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Che Guevara

Michael Moore in Wisconsin: America is Not Broke

Speech delivered at Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, March 5, 2011

America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

Che Guevara

US: Protesters Rally in Wisconsin After Governor Threatens Layoffs

Thousands of union supporters protested Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposals on Saturday at the state capital, a day after the state's chief executive followed through on his threat to issue layoff warning notices to unions representing state workers.

Joining the crowd was liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, who praised the protesters gathered in the battle over union bargaining rights as joining the history of the American labor movement.

Walker, a Republican, has proposed increased payments for health care and pension benefits for public workers and stripping their unions of most of their collective bargaining rights, a move he says is necessary to address a budget gap of $3.6 billion for the coming two years.

The warning notices, sent on Friday to at least 13 unions, do not represent actual layoffs for the state's 300,000 public employees but take the war of words between the newly elected governor and state Democrats to a new level.

Moore told the crowd, which was smaller than it has been the last two weekends of the ongoing protests, that the nation was awash in wealth, concentrated in the hands of a few, but the public has been cowed into not standing up for itself.

"Madison is only the beginning," Moore said. "The rich have overplayed their hand.

No Entry

Saudi Arabia bans all protest and marches

Move follows several small demonstrations by minority Shiites

Riyadh - Saudi Arabia said Saturday it would ban all protests and marches after minority Shiites staged small protests in the oil-producing eastern province.

Security forces would use all measures to prevent any attempt to disrupt public order, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by state television.

The ban follows a series of protests by Saudi Shiites in the kingdom's east in the past weeks mainly to demand the release of prisoners they say are long held without trial.

Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority mostly live in the east, which holds much of the oil wealth of the world's top crude exporter and is near Bahrain, scene of protests by majority Shiites against their Sunni rulers.

Saudi Shiites complain they struggle to get senior government jobs and other benefits like other citizens.

The government of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy without an elected parliament that usually does not tolerate public dissent, denies these charges.

Last week, King Abdullah returned to Riyadh after a three-month medical absence and unveiled $37 billion in benefits for citizens in an apparent bid to insulate the kingdom from protests spreading in several Arab countries.

Che Guevara

HECO strike in Hawaii: 1,300 workers walk off the job amid power outages

© Dennis Oda / doda@staradvertiser.com
Hawaiian Electric workers picketed yesterday at Archer Lane and King Street after about 1,300 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 went on strike at 3:30 p.m.
Hawaiian Electric Co. used managers and outside contractors to repair storm-damaged power lines yesterday after its unionized work force walked off the job over a contract dispute.

HECO executives said the strike would slow efforts to restore service to about 8,000 Oahu homes and businesses, mostly in the Ewa Beach area, that were without power last night.

"We do have management crews out there to see what we can do about the Ewa Beach situation in particular this evening, and we will do our best to restore as much of that service as possible," said Robbie Alm, HECO executive vice president. "I don't want to guarantee that, obviously, we don't have our normal full crews out there."

About 1,300 HECO workers who are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 went on strike at 3:30 p.m. yesterday and began walking picket lines on Oahu, the Big Island and in Maui County.


Bahraini protesters form human chain around capital

© AFP Photo
Thousands of Bahraini Protesters march during an anti-regime demonstration in the capital, Manama, on March 4, 2011.
Thousands of demonstrators form an enormous 'human chain' around the capital Manama as protests continue against the rule of the monarchy.

Protesters joined hands to encircle the capital as the nation enters its third week of protests, The Daily Express reported.

No police presence was reported during the peaceful demonstration. Organizers reported that some of the Sunnis, which constitute a minority in Bahrain, joined Saturday's event.

Protesters have accused the government of discriminatory policies and political persecution.

Friday saw an estimated 100,000 demonstrators in the capital's financial district following the Friday Prayers. Protesters then marched towards Pearl Square, the epicenter of the movement demanding the government to step down.


Yemen attack on protesters injures 25

Forces loyal to unpopular Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh have attacked anti-government protest camps south of Sana'a, killing three and injuring over two dozens of people.

