A good part of the reason I started blogging was because I went to a history conference at a UT branch up between Dallas and Fort Worth and found that, contrary to belief, many well known academic historians have found community history projects to be invaluable because of their focus and details. Photos rated high. Photos with details rate high. Interviews with participants in events rated high. Interviews with older people rated high if you cover their experience and perspective.
- Prairie Weather


“Protest works. Just look at the proof”


The last place you will hear about the new American labor movement is in big American outlets.

Via lambert, via susie. See them, their blogrolls, Twitter hash tag #1u and just about any other outlet where citizens can get the word out.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)

The CIW is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. Via.


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« The Pneumatics of Washington DC | Main | Memo to Congress: Unemployment Trumps Everything »

This Week In Tyranny

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post


Our image in the Muslim world would probably improve if we stopped killing so many Muslims.


It would probably also improve if we would stop lying and stonewalling about killing them.


British Prime Minister David Cameron: “The longer these questions remain unanswered, the bigger the stain on our reputation as a country that believes in freedom, fairness and human rights grows.” Jeff Kaye:

But it would be naive to believe that the British government, which sees itself as the best ally of the U.S. intelligence services, will open itself up to the kind of scrutiny needed — not without a fight. To agree to the form in which the investigation is now proposed threatens to direct the fight for accountability and justice into a blind alley. As Peter Oborne reminds us, we should remember that other “judge-led” inquiry/cover-up in 2003, when “Lord Hutton’s investigation into the death of government scientist David Kelly… failed to ask the right questions, while reaching conclusions that flew in the face of evidence.”

In addition, instead of sparking a renewed bid for a real investigation in the U.S., which is the fond hope of many anti-torture activists, a limited hang-out in the UK will only stifle the movement for accountability in the U.S., as enthusiasm for an open inquiry and prosecutions of high government officials is buried by demoralization and a feeling of futility.
Marcy is sounding more cautionary notes. Still, it’s welcome, and it’s worth keeping in mind that sometimes things take on a life of their own. If UK officials think it’s is an easy way to bury it while seeming to take action, they may find it harder to control in practice.


I started “This week in Tyranny” as a leftover link roundup from my Thursday posts with the point of documenting our slide towards a police state culture. Sometimes I feel self-conscious about the title, maybe thinking it’s a little too hyperbolic (and God knows the teabaggers have been gleefully hurling it around for the last year and a half for entirely different, specious, reasons), but stuff like this truly is indicative of an authoritarian environment where dissent is stifled. If that’s not tyrannical I don’t know what is. (Oh, and also see the almost comically creepily-titled Perfect Citizen program.)


Speaking of hyperbole, not only might “banksters” not be exaggeration, it might not be strong enough. Some at the leading edge of financial sociopathy have even begun pioneering the use of their weapons (let’s stop euphemistically calling them instruments, OK?) for crimes against humanity:

Poetry found its break with realism when T S Eliot wrote “The Wasteland”. Finance found its Wasteland moment in the 1970s, when it began to be dominated by complex financial instruments that even the people selling them didn’t fully understand.

[snip]

while the supply and demand of food stayed pretty much the same, the supply and demand for derivatives based on food massively rose – which meant the all-rolled-into-one price shot up, and the starvation began.
Via.


digby on why tyranny is able to advance as it does: “Conservatives have a very hard time with the founding documents because they really don’t believe in human rights —- they believe in property rights, which they confuse with freedom.”


Barry Eisler imagines an exchange in the White House that a proper investigative report would surely confirm:

Flack: Now, how much oil is actually leaking?

BP Exec: God, we don’t even know… our best guess at this point is, at least 60,000 barrel s a day.

Flack [shaking his head]: That’s too much. We can’t say that, at least not right away.

BP Exec: Well, it is what it is.

Flack: We don’t know what it is. You just said yourself that you’re guessing. We’ll start with a low number — let’s make it a thousand barrels a day.

BP Exec: Look, you can’t just say it and make it so. There’s –

Flack: Isn’t it true that the leak includes a thousand barrels a day?

BP Exec [snorts]: Yeah, and another 59,000 barrels on top of that.

Flack: We don’t have to mention the second part. Not yet. In fact, doing so would be irresponsible because as you just pointed out, we don’t really know. We’re just guessing. So I want us to guess lower. We’ll introduce the lower number into the public’s mind to ease the entire incident into their consciousness. Once they realize there’s a spill, we can gradually walk the number up without unduly shocking people. We’ll be sure to use the word “estimate” in connection with all numbers to ensure we have the necessary flexibility to increase the number with the passage of time, as we gain more information.

