The White Flag


Bombs for Peace
March 27, 2011, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

United States

Sometimes Americans forget because the Constitution is so confusing, but the president is our dictator, rightfully so.
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“The Justice Department has released portions of a detailed legal analysis from 2004 of President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program — an opinion which concluded that a law Congress passed restricting surveillance in the U.S. was unconstitutional if it barred Bush’s program.”

“First, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by Congress in 2001 implicitly authorized surveillance like that under the warrantless wiretapping program. Second, if the AUMF was read not to authorize such surveillance, the 1978 law Congress passed setting out the “exclusive” means for domestic electronic surveillance was unconstitutional.”

“[…] Bush modified the surveillance program, apparently doing away with certain activities the three lawyers objected to as illegal.”

Reliable capitalism; good for competition, always setting historically low prices, and ultimately beneficial to society.
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“A drug which the FDA approved more than half a century ago—which doctors have been prescribing for their patients with high-risk pregnancies through compounding pharmacies with great success—was designated by the FDA an ‘orphan drug.’ [An orphan drug is a pharmaceutical agent that has been developed specifically to treat a relatively rare medical condition, and the designation gives the manufacturer clinical trial tax incentives.] Now KV Pharmaceutical has been given the exclusive right of production and sale (not to mention drug trial tax breaks!). They immediately raised the price from $10 per dose to $1,500.”

“Doctors say the $30,000 price tag will almost certainly deter low-income women from getting the drug, leading to more premature births. Dr. Roger Snow, deputy medical director for Massachusetts’ Medicaid program, was quoted as saying, ‘That’s a huge increase for something that can’t be costing them that much to make.’ ”

“Besides the grave jeopardy placed on the mothers and their infants, this will create a huge financial burden for the health insurance companies, private citizens, and government programs that have to pay for it.”

“ ‘I am deeply concerned that your company appears to be taking advantage of FDA approval at the expense of women, children and federal and state budgets,’ Brown wrote. ‘By ratcheting up prices, fewer women will be able to afford the drug, increasing rates of preterm birth nationwide. This isn’t in the interest of children, new mothers, or taxpayers.’ ”

Fair and balanced news corporation finds it fair to avoid paying taxes.
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“A few weeks ago video pimp and propagandist, James O’Keefe, released a heavily edited and deliberately deceptive video that purported to expose an institutional bias at National Public Radio. It was quickly debunked and denounced as a fraud by analysts across the political spectrum, including those at Glenn Beck’s web site, The Blaze.”

“As far back as 1999, there have been reports documenting how News Corp, Fox’s parent company, exploited loopholes in tax laws that permitted them to avoid levies that all other citizens have to pay.”

“ ‘…News Corporation and its subsidiaries paid only A$325m ($238m) in corporate taxes worldwide. In the same period, its consolidated pre-tax profits were A$5.4 billion. So News Corporation has paid an effective tax rate of only around 6%. By comparison, Disney, one of the world’s other media empires, paid 31%. Basic corporate-tax rates in Australia, America and Britain, the three main countries in which News Corporation operates, are 36%, 35% and 30% respectively.’ ”

“When giant, prosperous, multinational corporations weasel out of their tax obligations, ordinary citizens are the ones who are forced to make up the shortfall.”

Silencing the truth is hard work, especially when you are pretending to do the opposite.
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“ ‘All previous presidents put together brought three prosecutions… We see a campaign here against whistleblowing that is highly unprecedented in legal terms.’ ”

“Earlier this month, the military unveiled 22 additional charges against Manning including ‘aiding the enemy,’ which carries a potential death sentence, though the army said it would not seek capital punishment.”

“US investigators have failed so far to establish a direct link between the Manning and the website [Wikileaks], which began publishing the documents last year.”

“ ‘It’s important that in order to strenghten [sic] our democracy, we have to keep our government honest, and the only way to keep our government honest is to give access to that information,’ ”

If you are beginning to lose the ability to make the distinction between our previous republican president’s policies and our new democratic president’s policies it is because they are the same. (It is called double speak.)
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“Suffice to say, it is no longer provocative or controversial when someone like Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin writes, as he did the other day, that Obama ‘has more or less systematically adopted policies consistent with the second term of the George W. Bush Administration.’ No rational person can argue that or even tries to any longer. It’s just a banal expression of indisputable fact”

The Wall Street Journal reports that ‘new rules allow investigators to hold domestic-terror suspects longer than others without giving them a Miranda warning, significantly expanding exceptions to the instructions that have governed the handling of criminal suspects for more than four decades.’ ”

“Ironically, it was the administration — and its followers — that defended the sanctity of Miranda back in late 2009, when the Cheney/Kristol/Limbaugh/Palin Right attacked Obama for Mirandizing the ‘underwear bomber’ as soon as he was taken into custody. Back then, the White House and its loyalists stridently argued that Miranda does not interfere with effective interrogations and that, in any event, it is a pillar of our justice system that should not be eroded.”

“In other words, with the sweep of a unilateral pen, Miranda simply no longer compels the government to read you your rights if you are accused of involvement in Terrorism and FBI agents unilaterally decide that it shouldn’t.”

“With a swoop of a pen — more than 9 years removed from the 9/11 attacks — Barack Obama has done more to erode Miranda than any right-wing politician could have dreamed of achieving.”

Everyone knows peace can only be attained through bloodshed, that is what Ghandi and King are so famous for, without them we would still be trying to attain peace and equality through peaceful acts of solidarity. And with America being the largest arms dealer in the world, peace could be very profitable.
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“If the bitter lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan has taught us anything, though, it’s that wars of liberation exact a deadly toll on those they purportedly liberate – and that democracy doesn’t come on the back of a Tomahawk missile.”

