Our Common Good
demnewswire:

The New York Times Endorsement: Barack Obama For Re-Election 
“…we enthusiastically endorse President Barack Obama for a second term, and express the hope that his victory will be accompanied by a new Congress willing to work for policies that Americans need.”

demnewswire:

The New York Times Endorsement: Barack Obama For Re-Election 

“…we enthusiastically endorse President Barack Obama for a second term, and express the hope that his victory will be accompanied by a new Congress willing to work for policies that Americans need.”

NYT calls it for Obama: “Mr. Romney is free to pursue this shallow, cavalier campaign for six more weeks, but he shouldn’t be surprised if voters increasingly choose not to pay attention.”
[D]emands for after-the-fact quote approval by sources and their press aides have gone too far.”

The practice risks giving readers a mistaken impression that we are ceding too much control over a story to our sources,” it says. “In its most extreme form, it invites meddling by press aides and others that goes far beyond the traditional negotiations between reporter and source over the terms of an interview.

Memorandum from New York TImes Executive Editor Jill Abramson to staff.

According to Margaret Sullivan, the Times Public Editor, a new policy is now in place that prohibits “after the fact” quote approval. 

The issue has gained attention since a July story by Jeremy Peters outlined how reporters often submit quotes to political campaign aides for approval before running a story.

New York Times, In New Policy, The Times Forbids After-the-Fact ‘Quote Approval’.

(via futurejournalismproject)

inothernews:

bobbycaputo:

oldenough2burmom:

More fun with the NYPD — Bloomberg’s personal army, the seventh largest in the world. Having a personal police force is a great investment for Bloomberg, a billionaire whose fortune was made in part through the sale of Bloomberg screens to Wall Street traders.
anarcho-queer:

New York Times Says NYPD Brutalized A Photographer
The New York Times has complained to the city’s police department after one of its photographers said he was assaulted by officers who arrested him on Saturday.
Robert Stolarik, a freelance photographer, claimed a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer “slammed” his camera into his face before he was dragged to the ground, kicked and arrested.
Stolarik was on assignment with two other reporters in the Bronx when he was stopped by police on Saturday evening.
Police ordered Stolarik to stop taking pictures of a teenage girl being arrested. When he refused, an officer reputedly grabbed Stolarik’s camera and dragged him to the ground.
Stolarik claimed he was then kicked in the back and received scrapes and bruises on his face, legs and arms as a result of the arrest. He was charged with obstructing government administration and of resisting arrest.
The New York Times reported that a video of the arrest taken by another journalist showed Stolarik face down on the pavement beneath a huddle of about six police officers.
The police claimed that Stolarik “inadvertently” struck an officer in the face with his camera when he refused to leave the scene and stop taking photographs. A spokesman for the NYPD said the force had no further comment to make on Monday.
It is the third time since December the paper has written to the force about its treatment of Stolarik, who covered the Occupy Wall Street protests for the New York Times.
Police obstructed Stolarik from taking pictures of an arrest at an Occupy Wall Street rally in December 2011, and again in January.


I had posted something about this earlier but this bears repeating.

I mean, what else can the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI) at the New York City Police Department be doing here but lying through his fucking teeth?
This is a photojournalist from the New York Times, who more than likely (aaaah Hell, I’ll say definitely) has an NYPD-issued press pass, which allows him to shoot at police and fire scenes, and this is what the fuck the NYPD allows its police officers to do — BEAT UP JOURNALISTS?
I cannot believe that a single journalistic organization on Tumblr will allow this to slip by.  If you’re a practicing journalist, then for fuck’s sake pick up on this story tomorrow and demand that DCPI Paul Browne go on the record with a full account of this incident and definitively back up his Department’s claims that it was Stolarik that initiated this criminal act.
Don’t take this bullshit from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly or his minions anymore.  For fuck’s sake, this isn’t Russia and the Police Department isn’t run by Vladimir fucking Putin.

inothernews:

bobbycaputo:

oldenough2burmom:

More fun with the NYPD — Bloomberg’s personal army, the seventh largest in the world. Having a personal police force is a great investment for Bloomberg, a billionaire whose fortune was made in part through the sale of Bloomberg screens to Wall Street traders.

anarcho-queer:

New York Times Says NYPD Brutalized A Photographer

The New York Times has complained to the city’s police department after one of its photographers said he was assaulted by officers who arrested him on Saturday.

