Music has played an important role in the Occupy movement since the first few tents were set up in Zuccotti Park.There were the camp’s endless drum circles; famous visitors like Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco; and the massive May Day concert in New York’s Union Square. Now the movement also has its own album, out tomorrow.
Created by Music for Occupy, it’s appropriately titled Occupy This Album, and is “a compilation of music by, for and inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and the 99%.” The digital compilation features 99 tracks (plus one hidden, bonus track for you one-percenters), and 78 songs on the four-disc physical release (which you can for–you guessed it–$9.99). Proceeds from the album will go directly toward sustaining the Occupy movement.
The album has plenty of familiar names, including Yoko Ono, Third Eye Blind, Debbie Harry, Tom Morello (who led May Day’s music festivities), Yo La Tengo, Ani DiFranco, Willie Nelson, David Crosby Graham Nash, Thievery Corporation, Immortal Technique (who also performed at May Day), and even Michael Moore covering a Bob Dylan song.
There are also many artists that listeners may be unfamiliar with, a point that Music for Occupy acknowledge on their website:
“We look to give voices and opportunities to artists who support our vision; specifically artists who most have never been heard before, and have many troubles making it in today’s industry because their message is just not “Pop” enough. We look to team up socially conscious known and accomplished artists, with other artists that could use a light shined on them by those same artists.”
In looking to produce music that “makes one think, and inspires change,” have they neglected to bring about a song that can also be catch enough to band together and unite its supporters? “The four-disc compilation is one part “Who’s who” and one-part “Who’s that?” But there are some gems within this encampment,” the Associated Press writes. The album is garnering some mixed reviews, with the consensus being that while it isn’t necessarily cohesive or focused, it does contain a few standout tracks.
Now, how about a single or two? A 99-track manifesto is one thing, Occupiers — but the masses want something we can dance to.
–Morgan Stanley annual meeting interrupted by Occupy Wall Street members
–”I don’t think J.P. Morgan has anything to do with” how much Morgan Stanley might be downgraded, Gorman says
–Shareholders approve say-on-pay vote and amendment to equity incentive plan
(Updates with comments from CEO throughout.)
PURCHASE, N.Y. (Dow Jones)–Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement descended upon Morgan Stanley’s (MS) annual meeting Tuesday, pressing Chairman and Executive James Gorman with a slew of questions about Wall Street lobbying, job creation and compensation.
At one point in the meeting, OWS members shouted a series of allegations at the stage, interrupting Martin …
American cuisine is becoming more and more popular in Moscow, with burgers, cupcakes and New York-style pizza taking over the cosmopolitan restaurant scene. A good example of this Americanisation is Corner Burger on Bolshaya Gruzinskaya or CBBG, as it’s known among the hip crowd. It’s one of many venues that provide an “authentic” New York culinary experience – steaks, salads and, of course, burgers of all sorts, at $15-25 a piece. It is popular among the upper middle class and the expat crowd – a slice of New York in the middle of Moscow.
Two miles away, in Chistye Prudy park, a different New York-themed oasis has recently been set up: Moscow’s own Occupy Wall Street (OWS), named Occupy Abay after the famous Kazakh poet Abay, whose statue has become the centre of the protest camp established last week by anti-Putin activists.
Occupy Abay is almost indistinguishable from its New York counterpart. There’s singing and dancing, and lectures on a wide range of topics – from peaceful resistance to weaving and sewing. There are sleeping bags, diesel generators, smiles, free food and the ever present problem of finding an iPhone charger. There’s an almost 24/7 live stream of the camp on the web, recently upgraded to HD quality. The #OccupyAbay hashtag is predictably dominating Russian Twitter trends. People go there to hang out after work, listen to poetry readings and watch movies. Celebrities often show up, giving out interviews or autographs, or doing improvised shows and theatrical performances. It is in fact eerily like the Zuccotti park camp – until you look at Occupy Abay’s demands, and realise that New York might as well be a galaxy far, far away.
If OWS is a movement roughly working against corporate greed and the infamous 1%, the Occupy Abay movement’s key demands are more simple and direct: the annulment of an apparently fraudulent parliament election, the re-institution of gubernatorial elections in Russia, and last but not least, Putin’s resignation. These demands correspond with those of previous marches, rallies and campaigns initiated by the opposition since the start of the broad protest movement last December. None of them has been met.
It’s extremely puzzling that Putin’s regime – accused of brutal crackdowns on the opposition, silencing of its political opponents, threats and murders of journalists and jailing people for their views – is met with a protest suitable for a civilised, well-balanced democracy. For the past five months of peaceful protests, there haven’t even been negotiations. Even when 100,000-150,000 people took the streets.
