More on “financial martial law” from Big Government Conservatives

INDEX (stories follow)

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Friday, Day 153

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

“POLITICS”
CIVIL LIBERTIES TODAY
“Fascism is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary sector of monopoly capital”

THE ECONOMY
      


THE ULTRA-RIGHT
      


ENVIRONMENT




NUCLEAR POWER
      

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Friday, Day 153

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

May Day Rallies Celebrate Unity; Labor Unions and Immigrants Plan To March Side By Side

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MaydaybuttonThe May Day rallies set to take place this Sunday follow massive pro-labor protests in Wisconsin to protect collective bargaining rights of public workers. Since 2006, when more than million people marched across the United States against a harsh anti-immigrant bill, May Day has also become a key date of protests by immigrant rights groups. This year, labor and immigrant activists will march together in a move organizers say symbolizes their decision to join forces. We speak with Clarence Thomas of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union Local 10, which shut down the ports of Oakland and San Francisco on April 4, in solidarity with workers in Wisconsin. We’re also joined from Milkwalkee by Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, a key organizer behind 2006’s 70,000-strong march in Milwaukee.

Johann Hari: Frenzy Around Britain’s Royal Wedding “Should Embarrass Us All”

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WeddingbuttonUp to two billion people around the world tuned in to watch the British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, a story which has dominated TV news for weeks. The wedding buzz offers a chance to look at the monarchy, Britain’s domestic policy, and how its colonial legacy around the world affects foreign affairs today. While all eyes were on the wedding procession and the first kiss, Democracy Now! spoke with Johann Hari, a columnist at The Independent of London, who says the royal wedding frenzy should be an embarrassment to us all.

“POLITICS”

GOP worried birtherism hurting their 2012 prospects, maybe Obama was right to hold “long form” until now

It’s an interesting point. And could even suggesting that by NOT releasing his long form birth certificate until now, the President actually HELPED fuel the crazies by stringing them alone, which only helps convince independent voters that the Republicans are nuts.

I’m not one to give the President much credit for 11th dimensional chess – meaning, every apparent mis-step is really part of his super secret master plan for victory – but on the birther thing, he might be right. Roll Call:

The question of whether President Barack Obama was born on U.S. soil will have zero impact on the 2012 campaign but could significantly damage Republicans’ prospects for retaking the White House if it lingers. That was the consensus analysis of more than a dozen experienced GOP political strategists, consultants and operatives who were interviewed Wednesday within an hour of Obama going on national television to publicly release the long-form version of his birth certificate.

These Republicans were nearly unanimous in their desire to see the issue permanently put to rest because they fear it could make the party seem too extreme.

Only 26% of Iowa Republicans believe Obama born in US

Chart courtesy of the Daily Mail

More from the Daily Mail  I will say one thing.  This is a testament to the power of a good message, and message unity.  If the Republicans can sell this, then Democrats truly need to rethink why it is their messages don’t filter out as well as the GOP’s.  I’d argue that those on the left who know how to spread a message, e.g., the Netroots, are pretty much ignored by the party establishment.  Oh, they send us the occasional talking point, do the occasional conference call, and even buy a few ads on the site (which is appreciated), but we’re the ones who have a proven ability to spin a message effectively (and the party knows it).  Why are we not part of the discussion?

More on “financial martial law” from Big Government Conservatives

Big Government Conservatives are conservatives who don’t want anyone in government to have power until they control government; then they want to rule like kings.

The latest example is what’s happening in Michigan, where the new Teabag-enabled GOP governor has been given “financial martial law” powers. Our discussion of that subject is here. Rachel Maddow has been on it as well.

First, on Monday, she did one segment on state-by-state GOP overreach, and another on Michigan’s ability to use “financial martial law”.

Tuesday she followed up stunningly, with more on what’s happening in Benton Harbor, Michigan, a poor, black community next to wealthier, whiter St. Joseph. The Benton Harbor story starts at 1:10, after her generalizing intro. (About that intro, see below.)

