© 2008 – 2020 John T. Burke, Jr.

Cairo In America

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We have seen quite a bit of hand-wringing by those in the mainstream news media about the repression against protests in Cairo during the past few weeks.  What we don’t see on television are the oppressive tactics used against protesters and journalists here in the United States.  Never mind the fact that the Obama administration refuses to prosecute any of the crimes which led to the financial crisis.  Simply protesting against the refusal of Attorney General Eric Hold-harmless to do his job can result in arrests and beatings administered by police.  At The eXiled blog,Yasha Levine discussed the targeting of journalists by police, hell-bent on squelching coverage of the Occupy movement:

Remember how in November, Bloomberg and the NYPD got a lot of heat from the city’s media establishment for the arrest rampage they unleashed on journalists covering the eviction raid on Liberty Plaza?  Cops arrested more than two dozen accredited journalists from major news outlets, including the New York Post, NPR, AFP and The Associated Press.  Hell, cops even clubbed a couple of reporters for the baggertarian rag The Daily Caller.  As a result, New York’s police commissioner made a big show of issuing an order that instructed police officers not to interfere with journalists covering OWS.

But clearly that was just for show.

Because this month the NYPD has gone out of its way to harass and arrest journalists covering OWS, especially targeting live streamers and indie journalists who can’t be counted on for propaganda support like the mainstream folks.  According to Free Press’ Josh Stearns, who has been maintaining a list of journalists arrested while covering the Occupy Movement across the country, at least five journalists and seven live streamers were arrested by the NYPD in the first half of December.

*   *   *

The NYPD continued harassing indie journalists five days later during the D17 protests.  Some were bashed with batons, others were threatened with having their official press passes revoked. By the end of the day, at least two journalists were arrested, including photojournalist Zach Roberts and Jennifer Dworkin, an independent filmmaker who had worked for PBS.

It will be interesting to see whether a new piece of technology, called the “Occucopter” will enable those reporters to obtain valuable images of abusive police tactics – without getting their own skulls crushed in the process.  The Guardian provided this report:

This week in New York, Occupy Wall Street protesters have a new toy to help them expose potentially dubious actions of the New York police department.  In response to constant police surveillance, police violence and thousands of arrests, Occupy Wall Street protesters and legal observers have been turning their cameras back on the police.  But police have sometimes made filming difficult through physical obstruction and “frozen zones”.  This occurred most notably during the eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, where police prevented even credentialed journalists from entering.

Now the protesters are fighting back with their own surveillance drone.  Tim Pool, an Occupy Wall Street protester, has acquired a Parrot AR drone he amusingly calls the “occucopter”.  It is a lightweight four-rotor helicopter that you can buy cheaply on Amazon and control with your iPhone.  It has an onboard camera so that you can view everything on your phone that it points at.  Pool has modified the software to stream live video to the internet so that we can watch the action as it unfolds.  You can see video clips of his first experiments here.  He told us that the reason he is doing this “comes back to giving ordinary people the same tools that these multimillion-dollar news corporations have.  It provides a clever loophole around certain restrictions such as when the police block press from taking shots of an incident.”

The American public is no longer content to sit back and do nothing while the Obama administration sits back and does nothing to prosecute those criminals whose fraudulent conduct devastated the American economy.  In my last posting, I discussed the intensifying wave of criticism directed against the President by his former supporters as well as those disgusted by Obama’s subservience to his benefactors on Wall Street.  Since that time, Scot Paltrow wrote a great piece for Reuters, concerning the Justice Department’s failure to intervene against improper foreclosure procedures.  Paltrow’s widely-acclaimed essay inspired several commentators to express their disgust about government permissiveness toward such egregious conduct.  At The Big Picture, Barry Ritholtz shared his reaction to the Reuters article:

The fraud is rampant, self-evident, easy to prosecute.  The only reason it hasn’t been done so far is that this nation is led by corrupt cowards and suffers from a ruinous two-party system.

We were once a great nation that set a shining example for the rest of the world as to what the Rule of Law meant.  That is no more, as we have become a corrupt plutocracy.  Why our prosecutors cower in front of the almighty banking industry is beyond my limited ability to comprehend.

