Bashar of Syria is a dictator; his father was a dictator. He is a war criminal, and so was his father. It does not take a lot of wit, nor investigations, to reach these conclusions. Bashar's crimes are well documented and eyewitnesses are abundant. Even a quick look at a random sample of the flood of digitized information coming from there, be it this testimony before the European Parliment, this interview with Anderson Cooper or this New York Times piece on journalist Anthony Shadid leaves no doubts about it.
With the proliferation of social media and digital technologies, it is almost impossible anymore to hide crimes at a scale and as cruel as that of the unfolding Syrian tragedy. Journalists are being killed in Syria; Marie Colvin was. Photographers are being slaughtered; Remi Ochlik was. They were heroes, as this CNN report on their deaths shows. They were heroes because they wanted to, and they did, expose the crimes of the hateful, bloodthirsty tyrant.
It is already the one-year anniversary of the ongoing Egyptian revolution. After Hosni Mubarak, one of the most hateful dictators of modern times, was forced to step down on Feb. 11, 2011, the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took control over the largest, and historically most influential, Arab country.
Headed by the 76-year-old Field Marshal Tantawi, SCAF continued Mubarak’s non-democratic, in some cases brutal, practices of cracking down on civil organizations, putting civilians into military trials, attacking peaceful protesters, self-admittedly spreading rumors and maintaining control over an already-notorious state TV.
While Occupy protesters nationwide occupy presidential headquarters, take over foreclosed homes and reclaim their encampments, Occupy Chicago has turned to the stage in their efforts to engage citizens in the grassroots’ struggle against corporate elites.
Occupy Chicago organizers produced a show based on a Charles Dickens classic titled Occupy My Heart to celebrate the movement and bring its spirit and message to a broader audience. The premiere was on Dec. 23 outside at the Lincoln Memorial in Grant Park. On Dec. 24, it was broadcast as a radio performance during Marshall Stern’s Awakened America. The play was also performed indoors for free at the Prop Theatre on Dec. 26 and at Studio BE on Dec. 27, according to Occupy Chicago’s website.
“It's a great vehicle to get people interested and to bring more people into the conversation who might not come out to a protest — but who might come to a play," Hannah Friedman, director of “Occupy My Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol,” said in a Dec. 24 Chicago Tribune article about a staged Christmas Carol-esque protest show put on by the Occupy Chicago activists.
Seven weeks before Jill Stein declared her candidacy for president, the Lexington, Mass., physician outlined her priorities in a plan she called the "Green New Deal" – jobs, climate change, universal health care and peace. When she announced her bid for the Green Party nomination on Oct. 24, 2011, the Chicago native presented herself as an alternative to the two "Wall Street parties.”
“They’re privatizing education, rolling back civil liberties and racial justice, plundering the environment and driving us towards the calamity of climate change,” she said in a news release accompanying her announcement. "… We need people in Washington who refuse to be bought by lobbyist money and for whom change is not just a slogan.”
With images of mass demonstrations and police brutality gripping the world, the Occupy Wall Street movement marked its three-month anniversary on Dec. 17. Skeptics have questioned the movement’s momentum since its beginning and have claimed it wouldn’t last long enough to deliver any significant message. But protesters around the nation are feeling stronger and more united than ever, attracting more participants and expanding their confrontations with corporate greed and influence.
“This movement has been built on the need of the working class and the middle class,” New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez told marchers during a daylong protest in Lower Manhattan. “This movement is not going anywhere, is not leaving this city, unless we take particular initiatives to close the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent."
How does the Occupy Wall Street movement move from "the outrage phase" to the "hope phase," and imagine a new economic model? In a Democracy Now! special broadcast, we bring you excerpts from a recent event that examined this question and much more.
"Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power," a panel discussion hosted by The Nation magazine and The New School in New York City, features Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore; Naomi Klein, best-selling author of the Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"; Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines; Occupy Wall Street organizer Patrick Bruner; and veteran journalist William Greider, author of Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country."
AMY GOODMAN: We turn here to New York and the Occupy movement. As participants in Occupy Wall Street continue protesting the record profits made by banks bailed out by taxpayer money, a group of grassroots activists are hitting JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo where it hurts most: the wallet. Dubbing this Saturday as "Bank Transfer Day," activists are urging people to move their money out of the largest banks in the country into local community banks and credit unions.
The reaction of Brian Williams and the mainstream media to Republican cheers for presidential candidate Rick Perry's execution record suggests they've never heard of Rainey Bethea or, for that matter, have little understanding of the American character and history. Whites, especially southern whites like the Texas governor, kill blacks, especially when times are tough. And they revel in it.
Bethea has the historic distinction of being the last human being publicly executed in the United States. He was hung on Aug. 14, 1936, in Owensboro, Ky., 120 miles southwest of Bloomington. The New York Times story on his death began, "Ten thousand white persons, some jeering and others festive, saw a prayerful black man put to death today on Daviess County's 'pit and gallows.'"
When Libyan rebels went to Bab al-Azizia in Tripoli last week, questions were raised about the success of the Libyan revolution. Is the Libyan revolution considered a victory? Would this victory have occurred without the help of NATO? Did the involvement of NATO undermine the uprising?
After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's reign collapsed, there was a strong belief among Arab leaders that the collapse of additional Arab leaders should be avoided. Evidence of this is that the Arab leaders have encouraged their brothers to fight against their people. No one among the Arab leaders has yet made a declaration regarding the right of the people to demonstrate. Not even the Arab League said a word about that.
AMY GOODMAN: On the heels of last week’s deficit agreement, which widely criticized – was widely criticized for excluding a tax hike on the wealthy, as well as any measures to tackle high unemployment, the Congressional Black Caucus has launched a month-long campaign to address staggering unemployment rates among African Americans. In Detroit, Cleveland and Los Angeles, two cities that are stops on the tour, the unemployment rates are in the 40 percent range. The caucus chair last week slammed the deficit deal as a "Satan sandwich" that unfairly harms African Americans. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Obama will embark on his own jobs tour that will take place in the middle of the caucus’s campaign.