The White Flag


Christmas in America: Business as Usual
December 26, 2010, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

United States

The government is not taking measures to protect social security; it never did anyone any good anyway.
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“[…]Congress agreed to increase high-end loopholes in the estate tax, exempting 39,000 estates worth as much as $5 million.”

“[The bill is] lowering taxes for the rich and destabilizing the financing of Social Security.”

“Breaking the promise of Social Security will leave seniors with extra working years and reduced benefits.”

“Social Security funding must be off-limits to Congress, especially when it wants to give the money to millionaires.”

First responders health care bill, it’s a partisan issue?
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“Senate Republicans successfully filibustered a bill that would provide health benefits to September 11th first responders who have contracted illnesses as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals during their response to the attacks. Named after James Zadroga, a responder who was killed in 2006 by respiratory disease, the bill sets aside money to monitor and treat the health of these firefighters, police officers, and construction workers, and would reopen the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which provides payments for job and economic losses.”

“A report by the AFL-CIO in September of this year revealed that 13,000 first responders were still being treated for health problems, nine years after the attacks took place.”

“Jon Kyl (R-AZ), for example, said that the bill was being considered “in a hurry, in a lame duck session, without a hearing, without understanding what the ramifications are and whether we can amend the bill.” However, the bill was first introduced in the House four years ago, has been available in the Senate since 2009, and received a Senate hearing in June 2010.”

Do not believe politicians use consultants to tell them what to say and how to act? Rumor has it that Nancy Pelosi has asked Steven Spielberg for recommendations for the Democrat party to build a stronger brand.
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“Lawmakers say she is consulting marketing experts about building a stronger brand. The most prominent of her new whisperers is Steven Spielberg, the Hollywood director whose films have been works of branding genius. Lawmakers said Spielberg has not reported to Pelosi with a recommendation.”

“Spielberg has been a power player in Democratic politics for years, working on everything from President Bill Clinton’s millennial celebrations to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in the last presidential race, but since then he’s helped fundraiser for President Obama.”

“A spokesperson for Spielberg put out a statement that many news organizations are taking as a flat-out denial.”

“[…] Marvin Levy [wrote] “I can say as a long-time spokesman for Steven that he has made it his career to direct actors, not political figures.” Levy did not actually comment on whether Pelosi had consulted with the director on Democratic re-branding.“

Civil Liberties

Conditions of Bradley Manning’s new pretrial home in Quantico, VA.
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“PFC Manning is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day.”

“He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets. However, he is given access to two blankets and has recently been given a new mattress that has a built-in pillow.”

Manning [mentioned] that his blankets are similar in weight and heft to lead aprons used in X-ray laboratories, and similar in texture to coarse and stiff carpet. He stated explicitly that the blankets are not soft in the least and expressed concern that he had to lie very still at night to avoid receiving carpet burns. The problem of carpet burns was exacerbated, he related, by the stipulation that he must sleep only in his boxer shorts as part of the longstanding POI order”

“He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.”

“He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.”

Manning [said] that he does not receive any substantive exercise and cannot perform even basic exercises in his cell. When told of the Pentagon’s statement that he did indeed receive exercise, Manning’s reply was that he is able to exercise insofar as walking in chains is a form of exercise.”

“Manning [stated] that he is not allowed to view international news during his television period. He mentioned that he might theoretically be able to view local news, but his television period is typically from 7pm – 8pm such that no local news is playing in the Quantico, VA area.”

“He does receive one hour of ‘exercise’ outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell.”

“Manning stated that he has not been outside or into the brig yard for either recreation nor exercise in four full weeks. He related that visits to the outdoors have been infrequent and sporadic for the past several months.”

“When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning.”

Obama plans to lay the ground work for indefinite detention without trail.
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“[…]Obama Administration is preparing an Executive Order to formalize indefinite detention without charge or trial for certain unnamed Guantanamo detainees.”

“The administration argues that indefinite detention is necessary for ‘people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases, because evidence may be tainted, but who, nonetheless, pose a threat to the security of the United States.’ What the Obama administration continues to obscure is that evidence ‘tainted’ by torture or coercion is no evidence at all.”

Obama’s indefinite detention program, pt. 2.
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“[…] the Obama administration indicated to reporters that long-awaited action codifying the Bush-era policy of indefinite detention for suspected terrorists would be put in place through executive order.”

“The Obama administration proposal differs from the Bush administration detention review process in that it would be more adversarial — detainees would be represented by a lawyer, and the boards would be made up of more than just military officials.”

