Published on May 21, 2015
democracynow.org - New cellphone video sheds light on Freddie Gray’s fatal journey in a Baltimore police van. The footage obtained by The Baltimore Sun shows Gray lying motionless as several police officers shackle his ankles and load him into the vehicle. It appears to contradict earlier police claims that Gray was “irate” and “combative.” One of the officers, Lt. Brian Rice, reportedly threatened to use his Taser on the eyewitness who was filming. We are joined by Matt Taibbi, whose latest article for Rolling Stone is “Why Baltimore Blew Up.” He writes, “Instead of using the incident to talk about a campaign of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of illegal searches and arrests across decades of discriminatory policing policies, the debate revolved around whether or not the teenagers who set fire to two West Baltimore CVS stores after Gray’s death were “thugs,” or merely wrongheaded criminals.”
Matt Taibbi: World’s Largest Banks Admit to Massive Global Financial Crimes, but Escape Jail (Again)
In an interview with Democracy Now!, Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi spoke about the recent news surrounding the five major banks - Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS - who pled guilty to rigging the price of foreign currencies and interest rates. Their fines amount up to more than $5 billion. “They were monkeying around with the prices of every currency on Earth,” Taibbi told Amy Goodman. “So, if you can imagine that anybody who has money, which basically includes anybody who’s breathing on the planet, all of those people were affected by this activity. So if you have dollars in your pocket, they were monkeying around with the prices of dollars versus euros, so you might have had more or less money fractionally, depending on all of this manipulation, every single day.”
Below is an interview with Taibbi, followed by a transcript:
Presented without comment, except to say that you should click through at the bottom and read the whole thing.
At this point, I should be used to seeing backlash against Emma Sulkowicz, but I still wasn’t fully prepared for what came this week: endless tittering of people around me in real life and in my social feeds saying they “weren’t sure” about Emma’s choice to carry her mattress to Columbia’s graduation; the insistence that Emma’s alleged assailant Paul Nungesser had been “proven innocent” by Columbia and exonerated by the NYPD; the posters someone put up around Columbia with Emma’s picture on them, calling her a “PRETTY LITTLE LIAR.”
Every time I read another version of this narrative—that Nungesser merely “picked the wrong friends,” that the complaints against him were a calculated vendetta—my stomach flopped. Don’t forget: before he appealed away the conviction, Paul Nungesser was found responsible for sexually assaulting a woman at Columbia. And I’m writing this because that woman was me.
When I filed the complaint against Paul, I didn’t know it would turn into a national event. It was over a year before Emma started carrying that weight, months before what happened at Columbia helped sparked a national dialogue about rape on college campus. I was just trying to do the right thing.
The incident happened my junior year at Columbia, when Paul followed me upstairs at a party, came into a room with me uninvited, closed the door behind us, and grabbed me. I politely said, “Hey, no, come on, let’s go back downstairs.” He didn’t listen. He held me close to him as I said no, and continued to pull me against him. I pushed him off and left the room quickly. I told a few friends and my boyfriend at the time how creepy and weird it was. I tried to find excuses for his behavior. I did a decent job of pushing it out of my mind.
Then, a year later, a friend approached me and asked if we could speak privately. She told me she’d heard that Paul had apparently raped someone, and that the story had reminded her of what he had done to me a year before. (At the time, I didn’t know that the woman he had allegedly raped was Emma, although I eventually found out: several friends who didn’t know about my incident with Paul told me as word spread and the weeks went on.)
My friend gave me the name and number of someone at Columbia I could talk to if I wanted to file a complaint. I wondered if what had happened between me and Paul was really sexual assault: there was no penetration, I had no bruises, I got away. But Columbia defines “Sexual Assault—Non-Consensual Sexual Contact” as “Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object without a person’s consent.” That is exactly what happened to me, and so I decided to file a complaint.
There is a narrative spreading that pins me as “Friend of Mattress Girl,” filing a sexual assault complaint as part of a weird collusion among girlfriends. This narrative is entirely false. At the time, Emma and I were friendly; however, we were never friends. We had never hung out one-on-one and I’d never had her number in my phone. I also never knew the identity of Paul’s ex-girlfriend, who also filed a complaint against him, until two separate reporters let her name slip while interviewing me—assuming, maybe, that I knew her. But I didn’t. I still don’t even know what she looks like or what her last name is.
Really a shame only two companies stood up on this. Anyway Brian Leber is a man I know. We did great biz together for many years. He walks thewalk on sustainable practices, using only post consumer precious metals and the cleanest sources for gems.
A link to his advocacy page.
He was the guy that had the first scientific analysis done on Chinese pet food out of his own pocket. Then he went to Senator Durbin’s staff and got him behind the first big public pushback on that product scandal. IIRC that was truly a trailblazing report, so many product issues followed of Chinese manufacture. Most recently Lumber Liquidators found out the hard way how deceptive practices are over there, and how hazardous it is to play the game like that. It’s telling a guy paid himself where the import officials failed so badly right here in the US.
