American Empire

Numbers Game at San Diego Anti-ALEC Protests

July 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Looks Like San Diego Union Tribune Is Up to its Old Tricks In Downplaying Dissent

A hell of a lot of people came out to protest ALEC’s convention yesterday in downtown San Diego. Local demonstrators had their numbers bolstered by bus-loads of union members from Los Angeles.

There were the labor locals, the environmentalists, the Democrats, the progressives and social activists – and many people energized to protest ALEC because they’ve been educated in just what it is and what it does.

There were a lot of demonstrators. Just how many is a good question. And now we’re in a numbers game in trying to determine just how many people were protesting against the right-wing lobby and legislative powerhouse – with all its corporate sponsors.

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Confronting ALEC’s ‘Everybody Does It’ Defense

July 22, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz. How can you lose?

If the spinmeisters at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) hoped media coverage would focus on the three GOP presidential candidates genuflecting before their annual gathering of corporate lobbyists and state legislators this week in San Diego, they may be proved wrong.

A barrage of press releases and public statements from a wide spectrum of public interest organizations combined with the growing certainty that San Diegans would actually show up in large numbers to protest the closed-door right wing strategy meeting has begun to shift coverage away from the celebrity angle to questions about just what might be going on inside the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel.

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A Who’s Who of ALEC’s Corporate Overlords Meeting in San Diego Beginning Today

July 22, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Day One – today the 22nd – of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2015 Annual Meeting actually started Tuesday morning (July 21), the day before most delegates were slated to arrive. The joint ALEC Board of Directors and ‘Private Enterprise Advisory Council’ Meeting will last throughout the day. It is this meeting that will set the agenda for the coming year.

Let’s look at the membership of the ‘Advisory Council’ in order to gain insight into the policies and priorities of ALEC in the coming year. Tomorrow, the Center for Media and Democracy’s Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari will fill-in the blanks with a post entitled Hot Topics at ALEC’s 2015 Meeting in San Diego.

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‘It’s Not Socialism, It’s Democratic Capitalism’

July 16, 2015 by Source
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By Jeeni Criscenzo

In a recent interview about the groundswell of popularity for Bernie Sanders, Richard Wolff, author of “Democracy at Work, a Cure for Capitalism,” opined that we are seeing a new form of socialism that doesn’t give the power to the government, but rather focuses on –

“changing the way we organize enterprises, so they stop being top-down, hierarchical, where the board of directors makes all the decisions, and we move to this idea which is now catching on: cooperation, workers owning and operating collectively and democratically their economy and their enterprise.”

Instead of looking at this as a new kind of socialism, I like to think of it as a new kind of capitalism—democratic capitalism, where workers are actually free.

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“My Memories of Red House and Its Surrounding Community”

July 10, 2015 by Source
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Editor: As we approach the Centennial of the Red House, we asked friends who were in OB during the heady days of the Seventies for their memories. Our good friend, Bob, responded with the following:

By Bob

In the early Seventies I lived across the street at 5132 Cape May in the four-plex known as “The Barracks”. Our two bedroom apartment rented for $160 a month. My share was forty bucks to live a half block from the beach!

In those days, Red House, The Barracks, Little Red House (right on the beach at the end of the block) and several other apartments on the block housed probably 50 hardcore activists, progressive hippies, Lefty musicians, and fellow travelers, all dewy-eyed and hopeful at the possibility of changing America from the white bread blandness of the Fifties and early Sixties.

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Reader Rant: The Mainstream Media and the Push for Endless War

July 3, 2015 by Jeff Stone
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By Jeff Stone

Why is the mainstream media only in hysterics over ISIS and the “terrorist threats” from Muslims? Could it be that they are being manipulated, or even directed by our government agencies?

Before you accuse this writer of paranoia realize that there are only six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today: Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the “big six” absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States.

A

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Protecting Mauna Kea: “We Are Satisfied With The Stones”

July 1, 2015 by Source

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By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

The pohaku stopped the Thirty Meter Telescope construction last Wednesday. They began appearing on the Mauna Kea Access Road like raindrops. First, they were sprinkled lightly underfoot. A small rock here. A larger one there. The cops cussed and swore as they tried to remove them from the path of their seemingly unstoppable paddy wagons.

