Just in from the farmers' market, so let's get to it.
Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, was arrested on Monday during unrest over the death of Michael Brown, KMOV reports.
Epstein, who aided Allied forces in the Nuremberg trials, was placed under arrest in downtown St. Louis, Missouri "for failing to disperse" during a protest of Governor Jay Nixon's decision to call in National Guard into Ferguson. Eight others were also arrested.
"I've been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn't think I would have to do it when I was ninety," Epstein told The Nation during her arrest. "We need to stand up today so that people won't have to do this when they're ninety."
How high do you think is "up high" when the blame for all this current violence is finally, historically assigned?
There are no secrets long term, you know. Everything comes out eventually.
I went to D.C. after Kent State in 1970 to protest the police riot. But I'll tell that story some other day as it's a pretty good one . . . .
For now, some gentle soul will have to take my place for the coming march (if there is one).
And speaking of from "up high" . . . .
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been given an opportunity by Time Magazine to explain the use of the terms "race war" and "false reporting." If you can believe that, you may still be able to believe that we have a chance to turn this state of affairs around.
Ferguson is not just about systemic racism — it's about class warfare and how America's poor are held back, says Kareem Abdul-JabbarI can't imagine a better spokesman.
Will the recent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, be a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice, or will it be a minor footnote in some future grad student’s thesis on Civil Unrest in the Early Twenty-First Century?
You probably have heard of the Kent State shootings: on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University. During those 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The shock and outcry resulted in a nationwide strike of 4 million students that closed more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. And the nation’s youth was energetically mobilized to end the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and mindless faith in the political establishment.
You probably haven’t heard of the Jackson State shootings.
On May 14th, 10 days after Kent State ignited the nation, at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Mississippi, police killed two black students (one a high school senior, the other the father of an 18-month-old baby) with shotguns and wounded twelve others.
There was no national outcry. The nation was not mobilized to do anything. That heartless leviathan we call History swallowed that event whole, erasing it from the national memory.
And, unless we want the Ferguson atrocity to also be swallowed and become nothing more than an intestinal irritant to history, we have to address the situation not just as another act of systemic racism, but as what else it is: class warfare.
By focusing on just the racial aspect, the discussion becomes about whether Michael Brown’s death — or that of the other three unarmed black men who were killed by police in the U.S. within that month — is about discrimination or about police justification. Then we’ll argue about whether there isn’t just as much black-against-white racism in the U.S. as there is white-against-black. (Yes, there is. But, in general, white-against-black economically impacts the future of the black community. Black-against-white has almost no measurable social impact.)
Then we’ll start debating whether or not the police in America are themselves an endangered minority who are also discriminated against based on their color — blue. (Yes, they are. There are many factors to consider before condemning police, including political pressures, inadequate training, and arcane policies.)
Then we’ll question whether blacks are more often shot because they more often commit crimes. (In fact, studies show that blacks are targeted more often in some cities, like New York City. It’s difficult to get a bigger national picture because studies are woefully inadequate. The Department of Justice study shows that in the U.S. between 2003 and 2009, among arrest-related deaths there’s very little difference among blacks, whites, or Latinos. However, the study doesn’t tell us how many were unarmed.)
This fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts America from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor.
And that’s how the status quo wants it.
The U.S. Census Report finds that 50 million Americans are poor. Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized in an effort to pursue their common economic goals. So, it’s crucial that those in the wealthiest One Percent keep the poor fractured by distracting them with emotional issues like immigration, abortion and gun control so they never stop to wonder how they got so screwed over for so long.
One way to keep these 50 million fractured is through disinformation.
PunditFact’s recent scorecard on network news concluded that at Fox and Fox News Channel, 60 percent of claims are false. At NBC and MSNBC, 46 percent of claims were deemed false. That’s the “news,” folks! During the Ferguson riots, Fox News ran a black and white photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the bold caption: “Forgetting MLK’s Message/Protestors in Missouri Turn to Violence.” Did they run such a caption when either Presidents Bush invaded Iraq: “Forgetting Jesus Christ’s Message/U.S. Forgets to Turn Cheek and Kills Thousands”?
How can viewers make reasonable choices in a democracy if their sources of information are corrupted? They can’t, which is exactly how the One Percent controls the fate of the Ninety-Nine Percent.