Brian Leber of Leber Jeweler Inc. in Chicago, one of two companies in the jewelry industry that signed on to a statement asking the Angolan government to drop the charges against the journalist, said that he’s known de Morais for years and that they were pleased to hear that the charges have been dropped.
“It can be seen as a tacit acknowledgment that his reports of human rights abuses in the diamond fields of Angola have merit. This should strongly encourage the jewelry and diamond industry, who have largely remained mute throughout the entire trial, to seriously reflect on any role they may have played, either directly or indirectly, in the documented violence,” Leber said, adding that “In light of Rafael’s reporting, our industry needs to collectively admit the diamond trade has a long way to go before the phrase ‘conflict free’ truly lives up to its claims.”
The other jewelry company that signed that statement supporting de Morais was Tiffany & Co.
De Morais’s trial began in March but was pushed back twice, first to give his lawyers time to review additional charges brought against him on his first day in court.
Why We’re Here
In Texas, a person under the age of 18 cannot access a legal abortion without the consent of a parent or legal guardian. The vast majority of teens who seek abortion care in Texas do so with the knowledge and consent of their parents.
A small number—between 200 and 300 per year—cannot. That’s who we’re here for. Those are the Janes.
Janes are pregnant Texans under the age of 18 who cannot even consider the option of legal abortion care without the approval of a judge, because they do not have a parent or guardian who can or will, under the law, grant consent for the procedure.
Welcome to Jane’s Due Process! We are a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring legal representation for pregnant minors in Texas. If you are a pregnant teen and have questions about your pregnancy options, how to get confidential birth control, where to find an abortion clinic, emancipation, or staying in school while pregnant, CALL our 24/7 confidential hotline at 1-866-WWW-JANE (999-5263) or TEXT[no phone numbers allowed] M-F 7:00 am - 4:00 pm . Our services are entirely cost-free and judgment-free - we are here for you no matter what pregnancy option you choose!
People in Louisiana are also working to help women obtain their full rights: Louisiana Judicial Bypass Project.
Arguably the most important climate story in the world right now is the question of what’s going on in China. A recent analysis by Greenpeace found that China’s carbon dioxide emissions have plummeted nearly 5 percent, year over year, in the first four months of 2015:
That’s … unexpected. Ever since 2000, China’s annual emissions have been rising at a relentless pace, as the country has rocketed itself out of poverty, burning billions and billions of tons of coal for electricity and industry. And China’s official plan was for annual emissions to keep rising until 2030 or so. Given that China is the world’
What’s interesting about this is that the change is due almost entirely to Democrats and Democratic leaners. Since 1999, that group has gone from 35 percent socially liberal to 53 percent, and from 20 percent socially conservative to 14 percent conservative.
Republicans and Republican leaners, by contrast, have barely budged. In the 2015 polling there’s a slight dip in conservative ID and a slight spike in moderate ID, but it’s probably just noise. Generally speaking, the lines are pretty flat over the past couple of decades.
So why have Democrats changed so much? Perhaps it’s the impact of Millennials. Perhaps it’s the impact of gay marriage, which Democrats have been far more willing to accept than Republicans. Maybe MSNBC and liberal blogs have had a bigger impact than I would have guessed. I’m not sure. But the increase has been steady enough that it can’t be blamed on any specific event, like the Bush presidency or the financial crisis.
The Original Article: On Social Ideology, the Left Catches Up to the Right - gallup.com
Updating the Court on the birth-control mandate
The Obama administration notified the Supreme Court on Thursday of two more of its appeals-court victories in the running legal battles over religious groups’ protests against the new birth-control mandate in the federal Affordable Care Act. It did so in a letter submitted in two cases that have been in a kind of legal limbo at the Court for the past month.
The letter by Solicitor General Donald F. Verrilli, Jr., noted new rulings by two federal appeals courts that extended a trend of decisions rejecting claims that the government is trying to coerce religious groups such as colleges, hospitals, and other charities into helping to arrange contraceptive services to which they object for their employees or people they serve, such as college students.
The widespread activity on the non-profits’ challenges is almost certain to produce one or more major test cases for the Court for its next Term, starting in October.
Also see; Justice Alito’s letter
More: Xkcd: Degree-Off
Mike Huckabee wants to give us an important lesson about sinfulness and forgiveness. (I’ve added some missing adjectives for clarification.)
Good [i.e., white Christian heterosexual] people do regrettable and even disgusting things. … The reason that the law protects disclosure of many actions on the part of a [white Christian heterosexual] minor is that the society has traditionally understood something that today’s blood-thirsty media does not understand—that being a [white Christian heterosexual] minor means that one’s judgement is not mature. … They are no more perfect a family than any family, but their Christian witness is not marred in our eyes because following Christ is not a declaration of our perfection, but of HIS perfection.
He also has other things to say:
Huckabee … slammed President Barack Obama for inviting “some of these thugs and rioters and mob members … to sit down and have a conversation” at the White House, a reference to meetings the President held with young activists and community leaders, among others, this week.
“When people are breaking the law, they don’t get an invitation to the White House. They ought to be getting an invitation to the big house,” he said.
Do you see the difference between thugs and good families now?