Three activists who travelled to Chicago for this weekend’s NATO summit were accused Saturday of manufacturing Molotov cocktails in a plot to attack U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and other targets.
But defence lawyers shot back that Chicago police had trumped up the charges to frighten peaceful protesters away, telling a judge it was undercover officers known by the activists as “Mo” and “Gloves” who brought the firebombs to a South Side apartment where the men were arrested.
“This is just propaganda to create a climate of fear,” Michael Deutsch said. “My clients came to peacefully protest.”
On the eve of the summit, the dramatic allegations were reminiscent of previous police actions ahead of major political events, when authorities moved quickly to prevent suspected plots but sometimes quietly dropped the charges, or lost the cases in court, later. Toronto computer expert Byron Sonne’s ordeal stemming from the G20 summit there two years ago is just the latest example; Sonne spent 11 months in jail on bomb-plot accusations before being cleared of all charges this week by a judge who found he had no ill intent whatsoever.
The trick is to rob them in ways that are systematic, impersonal, and almost impossible to trace to individual perpetrators. Employers, for example, can simply program their computers to shave a few dollars off each paycheck, or they can require workers to show up 30 minutes or more before the time clock starts ticking.
Lenders, including major credit companies as well as payday lenders, have taken over the traditional role of the street-corner loan shark, charging the poor insanely high rates of interest. When supplemented with late fees (themselves subject to interest), the resulting effective interest rate can be as high as 600 percent a year, which is perfectly legal in many states.
It’s not just the private sector that’s preying on the poor. Local governments are discovering that they can partially make up for declining tax revenues through fines, fees, and other costs imposed on indigent defendants, often for crimes no more dastardly than driving with a suspended license. And if that seems like an inefficient way to make money, given the high cost of locking people up, a growing number of jurisdictions have taken to charging defendants for their court costs and even the price of occupying a jail cell.
Economics Professor Richard Wolff details the problems of capitalism and urges our recognizing its obsolescence and replacing it with institutions that truly serve the people.
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Morgan Stanley (MS)’s reputation as lead underwriter may suffer from the stock market debut of Facebook Inc., whose initial public offering left investors in the largest social network disappointed.
The bank stepped in to prop up the stock from dipping below its $38 IPO price yesterday, said people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the purchases were private. Morgan Stanley, based in New York, was the only underwriter among Facebook’s 33 banks with the responsibility to support the shares, the people said.
Underwriters “are acting like the cavalry to keep this thing going up,” Eric Jackson, founder of Ironfire Capital LLC, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” “They’re not going to be here a week from now, two weeks from now, a few months from now. It does suggest that there are going to be some rocky waters ahead.”
I bought my Facebook shares on Groupon..
We’ve already covered the proposal in Texas to make TSA airport gropings illegal, and we’ve already noted that the TSA insists that it can safely ignore such a law (an argument that some dispute). However, now the Justice Department is apparently telling the Texas legislature that if it passes the law, flights out of Texas could be banned:
The Vatican is threatening to take legal action against those responsible for publishing a new book of leaked internal documents. The book sheds light on power struggles and corruption inside the Holy See and the thinking of its embattled top banker.
Pope Benedict XVI has already appointed a commission of cardinals to investigate the “Vatileaks” scandal. It erupted earlier this year with the publication of leaked memos alleging corruption and mismanagement in Holy See affairs and internal squabbles over its efforts to comply with international anti-money-laundering norms.
The publication Saturday of “His Holiness” by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, added fuel to the fire, reproducing confidential letters and memos to and from Pope Benedict and his personal secretary which, according to the Vatican, violated the pope’s right to privacy.
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement Saturday the book was an “objectively defamatory” work that “clearly assumes characters of a criminal act.” He warned the Holy See would get to the bottom of who “stole” the documents, who received them and who published them. He warned the Holy See would seek international cooperation in its quest for justice, presumably with Italian magistrates.
If you’re afraid of heights you may want to look away, and you should certainly never make friends with these daredevil photographers from Russia. We here in the U.S. have memes, young Russian photographers, it seems, have “skywalking”: the newest extremely dangerous photography fad to hit the Internet.
Skywalking basically involves a photographer making his way up to a death-defying height, and snapping a photo that’s meant to give you both a perspective you’ve never seen before, and that feeling like your stomach just made its way into your throat. Many of the photographers are in their teens, and unfortunately, with no sign of safety equipment anywhere in these photos, someone is gonna get hurt.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People today released a resolution supporting marriage equality. At a meeting of the 103-year old civil rights group’s board of directors, the organization voted to support marriage equality as a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law.
“The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NAACP. “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”
“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”