Month: December, 2015
2015 protests in the USA
| December 31, 2015 | 8:57 pm | political struggle | No comments

2015: A year of protests in America

Published time: 30 Dec, 2015 14:29Edited time: 31 Dec, 2015 04:23

https://www.rt.com/usa/327455-protest-police-wages-year/

A protester throws a gas canister back at police during clashes at North Ave and Pennsylvania Ave in Baltimore, Maryland April 28, 2015. © Eric Thayer / Reuters

From ‘Black Lives Matter’ to ‘Fight for 15,’ the year of 2015 saw a surge of protests all across the nation.

January

Protesters around the country kicked off the 2015 with a Black Lives Matter demonstration against police brutality.

On New Year’s Eve, about 100 demonstrators gathered at New York City’s iconic Times Square, where Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family presided over the annual ball drop, to stage a ‘die-in.’ Marchers didn’t manage to get onto the square itself, due to the massive number of revelers attending.

On the West Coast, the largest New Year’s march was held in Oakland, California, against perceived police force.  Over 200 activists staged a noise demonstration where voices, electronics, musical instruments and fireworks were used as a means to get message out, but instead attract a large police presence. After unruly protesters lobbed bottles at the police who were cordoning them off, 29 people were arrested.

Later in the month, 23 Black Lives Matter activists were arrested after chaining themselves to barrels and blocking both sides of an interstate near Boston.

“Today, our nonviolent direct action is meant to expose the reality that Boston is a city where white commuters and students use the city and leave, while black and brown communities are targeted by police, exploited, and displaced,” protester Katie Seitz said in a statement.

February

On February 10,  Antonio Zambrano-Montes of Pasco, Washington was shot and killed by three police officers after throwing rocks at cars and at least one “softball size” rock at officers, and ignored orders to stop.

Around 1,000 people protested the 35 year-old’s death on February 12, and the Foreign Ministry of Mexico condemned the shooting, since Zambrano-Montes was born and raised in that country.

In Madison, Wisconsin, 5,000 trade unionists surrounded the state capitol in Madison right-to-work legislation an February 28. The legislation prevented private trade unions from demanding collective dues from employees who are not trade union members, and was supported by Gov. Scott Walker.

“I want a commander in chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists does not wash up on American soil. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” Walker, who would later enter the presidential race, had previously said at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

In response to this, demonstrators held placards reading “Kill the union death bill” and “I am not a terrorist.”

On February 28, activists braved freezing temperatures in Chicago and demanded a thorough investigation in Homan Square, a criminal detention center in the city that they compared to a CIA black site. The #Gitmo2Chicago hashtag aimed to draw attention to the allegations of detainees being tortured and having their constitutional rights being violated by police.

March

On March 1, members of the Los Angeles Police Department shot and killed an unarmed mentally ill homeless man named Africa, even though he was being restrained by three other officers. Smartphone footage of the incident was released a day later, triggering an avalanche of outrage on social media and protests in front of the LAPD headquarters.

In the early morning of March 12, two officers were shot during a protest against alleged police racism outside of the Ferguson, Missouri police station. One officer was shot in the face and another in the shoulder, but both recovered from their injuries. On March 14, 20-year-old black male Jeffrey L. Williams was arrested in connection with the shooting.

These police officers were standing there and they were shot, just because they were police officers,” Chief Jon Belmar said.

April

On April 14, protesters gathered in New York City and around the United States to rally against police brutality and a spike in officers killing unarmed black men, and spread the message on social media using the #ShutDownA14 hashtag. Several arrests were made after protesters shut down the Brooklyn Bridge.

On April 15, thousands of fast-food employees walked off the job to rally for a higher minimum wage as part of the nationwide ‘Fight for 15’ campaign. Large sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience occurred coast-to-coast, including cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Detroit.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook subsequently announced that starting pay at the company-owned restaurants would be set at $1 above local minimum wage, starting July 1, reaching $10 per hour by the end of 2016. Activists criticized this as insufficient.

