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Reddit makes plans to ‘take out’ Republican class war posterboy Paul Ryan


 
The muscle of Reddit is being flexed once again. After their successful actions against GoDaddy, the user-submitted social news site’s group mind is threatening to “take out” Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (WI), pledging its support for his Democrat opponent, Rob Zerban, a critic of the “Stop Online Piracy Act.” Now the Congressman’s office has been forced to clarify his position (well, kind of) on SOPA.

While I’d personally love to see Paul Ryan lose his seat—or worse—it appears that what saw redditors target Ryan initially was his supposed co-sponsorship of the anti-piracy bill, which is not accurate.

Via The Atlantic Wire:

“Contrary to false reports, Congressman Paul Ryan is not a cosponsor of H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act,” said Ryan press secretary Kevin Seifert in a statement. The wrath of Reddit, which was recently tested in a successful boycot of domain registrar Go Daddy for supporting the same legislation, is proving to be more fearsome than one might expect from a website that also trades in kitten photos and WTF ephemera. This week, Reddit’s increasingly ambitious users aimed to unseat a member of Congress who supports SOPA, pointing its attention toward Ryan. “Let’s pick ONE Senator of voted for NDAA/SOPA and destroy him like we’re doing for GoDaddy,” said one user.  As a result, Reddit users began coordinating opposition research campaigns against Ryan and support for his opponent via a money bomb and widely-popular Q&A session. 

Today, in an effort to clarify his boss’s position, Ryan’s flak did not say the congressman opposes SOPA, a law that gives the federal government expanded powers to order American Internet companies to sever ties with foreign domains that offer copyrighted content such as music and films. “He remains committed to advancing policies that protect free speech and foster innovation online and will continue to follow the House Judiciary Committee’s deliberations on this issue carefully,” said Ryan’s spokesman.

What’s fascinating about all this—even if the facts are a bit muddled—is how a nameless, faceless online community has the potential to scare the bejusus out of corporations and rightwing class warriors like Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin pol is considered to be the most vulnerable high-ranking House Republican already, due to voter fears that the so-called “Ryan Plan” that he authored, would end Medicare.

That’s what happens when you piss on the “third rail” of American politics. A Google search for “Paul Ryan” + “vulnerable” brings up over 3.6 million results. Not only that, but the re-invigorated labor movement in Wisconsin hardly bodes well for Ryan’s re-election, either,  I would imagine he realizes that adding to these existing handicaps with a Reddit jihad aimed right at his forehead is not in the best interests of his continuing to draw a government paycheck.

Forbes’ E.D. Kain writes:

[A] politician who supports SOPA might have to worry about political backlash in the form of a highly motivated, spontaneously organized online group – or groups.

Between hacking outfits like Anonymous and communities like Reddit, it becomes apparent rather quickly that the power asymmetry present in our political and media status quo is shifting in ways that are impossible to predict.

Occupy Wall Street has gotten a lot of press these past few months. It may be that Reddit and other online communities have a much bigger impact in the long run than anything ad hoc tent cities and physical protests can achieve.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Rep. Ryan has received political donations of $288,600 from groups who support H.R. 3261 and just $39,950 from groups who are against it. It would appear that his vote has already been bought and paid for. When the House takes up SOPA again in January, it will be telling to see how Ryan tries to squirm his way out of this mess.

Way to go, Reddit!

Below, Paul Ryan gets roundly booed by his constituents for his shameful position on tax breaks for the rich at a “town hall” in April, 2011.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Newt Gingrich heckled/chased by Occupy Des Moines


 
Occupy Des Moines protesters razzed Newt Gingrich at the Iowa capitol this morning, disrupting the endorsement he was about to get from from Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, before heckling and chasing Gingrich and his wife Callista out of the building.

At first a fellow named David Goodner, of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, yelled “mic check” but security escorted him out almost immediately. A few minutes later several people began chanting, “Put people first,” but the press conference continued and Paulsen’s endorsement was conferred.

