31 January 2012

Panetta: Decision to Kill Americans Suspected of Terrorism Is Obama's | Mother Jones

In an interview with CBS 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta revealed more about the secret process the Obama administration uses to kill American citizens suspected of terrorism without trial. According to Panetta, the president himself approves the decision based on recommendations from top national security officials.

"[The] President of the United States, obviously reviews these cases, reviews the legal justification and in the end says, go or no go," Panetta said.

"So it’s the requirement of the administration under the current legal understanding is that the president has to make that declaration, not you?" Pelley asked. Panetta replied, "That is correct."

The process by which national security officials determine whether or not American citizens suspected of terrorism can be killed remains opaque. The administration has leaked information about certain targets, but it has never released the legal justification for doing so, nor has it explained the system by which members of the National Security Council reportedly decide to put an American citizen on a so-called "kill list." In October, Reuters' Mark Hosenball wrote that the president doesn't necessarily explicitly approve strikes—instead, the attacks go forward unless the president objects.

Panetta's explanation of why he believes killing an American citizen without due process is legal wasn't exactly comforting. Here's the exchange:

PANETTA: Without getting into the specifics of the operation, if someone is a citizen of the United States, and is a terrorist, who wants to attack our people and kill Americans, in my book that person is a terrorist. And the reality is that under our laws, that person is a terrorist. And we’re required under a process of law, to be able to justify, that despite the fact that person may be a citizen, he is first and foremost a terrorist who threatens our people, and for that reason, we can establish a legal basis on which we oughta go after that individual, just as we go after bin Laden, just as we go after other terrorists. Why? Because their goal is to kill our people, and for that reason we have to defend ourselves.

PELLEY: They’re not entitled to due process of law under the Constitution of the United States? They lose their citizenship if this administration decides they’re a terrorist?

PANETTA: If this person wanted to suddenly raise questions about whether or not they’re a terrorist, and the were to return to the United States of course they would be entitled to due process. that’s something we provide any US citizen. And for that matter frankly any terrorist who is arrested, we provide due process to that individual as well. But if a terrorist is out there on the battlefield, and the terrorist is threatening this country, that person is an enemy combatant, and when an enemy combatant holds a gun at your head, you fire back.

Panetta's explanation isn't much more complex than "when we say someone is a terrorist, then we can kill them, because they're a terrorist." The entire point of due process, however, is to determine whether or not someone is actually guilty. The defense secretary's metaphor—that you can fire back when someone "holds a gun to your head"—might justify killing an American citizen who is fighting on an actual battlefield, like Afghanistan. But it suggests violence as an appropriate response to an imminent threat, rather than the actual circumstances under which say, radical cleric and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki appears to have been killed.

President Obama just signed a bill that, if not for its many administrative loopholes, would "mandate" military detention for non-citizen terror suspects apprehended on American soil, so it's not accurate for Panetta to state that "any" suspected terrorist apprehended by the US receives due process. The vast majority of the nearly two hundred detainees at Gitmo have never been charged with anything, let alone tried and convicted. Osama bin Laden was the admitted leader of a group engaged in an armed conflict against US troops in Afghanistan; concrete evidence that al-Awlaki was more than a font for extremist propaganda has never been aired.

There's also an Orwellian element to Panetta's argument that anyone on the US kill list should simply turn themselves in and get a fair trial. As Glenn Greenwald reminds us, we only know that al-Awlaki was on the "kill list" because his name was leaked to the press. Any other Americans who might be on the list have no way of knowing they've been targeted absent leaks from administration officials or the sound they hear right before they're annihilated by a Hellfire missile. (Even calling friends, family, or a lawyer to turn yourself in could be the act that gets you killed.) If such an individual did know he was on the list, how exactly is he supposed to believe he'd have "due process" after giving himself up, given that he's already been sentenced to death by the administration? Is a fair trial even possible under those circumstances?

Killing American citizens without due process was an idea introduced by the Bush people and and finally passed by the Obama people. If the Constitution doesn't apply to all American citizens equally, it applies to none of us. When we give the President the powers of an Emperor or King, we are betraying the very foundation upon which America was built. Republicans and Democrats have shown their true colors: both sides don't know shit about the Constitution and both sides are bad for America.

Falling behind

America is slipping further and further behind the modernized world.  Why?  Because rather than update or fix our infrastructure, defense contractors, war speculators and oil men are would rather focus their greed on money making misadventures globally than the health and welfare of their nation. 

Charlotte restricts free speech | SocialistWorker.org

...Charlotte's bid to restrict free speech rights follows similar ordinances adopted in Chicago in preparation for the NATO and G8 joint summit meeting in May. Like the measures approved in Chicago, the law passed in Charlotte seeks to stifle dissent through a combination of bureaucratic red tape and broadened power for police officers. Also like Chicago, the measure was passed under the administration of a Democratic mayor with overwhelming support by a City Council dominated by Democrats (there is only one Republican on the council).

The key part of the legislation, which takes the form of an amendment to city code, is a provision empowering the city manager--an appointed, not elected, official--to declare an event "of international or national significance" to be an "extraordinary event." The city manager may then specify and limit the times and locations in which demonstrations can occur. The law further empowers the city to establish permit deadlines for protesters wishing to stage marches and demonstrations.

The bill has no sunset clause, meaning that it will stay on the books permanently...

The Twilight Zone movie if politicians were in the cast


28 January 2012

Welfare Drug Testing Bill Withdrawn After Amended To Include Testing Lawmakers

A Republican member of the Indiana General Assembly withdrew his bill to create a pilot program for drug testing welfare applicants Friday after one of his Democratic colleagues amended the measure to require drug testing for lawmakers.

"There was an amendment offered today that required drug testing for legislators as well and it passed, which led me to have to then withdraw the bill," said Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), sponsor of the original welfare drug testing bill.

The Supreme Court ruled drug testing for political candidates unconstitutional in 1997, striking down a Georgia law. McMillin said he withdrew his bill so he could reintroduce it on Monday with a lawmaker drug testing provision that would pass constitutional muster.

"I've only withdrawn it temporarily," he told HuffPost, stressing he carefully crafted his original bill so that it could survive a legal challenge. Last year a federal judge, citing the Constitution's ban on unreasonable search and seizure, struck down a Florida law that required blanket drug testing of everyone who applied for welfare.

McMillin's bill would overcome constitutional problems, he said, by setting up a tiered screening scheme in which people can opt-out of random testing. Those who decline random tests would only be screened if they arouse "reasonable suspicion," either by their demeanor, by being convicted of a crime, or by missing appointments required by the welfare office.

In the past year Republican lawmakers have pursued welfare drug testing in more than 30 states and in Congress, and some bills have even targeted people who claim unemployment insurance and food stamps, despite scanty evidence the poor and jobless are disproportionately on drugs. Democrats in several states have countered with bills to require drug testing elected officials. Indiana state Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) introduced just such an amendment on Friday.

"After it passed, Rep. McMillin got pretty upset and pulled his bill," Dvorak said. "If anything, I think it points out some of the hypocrisy. ... If we're going to impose standards on drug testing, then it should apply to everybody who receives government money."

Dvorak said McMillin was mistaken to think testing the legislature would be unconstitutional, since the stricken Georgia law targeted candidates and not people already holding office.