On April 19, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man died from injuries sustain while being arrested a week earlier in Baltimore. On April 21, police released the identities of the six officers involved, escalating protests that had been going on for days. On April 23, two people were arrested for disorderly conduct and the destruction of property.

Despite Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake calling for ‘peaceful and respectful’ protests, violence broke out in downtown Baltimore, with demonstrators throwing bottles at police and smashing cars. Police in riot gear clashed with protesters, and a total of 12 people were arrested.

April 27 marked not only the funeral of Gray, but the declaration of a state of emergency in Baltimore by Gov. Larry Hogan due to riots in the city.

An aggressive and violent crowd threw rocks, bricks and bottles at police officers. Several police officers were injured, and protesters refused to listen to law enforcement and disperse.

The National Guard was activated, with 2,000 troops arriving at the city on April 28 with armored vehicles and military gear. The service was ordered to be withdrawn from Baltimore on May 3, when the protests and riots ended.

On April 29, a week-long, city-wide curfew by initiated by Gov. Hogan went into effect.

“We are not going to have another night like this,” Gov. Hogan said on Tuesday. “We are going to make sure the city is brought back to peace.”

In response, protesters gathered to resist the strict measure, intentionally violating the curfew. Seven were arrested for being out protesting past 10:00 p.m.

In Ferguson, also on the night of April 29, three people were shot during a protest that was meant to show solidarity with the protests and riots in Baltimore, resulting in two people being arrested.

An April 30 Freddie Gray protest in downtown Philadelphia also took a hectic turn, with scuffles between activists and policemen arising as protesters showing solidarity with Baltimore pushed through a police line.

May

Nationwide Freddie Gray protests continued into early May,  turning into a riot in Seattle on the first of the month. In response, police deployed flashbangs, pepper spray and tear gas in an attempt to get the crowd under control. Three officers were injured and 15 protesters were arrested.

“As we continue to witness acts of violence from protesters, we urge folks on Capitol Hill to exercise caution,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in a statement. “Seattle Police are advising that businesses on Broadway and other Capitol Hill streets should take reasonable precautions to protect their employees and customers. Police will continue to work to protect people and property in the area, and will make arrests when necessary.”

May 13 saw protests in Madison, Wisconsin that erupted in a response to the decision not to indict the police officer who shot Tony Robinson, an unarmed 19-year-old black man. At least 25 protesters were arrested as a group linked arms to block traffic in the middle of the street in front of the city’s courthouse.

Fight for 15 protests were rekindled on May 20, with thousands of workers and activists marching on the McDonald’s corporate headquarters a day before the company’s annual shareholder meeting, resulting in the building being shut down.

On May 22, tens of thousands demonstrators across the United States took part in the worldwide ‘March Against Monsanto’ that aimed to highlight the company’s control of the food supply, and diseases linked to chemicals that they use.

“People are fed up. We should break up Monsanto,” Adam Eidinger of Occupy Monsanto told RT. “Monsanto is a monopoly, and it’s acting like one. It’s basically controlling 90 percent of the seed market in the United States. We wouldn’t let one cell phone company control 90 percent of the cell phones. But for some reason we let food be controlled.”

On March 24, anti-police brutality protests resulted in arrests in Oakland, California. The demonstrations, which were attended by about 150 activists, were sparked by Mayor Libby Schaaf proposing a nighttime protest ban. Dozens of protesters were arrested.

June

On June 1, about 100 demonstrators assembled in Menlo Park, California, protested Facebook’s ‘real name policy,’ carrying signs that read, “My Name Is My Business,” “Facebook exposed me to my abuser” and “Your apology was a lie.” Many of those protesting were drag queens and Native Americans, groups whose members’ names were often flagged as fake.

“It is malicious and targeted bullying against our community and all of those users,” said Sister Roma, a drag queen.