As the cops ascended, washing over the lines of Mauna Kea Protectors standing in their way, small piles grew into a drizzle of stones formed in the gathering fog. Then, the pohaku became a downpour. Looking up the road half-a-mile, I saw heavy boulders standing up, marching to meet us, making it impossible for the TMT construction crews and their police escort to climb any higher.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: This Is a War

June 23, 2015 by Source

defend mauna kea

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

Sitting outside the 10 by 20 foot makeshift tent that has served as my home for the last 34 days on Mauna Kea, I watch the tent poles shudder to the concussion of US Army howitzer cannons firing live shells at their training grounds below. When the wind blows just right, from the south, the rattle of automatic rifle fire reaches the occupation. There’s no denying it: A war rages in Hawai’i.

It’s a war on native peoples, a war on women, a war on the land, a war on life itself. The war did not start in Hawai’i. …

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Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track Authority Vote Set for Today – Friday, June 12

June 12, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have set a Friday deadline for a vote on a bill giving the President fast-track authority on commercial treaties currently being negotiated.

The legislation would allow the executive branch to submit trade agreements to Congress for an expedited, up-or-down vote without amendments was passed by the Senate last month. President Obama has said he wants to complete a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and send it for approval under that procedure.

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NSA Collection of American Phone Records Ends – Thanks to Edward Snowden

June 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Halt to Records Collection Probably Temporary As Senate Expected to Pass Reform Measure

By Frank Gormlie

As of today – June 1st – the National Security Agency is no longer legally allowed to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk. The NSA massive collection of telephone records ended at 11:59 p.m. EDT Sunday, right after the Senate failed to pass a measure to extend the controversial program, part of the Patriot Act.

And Americans can thank Edward Snowden for it. Snowden was the one who heroically revealed the massive surveillance program to the American public and is now sitting in Russia for his punishment.

The halt to the phone coverage, however, is probably only temporary, as the Senate is expected to okay a House-passed reform bill targeting the NSA’s surveillance program. Even if it passed, it would still take a couple of days for it to start up.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership Vote: A Character Defining Moment

June 1, 2015 by Jim Miller

enjoy poverty

By Jim Miller

A couple of weeks ago, Bill McKibben penned a very sharp editorial in the New York Times in response to the Obama administration’s choice to allow drilling in the Arctic noting that,

“The Obama administration’s decision to give Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic shows why we may never win the fight against climate change. Even in this most extreme circumstance, no one seems able to stand up to the power of the fossil fuel industry. No one ever says no.”

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Protecting Mauna Kea: Notes From the Summit

May 29, 2015 by Source

Ahinahina - Hawai'ian Silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum)

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

I went to the Thirty Meter Telescope construction site near the summit of Mauna Kea for the first time, today. Four-wheel drive is recommended for the road that twists steeply with hairpin turns up the Mountain, so ten of us piled into a Kanaka uncle’s (older native Hawaiian man’s) pick-up truck to go see the summit.

Leaving from the visitor center parking lot at 9,200 feet the road ascends over 5,000 feet to an elevation close to 14,000. While my ears popped, my sense of wonder grew. Conversations around the truck bed stopped as the Mountain’s power over our senses intensified.

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Bernie Sanders to America’s Billionaires: “Your greed has got to end.”

May 27, 2015 by Source
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Bernie Sanders Announces Presidential Campaign

This is Bernie Sanders’ prepared speech*, delivered Tuesday, May 26, in Vermont.

Today, here in our small state – a state that has led the nation in so many ways – I am proud to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.

Today, with your support and the support of millions of people throughout this country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally.

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Millennials see Edward Snowden as a hero – in time, so will the rest of society

May 5, 2015 by Source
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By Anthony D. Romero / ACLU

Surveillance reform, like marriage equality, will come about because of generational change

About a year ago, a thirtysomething sculptor in Los Angeles began working on a bust of Edward Snowden. When he was done, he shipped the bust to his artist friends on the East Coast. Just before dawn April 6, the artists crept under cover of darkness into Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park and installed the 100-pound bust atop a Revolutionary War memorial.

“We chose to pay tribute to Snowden through the medium of a bust because that is one of the visual pieces society uses as a guidepost to who a hero is,” one of the artists said in a video released after the bust was installed.

By 3 p.m. the New York Parks Department and police had taken the bust down. But the next morning, a different group of artists cast a holographic image of Snowden where the bust had stood.

The message to the authorities could not be clearer: Snowden is not going away.