Amazing, isn’t it? Benton Harbor, 85% black, with an average income of $10,000/year, is home to Whirlpool. A Whirlpool heir, Fred Upton, represents Benton Harbor in the U.S. House, and his former staffer, Al Pscholka, represents Benton Harbor in the state house. Pscholka’s the guy who introduced the “financial martial law” bill. And thanks to that law, Benton Harbor is first to get it in the neck. Full circle.

What do the big boys have their eye on? Fiscal health for Benton Harbor? Not quite. They want to turn Benton Harbor’s beautiful lakefront park into part of a beautiful rich-man’s golf course and housing development, and with sweeping dictatorial powers, they can do it in a blink. (Much more at this Daily Kos link and in this earlier Maddow segment on Benton Harbor.)

Privatizing a public resource so that only the rich can use it — isn’t that always the way? And don’t let that “non-profit” tag on the development agency fool you; I’m sure where there’s money, there are ways to get at it.

Don’t forget to check out the list of similarly intrusive laws before the states (8:15). Stunning in its reach.

These aren’t Teabaggers, folks; they are corporate Republicans, representing your basic Billioinaire’s Coup. The only Teabaggy thing about them is the crowd that puts them in office. This is the authoritarian big-money right, apack of crazies it seems, and the political retainers and henchmen who serve them. (The rewards for those retainers and operative, like Scott Walker for example, will be huge; count on it. Walker is set for life.)

Things are bad, and I’m afraid they won’t get better till they get a whole lot worse.

About that opening, she gets it almost right. She says this is “single most telling thing” about the choice between the two parties and how we shall be governed.

Almost, I think. What she says about the Republicans gets it exactly. The hard-right is loaded with authoritarian power-worshippers, and the “freedom-loving” masses who enable them. But the Dems? She doesn’t really tell that side of the story, and I wouldn’t assume that the organized left is the mirror inverse of the organized right. Progressive Democrats may be the opposite side of the GOP coin. Can we say the same about corporate Democrats? I don’t think so.

In fact, the fact that we can’t say the same about corporate Democrats is the very reason things won’t get better until they get worse.

Nevertheless, an excellent segment. This is what’s coming, folks, from the Teabag-enabled corporate Right. Social control with boots on.

Paul Ryan’s budget isn’t class warfare, it’s class genocide

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The thirty year long subterranean class warfare of the rich and super-rich against the middle class is entering its final phase – Class Genocide.

Until now, the top 1% has appropriated to itself the benefits of the country’s economic growth, while the middle class stagnated.  While making the tax code more regressive, they wealthy have also cut programs that helped people out of poverty and into the middle class.  In part they rich were enabled by the American middle classes’ dreams of moving up.  Particularly during the booms, entering the top 10% seemed just one stock pick or house flip away for many people, so with a little luck that low-upper bracket could soon be theirs.  Since the first government programs cut  helped move poor people into the middle class, cutting them did not hurt already middle class Americans.  There was always a racial and ethnic component to shutting down entry into the middle class that the politicians subtly played off of.

That was the old class warfare.  It unfolded so slowly that for years it just seemed coincidence that the rich always won and the middle class always lost.  Even then, the middle class was at least running in place and not losing ground, it just wasn’t gaining.  The rich were getting more, but the middle class remained stable and reasonably secure in their ability to remain in the middle class, and they had reasonable confidence that their children and grandchildren would also enjoy middle class status.  That is what made it a class – a status that could be maintained for your lifetime and passed along to your descendants.

Now everything that defined the middle class is being dismantled.  In America, you are middle class if you have a white collar job requiring a college education, or a union blue collar job, own your own home, are secure in retirement and able to pass along at least a little something to your kids.  It’s pretty much what most of us grew up expecting.

With the Ryan budget, and the radical actions Republicans governors are taking in the various states, the GOP is destroying the foundations of middle class security and its ability to ensure that middle class children can become middle class adults.  Starting with the land grant colleges of the nineteenth century, public schools, the GI Bills and student aid, the state and federal governments have built the middle class through access to education.  When I attended the University of California, a world class education cost $750 a quarter in in-state tuition.  My father was the first in his family to attend college and the GI Bill paid for it.  I hesitate to think of the state of education and student aid in ten years, when my kids are ready for college, if Paul Ryan has his way.