Facebook took a small step back from the policy on December 15, making their name reporting policy more rigorous and allowing for alternative ways to identify the authenticity of a user’s name beyond the original requirements of state IDs and credit cards.

On June 8, hundreds of people took to the streets in McKinney, Texas, following the incident with a police officer pulling a gun on black teenagers at a private pool party that they crashed, resulting in violent arrests. The officer who drew his gun on the teens subsequently resigned.

On June 29, a brawl broke out at the Columbia, South Carolina statehouse between those calling for the flag’s removal and those who supported it remaining on government grounds. WE NEED TO EXPLAIN  WHY THERE WERE PROTESTS About 10 flag supporters clashed with 30 flag protesters, with some ending up with bloodied faces. The flag was ultimately removed on July 10.

July

On July 17, Several thousand people gathered in New York at a protest marking the one-year anniversary of the death of Eric Garner from Staten Island. Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by police, and protesters are still demanding reform. At least two-dozen people were arrested.

On July 30, a town hall meeting in Ferguson, Missouri turned violent. Protestors gathered outside the building to call for Mayor Knowles to resign, eventually making their way inside.The situation escalated into physical brawls between white and black residents. Three arrests were made, though only one person was taken to custody.

August

August 9, the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson, protests erupted throughout the Missouri city for a two-day period. Though demonstrations were originally peaceful, two groups of looters began firing at each other. The next day, a state of emergency was declared, and about 50 protesters, including prominent activist Cornel West, were arrested in front of the federal courthouse, at a rally organized on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.

Later that night, protests turned violent when police arrived on the scene in riot gear, with demonstrators throwing rocks and bottles at officers. More than 100 protesters were arrested throughout the demonstrations.

On August 17, activists opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal occupied the Washington, DC offices of investment firm Morgan Stanley after pushing past security. Morgan Stanley is one of many US companies supporting the TPP, and has spent almost $10 million on lobbying over the past three years.

September

On September 2, parents protested the closing of their children’s school in Chicago, Illinois by participating in a 2.5-week hunger strike to protest and marching on Washington to deliver a letter to the US secretary of education. The Chicago Teachers Union called Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to close the school as “racist” and “classist,” and protesters had been refused a meeting with the mayor.

October

On October 9, hundreds of gun rights activists protested Obama visiting Roseburg, Oregon following the school shooting in the community that killed nine people. Protesters resented the commander-in-chief’s using their town’s tragedy to push for more gun control.

One protester, Willie Windom, said that Obama was “politicizing the shooting at the college for his own gains. He wants to take away gun rights,” and then went on to say, “This country used to have a lot of respect from everybody else. Now we’ve got no respect whatsoever. When Vladimir Putin starts to look good by comparison, we’re in trouble.”

On October 22, hundreds gathered in New York City’s Times Square on Thursday, launching a three-day protest against officer-involved killings, brutality and mass incarceration dubbed ‘Rise Up October.’ At least a dozen people were arrested on October 23 after protesters gathered near the infamous Rikers Island prison to call attention to brutality towards inmates.

Noted filmmaker Quentin Tarantino took part in Rise October protests, leading to the NYPD police union to call for a boycott of his films.

November

On November 8, protests erupted at the University of Missouri due to allegations of racist incidents on campus, some of which later turned out to be hoaxes. Hunger strikes and demonstrations ultimately led to the university’s president and the university system’s chancellor stepping down.

The protests drew criticism for their hostility to the media and to the concept of free speech, building “safe spaces” where reporters and people who disagreed with them were not allowed.

Fight for 15 protests returned on November 10, with low-wage workers in over 200 cities across the country striking for a higher minimum age. New York mayor Bill de Blasio joined protesters to show his support.

“In New York City, we have well over a million people who don’t make 15 dollars an hour – a million people trying to struggle to get by. And this movement shined a light on that reality and said: ‘we’re not going to go on like that,’” the mayor said to a group of demonstrators.

