David Von Pein’s JFK Channel Sunday, May 20, 1962 — President John F. Kennedy travelled to New York City and gave this impressive and heartfelt speech from Madison Square Garden to help boost his medical care program. This is a tremendous speech, in my opinion. It shows what a truly great orator John Kennedy was. And it also vividly illustrates how deeply Mr. Kennedy cared about the things he was talking about. When I watch this Madison Square Garden speech, it almost seems as though JFK is ad-libbing the whole thing. It doesn’t have a “rehearsed” feel to it at all. Truly remarkable. I think I’ll go out and vote for John F. Kennedy for President right now. (It’s just too bad I can’t.)

Hong Kong police move on university campus, begin mass arrests, threaten live fire

As protests raged in Hong Kong on Nov. 17, a police vehicle being used to clear a bridge was hit by a Molotov cocktail and forced to retreat.

(Reuters) By Casey QuackenbushAnna Kam and Tiffany Liang 

November 17, 2019 at 10:41 a.m. PST

HONG KONG — After battling anti-government demonstrators outside a major university with water cannons and tear gas for a full day, police surrounded the protesters late Sunday, began making arrests and warned they would meet further resistance with live fire — a tense confrontation in the now-six-month struggle for democracy that has moved in recent days to the territory’s campuses.

Protesters at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University threw molotov cocktails; one police media liaison officer was struck in the calf with an arrow. Skirmishes raged into the night, leaving the air thick with tear gas and a police vehicle burning.

As police moved in, they warned stronger measures could follow.

“We will use the minimal force,” police said in a Facebook video. “We are asking the rioters to stop assaulting the police using cars, gas bombs and bows and arrows. Otherwise we will use force including live rounds.”

The all-day standoff began early with police pummeling front-line protesters with volleys of tear gas and water cannons that streamed irritating blue liquid. Protesters responded with petrol bombs.

Much of the battle centered on the bridge leading to campus from the nearby metro station, which protesters had filled with barricades. As night fell, they repeatedly set it alight to prevent the police from advancing on to the university.

Police announced at 9 p.m. that the “next round of operation” was beginning, leading to speculation they would storm the campus. They threatened to arrest those involved on charges of rioting, which can incur penalties of up to 10 years in prison.

Behind the barricade, Hong Kong protesters turn a university into a fortress

Protesters throw molotov cocktails at a police truck on Sunday outside Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)
Protesters throw molotov cocktails at a police truck on Sunday outside Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

University authorities had implored students not to engage in violence. In a statement, they said they were “gravely concerned that the spiraling radical illicit activities will cause not only a tremendous safety threat on campus, but also class suspension over an indefinite period of time.”

The university in Kowloon is next to a key cross-harbor tunnel that protesters blocked in recent days by setting fire to toll booths. Universities have become the latest flash points in the protests that have rocked this semiautonomous territory to its core.

Anti-government protesters throw molotov cocktails. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)
Anti-government protesters throw molotov cocktails. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

In the face of an increasingly harsh police crackdown, protesters have taken up an eclectic spectrum of weapons, including bows and arrows and javelins — probably appropriated from campus athletic departments.AD

In Sunday’s battles, though, protesters’ key weapon appeared to be gas bombs. At one point, a police van speeding toward their barricades was set alight by a flurry of molotov cocktails and forced to retreat.

Polytechnic University was one of the last campus strongholds following an intense week of protests centered on the city’s universities. After police laid siege to the Chinese University of Hong Kong last week, protesters barricaded other campuses as well as major roads, drawing the city and schools to a halt.

Protesters are sprayed by a water cannon outside. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)
Protesters are sprayed by a water cannon outside. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

On Saturday, members of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, left their barracks to help clear the roadblocks that protesters had erected around universities. It was the PLA’s first appearance on the streets of Hong Kong since the pro-democracy protests erupted in June.

As a semiautonomous territory, Hong Kong is legally distinct from mainland China. While the army’s presence here was not unprecedented — it also appeared in September 2018 to assist with disaster relief after a severe hit from Typhoon Mangkhut — the move was a subtle but significant development. Under Hong Kong law, the PLA may not interfere in local affairs unless invited by the Hong Kong government.