Worse, certain politicians and entrepreneurs conspire to keep the poor just as they are. On his HBO comedic news show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver ran an expose of the payday loan business and those who so callously exploit the desperation of the poor. How does an industry that extorts up to 1,900 percent interest on loans get away with it?
In Texas, State Rep. Gary Elkins blocked a regulatory bill, despite the fact that he owns a chain of payday loan stores. And the politician who kept badgering Elkins about his conflict of interest, Rep. Vicki Truitt, became a lobbyist for ACE Cash Express just 17 days after leaving office. In essence, Oliver showed how the poor are lured into such a loan, only to be unable to pay it back and having to secure yet another loan. The cycle shall be unbroken.
Dystopian books and movies like Snowpiercer, The Giver, Divergent, Hunger Games, and Elysium have been the rage for the past few years. Not just because they express teen frustration at authority figures. That would explain some of the popularity among younger audiences, but not among twentysomethings and even older adults.
The real reason we flock to see Donald Sutherland’s porcelain portrayal in Hunger Games of a cold, ruthless president of the U.S. dedicated to preserving the rich while grinding his heel into the necks of the poor is that it rings true in a society in which the One Percent gets richer while our middle class is collapsing.
That’s not hyperbole; statistics prove this to be true. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center report, just half of U.S. households are middle-income, a drop of 11 percent since the 1970s; median middle-class income has dropped by 5 percent in the last ten years, total wealth is down 28 percent.
Fewer people (just 23 percent) think they will have enough money to retire. Most damning of all: fewer Americans than ever believe in the American Dream mantra that hard work will get them ahead.
Rather than uniting to face the real foe — do-nothing politicians, legislators, and others in power — we fall into the trap of turning against each other, expending our energy battling our allies instead of our enemies. This isn’t just inclusive of race and political parties, it’s also about gender.
In her book Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution, Laurie Penny suggests that the decreased career opportunities for young men in society makes them feel less valuable to females; as a result they deflect their rage from those who caused the problem to those who also suffer the consequences: females.
Yes, I’m aware that it is unfair to paint the wealthiest with such broad strokes. There are a number of super-rich people who are also super-supportive of their community. Humbled by their own success, they reach out to help others. But that’s not the case with the multitude of millionaires and billionaires who lobby to reduce Food Stamps, give no relief to the burden of student debt on our young, and kill extensions of unemployment benefits.
With each of these shootings/chokehold deaths/stand-your-ground atrocities, police and the judicial system are seen as enforcers of an unjust status quo. Our anger rises, and riots demanding justice ensue. The news channels interview everyone and pundits assign blame.
Then what? I’m not saying the protests in Ferguson aren’t justified — they are. In fact, we need more protests across the country. Where’s our Kent State? What will it take to mobilize 4 million students in peaceful protest? Because that’s what it will take to evoke actual change.
The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future. Otherwise, all we’re going to get is what we got out of Ferguson: a bunch of politicians and celebrities expressing sympathy and outrage.
If we don’t have a specific agenda — a list of exactly what we want to change and how — we will be gathering over and over again beside the dead bodies of our murdered children, parents, and neighbors.
I hope John Steinbeck is proven right when he wrote in Grapes of Wrath, “Repression works only to strengthen and knit the oppressed.” But I’m more inclined to echo Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” written the year after the Kent State/Jackson State shootings:
Inflation no chance
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Even worse reactions come from overseas (by Americans and "furriners!"). Reminding me of my own shunning in academia after 9/11 when I became infamous for lecturing on the fact that we should consider our own actions overseas before we decided it was merely a case of crazy freedom-hating, brown-skinned ignorants.
Paul Craig Roberts
Here is a report on the autopsy. http://rt.com/usa/181116-brown-presser-baden-preliminary-autopsy/
The facts directly contradict the false information police apologists are sending around the Internet. I wasn’t surprised at some of the crude comments and hatred expressed toward blacks that came from a few white male anti-immigration Republicans in response to my article Cops Gone Wild.
A few were so choked with rage over a “f****** pinko-liberal-commie” who would take the side of a “black bully thief” over the police that they never read beyond the introductory comment about Ferguson.