On November 24, protests erupted after a video showed Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black male armed with a knife, being shot 16 times by a police officer in Chicago. Protests began in Chicago, but spread to other cities across the United States. Three activists were arrested during the first night of demonstrations in Chicago.

Demonstrations continued for days, with protesters on Black Friday on November 27 intending to block access to commercial locations on the shopping holiday. This intersected with the annual protest of Walmart employees demanding $15 an hour from the retail giant.

December

On December 1, in response to protests about the death of Laquan McDonald, Chicago’s police superintendent was forced to resign amid calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s top prosecutor Anita Alvarez to step down.

Protests continued throughout December, with protesters marching through downtown Chicago on December 9, blocking traffic as they reiterated their demands for the mayor to resign.

On December 16, Chicago law enforcement officers arrested 16 people demonstrating against police brutality in the city. Those taking part in the rally held a sit-in, blocking a busy intersection as they once again demanded the resignation of Mayor Emanuel.

On December 27, protests broke out in response to a Chicago police officer shooting and killed a 19-year-old student and his 55-year-old neighbor, a mother of five, after responding to a domestic disturbance call. The grieving mother of the teenager said she had been hoping to “get help” from police.

Hundreds of people gathered on the streets of the city, claiming that police are killing civilians instead of protecting them.

 

Reagan read anti-communist fiction to prepare for talks with Soviets
| December 30, 2015 | 9:04 pm | political struggle, USSR | No comments
Reagan,Gorbachev summit

Secret Docs: Reagan Prepared for Soviet Nuclear Talks With Fiction Novel

© AP Photo/ Scott Stewart

While it’s advisable for world leaders to read widely about global threats, it seems former US President Ronald Reagan may have taken that advice a little too far, with a recently released memo suggesting that he prepared for a talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev by reading a fiction novel.

A recently released memo from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher found that shortly after the 1986 Reykjavik summit in 1986, where US and Soviet leaders met to discuss attempts to reduce their respective nuclear stockpiles, Reagan rang Thatcher to recommend a book based on a hypothetical Third World War between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

According to an account of a phone call between Reagan and Thatcher just after the talks in Iceland, the president “strongly commended” the prime minister to read the novel Red Storm Rising, written by author Tom Clancy.

​The memo, marked secret and written by Mrs Thatcher’s private secretary and foreign policy advisor, described how Reagan thought the fiction novel was an “excellent” account of Moscow’s intentions during the talks.

“The President strongly commended to the Prime Minister a new book by the author of ‘Red October’ called (I think) ‘Red Storm Rising’. It gave an excellent picture of the Soviet Union’s intentions and strategy. He had clearly been much impressed by the book,” the memo read.

The story’s plot details a war fought to the brink of a nuclear battle between NATO and the Moscow-headed Warsaw Pact, and how Soviet forces would offer Washington a generous negotiation offer while secretly planning for war.

​While it is unsure how much Red Storm Rising impacted the president’s thinking, the memo clearly shows that the novel and its plot was clearly on Reagan’s mind in the lead-up and aftermath of the Reykjavik meeting with Gorbachev in 1986.

The revelations are also sure to give ammunition to critics of Regan’s foreign policy, given his fascination with a fiction book in during a time of highly tense and complicated geopolitical issues.

​While the novel’s author, Tom Clancy, has been credited as being an astute observer of the Cold War, the writer later admitted that his primary source for information into NATO military strategies didn’t come from classified material, but from a freely accessible naval warfare board game.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/europe/20151230/1032514580/reagan-prepared-for-cold-war-talks-with-fiction-novel.html#ixzz3vrc3YPHf

Sanders calls for US DoD audit
| December 30, 2015 | 8:56 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles

‘Immense Waste and Fraud’: Bernie Sanders Calls for US DoD Audit

© AP Photo/ Ringo H.W. Chiu
 

At a rally on Monday evening in Storm Lake, Iowa, US presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders called for an audit of the Department of Defense for fraud and wasteful spending, as soldiers are forced to live off of food stamps.