Soon after several protesters tried to corner him Gingrich to ask questions about his position on taxes and other things, but Gingrich’s staff held then back or he’d give them curt, dismissive answers.

The group – along with several dozen media employees – followed Gingrich and his wife Callista down the stairs of the Capitol and to a vehicle that was waiting to escort them.

They yelled at Gingrich as he walked away:

“You gave me 10 seconds, sir.  What if I had a million dollars. Would I get 10 minutes? How about an hour?”

“Speaker Gingrich, you can run but you can’t hide. We’re going to come for you everywhere you go.  You can’t show your face in public without seeing us.”

“You say you don’t like super PACs. How much money are super PACs spending on your campaign right now?”

Adam Mason of CCI explained his group’s actions today by saying they have been forced to result to disruptions since politicians won’t listen to their concerns.

“Speaker Gingrich and politicians like him have had deaf ears towards the concerns of everyday folks for too long,” Mason said. “That’s why the tea party stood up and that’s why Occupy has stood up and that’s why we continue to have to raise our voices to get them to listen.”

Keep it up folks, these bastards need to understand where you’re comin’ from… Hopefully more footage will surface of this incident as the day goes on.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Revolution Old School: The Boston Tea Party, 12/16/1773


An 8 cent stamp from 1973

On December 16th, 1773, a group of between 70 and 130 citizens of Boston, outraged they were obliged to pay taxes to the British government (who did not represent them) and by the monopoly held on much of what was imported into America at that time (like tea, silks, spices, saltpeter for making gunpowder) by the East India Company—the world’s very first mega-corporation that was somewhat synonymous with the British Empire, especially in India—took direct action and threw 342 chest of tea into Boston Harbor.

The background is probably unknown today by most Americans, but considering the irony that the name of this most iconic of American historical events has been hijacked by folks who want to give tax cuts to billionaires, it’s worth sketching out:

The East India Company, trying to stave off bankruptcy due to the undercutting of their markets by Dutch tea smugglers, asked for financial help from the British Parliament who passed Tea Act in 1773. This law exempted East India from having to pay a 25% duty (to Britain) on tea exported to America, where it was still taxed as an import. Although the price of tea actually dropped in America—pissing off the domestic tea merchants, who weren’t exempt—the Tea Act of 1773 would have set a precedent for the crown to impose more taxes in the future (like the hated Townshend Acts of six years earlier). Three colonies turned away the tea at their harbors, but in Boston, Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be boycotted. To his surprise, the angry colonists boarded three ships (dressed as Mohawk Indians) and destroyed $18,000 worth of tea, egged on by up to 7000 supporters on the shore.

Parliament’s reply was the Coercive Acts of 1774 which included tighter British military control of the colonies and a tax to repay the East India Company for the destroyed tea. Boston was to be punished by a closed port until that happened. This in turn, led to seething resentment and to the convening of the First Continental Congress, which demanded that the monarchy repeal the acts.

As most Americans know, or should know, these acts of civil disobedience lit the fuse of what would become the American Revolution. The American Revolutionary War began in 1775, but had been “brewing” for years

Dorian Cope had this to say about the Boston Tea Party at her On This Deity blog:

“As a historical and iconic act, the Boston Tea Party is to modern Americans synonymous with the spirit of their country’s independence – being the very embodiment of the New World’s rejection of Old World tyranny. It is also significant as one of the first examples of mass civil disobedience; resistance to taxation had never before resulted in the large-scale and deliberate destruction of property. But it is worth noting that, were the Tea Party to take place today, then every one of those so-called great patriots who participated would – under the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s current guidelines – be classified as “terrorists”. Hence, when casting our judgement on current resistors and freedom fighters, it is wise to remember that past political actions have always been measured by future generations solely by their success or failure – for, as Winston Churchill said, “history is written by the victors.’”