“President Barack Obama announced his latest peace-through-bombs initiative last week – joining ongoing US conflicts and proxy wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – by declaring he could not ‘stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy and … where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.’ ”

“That’s the reality of the no-fly zone and the mission creep that started the moment it was enacted: bombing civilians and massacring retreating troops. And like any other war, it’s not pretty.”

“Russia, the Arab League and others have said that coalition airstrikes have caused significant civilian casualties. Though the number of deaths are unconfirmed at this time, Reuters reports that the Arab League will be commissioning an analysis into health ministry claims that 64 civilians died in the initial flurry of missile strikes on Libya.”

“[…] before [the White House] started calling for a regime change, the Obama administration was working to provide the Libyan dictator another $77 million in weapons, on top of the $17 million it provided in 2009 and the $46 million the Bush administration provided in 2008.”

“In Yemen, which has received more than $300 million in military aid from the US over the last five years, the Obama administration continues to support corrupt thug and president-for-life Ali Abdullah Saleh, who recently ordered a massacre of more than 50 of his own citizens who dared protest his rule.”

“Rather than engage in cruise-missile liberalism, Obama could save lives by immediately ending support for these brutal regimes. But for US administrations, both Democratic and Republican, arms sales appear to trump liberation. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute documented that Washington accounted for 54 percent of arms sales to Persian Gulf states between 2005 and 2009.”

“The US government need not drop a single bomb in the Middle East to help liberate oppressed people. All it need do is stop selling bombs to their oppressors.”

World

Disaster in Japan, radioactivity reaches Tokyo. (Video Included)
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“The plant, 140 miles (220 kilometers) north of Tokyo, has been leaking radiation since the quake and tsunami knocked out its crucial cooling systems.”

“The crisis is emerging as the world’s most expensive natural disaster on record, likely to cost up to $309 billion, according to a new government estimate. Police say an estimated 18,000 people were killed.”

“Concerns about food safety spread Wednesday to Tokyo after officials said tap water showed elevated radiation levels: 210 becquerels of iodine-131 per liter of water — more than twice the recommended limit of 100 becquerels per liter for infants. Another measurement taken later at a different site showed the level was 190 becquerels per liter. The recommended limit for adults is 300 becquerels.”

“Dr. Harold Swartz, a professor of radiology and medicine at Dartmouth Medical School in the U.S., said the radiation amounts being reported in the water are too low to pose any real risk, even to infants who are being fed water-based formula or to breast-fed infants whose mothers drink tap water.”

Civil Liberties

People rally to support Private Bradly Manning who is being mistreated while he awaits court martial. (Video Summary Included)
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“Manning was charged in May 2010 with violating parts of the Uniform Code of Military Justice after officials said he gave classified data to the exposé website WikiLeaks.”

“He was accused of releasing 77,000 classified military documents, as well as video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that resulted in the deaths of Reuters news personnel, according to the Associated Press.”

“Manning is awaiting a court martial while being held at Quantico. He could get up to 52 years in prison if convicted.”

“This is not the first rally for Manning near Quantico. Supporters, in much smaller numbers, have gathered before near Quantico.”

The American war on old American values; mistreatment of prisoners and a dedication to keeping illegal activity secret.
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“For generations, the United States stood as a beacon of democracy and human rights — until the Bush administration, the Patriot Act, and Guantanamo Bay. Any hope that Barack Obama would restore civilization to Washington has been dashed by the cruel and unusual punishment meted out to Bradley Manning.”

“ ‘Solitary confinement will slowly wear down the mental and physical condition of Bradley Manning,” warned clinical psychologist Jeff Kaye after his visit to Quantico. Such extreme isolation was declared unconstitutional in the US in 1890, but continues to be used widely in the country’s infamous ‘supermax’ prisons.”

“Despite praising whistleblowers during the 2008 election campaign and promising to protect them, Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers for leaking information to the press than any other president in US history.”

“Congressman Dennis Kucinich has said that ‘the Army’s treatment [of Manning] would obviously constitute “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.’ ”

Economy

Companies avoiding taxes, nonsense. (Video)
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War

US troops pose with dead Afghan civilians they murdered. This is all part of President Obama and General Petraeus’s new strategy, be friend the people of Afghanistan, and use force when the civilians resist.
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“Commanders in Afghanistan are bracing themselves for possible riots and public fury triggered by the publication of ‘trophy’ photographs of US soldiers posing with the dead bodies of defenceless Afghan civilians they killed.”

“Some of the activities of the self-styled ‘kill team’ are already public, with 12 men currently on trial in Seattle for their role in the killing of three civilians.”

Health

The USDA is aware of something the rest of us are not, scientists cannot explain things as well as lobbyists. A good explanation is always “green.”
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“A new lawsuit from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is aimed at both the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services. Their new Dietary Guidelines are clear about what to eat more of—vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, for example—but use deliberately obscure language when discussing the foods Americans should eat less of.”

“According to the PCRM, this deliberate omission can be traced to the USDA’s close ties to food industries, including fast food companies such as McDonald’s. The PCRM is demanding that the USDA actually name the foods they suggest consumers eat in lesser quantities. The lawsuit also raises concerns over Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee members with ties to the food industries, including a member who served on an advisory council for the McDonald’s Corporation.”

Dieing for something sweet?
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“High-fructose corn syrup is a corn syrup that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce a desired level of sweetness. But because of its processing, some brands of HFCS may contain mercury, a known neurotoxin.”

“Rats fed HFCS developed fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes, while those on a fructose-free diet did not. […] HFCS also causes cardiovascular disease, even in children and adolescents. And the American Society of Nephrology found that HFCS causes high blood pressure as well.”

“The metabolic processes involved in the breakdown of fructose can lead to a buildup of uric acid—which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Fructose can raise blood triglyceride levels, which can trigger atherosclerosis, increases fat deposits around the viscera, and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight people.”