The Ryan budget put a fear into me, for the very first time in my life, that in retirement I could go broke from medical bills.  This is a real fear for those of us on the downside of the baby boom who are not grandfathered into Medicare as we know it.  It is also a fear for those in Medicare, or soon to be, because they would be one line of legislation away from being swept into fending for themselves in the insurance market – where insurers will not fall all over themselves to offer good coverage at reasonable prices to eighty-year old diabetic cardiac patients.

It is so much more than the “safety net” that is currently being lost.  The continued fallout from the housing bubble/mortgage crisis is going to end the 30 year mortgage for good.  Along with the bottomless cup of coffee, the 30 year mortgage is one of America’s great contributions to civilization.  The 30 year mortgage exists because of Federal support and regulation.  The 30 year mortgage turned America into a nation of homeowners.  It also turned every home into a piggy bank where each mortgage payment represented a deposit, and this increasing equity provided an emergency fund, a college fund, retirement savings and the ability to pass something along to the next generation.  Think what losing all of that will mean to what we now think of as the middle class.

Without home-ownership, retirement security and college education, what then is left of the middle class?

The effect of all these changes cumulatively ending the middle class as we know it is not an accident.  As they say about software – this is not a bug, but a feature.  In some of my next posts I will look at why changing the nature of America’s class structure (what we lulled ourselves into thinking was a practically classless society because the middle class seemed to embrace almost everyone) is not a byproduct of what is happening, but the purpose of what they are doing.

The cumulative effect of all of these changes is not simply that millions will be moved out of the middle class, it is the end of the middle class as we have known it all of our lives.  There simply will not be a middle class – there will be haves and have not’s.   It will not be the America we want or knew.

   

84% oppose GOP Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan

You know what’s not popular? Reforming Medicare such that beneficiaries “receive a check or voucher from the government each year for a fixed amount they can use to shop for their own private health insurance policy.” According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 65 percent of Americans oppose the idea — about the same number who dismissed it in 1995. And if they’re told that the cost of private insurance for seniors is projected to outpace the cost of Medicare insurance for seniors — which is exactly what CBO projects — more than 80 percent of Americans oppose the plan.

But it’s not just sweepingly ideological reforms that are unpopular. Cutting Medicare polls poorly even if you leave out the details. Almost 80 percent of Americans oppose Medicare cuts in the abstract, while 70 percent oppose Medicaid cuts. Slightly over half of the country wants the Defense Department left alone. The only deficit-reduction option that is popular? Raising taxes on the rich. That gets the go-ahead from 72 percent of us — though, as any budget wonk will tell you, it can’t solve anything beyond a small fraction of our fiscal problem.

I’m not entirely sure what Ezra means by that last sentence. Perhaps he means ONLY raising taxes on the rich rather than raising them on everyone. For example, we learned the other day that if the Bush tax cuts are permitted to lapse for everyone it would solve 75% of the deficit over the next five years, and 40% of the deficit over the next twenty years. This single Republican demand is causing between half to three-quarters of the entire deficit.

So just to clarify, the problem isn’t that raising taxes won’t help. It’s that only raising taxes on the rich won’t help nearly enough. It has to be everyone. Which kind of sucks. But might be acceptable IF the GOP makes just as large of concessions, which is unlikely.
 

More Senate Dems. now tying debt limit vote to deficit reduction

The front page of today’s Washington Post informs us that more Senate Democrats are jumping on the GOP’s campaign to tie deficit reduction to an increase in the debt ceiling. They all know that playing politics with the debt ceiling could endanger our economic recovery. My guess is that Democrats know Obama will cave and cut a deal. Instead of giving full credit to the GOP, they want some. Just shows how warped our politics have become. And, says a lot about Obama’s leadership and and complete lack of negotiating skills:

A growing number of Democrats are threatening to defy the White House over the national debt, joining Republican calls for deficit cuts as a requirement for consenting to lift the country’s borrowing limit.