“Indefinite military detention should not be used as a substitute for criminal prosecution for suspected terrorists operating outside the theater of war,” says David Frakt, a Barry University law professor and an Air Force Judge Advocate General Lieutenant Colonel[…]”

“An executive order also means indefinite detention isn’t a ‘permanent’ fixture of American law.”

The World

Protests explode due to cuts to a crumbling college system.
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“A week ago, cars were sent on fire, shop windows smashed and dozens of people injured in clashes between protesters and police after the initially peaceful march descended into some of the worst violence seen in the city for years.”

“No trouble was reported on Wednesday in a rainy Rome, but there were some clashes at a demonstration in Palermo and reports of incidents in Naples, Milan and Turin.”

“It’s not only a mobilization against university reforms but of a generation that is making itself heard again over the politics of the country, the issues we face and the precarious situation in which we live.”

“The reform cuts the number of university courses and faculties and reduces funding for grants. It sets time limits for research, overhauls the admissions system, increases the role of the private sector in university governance and limits the duration of rectorships.”

Progress

Do you think that fishing operations violate your fourth amendment rights, and waste the federal government’s time? Now you can add data mining to that list, it is fiscally wasteful too.
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“A federal judge ordered the government on Tuesday to pay nearly $2.6 million in lawyers’ fees and damages to officials with a shuttered Islamic charity in Oregon who the judge said were wiretapped without a court order under the surveillance program approved by President George W. Bush after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

START Treaty: reducing America and Russia’s nuclear bomb arsenal.
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“His allies spent Wednesday reiterating their concerns, and some passions were cooled when a bipartisan coalition agreed to statements that say, among other things, that the New START treaty doesn’t infringe upon U.S, missile defense development and deployment. Another change pressures the White House to provide money for nuclear weapons facilities.”

“The New START Treaty would restrict the U.S. and Russia at the end of a seven-year period to deploying no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads on 700 strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles.”

“That would be about a 30 percent drop from the 2,200 limit set in a 2002 treaty that’s due to expire at the end of 2012. The new treaty will also permit the two nations to resume inspections of each other’s nuclear weapons, which have been suspended for just over a year, a gap that worries U.S. intelligence officials.”

Petition: Tell the Quantico Marine Base to lift the POI, prevention of injury, placed on Bradley Manning because his current conditions are inhumane, and near torture.
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Senate passes 9/11 Health Care bill.
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“The Senate reached a compromise with Republicans, who were concerned over the initial cost of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would have provided $7.4 billion over ten years. Today’s approved legislation will provide $4.3 billion over five years.”

“Of the $4.3 billion total allotted, $1.5 billion will fund health benefits, while $2.7 will go to compensation.”

“The bill will also place a cap on attorneys’ fees at 10 percent of the total awarded to the claimants, and will allow the legislation’s special master to reduce excessive attorney fees.”

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Errorism
December 19, 2010, 5:15 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

When terrorists plan attacks that harm and kill a hand full of people, which then scares millions into submission, meaning, they don’t go on with their daily lives as usual due to fear, the terrorists get exactly what they want. The terrorists hate America because we have freedom of religion, and we send women to school–these are signs of freedom and the terrorist despise our freedom, thus they wish to destroy it. The terrorists greatest weapon is fear, not bombs or guns; global terrorism only accounts for several hundred deaths every year.

Why are we allowing them to win? They have no real power over any of us, and all we have to do to resist them is recognize that life style choices, the habits we take on through our own volition, are more threatening to our lives than terrorism. For instance, 50% of all hospital visits in the U.S. are in part due to alcohol consumption, smoking is responsible for more than 430,000 deaths every year, inactivity and poor diet trail right behind with 400,000 deaths a year, and car crashes are the number one killer of teens. Compare these figures to the 630 people killed globally by terrorists in 2003.

The people of the world have no reason to fear terrorists, that is unless they want to make Islamic extremist’s suicides worth while. In that case we can continue cowering in fear, driving our national debt to phenomenal new heights in order to fight a few hundred global terrorists, relinquish our privacy, and sacrifice our freedom to ensure our safety.

Or, if you really want to defeat terrorists, don’t be afraid, don’t submit yourself to unprovoked search and seizure, don’t allow government officials to have immunity to prosecution, don’t allow the government to quietly read our emails. Speak out against our government for indefinitely imprisoning anyone, or denying them their right to habeas corpus. If you want to defeat terrorists then take away their true source of power, human fear.
-The White Flag

U.S.

