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john.halle's blog

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The Stasi Stimulus

In a letter to the New York Review of Books, Jonathan Mirsky responds to an article by James Bamford with the reminder that the Snowden NSA revelations are nothing new.

"There were several thousands, of whom I was one, and after Nixon came to power it was called the Enemies’ List. Unknown to us, our phones were tapped, our letters opened, our bank accounts examined, and journeys around the US and abroad were logged. If we gave speeches they were quoted at length." Read below the fold...

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Beating Back the Dersh: Local Power and Political Reality in Brooklyn and Beyond

Most bullies will back down when stared in the eye and threatened with a big enough stick. This shouldn’t come as a surprise even when the bully in question is Alan Dershowitz leading the usual gang which materializes behind him when a college campus schedules an event to discuss some of the less attractive aspects of the policies of the State of Israel. Read below the fold...

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Aaron Swartz: What We Know So Far, What We Need to Know

Comments welcome.
The reaction to Aaron Swartz's suicide has quickly reached a level of intensity which may have surprised those who will eventually need to respond to it. Read below the fold...

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Justice for Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide on Friday, was by all accounts a remarkable person. But he was by no means a radical. In his brief role as an organizer with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, he was among those who were convinced that with sufficient pressure from its activist base, the Obama administration would eventually reveal its deeply obscured roots in traditional New Deal/Great Society liberalism. Read below the fold...

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Self-immolation and the Left: The Greens Do it Again!

(Comments appreciated. Not everyone will agree, and that's fine, of course.)

Even in the age of extreme reality television, nationally broadcasted suicides remain a blessedly rare occurrence. And so the suicide which occurred during a Huffington Post sponsored debate on third party voting probably should have received more attention than it did. Read below the fold...

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Popping the Media Bubble

An essay in support of this letter protesting the NYT's smears of OWS.
Popping the Media Bubble

Fred Hampton, Occupy and Us: Media Silence and Media Complicity Then and Now

In the early morning hours of December 4, 1969, the FBI and the Chicago Police Department stormed Black Panther organizer Fred Hampton's apartment, spraying Hampton's bedroom with machine gun fire, concluding their visit with a bullet to his head to ensure that he was "good and dead now." Read below the fold...

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Report from the front

The following is a report from the Wall Street Occupation protest march which I am now on the train returning home from. Read below the fold...

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Jane Hamsher does and says the right thing.

As folks here know, all of my very limited interactions with Jane Hamsher have ranged from tense to unpleasant e.g.

That said, her getting arrested at the WH as well as her having pledged to participate in the Oct. 6th action and what she has to say about her having done so here: Read below the fold...

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Draft former SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson for President

An idea based on Rocky Anderson's recent jeremiad-linked to below.
What do folks here think?

Dear Rocky,

We write, first, to express our strong support of your recent decision to disassociate yourself from the Democratic Party. We agree entirely with your description of it as "a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party." Read below the fold...

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Extreme "anti-racism"-- Apology Demanded

This letter is directed to two characters most here will only be vaguely aware of: Mike Albert and Tim Wise, the former the editor of the self-described radical left magazine and website Z, the latter an "anti racist activist" of some note.

So why didn't I write the president? Well, the more we scream, the better he likes it. What we need to do is figure out who is undermining our own attempts to build systems and organizations which can challenge him.

Here are two prime, albeit minor, suspects.

Dear Mike and Tim, Read below the fold...

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Open Letter to Bowers and Moulitsas Now Online

Hi Everyone,

The Open Letter to Kos is now on line for you to sign onto here.

As a strategic matter, I think this may have some potential. Notice that if DKos reverses their policy, the story is that they caved to pressure. Always a good thing to see.

If they don't they'll be shown up for being the hacks which we all know they are.

Hope some of you can find the time to sign on and/or circulate this to your networks. Read below the fold...

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Response from J. Hamsher to Open Letter to DKos

Here's the transcript. Rather thin skinned, I would say.


Dear Ms. Hamsher,
Perhaps you will consider signing on to the open letter directed against the suppression of third party organizing at DKos.
Thanks for your particularly excellent recent work at FDL.

Daily kos is and always has been a self identified democratic party blog. That's what Marcos wants.

Yes, but don't you find it problematic and hypocritical that they are promoting a third party senator while directly repressing the mere mention of third party politics?

No because bernie caucuses with the democrats. Read below the fold...

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Open Letter to Bowers and Moulitsas

Comments welcomed.


Dear Chris and Markos,

It has come to our attention that the mere discussion of progressive third party activism constitutes a terminal offense on Daily Kos and will subject any users broaching the topic to the immediate termination of their accounts. Please see here for an instance of this policy being implemented by Kos moderators. Read below the fold...

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Left to Bernie: Will Sanders Answer the Call?

The left, or what is left of it in the wake of its disastrous decision to throw in its lot with the Obama campaign and administration is finally waking up, it would seem.

Jeff Cohen formerly of Progressives for Obama, writes that Obama "is not CAVING to corporate interests." Rather, he is now capable of recognizing that "the evidence is clear that Obama is an often-willing servant of corporate interests -- not someone reluctantly doing their bidding, or serving their interests only because Republicans forced him to."

Writing in the Nation, John Nichols notes "disenchantment among Democrats who fear he is preparing to abandon the commitments made by . . . generations of Democratic leaders to not just preserve but expand Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security." Read below the fold...

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Left Establishment Censorship in the Age of Obama: A View From Outside the Gates

A topic near and dear to many here. As always, comments appreciated, as well as ideas for moving forward.

Hope everyone's signed the open letter by now. Still inching towards 5000 signatures-albeit with recent (unsolicited) signatures from Mike Gravel and Dan Hamburger.

Left Establishment Censorship in the Age of Obama: A View From Outside the Gates
Read below the fold...


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