The Democratic presidential candidate asserted that making the government more cost effective includes many other options besides cutting assistance for those in need, seeking to begin the process by examining the spending of government agencies.

“What it does mean is taking a hard look at an agency which receives $600 billion per year where there is an immense amount of waste and fraud,” Sanders said.

Sanders explained that on the day before the attacks of September 11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech which was overshadowed by the tragedy, declaring that there are trillions of dollars unaccounted for within the Department of Defense.

He explained that the agency receives some $600 billion annually, and that spending should be examined as an option for finding those areas to cut back spending without taking from American citizens.

The Vermont senator stated that the DOD is the only agency of government which cannot sustain an independent audit.

“You go to them and ask how many private contractors we have. Well, they really don’t know. It’s so complicated, a huge complicated system.”

He explained that there are some serious problems with what the US pays defense contractors, who can essentially charge the government whatever they want.

“And while we have massive cost overruns with defense contractors, we’ve got deployment after deployment for our soldiers, and we’ve got military families on food stamps. So maybe we want to change that.”

The Vermont senator also spoke of some 6,700 US service members who have died in military operations in Iraq and beyond, and over 500,000 returning home with post traumatic stress disorder or brain injuries. The candidate stated that he would not be so quick to rush the US military off to fight other people’s wars on the other side of the world.

Sanders received an enthusiastic and sustained standing ovation from the crowded room at the end of the event.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20151231/1032524304/sanders-dod-audit.html#ixzz3vraLbdeM

Bully Trump twitter tantrums as Sanders tells the truth
| December 30, 2015 | 7:08 pm | Analysis, Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments

A Terrified Trump Throws A Twitter Tantrum After Bernie Sanders Truth Bombs His Lies

more from Jason Easley
Sunday, December, 27th, 2015, 2:05 pm
 
     
http://www.politicususa.com/2015/12/27/terrified-donald-trump-throws-twitter-tantrum-bernie-sanders-truth-bombs-lies.html

sanders-trump-3

 

A terrified Donald Trump threw a temper tantrum on Twitter after Bernie Sanders obliterated the billionaire by fact bombing his lies.

During an interview on CBS’ Face The Nation, Sen. Sanders said, “Meanwhile, interestingly enough, John, this is a guy who does not want to raise the minimum wage. In fact, he has said that he thinks wages in America are too high. But he does want to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to top three-tenths of one percent.”

Trump responded by throwing a fit on Twitter:

Video proves that Trump has said that wages are too high twice.

The first time was during the Fox Business Republican presidential debate:

During the debate, Trump said, “But, taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.”

Trump repeated the same point about wages the next morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

Trump said, “We have to become competitive with the world. Our taxes are too high. Our wages are too high.”

Sen. Sanders (I-VT) responded to Trump by saying that the billionaire is getting nervous.

Sanders said, “Donald Trump says that I’m a liar because I said he believes wages in America are too high. Really?…It appears that Mr. Trump is getting nervous that working families are catching on that his policies represent the interests of the billionaire class against almost everyone else. He refuses to support raising the minimum wage. He believes wages are too high, and he wants to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very richest families in America. That’s not an agenda that ‘makes America great.’ It’s just another Republican billionaire wanting to make the very rich richer at the expense of working families.”

The Democratic presidential candidate nailed it, but I would suggest that nervous was a bit of an understatement. Trump is terrified that voters will catch on to his fraud. Donald Trump is a con man who is trying to fast talk his way to the White House.

Bernie Sanders has done something that no Republican presidential candidate has been able to do. Sanders has thrown Trump off of his game. Both Sen. Sanders and former Sec. of State Clinton understand that Donald Trump is a bully, and the way to handle a bully is to stand up to them. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio get weak in the knees every time they confront Trump. Ted Cruz alternates between embracing and avoiding Trump.