Police prepare to remove an arrow from the leg of an officer. (AP)
Police prepare to remove an arrow from the leg of an officer. (AP)

On Saturday, the Hong Kong government denied that it had invited the PLA to clear the roadblocks, saying the work was a “voluntary community activity,” according to Chinese state-owned CGTN. The development drew sharp criticism from pro-democracy lawmakers, who said it was illegal and a PR stunt by Beijing to normalize the army’s presence in the territory.AD

At a peaceful rally in Hong Kong’s central business district, Alex said the development was unacceptable.

“They cannot be volunteers because they are soldiers,” said the 35-year-old clerk who gave just his first name for fear of retribution. “They’re conveying a message that they will be going out. They will take action if the situation is not getting better.”

The Education Bureau announced that all classes would be canceled on Monday. Classes were suspended for most of last week as protests and a strike paralyzed the city. Two university campuses have called off classes for the rest of the semester.

History: Paris Commune

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia/ This article is about the government of Paris in 1871. For the Paris Commune during the French Revolution, see Paris Commune (French Revolution).

Paris Commune
A barricade on Rue Voltaire, after its capture by the regular army during the Bloody Week
Date18 March – 28 May 1871
Location: Paris, France
Result: Revolt suppressed
 French RepublicFrench Armed Forces Communards
 National Guards
Commanders and leaders
 Patrice de MacMahon, Duke of Magenta Louis Charles Delescluze  Jarosław Dąbrowski 
170,000[1]On paper, 200,000; in reality, probably between 25,000 and 50,000 actual combatants[2]
Casualties and losses
877 killed, 6,454 wounded, and 183 missing[3]6,667 confirmed killed and buried[4] Unconfirmed estimates between 10,000[5] and 20,000[6] killed

The Paris Commune (FrenchLa Commune de Paris, IPA: [la kɔmyn də paʁi]) was a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. The Franco-Prussian War had led to the capture of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870, the collapse of the Second French Empire, and the beginning of the Third Republic. Because Paris was under siege for four months, the Third Republic moved its capital to Tours. A hotbed of working-class radicalism, Paris was primarily defended during this time by the often politicised and radical troops of the National Guard rather than regular Army troops. Paris surrendered to the Prussians on 28 January 1871, and in February Adolphe Thiers, the new chief executive of the French national government, signed an armistice with Prussia that disarmed the Army but not the National Guard.

On 18 March, soldiers of the Commune’s National Guard killed two French army generals, and the Commune refused to accept the authority of the French government. The Commune governed Paris for two months, until it was suppressed by the regular French Army during “La semaine sanglante” (“The Bloody Week”) beginning on 21 May 1871.[7]

Debates over the policies and outcome of the Commune had significant influence on the ideas of Karl Marx, who described it as an example of the “dictatorship of the proletariat“.[8]

More at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Commune

Richard Wolff Rips Bloomberg over Zuccotti Park

The Michael Brooks Show Richard Wolff sounds off on Michael Bloomberg. This is free content from the weekly edition of TMBS. To support the Michael Brooks Show on Patreon and receive hours of weekly members-only content, subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/TMBS Follow The Michael Brooks Show and crew on twitter: @TMBSfm @_michaelbrooks @mattlech @davidslavick @davidgriscom

While Warning of Nazi-Like Fascism and Corporate Crimes, Pope Francis Proposes Adding ‘Ecological Sin’ to Church Teachings

November 16, 2019 by Common Dreams

In remarks at the Vatican, the leader of the Catholic Church condemned “the large-scale delinquency of corporations.”

by Jon Queally, staff writer

Pope Francis speaking to the European Parliament in 2014. (Photo: EU/flickr/cc)

Pope Francis on Friday issued a warning against the rise of fascist forces worldwide that remind him of the Nazis of the 20th Century as he also railed against corporate crimes and announced consideration of adding “sins against ecology” to the church’s official teachings.

During a speech at the Vatican before the 20th World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law, a network of justice system and criminology experts from around the world, the leader of the Catholic Church said worrying developments both in the political arena and from the world of business remind him of dark episodes from humanity’s past, including Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

“It is not coincidental that at times there is a resurgence of symbols typical of Nazism,” Francis said as he decried the “culture of waste and hate” represented by contemporary politicians who spew derogatory and racists attacks against homosexuals, gypsies, Jewish people, and others. “I must confess to you,” he continued, “that when I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936.”