Criticizing police can ignite the same kind of hysterical hatred as criticizing the Israeli governments murders of Palestinians. As readers know, I often emphasize that a significant percentage of the population is incapable of thought and rational response. They want to hear what they want to hear and go into a rage when they don’t.
They read not to learn but to have their ignorant biases substantiated. Perhaps this is the way Americans have always been. However, it seems to me that it is much worse today than I remember from earlier decades. However mindless Americans might have been in the past, they seem much more so today.
Indeed, the media seems to speak with one voice – the government’s.
Even academic freedom has been terminated in universities. There are so many examples. One of the most notorious examples is the case of Professor Norman Finkelstein, whose parents were holocaust survivors. Finkelstein, who is Jewish, is a distinguished scholar who became a high-profile critic of Israel’s misguided and immoral policies toward the Palestinians.
The Zionist Lobby was able to reach into DePaul University, a Catholic university, and cause the cowardly president to overrule the decision of the Political Science Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Personnel Committee, supported by the student body, to grant Finkelstein tenure.
Some suspect that the Zionist Lobby bought off the university president with promises of financial support for the university. Whether bribes were combined with threats, the university president, in my opinion, is a person devoid of integrity, and he drove a dagger through the heart of academic freedom and allowed Zionists to determine who receives tenure at DePaul University. Why parents would send their sons and daughters to such a university is beyond me.
Zionist attacks on American academic freedom are routine. Professor William Robinson of the University of California, Santa Barbara, tells the story of his experience with the Zionist Lobby on Truth-Out.org.
The Zionist Lobby’s unethical and immoral tactics create massive hostility toward Jews in general. From time to time I receive emails upbraiding me for refusing to blame everything wrong in the world on Jews. The extremism of Zionists prevents many critics of Jews from recognizing the fact that the strongest, most moral voices against Zionist extremism come from Jews themselves including some Israeli citizens and the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.
Jewish critics of Israel’s behavior cannot be called “anti-semites.” The Zionist Lobby invented a new term for Jews afflicted by a moral conscience–”self-hating Jew.”
The Zionist Lobby with its ridiculous “enforcement organizations,” such as the ADL, by misusing the “anti-semite” accusation have made “anti-semite” and “self-hating Jew” badges of moral honor.
Once upon a time “anti-semite” referred to a person who disliked Jews in general and perhaps wished harm to be inflicted on every Jew. Today “anti-semite” means a person who objects to illegal and immoral policies of the Zionist state, the government of which does not speak for all Jews or even for all Israelis.
Zionist(s) focus on silencing their critics because Zionist policies cannot stand examination.
We see a similar response on the part of many Americans who rush blindly to the defense of the police whenever psychopaths with badges murder a black, a hispanic or a homeless person. The gratuitous violence employed by police is no more justified than the gratuitous violence employed by the Israeli military toward Palestinians.
“Law and order conservatives” confuse police accountability with the coddling of criminals and terrorists.
They are unable to comprehend that unaccountable police are a greater threat to them than are criminals without badges. This brief video, sent by a reader, shows how the militarization of US police has produced a murder machine.
This whole war-like scenario reminds me of the historical efforts of those who tried to counter war with nonviolence (Gandhi, take a bow) and how this usually ended.
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them;
No prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
- Wilfrid Owen
I swear to the gods that it's like John Mitchell is still running Justice. Except that he's dead.
(They never die.)
August 18, 2014 by willyloman
by Scott Creighton
UPDATE: Thanks to agent provocateurs and over-hyped reporting, they call in the National Guard
——- From the very start of this situation, I have been writing that I believe the press, the Obama-backing so-called “activists” and the authorities involved, have been exacerbating the situation in Ferguson, deliberately stoking the flames of social and racial unrest, in an effort to distract the country from various foreign policy failures currently taking place in Ukraine and Iraq.It is well understood that the DHS and the FBI run the New Black Panthers. Al Sharpton who is also running around stoking the unrest in Ferguson has his own history with the FBI.
Today there is more evidence to support that claim.
“In the past five days I have been contacted, via one of my most trusted sources, a member of DHS, who is opposed to the events and DHS involvement in Ferguson, Missouri.
This source stated that DHS is running the Ferguson Police Department and that their actions are designed to antagonize and to provoke the locals to violence. He further stated that he believed that the ultimate goal is to inflame the local citizens to such a point martial law will be declared.
