The White Flag


It Makes Sense, Just Quit Thinking
February 27, 2011, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Politicians and the media alike push the idea that programs that improve the quality of life for Americans are socialism. Meanwhile, those same groups advocate relinquishing the powers people have to defend themselves against the government and corporations. Then are we to believe that to have less control over our destiny is freedom? Are we also to believe that we go to war not for financial reasons but for humanitarian reasons, even though we cannot find the heart to provide health insurance to American children?

If programs that improve America are socialism, then deregulation and the slimming of freedoms are the actions of an Aristocracy. Our founding fathers never knew socialism, and they never demanded America be a capitalist nation. However, the founding fathers of the United States did leave Europe to devise a nation free from the tyranny of the monarchy, and the closely related aristocracy. Moreover, Benjamin Franklin, and other framers of the Constitution supported a media free to educate citizens, public schools to be provided to all citizens, even libraries, these are all “socialized” programs that our nation was founded on.

Even still, we have and love all sorts of government programs in America no matter what their cost. How many elderly Americans are willing to give up social security and medicare? The fact is some government programs improve America, and the quality at which Americans live. And, Americans appreciate the benefits received from those programs no matter whether they are profitable, or a financial loss.

Those who would profit most from an aristocracy are the people who own our news papers, our television, our food production, our water, and even the people who manufacture weapons. People do what they do because they think it is right and best; it is unlikely that a company who makes bombs, a company which can only make money in the presence of war, considers the lives of those who must die for them to turn out a profit. If people in charge of businesses, like the ones that make weapons, were concerned about the lives that are inevitably lost, then they would go out of business.

I would like to end with a quote from George W. Bush*, “If this were a dictatorship it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”

*ex-President George W. Bush and his Vice President Dick Cheney both worked for big business before their time in office. While in office the company Dick Cheney had previously worked for acquired many contracts over seas and made enormous profits off of war in the middle east.

– The White Flag

United States

Who cares if a Supreme Court Judge lies on his taxes, so does most everyone else, right? It is not hypocrisy because his court does not deal with civil infractions, so fabrications on his tax forms are not laws Justice Thomas needs to concern himself with.
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“Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to report his wife’s income from a conservative think tank on financial disclosure forms for at least five years, the watchdog group Common Cause said Friday.”

Esmbarrassing information about the government must be kept secret because Obama is our brave protector and if everyone knows what a bad job he is doing he will not be re-elected, then where would we be? With a president that tells the truth? That would be preposterous.
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“Earlier this week, we flagged an interesting piece in the New York Times about the U.S. government invoking the state secrets privilege to block evidence in lawsuits against a contractor who had duped the U.S. government into spending millions on what many now consider to be fake counterterrorism technology.”

“According to another recent report, the U.S. invoked state secrets to block a personal injury lawsuit by a CIA employee who alleged that environmental contamination in his home made his family sick. That got us wondering about what else the U.S. has invoked state secrets for—particularly under the Obama administration, which had pledged to end abuses of the privilege.”

“To block a lawsuit seeking to prevent the U.S. government from killing Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American citizen accused of having ties to al-Qaeda.”

“To block evidence in lawsuits against government contractors involved in the government’s extraordinary rendition program.”

“To block lawsuits over the Bush administration’s domestic wiretapping program.”

“As a candidate, Barack Obama had previously called the surveillance program ‘unconstitutional and illegal.’ ”

That is our president over there pouring water on the man with a towel over his face. But really, an ex-president who cannot leave the country because he has a past of boasting about breaking international law is no laughing matter, it is a blemish on the good name of America.
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“Just two weeks ago, as former US President George W. Bush was preparing to make his first visit to Europe since the publication, last November, of his biography Decision Points, the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, with support from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), reminded the former President that he was a torturer — who, in addition, had openly bragged in his book that he had authorized the torture of ‘high-value detainees’ in the ‘War on Terror’— and that, as a result, they would be filing a criminal complaint (an ‘indictment for torture’) in Switzerland, prior to the former President’s arrival for a meeting on February 12. According to the requirements of the UN Convention Against Torture (to which both the US and Switzerland are signatories), this might well have led to his arrest.”

Collective bargaining is the right for people to assemble and speak freely about the things which they believe will make their workplaces, towns, and state better places to live. Unions or not, those issues have been settled in the first amendment of the Constitution.
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“Madison’s mayor and police chief Thursday called on Gov. Scott Walker to explain statements he made in a secretly recorded phone conversation that he ‘thought about’ planting troublemakers among the thousands of demonstrators at the Capitol.”

“ ‘Someone in his inner circle raised seriously the possibility of hiring people to come in and apparently create violence in my city,’ Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said. ‘I find it appalling, and I want to know who that was.’ ”

“Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated at the Capitol over the past 11 days, during which Madison police made no arrests. Most of the demonstrators oppose a bill backed by Walker to limit collective bargaining rights for public employees.”

“Use Live Ammunition,” good one. It reminds me of that shooting in Arizona… Haven’t we learned that hate speech from persons in positions of power actually do incite violence, or instead of this being a harmless joke, did the Attorney General, the top law enforcer of the state, actually think of it a good idea to fire upon public workers protesting against the government for their rights?
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“According to the online article , Jeff Cox tweeted ‘Use Live Ammunition’ in response to a Mother Jones tweet reporting riot police had been called into the state capital to remove protesters.”