The protesters’ calm faces and their belief in the possibility of radical change is probably the best – and most undeserved – compliment for a regime like Putin’s. I imagine that at the G8 summit, when Putin’s envoy (ex-president and current prime minister Dmitry Medvedev) will be questioned about the ongoing protests and the subsequent crackdowns, he may point to the images of the Occupy Abay camp and argue that “it’s just like Occupy Wall Street”.
It’s hard to understand the strategy chosen by the Occupy Abay movement. It’s as if they’re protesting in a country that doesn’t have a political police department whose sole task is to single out opposition figures and neutralise them – either through mock trials or false charges like drug dealing. It’s as if the protest leaders – namely anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny and radical leftist Sergei Udaltsov – aren’t already serving a 15-day prison sentences, with a risk of them being extended. It’s as if last Sunday – when bloody clashes with riot police unfolded – never happened; as if people weren’t detained just for wearing a white band – the symbol of the protest movement. Surely, it’s impossible to imagine someone in the Zuccotti park movement being detained for a pin, a T-shirt or any other protest insignia?
One question remains: is the Occupy movement an adequate form of protest against the authoritarian and repressive tactics of a government run by an ex-KGB colonel? If OWS hasn’t achieved many of its goals in a country where votes aren’t rigged, the TV networks aren’t state propaganda, and presidents don’t stay in power for 12 to 24 years, can a movement like OWS achieve its goals in a country like ours?
In today’s Russia, it’s one thing to have a New York burger joint – no matter how overpriced – but it’s another to have a New York protest.
• Follow Comment is free on Twitter @commentisfree
(ThyBlackMan.com) Rapper Jay Z is involved in yet another partnership but this time, rather than basketball, he’s sticking to his roots. The rap star has partnered with Budweiser for a two-day music festival to be held in Philadelphia during Labor Day weekend.
“Budweiser Made in America” will feature CEO Jay-Z as both headliner and curator. The Brooklyn native will select nearly 30 artists to perform at the festival, which benefits United Way and is produced by Live Nation. The entertainers, comprised of acts from the hip-hop, rock, RB, Latin and dance worlds, will “embody the American spirit.”
“This Labor Day, we will not only make history but we’re benefiting a great organization,” Rap Mogul Jay-Z said in a statement. “‘Budweiser Made in America’ will encompass every genre of music, creating and showcasing the only genre that matters, ‘great music.’ Budweiser and Live Nation are going to produce an amazing two days of performances, and it’s great to partner with United Way again to support all of the positive work they do in the community.”
The two-day event will be held at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park on Sat., Sept. 1 and Sun., Sept. 2. Tickets for “Budweiser Made in America” music festival go on sale Wed., May 23, through Ticketmaster.com.
With that Jay Z continues to be a power broker within the music industry. Jay Z recently just signed upcoming artists Rita Ora. Jay Z is also enjoying fatherhood for the first time. Rapper Jay Z is a role model to many young men. In all Roc Jay Z has proved so many wrong. The future continues to be so bright for Brooklyn Nets Owner Jay Z.
(CNN) — As Colorado’s legislators met Monday in extraordinary session to consider bills that were not brought to the floor last week, House Democratic Leader Mark Ferrandino bemoaned the assignment of a civil-unions bill to a “kill committee” as a harbinger of its likely defeat.
“Sad to see Speaker during his Speaker’s Session assign #civil unions to State Affairs, his kill committee, again thwarting democracy,” said Ferrandino in a tweet that referred to House Speaker Frank McNulty and the State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, which has nine members, five of them Republicans. None of the Republicans has expressed support for the bill, he said.
Still, Ferrandino, who is gay, held out hope that the bill might ultimately gain passage. “We’re going to make our case and maybe somebody will have a change of heart,” he told CNN in a telephone interview. “We need one person to change their mind.”
The Republican speaker has made no secret of his opposition to the bill, which had garnered bipartisan support. “Planting corn today,” McNulty tweeted Sunday. “What I should be doing tomorrow insread (sic) of a special session for the legislature.”
He expressed similar sentiments Monday, when he tweeted, “Special legislative session on same sex marriage brought to you by Colorado Gov @hickforco and cost picked up by Colorado families.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper, who had called the special session, said Sunday that the bill is not about same-sex marriage, which is banned under Colorado’s constitution. And he said the civil unions bill was not the only one that he wished would have passed during the regular session.
“On the next-to-last day of our legislative session, the civil unions bill came out of committees and they just filibustered,” the Democrat told CNN. “They wouldn’t let it come to the floor, and when it died, 30 other bills died. And these are important to our businesses.”