“Cancer cells thrive on sugars, particularly fructose. It has been demonstrated that cancer cells actually metabolize glucose and fructose differently from other cells. While cancer thrives on both, it uses fructose specifically to proliferate. It’s no wonder that cancer has moved quickly up the list of killers in our society since we started adding high-fructose corn syrup to everything from sodas to bread. With such damning and irrefutable research, I still don’t understand why it hasn’t become standard practice to immediately put cancer patients on fructose-free diets to help disrupt cancer growth.”

“George Mason University professor of economics Walter E. Williams points to powerful sugar companies whose massive political donations—millions of dollars to both parties—ensure that Congress keeps tariffs high on foreign sugar so the US sugar industry can charge higher prices. According to one study, one politically connected sugar-manufacturing family alone earns about $65 million a year from congressional protectionism.”

“Aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet), which is used in more than 6,000 diet products, beverages, and pharmaceuticals, has remained a battleground. Despite FDA officials describing aspartame as ‘one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved’ and its safety as ‘clear cut,’ in March 2006, Environmental Health Perspectives (from the National Institutes of Health) published the first compelling experimental evidence for the carcinogenic effects of aspartame at a dose level within range of human daily intake. […] according to the Canadian Diabetes Association. A 44-pound (20-kg.) child would only have to consume 400 mg., about the equivalent of three Diet Cokes per day, to reach the carcinogenic 20 mg./kg. body weight dose.”

“Diet Coke contains aspartame. Yet in 1985, as a member of the National Soft Drink Association, Coca-Cola opposed the FDA approval of aspartame for beverages. The company’s own objections—running to several pages in the Congressional Record—included the assertion that aspartame is uniquely and inherently unstable and breaks down in the can. It decomposes into formaldehyde, methyl alcohol, formic acid, diketopiperazine, and other toxins. In a study on seven monkeys, five had grand mal seizures and one died, a casualty rate of 86%.”

“Sucralose (Splenda) alters the microflora in the intestine and ‘exerts numerous adverse effects,’ according to Duke University study, including an increase in body weight (not quite what a ‘diet aid’ is supposed to do!), and an elevation of liver enzymes, which negatively affects the bioavailability of nutrients. And as our colleagues at ANH-Europe note, sucralose is an organochloride compound. Most of the derivatives of this type of compound are insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides.”

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The Myth of Instant Gratification.
March 20, 2011, 4:30 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

People often cannot seem to find time for improvement and future planning. Instead, they devote their time to the current moment, to activities that are instantly gratifying. People do this for their happiness, but could it be that this is a farce?

If I spend all my extra money now on perishable goods I will not have attained the same amount of pleasure had I saved my money to buy an object of greater value that will sustain through time. For instance, buying things purely for the satisfaction they bring us now, such as high calorie beverages, sweets with refined sugar, and fast fatty foods, will lead to tooth decay, disease, and obesity. Whereas one could acquire more happiness by denying pleasures of excessive spending on goods of low worth now, to redirect that money and time toward a more satisfactory good, such as a new car, later. Or, that saved money could be utilized to prevent the stress of not having adequate funds to pay for an emergency expenditure, the avoidance of pain can be as satisfying as a car sometimes.

People that tell themselves they do not have the time to change their habits, or the world they live in, also tell themselves they have time to relax, and indulge in empty pleasures of the now. If hedonistic indulgence now is done with the intent of attaining happiness, I argue that a life time of happiness will surely exceed the fleeting bliss of the moment. To elaborate, choosing to go to college to work hard for a degree, and all the extra knowledge that comes along with it, instead of taking the less demanding route of the unstable job, will lead to a higher and more fulfilling happiness.

That is, a person with a job who avoids the “hard” work of school takes on the much more difficult challenge of struggling through life without a particular skill to call their own, making them tethered to whatever employer they find. On the other hand, a person with a degree (or another type of skill which they have earned through persistence) will have the freedom to go where they desire because their talent will always be useful. The person with a skill experiences less worry and struggles because their skill is a security, thus people who avoid skill building to avoid the hard labor it requires are, in actuality, burdening themselves with a much more challenging experience.

Humans have the ability to be rational, but to be human is not to act with reason. It is unreasonable to be expedient all the time. People who take short-cuts in their life are only doing a disservice to themselves, which is not rational because it is self-destructive. It is self-destructive because there are alternatives to expedient decision making that will lead to a better future. A rational being will act only with the intent of building their life to its highest potential, for a rational being realizes they are the only being capable of improving their own life.

Maximize your utility, use knowledge and reason to improve your life, instead of allowing desire to control it.

-The White Flag

United States

The assault on workers’ rights continues in Michigan. I cannot blame these governors, everyone knows their allegiance lies with corporations, that has been an American tradition since forever, and has served us especially well since 2008.
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“The state House and Senate Minority Leaders have already called for a state constitutional amendment protecting collective bargaining rights, but Michigan voters can bypass the legislature altogether and call for a constitutional amendment by petition and referendum.”

“In short, this means slightly over 300,000 signatures are required to place an amendment protecting workers’ rights on the ballot. Once the proposed amendment is on the ballot, a simple majority of the electorate can turn it into law.”

“As in Wisconsin, Michigan elected officials enjoy a safe haven period immediately after they take office — ‘a recall petition cannot be filed against an officer until the officer has performed the duties of the office to which elected for a period of 6 months during the current term of that office.’ ”

Of course Republicans are fighting Obama’s decision not to uphold DOMA (Defense of Mirrage Act), heterosexuals are superior to other sexual orientations, and many closed-minded people fought the hard fight to ensure the law reflects that attitude. As proud heterosexuals we must continue putting inferior Americans in their place.
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“Congressional Democrats introduced on Wednesday, March 16, legislation that repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that bars the government from allowing same-sex couples to receive the same rights and benefits as a married man and woman.”