McMillan, for his part, said he's coming back with a new bill on Monday, lawmaker testing included. He said he has no problem submitting to a test himself.

"I would think legislators that are here who are responsible for the people who voted them in, they should be more than happy to consent," he said. "Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to take the test."

Ha! Guess now we know what the GOP has been smoking! Thrice damned hypocrites!

On Iran

As I watch Iraq Redux play out in public as “we can’t afford to let Iran have nuclear weapons” to grease the pump of the public up for yet another costly war (that may turn global this time), I can’t help but wonder, “What the hell do I care if Iran has a nuclear weapon?”

Their weapons are no threat to Americans whatsoever and I defy anyone to prove they are.
Go on, I’ll wait for you hawks to craft some improbable scenario where I, as an American, have to worry about a backwards middle east country having nukes.  Israel has bloody nukes.  Pakistan has nukes.  Not afraid.  Maybe if I lived on the west coast?  Even then, I find it highly unlikely that the Iranian navy is going to sail into American waters to take out Seattle unmolested.

In fact, the only reason the Iranians would want nukes would be as a determent to Israel nuking them first.  Think the above mentioned Pakistan and their arch rival India.  Same thing.

Yet the religious whackos in our country combined with corporate business interests looking to profit on Iranian natural resources are bound and determined to sell us this war.  For them, this would be a gloriously godly, profitable venture.  After all, with no superpowers left to oppose us, who can resist the American will once we’ve begun to throw our weight around?

27 January 2012

Judge Orders Arizona Candidate Struck From Ballot - NYTimes.com

Lawyers for Alejandrina Cabrera, a candidate for the City Council in the border community of San Luis, Ariz., said Thursday that they might appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court a lower-court ruling that Ms. Cabrera be removed from the ballot because she did not speak English proficiently.

Judge John Nelson of the Yuma County Superior Court ruled late Wednesday night that Ms. Cabrera be struck from the ballot because she did not know enough English to do the job. In removing Ms. Cabrera, Judge Nelson agreed with the recommendation of a linguist who had conducted tests of Ms. Cabrera and found her English skills lacking.

The linguist, William G. Eggington, a professor at Brigham Young University in Utah, testified before the court on Wednesday. He said that based on interviews and tests he conducted with Mrs. Cabrera, she had “basic survival level” English that fell well below that needed to participate in city business.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed, although the judge acknowledged that there’s no precedent for him to follow,” John S. Garcia, one of the lawyers for Ms. Cabrera, said Thursday.

Mr. Garcia said he planned to meet Thursday night with Ms. Cabrera to determine her willingness to continue the legal battle.

I'm curious what you readers think. Should an American citizen be denied the right to run for office because they don't speak English well?

If Romney develops a stage persona that the media can sell to the rubes down South that make up the base of the Republican party, like the one he used tonight but a little more fine tuned, it may very well come down to which side gets the most of their people to vote. 

Romney is a dangerous man and, worse, a True Believer, but up until now his being a Mormon has kept him from cinching up the nomination.  Get fundamentalist Christians to overcome that prejudice and a very fired up, fanatical group of right wing extremists are going to be voting in record numbers, their hatred of Obama is that strong.  A hatred created from no basis in fact or reality and believed as t'were God's own writ.  I just don't get it.

Anyway, Romney would use the indefinite detention on liberal groups and his government would root us out.  He has to because I think he will order the military to invade Iran.

Or not. 

I don't like him and I know the powers that be in White America would love to see Romney in the White House because he is, as we know by his dealings, their man when it comes to unfettered capitalism.

26 January 2012

I am an independent progressive voter and think both parties are corrupt, self-serving and bad for America.  That said, I'm an American and I was always taught to respect the President of the United States.  To speak even more plainly, I still do not believe George W. Bush was ever lawfully elected POTUS.  He is a criminal and he allowed 9/11 to happen because he was careless in his duties.  But, if he had asked me to the White House it would have been, "Yes, Mr. President." or "Mr. President you honor me." or some such.  Why?  Because he was the guy my country settled on leading them.  Their consent made him President and thus, like it or not, agree or not, he was my President too.  You don't call yourself a good America when you make this affront to the office.  You don't make a conservative super star of the dame who made our nation look weak and foolish in the eyes of the world and those who hate us.  If this had been George Bush and that had been Sheila Jackson Lee you righties would have had seizures while calling for her head on a platter. 

25 January 2012

So, I already knew Jan Brewer was a dumb cunt but seeing her stick her finger in the face of the President of the United States get my blood to boiling.

I guess I was raised different but you do not disrespect the President in that way.  Who the hell does that bitch think she is?!?

But this is a perfect illustration of why I loathe Republicans far more than the Democrats. They aren't respectful, it's their way or no way and they are bad Americans egging on a dangerous base to acts of violence against Democrats simply because they don't think the same way they do. 

If I was Obama I'd have backhanded that presumptuous woman!  "I'm the President bitch, respect the office!"

Don't wurry nun 'merica, I'll never be President : )

East Haven, Conn., Police Officers Accused of Mistreating Latinos - NYTimes.com

They were known as Miller’s Boys, police officers who worked the 4-to-midnight shift, patrolling the largely working-class town of East Haven, Conn., including the small but growing Hispanic community that has spread out in recent years from New Haven. The officers were more than well known in that community; according to residents and federal authorities, they were feared. They stopped and detained people, particularly immigrants, without reason, federal prosecutors said, sometimes slapping, hitting or kicking them when they were handcuffed, and once smashing a man’s head into a wall. They followed and arrested residents, including a local priest, who tried to document their behavior.

They rooted through stores looking for damning security videotapes of how they had treated some of their targets, described by one of them on a police radio as having “drifted to this country on rafts made of chicken wings.”

And after it became known that the Justice Department was investigating the department, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday, a picture of a rat appeared on a police union bulletin board, and in the locker room, an ominous note: “You know what we do with snitches?”

On Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Sgt. John Miller and three of his officers — David Cari, Dennis Spaulding and Jason Zullo — on charges of conspiracy, false arrest, excessive force and obstruction of justice over what the indictment described as years of mistreatment of individuals, especially Hispanics, and efforts to cover it up.

Following on the heels of a scathing Justice Department report in December that found the East Haven police had engaged in widespread “biased policing, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and the use of excessive force,” the indictment portrayed a harrowing picture of arbitrary justice for Hispanic residents...

You envious, little people...


Race baiting, then and now


GOP voters prepare to select a candidate


U.S. Commandos Free 2 Hostages From Somali Pirates - NYTimes.com

Under a cloak of darkness, the Seals parachuted in, stormed the hide-out, killed nine gunmen and then whisked the aid workers into waiting helicopters, Pentagon officials said. The Seals were from the same elite Navy commando unit — Seal Team Six — that secretly entered Pakistan to kill Osama Bin Laden in May, senior American officials said, though the rescue mission in Somalia was carried out by a different assault team within the unit.

President Obama was closely tracking the raid on Tuesday night, which was Wednesday morning in Somalia, and as he stepped into the House chamber to deliver his State of the Union address, he looked right at Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta standing in the crowd and said: “Leon, good job tonight, good job.”

Our president is badass!

5 Republican Lies About Income Inequality | | AlterNet

By David Morris Recent comments by Mitt Romney, the probable Republican nominee for President all but guarantee the inequality issue will remain front and center this election year.