Bankers Club.
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Senate approves tax cuts for everyone…
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And the House followed.
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Why do Americans elect people who still have a misunderstanding of the basic rights granted to every American in the constitution, such as freedom of speech? Or should I say, freeDOOM of speech, because if we listen to these people then we will end up believing our freedom of speech is as dangerous as our right to privacy.
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First U.S. lobby group devoted to the marijuana industry.
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Socialist peace activists or American hating terrorists?
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War

The Afghan people believe it was great that America overthrew the Taliban, but now it is time for them to go, however, American forces are expected to be in Afghanistan for at least another four years.
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America is funding the Taliban?
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Health

First person to cured of HIV.
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Civil Liberties

Human rights groups will not let the Bush Torture case die quietly. Organizations are petitioning the Spanish courts to resume their investigation into the torture of U.S. prisoners, claiming it is under their jurisdiction, so they must pursue the case.
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This cannot be the only way to conduct this war, furthermore, if it was, it is not worth it. Putting harms into perspective, we should be spending more time to ensure road safety in America considering the great danger it is to all Americans, versus the extremely low amount of threat a terrorist is to the 7 billion people on the planet–or, if you have any concern for the well being of humanity. Terrorists may kill hundreds world wide, but car crashes in the United States alone account for 45,000 deaths, and are the number one killer of teenagers.
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No one should stand by and watch as people’s rights are taken, in this case particularly, because no amount of searching is going to stop terrorists from attacking Americans. Since that is true, to what point is invasion of privacy viable? I think it was laid out in the constitution, so we did not have to worry about it, the fourth amendment says no unreasonable search and seizures. So I would say, blasting everyone who wants to ride an airplane with radiation, to attain a nude image of that person, who is not a terrorist, suspected to be a terrorist, or has not committed some other crime that would make them considered a potential threat would be an invasive search, for no search has been warranted.
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“US had strong-armed even the powerful German government into blocking German prosecutors from indicting and requesting the extradition to Germany of 13 CIA agents involved in the illegal kidnapping and renditioning to Bagram prison in Afghanistan of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen wrongly thought by the CIA to be a terrorist. El-Masri was kidnapped by these agents in 2003, stripped, bound, placed in an adult diaper with a plug in his rectum, and flown by the CIA to Bagram, where he was repeatedly tortured, sodomized, injected with mind-altering drugs, and held for months, before being simply dropped off by the CIA on an Albanian roadside, after it was determined by the US that a ‘mistake’ had been made.”

The problem with indefinite detention at Guantanamo for the worst of the worst is often that has not been the case with Guantanamo prisoners, like David Hicks, who is obviously not even an al Qaeda member. Plus, if these people are the worst of the worst they deserve to go to a criminal court to stand trail for what they have done, just astheir victims deserve their attacker be brought to justice.

“Guantanamo will continue to secure the worst of the worst, indefinitely if necessary — which we suspect is just fine by most Americans.”

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The companies who were responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are being sued by the U.S. government.
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The puzzle of how the United States can imprison Julian Assange for the rest of his life.
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Torture is not being cruel to a person, torture is when the person experiences life threatening pain, see, George Bush thinks we should just be pragmatic about torture.
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Torture may still be in practice, but a certainty is that Obama is not taking on the issue of prosecuting torture, instead, he is spending time ending torture cases before they get their day in court.
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If we abandon the government programs that improve our lives what kind of government will be left? Destroying social security will be a cost we all pay.
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Italy Charged 23 CIA agents for torture and kidnapping.
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Progress

Petition: Keep Net Neutrality alive!
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Courts rule that opening emails without a warrant is in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
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Food and Safety bill, and the power of people:
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Losing Liberty
December 12, 2010, 5:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

U.S.

Republicans opposed to unemployment benefits because they will increase the national debt by $50 billion, legitimate. However, they will extend unemployment benefits so long as they can extend the bush era tax-cut for the richest 1% of the nation, a move which will add $700 billion to the national debt.

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Dick Cheney’s lawyer claims that any allegation that Cheney bribed Nigerians to obtain contracts in the country are completely baseless, but for some reason KBR, the company he worked for, paid $597 million dollars in fines. They paid a ton of money for something they supposedly did not do.
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Visa and Mastercard have dropped Wikileaks, however, no reason to fear, they are not on some morality trip. You can still use your Mastercard to purchase KKK merchandise as Christmas gifts for your loved ones.
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Either the FBI is incompetent at removing secret information the first time they release documents, or they are just taking out more information, purely for the sake of concealing it from the public.
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If you have any doubt that the rape charges against Assange are baseless, read this. Also, the U.S. abuses its power by intimidating people to challenge their authority: although not stated here, they have told Germany and Spain, who are investigating CIA torture, that it would damage foreign relations between us and them. Now they are telling college students not to write favorably, or support Wikileaks because it may jeopardize future employment opportunities with the government.
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More on this topic: America throws its weight around to get its agenda done; U.S. shows its teeth to Spain and Germany to kill torture investigations.
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The cyberwar: hackers v. United States
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Even those with degrees are feeling the hard economic times. Unemployment for people with a college education hits an all time high. Somehow companies themselves seem to be doing better than normal?
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VIDEO: Interview with Noam Chomsky, he discusses Haiti’s election, the economy, and other issues primarily focusing on the revelations from the latest Wikileaks documents.
View/Read