“Following Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Obama administration would no longer defend the law in court, House Republicans moved quickly to condemn the action. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the administration’s position ‘regrettable.’ ”

“But that was the least of it. Far-right politicians such as former House speaker and perennial 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich went so far as to call for hearings on Obama’s impeachment if he did not continue to defend the law. Though he later said that his statement was distorted, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) told ThinkProgress that he would support hearings on Obama’s impeachment if he did not defend the law in court.”

Obama is committed to closing Guantanamo, but before doing so he has to open up a few more secret prisons where he will not have so many legal battles over indefinitely detaining people without a trial.
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“The Obama administration’s recent announcement that it would restart military commission proceedings at Guantanamo Bay is a huge disappointment to anyone who values a commitment to due process and the rule of law. The military commissions are a second tier, flawed system of justice that will only produce verdicts highly vulnerable to appellate challenge.”

“In May 2009, after already pledging to close Guantanamo within one year of taking office, he announced he would use both military commissions and civilian courts to prosecute terrorism suspects. The decision to use the military commission system, even if only in part, was bad then and it is bad now for a variety of reasons. But it is not new. What is new is the ease with which the administration is willing to hide behind recent congressional restrictions as an excuse for the failure to close Guantanamo and bring more terrorism suspects to justice.”

“The restrictions only bar the use of DOD funds. The administration can still use Department of Justice or Homeland Security funds for the same purpose. The restrictions also expire at the end of September so Obama should be laying the political groundwork to prevent their extension now.”

“During one Fox News interview [U.S. General David Petraeus] said, ‘Gitmo has caused us problems, there’s no question about it. I oversee a region in which the existence of Gitmo has been used by the enemy against us.’ ”

Civil Liberties

Sometimes it is okay to act with complete disregard for human life, and the rule of Law? If you ask the American Government the answer is often, “yes.”
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“Over the weekend, senior US state department spokesperson Phillip Crowley was forced to resign for saying the treatment of alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning was ‘ridiculous… counterproductive and stupid.’ His comments came after Manning claimed to be stripped naked and forced to parade in front of his guards and placed on ‘punitive’ suicide watch.”

“President Obama has backtracked on one of the first promises of his tenure. When he approved the continuation of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp this month, despite an earlier promise to close the controversial facility within a year of coming to office, Obama effectively endorsed the inhumane and degrading treatment of 172 terrorism suspects that must surely be tantamount to torture. In Afghanistan, an even larger detention centre at Bagram airbase, known as the ‘New Guantánamo’, was touted as an alternative to the Cuban naval base. Now it appears both will be in continuous operation into the foreseeable future.”

“For years, Amnesty International and several other rights groups have reported on the widespread use of torture at all levels of Pakistan’s law enforcement and security authorities, in neighbouring Afghanistan, and in every one of the countries used as rendition sites by Britain and the US.”

“ ‘Never once,’ said Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s leader for the first seven years after the September 11 attacks, did British authorities tell him not to torture terrorism suspects. He argues that the silence was tantamount to ‘tacit approval’ of what Pakistan security authorities were doing.”

“In last night’s programme, former CIA chief Michael Hayden justified the use of waterboarding on terrorism suspects, as one of the ‘heroic choices’ that unearthed a ‘treasure trove’ of information.”

Bradley Manning must be put on the most extreme suicidal watch because if he kills himself he will get away with upsetting our gracious rulers, as well as, exposing their war of its impotence and atrocities. Exposing the wrong doings of a nation should be punishable by death; like they say, let the punishment fit the crime!
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“There is no such need for the cruel mistreatment now reported as being practised on one of their own, the diminutive US private Bradley Manning.”

“Mr Manning is made to stand naked outside his cell this morning, and apparently on all future mornings. This is the culmination of a punitive regime which has gone on for 10 months under which, although untried and unconvicted, he is not allowed to sleep or exercise in his cell during the day, is denied any personal possessions and is barred from conversing with the guards.”

“Every five minutes he is required to answer that he is fit and, if he turns his face away while asleep, he is immediately forcibly woken up. In an Orwellian trick, this is dubbed “prevention of injury” for his own protection. When Manning finally protested, sarcastically, that he could no doubt injure himself with the boxer shorts which are all that he is left with at night, the boxer shorts, too, were taken away.”

The White House is considering proposing new legislation that would allow the government to monitor a person’s computer activity if that person is caught viewing, or downloading material protected under copyright. This law is extremely frightening because these copyright laws are most commonly broken by youth, who have no money, thus could not drive themselves to the mall to purchase this material if they desired too. Furthermore, this law could easily be abuse to secretly tap into American citizen’s computers after the unknowingly using a website that hosts illegal material.
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“A white paper recently published by the White House’s Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator urged Congress to make ‘illegal streaming’ of content a felony and allow law enforcement to wiretap those suspected of being involved in copyright infringement.”

“The white paper called on Congress ‘to ensure that DOJ and U.S. law enforcement agencies are able to effectively combat infringement involving new technology’ by clarifying that streaming unauthorized audio or video is a felony.”

Business

AT&T will open the gate for companies to end Internet freedom by making its access too costly. Business practices like this will end net neutrality whether laws are passed or not.
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“Starting May 2, AT&T will begin implementing monthly usage limits for its U-Verse and DSL users and charge $10 fees every time a customer exceeds the cap.”

“[…]DSL customers will have a 150GB monthly usage limit, while U-Verse subscribers will get 250GB. AT&T will impose the $10 fee for every 50GB over the limit a customer uses.”

“Other bandwidth-hungry online services include video streaming company Netflix, where three hours of HD video would use up all 150GB available to DSL customers; Nielsen ratings show that the average American watches a little over five hours of television every day. Video conferencing, file sharing, torrent downloads and watching 1080p-resolution HD videos on YouTube would also become difficult to do without racking up extra fees.”

