"If these activists are as dedicated as they are desperate, expect this to become a trend."
I like the title of their protest - The Predators Tour!
I wonder how long before these demonstrations turn violent? They are sure to attract some agent provocateurs.
From the Raw Story:
Homeowner group protests 'predator' CEOs outside their mansions
Monday, a group of 350 to 400 at-risk homeowners, organized by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, staged a series of protests outside the mansions of wealthy bankers in a moneyed Connecticut neighborhood.
"Called the 'Predators Tour' these actions were the start of NACA's 'accountability campaign,' an aggressive, confrontational protest aimed at several top executives of companies that refuse to allow NACA to renegotiate the terms of loans on behalf of members, according to NACA CEO Bruce Marks," reported the Stamford Times.
"Sporting bright yellow shirts that read, 'Stop Loan Sharks,' protesters demanded more accountability from the CEOs of the financial institutions responsible for the millions of unaffordable mortgages in the state and across America," reported NBC New York in an article titled, "Grab Your Torch and Pitchfork."
Protesters also gathered outside the mansions of William Frey, the CEO at Greenwich Financial Services, and John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley.
"The move was part of the nonprofit group's national accountability campaign to get company executives to support refinancing loans to keep people in their homes, according to Liz Floyd, one of the organizers and a counselor with the group," reported the Stamford Advocate. "... [The] group believes the executives contributed to the subprime mortgage crisis."
"During the protest, organizers shouted through bullhorns and carried signs in the middle of the road for more than an hour, prompting the police to shut down a portion of Glenville Road, according to Lt. James Heavey," reported the Greenwich Times.
None of the protesters were arrested, but "more than 100 signs" were left on the front gate of Frey's mansion. Lt. Heavey told the Greenwich Times that Frey was not home, and he had not returned a call from the Associated Press at deadline.
"Frey was targeted, Marks explained, because he has filed a class-action lawsuit against Bank of America on behalf of two of the bank's major investors alleging that the bank violated contractual law when it moved to modify hundreds of mortgages to make them more affordable," continued reporter Amanda Norris.
"Marks said that despite the risk and controversy involved in confronting millionaire money brokers on their own turf, NACA's tactics were the only effective means of exerting pressure on an otherwise uncaring and oblivious elite."
The protests were just one portion of a three-day homeowners workshop put on by the NACA.
The organization is setting up a "financial predators registry" of executives who did not cooperate with the group. On its Web site, CEOs of institutions such as National City, HSBC, Nation Star, HomeQ, Litton and others are prominently displayed, along with links to photos and valuations of their homes and their direct phone numbers.
"'No one has ever gone in such huge numbers to these guys' homes,' Marks continued. 'If they don't do the right thing, we'll be back. We are the junkyard dogs. Once we grab on, we will not let go.'"
The group's Web site explains: "Some lenders, such as Bank of America and Citigroup, have sought out NACA as a valuable partner in reaching underserved communities and have achieved great success. When lenders have exploited low- and moderate-income and minority communities, as in the case of Fleet or The Associates, NACA proved to be a tireless foe.
"... Corporations prefer to hide behind a veil of anonymity, but in reality they are run by people who make decisions and are responsible for the consequences. NACA shines a spotlight on the CEOs, executives and directors who perpetrate financial injustice. NACA ensures that their neighbors, relatives and employees are made aware of their actions. In addition, NACA holds the decision-makers accountable to the public everywhere they go. NACA’s hundreds of thousands of members across the country may appear at and disrupt their speeches, events, and meetings. Backed by extensive research, NACA and its members deliver a compelling wake-up call to decision makers everywhere, letting them know that they will be held personally accountable for their actions."
"Morgan Stanley said its mortgage servicing business 'actively collaborates' with NACA to structure solutions for qualified borrowers so they can remain in their homes," reported the AP. "A proposed agreement by NACA was delivered Saturday afternoon.
"'We are reviewing it now and expect to come to mutually agreeable terms,' Morgan Stanley said in a statement."
OK this is pretty inconsequential compared to the stuff you all have been discussing, but I wanted to mention this and I'm not sure where else to say it; I just got an Email from a website called gunalertsupdates.com, sent to an Email address that I only gave to Ron Paul...
An excerpt from the Email solicitation:
When you read what they say in their own words your blood will boil. Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Henry Waxman, John Kerry and others …all exposed!
Yuck. Anyway, please consider this an open thread - what's on your mind?
This post makes some very important points. It is a translation of an article by Domenico Losurno, published on Voltairenet.org. Losurno is an Italian philosopher and historian, and a Communist, but I hope you will read his points with an open mind. It was first translated into French by Marie-Ange Patrizio.
