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DemocracyNow producer arrested again in St Paul!

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Demonstrator in St. Paul

Demonstrator in St. Paul

“You shouldn’t be here!” said the police to the people with cameras and press badges.

“Why not?” one wonders. More that 800 people were arrested this week during the Republican National Convention, including dozens of journalists doing nothing but filming.

Now why would riot police arrest people with television equipment and press passes, throwing them to the ground and cuffing their wrists behind them?  Is this Beijing?

clipped from www.democracynow.org
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: [I]t really was a big show of force by the police. You saw these snow plows … a lot of horses, a lot of policemen on bicycles. And they kept blocking each bridge. And the march would move on. They’d block the bridge …
They threw a lot of concussion grenades, a lot of smoke bombs, pepper spray, some teargas …the police basically corralled everyone onto the Marion Street bridge, about 200 people. As soon as we were on the bridge, we realized that we were trapped …
[T]his was a very non-confrontational group of people who were doing this march … They never pushed the cops … They never did anything like that …
I had my Democracy Now! press pass and my RNC pass … we’re sitting amongst a group of about maybe six or eight other camera people, sound people, clearly all press. … I said, “I’m a journalist. I’m press. I’m here filming.” … He goes, “Well, you shouldn’t be here. You should have dispersed.” He arrested me … I told him, “You’ve been telling me to disperse since 5:00 … [if we had left] there would be no press for four hours of this march…
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And one can only imagine what might have happened then.


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Written by Monte

September 6, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Posted in Politics

“Someone’s premiums” bought my lunch on gold-rimmed china

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Wendell Potter, former CIGNA exec, tells of the change of heart that caused him to leave the industry. While visiting family members in Tennessee, he drops in on a medical expedition, staffed by volunteers, at a Virginia fairgrounds, in a county where people have little health care access …
clipped from www.democracynow.org
I had no idea what to expect, but when I walked through the fairground gates, it was just absolutely overwhelming … [P]eople … were lined up in the rain by the hundreds … and they were being treated in animal stalls … They also had set up tents. It looked like a MASH unit. It looked like this could have been something that was happening in a war-torn country, and war refugees were there to get their care […]
It was just unbelievable, and it just drove it home to me, maybe for the first time, that we were talking about real human beings and not just numbers […]
[T]wo or three weeks later, I was [flying to a meeting] on one of the corporate jets … I was served my lunch on a gold-rimmed plate, was given gold-plated flatware […]
it just dawned on me, for the first time, that someone’s premiums … were paying for my lunch on gold-trimmed china […]
I thought about those men and women that I had seen in Wise County … not having any idea that this is the way that insurance executives lived and how premium dollars were being spent … I had to leave […]
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One dollar of every three we send to our health insurance companies goes to something other than healthcare. Those who struggle to pay high premiums to protect themselves and their children buy corporate jets, skyscraper penthouses, and fine china for insurance executives. Those who won’t, or can’t, often die prematurely.

Should we really have choose between paying for corporate luxury or risking an early death?

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Obama family moves into house built by black slaves

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From Eduardo Galeano of Uruguay, one of Latin America’s most celebrated writers.
clipped from www.democracynow.org
EDUARDO GALEANO: Yes, yes. I’m worried about the repetition of this dangerous, toxic word, “leadership.”

Eduardo Galeano

Eduardo Galeano

[I]t’s usual to say, “We should recover our leadership in Latin America.” We don’t need any foreign leadership. Let it be. Let reality be as it wants to be, with no ruling state deciding the destiny of other countries. Please, no more. Stop with this tradition of the messianic mission of, you know, saving the world. No, it has been terrible during so many years, even centuries. No. Perhaps this crisis, this present crisis, so strong and terrible, may give something like a violent shower of realism and humility to this new government

What I would most like to see?

I would like that Obama, who has now tremendous, historic opportunity, that he never forgets that he’s now going inside the White House. The White House will be his house in the time coming, but this White House was built by black slaves. And I’d like, I hope, that he never, never forgets this.
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Written by Monte

November 7, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Posted in Politics

Spurned by Bush, Iran again offers talks

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A sign of hope:  In Iran’s first congratulatory letter to an American president since 1979, Iranian President Ahmadinejad suggests the offer of talks made to President Bush (and spurned by him) might still be on the table for the president-elect.
clipped from www.democracynow.org

Iranian President Congratulates Obama on Election Win

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written Obama a congratulatory letter following his election win. It’s the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution that an Iranian leader has congratulated the winner of an American presidential election. Obama has pledged to meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions. In his letter, Ahmadinejad suggests Iran would be open to talks with the United States in accordance with previous overtures that the Bush administration ignored. Ahmadinejad also writes that he hopes “the unjust actions of the past 60 years will give way to a policy encouraging full rights for all nations, especially the oppressed nations of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.”
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Written by Monte

November 7, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Politics

The absurdity of yelling “Socialist!”

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In 1964 the top marginal rate was 91%. Obama proposes 39.6% (it’s 35% now), which is what we had in the deficit-free Clinton years. It’s less than half what it was under LBJ. If that wasn’t socialism, half of it certainly isn’t!
clipped from www.democracynow.org

AMY GOODMAN: Well, is Barack Obama a socialist?

RICK MacARTHUR: Barack Obama is a socialist like Harper’s Magazine is a media conglomerate. It’s the most preposterous charge I’ve heard in a pretty crazy campaign
But it’s even more absurd when you realize that
they’re all socialists now
remember, the top rate in 1964, the last time we had this kind of crazy debate between the Goldwater Republicans and Lyndon Johnson, the top marginal rate was 91 percent. Barack Obama is only proposing to raise or restore the top marginal rate from the current 35 percent to 39.6 percent, which is what it was under the Clinton administration. This is a very modest, very, you might even say, timid response to what’s, in the last fifteen years, been a redistribution of wealth from the bottom up to the top.
What is the mortgage crisis, except Wall Street picking on people
who are not very well educated about the finance market, and
robbing them
That’s redistribution of wealth, upwards.
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Written by Monte

October 26, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Politics