In an even more shocking revelation, this DHS source stated that the rioting and looting which followed the shooting death of 18 year old, Michael Brown, was encouraged and exacerbated by undercover DHS agents posing as members of the Black Panthers.” David Hodges
Now we have an autopsy report released which promises to inflame the public even more while keeping the story on the front pages.
The doctor who made this report also made one backing the Magic Bullet Theory in service to various administrations since LBJ’s.
A fishy cast of characters if ever I saw one. And some think this isn’t being manipulated for the public’s consumption?
And Paul Joseph Watson, though I hate to (c)ite his work based on his previous disinfo efforts, does make one rather astute observation in a recent article:
Members of the New Black Panthers have been caught working undercover for the federal government in the past, with the most recent example being Richard Aoki, who was outed as an FBI informant in 2012.
It would appear the looting was done in order to produce grist for the media mill desperate to distract the nation from Obama’s various fascist exploits across the world. The police, would therefore be ordered to stand down. In that reading of the relevant evidence, it makes perfect sense.
(There is) a video of agent provocateurs, i.e., the New Black Panthers, staging a little “scary black man” rally with what appears to be some assets of theirs mixed in with some homeless looking rent-a-protesters.
Some, like Watson and Hodges, conclude this is all being done in order to justify martial law in Ferguson and perhaps further across the country. This is possible.
Me, I still think Darren Wilson has to be arrested and charged with manslaughter in the first degree and that when this shooting occurred, someone in the administration saw it’s potential for distracting the nation from Obama’s fascist exploits in Ukraine and Iraq.
Either way, it is clearly being manipulated to an impressive degree. “Why?” is anyone’s guess.
Speaking of another now almost forgotten but vastly important issue (financial, for all), the truth of which has been manipulated so thoroughly that people don't even know the value of assets involved, we have one of the perpetrators in jail in North Carolina for a crime that was never publicly investigated (thus the public has no knowledge of the particulars). At all - as he "confessed" and wasn't held to the investigative standard of other such outright (and/or admitted) thieves on the theory that if a thief admits his theft . . . that's all there is to it?
Even reasonable observers find it hard to agree about the amount of public $$$$$$$$$$ stolen.
But trust me in that it's several quantum leaps above what was reported (or accepted as proper penalities).
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
August 13, 2014
Helen Davis Chaitman is a nationally recognized litigator and author of The Law of Lender Liability. And she is two other things as well – a Bernie Madoff victim who lost a large part of her life savings to his Ponzi scheme and the tenacious lawyer who represented other victims of his fraud in district and appellate courts.
Now, together with attorney Lance Gotthoffer, Chaitman has written a book titled JPMadoff: The Unholy Alliance Between America’s Biggest Bank and America’s Biggest Crook. The book is being made available to readers on a new web site which will provide a chapter each month.
The first chapter is currently available and Chaitman says that the second chapter, to be posted on September 12, will detail what JPMorgan knew and when it knew it.
The web site also provides a quick means of contacting your legislator in Washington to urge Congress to “act in the interests of the American people, not in the interests of the financial institutions that are rich enough to make significant contributions.”
It is universally agreed among these authors, the prosecutors and the trustee for the Madoff victims’ fund that JPMorgan Chase (or its predecessor banks) stood at the center of the fraud as Madoff’s commercial bank for more than 20 years.
It’s the lack of criminal prosecutions against the JPMorgan wrongdoers that has incensed these attorneys to launch the book and web site.
The authors explain their position in the book’s foreward:
“Madoff could not have stolen $64.8 billion of other people’s money without the complicity of a major financial institution. Madoff was able to get by with a three-person accounting firm working out of a store front in a shopping center in Rockland County, New York. But make no mistake about it. Madoff needed the imprimatur and facilities of a major bank.
And JPMorgan Chase stepped up to the plate. Why would the bank do this?
Shall we follow the money? Do you have any idea how much money JPMorgan Chase was able to make off the Madoff account?
Did you know that Madoff maintained huge balances in his JPMorgan Chase account, reaching $4 billion or more from 2006 on.
And do you think the folks at JPMorgan Chase know how to make money off other people’s money? You bet they do.