Will civil unions pass in Colorado?
But McNulty said in a telephone interview that the special session amounts to a reset of the process. “We start all over again with committee hearings and testimony,” he said. “We can get out of here in three days.”
McNulty defended his equation of civil unions to same-sex marriage. “It’s clearly creating same-sex marriage in Colorado,” he said about the bill. “They can call it whatever they want, but the bottom line is that’s what’s happening here.”
McNulty suggested there was a link between what is going on in Colorado and President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that he supports same-sex marriage. “To me, it’s more than a simple coincidence that all of this is happening at the same time,” McNulty said. “Bills die on the calendar every year and we don’t have a special session as a result of it.”
In a statement, the speaker accused Hickenlooper and his Democratic supporters of “pushing a last-minute, divisive attack on our traditional views on marriage for short-term political gain.”
Outside the Capitol before the special session began, more than 100 gay rights advocates demonstrated Monday morning in a call for McNulty “to give us a fair hearing,” said Jace Woodrum, deputy executive director of One Colorado, a statewide advocacy organization for gay and transgender Coloradans.
He described as “shameful and unprecedented” last week’s House shutdown, which blocked consideration not only of the civil unions bill, but of more than 30 other bills.
A civil union is a legal status created by the state of Vermont in 2000 and subsequently by a number of other states, according to Gay Lesbian Advocates Defenders, in a posting on its website. “It provides legal protection to couples at the state law level, but omits federal protections as well as the dignity, clarity, security and power of the word ‘marriage.’”
Obama said last week that he supports states’ deciding the issue of same-sex marriage on their own, but added that he was “disappointed” by last Tuesday’s vote on the issue in North Carolina, where a ban on same-sex marriage was added to the state constitution. Obama called the amendment discriminatory against gays and lesbians, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Five U.S. states allow civil unions between same-sex couples, but not marriage.
Six states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York — and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, while 31 states have voted in favor of constitutional amendments that seek to define marriage as a heterosexual union.
In February, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage beginning in June, but opponents there have pledged to block the bill and called for voters to decide the issue. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill that permits the state’s same-sex couples to wed as of January 1, and state residents may vote to affirm such a law.
Minnesota will vote on a state constitutional amendment similar to the one in North Carolina, while Maine will have a referendum on allowing same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, two cases seeking to overturn laws forbidding the practice, one from California and another from Massachusetts, could be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court in coming months.
(CNN) — A leading senator is urging the Supreme Court to “do the right thing” and uphold the constitutionality of the sweeping health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.
In a floor speech Monday, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, directly addressed Chief Justice John Roberts, urging him in a sharply partisan tone to keep the law, passed in 2010, in place.
“I trust that he will be a chief justice for all of us and that he has a strong institutional sense of the proper role of the judicial branch,” said Leahy. “The conservative activism of recent years has not been good for the court. Given the ideological challenge to the Affordable Care Act and the extensive, supportive precedent, it would be extraordinary for the Supreme Court not to defer to Congress in this matter that so clearly affects interstate commerce.”
It is unusual for a member of Congress to tell the high court how it should vote on a case during the weeks that the justices are crafting their opinion. Oral arguments were held in late March, and the court has been quietly working behind the scenes. An opinion is expected by late June. The Vermont Democrat attended the three-day oral arguments at the Supreme Court.
Leahy offered tepid praise for Robert’s leadership but was critical of the chief justice’s fellow conservative benchmates.
Obama says health care law will stand
Pres. Obama’s health care record
Toobin: This was a ‘judicial hissy-fit’
“I was struck by how little respect some of the justices showed to Congress, and of how dismissive they were of the months of work in hearings and committee actions and debate of amendments and motions and points of order on the Senate and House floors before the measure was enacted.”
Leahy was also tough on his GOP colleagues.
He pointed out that Republican opponents lost in Congress in 2008, saying that helped lead to passage of the ACA two years later with the strong backing of Obama.
“Now they want conservative activists on the Supreme Court to intervene and turn their policy disagreements into law by reading them into the Constitution. That is wrong.”
The chairman gave no direct indication whether he thought the law was in danger of being overturned by the court, which has 5-4 conservative majority.
The high court is certain to have no response to the statements of Leahy or any other lawmaker.
The court will next be heard on the health care law when a ruling is issued, the timing of which will not be announced in advance.
Arlington, Virginia (CNN) — Ron Paul supporters have a plan.
As they doggedly work the Republican system from the ground up, electing more of their team as delegates to the Republican National Convention, they have a heavyweight plan that’s markedly different from the rumors of convention subterfuge and the guess of simply getting their candidate to the podium.