“Mother Jones later learned Jeff Cox held a post as an Indiana official.”

“In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Attorney General office said: ‘Civility and courtesy toward all members of the public are very important to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.’ “

Now, after mounting an extremely large national debt that today’s youth will surely be responsible for taking care of, the government has decided that it wants to cut our youths’ opportunity to go to college, essentially eliminating many young people’s chance to attain power in this world. This article contains a list of what congress is attempting to take from it’s citizens this coming year. A link is also provided to direct you to your representative’s email, which they encourage readers to follow to tell their elected officials where they stand on these budget cuts.
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The people of America have 90 days to convince their Congressmen and women that a vote for the Patriot Act is a vote lost come 2012.
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“The committee will meet on March 3 to mark up S. 193, the Patriot Act extension bill supported by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Leahy’s bill would extend the government’s authorities to access business records, conduct roving wiretaps and monitor individual terrorists until the end of 2013, and would also increase oversight of these activities.”

“But the Senate is known to be split on how to proceed with a longer extension. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) earlier this year proposed a straight extension, which the Obama administration supports. And Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) prefers a permanent extension.”

Economy

Video (Must See): Matt Taibbi discusses the financial crisis in 2008 and exposes Wall Street, the President, and the SEC of their poor behavior.
Watch Now

Health

An all around American company you can trust, Monsanto… New pathogen discovered living around GMO crops, which may also be linked to infertility of farm animals.
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“Just two weeks before the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) fully deregulated Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, a senior soil scientist alerted the department about a newly discovered, microscopic pathogen found in high concentrations of Roundup Ready corn and soy that researchers believe could be causing infertility in livestock and diseases in crops that could threaten the entire domestic food supply.”

“ ‘For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade [sic] biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks,’ Huber wrote in his January 16 letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency.’ ”

“The pathogen is about the size of a virus and reproduces like a micro-fungal organism. According to Huber, the organism may be the first micro-fungus of its kind ever discovered, and there is evidence that the infectious pathogen causes diseases in both plants and animals, which is very rare.”

Check this out!
It is about chemicals in everything from food to pavement that can have a detrimental effect on your health causing problems such as cancer and infertility.
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Civil Liberties

Random bag searches make America safe, but your thinking ‘doesn’t the Constitution protect citizens from that?’ Yes it does. Which is why everyone should rally together in an effort to dismantle the Constitution because it is inhibiting our gracious, and caring leaders from making sure the country is safe. In other words, the American Constitution is behaving extraordinarily un-American.
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“MCCRC has been a vocal opponent of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) policy of random searches of passenger bags on its Metrorail system since they started last October. Although the WMATA board has met repeatedly to discuss the policy, which groups say violates 4th Amendment Rights against illegal searches, it has not voted to repeal it.”

“The MCCRC flyers call the bag searches ‘security theater’ and do very little to increase security. It contends random searches ‘move terrorists from one target to another perhaps simply by entering a Metro station through a different entrance.’ ”

Republicans keep hailing China for its economic success, I wonder when they will do the same over the Chinese policy for the suppression of information and their knack for keeping protesters quiet.
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“Chinese officials on Sunday cracked down against protests, or rumors of them, sending police to detain dissidents and breakup public gatherings in the capital and Shanghai.”

“The country’s combination of surveillance, sophisticated management of information, and a willingness to deploy large numbers of security forces has so far allowed it to cut off even the most remote of challenges to the Chinese Communist Party.”

“Standing in the crowd in Beijing on Sunday, one onlooker said he’d come hoping to see, or perhaps even take part in, a real protest. The young man, who asked that his name not be used, took a look around and said ‘It didn’t work.’ ”

They are not choosing suspects because of their religion, it just seems that way since one of the criteria for beginning surveillance on a person involved in terrorism is that they attend a mosque. So, it clearly has nothing to do with religion.
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“An FBI informant who infiltrated a California mosque violated the constitutional rights of hundreds of Muslims by targeting them for surveillance because of their religion, the ACLU and a Muslim group said in a lawsuit Tuesday.”

“ ‘The FBI should be spending its time and resources investigating actual threats, not spying on every American who happens to worship at a mosque,’ said Peter Bibring, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California, which filed the complaint along with the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.”

“The lawsuit says that Monteilh’s handlers, FBI agents Kevin Armstrong and Paul Allen, instructed him to collect e-mail addresses, phone numbers and other detailed information about Muslims and ‘explicitly told Monteilh that Islam was a threat to America’s national security.’ ”

Progress

Petition: Tell PayPal to end their purely political decision to cut service to a Bradley Manning support website.
Take Action

With the current budget underway it is a perfect time to tell Congress where the American people want tax dollars to be spent, or not spent. As they put programs whose sole purpose is to help college students on the chopping block, it is more than the ideal time to offer alternative suggestions for what can be cut. With 80% of Americans believing the drug war is a failure, I believe this could be the perfect area to cut from, if you think so too email you elected officials.
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Rejoice Comrades, 90 More Days of Big Brother!
February 20, 2011, 5:52 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

United States

Increased surveillance; the desire of any true American PATRIOT.
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“The House voted 279-143 to add 90 days to the legal authority of three provisions, including two that were part of the USA Patriot Act enacted shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Senate approved the measure Tuesday evening.”