Robert Stolarik, a freelance photographer, claimed a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer “slammed” his camera into his face before he was dragged to the ground, kicked and arrested.

Stolarik was on assignment with two other reporters in the Bronx when he was stopped by police on Saturday evening.

Police ordered Stolarik to stop taking pictures of a teenage girl being arrested. When he refused, an officer reputedly grabbed Stolarik’s camera and dragged him to the ground.

Stolarik claimed he was then kicked in the back and received scrapes and bruises on his face, legs and arms as a result of the arrest. He was charged with obstructing government administration and of resisting arrest.

The New York Times reported that a video of the arrest taken by another journalist showed Stolarik face down on the pavement beneath a huddle of about six police officers.

The police claimed that Stolarik “inadvertently” struck an officer in the face with his camera when he refused to leave the scene and stop taking photographs. A spokesman for the NYPD said the force had no further comment to make on Monday.

It is the third time since December the paper has written to the force about its treatment of Stolarik, who covered the Occupy Wall Street protests for the New York Times.

Police obstructed Stolarik from taking pictures of an arrest at an Occupy Wall Street rally in December 2011, and again in January.

I had posted something about this earlier but this bears repeating.

I mean, what else can the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI) at the New York City Police Department be doing here but lying through his fucking teeth?

This is a photojournalist from the New York Times, who more than likely (aaaah Hell, I’ll say definitely) has an NYPD-issued press pass, which allows him to shoot at police and fire scenes, and this is what the fuck the NYPD allows its police officers to do — BEAT UP JOURNALISTS?

I cannot believe that a single journalistic organization on Tumblr will allow this to slip by.  If you’re a practicing journalist, then for fuck’s sake pick up on this story tomorrow and demand that DCPI Paul Browne go on the record with a full account of this incident and definitively back up his Department’s claims that it was Stolarik that initiated this criminal act.

Don’t take this bullshit from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly or his minions anymore.  For fuck’s sake, this isn’t Russia and the Police Department isn’t run by Vladimir fucking Putin.

timekiller-s:

America’s corporations and their executives are in grave danger, warns Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader. According to Mr. McConnell, if President Obama were to find out who was giving hundreds of millions to secretive groups running political attack ads, he would “punish and intimidate” them with all the governmental tools at his disposal.

This is not one of those laughable Internet conspiracy theories. The senator actually wrote this in an op-ed essay in USA Today on Thursday as his explanation of why the Disclose Act, which would end the practice of secret political donations, is “un-American” and an attempt to limit free speech.

The vast majority of the secret money going into “social welfare” organizations like Crossroads GPS, founded by Karl Rove, is being spent on behalf of Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates, and the Disclose Act is coming up for another vote in a few weeks. So Mr. McConnell needs a new excuse for filibustering it again. But his suggestion that President Obama and Democrats want disclosure in order to compile a list of “enemies” is repugnant.

Read the rest …

rachelwalexander:

So this morning, President Obama announced that undocumented students who would be covered under the DREAM Act will no longer be deported. This policy applies to people who are under 30, arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16, have been here for at least five years and have no criminal record. They also must be currently in school, have a high school diploma or served in the military.

Obama is applying this policy via executive action, and while it’s similar to the DREAM Act, it doesn’t provide a path to legal citizenship for undocumented students. Instead, it grants a two-year “deferred action” during which an individual is essentially safe from deportation. People who are granted this deferral may then apply for work permits.

While this isn’t citizenship and doesn’t solve the immigration problem in the long term, it’s an important short-term step towards a more humane immigration policy. I was really excited reading the New York Times’ article about it, and then I decided to look at the comments. Where, naturally, I lost most of my faith in humanity.

Every time immigration comes up, people respond with all kinds of xenophobic, racist and just plain factually inaccurate stuff to justify their opposition to treating people like human beings. And I’m getting pretty sick of it. So, I’m going to pick a few choice comments from the NYT’s article and respond to them here. (Trigger warning: racism)

1) These people are illegals and by definition, criminals. Therefore they should all be deported as soon as possible.