“Rep. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) also expressed his worry over the potential repercussions of AT&T’s usage caps. ‘I am concerned that charging more for increased usage would raise prices for some consumers and potentially lead to lower broadband adoption levels,’ Markey told The Hill. ‘This would undermine our broadband goals as outlined in the National Broadband Plan while undercutting our global competitiveness, and I will be closely monitoring this decision.’ ”

Health

If you are on a diet you should not be drinking soda pop, no, instead you should be drinking diet soda pop. It is soda made for folks on a diet!
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“Last month we reported on the dangers of many artificial sweeteners. Now a report links diet sodas to a 61% increase in strokes and heart attacks.”

Your brain needs exercise too!
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“In addition to cognitive challenges (such as taking a class, learning a new skill or even just doing some brain teasers), several studies concur that physical activity helps keep your mind sharp. Moderate activity has a positive impact on mental acuity, but cardiovascular workouts that really get your heart pumping seem to have the greatest effect. What’s more, an active lifestyle will have a long-lasting impact on your mental fitness.”

“One study found that even short bouts of physical activity in previously-sedentary seniors restored some of the brain loss that’s associated with aging.”

Dieting for your brain.
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“Your brain weighs just 3lbs or so – a fraction of overall body weight – but it gobbles up about 20 per cent of your daily calorie intake. A brain-healthy diet is essential for keeping your memory and intellect sharp and your mood buoyant.”



Moving Forward
March 13, 2011, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

United States

Scott Walker signs bill into law that strips public workers of bargaining rights.
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“The measure set off weeks of protests at the Capitol and sparked a walkout by Senate Democrats. It passed the state Assembly on Thursday, a day after the state Senate used a legislative maneuver to pass the bill without the 14 Democratic senators who fled the state in an effort to block it.”

Obama promised many things, you didn’t actually believe them all did you?
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“In just over two years since President Barack Obama took office, prosecutors have filed criminal charges in five separate cases involving unauthorized distribution of classified national security information to the media. And the government is now mulling what would be the most high-profile case of them all – prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

“Not only that, these advocates say, it runs counter to Obama’s pledges of openness by making it a crime to shine a light on the inner workings of government – especially when there are measures that could protect the nation’s interests without hauling journalists into court and government officials off to jail.”

“Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department attorney now with the Government Accountability Project, said it’s ‘very destructive and damaging to be going after people for leaks that embarrass the government.’ The policy, she said, is ‘a disturbing one particularly from a president who got elected pledging openness and transparency — and someone who also got elected thanks to a lot of [Bush-era] scandals that were revealed by whistleblowers.’ ”

If Nixon thought it, it must be a great idea.
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“Legalization has to be on the table. Not because it is necessarily the best solution. Not because it is the obvious alternative to the evident failures of drug prohibition. But for three important reasons: first, because it is the best way to reduce dramatically the crime, violence, corruption and other extraordinary costs and harmful consequences of prohibition; second, because there are as many options — indeed more — for legally regulating drugs as there are options for prohibiting them; and third, because putting legalization on the table involves asking fundamental questions about why drug prohibitions first emerged, and whether they were or are truly essential to protect human societies from their own vulnerabilities. Insisting that legalization be on the table — in legislative hearings, public forums and internal government discussions — is not the same as advocating that all drugs be treated the same as alcohol and tobacco. It is, rather, a demand that prohibitionist precepts and policies be treated not as gospel but as political choices that merit critical assessment, including objective comparison with non-prohibitionist approaches.”

Environment

Rupert Murdoch is not a hypocrite for making his network carbon neutral while having people on his network discredit climate science because he was not even aware of that, he watches MSNBC for news (they are more accurate).
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“NewsCorp owner Rupert Murdoch announced last week that his company reduced its global warming emissions to zero.”

“But Murdoch’s calculations do not include another form of pollution: the constant stream of misinformation NewsCorp subsidiary Fox News routinely broadcasts about climate science to millions of viewers.”

“Take a typical episode of Sean Hannity’s program. During one show in 2009, Hannity erroneously claimed the year had been the ‘ninth coldes’ on record.”

“In fact, according to NASA, 2009 was the second warmest year globally on average since reliable measurements began in the 1880s.”

“Last December, for example, Media Matters released an email from Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon in which he urged news staff to highlight criticisms of climate science whenever they mention it.”

“But Fox News’ misinformation seems to work. While scientists have conclusively shown that human activities are driving climate change, 30 percent of regular Fox News viewers surveyed in a University of Maryland / WorldPublicOpinion.org poll thought that scientists have concluded exactly the opposite. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of the general public polled in that survey shares that inaccurate view.”

Monsanto, a fine American citizen.
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“Organic farmers can lose sales if genetic engineering is detected in their crops, which occurs through cross-pollination from a nearby field or through intermingling of seeds. And exports of nonorganic but nonengineered crops to certain countries can be jeopardized if genetically engineered material is detected in significant amounts.”

“The genetically modified crop — developed by Monsanto and Forage Genetics, an alfalfa seed company that is owned by the Land O’Lakes farming and dairy cooperative — contains a gene that makes the plant resistant to the herbicide Roundup. That allows farmers to spray the chemical to kill weeds without hurting the crop.”

“Alfalfa is grown mostly to make hay fed to dairy cows and horses. More than 20 million acres are grown in the United States; it is the nation’s fourth-largest crop by acreage, behind corn, soybeans and wheat, with a value of about $8 billion. About 1 percent of alfalfa is organic.”