The Democrats are the only candidates who have been willing to knock Trump down.

Donald Trump doesn’t want a fight with Bernie Sanders because this is the real world, not reality television. Sanders is a political brawler who will not only take on Trump. He will defeat him.

Is Sanders pushing Trump to the left?
| December 29, 2015 | 10:22 pm | Analysis, Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments
Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for a portrait before an interview, Wednesday May 20, 2015, in Washington.

Hell Has Frozen Over: Is Sanders Pushing Trump to the Left?

© AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin

After Senator Bernie Sanders made a play for Donald Trump’s voters this week, Trump flip-flopped on income inequality and took to Twitter on Monday to say that wages are, in fact, too low.

During the Republican debate in Las Vegas earlier this month, Trump was singing a very different tune.

“Taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave [the minimum wage] the way it is…People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we cannot do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it,” he declaimed.

Contradicting himself again, the candidate tweeted to his over-five-million followers on Monday, “the middle-class has worked so hard, are not getting the kind of jobs that they have long dreamed of — and no effective raise in years. BAD.”

On Sunday, Sanders appealed to Trump supporters, saying that he believed he could convince some of the Republican candidate’s voters to defect, describing them as frustrated working-class voters.

“What Trump has done with some success is taken that anger, taken those fears which are legitimate and converted them into anger against Mexicans, anger against Muslims, and in my view that is not the way we’re going to address the major problems facing our country,” Sanders explained.

Trump snapped back at Sanders during his Twitter tirade, posting: “strange, but I see wacko Bernie Sanders allies coming over to me because I’m lowering taxes, while he will double & triple them, a disaster!”

Trump smeared Sanders in October with fabricated claims that the Vermont senator will tax everyone at “90%.”

“He’s gonna tax you people at 90 percent. He’s gonna take everything. And nobody’s heard the term communist, but you know what? I’d call him a socialist/communist, okay? ‘Cause that’s what he is,” Trump declared.

Sanders has long stated that he will create a tax plan that targets the extremely wealthy, consistently explaining, “the wealthiest and large corporations will pay when I’m president.” His plan would result in higher taxes for hyper-rich people like Trump, but not American working-class wages, counter to the assertions of the GOP.

“Yes, we are going to ask Trump and his billionaire friends to pay more in taxes….We’ll come up with that rate. But it will be a damned lot higher than it is right now,” Sanders said in an October 18th interview with ABC’s This Week.

Sanders has not yet released a specific tax plan, but he has clarified that it would be focused on raising taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations.

In October, Politifact ruled Trump’s claim that Sanders wants to push absurdly high taxes on everyday Americans as “Pants on Fire,” a rating reserved for the most flagrant lies by politicians.

Judging by the inflated stridency of his latest tweets, Trump apparently is noticing that people like what Sanders has to say.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20151229/1032472101/sanders-pushing-trump-left.html#ixzz3vm5RaDXw

Bill Ayers slams ‘Criminal Activities’ of Obama administration
| December 29, 2015 | 10:17 pm | Analysis, political struggle | No comments
U.S. President Barack Obama departs after speaking about the shooting attacks in Paris, from the White House in Washington November 13, 2015

Bill Ayers Slams ‘Criminal Activities’ of Obama Administration

© REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque

A leading figure in America’s New Left during the 1960s and 70s, Bill Ayers caused controversy during the 2008 presidential election because of his ties with Barack Obama. Seven years later, Ayers is one of the president’s harshest critics, telling Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear program about his many frustrations with the current administration.

A distinguished educator and political activist, Bill Ayers is a co-founder of the Weather Underground, a self-described communist revolutionary group active during the Vietnam War. During the 2008 presidential election, the Weather Underground’s radical activities became fuel for the right wing, desperate to derail the campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama.