“We want to change the Republican Party,” said Chris Stearns, the Virginia state director for the Ron Paul campaign. “We are making sure our people get in positions of leadership — in the nation, in their state, in their county and city, all the way down to the grass roots level.”
Libertarians such as Stearns aspire to nothing less than the kind of bottom-to-top takeover that proved so successful for the religious right and anti-abortion forces in the 1980s. Many of the men and women who swept into local party office then inhabit top rungs of the GOP now. And similar to that movement, Ron Paul and his campaigners for liberty are looking down the road.
“This is not just for this term,” Stearns told CNN Radio from the southern end of the state, “but four, six or eight years from now.”
Nearly 200 miles away, in northern Virginia, a separate Ron Paul supporter is similarly forward looking.
“Four years, eight years, 12 years, we are here for the long haul,” said Patrick Bailey, a 26-year-old who moved from New York to Washington specifically to get involved in electoral politics.
He plunged in on Saturday as one of three Paul supporters running for delegate to the national convention from Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.
Battle in the grass roots
That kind of local party election is often ignored by headlines and pundits, but it’s where Ron Paulians are waging their most furious battle.
Primaries and caucuses often dictate how a state’s delegates should vote, but it is these internal state and local party conventions that determine who the individual delegates will be. They represent hundreds of small but open doors to get your troops to the convention.
The 8th District, which includes the Washington suburbs of Alexandria and Arlington, felt the Paul surge Saturday. Four years ago, the district convention saw some 350 participants. The 8th District Republican chairman told CNN that participation had nearly doubled this year.
Anyone can attend and vote, as long as they sign up by a deadline and have not voted in a Democratic primary in the past five years. This is how the Paul strategy works: Sign up. Show up. Vote.
“We have been calling and e-mailing,” Bailey said ahead of the vote. “Our turnout’s looking great.”
But some feel it is an attempt at political hijacking.
“There are people out here who are still fighting for Ron Paul who got defeated at our primary,” said Fran Redmon, who has been involved in the 8th District Republican Party for 40 years. “It’s so ridiculous. They should either be a Republican or not be here today.”
Asked what she thought the Paul supporters were trying to accomplish, Redmon replied, “I think they aren’t really thinking it through. I suppose they think we’re people who don’t have an agenda or something.”
Indeed, the agenda is the rallying cry for the libertarian forces.
CNN spoke with more than two dozen Paul supporters at this local Republican meeting and they shared common goals: substantially smaller government both in spending and in power, far more limits on the Federal Reserve, an end to what they see as American interventionist policy overseas and a cry of concern for individual rights.
The second-ballot gambit
“This is a movement,” said Homan Rabie, who came to the 8th District convention with his high school friends, “(Republicans) need a true philosophy.” They need to bring in more minorities and young people like his group, he added.
So it’s a movement. Why then all the national convention delegates?
Especially in a place like Virginia where, by Republican rules, nearly all the elected delegates must vote for Mitt Romney on the first ballot.
Let’s get the nomination theory out of the way.
One supporter at the 8th District convention mentioned a much-forwarded idea that Paul delegates could abstain on the first ballot, forcing a second vote at the convention and then, on that second ballot, cast votes for Paul. But there are two problems with this notion: One is that if a delegate abstains, an alternate delegate, who may or may not be a Paul supporter, would step in. The other problem? Many Paul supporters told CNN they think it’s a pipe dream. They’re distancing themselves from the idea.
“To me personally, it doesn’t look like any way that’s going to happen,” said Bailey, the candidate trying to get to Tampa. “I don’t see (the Paul delegates) going in and causing a ruckus. The last thing we need is to become a scapegoat (if Republicans don’t win in November).”
Change the party from the bottom up
Paul says as much himself. He told CNN last week that the idea of disrupting the national convention “is not in my plan. That is against my plan.”
The plan, say supporters up and down the Paul chain, is to put their people in Republican positions of power from the bottom to the top, and change the party.
Saturday, the few hundred voters at Virginia’s 8th District convention chose between seven candidates for three national convention seats. While Bailey came in fifth, his friend and fellow Paul supporter Matthew Burrow took third place and won a spot for Libertarians in Tampa.
Stearns says Paul supporters have won 15 of the 24 congressional delegate spots decided in Virginia so far.
Add it to the list. Paul took all 21 elected delegate spots in Maine and the vast majority of the elected delegate positions in Nevada, state party officials.
Party officials in Minnesota have not been able to certify their exact results to CNN but agreed that Paul won most of the up-for-grabs delegates there as well. That is especially notable because Minnesota’s delegates are not bound on the first ballot at the national convention.