Okay, first of all, “illegal” is an adjective, not a noun. So a person can’t be an “illegal.” But I digress.

U.S. immigration laws are civil, and violating them has historically been a civil offense, not a criminal one. Until very recently, it has been federal policy to apply prosecutorial discretion when criminally prosecuting people for violating immigration laws. This means that, except in rare cases where an undocumented immigrant committed a more serious crime, people are generally deported with only a civil infraction (the equivalent of a parking ticket) rather than a criminal conviction. Most people here illegally have never been convicted of any crime, in violation of immigration laws or otherwise.

This is now changing, as federal initiatives like Operation Streamline seek to criminalize unauthorized immigration to dissuade people from trying to come to the U.S., which brings me to my second point. Pointing out that someone has broken a law has no bearing on whether or not the law itself is just. Nobody is disputing that people who came to the U.S. in violation of its immigration laws have broken those laws. People are arguing that those laws are unfairly applied and have many, many unintended consequences which are bad both for the individuals affected and the nation as a whole. These consequences include familial separation, as well as large numbers of bright, ambitious students who are unable to attend college and contribute to the U.S. because they can’t afford tuition and aren’t eligible for financial aid because of their immigration status.

Which brings me to the they should all be deported line. As for that, I offer only this article. Next?

2) I am naturalized citizen who patiently and painstaking waited on line and went through the whole legal process. This is going to encourage more illegal immigrants crossing the border with children in tow and more anchor babies. This makes me sick to my stomach!

So, you waited in line and got legal residency. Good for you. (Seriously, good for you.)

Here’s the thing, though. U.S. immigration works on a quota system, where each country in the world has the same cap on the number of people who can get immigrant visas each year. In order to apply, you need to have a close relative, generally a sibling, parent or child, who is already a U.S. citizen (this is called an F4 application). If you’re from a country with very few applicants, like Iceland, awesome—you can get a visa pretty quickly. If you’re from a country like Mexico or the Philippines, you’ll be waiting a while. The wait for Mexico is currently somewhere between 15 and 20 years if you already have a close relative in the U.S. Waiting in line simply isn’t an option for many people, least of all those who were brought to the U.S. by their parents and have been living and going to school year for years.

In order to be eligible for Obama’s “deferred action,” someone must have already been living in the U.S. for five years. Trust me, this isn’t going to encourage anyone to cross the border who wasn’t already going to cross. And if you’re really concerned about more people crossing, your best bet would be to advocate for job creation programs in Mexico.

Finally, I’m not sure how some undocumented immigrants gaining legal rights in any way hurts or affects your status as a legal permanent resident.

3)Why don’t we just give them everything ELSE we’ve worked so hard for!
I was adopted from Italy years ago. And my parents had to spend time and money making me something I could be proud of.
And ” American Citizen.” It use to be an Honor to be an American Citizen. You use to have want it so bad you could tastes it.
Nowerdays Just dump the kid on the white houses door step say “I no speaka the english.” And wham! you an American Citizen. No questions asked.. 

But now They don’t have to work for it.

Nothing in this Executive Order will make anybody an American Citizen. First of all. And many people who come to the U.S. without documents don’t want to be U.S. citizens—they simply want to come and work.

Second of all, there is nobody who came to this country without documents who didn’t work for it. Nobody. I’ve spent the past week in the Migrant Resource Center in Agua Prieta, Sonora. We help people who have just been deported get back home and provide food, water, clothing and basic medical care. I’ve heard dozens of individuals stories, each distinct, but with many common elements. People generally pay thousands of dollars to hire a pollero to bring them to the U.S.—this in a country where making less than $30 a week is common in many central and southern states. People walk for a week or more through the brutal heat of the Arizona desert to come to the U.S., and thousands of them have died in the attempt over the past decade.  So don’t tell me people don’t work for this.

I’m going to ignore the racism in the comment about people not speaking English, except to point out that the U.S. doesn’t have an official language. But it is currently the exact opposite of easy to become a U.S. citizen, or to even get legal permanent residency.

Finally, and again, I’m not sure how some people getting more legal rights in any way diminishes or cheapens your citizenship.