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Always a Hitch: R.I.P. Christopher Hitchens

Hitch
 
It’s impossible to know where to begin when paying tribute to an intellectual giant and truly Dangerous Mind like author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, who died today of metastized esophogeal cancer.

Far more elegant remembrances will pour in from far more skilled writers than I could ever hope to be. Here’s three hours of the guy speaking for himself on CSPAN’s Book TV show.
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
The next generation of bullies, American-style
12.14.2011
12:29 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Current Events
Food
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:


 
Comic by Nitrozac and Snaggy from The Joy of Tech.
 
(via reddit)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Not funny: ‘Family Guy’ writer’s Occupy Los Angeles arrest story


 
Patrick Meighan is “a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom Family Guy, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.” He also was arrested by the LAPD at the Occupy Los Angele encampment at City Hall. He’s posted the story of what happened when the camp was upended and of his experiences in jail.

His conclusions about the experience are not to be missed:

Finally, at 2:30 the next morning, after twenty-five hours in custody, I was released on bail. But there were at least 200 Occupy LA protestors who couldn’t afford the bail. The LAPD chose to keep those peaceful, non-violent protesters in prison for two full days… the absolute legal maximum that the LAPD is allowed to detain someone on misdemeanor charges.

As a reminder, Antonio Villaraigosa has referred to all of this as “the LAPD’s finest hour.”

So that’s what happened to the 292 women and men were arrested last Wednesday. Now let’s talk about a man who was not arrested last Wednesday. He is former Citigroup CEO Charles Prince. Under Charles Prince, Citigroup was guilty of massive, coordinated securities fraud.

Citigroup spent years intentionally buying up every bad mortgage loan it could find, creating bad securities out of those bad loans and then selling shares in those bad securities to duped investors. And then they sometimes secretly bet *against* their *own* bad securities to make even more money. For one such bad Citigroup security, Citigroup executives were internally calling it, quote, “a collection of dogshit”. To investors, however, they called it, quote, “an attractive investment rigorously selected by an independent investment adviser”.

This is fraud, and it’s a felony, and the Charles Princes of the world spent several years doing it again and again: knowingly writing bad mortgages, and then packaging them into fraudulent securities which they then sold to suckers and then repeating the process. This is a big part of why your property values went up so fast. But then the bubble burst, and that’s why our economy is now shattered for a generation, and it’s also why your home is now underwater. Or at least mine is.

Anyway, if your retirement fund lost a decade’s-worth of gains overnight, this is why.

If your son’s middle school has added furlough days because the school district can’t afford to keep its doors open for a full school year, this is why.

If your daughter has come out of college with a degree only to discover that there are no jobs for her, this is why.

But back to Charles Prince. For his four years of in charge of massive, repeated fraud at Citigroup, he received fifty-three million dollars in salary and also received another ninety-four million dollars in stock holdings. What Charles Prince has *not* received is a pair of zipcuffs. The nerves in his thumb are fine. No cop has thrown Charles Prince into the pavement, face-first. Each and every peaceful, nonviolent Occupy LA protester arrested last week has has spent more time sleeping on a jail floor than every single Charles Prince on Wall Street, combined.

The more I think about that, the madder I get. What does it say about our country that nonviolent protesters are given the bottom of a police boot while those who steal hundreds of billions, do trillions worth of damage to our economy and shatter our social fabric for a generation are not only spared the zipcuffs but showered with rewards?

In any event, believe it or not, I’m really not angry that I got arrested. I chose to get arrested. And I’m not even angry that the mayor and the LAPD decided to give non-violent protestors like me a little extra shiv in jail (although I’m not especially grateful for it either).

I’m just really angry that every single Charles Prince wasn’t in jail with me.