The tension is the latest illustration of how the tea-party-infused GOP is driving the debate in Washington over federal spending. And it shows how the debt issue is testing the Obama administration’s clout as Democrats, particularly those from politically competitive states, resist White House arguments against setting conditions on legislation to raise the debt ceiling.

The push-back has come in recent days from Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a freshman who is running for reelection next year. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) told constituents during the Easter recess that he would not vote to lift the debt limit without a “real and meaningful commitment to debt reduction.”

Even Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), generally a stalwart White House ally, is undecided on the issue and is “hopeful” that a debt-ceiling bill can be attached to a measure to cut the federal deficit, said her spokesman, Linden Zakula. Klobuchar is also up for reelection next year.

There’s no political cost to defying the White House because the White House always gives in. And, most Senate Democrats aren’t exactly known for their strong spines either.


CIVIL LIBERTIES TODAY
“Fascism is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary sector of monopoly capital”

Glenn Greenwald: Obama’s Comments on Bradley Manning Mark “Amazing Amount of Improper Influence” in WikiLeaks Case

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GreenwaldMilitary officials have announced alleged whistleblower U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, who is suspected of leaking classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks, has been cleared to be held as a medium security prisoner at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was just transferred. Up until last week, Manning was held in 23-hour a day solitary confinement at a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia. His treatment at Quantico was condemned by Amnesty International and led to a probe by a torture expert at the United Nations. We speak to Salon.com legal blogger and constitutional law attorney Glenn Greenwald, who revealed in December that Manning was being subjected to detention conditions likely to inflict long-term psychological injuries.

DOJ Drops Probe of Whistleblower Who Exposed Bush-Era Domestic Spying, Thomas Tamm: “The Bottom Line Is I Don’t Think I Ever Broke the Law”

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WiretappingIn a national broadcast exclusive, we speak with Thomas Tamm, the former U.S. Justice Department attorney who helped expose the Bush administration’s domestic warrantless eavesdropping program that intercepted private email messages and phone calls of U.S. residents without a court warrant. On Tuesday, news broke that the Justice Department dropped its long-running criminal investigation of Tamm. The relatively quiet end to the investigation into Tamm’s warrantless wiretapping leak marks a sharp contrast to the controversy his information generated during the second half of the Bush administration about whether the government had overstepped its legal authority in response to the 9/11 terror attacks. [includes rush transcript]

Can you imagine if they investigate Halachic law in the US? On anti-Islam bigotry

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
It is a trend.  Various ambitious politicians are now rushing to investigate “shari`ah law” (this term is stupidly redundant because Shari`ah is in fact Islamic law) to prove their patriotism.   They are like Nazis in Nazi Germany investigating various aspects of Judaism.  In historical terms, Peter King and such characters will be remembered with the same scorn and contempt that we now look at Nazi anti-Semitic rabble rousers.  I mean, can you imagine the international uproar if a member of US Congress–one only–attempts to “investigate” Halachic law in the US?  It is as absurd as investigating Islamic law, and the danger of Islamic law being incorporated in the US is equal to the danger of Halachic law.  This is an open season for bigotry, and there are now increasing rewards in the political systems for expressing anti-Islam bigotry.  Worse, the cowardly president who wants to be president so bad, won’t take one courageous stand in opposition to anti-Islam bigotry because he is trying so hard to prove that he is not a Muslim, and that he never was a Muslim.  What a pathetic political landscape.  The Democratic Party is the worst element in this whole picture because they stay silent.

Starship Amerika and Obama’s GPS Surveillance (Cole in Truthdig)

from Informed Comment by Juan
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Excerpt:

‘President Barack Obama is actually siding with police who want to use GPS devices to track you without a warrant. It always disturbed me when on “Star Trek” the captain asked the ship’s computer where a crew member was and was told the person’s exact location. Even civilians such as the ship’s physician and the empathy counselor were not immune from these inquiries, the answers to which could after all sometimes have been embarrassing. Is America heading toward being one big star ship, where government officials can casually inquire at will into our whereabouts and private doings? ‘

Read the whole thing.