“At issue are law enforcement powers to set roving wiretaps to monitor multiple communication devices and to ask a special federal court for access to ‘any tangible thing’ — from business records to library checkouts — that could be relevant to a terrorist threat. The third provision, from a 2004 intelligence act, gives the FBI court-approved rights for secret surveillance of non-American ‘lone wolf’ suspects not known to be tied to specific terrorist groups.”

Let the facts speak for themselves.
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“[R]esearch at the University of Michigan, […] found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in new stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts were not curing misinformation. ‘Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.’ You can read the entire article online.”

“[W]hile ‘most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence,’ the research found that actually ‘we often base our opinions on our beliefs … and rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions.’ ”

“According to Charles Madigan, the editor of the Tribune’s Perspective section, 50 or 60 percent of the respondents said they ‘would embrace government controls of some kind on free speech, particularly when it has sexual content or is heard as unpatriotic.’ ”

“In a Harris survey last spring, 67 percent of Republicans said Obama is a socialist; 57 percent believed him to be a Muslim; 45 percent refused to believe he was born in America; and 24 percent said he ‘may be the antichrist.’ ”

“[I]n Orwell’s novel ‘1984,’ Big Brother banishes history to the memory hole, where inconvenient facts simply disappear. Control of the present rests on obliteration of the past. The figure of O’Brien, who is the personification of Big Brother, says to the protagonist, Winston Smith: ‘We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.’ And they do. The bureaucrats in the Ministry of Truth destroy the records of the past and publish new versions. These in turn are superseded by yet more revisions. Why? Because people without memory are at the mercy of the powers that be; there is nothing against which to measure what they are told today. History is obliterated.”

“The poet Czeslaw Milosz identified another enemy of democracy when, upon accepting the Noble Prize for Literature, he said ‘Our planet that gets smaller every year, with its fantastic proliferation of mass media, is witnessing a process that escapes definition, characterized by a refusal to remember.’ Memory is crucial to democracy; historical amnesia, its nemesis.”

“Marty had learned that industry was attempting behind closed doors to dilute the findings of the American Academy of Sciences study on the effects of pesticide residues on children. Before we finished the documentary, the industry somehow purloined a copy of our draft script – we still aren’t certain how – and mounted a sophisticated and expensive campaign to discredit our program before it aired.”

President Obama said he stands for civil right, so everything he does no matter how contradictory it may seem must be in the best interest of civil liberties. Continuing the use of secret prisons in Afghanistan, indefinite detention without a trial and the like, no matter how confusing it may be, I have to keep reminding myself, President Obama is civil rights.
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“An extension of several provisions of the PATRIOT Act, which failed to pass the House last week under a procedural motion which required a two-thirds super-majority, passed on Monday night under a simple majority vote.”

“The provisions allow investigators to get “roving wiretap” court orders allowing them to follow terrorism suspects who switch phone numbers or providers; to get orders allowing them to seize ‘any tangible things’ relevant to a security investigation, like a business’s customer records; and to get national-security wiretap orders against non-citizen suspects who are not connected to any foreign power.”

Workers do not need rights, or the right to protect themselves, because bankers and other business owners need rights to treat their employees however they feel is best, that is how we do things in the United States.
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“[…] the biggest assault on worker’s rights in Wisconsin and would effectively strip collective bargaining rights from most public-sector unions. Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to give all public-sector workers bargaining rights in 1959.”

“Addressing the packed and cheering room, Trumka said, ‘what you’re doing here is the seed that’s going to grow across the United States … you’ve caught America’s imagination in saying we’ve had enough.’ ”

Guns and drugs, who cares? They were on an American military plane so it was okay, and definitley not illegal.
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“Relations between the US and Argentina have deteriorated after Buenos Aires lodged a formal complaint over a US military plane that landed late last week carrying guns, drugs and satellite phones.”

“Héctor Timerman, the Argentine foreign minister, said he had spoken with the US assistant secretary of state, Arturo Valenzuela, who ‘refused to explain why they tried to pass this material’. ”

Harsh economic times require the same remedy as terrorist attacks, a slimming of freedoms, for, freedom is our freedom’s biggest enemy. That is why I am applauding the GOP in Ohio and Wisconsin for finding the cure to society’s woes.
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“With an $8 billion state budget gap forecast this year, cutbacks and hardship must be shared by Ohio’s union workers, according to Kasich.”

“But spokesmen for the state’s largest unions say public workers already gave up $100 million in health benefits and $250 million in pay to help balance the current budget, passed in July 2009 when Ted Strickland was governor.”

“ ‘This bill is a partisan assault on working families and does nothing but punish workers and hurt the middle class, plain and simple,’ Burga said.”

“In Idaho and Indiana, Republican leaders are proposing bills that would limit collective bargaining for wages and benefits, according to the national publication. Newly introduced legislation in Tennessee would eliminate teachers’ rights to bargain altogether, Education Week reported.”