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May 4th – 45th Anniversary of the 1970 Kent State Massacre During Student Strike

May 4, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

Kent State, Ohio, May 4, 1970

 

 

In Response to Nixon’s Invasion of Cambodia, American Campuses Exploded in Protest in May 1970

Today, May 4th, is the 45th anniversary of the infamous Kent State Massacre – where 4 students were shot to death by National Guardsmen during anti-Vietnam war protests on the Ohio campus. Protests at Kent State were part of a wave of demonstrations that swept the country right after President Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia. Ten days later, 2 Black students were shot to death by police during an anti-war protest at Jackson State.

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The Connection Between the OB Rag and the Vietnam War

April 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The War in Vietnam Formally Ended 40 Years Ago Today

By Frank Gormlie

There is a direct connection between the OB Rag and the Vietnam War – which formally ended 40 years ago today when the National Liberation Front finally captured Saigon – the then-name of the capital.

Or I should say, there’s a direct connection between the OB Rag and the anti-war movement against the Vietnam War. I was a militant member of the anti-war movement on my campus at UCSD from 1968 to 1970 when I graduated – along with hundreds and even thousands of other students.

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Eduardo Galeano, Sacrilegious Women

April 17, 2015 by Source

Editor Note: Acclaimed author and champion of social justice Eduardo Galeano died on April 13, 2015. Democracy Now! provides a tribute here.

From TomDispatch.com

south americaHis book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent came out in 1971 and proved to be the first vampire thriller of our American imperial age. Its blood-sucker of a plot was too outrageous not to be mesmerizing: a country called the United States declares a “good neighbor” policy for those living in its hemisphere because they just look so tasty, and then proceeds to suck the economic blood out of country after country.

Hollywood never topped it. “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries” couldn’t hold an incisor to it; Buffy was a punk by comparison.

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Can John Oliver Do for Mass Surveillance What He Did for Net Neutrality?

April 9, 2015 by Source

John Oliver

By Joan McCarter/Daily Kos

On Sunday [April 5], John Oliver had what is easily the most educational and fun half hour of journalism on the surveillance state that you’re ever likely to see, including an interview with Edward Snowden.

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Crushing the Occupy Movement – How Wall Street Used Government Forces to Suppress Political Dissent

April 3, 2015 by Source
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by gulfgal98Follow / DailyKos /March 28, 2015

It has been over two years since the Occupy Movement was brutally destroyed by a coordinated national effort led by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Since that time, much documentation has been released under the Freedom of Information Act. Even though they are heavily redacted, these documents provide a frightening window into how far corporate America along with the federal, state, and local governments acting as their agents were willing to go to destroy a populist social movement like Occupy.

Despite all the documentation we have, there are still many out there who are in denial about these facts. After reading some recent comments that misrepresent what happened to the Occupy Movement, I decided to review how Occupy was so brutally squelched by Wall Street and corporate America using government forces as their agents acting upon their behalf.

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This Land Is Our Land? Not If Republicans Have Their Way

April 3, 2015 by Source

By Joan McCarter / Daily Kos

Vermillion Cliffs, NM

One of the 43 amendments passed by Senate Republicans in Thursday’s (3/26/15) vote-a-rama was a sop to extremist state legislatures in the west who have been pushing states’ rights bills that would allow the states to sell off the federal public lands within their borders. That’s right, congressional Republicans—federal representatives—want to allow states to seize and sell off the nation’s heritage.

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The Great California Genocide

March 31, 2015 by Staff
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Originally published on August 15, 2008

What do you think of when someone says “California”? Beaches? Sunshine? Hollywood?

How about the largest act of genocide in American history?

“The idea, strange as it may appear, never occurred to them (the Indians) that they were suffering for the great cause of civilization, which, in the natural course of things, must exterminate Indians.”
– Special Agent J. Ross Browne, Indian Affairs

California was one of the last areas of the New World to be colonized.

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A Bank Too Big to Jail

March 26, 2015 by John Lawrence

Attorney General Eric Holder will leave office with a perfect record of not having busted a single senior banker

hsbc-logo2By John Lawrence

The bank, HSBC, has been involved in criminal enterprises from dealing with terrorists and drug dealers to advising clients how to escape paying taxes. Yet no HSBC banker has gone to jail.

Dealing with drug dealers is nothing new for HSBC, also known as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. They have always been associated with drugs. Founded in 1865, HSBC became the major commercial bank in colonial China after the conclusion of the Second Opium War. That’s the war in which European powers forced the Chinese to legalize the drug trade.