The Pope also highlighted environmental degradation and said the church was considering adding crimes against nature and the environment to the catechism—the official text of church doctrine and teachings.

“We have to introduce, we are thinking about it, in the catechism of the Catholic Church, the sin against ecology, the sin against our common home, because it’s a duty,” he said. Francis has been championed by climate activists for using his position to preach about the urgent need for humanity to recognize the dangers of human-caused global warming and calling on other world leaders—and the estimated 1.2 billion Catholics in the world—to act boldly to address the crisis.

Crimes against the environment, said the Pope, should be seen as “crimes against peace, which should be recognized by the international community.”

Francis also spoke of the crimes of big business, many of which receive too little attention and often go unpunished.

“One frequent omission of penal law,” Francis told the criminal experts at the conference, “is the insufficient attention the crimes of the powerful receive, especially the large-scale delinquency of corporations.”

As the Religious News Service reports:

In his speech, Francis condemned global corporations that are responsible for “countries’ over-indebtedness and the plunder of our planet’s natural resources.” He said that their activities have the “gravity of crimes against humanity,” especially when they lead to hunger, poverty and the eradication of indigenous peoples.

Such acts of “ecocide” must not go unpunished, said the pope, who in October concluded a synod of bishops to discuss the Amazon region and the safeguarding of the environment.

“The principle of profit maximization, isolated from any other consideration, leads to a model of exclusion which violently attacks those who now suffer its social and economic costs, while future generations are condemned to pay the environmental costs,” Francis said. 

“The first thing lawyers should ask themselves today is what they can do with their knowledge to counter this phenomenon,” he said, “which puts democratic institutions and the development of humanity itself at risk.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

History: Chartism

What was Chartism?  In 1832, voting rights were given to the property-owning middle classes in Britain. However, many people wanted further political reform.

Chartism was a working class movement, which emerged in 1836 and was most active between 1838 and 1848. The aim of the Chartists was to gain political rights and influence for the working classes.Chartism got its name from the People’s Charter, that listed the six main aims of the movement. These were:

  • a vote for all men (over 21)
  • the secret ballot
  • no property qualification to become an MP
  • payment for MPs
  • electoral districts of equal size
  • annual elections for Parliament
  • The movement presented three petitions to Parliament – in 1839, 1842 and 1848 – but each of these was rejected. The last great Chartist petition was collected in 1848 and had, it was claimed, six million signatures. The plan was to deliver it to Parliament after a peaceful mass meeting on Kennington Common in London. The government sent 8,000 soldiers, but only 20,000 Chartists turned up on a cold rainy day. The demonstration was considered a failure and the rejection of this last petition marked the end of Chartism. (nationalarchives.gov.uk)

    Proposed Legislation Sets Timeline for S.F. Public Bank

    San Francisco’s break-up with Wall Street could happen in just a few years.

    by Ida Mojadad • 11/12/2019 (SFWeekly.com)

    The old U.S. Mint building on Fifth Street could house San Francisco’s public bank. (Photo by Kevin N. Hume)

    One task force down, two to go in San Francisco’s quest for a public bank. 

    Armed with permission from the state, San Francisco may soon establish it’s second task force on the topic thanks to legislation introduced by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer on Tuesday. A previous task force met for nearly a year simply to discuss the feasibility.

    Moving San Francisco’s money from Wall Street banks into its own bank would allow the city to choose how taxpayer funds are invested, advocates say. Instead of private prisons and oil pipelines, the city could pick something more in line with its priorities, like affordable housing and renewable energy. 

    “A public bank in San Francisco would allow the city to have more local control, transparency, self-determination, and deepen critical community investments in affordable housing, small business development, loans to low-income households, public infrastructure, renewable energy, and addressing the student debt crisis,” Fewer said in a statement. “San Francisco should lead the pack in this effort, and today’s legislation moves us one step closer to realizing the creation of a public bank.”