“Fortunately, I’ve lived through not only many decades, but also many episodes of being notorious in the national media. It’s not pleasant, but I don’t take it that seriously,” Ayers told Loud & Clear. “What was created was a cartoon character, it wasn’t me, and I never confused the two.”

These brief interactions between Obama and Ayers were cited by both Republicans and Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries, even though the two men disagreed on most political issues.

“…Having a range of people you talk to should not be a liability or a sin, it should be a virtue,” he says. “We never agreed politically. He always was who he said he was. That is, a moderate, middle-of-the-road, pragmatic, democratic politician. I’m not that, I’m not a Democrat. I’m a radical. I’m an independent radical and revolutionary.

“…We did know one another, and that’s not a sin.”

The political differences between the two men are evident in Ayer’s current criticism of the Obama administration.

“I think we’re sliding down a very treacherous path,” Ayers says, “and I think the Democratic Party is very much a part of that. It is a war party. The criminal activities of this administration are vast. Drone strikes, continuous war.”

“We [the US] are the mother of the so-called Islamic State…the mother of that entity is the Iraq Invasion and the father is Saudi Arabia, which we just gave billions of dollars of aid to.”

President Obama has also failed to heal the distrust created by the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, according to Ayers.

“When Obama came into power and immediately said he wouldn’t hold anyone accountable for the invasion of Iraq, we were doomed right then,” Ayers says. “You can’t move beyond it if you can’t account for it.”

Ayers points out that the American Left’s true focus should be on those political institutions with which it has actual power, not government bureaucracies that will never truly represent people.

“We spend way too much time, those of us who are on the left, looking longingly at the sites of power that we have no access to. That includes the White House, it includes that medieval auction block called the Congress,” he says.

“If we spend too much time on that, then we ignore the sites of power that we have absolute access to. The workplace, the community, the street, the school, the church, the synagogue, the mosque. These are our sites of power, and rather than worry about ‘Will Obama save us?’ the only question is ‘Could we have saved Obama?'”

Ayers describes in the interview some of his experiences with the Weather Underground and the Vietnam-era anti-war movement, and the use of tactics he describes as “extreme vandalism.”

“What do you do if it’s your country carrying out this genocidal, criminal enterprise? What do you do?” Ayers said of the Vietnam War. “It was not terrorism…What we were doing was kind of extreme vandalism to try and draw alarm about this 6,000 people a week being murdered.”

Ayers credits the activism of the 1960’s for the surge in current social movements, including Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and even the candidacy of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

“Whatever the 60’s was, it was prelude to what we’re seeing today, and it will be prelude to the much bigger changes that are coming.”

He offers an enlightened view of the mainstream media in the United States.

“I expect the media to have a ho-hum reaction,” he says with regard to media coverage of civil rights issues. “I think that we need to count not only on voices like yours [Sputnik], and Democracy Now, and Thom Hartmann…but we have to develop our own media.”

“We make a mistake when we rely on the New York Times telling us how many people were at the demonstration or what we should do. That’s always a mistake. One of the things that’s exciting about this moment is how much independent media there is.”

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20151229/1032471843/bill-ayers-interview.html#ixzz3vm45X0CB

Bill Ayers slams Obama’s policies
| December 29, 2015 | 10:14 pm | Analysis, political struggle | No comments
Loud & Clear

Bill Ayers: “Obama’s Favorite Terrorist” Slams Obama’s Policies

Brian Becker

On today’s special episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by legendary member of the Weather Underground Bill Ayers.

Bill Ayers first came to prominence for his role in the anti-Vietnam war movement in the late 1960s, and spent ten years living underground due to his organization’s militant actions against the US government. Ayers became the focus of attention again in 2008 when it was alleged that he was a close associate of then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

We ask Ayers about being back in the spotlight, about his time during the revolutionary 1960s and 70s, and his take on the potential for fundamental change in US society today.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/radio_loud_and_clear/20151229/1032442670/Bill-Ayers-Obama-terrorist-policies.html#ixzz3vm3RllyW