Internet freedom is a great thing, but we just have so many freedoms as it is in America that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton cannot see any reason for protecting Internet freedoms here in the United States.
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“According to Clinton, the program will provide $25 million in new grants to support ‘technologists and activists working at the cutting edge of the fight against Internet repression.”

“In a speech seen as a follow-up to her 2010 address on the issue, Clinton reasserted the administration’s belief in our universal ‘freedom to connect,’ something the Secretary of State and the White House see as a natural extension of our longstanding rights to free speech, assembly and association.”

“The Obama administration’s recent failure to stand up for a strong Net Neutrality rules, its slow-footed response to the export of invasive snooping technologies, and apparent reluctance to abandon the idea of an Internet ‘kill switch’ all suggest a double standard in what the administration seeks for foreign governments and what it will accept in the United States.”

Guantanamo remains open as a symbol to the rest of the world that American will always stand for freedom and justice.
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“ ‘I think we’re in the position, frankly, that the prospects for closing Guantanamo, as best I can tell, are very, very low, given very broad opposition to doing that here in the Congress,’ Gates said.”

World

Protests continue in other areas of the middle east following Tunisia and Egypt, including Iran.
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“News reports put the crowds at tens of thousands, the largest since December 2009, when Iranian authorities crushed protests. Press TV, the state-run English-language satellite television channel, said that small groups of protesters ‘disrupted order in the Iranian capital Tehran,’ provoking counter-protests by government supporters.”

“In Bahrain, a Manhattan-sized emirate with a population of 738,000, security forces attacked peaceful protesters to prevent them from massing in Manama, the emirate’s capital, according to news reports and Internet posts.”

“[…] dozens of people protesting peacefully at a traffic circle, some waving red and white Bahraini flags. Suddenly, scores of blue-suited police charge from the opposite side of the circle as tear gas grenades explode close to the protesters.”

Civil Liberties

It should not matter if the government wastes time and money cataloging a plethora of information about innocent American citizens, the fact of the matter is, so long as I am not breaking the law I have nothing to be afraid of. That is unless I become one of the unlucky few who is accused of a crime I did not commit based on circumstantial evidence and false confessions.
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“The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would prohibit local law enforcement agencies from collecting and storing information about an individual’s political, religious or other First Amendment-protected views unless ‘there is reasonable suspicion that the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct or activity.’ ”

“Michael German, the ACLU’s policy counsel in Washington, D.C., and a former FBI agent, said unjustified law enforcement investigations of political activity protected by the First Amendment have a chilling effect on such speech and are ‘damaging to democracy.’”

“The documents showed that the Sheriff’s Office had collected and stored names, photos, addresses and, in one case, a Social Security number of an anti-war activist.”

Only the best and brightest among us have a opportunity to become a public servant to put forth truly civil, reasonable, and progressive legislation like House Bill 1171.
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“A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of “justifiable homicide” to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions.”

“Since 1993, eight doctors have been assassinated at the hands of anti-abortion extremists, and another 17 have been the victims of murder attempts. Some of the perpetrators of those crimes have tried to use the justifiable homicide defense at their trials.”

“South Dakota already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, and one of the lowest abortion rates. Since 1994, there have been no providers in the state. Planned Parenthood flies a doctor in from out-of-state once a week to see patients at a Sioux Falls clinic. Women from the more remote parts of the large, rural state drive up to six hours to reach this lone clinic. And under state law women are then required to receive counseling and wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure.”

Area of effect of the War on Terror and how the innocent can get scooped up into our ‘terror watch,’ and thrown into our intricate network of secret prisons.
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“A German student of Afghan origin was arbitrarily held in the notorious Bagram prison in Afghanistan for 20 days. It was only due to a campaign to inform the public, resolutely waged by his family and fellow students at Frankfurt University, that he was released in late January.”

“He wears his hair short and is a practising Muslim. That was apparently enough to ensure he was targeted by the German police as a suspected supporter of Islamic terrorism.”

“In late November he flew with a friend to Dubai, where his brother lives. From there, he took another flight on December 17 to visit his father, a Kabul businessman, in Afghanistan.”

“Three days later, on January 8, Haddid was arrested in Kabul by US soldiers who ransacked and devastated his father’s house. The son disappeared without a trace.”

“On January 29, Haddid was released and taken to the German embassy, where he was able to get in touch with his family. A statement from the federal chancellery claimed the whole business had arisen merely from ‘a misunderstanding.’ ”

“Haddid’s experience is not unique. Ahmad S., a Muslim from Hamburg, has been in the Bagram prison since July 2010. Furthermore, a rocket from an American drone aircraft struck and killed three people on the Afghan-Pakistani border in October 2010. Among these was the German youth Bünyamin E. The German authorities also suspected him of ‘terrorism’, without supplying any proof or convicting him on any charge.”

Assault on political activism and free speech.
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“On Sept. 24, 2010, the FBI raided seven homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, taking boxes of activists’ personal belongings, computers, cell phones and passports. The FBI delivered subpoenas to fourteen activists that month, including two people in Michigan. Then in December, under orders for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office in Chicago, nine more Palestine solidarity activists were subpoenaed for Jan. 25.”