4) So Obama is giving 800,000 illegal immigrants work permits. All US citizens who are out of work or have to work part time should figuratively spit in Obama’s face, since he is spitting in yours.

Ah, the jobs argument. First of all, undocumented students who apply for deferred action still have to apply to get a work permit, and I highly doubt all 800,000 of them will qualify.

With regard to the larger jobs issue: this is a pervasive anti-immigration argument, but I think it’s fundamentally flawed. First of all, a work permit isn’t a guarantee of work, so all this would do is give some undocumented students the same chance that U.S. citizens have to apply for the few jobs that are out there. I personally don’t believe that U.S. citizenship should magically confer a person with any more of a right to work than a non-citizen resident would have.

Even if you disagree, though, I would again point to this article. Often, the consequence of undocumented workers being removed is that produce is left to rot in the fields. Many other standard complaints, like that immigrants don’t pay taxes, are patently absurd as well. Immigrants pay sales tax, and those who work under fake social security numbers pay into both Social Security and Medicare, without being able to benefit from either of those programs (effectively subsidizing the rest of us). 

There’s been a longstanding argument that immigrants do jobs U.S. citizens aren’t willing to do, and I think that’s often true. But the counterargument to that—that if we enforced immigration laws and cracked down, wages in agricultural labor would rise—seems compelling as well. So what do we do?

I’m not an economist and I don’t have an answer to that. My support of immigration reform and more visas is rooted in human rights, not economic arguments. I believe people have a right to migrate where they want to and to be treated like human beings while doing so. That said, I think it’s worth pointing out what is made visible and what is made invisible when we talk about immigrants “stealing American jobs.” The rise in immigration over the past few decades, specifically to the U.S. from Mexico and other Latin American countries, is largely due to trade liberalization agreements. Agreements like NAFTA and organizations like the WTO have lifted many international barriers to trade in the name of efficiency. One effect of this has been the collapse of the rural Mexican economy for many small farmers, pushing them to migrate north. Another has been the shipping of U.S. jobs overseas, largely to Asia, where labor is cheaper.

Regardless of how you feel about trade liberalization, I think the anti-immigration argument overlooks the structural nature of free trade. It’s telling that those who decry the effect immigrants are supposedly having on the U.S. economy, notably Republican (and many Democratic) policymakers, are much more silent on the free trade agreements which encourage U.S. jobs to be shipped overseas, as well as the factors which push migrants to the U.S. These are all complicated economic questions with room for debate, but a knee-jerk, “They’re taking our jobs!” is not going to lead to sensible policy on this issue.

5) The president does not have the constitutional authority to do this. Congress makes the laws.

 There’s a legitimate conversation to be had here about the limits of executive power, and there’s certainly a problematic history of presidents using executive actions to do what they want. However, while Congress does make the laws, it’s the executive branch’s job to enforce them. Part of that means prioritizing certain methods of enforcement over others, which to my mind, is exactly what this is doing. The President has decided that applying U.S. immigration laws to students who have been in the country for years is not the best use of the government’s resources. Given the impossibility of deporting all 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S., I’d have to say I agree.  (There’s another conversation to be had about the construction of “good” vs. “bad” immigrants as it relates to the DREAM Act, but I’ll save that for later.) In the fact of a Congress which has thus far failed to pass any immigration reform laws, I think this action was both warranted and necessary.

6) What Mr. Obama did is pure politics. What kind of leadership is that?

and

Have we elected President Romney today?


We might have. Everybody is focused on the every growing population of Hispanics and as an article in the Times mentioned this week, they are forgetting that it is 2012 and not 2050.There are still many more non-Hispanic voters than Hispanic voters. A lower percentage of Hispanic people vote than do whites and blacks
.

 First of all, non-citizens can’t vote in elections. Which means nobody who is directly affected by this policy can vote. As far as the larger Hispanic community goes, of course this is a political act. Because everything the president ever does is a political act. Because he’s a politician. It’s entirely possible that President Obama realized that same-sex couples should be able to get married of his own accord, and that’s awesome. But the decision to announce that at the time he did was a political act. Pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq was a political act, just as George’s Bush’s decision to invade was a political act.