My Occupy LA Arrest, by Patrick Meighan
 

 

 
Via Crooks and Liars

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
A dissenting view of Occupy Wall Street from China
12.09.2011
04:00 pm

Topics:
Class War
They hate us for our freedom
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:


 
James Fallows posts some excerpts at The Atlantic from an essay, recently published in China, that takes issue with the way that much of the initial Chinese media coverage of Occupy Wall Street depicted the protest as, in Fallows words, “...yet another sign of America’s decadence and imminent collapse.”

Democracy clearly has its flaws, but OWS shows not the defects of democracy but its advantages. That protestors do not “go missing” [as they have this year in China] is thanks to the benefits of democracy, and the lack of violent conflict or loss of social order is an example of its accomplishments. The US government has not condemned nor suppressed, but rather sympathised* with the movement, nor have the crowds challenged the legitimacy of the government or the democratic system itself. Rather, OWS is happening precisely within that democratic framework.

In other words: we must change our perspective and see this demonstration as a rational expression of democracy, and the normal activity of a healthy society rather than the upheaval of it.

A Fascinating Chinese View of the Occupy Movement (The Atlantic)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Bill O’Reilly is such a huge baby
12.08.2011
02:35 pm

Topics:
Class War
Media
The wrong side of history
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:


 
Watch the thin-skinned blowhard—who REGULARLY sends his producers to stick a camera in people’s faces—lose his cool and then try to get the other guy arrested!.

Via Right Wing Watch:

Bill O’Reilly, reportedly walking out of a Newt Gingrich fundraiser held last night in DC (see update below), is asked by Wisconsin community organizer Brendan Lane if he attended the fundraiser. O’Reilly ignores him and then, with no prompting, strikes Lane with his umbrella. He then says, “Hey, sorry about that.” O’Reilly, with Lane following at a distance, then walks with his now-broken umbrella over to a Capitol police officer. Incredibly, you can hear O’Reilly say that he wants to press charges against the man he just struck.

It’s a good thing for Lane that he caught O’Reilly’s temper tantrum on tape, otherwise he could have ended up in prison, falsely accused of assault. As for O’Reilly, it’s revealing that he not only struck Lane – on tape no less – but then sought to press false charges. Will there be consequences?

UPDATE: TPM reports that O’Reilly was staying at the same hotel as the Gingrich fundraiser but did not attend.

I’d imagine that chances are pretty good that this particular video of O’Crybaby will end up on The Daily Show tonight, what do you think?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Occupy Ninjas Take Manhattan


 
Style is a weapon! The Occupy Ninjas are “The Blue Man Group” of political protest, making the Revolution look extremely cool.

Coming soon to a bank near YOU...
 

 
Via The Punk Patriot

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half’


 
I was looking for an image of an old labor movement poster that had the fat cat asking the mouse “You going let that union guy steal your cookie?” which I’ve always thought was the ultimate stick in the eye to working class people who watch Fox News and believe billionaire “job creators” deserve tax cuts, whilst union members and their families—you, know, their actual neighbors and relatives!—should have to make greater sacrifices. Instead of a vintage image, I came across the above illustration, Molly Crabapple and John Leavitt’s “We’re All in This Together,” their contribution to the terrific looking Occupy Comics project (which Alan Moore has just signed on to as well).

Isn’t that just a thing of beauty? It deserves to be a poster/lithograph too. I bet a lot of people would buy them. I certainly would. It’s something that needs to get around. and be seen.

I love the inclusion of the quote from quintessential 19th century “robber baron” Jay Gould, who (in)famously said:

“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.”

That quote (and Google) in turn led me to stumble across The Punk Patriot, who has been making politically-themed YouTube videos for some time now—that are often quite good—with the aim to promote “life, liberty and the pursuit of a less fucked-up government.” Worthy goals, indeed!

In the clip below, The Punk Patriot takes on the Reichwing echo-chamber. This is a great video to send to that Archie Bunker-ish great uncle of yours who annoyed the shit out of you on Thanksgiving with his Fox News/Dittohead nonsense…
 

 
Follow The Punk Patriot on Twitter.

Visit The Punk Patriot’s blog.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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