Who could do a better job protecting the environment than a person with past experience polluting the environment? Besides the environment is not forever, like a job…
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“Pennsylvania has come under fire lately as pollution from drilling in the Marcellus Shale threatens water resources across the state. But instead of ratcheting up oversight, Gov. Tom Corbett wants to hand authority over some of the state’s most critical environmental decisions to C. Alan Walker, a Pennsylvania energy executive with his own track record of running up against the state’s environmental regulations.”

“Walker was Corbett’s first appointee—he chose him to lead the Department of Community and Economic Development in December, before taking office. Now, as Corbett stakes much of the state’s economy on Marcellus Shale gas drilling, a paragraph tucked into the 1,184-page budget gives Walker unprecedented authority to “expedite any permit or action pending in any agency where the creation of jobs may be impacted.” That includes, presumably, coal, oil, gas and trucking.”

“ ‘I have never seen anybody give an economic development director the authority to tell every other agency in the state what to do with regard to its statutory responsibilities,’ said Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental group active on drilling issues.”

“Walker’s ties to the energy industry are deep. He is listed on state disclosure forms as an executive of the Pennsylvania Coal Association and he has served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. He also has firsthand experience with the state’s environmental regulations, because his companies would likely have applied for permits similar to those the oil and gas industry is now pursuing in the Marcellus. And like many energy companies, his, too, have run into problems with the state.”

Health

Diet pill side-effects are kind of frightening, but do not worry, we have several other medications to counteract heart disease and tumors. No one can put a price on looking good.
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“A few months ago, an FDA advisory panel had voted to recommend approval of Contrave, which is made by Orexigen. Contrave was thought to have the best shot at approval, compared with two other experimental weight-loss drugs from other manufacturers, Lorqess and Qnexa. Lorqess was rejected last September because one of its ingredients increased the risk of breast tumors in lab animals. And Qnexa was rejected twice, once in October over heart risk concerns, and again this past January because one of its ingredients is associated with cleft lips in the children of women who take it.”

“The really insidious thing about Contrave is that it is a combination of two existing drugs: naltrexone, used to treat alcohol and drug addiction, and sustained-release bupropion, an antidepressant known by the brand name Wellbutrin.”

“Wellbutrin’s side effects include agitation, headaches, nausea, tremors, insomnia, blurred vision, high blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, confusion, hostility, hearing changes, irregular heart rhythms—and seizures.”

“Unfortunately, SSRIs are extremely addictive, and withdrawal from them can cause physical pain and nausea, not to mention a relapse in depression so severe as to drive the patient to suicide.”

Republicans and other groups are working hard to cut funding to a new consumer safety website launched by the government because they know that this web site’s main agenda is to confuse Americans and hurt business.
Visit the website
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“On March 11, the Consumer Products Safety Commission plans to unveil a search-able website designed to warn the public about dangerous products despite an effort now under way in Congress to defund it, the agency said Friday.”

“Sens. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, are mounting an effort to save the database.”

“Inouye called the House vote to kill it a ‘purely political’ move intended to ‘score points or placate supporters.’ He said Friday that the House amendment will not be included in the Senate’s version of the federal funding bill.”

“Earlier, the National Association of Manufacturers said the database ‘has alarmed manufacturers, who fear that it will be a poorly monitored [website] that encourages reputation-harming complaints.’ ”

“But CPSC said it has a ‘review and comment process’ that will let manufacturers respond to complaints before they are available to the public in the database.”

War

U.S. military murders nine young boys.
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“The people of Afghanistan know who was flying the two helicopter gunships that brutally hunted down and slaughtered, one by one, nine boys apparently as young as seven years old, as they gathered firewood on a hillside March 1. In angry demonstrations after the incident, they were shouting ‘Death to America.’ ”

“The gunships, according to the account of a lone 11-year-old surviver [sic] who was hidden by a tree, systematically hunted down the other nine boys, hitting them with machine gun and rocket fire and killing them all–their bodies so badly damaged that their families had to hunt for the pieces in order to bury them.”

“Even in Iraq, 12 year olds were being classified by the US military (in contravention of the Geneva Conventions) as being ‘combat age,’ for example in the assault on the city of Fallujah.”

“The blood of these poor Afghan kids is smeared not just on the hands of Obama and the generals, and the soldiers who pull the triggers and push the buttons that unleash death, but on the desks and keyboards of American newsrooms that cover up their crimes.”

Civil Liberties

What would America be without deception and bad science? Bad science and capitalism are like spaghetti and meat balls.
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“Hundreds of protesters rallied at the Indiana statehouse on Tuesday in opposition to restrictive abortion measures that would, among other things, require doctors to tell pregnant women about a controversial theory that says having an abortion could lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.”

“The bill would also require physicians to inform a pregnant woman seeking an abortion that the fetus could feel pain and require patients to view an ultrasound.”

“Indiana wouldn’t be the first state to promote this theory. According to the Guttmacher Institute, five states — Alaska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia — currently include mentions of a link between abortion and breast cancer in written counseling materials.”

“In February 2003, the U.S. National Cancer Institute brought together ‘more than 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk.’ They found that neither induced nor spontaneous abortions lead to an increase in breast cancer risk. In fact, the risk is actually increased for a short period after a woman carries a pregnancy to full term (i.e., gives birth to a child). According to ACS, these findings were considered ‘well established,’ which is the highest level for scientific evidence.”

Progress

Tolerance
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“Southern Illinois University sociologist Darren Sherkat posts on his blog a brief rundown of analysis he performed on raw data from 2010 that GSS recently released. Sherkat reports that for the first time in American history, same-sex marriage has more support than opposition, a massive shift from the first time GSS asked the question just 22 years ago, when more than three-quarters of Americans opposed same-sex marriage and only 12.4 percent supported it.”

Philanthropists buy PCs.
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“Forbes will release its 2011 billionaires list on Wednesday and Gates, investor Warren Buffett and last year’s richest man, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, will almost certainly be in the top three. The trio have topped the list for the past five years.”