How black legends are built
The "Protocols of the Elders of Islam"
[Introduction by Marie]
In order to justify the apartheid inside Palestine, and the Israeli war on the Palestinian people, the atlantist media resort to the usual technique of black legends. Lies upon lies end up creating the idea there would be a world-wide islamic plot with a global plan one could call "The Protocols of the Elders of Islam," in reference to the antisemitic forgery propagated by the tsarist police. The italian philosopher and historian, Domenico Losurno, analyses here this propaganda device with regard to some historical references.
[The actual text]
Leafing through the reactions to my last book Stalin, Storia e critica di una leggenda nera (Stalin, Story and critic of a black legend), I read beside largely positive comments some signs of incredulity: is it possible the infamies attributed to Stalin and accredited by a general consensus are most often the result of distortions and sometimes of complete historical falsifications ?
I would like to suggest a reflection to these very readers, in light of the events of the last days. We have under our eyes the tragedy of the Palestinian people in Gaza, first starved by the blockade and now invaded and massacred by the terrible Israeli war machine. Let us see how the great organs of "information" react. In the Corriere della Sera of december 29th, Piero Ostellino in his editorial condemns: "Clause 7 of the Hamas Charter not only defends the destruction of Israel, but the extermination of all Jews, as is affirmed by the Iranian president Ahmadinejad." We will note that, while he makes an extremely grave claim, the journalist does not offer any quote: he wants to be taken at his word.
A few days later (January 3rd) on the same newspaper, Ernesto Galli della Loggia goes at it again. In truth, he doesn't talk about Ahmadinejad anymore. Maybe he has realized his colleague's mistake. After Israel, Iran is the one country in the Middle-East hosting the most Jews (20.000), and they don't seem to suffer from persecutions. In any case, those Palestinians living under occupation could only envy the Jews standard of living in Iran, who not only have not been exterminated, but also don't have to face the threat of "transfer," which threat the most extreme Zionists project on Arab Israelis.
Of course, Galli della Loggia is way above all that. He contends himself with not saying a word on Ahmadinejad. To compensate, he goes further on another essential point: Hamas does not stop at demanding "the extermination of the Jews" of Israel, as Ostellino claims. One should not stop half-way in denouncing the barbarians' misdeeds: "Hamas wants the elimination of all the Jews on the face of the earth" (Corriere della Sera, Jan 3). In that case too, one does not begin to see a shred of evidence: scientific rigor is the last thing on Galli della Loggia's mind, whose courage in the face of ridicule must be nevertheless acknowledged: according to his analyses, the Palestinian 'terrorists' intend to liquidate the war machine not only of Israel, but even of the USA, so as to get done with the infamies, whose world-wide scale the editorialist from the Corriera della Sera denounces. Hence, those who are capable to inflict a decisive defeat to the world superpower, in addition to Israel, can very well aspire to world domination. To sum up: it is as if Galli was finally bringing to our knowledge The Protocols of the Elders of Islam !
And just like, in their time, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, The Protocols of the Elders of Islam have now acquired the statute of established truth, and necessitate no demonstration. In La Stampa on January 5th, Enzo Bettiza immediately gives the meaning of the massive bombings of Israel, unleashed from the sky, the seas and the earth, using weapons forbidden by international conventions, against a population virtually defenseless: "This is a drastic and very violent police operation, from a country threatened with extermination by a sect that swore to uproot it from the face of the earth."
This thesis, repeated again and again, is inscribed in the framework of a very precise tradition. Between the 18th and the 19th century, the moderate abbey Grégoire was fighting for the abolishment of slavery in the french colonies: he was to be accused of being the leader of "blancophages", those black barbarians eager for the taste of White men's flesh. A few decades later, something similar happened in the United States of America: the abolitionists, often of Christian faith and non-violent trend, demanded "the complete destruction of the institution of slavery"; they were promptly accused of wanting to exterminate the white race. Again in the middle of the 19th century, in South Africa, the champions of apartheid were refusing political rights for blacks, arguing that a possible black government would have meant the systematic extermination of whites and white settlers in their totality.
The currently fashionable black legend is particularly ridiculous: Hamas, several times, has signaled the possibility of a compromise, if Israel accepted to get back to the 1967 boundaries. As everyone knows, or should know, what makes the two state solution more and more problematic, and maybe now impossible, is the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. And yet, the substitution of the current Israel as a "State of the Jews" with a bi-national State which would be both the State of the Jews and the Palestinians, guaranteeing equality for all, would in no way comprehend the extermination of the Jews, exactly like the destruction of the white racial State, in the South of the United-Stated first, then in South Africa, certainly did not mean the destruction of Whites. In reality, those who wave, one way or another, the Protocols of the Elders of Islam want to turn the victims into executioners, and the executioners into victims.