Just because something is a political act doesn’t mean it’s wrong, or corrupt, or immoral, or shallow. Politicians are always going to consider the potential effects on voters when taking stands on issues. I would argue that they probably should consider that, since they’re elected to serve voters. That doesn’t mean that Obama’s action was only about getting votes, and it doesn’t make his action any more or less valid.

Finally, I would like to point out that Hispanic and Latin@ people are not and should not be the only people who care about this issue. There are plenty of people who are concerned about undocumented immigrants who support this action wholeheartedly. As much as I’m critical of Obama, and the entire U.S. political system, I’m happy that we were able to make this small step forward, and I trust that many of my fellow non-Hispanic/Latin@ and white Americans are as well.

 There you have it. I think I touched on all the major arguments I saw in the comments, though if I missed any, somebody should let me know. Immigrant rights are human rights, and while stopping the deportation of students isn’t enough to solve the problem, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

shortformblog:

But Ms. Colvin’s frustrations were also more particular than that: she worried that her accounts of indiscriminate bombing by forces loyal to the Syrian government were not able to reach the widest possible audience.

Days before her death, she asked a fellow journalist to sidestep the online subscription requirement for her newspaper, The Sunday Times of London, and share her latest article from Syria with nonsubscribers. “Getting the story out from here is what we got into journalism for,” she wrote in a message that was republished on Wednesday by Bill Neely, the international editor for ITV News in Britain.

“You have my permission to post it, as in I will take the firing squad in the morning,” Ms. Colvin said, indicating that her bosses might object to the reposting of her articles elsewhere. “I’m just not able to technically do it, as I am still in Baba Amr.”

This puts a seriously human face on a problem widely plaguing the newspaper industry — how do you get your stories read and paid for? The Times’ paywall, implemented by News Corp. in 2010, is the worst of the worst, as you can’t even read excerpts from the stories without a subscription. Newspapers need to make money, yes, but when does the public interest, which Marie Colvin was deeply interested in, take precedent?

Today the New York Times (1/18/11) reports a big scoop.

A “Tea Party commission” convened  by Freedom Works is set to announce its crowd-sourced $6 trillion debt reduction plan—“A copy of the preliminary findings was provided to the New York Times,” Kate Zernike reports.

The story’s second paragraph critiques the plan from the right for not doing enough about Social Security and Medicare, which Zernike asserts “are two of the biggest contributors to the nation’s deficit.” This is not true, especially when it comes to Social Security—but corporate media prefer to have discussions of the deficit that bash Social Security.

The larger problem is why this proposal is being covered at all. Even Zernike’s account suggests that it doesn’t really add up:

FreedomWorks says that repealing the healthcare legislation would cut $1.2 trillion, but the Congressional Budget Office has projected that repealing the legislation would actually increase the deficit by $210 billion over the next 10 years.

It’s useful to recall how the People’s Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus was treated by outlets like the New York Times. This was a serious plan put forward by legislators and endorsed by several high-profile economists.  And it couldn’t get into the news section of the New York Times. But this thing can.

Now, imagine you have a job you can’t get time off from, or kids. Are you going to risk that precious job security, or the safety of your children, to go protest in an event that may—if you’re really lucky—get some dismissive coverage in the New York Times?

There was a time when individuals cast aside those fears because they had union-protected jobs, and unions organized events with tens of thousands of confidence-inspiring fellow members in attendance. While those events do still occur, they’re a rarity these days as union membership dwindles, the privatization of the country continues and the establishment media still don’t grant them fair coverage when they do occur. Not one of the young people I spoke to at the Occupy Wall Street protest said they were union members. Bellafante is right in the sense that they are scattered, lost and leaderless, but she never explores why that’s the case.

While the left loses the valuable organizational mechanism of unions, the right has gained corporate masters like the Koch brothers to disseminate millions of dollars into astroturfing campaigns to organize and destroy on their behalf. While the left makes signs, the right has already deployed troupes to scream at town hall events.

These are the kinds of massive oppositional forces activists find themselves facing these days: an incredibly oppressive police state and a corporate cash monster bearing down on them from the right. Meanwhile, their union support army is either in retreat or preoccupied fighting other battles on other fronts in Wisconsin or Ohio, or one of the other forty-eight states where anti-union legislation was introduced this year courtesy of ALEC, a front group that serves as proxy for corporate interests.