“Staiger states, ‘This is an attack on free speech and it is undemocratic. It is starting to remind me of the 1950s and the McCarthy era.’ ”

“Mick Kelly, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, has urged everyone in the progressive community to exercise their legal right to not answer questions put to them by FBI agents. ‘This is a witch hunt against anyone who is standing up against war and injustice. Tell FBI agents you have nothing to say. Period.’ says Kelly.”

People are suggesting that former army general Jerry Boykin contradicts himself by claiming America is a Christian Nation then praising separation of church and state because he is convinced Muslims are trying to take over the United States. I think Boykin is consistent, consistently contradicting himself.
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“Longtime readers of this blog might remember William ‘Jerry’ Boykin, an Army general who in 2003 sparked controversy for giving speeches to fundamentalist Christian audiences during which he asserted, among other things, that Muslims worship idols and that the real enemy of America is not Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein but Satan.”

“In another speech, Boykin recalled how he captured an Islamic warlord in Somalia because ‘I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol.’ “

“What really irks me about Boykin is that he had the nerve to invoke the separation of church and state in his latest anti-Islam tirade. He complained that Muslims don’t recognize that principle.”

“Boykin for years ranted and raved about how our great Christian nation was going to launch a new crusade against the Muslim hordes. That suggests he isn’t really interested in church-state separation.”

“The lesson of history is crystal clear: Looking for new enemies to demonize isn’t the answer. So what is the answer? Let’s try this: Instead of trashing our Constitution and proposing that the rights in it shouldn’t apply to certain Americans, let’s cling to its values all the tighter – and make certain that all Americans are under its protection.”

Progress

Fighting Veteran homelessness.
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“Veterans, particularly poor and minority veterans, are 50 percent more likely to become homeless compared to other Americans, according to a report released last week by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) departments. The report also stated that almost 76,000 veterans were homeless on any given night in 2009, and approximately 136,000 veterans spent at least one night in a shelter. Approximately 44,000 to 66,000 are chronically homeless.”

The house has already passed the budget cuts to Planned Parenthood, tell your senators not to do the same. Planned Parenthood helps low income families plan their birth, this is very useful in cases of rape, or health complications, i.e. mother or baby dieing during birth.
Take Action

Oppose cutting funding to a program that saves women’s lives.
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Tell President Obama to end targeted killings off the battlefield.
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Congress is putting together the new budget. Help them out by telling them to cut funding from the Drug War.
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Demand oversight for the Federal Reserve.
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Turbulence
February 13, 2011, 5:50 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

United States

We need men who will do whatever it takes to stop criminals even if it means breaking the law. CIA agents avoid punishment and are sometimes promoted despite their history of power abuse.
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“CIA officers who were involved in cases of wrongful imprisonment, mistreatment and even detainee deaths have often avoided serious punishment and in many cases been promoted within the agency, an investigation by the Associated Press has found.”

“Though the lawyer who signed off on the decision received a reprimand, the CIA never punished the analyst who pressed for El-Masri’s wrongful rendition, despite recommendations from the CIA’s inspector general, AP reported.”

“A former CIA official told the Washington Post in 2005 that the analyst “didn’t really know. She just had a hunch” when she made the decision regarding El-Masri. The analyst now runs the CIA’s Global Jihad unit, which leads the U.S. government’s counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda.”

Changing directions, America is putting nonrenewable energy on the budget chopping block.
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“Chu said that the budget proposal, which will be released Monday, would cut the Office of Fossil Energy by 45 percent, or $418 million. That includes eliminating the Fuels Program, the Fuel Cells Program, the Oil and Gas Research and Development Program and the Unconventional Fossil Technology Program.”

“Following up on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union call for the nation to get 80 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2035, Chu said the budget would include over $8 billion for research, development, and deployment investments in clean energy technology programs. A White House fact sheet last month said that represents a one-third increase.”

“Another energy program not part of the DOE budget, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, would be cut in half – by about $2.5 billion, two people familiar with the budget proposal told The Associated Press this week. That program provides home heating aid program for the poor.”

People protesting and crying about making this country a better place, or peace, just is not news worthy. But find me a car accident, or a tweet from Sarah Palin, and I’ll show you a story. American media only showing the public stories they want people to hear? That is preposterous!
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“Over the years, Milwaukee Labor Press editor Dominique Paul North has covered a ‘heck of a lot of protests’ in Wisconsin. Last summer, a peace rally in Wisconsin’s inner city drew about 100 people calling for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan. ‘There was no media coverage,” he says. “I was the only reporter there.’ ”

“The next day, 40 people attended a tea party event in Wisconsin and every local media outlet was there to cover it. ‘This is what we’ve been seeing over the past year. If there’s a peace rally or a worker’s rights rally, it’s ho hum. You might find a reporter or two. The tea party would gather five people on the corner and there would be coverage.’ ”

Computer program compiles data on routine traffic stops to monitor for discrimination.
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“The Police Department plans to begin tracking the race and gender of people stopped by police to determine whether racial profiling occurs. The data could be analyzed once a year, for the department as a whole and for individual officers.”

“Blacks made up about 30 percent of Cedar Rapids’ violent and property crime arrests in 2009 and 2010.”