Today's fashionable mythologies on Stalin and the communist movement in its entirety are no less grotesque and instrumentalised. Take the thesis of the "hunger holocaust", or the thesis of the "terrorist starvation", that the Soviet Union would have imposed on the Ukrainian people in the thirties. In support of this thesis, there exists, and we are offered, not a pound of evidence.
But this is not the most important point either. The black legend offered in a planified manner, especially in Reagan's time and at the time of the Cold War, serves to hide under the rug the fact that the "terrorist starvation," blamed on Stalin, has been implemented for centuries by the liberal West and, in particular, against the colonised people, or what it would have wanted to reduce to colonial or semi-colonial conditions.
This is what I have tried to demonstrate in my book. Immediately after the great black Revolution, at the end of the 18th century in Saint-Domingue/Haiti, that broke both the chains of colonial domination and those of the institution of slavery, the United States were answering through the declarations of Thomas Jefferson, saying he wanted to reduce to starvation the country that had the impudence to abolish slavery. The same behavior has been adopted in the 19th century. Immediately after October 1917, Herbert Hoover, at the time a senior official in the Wilson administration, later to be president of the United States, was explicitly waving the threat of "absolute hunger" and of "death by starvation" not only against Soviet Russia but against all the peoples ready to get contaminated by the bolchevik revolution. At the start of the 60s, an assistant to the Kennedy administration, Walt W. Rostow, was boasting about the fact the United Stated had managed to put back "decades" the economic development of the Popular Republic of China !
This is a policy that continues to this day: everyone knows imperialism tries to economically strangle Cuba, and if possible to reduce it to Gaza's condition, where oppressors can exercise their power of life and death, long before their terrorist bombings with, already, the control of natural resources.
We have thus returned to Palestine. Before they had to bear the horror he bears today, the people of Gaza had been stricken by a protracted policy that was trying to starve him, to deprive him of light, medicine, to reduce him to exhaustion and despair. In addition to the fact the Tel-Aviv government kept his right to proceed as usual, despite the "truce," with extrajudicial executions of its enemies. That is to say, even before being invaded by an army resembling a giant and experimented firing squad, Gaza was the object of a policy of war and agression. At the same time, a multi-media fire power was unleashed, especially in the West, to crush any critical resistance to the false and lying thesis according to which Israel would these days be committed to a self-defense operation: may no one question the authenticity of the Protocols of the Elders of Islam !
This is how you build the black legends: today's legend seals the Palestinian people's tragedy (the martyred people of our epoch), just like those other legends, by depicting Stalin as a monster and reducing to a criminal history the process that started with the October Revolution, mean to deprive the oppressed peoples of all hope of future emancipation.
UNRWA Press Conference on Gaza humanitarian situation
"The situation in Gaza is one of growing misery," the top United Nations official in the war‑torn territory said today, telling reporters it was "shameful" that Israeli politics had stranded tons of relief supplies at blocked crossing points and, in the latest blow to the beleaguered recovery effort, armed Hamas police had broken into a warehouse and seized thousands of blankets and food packs meant for needy Gaza residents.
...the Agency expected to run out of the plastic bags it needed to pre‑package relief supplies by Sunday... We are having no success at the operation level [and that] is feeding the despair and frustration of the people," he said.
He frankly could not understand why the flow of basic necessities, building materials and school supplies was being obstructed. "It’s beyond comprehension. I need these questions answered simply," he continued, saying he was tired of hearing the same "circular argument rationalized by political analysis" about who might get access to this or that. The politicians were not paying the price. Students and ordinary people were being hurt, because they were being denied access to educational materials and basic necessities. Everyone knew that all this would lead to more desperation, more anger and more violence."
I'm sure this works out well for Israel. More anger and violence by Palestinians = more reasons to attack them again.
Canada's first convicted terrorist was back in court this week. WP blogged about his trial here. He was convicted in September 2008 of "participating in terrorist activities' but his conviction has not technically been registered, pending the outcome of the defence's abuse-of-process motion to have the charges stayed.
His trial and conviction is just pathetic and shameful. If it wasn't for the "US-compliant Anti-Terrorism Act" the worst thing they could have convicted this underage defendant with is shoplifting that was not even related to the 'plot'. As it is, he could get ten years in prison. His most damning entry on the audio tapes presented at the trial was to ask "if Muslims were allowed to use Nivea cream."