When asked whether people who question the current distribution of wealth and power are motivated by “jealousy or fairness” Romney insisted, “I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare.” And in this election year he advised that if we do discuss inequality we do so “in quiet rooms” not in public debates.

A public debate, of course, is inevitable. And welcome. To help that debate along I’ll address the five major statements that comprise the Republican argument on inequality.

1. Income is not all that unequal.

Actually it is. Since 1980 the top 1 percent has increased its share of the national income by an astounding $1.1 trillion. Today 300,000 very rich Americans enjoy almost as much income as 150 million.

Since 1980, the income of the bottom 90 percent of Americans has increased a meager $303 or 1 percent. The top 1 percent’s income has more than doubled, increasing by about $500,000. And the really, really rich, the top 10th of 1 percent, made out, dare I say, like bandits, quadrupling their income to $22 million.

Meanwhile a full-time worker’s wage was 11 percent lower in 2004 than in 1973, adjusting for inflation even though their productivity increased by 78 percent. Productivity gains swelled corporate profits, which reached an all time high in 2010. And that in turn fueled an unprecedented inequality within the workplace itself. In 2010, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, the average CEO in large companies earned 325 times more than the average worker.

2. Inequality doesn’t matter because in America ambition and hard work can make a pauper a millionaire.

This is folklore. A worker’s initial position in the income distribution is highly predictive of how much he or she earns later in the career. And as the Brookings Institution reports “there is growing evidence of less intergenerational economic mobility in the United States than in many other rich industrialized countries.”

The bitter fact is that it is harder for a poor person in America to become rich than in virtually any other industrialized country.

3. Income inequality is not a result of tax policy.

Nonsense. A painstaking analysis by economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Stefanie Stantcheva found “a strong correlation between the reductions in top tax rates and the increases in top 1% pre-tax income shares from 1975–79 to 2004–08”. For example, the U.S. slashed the top income tax rate by 35 percent and witnessed a large ten percent increase in its top 1% pre-tax income share. “By contrast, France or Germany saw very little change in their top tax rates and their top 1% income shares during the same period.”

4. Taxing the rich will slow economic growth.

An examination of 18 OECD countries found “little empirical support for the claim that reducing the progressivity of the tax code has spurred economic growth, business formation or job growth.”

Indeed, Piketty, Saez and Stantcheva’s rigorous analysis came to the opposite conclusion. Our economy may be growing more slowly because we are taxing the rich too little, not too much. Economists Peter Diamond and Saezestimated the optimal top tax rate, that is the tax rate that would maximize revenue without slowing economic growth, could be as high as 83 percent.

Redistributing income stimulates economies in part because when 1% make more they save whereas when the 99% make more they spend. As a result, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s, a dollar in tax cuts on capital gains adds .38 cents of economic growth while a dollar in unemployment benefits gives the economy a boost of $1.63 and a dollar of food stamps adds $1.73.

5. Taxing the rich would not raise much money.

Of course it would. If only the richest 400 families, whose average income in 2008 was an astounding $270 million actually paid the statutory rate of 39 percent (revived as of next January 1st) an additional $500 billion would be raised over 10 years, putting a substantial dent in the projected deficit.

In 2010 hedge fund manager John Paulson made $5 billion. That year, according to Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston, Paulson paid no income taxes. Am I envious Mr. Romney? You bet I am. But I’m also angry at the stark injustice of it all. And terrified of the power such wealth can wield in a country that allows billionaires to spend unlimited sums influencing legislation and elections.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that two-thirds of Americans now believe the conflict between rich and poor is our greatest source of tension. I agree. It is a conflict that deserves to be aired fully and in public.

David Morris is co-founder and vice president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance in Minneapolis, Minn., and director of its New Rules project.

Gabby Giffords and an Ominous Development in Missouri | Mother Jones


There was overwhelming bipartisan agreement on Tuesday night that Gabrielle Giffords' arrival for President Obama's State of the Union address was the most compelling moment of the evening. Watch the footage and there's simply no arguing with that—the Arizona congresswoman looked terrific. Her incredible comeback from a near-fatal shooting one year ago seems all the more remarkable each time she appears in public. (Not that she doesn't face challenges ahead; a video she released over the weekend, in which she announced that she's stepping down from her congressional seat to focus on her further recovery, is equally moving.) Her story is as potent a mix of painful and inspirational as there is, and you'd hope that it could stand as something of an antidote to the poisonous politics of the era.

Which is why some news out of Missouri on Tuesday was particularly stomach-churning: Just hours before Giffords made her way into the nation's Capitol, an unknown provocateur was stalking the halls of the Missouri Capitol, tagging the doors of lawmakers—most of them Democratic women—with images of rifle crosshairs. From the Columbia Daily Tribune:

Orange stickers with an image of rifle crosshairs were found Tuesday on the office doors of several Democratic state senators, prompting an investigation by Missouri Capitol Police, Senate Administrator Jim Howerton said. The stickers were on the doors of all four Democratic women in the Senate — Jolie Justus and Kiki Curls, both of Kansas City, and Maria Chapelle-Nadal and Robin Wright-Jones, both of St. Louis, Justus said. One similar sticker was found on the nameplate outside the door of state Rep. Scott Dieckhaus, R-Washington.

“If anyone thinks this was a prank, it is not a prank,” Justus said after discussing the discovery of the stickers on the Senate floor. “You don’t joke about someone’s personal safety.” A sticker also was found on the door of Sen. Victor Callahan, D-Kansas City and the Democrats’ floor leader.

Columbia-based reporter Sherman Fabes posted photos of the stickers that showed up at the lawmakers' offices:

Sen. Chapelle-Nadal herself weighed in on Twitter (her tweets are "protected" but one was posted by St. Louis Activist Hub) and didn't mince words, emphasizing her disapproval with "#DisgracefulCowards."

It's an apt moment to recall that Giffords once criticized Sarah Palin for using a map that literally put political enemies in the crosshairs. "We need to realize that the rhetoric…for example, we’re on Sarah Palin's 'targeted' list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, we're in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district," Giffords said in an interview with MSNBC in spring 2010. "When people do that, they’ve gotta realize that there are consequences to that action."

We all know what followed.

Palin and other conservatives strongly rejected the notion that their imagery and rhetoric had anything to do with the bloodbath in Arizona a year ago. And no one can know what was truly in the deranged mind of Jared Loughner. But common sense says that when enough targeted political vitriol mixes with enough guns, bad things will eventually happen.

24 January 2012

The death of democracy in America. What is money?


6 Facts About Mitt Romney’s Taxes/ Lack Thereof

1. Romney paid a lower tax rate than many middle-class Americans, at 13.9 percent.

2. Romney makes more in a day than the average American makes in a year, and becomes a 1 percenter every week.

3. Romney likely paid $0 in payroll taxes.

4. Romney has accounts in countries notorious for tax dodging, like Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands.

5. Romney and Gingrich’s tax plans would slash Romney’s taxes in half.

6. Romney needs four lawyers, including the former IRS commissioner to defend his tax plan.

Santorum To Rape Victims: 'Make The Best Out Of A Bad Situation' | ThinkProgress

Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice. I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or doesn’t, it will always be her child. And she will always know that. And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.
GOP presidential candidate and all around frothy mixture Rick Santorum explaining why you women should quit your damn whining and just have the baby forced into your womb by God through the vessel of your rapist.