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San Diego’s Climate Mobilization – Sunday March 15th

March 13, 2015 by Source
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San Diego organizers are planning a “People’s Climate Walk and Rally for Mobilization” this Sunday, March 15th. And local OBceans are playing an important role in the event. In concert with demonstrations and rallies across the country, it is –

“a call to the United States Government to immediately commence a national World War II-style mobilization to transition the U.S. from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, including solar, wind and water.”

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The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites

February 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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100 Years Before Lexington and Concord, Bacon’s Armed Rebellion of Whites and Blacks Forced Plantation Elite to Create System of Racial Slavery

By Frank Gormlie

Since the turmoil last year in Ferguson, Missouri, swept in a new civil rights movement, once again America is faced with the reality of its system of institutionalized racism. For Americans with conscience, understanding this system is key to changing it, and it cannot be understood without understanding its origins which trail back, of course, to colonial America.

Confronting a system that predates the very formation of the Republic itself necessitates understanding its raison d’etre – its reason for being. Why is there such a system that has a solid foundation and that has existed all this time, and is so deeply ingrained? Why is there institutionalized racism? If one accepts such a premise, that there is such a thing, then the most obvious answer is that it exists to control blacks, African-Americans. And to control other minorities, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans.

Yet this system is not meant to only control blacks – and other peoples of color – but it also is meant to control white people.

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Large Ocean Beach 22-Unit Apartment Complex on Bacon Street Up for Sale

February 16, 2015 by Staff
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After owning it for 28 years, the unidentified owner of the large apartment complex in the heart of Ocean Beach has decided to put the 22-unit complex up for sale. The apartments are prominently located at the corner of Bacon Street and Cape May Avenue, at 2051-59 Bacon Street. It’s on the market for a mere $4,199,000.

It’s an “old-school” 2-story type of apartment complex, as it’s been around for decades, and was always known as one of the inexpensive rental apartment buildings in that neck of the woods in OB.

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The Shame of US Journalism Is the Destruction of Iraq, Not Fake Helicopter Stories

February 10, 2015 by Source

By Christian Christensen /Common Dreams

chopper pilotThe news that NBC’s Brian Williams was not, in fact, on a helicopter in 2003 that came under fire from an Iraqi Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) should come as a surprise to no one.

Williams had repeated the lie on several occasions over the course of a decade until a veteran, who was on the actual helicopter that was attacked, had enough of Williams’ war porn and called the TV host out on Facebook. In a quite pathetic effort to cover his tracks, the anchor — who makes in excess of $10 million per year — claimed that his fairy tale was, in fact, “a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women” who had served in Iraq.

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Dispatches from the Class War (On You)

February 9, 2015 by Jim Miller

class-warfare-fight-backBy Jim Miller

Last July, after the Harris v. Quinn decision took the first step toward gutting the power of public sector unions in America I noted that case “pretty much guarantees that we’ll see more cases brought to the high court aiming to send American labor into a death spiral.”

As legal observers commented at the time, this Supreme Court usually moves in a two-step process, starting with a narrow decision that then sets the precedent for a broader and more extreme move to the right in a subsequent decision.

Well, the case that will provide the pretext for that radical step has made its way up the food chain and will likely be heard by America’s highest court.

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Junipero Serra: Canonizing the Colonizers

January 29, 2015 by Source

By Eric Loomis/ Lawyers, Guns & Money (LGM)

Junípero_Serra_-_MallorcaPope Francis has decided to make Junipero Serra a saint. Serra was a Franciscan in California who founded many of the California missions in the 18th century, effectively making him an agent of colonization as well as a converter of Native Americans to Catholicism.

Building these missions meant forced labor from Native Americans while the conversion process obviously demonstrated a lack of respect for indigenous cultures as well as the compulsion of these conversions. Physical abuse of Native Americans was common, with many recorded beatings and whippings. A lot of indigenous people in California are very upset about the choice to canonize Serra.

Serra is far from the only Catholic saint involved in the colonization process. In Colombia earlier this month, I visited the church dedicated to Pedro Claver, a priest who converted slaves. Being Latin America, his remains are proudly displayed on the church altar.

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Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

January 28, 2015 by Source
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By Brendan James / TPM / April 18, 2014

A [relatively] new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.

Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

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The State Of the Union: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican

January 26, 2015 by Jim Miller

obama-eisenhower3By Jim Miller

Last week, President Obama gave a pretty good speech in which he outlined a series of solid progressive policy proposals along with a few very bad ideas like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

What was most telling about the response to his speech, however, was how glowing the praise was in some quarters for what, in essence, was a fairly pedestrian list of things to do: …

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