THE ECONOMY

Krugman: “The intimidated Fed”

Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve and Paul Krugman’s former boss (as head of the Princeton Economics Dept.), gave a first-ever press conference this week. It did not go well.

Mr. Krugman sets the stage (my emphasis throughout):

Last month more than 14 million Americans were unemployed by the official definition — that is, seeking work but unable to find it. Millions more were stuck in part-time work because they couldn’t find full-time jobs. And we’re not talking about temporary hardship. Long-term unemployment, once rare in this country, has become all too normal: More than four million Americans have been out of work for a year or more.

Given this dismal picture, you might have expected unemployment, and what to do about it, to have been a major focus of Wednesday’s press conference with Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

You might expect that, but you would be wrong. The column does a nice job of detailing the Fed’s mandate — low inflation plus low unemployment, a kind of Goldilocks balancing act. The magic numbers are about 2% inflation and about 5% unemployment.

The reality?

Goldilocks has left the building, and shows no sign of returning soon. The Fed’s latest forecasts, unveiled at that press conference, show low inflation and high unemployment for the foreseeable future.

So what has gone wrong? According to Krugman, Ben Bernanke “is allowing himself to be bullied by the inflationistas” — the people who are always seeing hyper-inflation “just around the corner” and are never ever right.

Krugman is right about the consequences: For Bernanke and the Fed to not pull the trigger condemns “millions of Americans to the nightmare of long-term unemployment”. His conclusion is merciless:

I’d say that the Fed’s policy is to do nothing about unemployment because Ron Paul is now the chairman of the House subcommittee on monetary policy. … [S]o much for the future of America’s increasingly desperate jobless.

Farewell Fed independence.

Krugman is becoming increasing desperate himself, looking here and there for a solution, or a solution-supporter. He isn’t finding one — no surprise, since neither are we — and is starting to return to his 2003 analysis; that the inflationistas are not sincerely wrong-headed, but insincere revolutionaries who want to tear up the social fabric. Bernanke’s just the latest timid national Dem (Correction: figure) to fall on his sword before them.

THE ULTRA-RIGHT

Birth Certificate just Jim Crow all Over Again

from Informed Comment by Juan
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There isn’t actually any mystery about the phenomenon of birtherism, the denial that Barack Obama is a US citizen and has a right to vote and hold office, or why obnoxious billionaire Donald Trump is resorting to it in his farce of a presidential bid.

Birthers are concentrated in former slaver, former Jim Crow states, which were forced to stop legal discrimination against African-Americans by the intervention of the Federal government from the 1960s, but many of whom retain a commitment to race and caste hierarchies as a way of ordering their societies.

A “Research 2000″ opinion poll for Daily Kos, conducted 7/27-30, 2009, discovered the geography of this myth:

‘Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not? [I am showing here poll results for “no” and not sure only – JC:]…

…No 11
Not sure 12

So 11 percent of Americans are Obama-hating conspiracy theorists. How do they break down?

………No… Not sure

Rep …28… 30
Ind ……8…. 9
Dem ….4…. 3

South ….23… 30
Midwest …6…. 4
West ……..7…. 6
Northeast 4…. 3 …’

The South can be defined as: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, and South Carolina, which, save for Texas, Florida and Virginia, is still distinctive in having very low rates of interracial marriage despite having high minority populations:

interracial marriage US 2000Interracial Marriage, US, 2000

Interracial marriage in Minnesota and Vermont is also rare. But 1/3 of South Carolinians are African-American, and in 2000, only 3.5% of Minnesotans were.

African Americans in the US, 2000African Americans in the US, 2000

That is, to see the full extent of caste as it operates in the American South, super-impose these two maps on one another.

My guess is that interracial marriage in Texas and Florida is between people of northern European heritage and those of Latino heritage, not with African-Americans in the main; Virginia is skewed by Northern Virginia, which is like the Northeast. African-Americans marrying whites accounts for 11% of interracial marriages nation-wide, but the South clearly lags here.