FACTS: The State Of The Union | ThinkProgress

Tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. The Republican response will be given by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Before you watch the speeches, get the facts:

• Since the last SOTU, the economy has created 1.9 million private sector jobs. [Source]

• The top 1 percent take home 24 percent of the nation’s income, up from about 9 percent in 1976. [Source]

• Private sector job creation under Obama in 2011 was larger than seven out of the eight years Bush was president. [Source]

• The top 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of our country’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns only 7 percent. [Source]

• Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance. [Source]

• For every one job opening, there are four people looking for work. [Source]

• Last year, China spent 9 percent of its GDP on infrastructure. The U.S. spent 2.5 percent. [Source]

• 2.65 million seniors saved an average of $569 on prescriptions last year thanks to the Affordable Care Act. [Source]

• “In 2011, the United States killed Al Qaeda’s most effective propagandist, Anwar al-Awlaki; its operating chief, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman; and of course its founder, chief executive and spiritual leader, Osama bin Laden.” [Source]

• Union membership is at a 70-year low. [Source]

• Unemployment benefits have lifted 3.2 million people out of poverty. [Source]

• The United States used to have the world’s largest percentage of college graduates. We’re now #14. [Source]

• One quarter of all contributions to federal campaigns come from 0.01 percent of Americans. [Source]

47.8 percent of households that receive food stamps are working, because having a job is not enough to keep them out of poverty. [Source]

• In the last three years, 30 major corporations spent more on lobbying than they paid in taxes. [Source]

• 50 percent of U.S. workers make less than $26,364 per year. [Source]

• More than one in 70 homes faced foreclosure last year. [Source]

• Since 1985, the federal tax rate for the 400 wealthiest Americans dropped from 29 percent to 18 percent. [Source]

23 January 2012

Arkansas Democrat's cat killed, painted with "liberal" - Yahoo! News

A cat belonging to an Arkansas Democratic campaign manager was found dead on Sunday night with the word "Liberal" spray-painted across its side, the campaign manager said.

The cat was a pet of Jake Burris, who manages Democrat Ken Aden's bid for Arkansas' 3rd Congressional District. Aden is running against incumbent Republican Representative Steve Womack.

Burris was returning to his Russellville, Arkansas home with his four children when he found the cat on his doorstep, the Aden campaign said in a press release on Monday.

The mixed-breed Siamese cat had one side of its head bashed in to "the point the cat's eyeball was barely hanging from its socket," the release said.

Aden told Reuters that the event was "horrible, to say the least."

"Thankfully, there are not that many people who want to do something like this," Aden said. "The majority of people in this district are hard-working folks, but you get the occasional crazy individual out there."

The Russellville Police Department is investigating the incident as an animal cruelty case, according to a police official. Russellville is 80 miles west of Little Rock.

Aden and Burris said they did not believe Womack or his re-election campaign were involved in the incident.

Arkansas' 3rd District is heavily conservative Republican and has been held by a Republican since the 1966 election. Womack first won the congressional seat in 2010 with 72 percent of the vote.

The Womack campaign denounced the violence on Monday.

"The thought of brutalizing any animal for the sake of making a political statement is beyond any standard of decency and the person or people responsible for this act should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," said Beau Walker, Womack's chief of staff.

The only way it'll happen?


If You Thought SOPA Was Bad, Just Wait Until You Meet ACTA - Forbes

When sites like Wikipedia and Reddit banded together for a major blackout January 18th, the impact was felt all the way to Washington D.C. The blackout had lawmakers running from the controversial anti-piracy legislation, SOPA and PIPA, which critics said threatened freedom of speech online.

Unfortunately for free-speech advocates, censorship is still a serious threat.

Few people have heard of ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, but the provisions in the agreement are just as pernicious as anything we saw in SOPA. Worse, the agreement spans virtually all of the countries in the developed world, including all of the EU, the United States, Switzerland and Japan.

Many of these countries have already signed or ratified it, and the cogs are still turning. The treaty has been secretly negotiated behind the scenes, with unelected bureaucrats working closely with entertainment industry lobbyists to craft the provisions in the treaty. The Bush administration started the process, but the Obama administration has aggressively pursued it....

Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown deserve major props for campaign finance truce - The Plum Line - The Washington Post

This morning, Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown announced that they had hammered out an agreement to put up a dam against the flood of outside cash that's expected to gush into their Senate race. Even if the dam ends up springing a few leaks, they deserve credit for trying. Good for them.

The deal wasn’t easy to hammer out, because campaigns don’t have any power to restrict third-party-group spending. But the arrangement deals with this problem in an artful way:

Under the terms of the deal, each campaign would agree to donate half the cost of any third-party ad to charity if that ad either supports their candidacy or attacks their opponent by name.

Warren first floated the idea of an enforceable truce; Brown laid out the terms of the deal last week; Warren responded this morning that she wanted a few final changes, such as tightening up a few loopholes that third party groups might exploit; Brown quickly agreed.

Obviously it would seem borderline impossible to get a group like the Rove-founded Crossroads GPS to refrain from running ads in the state. The group has already invested hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in multiple spots that were not only dishonest, but actually contradicted each other in a comically hapless way. The beauty of this arrangement is that if Crossroads runs more ads in the state, Brown’s campaign will, in theory at least, be penalized for it.

The Crossroads empire, as it happens, already appears to be signaling that it may not honor the deal:

The president of American Crossroads, Steven Law, quickly criticized the deal, saying it fails to cover union phone banks, direct mail, and get-out-the-vote drives, “all union core specialties.”

This seems like a pretty weak objection; what’s to stop national conservative and Tea Party groups, which also do this kind of organizing regularly, from mobilizing on Brown’s behalf? Nothing. Indeed, Brown’s special election victory in 2010 was fueled by this type of politicking. It seems Crossroads may be laying the groundwork for breaking the agreement.

By contrast, the League of Conservation Voters, a liberal third party group that had been spending heavily on Warren's behalf, quickly issued a statement supporting the arrangement.

I asked Public Campaign Action Fund’s David Donnelly for comment on the deal. He emailed: “It’s good for them, it’s good for voters, and it’s a good model for every competitive race in the country.”

Agreed. And in political terms, we’re in uncharted waters: Could this possibly succeed in muzzling the Crossroads operation? If not, how will the politics of it play? Will other campaigns emulate this approach? It’s another reason the Massachusetts Senate race will — and should be — one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country.

Supreme Court says search warrants needed when police use GPS devices to track suspects - The Washington Post

Supreme Court says search warrants needed when police use GPS devices to track suspects - The Washington Post Hooray! The Supreme Court gets one right!

BBC News - Trust in government has 'suffered a severe breakdown'

Governments have been blamed for the financial and political chaos of 2011.

In 17 of 25 countries surveyed governments are now trusted to do what is right by less than half those questioned.

Overall trust in government fell by nine percentage points to 43%.

Trust in business also fell, from 56% to 53%.

Although businesses saw less severe declines in trust, countries at the heart of the eurozone saw sharper decreases.

Businesses in Spain, France and Germany saw trust decline by 21, 20 and 18 percentage points respectively.

China was the only country to see a significant rise in trust in businesses, up from 61% to 71%.