Without any sort of legal denouement, we should expect an angry electorate and an unhappy nation.

Is there any hope for America or will we continue on our course of devolution toward becoming a banana republic?  At his Pragmatic Capitalism blog, Cullen Roche brought a glimmer of hope to some of us when he published Saxo Bank’s list of 10 outrageous predictions for 2012.  I was particularly encouraged by the third item on the list:

3. A yet unannounced candidate takes the White House

In 1992, Texas billionaire Ross Perot managed to take advantage of a recessionary economy and popular disgust with US politics and reap 18.9 per cent of the popular vote.  Three years of Obama has brought too little change and only additional widespread disillusionment with the entire US political system, and conditions for a third party candidate have never been riper.  Someone with a strong programme for real change throws his or her hat in the ring early in 2012 and snatches the presidency in November in one of the most pivotal elections in US history, taking 38 per cent of the popular vote.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed.


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Jessie Jealous

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July 10, 2008

As we approach Election Day, the longtime dream of Rev. Jessie Jealous, to become America’s first African-American President, fades away.  Jessie Jealous never got the Democratic nomination he fought for in 1984 and 1988.  Barack Obama is about to be nominated as the Democratic Party’s first African-American candidate for President of the United States.  This is obviously driving Jessie …  uhh  …  nuts.

Jessie Jealous always had problems with the allegations of Rev. Ralph Abernathy, former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, that Rev. Jealous had gone to a butcher shop, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to smear himself in cow’s blood and proclaim to the world that Dr. King had died in his (Jessie’s) arms.  Despite the claims of Jessie Jealous and Rev. Abernathy, Dr. King actually died with the Rev. Samuel (“Billy”) Kyles at his side, according to Wiley Henry of the New Pittsburgh Courier.

In January of 2001, Jessie Jealous was reported by Anthony York in, to have fathered a child out of wedlock with an aide, Karin Stanford, and used money from his nonprofit Rainbow/PUSH Coalition to pay the woman $40,000 in “moving expenses”.  The fact that Rainbow/PUSH had to pay for this was particularly stinky.

In 2002, Kenneth Timmerman’s book, Shakedown: Exposing The Real Jessie Jackson was released.  A stop at provides us with this portion of a review of Timmerman’s book by Jamal Michaels of Baltimore:

As A Black man, I’ve always been disgusted by the hypocritical, racist antics of Jesse Jackson Sr. Unmistakably, this vicious scam artist has done more to set back race relations in the United States than the KKK ever dreamed of. Kenneth Timmerman finally shines the light of truth and clarity on this scheming, conniving con man, and meticulously details his numerous, unbelievable crimes and outrages.

With the paternity storm and Jessie’s promise to drop out of the public eye for a while, (as quoted in Anthony York’s article) it appeared as though Rev. Jessie’s hopes of occupying The White House were finally dashed.

While appearing on the Sunday, July 6, 2008 edition of “Fox & Friends”, Jackson vented his spleen about Barack Obama’s Father’s Day speech, which criticized absentee fathers (such as the father of Karin Stanford’s child – i.e. Jessie Jealous).  Did he really care whether the mike was open?  I don’t believe he did.  In fact, I believe that in his cold heart, Reverend Jealous had hoped that his words would eventually find the ears of candidate Obama.  Jessie said:

See, Barack been, um … talking down to black people on this faith based … I wanna cut his nuts off. Barack, he’s talking down to black people.

(The guest to whom Jessie’s comments were addressed, has yet to be identified by the mainstream or internet-based media.)

Who is the one who has been talking down to black people?  The one who felt compelled to talk in rhymes about righteousness to his charity’s contributors, while he used their donations to pay off his own “baby momma”?

Jessie Jealous knows that as a political figure: he’s toast.   His own son, Congressman Jessie Jackson, Jr. of Illinois, found it necessary to distance himself from the remarks of Jessie Jealous with the statement: “I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric.”  Whether or not Barack Obama becomes this nation’s first African-American President, one thing is for certain:  It will never be you, Jessie Jealous.  It will never be you!