Instead of bemoaning the fact that protesters haven’t arrived in matching uniforms with a coherent PowerPoint presentation, these are the issues we should be addressing. Of course the majority of Zuccotti Park occupiers are young, brash and lost. They’d have to be to do something like this, and risk getting hypothermia for the chance to be ignored and belittled by the media. Young people are always the first ones willing to risk comfort and security for the romantic vision of a better tomorrow.

So the New York Times published a predictably snide, critical view of the Occupy Wall Street protests, taking particular exception to their garb and attitude:

“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” Ms. Tikka, 37, told me.

“This,” presumably was the opportunity to air societal grievances as carnival. Occupy Wall Street, a diffuse and leaderless convocation of activists against greed, corporate influence, gross social inequality and other nasty byproducts of wayward capitalism not easily extinguishable by street theater, had hoped to see many thousands join its protest and encampment, which began Sept. 17. According to the group, 2,000 marched on the first day; news outlets estimated that the number was closer to several hundred.

By Wednesday morning, 100 or so stalwarts were making the daily, peaceful trek through the financial district, where their movements were circumscribed by barricades and a heavy police presence. (By Saturday, scores of arrests were made.)


I can’t help but recollect the slightly different coverage of our most recent protest movement when it first burst forth on “tax day” in 2009. Of course, it was corporate sponsored, so I guess that makes it much more serious:
The Web site TaxDayTeaParty.com listed its sponsors, including FreedomWorks, a group founded by Dick Armey, the former House majority leader; Top Conservatives on Twitter; and RFCRadio.com.

The idea for the demonstrations grew in part out of a blast from Rick Santelli, a CNBC commentator who on Feb. 19 at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange said that the Obama administration was promoting “bad behavior” in helping people who were at risk of losing their homes and that Americans should protest with a tea party in Chicago.

The main goal as a national organization, said Eric Odom, the administrator of the Tax Day Tea Party Web site, “is just to facilitate an environment where a new movement would be born.”

It was hard to determine from the moderate turnout just how effective the parties would be. In Philadelphia, a rally in Center City drew about 200 rain-soaked participants.

Several hundred people showed up in Lafayette Park opposite the White House, until the park and parts of Pennsylvania Avenue were cleared while a robot retrieved what the Secret Service confirmed was a box of tea bags.
[…]
In Austin, Tex., Gov. Rick Perry energized a crowd of about 1,000 by accusing the Obama administration of restricting states’ rights and vaguely suggesting that Texas might want to secede from the union.

In downtown Houston, there were some in the crowd of 2,000 that poured into the Jesse H. Jones Plaza who also wanted Texas to secede. They were joined by other conservative groups like anti-abortion activists, Libertarians and fiscally conservative Republicans. American flags abounded, along with hand-painted placards that bore messages like “Abolish the I.R.S.,” “Less Government More Free Enterprise,” “We Miss Reagan” and “Honk if You Are Upset About Your Tax Dollars Being Spent on Illegal Aliens.” [oh my goodness. You mean conservative protests mix up their causes too??? Somebody should organize them properly.]

In Boston, the birthplace of the original tea party, the protest was on Boston Common, near the State House. The crowd, initially about 500, grew throughout the day.

“I’m not happy with the way our government is managing our taxes,” said Jo Ouimete, 54, of Northampton, Mass., who was holding an umbrella with an American flag pattern, even though the sun was shining. The umbrella had a tea pot on top and Red Rose tea bags hanging from it.

“The American taxpayers are really getting pressed too hard,” Ms. Ouimete said. “We can’t live like this, and our kids can’t live like this.”

Some participants were dressed in colonial garb, including Paul Jehle, of the Plymouth Rock Foundation, who is also a professional Boston tour guide. Mr. Jehle offered his enthusiastic audience a history lesson about the 1773 Boston Tea Party.


I suppose the mainstream press could have colorfully described them as a bunch of cranks making fools of themselves. But they didn’t. Apparently, it all about what costume you decide to wear. This is apparently evidence of seriousness:






They seem to have done pretty well for themselves.