Dodsworth, a Berkeley-based supporter of the Occupy efforts, conceded that the demonstrations did harm members of the 99 percent. Dodsworth, though, insisted that the protest was justified.

“It’s unfortunate that the truck drivers would suffer,” he said. “But everything is interconnected. The activists involved in Occupy would be honored to undertake some sort of action to help truck drivers unionize and get better wages.”

Dodsworth believes the Occupy movement will become more surgical with its efforts as it gains experience in its protests.

“We will find more effective means to take action,” he said. “Hopefully we will find other techniques that don’t burden a group like the truckers as much.”

While truck drivers waited Tuesday in lines that stretched for blocks, they were left to ponder this week’s impact on their livelihoods — and future effects were the demonstrators to return for a third blockade.

“I’m trying to figure out what these people want with their movement,” said John Carino, a Tracy resident and truck driver who was attempting to deliver rice. “I’m trying to make a living doing this. These shutdowns are hurting us.”

Truckers can be charged fees of $100 a day if cargo isn’t delivered on time, according to an East Bay trucking firm.

Other west coast ports were affected, including Portland, Oregon, Longview Washington, and Long Beach, California. From the photos, it seems that Oakland police have learned their lesson, and even though Mayor Quan wants it all to stop, they appear to have been non-violent, and permitted protesters to have their say. Long Beach, however, appears to be another story, with a strong police presence, beatings of demonstrators and a number of arrests.

We are all deeply indebted to veterans like Sgt. Shamar Thomas and Iraq vet Scott Olsen for taking a stand, and realizing that their fight is not over.

Latest video feeds from port shutdowns – Daily Headlines 13 December 2011

December 13th, 2011

Uploaded by technicaleconomics on Dec 12, 2011

West Coast Port Blockade march down Adeline to the docks. Occupy Oakland “Occupy Oakland” Occupy wall street

6:15 PM Occupy West Coast Port Blockade Portland Gate 5

Uploaded by occupypdxJoeAnybody on Dec 13, 2011

Occupy The Ports Day 1 – Terminal 5 – at 615 PM – Port Blockade