"Large groups from the ruling party attacked the protest headquarters with stones and batons, and 25 people were injured including six in critical condition," a protest leader in the town of Ibb, south of the capital, was quoted by Reuters as saying on Sunday.

Meanwhile, opposition forces have called on protesters to continue their anti-government drive.

Mohammed Sabri, a leading member of the Common Forum opposition collation said "the president is a political corpse," AFP reported.

He said the dysfunctional character of his leadership was proven by the ruler's recent refusal to accept a proposal by the opposition and religious figures to give in to a "peaceful transition of power."

No Entry

Egypt not granting Israelis travel visas

© Unknown
A poster held by supporters of Egypt's revolution celebrating in the capital, Cairo
Egypt's embassy in Tel Aviv has been refusing to issue travel visas for Israeli applicants, who usually do not have trouble obtaining the permission.

The embassy has not explicitly declared any travel ban, but it is delaying their visa requests, Israel's commercial television outlet, Channel 2 reported on its website on Sunday.

Yossi Fattal, the director-general of the Israel Travel Agents Association said the Israelis are told to come back next week for processing of their applications and the postponements continue.

People, however, continue to transit between the two sides through the Taba crossing in the northeastern Egypt.

The development comes weeks after a popular revolution in Egypt, where people say they are tired of being ruled by US-backed a regime.

Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down on February 11 as a result of the revolution.


Moore: Protesters have 'aroused a sleeping giant'

© Associated Press
Michael Moore addresses a crowd at the Capitol on Saturday, the 18th day of protests over Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers.

Protesters in Madison have "aroused a sleeping giant" in the national fight for workers' rights, filmmaker Michael Moore told thousands at the Capitol Square on Saturday, as rallies opposing Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposals wrapped up their third week.

"Right now the Earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge," said Moore, the Oscar-winning maker of Bowling for Columbine, whose documentaries also include Fahrenheit 911 and Capitalism: A Love Story.


Shiite protesters in Bahrain encircle capital

© Associated Press
A Bahraini woman waves a national flag and carries a sign reading 'The people want the fall of the government' during a march tens of thousands strong
Manama, Bahrain - Thousands of Shiite protesters in Bahrain have formed a huge human chain around the capital, Manama, as their campaign to loosen the Sunni monarchy's grip on power in the strategic Gulf nation enters its third week.

No police were in sight Saturday as protesters - men and women - held hands to encircle Manama, where Bahrain's Shiite majority has been leading daily demonstrations to end what they say are discriminatory policies and political persecution.

Tensions have been high in the Gulf kingdom, the host of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, since a street battle between Sunnis and Shiites on Thursday left at least a dozen people injured.

Organizers say some members of the Sunni minority joined Saturday's event.


US: Charlie Sheen latest: 'I'm Jewish, off to Haiti'

© Agence France-Presse
Troubled US actor Charlie Sheen rounded off a rollercoaster week by claiming that he couldn't be anti-Semitic because he is Jewish -- and saying he is off to Haiti, to help out there
Troubled US actor Charlie Sheen rounded off a rollercoaster week by claiming that he couldn't be anti-Semitic because he is Jewish -- and saying he is off to Haiti, to help out there.

Sheen, whose children were taken away from him a week after the hit TV series in which he stars was cancelled, said he should have mentioned his Jewishness when he was accused of anti-Semitism last week.

"My mom is Jewish. Here's where it gets confusing -- we don't know who her father was," he told the TV show Access Hollywood Live. "But she is, in fact, Jewish. So, I guess that would make me Jewish, and my children Jewish.

"And Brooke, my ex-wife is Jewish. So, I guess I should've rolled all that out too," he added.

Challenged about why he didn't mention this earlier, he added: "I know, I know -- stupid me .. I just got caught sleeping. Caught napping. Which is rare for me."

The comments came a week after hit TV show Two and a Half Men was canceled for the rest of the season following Sheen's repeated attack on its producer, Chuck Lorre.