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Monday Morning News Jog


Things are bad in Libya this morning, but the Libyan people seem determined to push on through bullets and persecution. From CBS News:

A doctor inside the country said six days of anti-government protests — met by a brutal reaction from government security forces and alleged paid mercenaries — had left more than 300 people dead.
[…]
There were unconfirmed reports that a central government building was set on fire Monday morning, and Gadhafi’s iron grip on power seemed to be under serious threat for the first time since he seized power in a 1969 military coup. Sunday night, Gadhafi’s son went on state television to proclaim that his father remained in charge with the army’s backing and would “fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet.”

The Libyan government is itself collapsing, as members of the government are turning against the Gaddafi family and sections of the nation are being taken over by protesters. BBC reports:

Libya’s envoy to the Arab League, Abdel Moneim al-Honi, announced he was “joining the revolution” and its ambassador to India, Ali al-Essawi, told the BBC he was resigning in protest against his government’s violent crackdown on demonstrators.
Mohamed Bayou, who until a month ago was chief spokesman for the Libyan government, said the leadership was wrong to threaten violence against its opponents.
He made his comments in a statement obtained by the Reuters news agency which appeared to indicate disagreement within the ruling elite.
In another blow to Col Gaddafi’s rule, two tribes – including Libya’s largest tribe, the Warfla – have backed the protesters.

Back in the U.S.– Chris Hedges has an unforgiving post about the sale of Huffington Post to AOL.

The sale of The Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million, and the tidy profit of reportedly at least several million dollars made by principal owner and founder Arianna Huffington, who was already rich, is emblematic of this new paradigm of American journalism. The Huffington Post, as Stephen Colbert pointed out when he stole the entire content of The Huffington Post and rechristened it The Colbuffington Re-post, produces little itself. The highly successful site, like most Internet sites, is largely pirated from other sources, especially traditional news organizations, or is the product of unpaid writers who are rechristened “citizen journalists.” It is driven by the celebrity gossip that dominates cheap tabloids, with one or two stories that come from The New York Times or one of the wire services to give it a veneer of journalistic integrity. Hollywood celebrities, or at least their publicists, write windy and vapid commentaries. And this, I fear, is what news is going to look like in the future. The daily reporting and monitoring of city halls, courts, neighborhoods and government, along with investigations into corporate fraud and abuse, will be replaced by sensational garbage and Web packages that are made to look like news but contain little real news.

Arianna Huffington, Hedges argues, is no progressive:

Any business owner who uses largely unpaid labor, with a handful of underpaid, nonunion employees, to build a company that is sold for a few hundred million dollars, no matter how he or she is introduced to you on the television screen, is not a liberal or a progressive. Those who take advantage of workers, whatever their outward ideological veneer, to make profits of that magnitude are charter members of the exploitative class. Dust off your Karl Marx. They are the enemies of working men and women. And they are also, in this case, sucking the life blood out of a trade I care deeply about. It was bad enough that Huffington used her site for flagrant self-promotion, although the cult of the self has reached such dizzying proportions in American society that such behavior is almost expected. But there is an even sadder irony that this was carried out in the name of journalism.

It’s a scathing piece, very much worth reading.

An anonymous poster (and there seems to be some confusion as to who the “Anonymous” really is) has threatened the gay-bashing Westboro Baptist Church with direct action. The post has been reproduced at Cognitive Dissonance, Meg Lanker’s blog. Meg herself points out the confusion as to who is responsible for the piece, but here’s the important part:

The time for us to be idle spectators in your inhumane treatment of fellow Man has reached its apex, and we shall now be moved to action. Thus, we give you a warning: Cease & desist your protest campaign in the year 2011, return to your homes in Kansas, & close your public Web sites.
Should you ignore this warning, you will meet with the vicious retaliatory arm of ANONYMOUS: We will target your public Websites, and the propaganda & detestable doctrine that you promote will be eradicated; the damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover. It is in your best interest to comply now, while the option to do so is still being offered, because we will not relent until you cease the conduction & promotion of all your bigoted operations & doctrines.

At politicalcontext.org we don’t condone violence, but we’re fine predicting it. It’s only a matter of time before somebody takes some shots at Phelps, et al, the next time they show up at the funeral of a nine-year old, or harass the family of a fallen soldier. Hacking their web site is mild compared to the fate that, we’d guess, most Americans think WBC deserves.

Michael Moore and others suggest we wear red today in support of the workers in Wisconsin. This via Moore’s twitter feed.

Speaking of Wisconsin, the rhetoric and strategic positioning of the labor movement is increasingly taking on the character of general class war, rather than simply incremental opposition to Scott Walker’s disingenuous and unwarranted anti-collective bargaining plan. As Pat Schneider of the Capital Times reports via Z-Net, the call for universal, radical labor struggle is emerging from Madison, including public-private sector solidarity, and even a general strike:

Madison ironworker Anthony Anastasi, a private sector union member, spoke to the struggle that in the last century won the rights that are now threatened for public employees. “People literally died for our rights,” he said. “I want the public sector to know we have your back 110 percent.” The solidarity required to challenge the entire economic system will need to extend beyond public and private union members to the general public, activists said. Carmen Clark urged fellow union members to talk with friends and family about what the resistance to “the owning class” is about. “Many of them have unionism somewhere in their family closet,” she said. Labor activist Ron Blascoe declared that the time was right for a general strike — a refusal to work by all public and private workers — to pressure politicians to enact reforms. The call for such action will not come from union leadership, he predicted. “They will tell us it is too radical, but Walker’s plan is too radical. This is no time to be cautious.”

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About Matt J. Stannard

Policy Director for Commonomics USA, longtime writer, speaker, and legal & policy consultant on economic justice and public deliberation.