Eisler’s new book is “Inside Out” and all the purchasing information about it is currently at the top of his web page.


Alex Perry fucks up. Julie Hollar takes note. Alex Perry loses his ever loving mind. Matt Taibbi points and laughs.


Um, Joe Scarborough: Here in the internet age, the best way to get people to stop writing about Lori Klausutis’ corpse turning up in your office while you were in Congress is to never, ever, ever give anyone any reason to bring the subject up. And for God’s sake don’t give digby an excuse to draw the parallel between the media’s treatment your dead intern and its coverage of Chandra Levy. Your colleagues don’t need that whole headache dredged up again.


The Bush administration was hostile to science because it was hostile to book learnin’. The Obama administration is hostile to it because it is politically inconvenient. I’m not sure which is worse. A similar dynamic was covered here.


Say, speaking of the oil volcano, what say we put all this Cold War bullshit to bed and see if that Russian sub really could help stop it?


If “Congressional oversight” is not an oxymoron, this might be good news.


I can’t think of any issue, foreign or domestic, in which the range of acceptable Beltway opinion is as suffocatingly constricted as it is with Israel.


Athenae on why shamelessness is such an effective tactic:

I mean, you can absolutely ignore the howls for resignation because as we’ve discussed multiple times on this site, the press has the attention span of a heroin-addicted gnat and is a slave to the 24-hour news cycle and somebody, somewhere, will say something stupider tomorrow. Somebody will always say something stupider tomorrow, it’s like a law of physics.
In the capitol you can always brazen it out.


The most famous athlete to play in northeast Ohio (my home) in my lifetime left this week in the prime of his career. I hope you’ll indulge a brief link roundup. Michael Rosenberg:

There is no greater challenge in sports getting drafted by a godawful team, planting your flag in a city and working like crazy until you have turned that team into a champion.

LeBron James didn’t want the challenge. He wanted to play with his buddies.
Rick Telander:
But no player has ever [changed teams] with the pomp, phoniness, pseudo-humility, and rehearsed innocence of LeBron James and his ESPN bed-mates.
Drew Magary had had enough even before the announcement. Adrian Wojnarowski has a great article, and takes a few shots at Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s reaction. Scott Raab was more understanding:
Which brings us to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, whose response to LeDecision — a bellicose “open letter” to Cavs fans, and a bracing set of quotes about how LeBron quit in the playoffs — brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. A bum is a bum is a bum. LeBron’s a bum — and Dan Gilbert says so. And promises that the Cavs will win a title before the Heat do.

He’ll be subject to derision aplenty for it — and no doubt a talking-to from NBA Commissar David Stern — but Gilbert’s yowl is exactly what Cleveland fans want and need to hear today. A calling-out. A yowl of rage. A blood oath. It’s great stuff, and I’m grateful to him for it.
Finally, this comment (about the on-the-scene reaction) is a winner.


I WISH I COULD WRITE LIKE Logan (emph. in orig.):

I know about gas and how it’s killing the big blue marble, and I know about the gross and inhumane way it makes its way to the Chevron station around the corner. Everyone profits from the gasoline made of Nigerian oil except for the people of Nigeria. Your 19-year-old cousin from Nowheresville, FL is currently in the desert fighting to making sure my Civic has enough juice in its guts to get me to Coachella and back. I’ve seen the sad fallout from oil spills, the greasy pelicans, I’ve heard the fishermen from St. Bernard Parish who don’t know what to do with themselves right about now as expressed in their plaintive Cajun-accented speech (“Can you replace my heritage?” one asked BP reps a few weeks ago. “No, you can’t. And you gotta understand that it’s not just money; it’s more than money. You’re not gonna replace me being able to teach my kid how to fish”).

The newest horrible thing I’ve learned about gasoline is that, in an elaborate display of extortion-fu, the Unites States government is paying off Afghan warlords to allow us to use their roads to transport military goods to US troops, who are, of course, fighting Afghan warlords. And I think there’s something about heroin in there too. Supporting the gasoline industry is an evil necessity until I have enough money to get one of those nice vegetable-oil-converted-diesel numbers. Until then, I’m just another lazy American who can’t survive without her own car, passing the wind turbine generators on the drive to Coachella and thinking Gosh, what a logical, green source of energy!
Bonus Logan from the same post, on Eminem:
The problem: I know exactly what he’s put into his body because, thanks to his Atonement Tour 2010, he’s constantly yammering about it and making horrible songs in which he makes a searching and fearless moral inventory of himself—with the final moral inventory approval by Jimmy Iovine and Universal Music Group, Inc., all rights reserved.

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