Jon Stewart started out this segment from Tuesday night's show going after the Republican hand wringers such as John McCain, his BFF Lindsey Graham and Tim Pawlenty, for claiming that President Obama's change in immigration policy, where he is no longer going to deport those who would have otherwise been protected if the DREAM Act had been passed by Congress, is somehow unprecedented.
As Stewart pointed out, that's not true if you count George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, but hey, why should a few facts get in the way of Republicans coming on the air and clutching their pearls and feigning outrage? It's never stopped them before.
Stewart also knocked them for having selective amnesia and pretending that the President did not try to get these reforms passed, only to blocked by Republicans and played some footage of the news coverage back in December of 2010 when the Senate filibustered the legislation.
Stewart wrapped things up by taking a shot at Fox News and Sean Hannity for deceptively editing President Obama's statement on whether he had the authority to act unilaterally after the Congress has continually failed to act and pass the DREAM Act. I don't expect we'll be getting an acknowledgement or apology out of Hannity any time soon.
If by some miracle Hannity does say he's going to apologize, let's just hope Stewart doesn't put himself through another hour of the torture of having to sit through Hannity's show waiting for it like he did a few years ago. That had to be one of the funniest Daily Show clips I've seen in a long time because it rang so true. Watching too much Fox News or Hannity will make most sane people physically ill after a while.
Ecuador has said that Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has sought out asylum at the South American country’s embassy in London, according to Reuters. A week ago, Assange lost a bid in Britain’s highest court to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he is to be questioned on sex-crime allegations. Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Pinto told reporters that “Ecuador is studying and analyzing the request.” The controversial Assange has waged a legal war in Britain’s courts for about two years to be allowed to stay in the country, even as his website has continued to publish sensitive documents.
The situation threatens to inflame tensions between the government of Rafael Correa, Ecuador's leftist and ardently anti-Washington president, and U.S. authorities, who accuse Assange of damaging its foreign relations with his leaks.
It is also an embarrassment for Britain, where the Foreign Office whose foreign ministry on Tuesday confirmed Assange was beyond the reach of its police in the Ecuadorean embassy.
"While the department assesses Mr. Assange's application, Mr. Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorean Government," the embassy said on its website.
If Ecuador denies Assange's petition for asylum, the only option that remains through the courts is an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
While the Toronto Casseroles parade is fading, Vancouver's is only getting started.
Last week, Vancouver Casseroles in solidarity with the Quebec Students and against the austerity of Cherest and Harper took the Cambie Bridge from both ends and occupied the same for at least half an hour, cutting off all north and south bound traffic. The downtown contingent, numbering about 30 to 40 people took the bridge first and held it until joined by the much larger City Hall contingent.
Vancouver Casseroles are looking forward to bigger and better occupations, and "to bring down the Harper dictatorship and win rights for the students and all others stung by austerity. No more bailouts for banks and corporatism! No more squandering tax dollars on US directed foreign policy by way of F-35 jets. Forgive all student debts now! Free quality education for all!"
This is your Moment of Clarity #149: In North Carolina they passed a law forbidding climate science. In Michigan they barred representatives from speaking the word "vagina." Can they make thinking about reality illegal? [More at LeeCamp.net]
In every conflict, insurgency, uprising and revolution I have covered as a foreign correspondent, the power elite used periods of dormancy, lulls and setbacks to write off the opposition. This is why obituaries for the Occupy movement are in vogue. And this is why the next groundswell of popular protest—and there will be one—will be labeled as "unexpected," a "shock" and a "surprise." The television pundits and talking heads, the columnists and academics who declare the movement dead are as out of touch with reality now as they were on Sept. 17 when New York City's Zuccotti Park was occupied. Nothing this movement does will ever be seen by them as a success. Nothing it does will ever be good enough. Nothing, short of its dissolution and the funneling of its energy back into the political system, will be considered beneficial.
Those who have the largest megaphones in our corporate state serve the very systems of power we are seeking to topple. They encourage us, whether on Fox or MSNBC, to debate inanities, trivia, gossip or the personal narratives of candidates. They seek to channel legitimate outrage and direct it into the black hole of corporate politics. They spin these silly, useless stories from the "left" or the "right" while ignoring the egregious assault by corporate power on the citizenry, an assault enabled by the Democrats and the Republicans. Don't waste time watching or listening. They exist to confuse and demoralize you.
The engine of all protest movements rests, finally, not in the hands of the protesters but the ruling class. If the ruling class responds rationally to the grievances and injustices that drive people into the streets, as it did during the New Deal, if it institutes jobs programs for the poor and the young, a prolongation of unemployment benefits (which hundreds of thousands of Americans have just lost), improved Medicare for all, infrastructure projects, a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions, and a forgiveness of student debt, then a mass movement can be diluted. Under a rational ruling class, one that responds to the demands of the citizenry, the energy in the street can be channeled back into the mainstream. But once the system calcifies as a servant of the interests of the corporate elites, as has happened in the United States, formal political power thwarts justice rather than advances it.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that yanking children out of their beds and putting guns to their heads did, in fact, constitute the “infliction of emotional distress,” and told the DEA to stop doing that.
At 7 a.m. on January 20, 2007, DEA agents battered down the door to Thomas and Rosalie Avina’s mobile home in Seeley, California, in search of suspected drug trafficker Louis Alvarez. Thomas Avina met the agents in his living room and told them they were making a mistake. Shouting “Don’t you f-cking move,” the agents forced Thomas Avina to the floor at gunpoint, and handcuffed him and his wife, who had been lying on a couch in the living room. As the officers made their way to the back of the house, where the Avina’s 11-year-old and 14-year-old daughters were sleeping, Rosalie Avina screamed, “Don’t hurt my babies. Don’t hurt my babies.”