Trusting 'me'

Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, said: "Business is now better placed than governments to lead the way out of the trust crisis".

"But the balance must change so that business is seen both as a force for good and an engine for profit."

Alongside these steep declines in trust in institutions such as governments or businesses, the survey highlights a dramatic switch in those whom people say they now trust.

A "person like me" is now one of the top three credible sources, said those surveyed, only trailing academics and technical experts.

Social networking, microblogging and content-sharing sites saw the most dramatic percentage rises as trusted sources of information, jumping by 88%, 86% and 75%.

Despite these gains, traditional media and online search engines are still the most trusted sources of information for general news and information, says the survey.

Edelman's 2012 trust Barometer was released in the run-up to this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, where it will be presented in more detail.

Edelman's online survey sampled 25,000 respondents among the general population, with an over-sample of 5,600 "informed" people from the upper end of society - college-educated, with household income in the top quarter - across 25 countries.

22 January 2012

I, too, am appalled at Newt's hypocrisy




Romney's Mormon problem and the GOPs Gingrich problem

For all those political pundits out there all amazed at a Gingrich thumping of Romney, all I can say is you don't know Christian fundamentalists very well, if at all.  A Mormon can no more win the GOP nomination than a gay person because fundamentalists simply loathe them, judging them both as abominations before their god.  From back when I was a boy unto this day, it is taught in every Church of God, Assembly of God, Baptist church or any other fundamentalist house worth it's weight in body-of-Christ crackers that Mormonism is a cult and that it's adherents aren't legitimate Christians but people deceived by Satan to follow a wrong path that leads straight to hell.  Seriously.  That is the basis of their decision making.  They would rather see a womanizer who professes the right brand of religion as president then some devil worshiping cultist.

That said, it is important to point out that while most conservatives don't like womanizing sex addicts like Newt, they are willing to overlook these faults because 1) he says he asked their god for forgiveness and god, like an obedient toady, must comply as per the scripture, ergo Newt is forgiven.  2) he is perceived as the only one who can out-debate Obama or beat him, which is why Santorum isn't gaining any traction with his frothy, lubed Christian self.  3) fundamentalist Christians aren't as upset about cheating on women because a) most of them do it themselves and b) they're just women so who cares?

What all of this means is that because the GOP has gone too far right and to Christianized, they are handing the presidency back to Obama because the independents and moderates out there aren't going to vote for the candidates that are being supported by the religious zealots for all the wrong reasons.  Without a viable, mainstream moderate the GOP may not win the presidency for awhile. 

And I'm quite alright with that.

Five myths about Barack Obama - The Washington Post

Five myths about Barack Obama - The Washington Post

21 January 2012



Flight Of The Conchords: Sugar Lumps (HBO)

Might this entice you? Nut loaf!

Blacks Face Bias in Bankruptcy, Study Suggests - NYTimes.com

Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to wind up in the more onerous and costly form of consumer bankruptcy as they try to dig out from their debts, a new study has found. The disparity persisted even when the researchers adjusted for income, homeownership, assets and education. The evidence suggested that lawyers were disproportionately steering blacks into a process that was not as good for them financially, in part because of biases, whether conscious or unconscious... Racism is alive and thriving in the US, from the virulent hatred of the president to this. Read the full story at the link.

20 January 2012

A free ride?


Campaign slogans 2012


We must stop this corporate takeover of American democracy | Bernie Sanders | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

by Bernie Sanders

The corporate barbarians are through the gate of American democracy. Not satisfied with their all-pervasive influence on our culture, economy and legislative processes, they want more. They want it all.

Two years ago, the United States supreme court betrayed our Constitution and those who fought to ensure that its protections are enjoyed equally by all persons regardless of religion, race or gender by engaging in an unabashed power-grab on behalf of corporate America. In its now infamous decision in the Citizens United case, five justices declared that corporations must be treated as if they are actual people under the Constitution when it comes to spending money to influence our elections, allowing them for the first time to draw on the corporate checkbook – in any amount and at any time – to run ads explicitly for or against specific candidates.

What's next … a corporate right to vote?

Don't laugh. Just this month, the Republican National Committee filed an amicus brief in a US appeals court contending that the natural extension of the Citizens United rationale is that the century-old ban on corporate contributions directly to candidates and political parties is similarly unconstitutional. They want corporations to be able to sponsor candidates and parties directly while claiming with a straight face this would not result in any sort of corruption. And while, this month, they take no issue with corporations being subject to the existing contribution limits, anyone paying attention knows that eliminating such caps will be corporate America's next prize in its brazen ambition for absolute control over our elections.

The US Constitution has served us very well, but when the supreme court says, for purposes of the first amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company's bank account is constitutionally-protected speech and that attempts by the federal government and states to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, our democracy is in grave danger.

I am a proud sponsor of a number of bills that would respond to Citizens United and begin to get a handle on the problem. But something more needs to be done – something more fundamental and indisputable, something that cannot be turned on its head by a rightwing supreme court.

That is why I have introduced a resolution in the Senate (introduced by Representative Ted Deutch in the House) calling for an amendment to the US Constitution that says simply and straightforwardly what everyone – except five members of the United States supreme court – understands: corporations are not people with constitutional rights equal to flesh-and-blood human beings. Corporations are subject to regulation by the people. Corporations may not make campaign contributions – the law of the land for the last century – or dump unlimited sums of money into our elections. And Congress and states have broad power to regulate all election spending.

I did not introduce this lightly. In fact, I have never sought to amend the Constitution before. The US Constitution is an extraordinary document that, in my view, should not be amended often. In light of the supreme court's Citizens United decision, however, I see no alternative. The ruling has radically changed the nature of our democracy. It has further tilted the balance of power toward the rich and the powerful at a time when the wealthiest people in this country have never had it so good.

At a time when corporations have more than $2tn in cash in their bank accounts, make record-breaking profits and swarm Washington with their lobbyists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the highest court in the land to suggest that there is just not enough corporate "speech" in our system defies the bounds of reason and sanity. The ruling already has led to plans, for example, by industrialist brothers David and Charles Koch to steer more than $200m – potentially much more – to conservative groups ahead of election day 2012. Karl Rove has similar designs.

Does anybody really believe that that is what American democracy is supposed to be about?

I believe that the Citizens United decision will go down as one of the worst in our country's history – and one that demands an amendment to our Constitution in order to restore sovereign power to the people, as our nation's founders intended.

If we do not reverse it and the culture of corporate dominance over our elections that it has exacerbated, there will be no end to the impact that corporate interests have on our campaigns and our democracy.

etta james I'd Rather Go Blind

Comet's Death Dive Into Sun Seen in Detail for 1st Time - Yahoo! News


A comet has been spotted disintegrating in the atmosphere of the sun for the first time.

Such sun-diving comets are common but none have been seen surviving entry into the sun's atmosphere until now. They could help reveal what comets are made of and also uncover hidden properties of the sun's atmosphere, researchers said today (Jan. 19) as they announced the discovery.

A group of comets known as the Kreutz family regularly flies perilously close to the sun.

In the past 15 years, more than 1,400 of these dirty snowballs have been detected, likely originating from a giant parent comet 20 to 100 kilometers wide (12 to 62 miles) that broke apart as recently as 2,500 years ago. However, until now, none of the telescopes trained on the sun was sensitive enough to follow any of these comets to their demise in the sun's atmosphere.