More than six months after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began, the Gulf floor is still lifeless
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Oil Spill in Michigan last summer is causing health problems for many people in the area.
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Texas case to determine the Constitutionality of capitol punishment. It takes into consideration the numerous innocents who have been executed, and people who are susceptible to false executions in the future. Update: This movement has been put on hold.
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Civil Liberties

Not only is it unlikely anyone who committed torture during the Bush Administration will be prosecuted, the Obama Administration is systematically discouraging other nations from pursuing their own investigations.
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“President Obama justifies his reluctance to investigate Bush administration officials by saying that the country needs to ‘look forward and not backwards’. Yet, he admitted the fallacy of that attitude during an interview in March 2010 in a reference to Indonesia, a country with its own history of abuses. ‘We have to acknowledge that those past human rights abuses existed,’ President Obama said of the regime of former Indonesian President Suharto, a US ally. ‘We can’t go forward without looking backwards.’”

Lead based paint on drinking glasses is okay because the glasses were intended for adult use.
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Fear and intimidation of U.S. citizens who disapprove of the current government agenda. Peace activist taken to court over material support to terrorists.
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“The Justice Department was taking its lead from the Supreme Court’s 6-3 opinion last June in Holder v. the Humanitarian Law Project, which decided that nonviolent First Amendment speech and advocacy ‘coordinated with’ or ‘under the direction of’ a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist’ was a crime. “

“Seizing on this over-broad definition of ‘material support,’ the US government is now moving in on political groups and activists who are clearly exercising fundamental First Amendment rights by vocally opposing the government’s branding of foreign liberation movements as terrorist and supporting their struggles against US-backed repressive regimes and illegal occupations.”

Like creationism before it, net neutrality will be given a new name to become appealing again. Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010; I could be wrong, but this really appears to be the implementation of net neutrality done in smaller steps, until the Internet we all know and love is unrecognizable.
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FBI fishing operations do not settle well with Muslims. It is likely that the government’s targeting of Muslims will both incite more Muslim radicals and instill xenophobia amongst Americans.
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Arresting the innocent based purely on public intolerance over conflicting views. Peaceful protester extinguished.
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“State-Secret” privilege comes with no oversight. So theoretically, if I were president I could break the law, then say what I was doing was a secret, and it would be okay?
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Anwar Awlaki must surrender to his home nation (America), who technically has the right to assassinate him, in order to challenge the president’s decision to bypass a judicial hearing in deciding Anwar’s innocence.
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The government cannot make us do anything if we kick and scream enough!
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“The Justice Department was taking its lead from the Supreme Court’s 6-3 opinion last June in Holder v. the Humanitarian Law Project, which decided that nonviolent First Amendment speech and advocacy ‘coordinated with’ or ‘under the direction of’ a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist’ was a crime. “

“Seizing on this over-broad definition of ‘material support,’ the US government is now moving in on political groups and activists who are clearly exercising fundamental First Amendment rights by vocally opposing the government’s branding of foreign liberation movements as terrorist and supporting their struggles against US-backed repressive regimes and illegal occupations.”

Progress

Though it is not exactly peaceful, they are doing what they do for all people who use the Internet; they do what they do for freedom of speech, and the free exchange of data.
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“Anonymous argues that access to any and all information online is a basic human right and should not be controlled by the government and big corporations.”

Petition: No, I do not want to pay the rich 700 billion dollars in tax cuts over the next 10 years.
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House Democrats refuse to pass tax cut legislation as it stands, and Obama tries to say,

“If I have to choose between having a protracted political battle on the one hand but those folks being hurt, or helping those folks and continuing to fight this political battle over the next two years, I will choose the latter.”

Middle Class American do not even need tax cuts, if it is all or nothing, I say we take no tax cuts. More than likely, tax cuts for the rich will hurt middle class Americans more than taxes increasing a small fraction.
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The CIA destroyed evidence of torture, demand rule of law prevail in the United States.
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Human Rights Day; on December 10, 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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