The agents entered the 14-year-old girl’s room first, shouting “Get down on the f-cking ground.” The girl, who was lying on her bed, rolled onto the floor, where the agents handcuffed her. Next they went to the 11-year-old’s room. The girl was sleeping. Agents woke her up by shouting “Get down on the f-cking ground.” The girl’s eyes shot open, but she was, according to her own testimony, “frozen in fear.” So the agents dragged her onto the floor. While one agent handcuffed her, another held a gun to her head.
Moments later the two daughters were carried into the living room and placed next to their parents on the floor while DEA agents ransacked their home. After 30 minutes, the agents removed the children’s handcuffs. After two hours, the agents realized they had the wrong house—the product of a sloppy license plate transcription --and left.
Today, actor Mark Ruffalo, star of the current movie "The Avengers," released a video calling on Americans to join the campaign. He was joined in the video by Coldplay's Chris Martin and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. The video, above, www.robinhoodtax.org, features Ruffalo drawing a Robin Hood mask on a dollar bill and calling on others to do the same.
Dozens of national organizations, celebrities including actor/director Mark Ruffalo, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Coldplay's Chris Martin, renowned economists including Jeffrey Sachs, former Goldman Sachs executives and global leaders including Desmond Tutu joined today for an unprecedented coalition, calling for a "Robin Hood Tax" on Wall Street.
In New York, Founding Fathers and notable figures will start showing their support for the Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street at statues in major squares in Manhattan, donning them with Robin Hood hats and masks
In 15 cities across the country, including New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles, America's biggest nurses union, National Nurses United, along with students, climate and AIDS activists, and faith leaders, will visit branches of JP Morgan Chase Tuesday, coinciding with an appearance before Congress by JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, whose trading loss of more than $2 billion caused many to underscore the need for new regulation and taxation of the financial sector to prevent future incidents.
"The Robin Hood Tax campaign that launches in the US today offers us a solution to kick-start our economy, to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, to help those who have lost out as a result of the financial crisis they did nothing to cause - not just here in America, but around the world," said Ruffalo.
Economists estimate that we could generate hundreds of billions of dollars annually by placing a small tax on stocks, bonds, derivatives and currencies. Experts also suggest that such a policy would help limit the reckless short-term speculation that threatens financial stability. Over 1,000 leading economists have endorsed the policy, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs and Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute.
"Wall Street and the big banks are exploiting tax loopholes while generating record profits and being rewarded with billions in bailouts and bonuses. Most of the recovery thus far has benefited the top 1%, not the 99%," said Jean Ross, RN and co-president, National Nurses United. "The Robin Hood Tax is easy to enforce, tough to evade and won't touch the bank accounts, pensions or savings of the vast majority of the American people."
"The Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax with a big ambition – to get us back on our feet through nothing more complicated than asking Wall Street to pay their fair share," said Leigh Blake of Act V, an AIDS advocacy group.
"People with AIDS are rejecting austerity budgets. A Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street could literally end the AIDS pandemic," said Jennifer Flynn of Health GAP (Global Action Project). "We simply can't afford not to implement it."
"The Robin Hood Tax will not just begin to bring basic tax fairness to Wall Street, it will help curb the destructive gambling that drove the crisis and, as we see so clearly at JPMorgan Chase, continues to threaten our economic stability and security," said Liz Ryan Murray, Policy Director of National People's Action.
"There are huge, quick transactions that add to the churning and speculation in international markets that has helped to bring the world economy to the perilous state that it's in right now," said economist Jeffrey Sachs. "The time has really arrived to put a Robin Hood tax in place. Many countries around the world are doing so. It's time for the United States to do the same."
From 1914 until 1966, the United States enforced a Robin Hood tax that raised revenue from every sale or transfer of stock. Forty countries have employed this practice—and the policy is expected to be adopted in Europe this year.
Stephen Colbert had a bit of fun with El Presidente Barack Obama for his "shocking" new policy where he's now "thrown open America's doors to people who already here" with his administrations newly announced policy of halting deportations for young undocumented immigrants.
COLBERT: This of course replaces our long standing policy of not deporting them if they were really good at baseball. This is shocking folks. This is shocking! [...] Now we can expect a steady stream of preexisting, born into their present locations.
After showing clips of Tim Pawlenty, Lindsey Graham and Karl Rove carping about President Obama using this as nothing but a "cynical political move" Colbert pointed out that President Obama needs to do something about November and that 43 point lead he's "barely clinging to" with Latino voters.
After noting that even Bloody Bill Kristol, George Will and Matt Dowd said this was the right thing for the President to do, Colbert noted "Fine but, the President's not supposed to do anything in an election year. Let alone the right thing. Now maybe I'm a conspiracy theorist, but I'm beginning to think Barack Obama is trying to get reelected. You don't see Republicans cynically pandering to Latinos like this."
Cue the RNC's Latino outreach page with stock photos of Asian children and Mitt Romney touting self-deportation during one of the Republican debates.
COLBERT: Yes, if Mitt Romney is elected, illegals will self-deport. In fact, some Americans might even join them. But folks, that's how effective... that's how effective the policy will be.
Colbert followed up with a bit mocking Neil Munro from Tucker Carlson's rag, The Daily Caller, for interrupting the President when he was announcing this policy during his press conference and pretending he didn't realize President Obama wasn't done talking and some "footage" of Colbert supposedly joining Munro at the press conference as well and heckling the President.