New school can’t be Cougars because middle-aged women might be offended | Prep Rally - Yahoo! Sports

As reported by Salt Lake City Fox affiliate KTSU, Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon High announced its new mascot and school colors on Wednesday, with Canyons School District officials proclaiming that the school's teams will be called the Chargers, using a blue and white color scheme.

That's all fine and good except for the fact that the school's future student body -- which was given the opportunity to select its own future mascot -- had chosen to be the Cougars. With some 23 percent of the student vote, the Cougar choice was far preferred to other options, which included the Chargers, Diamondbacks, Falcons, Raptors, Broncos, Bears and Cavaliers.

The reason why the future student body gravitated toward Cougars is pretty clear: Area collegiate power BYU uses the Cougar as its mascot and enjoys an enormous fan base of area residents and those who follow the Mormon faith (BYU is a Mormon institution).

Still, the Canyons School Board refused to accept the Cougar as a mascot out of fear that it might offend older women. In the current edition of the Webster Dictionary, the second definition for cougar sights a slang terminology that refers to "a middle-aged woman seeking a romantic relationship with a younger man."

To say that the board's reaction to having a school play as the Cougars was a bit over the top is certainly an understatement, particularly when one considers the fact that BYU and a host of other high schools in Utah use the Cougar as their mascot. By pulling the right to pick their own mascot away, the school board turned what appeared to be a nice nod toward student self determination into a first overbearing act of a new administration that doesn't even exist yet. Appoint Dean Wormer as principal and the student rebellion will be ready to go by the first day of school.

More significantly, why would the board even offer "Cougars" as a potential mascot choice if it wasn't prepared to accept it? That lack of logic is positively baffling. Surely everyone could have saved themselves a lot of face if they simply had not allowed prospective students to choose to be the Cougars in the first place.

Of course, there's still plenty of time for the Canyons School Board to re-consider and give the students back their Cougars. Corner Canyon isn't scheduled to open until fall 2013, so the initial announcement of school colors and mascot was seen as a way to get positive attention for a project that remains on schedule.

Needless to say, it doesn't seem to have quite worked out that way.

This could be the worst case of political correctness yet. Time to get that stick removed from your ass America!

President Obama sings Al Green: Let's stay together in 2012 ;-)

In nearly 44 years of life, I've never heard a president sing anything before, not even a line. I may not always agree with this president's policies but I think he's one groovy mofo! Much love Barack! Sorry, Mr. President!

Mom arrested for allegedly letting child, 10, get a tattoo  | ajc.com

A Cobb County mother was charged with misdemeanor child cruelty after she allegedly let her 10-year-old son get a tattoo in memory of his deceased brother, Channel 2 Action News reported. Chuntera Napier, of Acworth, told Channel 2 that her 12-year-old son, Malik, was struck and killed by a motorist in Macon about two years ago, and her other son, Gaquan, wanted a tattoo like hers to remember his older brother by.

“My son came to me and said, ‘Mama, I want to get a tattoo with Malik on it, rest in peace,'” Napier said. “It made me feel good to know to know that he wanted his brother on him.”

She said she did not know it is illegal in Georgia to tattoo anyone under the age of 18.

“What do I say to a child who wants to remember his brother? It’s not like he’s asking me if can I get him a Sponge Bob,” she said. “He’s asking me for something that’s in remembrance of his brother. Well, how do I tell a child no?”

Napier took her son to a tattoo artist in Smyrna. When the child went to school, someone noticed the tattoo and called authorities.

The mother was arrested Tuesday and spent that day and Wednesday morning in jail. In addition to the child cruelty count, she was charged with being a party to a crime. She has since been released to await a March court hearing....

19 January 2012

You know, I'm pretty sick and tired of politicians whining that they are receiving media scrutiny and then calling this scrutiny "attacks". 

Shut the fuck up!  Whining ass babies!  Want some cheese with that whine?  What the hell did you think was going to happen when you decided to run for the highest office in the land???

I know as rich, white people you feel a sense of entitlement, that because you are rich and white you view yourselves as the lords of America, lords that should be treated as royalty and thus never asked the tough, probing questions about your personal lives as it's none of the peasants business but we went to war with the British Empire to free ourselves from the likes of you.

Too bad my fellow countrymen don't know their history and are willing to put up with you twats instead of sending you to the guillotine where you belong! 

18 January 2012

“Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing [a people] to slavery.”

--Thomas Jefferson.

I need to ask my Congressperson if they think my ripping DVDs or CDs that I check out from the library or buying newly released DVDs for $2 at the local pawn shop is any worse or as bad as downloading something online.  It's the same goddamn thing, just with less traveling involved.  This to me is why SOPA is retarded as a governor from Texas.

Best comment I have heard lately on attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities | The Best Defense

Planning on attacking Iran? "Better pack a lunch," advises my friend retired Lt. Col. Terry Daly, who knows a lot about war. His point was that air strikes alone against Iranian nuclear facilities wouldn't do much. If you are going to attack Iran, you need to hit its ability to retaliate and that means that pretty soon you have a big fat war on your hands.

I can't believe we are discussing this. I am hearing lots of depressing talk that there is a good chance that Israel will attack Iran sometime this year, and that we will get sucked into the ensuing mess. In some ways, there already is kind of shadow war underway with Iran-the Stuxnet, the drone intrusions, the recent explosions and assassinations, the sanctions.

But for all that, I just can't see Obama getting us involved in another Middle Eastern war. The American people certainly have no appetite for it. I think he almost certainly would lose re-election if a war broke out, because his base would fall apart and the left would go into opposition.

At any rate, an article by my CNAS colleague Colin Kahl that went up last night on the website of Foreign Affairs argues well that the "containment vs. attack" mindset is a false dilemma. In fact, he says, even if you attacked Iran, you'd still have to contain it afterwards. So a series of air strikes are not a substitute for containment, but a prelude to it.

For God So Loved the 1 Percent ... - NYTimes.com

Princeton, N.J.

IN recent weeks Mitt Romney has become the poster child for unchecked capitalism, a role he seems to embrace with relish. Concerns about economic equality, he told Matt Lauer of NBC, were really about class warfare.

“When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus 1 percent,” he said, “you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.”

Mr. Romney was on to something, though perhaps not what he intended.

The concept of “one nation under God” has a noble lineage, originating in Abraham Lincoln’s hope at Gettysburg that “this nation, under God, shall not perish from the earth.” After Lincoln, however, the phrase disappeared from political discourse for decades. But it re-emerged in the mid-20th century, under a much different guise: corporate leaders and conservative clergymen deployed it to discredit Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

During the Great Depression, the prestige of big business sank along with stock prices. Corporate leaders worked frantically to restore their public image and simultaneously roll back the “creeping socialism” of the welfare state. Notably, the American Liberty League, financed by corporations like DuPont and General Motors, made an aggressive case for capitalism. Most, however, dismissed its efforts as self-interested propaganda. (A Democratic Party official joked that the organization should have been called “the American Cellophane League” because “first, it’s a DuPont product and, second, you can see right through it.”)

Realizing that they needed to rely on others, these businessmen took a new tack: using generous financing to enlist sympathetic clergymen as their champions. After all, according to one tycoon, polls showed that, “of all the groups in America, ministers had more to do with molding public opinion” than any other.