“But it would be no contest if Microsoft co-founder Gates had not already given away more than a third of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on global health and development and U.S. education.”

“But had Gates not given away any money, he would be worth $88 billion, Lincoln said.”

“Gates and his wife Melinda have so far given $28 billion to their foundation, the largest in the United States.”

“Glen Macdonald, president of the Wealth and Giving Forum, said Gates’ philanthropy had influenced the way other rich people in the United States approach their own philanthropy.”

“So far 59 billionaires have joined The Giving Pledge, publishing their letter at http://www.givingpledge.org. The campaign does not accept any money nor tell people how to give away their wealth, it just asks for a moral commitment.”

Petition: Help protect the air you breathe.
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Petition: Do not allow Florida to make it more difficult for people to vote.
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Petition: Protect the Internet, support H.R. 96.
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Petition: This bill would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases many of which are harmful to human health and the environment.
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Secret Prisons, Petitions, and the Third Reich. (Now with 50% more fluoride!)
March 6, 2011, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

United States

Of course Obama was against the way Bush handled detainees, but now that Obama is president the indefinite detention and military commissions have been improved to practices Americans can be proud of.
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“Lifting the order, [and giving the green light to prosecute more of the remaining detainees] marks another giant step in Obama’s U-turn on the position he held on the commissions while he was campaigning for the presidency.”

“At that time, he called them an ‘enormous failure’ and pledged as president to ‘reject’ the Military Commissions Act that had been passed during the Bush administration to authorize the tribunal.”

“Critics continue to say the tribunals are inherently unfair compared to U.S. federal courts, but supporters say a separate system is necessary to take into account that evidence used in terrorism cases often has been gathered in battlefield conditions.”

“Khadr, 24, pleaded guilty before the commission last October in a deal that saw him sentenced to one more year in Guantanamo, followed by seven in a Canadian prison. He admitted to five war-crimes charges, including the most serious of murder over the death of a U.S. serviceman during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan when he was 15.” (Editor’s note: It is not illegal to kill an enemy on the battlefield.)

Bradley Manning’s leak of the classified war documents has lead him straight to hot water, as he now finds himself being charged with a crime punishable by death, aiding the enemy. You may be thinking, ‘I thought he leaked those documents because he believes in rule of law and, he couldn’t stand by and watch his government break the law and deceive American citizens.’ But no people, that is exactly what traitor Manning wants us to believe, when in reality he released that footage of news reporters being gunned down by American soldiers because he hates freedom and America.
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“Bradley Manning, the US soldier who has spent 10 months in solitary confinement on suspicion of having transmitted a huge trove of state secrets to WikiLeaks, now faces a possible death penalty.”

“They come on top of initial charges of having illegally obtained 150,000 secret US government cables and handing more than 50 of them to an unauthorised person that carried a possible sentence of up to 52 years in prison.”

“Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, said that the most serious of the new charges was the Article 104 offence of ‘aiding the enemy’. The charge carries a potential death sentence”.

“Manning is accused of being the single source of many sensational WikiLeaks disclosures of US state secrets, some of which were published alongside the Guardian and other papers round the world. They include aerial footage of a US military attack on civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan war logs and thousands of US embassy cables.”

“He is being held in Quantico in conditions that have elicited protests from numerous organisations, including his own supporter networks and Amnesty International. The UN is investigating whether his treatment, which includes being held in his 6ft by 12ft cell for 23 hours a day, amounts to torture.”

Health

Fluoridated water is safe, wait, you do not drink very much water a day, you are not under the age of eight or too much older than sixty, and you have no health problems, right? If so, then tap water might be the best option for you, and safe to drink.
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“Although it took them a few decades to get started, they are figuring out what else fluoride does to a human’s body. Too much of it causes dental fluorosis—a streaking and mottling of the teeth—in the same age group it is purported to help the most. Older folk run the risk of being crippled by skeletal fluorosis. Thyroid malfunction, kidney disease, diabetes, cancers and neurological disorders also have been linked to fluoride”

“Dental fluorosis now affects 31 percent of the country’s children younger than age eight. Dental flourosis is a sign of ingesting too much fluoride. Reducing the amount added to water could mean safer levels for the kids.”

“According to CDC statistics, 56 percent of the kids between the ages of 12 and 16 have cavities. Fluoride is in everything kids eat and drink. Critics want to know why that number is so high.”

“Although the EPA is steward of the country’s water supply, it has no regulatory power. The best it can do is make recommendations and issue warnings. This is from the agency’s 1997 fact sheet: ‘There are no federal safety standards that are applicable to additives, including those for use in fluoridating drinking water.’ Despite that, the process of putting together a recommendation is convoluted at best.”

World

No need to worry about water shortages or the fact that the Earth has finite resources of everything. Just go back to spending, and mindlessly consuming; there is nothing to see here.
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“While climate change may seem remote, the water crisis in the Southwest is all too immediate. Recent years of drought have reached critical levels, threatening to curtail agriculture and even the normal patterns of urban life throughout the region. Even if today’s climate remained unchanged, water use in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah would more than double over the next century, just from population and income growth.”

“Solving the water crisis will require reductions in water use. Nevada and Utah are the top two states in per capita residential water use today. Extensive conservation and efficiency measures will be needed, reshaping urban water use, improving irrigation methods, and cutting back on the region’s lowest-value crops, which are worth less than the water used to grow them.”

“It gets much harder to solve the water crisis when it gets hotter: we found that climate change could add as much as $1 trillion to the costs of water scarcity for the five Southwestern states over the next century. As Americans start to experience mounting costs of climate change in this and other areas, spending money to reduce carbon emissions will look like a bargain by comparison.”