“The facts — which we lay out in this book — compel the conclusion that senior officers of JPMorgan Chase knew that Madoff was misappropriating customer funds and knew who all the victims were. There were 12 people who worked for Madoff who knew about Madoff’s embezzlement of money belonging to innocent investors.
Outside of Madoff’s offices, nobody knew — for 20 years. Nobody, that is, except the people at JPMorgan Chase who were responsible to monitor the activities in Madoff’s account.
They saw that, from 1986 to December 2008, Madoff deposited into his JPMorgan Chase account approximately $150 billion of funds — from upstate New York union pension funds, from charities, from corporate pension plans, from individual I.R.A. accounts. Bank officers knew that Madoff was an SEC-regulated broker who was retained by his customers to purchase securities for them. Yet, they saw no transactions in Madoff’s account indicating that he was purchasing securities for his customers.
Instead, billions of dollars went to Madoff’s co-conspirators, or were wired overseas.”
Under the author section, Chaitman provides more detail on why she feels JPMorgan got off so easily:
“The most glaring example of the corruption of American values by the financial services industry is the government’s recent refusal to prosecute any individual at JPMorgan Chase for providing banking services to Bernard Madoff for almost 20 years with knowledge that he was dishonest.
The prosecutor was Preet Bharara, formerly chief counsel to Senator Schumer who has enjoyed, over the years, a flow of political contributions from the entire Madoff family and from JPMorgan Chase.”
In January of this year, Wall Street On Parade completed months of research into court filings that detailed JPMorgan’s involvement in the Madoff fraud. Our conclusion was that there was not just a Ponzi scheme taking place but a series of frauds that sprang from the original fraud in a Russian nesting doll form of structure. (Read the full article.)
One of the most damning pieces of evidence suggesting that JPMorgan prolonged the Madoff fraud, allowing him to suck in more innocent victims, was a report from the trustee for the Madoff victim fund, Irving Picard, that JPMorgan Chase used unaudited financial statements to make $145 million in loans to Madoff’s business.
Lawyers for the Trustee write further that from November 2005 through January 18, 2006, JPMorgan Chase loaned $145 million to Madoff’s business at a time when the bank was on “notice of fraudulent activity” in Madoff’s business account and when, in fact, Madoff’s business was insolvent.
The reason for the JPMorgan Chase loans resulted from the fact that Madoff’s business account was “reaching dangerously low levels of liquidity, and the Ponzi scheme was at risk of collapsing.”
You will note as you read the background information on the Chaitman-Gotthoffer web site that the attorneys refer to a “$64.8 billion” Madoff fraud, not the $17.5 billion figure used by Madoff Trustee, Irving Picard, and major business media.
The dramatic difference in the two numbers is that Picard is using the figure for the amount of original principal he believes to have been invested with Madoff. Chaitman and Gotthoffer are using the gross amount Madoff showed on his client statements as his customers’ account balances.
The $64.8 billion figure is a valid calculation for this reason: money has a time value. Some investors started with Madoff as far back as 30 years ago. If they had placed those funds in something as simple as a savings account or a Treasury bill, they would have compounded and grown significantly.
To call it a $17.5 billion fraud ignores 30 years of compound interest or legitimate stock market returns that could have been achieved had Madoff actually invested the money.
The media’s willingness to reduce the fraud to the $17.5 billion figure may have something to do with putting the best face possible on the recoveries for victims. To date, Picard has recovered $9.825 billion and made distributions of $5.259 billion. Richard Breeden, the Special Master for the U.S. Department of Justice, is administering another Madoff victim fund consisting of $4 billion in forfeited assets recovered from persons involved in the fraud.
That brings the total current recoveries to $13.825 billion – which doesn’t sound too bad versus a $17.5 billion fraud but would represent only 21 percent of the statement value of $64.8 billion.
Chaitman and Gotthoffer provide another salient point in their book foreward, writing:
“It is almost six years since Madoff confessed and yet, Madoff has never testified under oath; no one from JPMorgan Chase has testified under oath … The big question is whether Americans are going to continue to tolerate criminal conduct in its financial institutions.
We know the government will; the question is whether the American people will.”
This new web site, with its quick link to communicate with your members of the House and Senate, is a hopeful message that Americans are starting to fight back.
So, fight back!
And let's get a copy of her book into every library and reading room in the world.