The Rev. James W. Fifield, pastor of the elite First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, led the way in championing a new union of faith and free enterprise. “The blessings of capitalism come from God,” he wrote. “A system that provides so much for the common good and happiness must flourish under the favor of the Almighty.”

Christianity, in Mr. Fifield’s interpretation, closely resembled capitalism, as both were systems in which individuals rose or fell on their own. The welfare state, meanwhile, violated most of the Ten Commandments. It made a “false idol” of the federal government, encouraged Americans to covet their neighbors’ possessions, stole from the wealthy and, ultimately, bore false witness by promising what it could never deliver.

Throughout the 1930s and ’40s, Mr. Fifield and his allies advanced a new blend of conservative religion, economics and politics that one observer aptly anointed “Christian libertarianism.” Mr. Fifield distilled his ideology into a simple but powerful phrase — “freedom under God.” With ample support from corporate patrons and business lobbies like the United States Chamber of Commerce, his gospel of godly capitalism soon spread across the country through personal lectures, weekly radio broadcasts and a monthly magazine.

In 1951, the campaign culminated in a huge Fourth of July celebration of the theme. Former President Herbert C. Hoover and Gen. Douglas MacArthur headlined an organizing committee of conservative all-stars, including celebrities like Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, but largely comprising business titans like Conrad Hilton, J. C. Penney, Harvey Firestone Jr. and J. Howard Pew.

In an extensive public relations campaign, they encouraged communities to commemorate Independence Day with “freedom under God” ceremonies, using full-page newspaper ads trumpeting the connection between faith and free enterprise. They also held a nationwide sermon contest on the theme, with clergymen competing for cash. Countless local events were promoted by a national “Freedom Under God” radio program, produced with the help of the filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, hosted by Jimmy Stewart and broadcast on CBS.

Ultimately, these organizers believed that they had made a lasting impression. “The very words ‘freedom under God’ have added to the vocabulary of freedom a new term,” they boasted. Soon the entire nation would think of itself as “under God.” Indeed, in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over the first presidential prayer breakfast on a “government under God” theme and worked to promote public religiosity in a variety of ways. In 1954, as this “under-God consciousness” swept the nation, Congress formally added the phrase to the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the end, Mr. Romney is correct to claim that complaints about economic inequality are inconsistent with the concept of “one nation under God.” But that’s only because the “1 percent” of an earlier era intended it that way.

A few voices in the country's head driving us towards the cliff

So, as everybody and their monkey knows, today is a day to protest SOPA on the internet.  This may or may not accomplish anything.  In my opinion, the bill will pass as is because the entertainment industry has paid way too much in bribes to the members of Congress for it not to pass.  No, it doesn't matter to these jackals that this is a serious abridgement of freedom; what matters is that money exchanged hands because that is all anyone cares about in America any more: money.  Especially in DC where the millionaires club that is our Congress holds its hands out to the highest bidder with the blessings of the Supreme Court (after Citizen's United).

Unfortunately, not much has changed under President Obama.  The man swept into office with promises of draining the cesspool of Washington politics never addressed the problem once in office.  And that's exactly the problem.  Obama, who has been for all intents and purposes a Republican in the office of president, has simply allowed a continuation of the disastrous 8 years forced upon this nation by the illegitimate Bush junta by the aforementioned Supreme Court.  

Yes, the Supreme Court has done a lot to undermine this nation over the last decade or so and have done so under the auspices of law.  But whose law?

Certainly not the people's law, or the Constitution, which proclaims we are a Republic where all views have equal voice and all minorities (groups or races) have equal say.  No, that law was slain when the Reagan/Nixon people took the White House in 1980.  For those folks, who couldn't force their views or beliefs upon the population by any other means, the Republic was an obstacle, an inconvenience, a problem.  No!  they cried.  This is a democracy!  Majority rules!

You can easily see where that has led us today.  Combine that with the fact that every subsequent voting cycle the rabid right wing Christian fundamentalist has become more and more extreme in their views and you can easily see why we are in the mess we are today.  In fact, it was Reagan who ended the law requiring media outlets to give equal time to opposing political views leaving us stranded in a desert of right wing dogma blasted into our craniums 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Those same voices are driving us towards the cliffs and there is no way to stop them.  This is where America should be looking to liberals but there aren't any true liberals anymore.  Democrats today are exactly like Reagan Republicans and that is by design.   When the voices that dominate the media repeat the same message of how you should govern by conservative or moderate means over and over and over again, your brain picks up on that.  When the right leaning media watches your every move like vultures waiting for your carcass and demands morality, you adapt your actions to meet the needs of the situation.  When any view not matching the views of the right makes you a liberal communist tree hugging hippie socialist who hates America, you learn to keep your mouth shut.  And that is exactly what happened.

Now the nation is adrift from bad leadership on both sides of the aisle.  In a mere 12 years, these leaders have caused more harm and damage both to the Constitution or the dream that is America than any Soviet, Nazi or Red Coat.  Today we are without liberty or freedom, without representation in Congress because we aren't wealthy enough to be heard, without any privacy in our own homes as the Dept. of Fatherland -- oops!-- Homeland Security snoops our every online activity with no just cause, no warrant, no due process and no legal justification whatsoever other than the criminal George Bush allowed 9/11 to happen because either he's dumber than a bag of hammers or he was in on the fix.

Now, as America tries to right the ship, we see what the powers that be in Washington and around the country are prepared to do to the protesters as they unleash their gang members, the cops, on them with all violence authorized and sanctioned by the state that doesn't give 2 squirts of piss about anyone's personal liberty except the rich.

And it is the rich who wrote SOPA.

Right turn Clyde


17 January 2012

Homeland Security Hired Contractor to Monitor Websites

Newly released government documents have revealed the Department of Homeland Security hired the military contractor General Dynamics to monitor postings of U.S. citizens on dozens of websites. Sites monitored included Facebook and Twitter, as well as several news sites including the New York Times, Wired and The Huffington Post. General Dynamics was asked to collect reports that dealt with government agencies including the CIA, FEMA and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ginger McCall of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said the documents show the Department of Homeland Security was "monitoring political dissent online."

U.S. court upholds telecom immunity for surveillance | Reuters

Besides the government itself, defendants included AT&T, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Communications Inc.

In 2008, Congress granted telecoms immunity for cooperating with the government's intelligence-gathering activities. A district judge in San Francisco upheld the law as constitutional, and dismissed the claims against the companies.

In a ruling on Thursday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit agreed.

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
Frederick Douglass

Fact Checking the Fox News-WSJ debate in South Carolina - The Washington Post

Fact Checking the Fox News-WSJ debate in South Carolina - The Washington Post

Government could strip citizenship from Americans under Enemy Expatriation Act — RT

When Barack Obama inked the National Defense Authorization Act on New Year’s Eve, the president insisted that he wouldn’t use the terrifying legislation against American citizens. Another new law, however, could easily change all of that.

If the Enemy Expatriation Act passes in its current form, the legislation will let the government strike away citizenship for anyone engaged in hostilities, or supporting hostilities, against the United States. The law itself is rather brief, but in just a few words it warrants the US government to strip nationality status from anyone they identify as a threat.

What’s more, the government can decide to do so without bringing the suspected troublemaker before a court of law.