But the 2012 nomination is not the point, Bailey reminded those around him.
Instead, it’s learning the process, getting better at it, gaining positions and changing the Republican party, no matter how long it takes.
“We’re all getting training on the ground now,” he said. “At the end of the day, this is all practice for the next time. And the next time all be practice for the time after that. And eventually we are going to win.”
It is a big plan, requiring not just determination but stamina.
Editor’s note: David Frum is a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast and a CNN contributor. He is the author of seven books, including a new novel, “Patriots.”
(CNN) — Last month, two political scientists published one of those rare op-eds that gets the political community talking.
The thesis of the piece was contained in the title: “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.”
In case that was not clear enough, the authors elaborated: “We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional.
“In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
“The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
“When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.”
The piece drew its authority from the authors’ identity: Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, two of Washington’s most veteran watchers of Congress. Both men have hard-earned reputations for nonideological independence of mind despite their institutional affiliations: Mann works at the liberal Brookings Institution, Ornstein at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. (Ornstein is a friend of mine, and was a colleague until I was given the heave-ho from AEI in March 2010.)
Now they have backed their provocative op-ed with a new book, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.”
The book backs the arresting op-ed with a battery of depressing research, substantiating their charge that congressional Republicans now act in a uniquely irresponsible way.
The debt showdown last summer was the ultimate case: congressional Republicans nearly forcing a default on the obligations of the United States to get their way on a budget agreement.
But the pattern manifests itself in almost all the business of government, down to the most mundane.
For example: Because Senate rules often require unanimous consent to move to the next order of business, a determined minority can force delay on almost any action it opposes.
Since 2009, Republicans have used this power of delay hyper-aggressively. Compare and contrast the treatment of executive-branch nominees.
Sixteen months into the George W. Bush administration, Memorial Day 2002, only 13 executive-branch nominations awaited confirmation by the Senate. At the corresponding moment in the Obama administration, Memorial Day 2010, 108 nominees were awaiting action by the Senate.
This comparison is supported by another academic study. The confirmation process got gradually slower between the 1960s and the 1990s. Then, suddenly, in the second Clinton administration, the confirmation process seized up.
Under the elder Bush, a Republican president facing a Democratic Senate, 92% of nominees were confirmed within an average of 57 days. In the second Clinton administration, facing a Republican Senate, only 74% of nominees were confirmed, taking an average of 110 days.
Ornstein and Mann offer a convincing array of explanations for the trend toward radicalism within the GOP, including changes in campaign finance and in the electorate itself. They offer too a range of proposals to work around GOP radicalism and restore the effective functioning of Congress. If those proposals have a faint wistful air to them, blame the inherent difficulty of the problem, not Mann and Ornstein.
But one thing is missing from their powerful and important book, and it’s a thought I’d like to enter here into the record: The radicalization of the GOP is a function of changes, not only in U.S. politics, but also in the U.S. economy.
Americans are living through an era of disappointment. It’s becoming obvious that the U.S. government cannot meet all the expectations that built up in better times.
The tax status quo, the Medicare status quo, the social safety net status quo, the defense status quo — they can’t all be sustained. Something must give, and almost everybody senses it.
In good times, we debate whether government should expand programs or cut taxes — new benefits in either case.
In these times, we are debating whether government should impose large reductions in programs or impose big increases in taxes — taking from people benefits that they now enjoy.
Human beings will typically fight much more ferociously to keep what they possess than to gain something new. And the constituencies that vote Republican happen to possess the most and thus to be exposed to the worst risks of loss.
The Republican voting base includes not only the wealthy with the most to fear from tax increases, but also the elderly and the rural, the two constituencies that benefit the most from federal spending and thus have the most to lose from spending cuts.
All those constituencies together fear that almost any conceivable change will be change for the worse from their point of view: higher taxes, less Medicare, or possibly both. Any attempt to do more for other constituencies — the unemployed, the young — represents an extra, urgent threat to them.
That sense of threat radicalizes voters and donors — and has built a huge reservoir of votes and money for politicians and activists who speak as radically as the donors and voters feel.
Which means the solution to the problems so astutely diagnosed by Mann and Ornstein must ultimately be found outside the American political system — and will not be solved until America’s rich and America’s elderly become either less fearful or more generous.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Frum.
reply to post by maxella1
Great job Maxella!
This is a great idea, that I think will be
very telling as to the psychological control
put on Americans to steer them wherever they liked.
I have no idea what, if any, patterns will appear,
but I do know TPTB don’t like archives and or
Polls or Stats that they don’t have total control of.