    The latest task force would ease San Francisco into the change by first coming up with a business plan for a bank known as an Economic Development Financial Institution (EDFI) that’s not fully developed and doesn’t take deposits. This would limit the first phase of the bank strictly to lending focused on affordable housing production and preservation, small businesses, and public infrastructure.

    The nine-member task force would meet at least monthly and be required to submit the plan by June 2020. By December 2020, another plan would be due to enter the trickier, second phase: turning it into a fully-fledged public bank capable of taking deposits. 

    Under the hard-fought Assembly Bill 857, put forward by San Francisco Assemblymember David Chui, the state can issue two public banking licenses a year. That requires a feasibility study and business plan, which San Francisco is ahead on.

    But the ability to obtain a license sunsets in seven years. Though it could be extended, Fewer’s legislation requires the EDFI to apply for a public bank license within three years of its launch, and to become operational as a public bank within five years. Creating an EDFI first allows San Francisco to begin a soft launch without going through the steps of obtaining FDIC insurance and other regulatory hurdles required by AB 857.

    “We are trying to be careful and intentional about how we are planning for a public bank,” said Chelsea Boilard, Fewer’s legislative aide. “We are closer than we’ve ever been.”

    The push for a public bank within City Hall can be traced back to 2011, at the height of the Occupy movement when then-Supervisor John Avalos sought a study and helped keep the issue alive throughout the years. Progress stalled until former Supervisor Malia Cohen called for a feasibility task force, which met throughout 2018, propelled by divestment activists. After some bumps, the Treasurer’s Office released its report in March that estimated a fully-fledged bank would take $119 million in start-up costs and 56 years to break even. (A hearing on how they got to this number is anticipated for December or early January.) 

    “This is a result of the grassroots movements led by working-class organizers who just want a fairer economy and livable planet for future generations,” said Jackie Fielder from the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition, of the legislation.  

    Now, the public bank fever has hit City Hall. The Board of Supervisors unanimously co-sponsored and passed a resolution calling for a bill like AB 857 in March and have pushed the Treasurer’s Office to think bigger. Before its introduction, Fewer’s legislation had Supervisors Shamann Walton, Gordon Mar, Aaron Peskin, Vallie Brown, and Matt Haney as cosponsors.

    ‘Mother Nature Does a Mic Drop’: Venice City Council Chamber Floods Minutes After Members Vote Down Climate Crisis Amendment

    November 14, 2019 by Common Dreams

    “From the ‘you can’t make this stuff up’ department.”

    by Eoin Higgins, staff writer

    The Venice city council chambers flooded Wednesday evening after a vote on the climate crisis.

    The Venice city council chambers flooded Wednesday evening after a vote on the climate crisis. (Photo: Andrea Zanoni/Facebook)

    It seemed like divine intervention—or at least the hand of Gaia. 

    Minutes after the Venetian city council voted down a resolution addressing the climate crisis Wednesday, the council chambers were filled with water for the first time in history, the result of unprecedented flooding in the city due to the highest tides in 50 years. 

    “Mother Nature does a mic drop,” tweeted software developer Denis Õstir.

    As Common Dreams reported, Venice is currently suffering through intense flooding that observers have tied directly to the climate crisis.

    “From north to south, Italy has been impacted by a series of extreme climate events,” Greenpeace Italy said Wednesday. “What’s happening in Venice is a powerful example. This is not just ‘bad weather,’ this is a climate emergency.”

    Venetian Democratic Party councilor Andrea Zanoni said in a Facebook post that the chamber in Ferro Fini Palace began flooding around 10pm local time. 

    “Ironically, the chamber was flooded two minutes after the majority Liga Veneta–Lega Nord, Brothers of Italy, and Forza Italia parties rejected our amendments to tackle climate change,” said Zanoni.

    Liga Veneta–Lega Nord’s Roberto Ciambetti told CNN in a statement that Zanoni’s accusations of inaction were false.

    “Beyond propaganda and deceptive reading, we are voting (for) a regional budget that spent €965 million over the past three years in the fight against air pollution, smog, which is a determining factor in climate change,” said Ciambetti.

    Observers on social media noted the irony of the timing of the flooding. 

    “From the ‘you can’t make this stuff up’ department,” tweeted photojournalist Jordan Treece.

    On Thursday, the Italian government declared a state of emergency in Venice.Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.