Under the legislation, “hostilities” are defined as “any conflict subject to the laws of war” and does not explicitly state that charges against suspects go to court.

When Obama signed NDAA on December 31, the president said that his administration “will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” Added the president, “Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation.” But by breaking off ties between citizens — American-born or otherwise — the harsh realities of NDAA can be forced on anyone in the US if Washington decides that it is in the country’s best interest.

The National Defense Authorization Act drew widespread opposition despite a lack of media cover due to the capabilities in bestows in the administration. Under NDAA, the government can indefinitely imprison anyone deemed dangerous by Washington and hold them without trial. After criticism led to massive online campaigns and protests, President Obama addressed the issue and said specifically that his administration would not understand the law as such. Instead, said Obama, “My administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.”

Some are now saying that Obama’s attempt at discrediting the NDAA by insisting that he would not use it against American citizens came only as a precursor to the latest Act. By adding his signing statement to the NDAA, the president insured that legislation such as the Enemy Expatriation Act would surface to strike any limitations that would have kept Americans free from military detainment. “I hope I’m wrong, but it sounds to me like this is a loophole for indefinitely detaining Americans,” Stephen . Foster, Jr. writes on the AddictionInfo.org website. “Once again, you just have to be accused of supporting hostilities which could be defined any way the government sees fit. Then the government can strip your citizenship and apply the indefinite detention section of the NDAA without the benefit of a trial.”

The bill, currently being passed through Congress, is sponsored by Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Charles Dent (R-PA).

The best government money can buy


Our smart Prez


14 January 2012

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free - The Washington Post

Read this and weep 'merica!

Wis. man arrested for playing too much cowbell - Yahoo! News

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Demonstrators calling for the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker learned there really is such a thing as too much cowbell.

Oshkosh police arrested a 26-year-old Appleton man on Thursday after he kept playing a cowbell and shaking it in an officer's face when he and other protesters were told to be quiet.

The Oshkosh Northwestern reports (http://oshko.sh/zKwPVV ) that when the officer tried to take the cowbell, the man pushed the officer. A 25-year-old Appleton woman then hit the officer in the back with her picket sign while the man was being handcuffed.

Both were taken to the Winnebago County Jail. Police will recommend that the man be charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and the woman be charged with disorderly conduct and battery to an officer.

Election 2012: How rich are these guys? - Yahoo! Finance

Mitt Romney

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Total net worth:
$85 million to $264 million
With no regular day job, Romney still earns a tidy income in the form of dividends and interest from his investments, and records filed with the Federal Election Commission show that the former Massachusetts governor commands between $20,000 and $68,000 on the speaking circuit. Much of Romney's wealth is tied up in a blind trust, but some assets remain under his control -- including a few quirky items. For example, the FEC lists between $250,000 and $500,000 in horses, an asset the campaign says belongs to the candidate's wife. He owns another $250,000 to $500,000 in gold.

Romney has degrees from both Harvard Law and Harvard Business School, and had successful careers at the consulting shop Bain & Company and private equity firm Bain Capital before joining the Salt Lake City Olympics effort in 1999. [See also: President Obama Seeks to Consolidate Government Agencies]

Jon Huntsman

Richard Ellis/Getty Images

Total net worth:
$16 million to $72 million
The 51-year-old former governor spent much of his career in the public sector, but he also found time to work at the family business: Huntsman Corporation. The candidate's father is one of the richest self-made men in the world, having given away more than $1 billion to fund universities and a cancer research center, among other causes. Most of the younger Huntsman's assets are tied in some way to the family. He lists a family holding company worth between $5 million and $25 million as an asset. The Utah native lists a few more conventional assets as well -- including investment funds from Vanguard and Fidelity. Newt Gingrich

Allison Joyce/Getty Images

Total net worth:
$7 million to $31 million
The former house speaker is worth at least $7 million, putting him right in the middle of the 2012 pack. The bulk of his assets come in the form of a promissory note from the Gingrich Group, LLC to Gingrich Productions, Inc., which are part of the tangled web of businesses the speaker maintains. Most of the Georgia native's income comes from Gingrich Productions, a Washington-based multimedia company that paid out $2.4 million in disbursements to Gingrich. Additionally, Gingrich lists between $565,000 and $1,150,000 in liabilities, including a now-closed line of credit at Tiffany and Co. [See also: The Unemployment Trend Matters More Than the Numbers]
Barack Obama

Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images

Total net worth:
$2.8 million to $11.8 million*
While some of his Republican challengers are downright wealthy, President Obama isn't all that far behind. Obama earns a $400,000 salary as the nation's chief executive, and the Center for Responsive Politics estimates his net worth to be somewhere between $2.8 million and $11.8 million. Where did the former senator and law professor get that kind of cash? Book sales, mostly. In 2010, the Obama family reported an adjusted gross income of $1,728,096, down from about $5.5 million in 2009, according to the first couple's tax returns. His paycheck was much higher in 2009 because his books -- "Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope" were registering strong sales. The tax returns also show the family donated about 14% of their income to charity in 2010. Ron Paul

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Total net worth:
$2.4 million to $5.4 million
While nowhere near the poor house, Ron Paul has more modest assets than some of his deep-pocketed rivals. The Texas congressman also has a personal loan out from the First National Bank of Lake Jackson that totals $250,000 to $500,000 with a 5-year term. Paul lists a Washington-area condo worth $100,000 to $250,000 as an asset, and has an investment portfolio stuffed full of mining stocks. For example, the sound-money advocate holds $100,000 to $250,000 in Barrick Gold Corporation and $500,000 to $1,000,000 in Goldcorp Inc., two publicly traded mining companies. In all, the congressman is invested in more than 20 separate companies that have the words "mining," "mines," "gold" or "silver" in their name.
Rick Santorum

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Total net worth:
$1 million to $3 million
One of the poorest 2012 candidates, Rick Santorum is still a millionaire. Much of the former Pennsylvania senator's money is tied up in rental real estate properties, as well as education and savings plans for his children. Santorum also has some debt to his name -- including two mortgages for rental properties totaling between $350,000 and $750,000. Those properties, located in State College, Pa., are worth between $500,000 and $1.25 million, according to the FEC filing. From relatively modest means, Santorum served as a congressman and senator, but has since found more lucrative compensation in the private sector. Santorum earned $1.3 million in income from January 2010 until August of last year from a variety of jobs, including a gig at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington and as a contributor on Fox News. Rick Perry

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Total net worth:
$1 million to $2.5 million
Rick Perry is not exactly poor. But it's all relative. His assets place him at the back of the pack of 2012 candidates. The governor -- who's still on the job -- collects both a salary and pension from the state of Texas. The salary is $132,995 a year, and he brings in a monthly annuity of $7,698. In August, Perry revoked his blind trust, giving a look into his portfolio. The candidate is invested in a wide range of companies, including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Chevron, Cisco and Microsoft.
*Source: Center for Responsive Politics Money is the root to all evil. Therefore these men are evil. We are electing evil presidents who have no idea what it means to struggle or not pay a utility bill so your family can eat or worry about having enough gas money to get to work for the week, etc. In our grand plutocracy, the powers that be throw out these a-holes and say pick between these idiots! It isn't really a choice at all. This is why America is collapsing so quickly around us.