“This is disproportionate to the city’s black population, which is 6.3 percent of the whole, according to 2010 census figures. The Cedar Rapids arrest demographics are right on par with national figures reported as part of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, however.”

“ ‘We want to be able to track who we’re stopping and why,’ said Sgt. Chas Maier, public information officer for Ocala.”

“ ‘The statistical data on each of the named officers should not lead one to believe they are conducting any biased based profiling,’ the report states. ‘However, it is recommended that their immediate supervisors monitor their (field interview reports) and traffic for a period of time to determine if they are conducting biased based profiling.’ ”

Bank of America is assisting in the attack on Wikileaks?
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“After a tip from Crowdleaks.org, The Tech Herald has learned that HBGary Federal, as well as two other data intelligence firms, worked to develop a strategic plan of attack against WikiLeaks. The plan included pressing a journalist in order to disrupt his support of the organization, cyber attacks, disinformation, and other potential proactive tactics.”

“The proposal starts with an overview of WikiLeaks, including some history and employee statistics. From there it moves into a profile of Julian Assange and an organizational chart. The chart lists several people, including volunteers and actual staff.”

“One of those listed as a volunteer, Salon.com columnist, Glenn Greenwald, was singled out by the proposal. Greenwald, previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York, has been a vocal supporter of Bradley Manning, who is alleged to have given diplomatic cables and other government information to WikiLeaks.”

Health

There is money to be made everywhere. Glaxo, a pharmaceutical company, after analyzing cost to benefits, decided it would be safer for the company to release a drug than to find one that was not likely to to kill people. And it paid off, they ended up only having to pay $46,000 a head, which was much lower than they anticipated.
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“An average of $46,000 per case is a modest price to pay, in the grand scheme of things,” Gbola Amusa, an analyst at UBS AG in London, said in a telephone interview. “If Avandia definitively had caused heart attacks, Glaxo would have been forced to pay” as much as $1 million a case, he said.

“The cases settled were filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Joseph Zonies and Thomas Cartmell. Glaxo was facing about 2,000 suits alleging the drugmaker hid Avandia’s heart-attack and stroke risks prior to the settlements, lawyers for former users and the company said in court hearings. The company already agreed to pay about $460 million to resolve allegations it didn’t properly warn doctors and consumers about the medicine’s risks.

“Avandia sales fell 43 percent to $710 million […]. Avandia was once the world’s best-selling diabetes pill, generating $3 billion in annual sales.”

Civil Liberties

Why would there need to be judicial review? Anyone that the FBI is investigating has to be guilty, why would the FBI waste their time and money if they did not know they were right, and how would they become FBI agents if they could not smell guilt? Besides judicial overview just protects bad people, it never stopped the FBI from arresting and imprisoning innocent people, because that does not happen.
Read More

“The Obama administration’s Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy.”

“The bureau devised an informal system of requesting the records from three telecommunications firms to create what one agent called a “phone database on steroids” that included names, addresses, length of service and billing information.”

“ ‘Now, 30 years later, the FBI has looked at this provision again and decided that it is an enormous loophole that allows them to ask for, and the phone companies to hand over, records related to international or foreign communications,’ he said. ‘Apparently, they’ve decided that this provision means that your international communications are a privacy-free zone and that they can get records of those communications without any legal process.’ ”

“ ‘It’s wrong that they’re withholding a legal rationale that has to do with the authorities of the FBI to collect information that affects the rights of American citizens here and abroad,’ said Michael German, a former FBI agent of 16 years who now works for the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘The law should never be secret. We should all understand what rules we’re operating under and particularly when it comes to an agency that has a long history of abuse in its collection activities.’ ”

Is the all inclusive phrase ‘less government’ finally going to include ‘less government’? After nine years of reinstatement, many House Republicans are opposing the PATRIOT Act because of the extensive powers granted to the government and its agencies.
Read More

“Amash wrote he had voted Feb. 9 against extending three of the provisions of the national security act because: ‘[T]his renewal allows the government to obtain a broad production order to confiscate your business records, without disclosing to you the purposes of the investigation, while prohibiting you from discussing it with anyone.’ ”

“ ‘Like many Republicans and Democrats concerned with protecting civil liberties, I have serious reservations about the USA PATRIOT Act provisions up for renewal,’ Amash’s statement read. ‘The business records provision allows the government to order the production of ‘any tangible things’ — e-mails, phone logs, and even library records. Worse still, the company turning over the records to the government is forbidden from telling the records’ owner of the order. Likewise, the Act’s roving wiretap provision goes far beyond a similar provision in criminal law. It may allow the government continuously to monitor pay phones or public computers, even when a suspect is not using the devices. The breadth of the provisions raises serious Fourth Amendment concerns in my mind, and I cannot support them as currently written.’ ”

“The ‘Lone Wolf’ provision allows the government to do surveillance and physical searches of non-U.S. citizens without having to find a connection between that ‘lone wolf’ and a terrorist organization.”

“Sanchez said that the ‘Lone Wolf’ provision has never been used. He stated that the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court granted roving wiretaps an average of 22 times per year and that FISA issued 1,320 electronic surveillance orders in 2009. Roving wire taps were not a big part of the investigations. Sanchez said there were 21 business records orders in 2009.”

World

All people concerned with the welfare of mankind can take a minute to rejoice for this small step toward universal human freedom as the Egyptian dictator steps down from office.
Read More

“President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt resigned his post and turned over all power to the military, ending his 30 years of autocratic rule and bowing to a historic popular uprising that has transformed politics in Egypt and around the Arab world.”

“The popular protest, peaceful and resilient despite numerous effort by Mr. Mubarak’s legendary security apparatus to suppress them, ultimately deposed an ally of the United States who has been instrumental in implementing American policy in the region for decades.”

“The military did not indicate whether it intended to take the kinds of fundamental steps toward democracy that protesters have been demanding.”

Progress

This article is not very supportive of the notion, however, it is about time we take in our own problems. As of now Guantanamo detainees who have been cleared to leave must wait at the prison until a willing country takes them in. Berkeley, California is taking measures to allow freed prisoners into their city.
Read More

“The resolution also asserts that ‘cleared’ detainees have been determined to ‘pose no threat to the United States.’ “

“On Tuesday, on the recommendation of its Peace and Justice Commission, the Berkeley City Council is set to vote on a resolution to invite ‘one or two cleared’ Guantanamo Bay detainees to resettle in Berkeley.”

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Not news worthy
February 6, 2011, 5:47 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

United States

We need men who will do whatever it takes to stop criminals even if it means breaking the law yourself. CIA agents avoid punishment and are sometimes promoted despite their history of power abuse.
Read More

“CIA officers who were involved in cases of wrongful imprisonment, mistreatment and even detainee deaths have often avoided serious punishment and in many cases been promoted within the agency, an investigation by the Associated Press has found.”

“Though the lawyer who signed off on the decision received a reprimand, the CIA never punished the analyst who pressed for El-Masri’s wrongful rendition, despite recommendations from the CIA’s inspector general, AP reported.”

“A former CIA official told the Washington Post in 2005 that the analyst “didn’t really know. She just had a hunch” when she made the decision regarding El-Masri. The analyst now runs the CIA’s Global Jihad unit, which leads the U.S. government’s counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda.”

Changing directions, America is putting nonrenewable energy on the budget chopping block.
Read More

“Chu said that the budget proposal, which will be released Monday, would cut the Office of Fossil Energy by 45 percent, or $418 million. That includes eliminating the Fuels Program, the Fuel Cells Program, the Oil and Gas Research and Development Program and the Unconventional Fossil Technology Program.”

“Following up on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union call for the nation to get 80 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2035, Chu said the budget would include over $8 billion for research, development, and deployment investments in clean energy technology programs. A White House fact sheet last month said that represents a one-third increase.”

“Another energy program not part of the DOE budget, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, would be cut in half – by about $2.5 billion, two people familiar with the budget proposal told The Associated Press this week. That program provides home heating aid program for the poor.”

People protesting and crying about making this country a better place, or peace, just is not news worthy. But find me a car accident, or a tweet from Sarah Palin, and you have got yourself a story. American media only showing the public stories they want people to hear?
Read More

“Over the years, Milwaukee Labor Press editor Dominique Paul North has covered a ‘heck of a lot of protests’ in Wisconsin. Last summer, a peace rally in Wisconsin’s inner city drew about 100 people calling for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan. ‘There was no media coverage,” he says. “I was the only reporter there.’ ”

“The next day, 40 people attended a tea party event in Wisconsin and every local media outlet was there to cover it. ‘This is what we’ve been seeing over the past year. If there’s a peace rally or a worker’s rights rally, it’s ho hum. You might find a reporter or two. The tea party would gather five people on the corner and there would be coverage.’ ”

Computer program compiles data on routine traffic stops to monitor for discrimination.
Read More

“The Police Department plans to begin tracking the race and gender of people stopped by police to determine whether racial profiling occurs. The data could be analyzed once a year, for the department as a whole and for individual officers.”

“Blacks made up about 30 percent of Cedar Rapids’ violent and property crime arrests in 2009 and 2010.”

“This is disproportionate to the city’s black population, which is 6.3 percent of the whole, according to 2010 census figures. The Cedar Rapids arrest demographics are right on par with national figures reported as part of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, however.”

“ ‘We want to be able to track who we’re stopping and why,’ said Sgt. Chas Maier, public information officer for Ocala.”

“ ‘The statistical data on each of the named officers should not lead one to believe they are conducting any biased based profiling,’ the report states. ‘However, it is recommended that their immediate supervisors monitor their (field interview reports) and traffic for a period of time to determine if they are conducting biased based profiling.’ ”

Bank of America is assisting in the attack on Wikileaks?
Read More

“After a tip from Crowdleaks.org, The Tech Herald has learned that HBGary Federal, as well as two other data intelligence firms, worked to develop a strategic plan of attack against WikiLeaks. The plan included pressing a journalist in order to disrupt his support of the organization, cyber attacks, disinformation, and other potential proactive tactics.”

“The proposal starts with an overview of WikiLeaks, including some history and employee statistics. From there it moves into a profile of Julian Assange and an organizational chart. The chart lists several people, including volunteers and actual staff.”

“One of those listed as a volunteer, Salon.com columnist, Glenn Greenwald, was singled out by the proposal. Greenwald, previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York, has been a vocal supporter of Bradley Manning, who is alleged to have given diplomatic cables and other government information to WikiLeaks.”

Health

There is money to be made everywhere. Glaxo, a pharmaceutical company, after analyzing cost to benefits, decided it would be safer for the company to release a drug than to find one that was not likely to to kill people. And it paid off, they ended up only having to pay $46,000 a head, which was much low than they anticipated.
Read More

“An average of $46,000 per case is a modest price to pay, in the grand scheme of things,” Gbola Amusa, an analyst at UBS AG in London, said in a telephone interview. “If Avandia definitively had caused heart attacks, Glaxo would have been forced to pay” as much as $1 million a case, he said.

“The cases settled were filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Joseph Zonies and Thomas Cartmell. Glaxo was facing about 2,000 suits alleging the drugmaker hid Avandia’s heart-attack and stroke risks prior to the settlements, lawyers for former users and the company said in court hearings. The company already agreed to pay about $460 million to resolve allegations it didn’t properly warn doctors and consumers about the medicine’s risks.

“Avandia sales fell 43 percent to $710 million […]. Avandia was once the world’s best-selling diabetes pill, generating $3 billion in annual sales.”

Civil Liberties

Why would there need to be judicial review? Anyone that the FBI is investigating has to be guilty, why would the FBI waste their time and money if they did not know they were right, and how would they become FBI agents if they could not smell guilt? Besides judicial overview just protects bad people, it never stopped the FBI from arresting and imprisoning innocent people, because that does not happen.
Read More

“The Obama administration’s Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy.”

“The bureau devised an informal system of requesting the records from three telecommunications firms to create what one agent called a “phone database on steroids” that included names, addresses, length of service and billing information.”

” ‘Now, 30 years later, the FBI has looked at this provision again and decided that it is an enormous loophole that allows them to ask for, and the phone companies to hand over, records related to international or foreign communications,” he said. “Apparently, they’ve decided that this provision means that your international communications are a privacy-free zone and that they can get records of those communications without any legal process.’ ”

” ‘It’s wrong that they’re withholding a legal rationale that has to do with the authorities of the FBI to collect information that affects the rights of American citizens here and abroad,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent of 16 years who now works for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The law should never be secret. We should all understand what rules we’re operating under and particularly when it comes to an agency that has a long history of abuse in its collection activities.’ “

Is the all inclusive phrase ‘less government’ finally going to include ‘less government’? After nine years of reinstatement, many House Republicans are opposing the PATRIOT Act because of the extensive powers granted to the government, and its agencies.
Read More

“Amash wrote he had voted Feb. 9 against extending three of the provisions of the national security act because: ‘[T]his renewal allows the government to obtain a broad production order to confiscate your business records, without disclosing to you the purposes of the investigation, while prohibiting you from discussing it with anyone.’ ”

“ ‘Like many Republicans and Democrats concerned with protecting civil liberties, I have serious reservations about the USA PATRIOT Act provisions up for renewal,’ Amash’s statement read. ‘The business records provision allows the government to order the production of ‘any tangible things’ — e-mails, phone logs, and even library records. Worse still, the company turning over the records to the government is forbidden from telling the records’ owner of the order. Likewise, the Act’s roving wiretap provision goes far beyond a similar provision in criminal law. It may allow the government continuously to monitor pay phones or public computers, even when a suspect is not using the devices. The breadth of the provisions raises serious Fourth Amendment concerns in my mind, and I cannot support them as currently written.’ ”

“The ‘Lone Wolf’ provision allows the government to do surveillance and physical searches of non-U.S. citizens without having to find a connection between that ‘lone wolf’ and a terrorist organization.”

“Sanchez said that the ‘Lone Wolf’ provision has never been used. He stated that the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court granted roving wiretaps an average of 22 times per year and that FISA issued 1,320 electronic surveillance orders in 2009. Roving wire taps were not a big part of the investigations. Sanchez said there were 21 business records orders in 2009.”

World

All people concerned with the welfare of mankind can take a minute to rejoice for this small step toward universal human freedom, as the Egyptian dictator steps down from office.
Read More

“President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt resigned his post and turned over all power to the military, ending his 30 years of autocratic rule and bowing to a historic popular uprising that has transformed politics in Egypt and around the Arab world.”

“The popular protest, peaceful and resilient despite numerous effort by Mr. Mubarak’s legendary security apparatus to suppress them, ultimately deposed an ally of the United States who has been instrumental in implementing American policy in the region for decades.”

“The military did not indicate whether it intended to take the kinds of fundamental steps toward democracy that protesters have been demanding.”

Progress

This article is not very supportive of the notion, however, it is about time we take in our own problems. As of now Guantanamo detainees who have been cleared to leave must wait at the prison until a willing country takes them in. Berkeley, California, is taking measures to allow freed prisoners into their city.
Read More

“The resolution also asserts that ‘cleared’ detainees have been determined to ‘pose no threat to the United States.’ ”

“On Tuesday, on the recommendation of its Peace and Justice Commission, the Berkeley City Council is set to vote on a resolution to invite ‘one or two cleared’ Guantanamo Bay detainees to resettle in Berkeley.”