Civil Liberties

Americans like Yasir Afifi do not understand that all the mumbo jumbo in the Constitution does not apply to the government any more because they are fighting a war on terror. Expensive GPS devices must be planted on innocent American citizen’s vehicles in order to thwart terrorists and make America a safer place to live. Besides, how can the government enforce laws if they simultaneously have to worry about abiding by laws as well?
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“Muslim student Yasir Afifi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit against the FBI on Wednesday after Afifi discovered a global positioning system (GPS) device on the undercarriage of his car. The suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that Afifi’s rights were violated when FBI agents attempted to retrieve their tracking device, without explanation for why Afifi was being tracked. Afifi’s suit alleges civil rights and constitutional violations, specifically unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment, chilling and recording of First Amendment activities, and unlawful agency action”

“Afifi seeks an injunction ending the FBI’s investigation of him, a declaratory judgment that his rights were violated, attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation, and damages for emotional distress.”

Daniel Ellesberg On Bradley Manning.
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“The new charges include one count of ‘aiding the enemy,’ a capital offense that is punishable by execution, although Manning’s prosecutors have said they will likely seek life imprisonment without parole rather than the death penalty. Manning previously faced 52 years in prison.”

“ ‘The third element of the charges is the biggest problem. Is any information in this area that was made public … visible to the enemy?’ Shelburne said during a teleconference Thursday with the Bradley Manning Advocacy Fund. ‘I don’t know how they are going to show that.’ ”

“ ‘Our enemy is generally al Qaeda, and they want these wars to continue,’ Ellsberg said. ‘The people who give comfort to the enemy are the people who sent troops there and are keeping the cost of the war from the people. Bradley Manning is acting in the interest of the United States and against the interest of our enemy al Qaeda.’ ”

Is the former Attorney General of America, John Ashcroft, guilty of having innocent civilians arrested for being Muslim?
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“The federal government’s reaction to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks once again returned to the Supreme Court on Wednesday as justices considered whether former attorney general John D. Ashcroft could be held personally liable for the detention of an American Muslim.”

“Ashcroft, President George W. Bush’s attorney general from 2001 to 2005, claims legal immunity from the lawsuit, and the Obama administration is defending him. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal told the justices Wednesday that Ashcroft cannot be subject to personal liability for actions he took while performing his job.”

“Kidd is a onetime University of Idaho football star, born Lavoni T. Kidd. He converted to Islam in college. He was arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003 as he was boarding a plane for Saudi Arabia, where he planned to study.”

“ ‘There are allegations here that this man was kept awake, the lights shining in his cell for 24 hours, kept without clothes,’ Ginsburg said. “Now that doesn’t sound like the way one would treat someone whose testimony you want.’ ”

What is so bad about the national ID, Nazi Germany had them, and anything good enough for Nazi Germany is good enough for America, right?
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“If you’re a resident of one of at least 24 states including Arizona, Georgia, and Washington, your driver’s license may no longer be valid for boarding an airplane or entering federal buildings as of May 11, 2011.”

“That’s the deadline that senior House Republicans are calling on the Obama administration to impose, saying states must be required to comply with so-called Real ID rules creating a standardized digital identity card that critics have likened to a national ID.”

“The political problem for the GOP committee chairmen is that the 2005 Real ID Act has proven to be anything but popular: legislatures of two dozen states have voted to reject its requirements, and in the Michigan and Pennsylvania legislatures one chamber has done so.”

“If Napolitano does not [extend the deadline], air travelers from non-Real ID states would at least be subjected to what Homeland Security delicately calls ‘delays’ and ‘enhanced security screening,’ or perhaps even be denied boarding. In addition, driver’s licenses from non-Real ID states could no longer be used to access ‘federal facilities,’ including military academies, the Pentagon, Treasury Department, the U.S. Capitol, Veterans Affairs hospitals, and some federal courthouses.”

“From the House Republicans’ perspective, the rules are clear: Real ID was signed on May 11, 2005, by President Bush, and federal agencies have had nearly six years to comply. The vote in Congress was overwhelmingly in favor of the law, part of a broader “war on terror” spending and tsunami relief bill that was approved unanimously by the Senate and by a vote of 368 to 58 in the House of Representatives. (Real ID cleared the House by a 261 to 161 vote as a standalone bill without hearings or debate.)”

“A chart (PDF) updated last month by the National Conference of State Legislatures lists 16 states with laws forbidding compliance with Real ID and eight states including Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois that have enacted resolutions opposing it.”

Progress

Program to monitor racial profiling by San Jose police department.
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“The move [to keep a closer eye on officers’ work] is part of a larger effort to address concerns over racial profiling of Latinos and other groups by the San Jose Police Department.”

“Newly appointed Chief Chris Moore recently expanded the definition of racial profiling to allow for scrutiny during the entirety of police interactions, rather then just the initial stop.”

“In the study, which involved 3,000 San Jose residents and was conducted in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, 87 percent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, ‘It is important that the next police chief believes racial profiling exists in law enforcement, and will work to eliminate it in San Jose.’ ”

Petition: The U.S. Government wants to charge Bradly Manning with “aiding the enemy,” which could end with him being executed or spending life in prison. Demand these charges against Bradly Manning be dropped.
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Petition: Family Planning and Planned Parenthood are helpful to many women and provide low cost consultations and doctor visits. Low income women have little to no other options besides these kinds of organization, and without aid programs they would be on their own.
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Petition: Tell the government to repeal DOMA because in America EVERYONE is equal.
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Petition: Tell the Department of Homeland Security to respect citizens right to privacy, and end the invasive practices of the TSA.
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Petition: Tell congress tens years is long enough for the Constitution to be undermined.
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Petition: Prohibit the FCC from regulating the Internet.
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Petition: Demand more oversight for the Federal Reserve.
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