Low rates of interracial marriage despite high rates of racial diversity map on to prejudice and concerns about racial status. And it is precisely the intersection of these two things that predicts where birthers will be found disproportionately.

Let us compare this geography of the denial to an African-American of the right to vote and hold office on grounds of unclear ‘citizenship’ to the remarks of James M. Nabrit, Jr. in his 1939 journal article, “Disabilities Affecting Suffrage Among Negroes,” The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 8, No. 3, (Jul., 1939), pp. 383-394, this quote on p. 384:

‘It is interesting to note that the states which enjoy the most unhampered exercise of the right of suffrage and impose the fewest number of restrictions are the states which are furthest advanced economically, educationally, and socially; whereas the ten states, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, which have hinged the right of suffrage around and about by numerous restrictions such as reading and understanding tests of state and national constitutions, property qualifications (both real and personal), racial discriminations in registration, are those states of which the President [Roosevelt] asked that a study be made of their economic conditions, since they constitute, in his words, the “number one economic problem in the United States…” ‘

he adds:

“Although registration laws, poll-tax requirements, and reading and understanding constitution clauses have been upheld by the courts as reasonable exercise of legislative power for the purpose of preserving the purity of the ballot, the history of suffrage legislation in the South shows these provisions were not enacted for that pur- pose, but were designed solely to exclude Negroes from exercising the right to vote guaranteed them by the prohibition in the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Indeed, when you bring up the idea of citizenship and the laws around it, it should be remembered that neither citizenship nor right to vote for African-Americans were considered in the early history of American naturalization law (see Charles H. Wesley, “Negro Suffrage in the Period of Constitution-Making, 1787-1865,” The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr., 1947), pp. 143-168, this quote on 152-153:)

‘ The first Naturalization Law of the United States, which was approved by Congress on March 26, 1790, bestowed citizenship as a matter of right and established a uniform law. It granted this right to “free white” aliens who had resided within the jurisdiction of the United States for two years. This period of residence was lengthened to five years in 1795. The Militia Law of 1792 also contained the word “white.” The act to incorporate the District of Columbia of May 5, 1802, confined the franchise to “free white male inhabitants.” These acts and others indicate that Congressional trends were towards the restriction of citizenship to free white males. This explains in part also why no action is to be found providing for Negro suffrage. Nevertheless, the paradox of citizenship interpretation was still apparent, for a resolution of the House of Representatives on December 21, 1803, stated that the Committee to enquire and report on the effectual protection of Ameri- can seamen, resolved also “to enquire into the expediency of granting protection to such American seamen citizens of the United States, as are free persons of color.” While giving on the one hand some credence to the concept of citizenship for some, there was still the negation of suffrage participation.” ‘

Trump has gone on now to question Barack Obama’s intellectual credentials, which is sort of like Woody Allen questioning whether Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually physically powerful. He now wants undergraduate grade transcripts.

Late night talk show host David Letterman called this tactic what it is, racism.

Questioning whether an African-American can vote and hold office based on his academic accomplishments is again a way of pandering to residual Jim Crow sentiments.

The Georgia State constitution, Dr. Nabrit informed us in 1939, then had the following provision for ability to vote in that state:

‘ . All persons who can correctly read in the English Language any paragraph of the Constitution of the United States, of this state and correctly write the same in the English language when read to them by one of the registrars and all persons who solely because of physical disability are unable to comply with the above requirements but who can understand and give reasonable in- terpretation of any paragraph of the Constitution of the United States or of this State that may be read to them by any one of the registrars;

Just so the test could be targeted to the intended subset of would-be voters, the constitution further provided that:

‘F. Section 34-111 (44) Race to be noted in book. For the purpose of more easily identifying Voters, the officers in charge of the Voters’ book shall note therein, in connection with each signa- ture, the race of the person signing- that is to say, whether white or colored?

Trump is following the Karl Rove handbook, wherein you don’t smear your opponent where he is weak, you demean him where he is strong. Obama is the most cerebral president since Woodrow Wilson, so Trump-Rove (TRove?) decries him as an undeserving affirmative action baby. But where it gets really ugly is that Trump is playing to Old South conceptions of racial discrimination in voting and office-holding.
     

ENVIRONMENT
  

Big Oil fighting against new EU deep water drilling laws

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The new laws are full of common sense changes such as requiring the company to have the money to fund an oil spill, but that’s not stopping Big Oil from pushing back. The updated laws come a year after the Deepwater Horizon disaster and as the oil industry prepares for deep water drilling in Europe. The lack of accountability has always been an issue in this industry but with the increasingly dangerous drilling, it accountability has to be required. The Guardian:

Under the commission plans, tough rules would apply to all drilling sites within 200 miles of the coast. Previous piecemeal EU attempts to regulate oil drilling extended only to wells within 12 miles of shore, a limit that would have exempted BP’s Deepwater Horizon operation. The rules would cover the boundary with international waters where the legal standing of wells is unclear, and mean virtually all offshore oil drilling operations within the EU being covered.

Oil companies would have to prove they could pay for any damage caused, either through an obligation to buy sufficient insurance, or by paying into a fund. They would also have to submit detailed plans on dealing deal with any accident.

Mobile oil rigs, like BP’s Deepwater Horizon floating platform, would also be covered, with new tough rules on the kind of equipment to be used, such as blowout preventers, the failure of which was a key factor in the BP catastrophe. At present, laws requiring a high standard of safety equipment are limited to fixed rigs.

Voices from the Gulf: “One Year Later, We’re in the Same Situation as Last Year”

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
Tracie_david
One year after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, residents of affected coastal communities have reported health ailments such as severe coughing, migraines and irritations that are consistent with common symptoms of chemical exposure. Fishermen and shrimpers have reported record losses in sales and fear the spill will cause long-term damage to marine life and the economy of the region. Many residents report problems with receiving compensation claims from BP. We’re joined by David Pham of Boat People SOS, a national Vietnamese American organization working with fishing communities impacted by the BP oil spill in Alabama. We also speak with Tracie Washington, president of the Louisiana Justice Institute in New Orleans. [includes rush transcript]

Deepwater Drilling Resumes Despite Unclear Impact of BP Spill: “It is All about Hiding the Oil, Not Cleaning It Up”

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
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SucklingMany scientists remain concerned that chemical dispersants used during the BP oil spill recovery effort may have damaged marine habitats, affecting many endangered species. “You’ve got this unbelievable chemical soup out there on the order that’s never been seen before,” says our guest, Kieran Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity. Meanwhile, the federal government has awarded its first permit for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico since lifting a moratorium imposed in the aftermath of the BP spill. [includes rush transcript]

Death Toll from BP Spill Still Rising as Residents Die from Spill-Related Illnesses

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
Dahr
“We’ve had many deaths of humans directly attributed to this disaster,” says investigative journalist Dahr Jamail. “I recently spoke with Dr. Mike Robichaux, a doctor in Louisiana who’s treated scores of people. And he said, if we do not have federal government intervention immediately to deal with this and start treating people and start really cleaning this up appropriately, we’re going to have a lot of dead people on our hands.” [includes rush transcript]  

Father of Deepwater Horizon Victim: The Blowout Was “Inevitable” Due to BP’s Lack of Safety Precautions

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
FathersonOne year ago today, 28-year-old Gordon Jones was one of 11 workers killed aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded April 20. Today we speak to his father, Keith Jones, who has been critical of the operators of the rig. “BP and Halliburton and Transocean peeled back layer after layer after layer of safety protections, one after another, until this blowout was inevitable,” says Keith Jones. [includes rush transcript]

NUCLEAR POWER
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This entry was posted in Background & Analysis, Bradley Manning, Civil Liberties, Collapse, Corporations, Corruption, Environement, Events, Human Rights, Obama, Oil, Racism, UltraRight. Bookmark the permalink.

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