The defendant's lawyer is planning to argue that the police agent who recruited the teen for the 'terrorist training camp' (by telling him it was a religious retreat) had committed more illegal acts than his client.
|From the Galloping Beaver: http://thegallopingbeaver.blogspot.com/
Toronto18/ Paintball11/ Tim Hortons10 terrorist fatcamp update
Mubin Shaikh on Friday:
"I thought that if the RCMP didn't tell me I couldn't do it, I inferred that I could do it," Mr. Shaikh testified.
Lawyers for Canada's first underage convicted terrorist argued in court Friday that without Mubin Shaikh, assigned by CSIS and paid by the RCMP, there would have been no terrorist conspiracy at all.
In fact, minus Canada's new US-compliant Anti-Terrorism Act, the most he could have been charged with is shoplifting - and shoplifting items that were not even used in the RCMP/CSIS plot to, uh, blow up the Houses of Parliament, along with CBC and CSIS, although they weren't sure where the parliament buildings were, and behead Prime Minister Paul Martin, having failed to note he was no longer the PM.
Let's review, courtesy of Thomas Walkom, our young convicted terrorist's complicity in the plot :
He did not make bombs or buy guns. Nor did he advocate doing so.
His most damning entry on the audio tapes helpfully provided by Mr Mehta, who testified along with the other crown witness at the kid's trial in September that he believed him to be innocent, was to ask "if Muslims can use Nivea cream".
So what was he convicted of ?
"Under the anti-terror legislation, the government doesn't need to prove an accused terrorist took part in or even knew about a specific plot.
Oh well, the kid definitely qualifies then.
"I don't believe that (he) is a terrorist," he said outside the courtroom.
And yet under "our system", if the kid's lawyers are not successful in overturning his conviction by a sole judge, the kid could get ten years for, as Hysperia remarked in comments at the time, "something that someone else might have been doing without his knowledge.".
Bob Dylan-Masters of War-Woodstock 1994
After the masters of war claimed they had met all their objectives in Gaza (just in time for the coronation of the Prince of Change) it looks like they weren't quite finished after all. The Guardian reported today that Israel is threatening a "fierce and disproportionate" response to recent Palestinian rocket fire. (I guess disproportionate attacks are the 'norm' now, no need to even pretend your actions are moral.) Zippy L, whose Kadima party is trailing Bibi N's Lukids in the polls with just nine days to the election, is demanding immediate reprisals. "We need to use strength and a lot of it, there is no reason to wait," she said. Ehud B is reported to be preparing the army for a surprise attack. (Making sure there are getting lots of ruffage in their diets I suppose.) He said, "Hamas was dealt a severe blow and it will be dealt one again." (Well actually, I think he means the imprisoned civilian population of Gaza will be dealt another severe blow).
Meanwhile, Hamas is busy threatening peace and reported to be considering an Egyptian brokered year long truce which would begin on Thursday.
Update: Thanks to Littlehorn for pointing out to me that the slide show pictures I had posted here of Gazans breaking through the border of Rafah were from the Guardian Jan 2008. They were linked on the same page as the article from which I took the information on the above post, along with some other articles from Jan 2009 so I mistakenly assumed they were current. My apologies for having posted them. This article from Guardian (Feb. 1 2009) describes the food crisis that Gazans are facing.
"...between 35% and 60% of the agriculture industry has been wrecked by the three-week Israeli attack, which followed two years of economic siege.
...it is going to be almost impossible for Gaza to produce the food it needs for the next six to eight months, assuming that the agriculture can be rehabilitated.
...Before the blockade and the attack...Gaza produced half of its own food. Now that has declined by 25%
...The wholesale destruction of farms, greenhouses, dairy parlours, livestock, chicken coops and orchards has damaged food production, which was already hit by the blockade.
...Buildings heavily damaged during Israel's Operation Cast Lead included much of its agricultural infrastructure. The Ministry of Agriculture was targeted, the agriculture faculty at al-Azhar university in Beit Hanoun largely destroyed, and the offices of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees in Zaitoun - which provides cheap food for the poor - ransacked and vandalised by soldiers who left abusive graffiti.
...Although international and local officials are still gathering figures, they believe that scores, perhaps hundreds, of wells and water sources have been damaged and several hundred greenhouses have been levelled, as well as severe damage inflicted on 60,000-75,000 dunums of Gaza's 175,000 dunums (44,000 acres) of farmable land.
Masters Of War
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.
You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.
Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.
You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion'
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.
You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins.
How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.
Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.
And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead.