Tuesday, May 01, 2012 4:14 PM
Live Coverage: May Day Protests Nationwide
Journalists from over 25 leading independent media outlets report on May Day actions nationwide. Welcome to media for the 99%.
Storified by The Media Consortium · Mon, Apr 30 2012 03:41:24
On May 1, immigration, labor, and occupy activists across the country will take to the streets to attempt a general strike in protest of anti-immigration legislation, economic inequality, and unfair labor practices.
Occupy Prepares for May Day: No Work, No School, No Banking | The NationOccupy Prepares for May Day: No Work, No School, No Banking | The Nation
Why This May Day MattersThis year, the day is about occupying the space and the time to create a different world. If the mainstream media was confused about Occu…
What actions have these activists planned?
On May Day, Expect Scores of Rallies, Marches, Creative Actions | Activism | AlterNetAn Occupy Wall Street organizer I know – one of the original ones, from the planning meetings before the occupation began last September …
How do these many different activists, each with their own visions, plan to coordinate together?
How to Change a System: Occupy and the Question of Non-Violence | National Radio ProjectThere’s a raging debate within the Occupy movement over what tactics should be used. On this edition, a debate from Oakland, California b…
Scott Tucker: May Day 2012: The Call for a General Strike – TruthdigIn the winter of 2011, discussion about calling a general strike had already begun within Occupy Los Angeles. At the end of January 2012,…
”On the first of May, the Occupy Wall Street movement hopes to leverage the labor holiday known as May Day and muster enough people power to blockade the Golden Gate Bridge—assuming, that is, that striking bridge workers take the lead. ‘We can’t do an action for them; we have to do the action with them,’ says Lauren Smith, a spokeswoman for Occupy Oakland.” – Mother Jones
Occupy Aching for a May Day ComebackOn the first of May, the Occupy Wall Street movement hopes to leverage the labor holiday known as May Day and muster enough people power …
The fight for labor rights and income equality has reentered mainstream awareness after the Occupy Wall Street movement started last fall, but the origin of the 99 percent’s struggle goes back to the 18th century:
Behind May Day, a centuries-long struggle for worker rights | Free Speech Radio NewsWhether among New York City’s car washers or workers in cities across the country, the gap between labor and bosses, workers and those wh…
Tuesday, May 01, 2012 11:23 AM
Today may be the biggest
event on the Occupy calendar, with protests planned in over 100 cities across
the country—not to mention the massive
marches and actions in places as far flung as Moscow and Manila.
Historically, May Day has been a European affair, despite its very American
origins. But Occupy plans to bring it all back home today with marches, dance-offs,
and of course the occasional bike cavalry ride.
So far today big outlets
like the New York Times have been
pretty silent on what’s happening, but that doesn’t mean things are quiet.
There are plenty of places to get the latest on happenings on Wall Street, Frank Ogawa
Plaza, and the dozens of
other flashpoints erupting today. Here are some of our favorites:
A lot of sources are
touting up-to-the-minute coverage of Occupy events, but Adbusters has taken it one step further. The site offers live streaming video
from Wall Street, London, Barcelona, and other international hotspots.
R88R, the creator of Utne
AltWire, has launched an aggregator site devoted
exclusively to Occupy. Here you can see the Occupy stories tweeted by
Influencers like Democracy Now! and @OccupyWallSt. The site also features
live feeds from groups like the Media
Consortium and pages featuring trending topics like pepper spray and
surveillance. But be warned: it’s addictive.
From Chicago, In
These Times has been all over today’s events. The magazine’s Uprising page
has had extensive coverage in the
lead-up to May 1, including articles on Occupy’s Spanish connection and a
growing student movement. A story published today by Rebecca Burns explores Occupy
Chicago’s Chicano roots and exactly what a general strike means nowadays.
And for those who haven’t yet
seen it, Occupy Wall Street’s official page has rapid-fire live updates
from around New York City.
The latest: Brooklyn Occupiers are crossing the Williamsburg
Bridge into Manhattan to begin a march to Wall Street. On
the West Coast, protesters and strikers have formed picket lines at LAX that
will likely delay travelers. Students in Portland
have gathered outside public schools. The site also has a number of links to
live sources like Occupied Wall Street
Journal and the Village Voice.
On Twitter, hashtags to follow are #M1GS and #GeneralStrike.
For a little context, ZNet has a number of new articles and essays
by Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, and other scholars and thinkers. Amy Goodman’s
interview with historian David Harvey, published this morning, explores the
shifting meaning of public space, from Haymarket to Occupy. In another
essay, Rachel Leone reflects on mutual
aid possibilities in a corporate society.
And from our friends at
the Media Consortium, Media for the 99% features an
interactive map of stories, events, and arrests across the country and a live
OWS stream from Free Speech TV. The site also boasts its own live coverage of
Occupy happenings, from media partners nationwide.
Image above by RMajouji, licensed under Creative Commons.
Check out Free Speech's live feed right here, and check back at Utne.com for updates later on.
Friday, October 29, 2010 5:20 PM
Two Tea Party leaders, Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin, have been jet-setting all over the country ginning up support for conservative politicians. Literally.
They’ve been flying around in a private jet like Wall Street CEOs, except they’re heading to “grassroots” rallies instead of merger talks. Meckler and Martin don’t say how outraged, ordinary citizens can find the money to support such extravagance, and they don’t have to. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in this year's Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, they can now accept unlimited funding without disclosing the identities of their donors.
No one would even know about the jets themselves, but Meckler and Martin never counted on Mother Jones, or a reporter named Stephanie Mencimer. Using public flight-tracking information, the Tea Party Patriots’ flight schedule, and some serious attention to details in the group’s own videos, Mencimer was able to figure out which jet the not-so-populist duo were using. She then traced the plane to Raymond F. Thomson, founder and CEO of a semiconductor company called Semitool, which he sold last year for a cool $364 million.
It’s both sad and hilarious to see the secret financial arrangements of the super-rich masquerading as grassroots activism. But it also shows the lengths to which reporters must go to actually report on political spending in the wake of Citizens United. There is no documentation to follow, just the contrails of private jets.
Social groups target state races
And while secret political spending has been dominated by big corporations this cycle, the legal maneuvering that liberated corporate coffers was actually performed by fringe right-wing groups targeting social issues. As Jesse Zwick emphasizes for The Washington Independent:
Groups advocating against abortion and gay marriage have waged a low-grade war on laws restricting their ability to spend money freely in elections since the early 1980s, and their victory in the recent Citizens United ruling has hardly caused them to rest on their laurels.
Our democracy is now more beholden to corporate greed than ever, but at least gays won’t be allowed to visit each other in the hospital.
This is just the beginning of corporate rights
But the implications of Citizens United extend far beyond the (critically important) realm of campaign finance itself, as Jeff Clements and John Bonifaz of the organization Free Speech for People emphasize in an interview with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales of Democracy Now! As Bonifaz notes:
Citizens United was not just a campaign finance case, it was a corporate rights case. In fact, it was an extreme extension of a corporate rights doctrine that has eroded the First Amendment for thirty years.
At its core, Citizens United grants First Amendment rights to corporations on the grounds that corporations are people, just like ordinary citizens. Sound crazy? It is.
The bill of rights for corporations?
As AlterNet’s Joshua Holland emphasizes in an interview with historian Thom Hartmann, the implications of the view that corporations are people are simply absurd. Now corporations have been granted First Amendment rights, but what happens when they start arguing for Second Amendment rights? And what would it even mean for a corporation to have Second Amendment rights?
A visual map of Campaign Cash
What are the most common themes and issues surrounding the untold amounts of cash flowing into this election cycle? To create that visual, the Media Consortium piped 10 articles by our members through Wordle. While all the articles were generally focused on this topic, they were picked at random and published between October 25-29.
For clarity's sake, we made "Tea Party" "TeaParty," "Supreme Court" became "SupremeCourt," and we also merged the first and last names of key players such as Karl Rove and Jim DeMint. Finally, we removed any extraneous words such as "the," "and," and "even." We did not combine the words corporate/corporation/corporations or Republican/Republicans (but examine the frequency as much as the size). To get the latest reporting on the funds feeding into the mid-term elections, go to www.themediaconsortium.org or follow the search term #campaigncash on Twitter. Wordle research by Amanda Anderson.
But wait, there's more!
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the mid-term elections and campaign financing by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit The Media Consortium for more articles on these issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.
Thursday, August 12, 2010 9:30 AM
The American Life League (ALL) has seized upon the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) latest teen sex stats as proof that kids don’t need sex ed after all. The data show that 58 percent of girls and 57 percent of boys between the ages of 15 and 19 report that they had never had intercourse. According to the ALL, these stats somehow prove that sex ed is a waste of time.
Amanda Marcotte of RH Reality Check argues that ALL is disingenuously lumping all non-sexually active teens together: A 15-year-old virgin is not necessarily a committed proponent of abstinence. The CDC data suggest that many teens of these erstwhile virgins are doing their best to shed their virginity. Marcotte notes than only about 12 percent of teens are interested abstinence messages, and presumably, an even smaller percentage of those kids will live up to their ideals. What the study really shows is that nearly half of teenagers are already having sex, and many others are doing their best to get in on the action. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect audience for comprehensive sex ed.
Protecting sex workers
Scientists, policy-makers, and activists gathered in Vienna last week for the International AIDS Conference. The conference is supposed to be a global meeting of the minds, but some groups feel left out of the discussion. Sex workers are on the global front lines of the battle against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Yet, Titania Kumeh reports in Mother Jones that President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a key U.S. program to fund AIDS prevention in the developing world, continues to shut out sex worker activist groups unless they repudiate their clients’ livelihood. As you might expect, denouncing sex work is not an effective way of winning the trust of sex workers.
Kumeh profiles Peninah Mwangi, an AIDS activist and sex worker. She works with several NGOs that have been turned down for PEPFAR funding because they refuse to reject sex work. Mwangi and 100 other sex workers marched outside the International AIDS Conference in Vienna last week to draw attention to PEPFAR’s discriminatory policy against sex workers.
In other HIV prevention news, Lori of Feministing follows up on a blockbuster new study out of South Africa which found that an inexpensive vaginal gel can reduce a woman’s risk of HIV infection by 39% and her risk of contracting herpes by 51%. This is huge news because the gel is a female-controlled protection method. Women apply it before and after sex. They don’t have to negotiate protection with their partners, as they do with condoms.
Putting a pretty face on femicide
High fashion and good taste don’t always go hand-in-hand. Last week, a blogger Jessica Wakeman noticed that MAC cosmetics had teamed up with the house of Rodarte to produce a line of cosmetics inspired by the U.S.-Mexico border. Some of the nail polishes had names like “Factory”, “Juarez”, and “Ghost Town.” One of the collection’s designers gushed that her clothes were inspired by female factory workers trudging to work at four o’clock in the morning, looking like they’d gotten dressed in the dark. The show featured models made up to look like extras from “Pride and Prejudice with Zombies.”
Somehow, despite their fascination with female death, the designers didn’t seem to realize that Juarez has become synonymous with violence against women, many of whom are poor factory workers picked off on their way to work.
Hundreds of women have been kidnapped and killed in Juarez since the early nineties. The situation is so dire that human rights activists brought the Mexican government before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2009 to answer for its inaction in the face of mass slaughter. “This crime had to be named explicitly to make it clear that these women were killed because they were women,” said Mexican researcher Julia Monarrez.
In Working In These Times, I explain some of the social and economic factors that made the dark streets of Juarez ideal hunting grounds for femicidal maniacs.
MAC falls flat
Nicole Guidotti-Hernández of the Ms. Blog brings a unique perspective to the MAC/Rodarte controversy, having worked for a decade as a professional makeup artist before getting her PhD:
Knowing what I know about the industry and who works in it–and knowing that MAC, in particular, markets to women of color a makeup line that caters to their skin tones with multiple pigments–I am appalled by the lack of social awareness that spawned the Rodarte/MAC collaboration.
MAC and Rodarte eventually apologized, agreed to retract the controversial names and made vague promises to donate a percentage of the proceeds to people in need in Juarez. Guidotti-Hernandez is unmoved by the gesture, “It’s hip to personify death in cosmetic colors rather than engage a bleak and violent reality.”
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.
Image by Katherine Garrenson/iStock.
Thursday, August 12, 2010 9:25 AM
News about the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation has come in smatterings. We’re well aware that there were people who weren’t impressed with its strength when it passed, and much of the bill leaves a lot still to be determined by regulators in subsequent rulemaking (By one law firm’s count [PDF], it requires 67 studies and 243 new rules to be created). And that leaves us with many moving parts, so here are a few—in motion right now—that pique our interest:
Regulators discuss how to shift away from reliance on credit rating agencies
Credit rating agencies played a critical role in the financial crisis. Triple-A ratings on risky subprime mortgage-backed securities—later downgraded to junk status—indicated just how easily the three major rating agencies, hungry for market share, were pressured into handing out ratings that were influenced by the wishes of big banks.
This week, regulators met to discuss how to meet a mandate in the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation requiring that regulators stop relying on rating agencies to gauge the amount of capital banks must hold in case of big losses. They have a year before they must implement alternative measures.
But according to The Wall Street Journal, that discussion about alternative measures—which has now been opened for public comment—is holding up efforts to craft new capital standards for banks, which “will likely prolong uncertainty” for at least a year.
And regulators seem uncomfortable about the switch—Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan said he worried that “there is a little bit of throwing out the baby with the bath water,” while FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said finding “a better substitute will not be simple.”
The FDIC is restructuring
On Tuesday the FDIC announced it was creating new divisions to comply with financial regulation requirements.
Under the new structure, the Office of Complex Financial Institutions will review bank holding companies “with more than $100 billion in assets as well as non-bank financial companies designated as systemically important,” according to the FDIC.
It will also be responsible for liquidating both bank holding companies and non-bank financial companies that are failing—in hopes of preventing future bailouts. Previously, the FDIC helped wind down some failing banks, but did not have the authority to do so for other big financial firms, such as Lehman Brothers.
Another new FDIC division, the Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection, will focus on consumer protection and enforcement for banks with $10 billion or less in assets.” (There’s also a new consumer protection bureau housed in the Federal Reserve, but we’ll get to that.)
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is still headless
There’s still no official word on who will lead this agency, but there’s been tons of speculation that it could (or should, according to a lot of people) be Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor and bailout watchdog who’s advocated for such an agency from the beginning.
She’s a candidate, and she’ll definitely have a role, the Treasury made clear last week. But no decisions had been made on size or budget yet, reported Reuters.
The big banks are contemplating the most profitable way to comply with the Volcker Rule
A provision in the Dodd-Frank bill called the Volcker Rule requires that banks limit their proprietary trading and investments (that is, the extent to which they can make bets with their own money), and manybanks are already working on finding “the best and most profitable way”—in the words of the Los Angeles Times—to comply with the new requirement.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Morgan Stanley may soon be selling off most of FrontPoint, its in-house hedge fund, making it “one of the first high-profile overhauls” caused by the new regulation. According to the Journal, Morgan Stanley will likely bring its full ownership of FrontPoint down to somewhere between 20 and 25 percent.
Goldman Sachs is also reported to be considering several methods of breaking up its lucrative proprietary trading desks. Fox Business earlier reported that one of the methods at Goldman’s disposal is to move its proprietary traders into its asset management division, where the traders could still take bets “simply by labeling a trade ‘customer- related.’” (Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag told The New York Times: “We are reviewing our options and will, of course, comply with the new legislation.”)
Proprietary trading and private equity investments account for roughly 10 percent of Goldman’s revenues, according to the Financial Times—“a higher percentage than its rivals.” But according to the L.A. Times, top Goldman executives have privately told analysts that the bank did not expect financial reform to cost it revenue—highlighting concerns about how effective this rule will actually be in limiting banks’ risky bets.
The banks have years to comply with the Volcker rule, but by most accounts, Wall Street has been fast to move, leaving manyasking why.
Oil companies don't like the part of financial reform that affects them
Oil companies are fighting a new transparency measure—which two Democratic senators inserted into the bill—that requires oil, gas, and mineral companies registered with the SEC to disclose how much they pay to foreign governments for rights to extract those resources.
The measure is meant to crack down on bribery and help ensure that foreign nations are using energy wealth fairly, and not to fuel corruption or armed groups. ExxonMobil, among others, has criticized the measure for “the non-transparent manner in which it was added” and has argued that such disclosures would put them at a competitive disadvantage, reported The Wall Street Journal.
A Congressional committee will take another look at the SEC FOIA exemption
It a little-noticed provision prior to the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill, but late last month, when Fox Business used the Freedom of Information Act to request from the Securities and Exchange Commission what it believed to be public records, the SEC cited a provision in the new financial reform bill that has since sparked an outcry.
The SEC told Fox Business that a provision in the bill exempted the agency from disclosing records or information derived from “surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities.” It has also argued that the new law is important, in order to get companies to cooperate with the agency’s requests to disclose information without fear of it going public. SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said in a July 30 letter that the provision “does not provide a ‘blanket’ SEC exemption from FOIA and is not designed to protect the SEC as an agency from public oversight and accountability.”
Nonetheless, concerns about how the breadth of the language and how it might affect transparency have continued to draw criticism from lawmakers, and some are seeking to repeal the provision.
Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he will hold a hearing on the SEC-FOIA issue. The hearing is scheduled for September.
Image by Neubie, licensed under Creative Commons.
Thursday, August 05, 2010 10:14 AM
Though Arizona’s SB 1070 went into effect without its most controversial provisions, the legislation’s stated intent—attrition through enforcement—is nevertheless gaining traction among anti-immigrant legislators across the nation. In the wake of the law’s enactment, other states are coming out in support of Arizona, some developing policy modeled after SB 1070. Others even hope to alter the U.S. constitution to deny “birthright citizenship” to children of undocumented immigrants.
Arizona stands firm against injunction
After federal judge Susan Bolton blocked numerous elements of SB 1070, Arizona governor Jan Brewer wasted no time and swiftly filed an appeal against the injunction.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for his part, has assured the public that he intends to continue enforcing state and federal immigration laws through “crime sweeps” and immigration status checks. After Arizona’s 287(g) agreement expired last year, effectively stripping local law enforcement of the right to detain individuals on suspicion of their immigration status, Arpaio similarly refused to comply, brazenly maintaining his immigration enforcement campaign.
Jamilah King of ColorLines reports that on the day that SB 1070 went into effect, Arpaio and hundreds of deputies arrested 50 protesters before completing their 17th immigration raid. Those arrested included clergy, journalists, and attorneys. Local civil rights leader Salvador Reza – a particularly outspoken critic of Arpaio’s contentious enforcement tactics, was also taken into custody, as was former state Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez.
No citizenship to “anchor babies”
Meanwhile, Arizona legislators are taking anti-immigrant sentiment to a new level and coming out in favor of potentially repealing the 14th amendment, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States.
At the Washington Independent, Elise Foley reports that Arizona senators Jon Kyl and John McCain are the latest to join the radical faction of Republican Party politicians calling for congressional hearings to reconsider the amendment. McCain’s new position is particularly curious given his historical support of comprehensive immigration reform, and past advocacy of deportees’ American children.
McCain’s about-face may be prompted by the impending election and, in particular, the considerable popularity of his Republican opponent J. D. Hayworth, who is running on a firm anti-immigrant platform.
Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive argues that the Republican focus on birthright citizenship is a malicious attempt to visit the sins of the father onto the children. Rothschild also calls attention to the fact that a whopping 94 Republicans in the House support the extremist effort.
SB 1070 paves the way
Arizona has long been a testing ground for anti-immigrant measures in the U.S. and SB 1070 is no exception. Now that the new law has gained traction, other states are following suit.
At Talking Points Memo, Christina Bellantoni reports that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) issued an opinion stating that Virginia law enforcement, including state park personnel, have the same authority to investigate immigration status as Arizona police officers.
Written as an advisory letter to state Delegate Bob Marshall, the opinion has garnered intense opposition – in part because Virginia considers official opinions of the attorney general to be laws. Cuccinelli reinforced his opinion by filing an amicus brief to stand in solidarity with Arizona in its fight against the federal government.
He’s not alone, either. Going back to the Washington Independent Foley reports that three other attorney generals and nine states have filed amicus briefs in support of Arizona’s new immigration law.
Who profits when immigrants go to jail?
While SB 1070 is argued in the courts and debated in the media, Yana Kuchinoff at Truthout reminds us that 300,000 immigrants are languishing in detention centers under notoriously poor conditions. More than 100 deaths have been reported in immigration detention since 2003, sparking investigations by Human Rights Watch, Detention Watch, and even the Department of Homeland Security.
Moreover, private companies contracted to handle the rising number of detentions are making a fortune on the nation’s broken immigration system. Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private immigration detainer in the country, has made record profits since 2003 by billing the federal government an estimated $11 million per month and cutting costs at the expense of detainees’ health and well-being. Telecommunications companies like EverCom are also profiting from detention, charging immigrants in detention as much as $17.34 for a 15-minute phone call.
The irony of our dysfunctional immigration system, Kuchinoff concludes, is that the people who end up spending the most time in detention, are those with the strongest claims for staying in the U.S.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by
The Media Consortium
. It is free to reprint. Visit
for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on
. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out
. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.
Image by PuenteAZ, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 10:35 AM
It’s difficult to break through the white noise of horserace media coverage this election cycle, when stories about lapel-pin patriotism and other frivolous distractions dominate the news headlines. The show Live from Main Street hosted a town hall meeting about how people can make their voices heard in the time before the 2008 election. It was held directly after the National Conference for Media Reform earlier this month, and a few of the highlights can be seen below.
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