Friday, December 31, 2010

Bradley Manning: One Soldier Who Truly Fought To Save Our Freedom!

Originally written by Kevin Carson for the Center for a Stateless Society

When I hear someone say that soldiers “defend our freedom,” my immediate response is to gag. I think the last time American soldiers actually fought for the freedom of Americans was probably the Revolutionary War — or maybe the War of 1812, if you want to be generous. Every war since then has been for nothing but to uphold a system of power, and to make the rich folks even richer.

But I can think of one exception. If there’s a soldier anywhere in the world who’s fought and suffered for my freedom, it’s Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Manning is frequently portrayed, among the knuckle-draggers on right-wing message boards, as some sort of spoiled brat or ingrate, acting on an adolescent whim. But that’s not quite what happened, according to Johann Hari (“The under-appreciated heroes of 2010,” The Independent, Dec. 24).

Manning, like many young soldiers, joined up in the naive belief that he was defending the freedom of his fellow Americans. When he got to Iraq, he found himself working under orders “to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians to America’s new Iraqi allies, who he could see were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements.” The people he arrested, and handed over for torture, were guilty of such “crimes” as writing “scholarly critiques” of the U.S. occupation forces and its puppet government. When he expressed his moral reservations to his supervisor, Manning “was told to shut up and get back to herding up Iraqis.”

The people Manning saw tortured, by the way, were frequently the very same people who had been tortured by Saddam: trade unionists, members of the Iraqi Freedom Congress, and other freedom-loving people who had no more use for Halliburton and Blackwater than they had for the Baath Party.

For exposing his government’s crimes against humanity, Manning has spent seven months in solitary confinement – a torture deliberately calculated to break the human mind.

We see a lot of “serious thinkers” on the op-ed pages and talking head shows, people like David Gergen, Chris Matthews and Michael Kinsley, going on about all the stuff that Manning’s leaks have impaired the ability of “our government” to do.

He’s impaired the ability of the U.S. government to conduct diplomacy in pursuit of some fabled “national interest” that I supposedly have in common with Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Disney. He’s risked untold numbers of innocent lives, according to the very same people who have ordered the deaths of untold thousands of innocent people. According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Manning’s exposure of secret U.S. collusion with authoritarian governments in the Middle East, to promote policies that their peoples would find abhorrent, undermines America’s ability to promote “democracy, open government, and free and open societies.”

But I’ll tell you what Manning’s really impaired government’s ability to do.

He’s impaired the U.S. government’s ability to lie us into wars where thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of foreigners are murdered.

He’s impaired its ability to use such wars — under the guise of promoting “democracy” — to install puppet governments like the Coalition Provisional Authority, that will rubber stamp neoliberal “free trade” agreements (including harsh “intellectual property” provisions written by the proprietary content industries) and cut special deals with American crony capitalists.

He’s impaired its ability to seize good, decent people who — unlike most soldiers — really are fighting for freedom, and hand them over to thuggish governments for torture with power tools.

Let’s get something straight. Bradley Manning may be a criminal by the standards of the American state. But by all human standards of morality, the government and its functionaries that Manning exposed to the light of day are criminals. And Manning is a hero of freedom for doing it.

So if you’re one of the authoritarian state-worshippers, one of the grovelling sycophants of power, who are cheering on Manning’s punishment and calling for even harsher treatment, all I can say is that you’d probably have been there at the crucifixion urging Pontius Pilate to lay the lashes on a little harder. You’d have told the Nazis where Anne Frank was hiding. You’re unworthy of the freedoms which so many heroes and martyrs throughout history — heroes like Bradley Manning — have fought to give you.

C4SS Research Associate Kevin Carson is a contemporary mutualist author and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: An Individualist Anarchist Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. Carson has also written for such print publications as The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty and a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation and his own Mutualist Blog.

-Dead Press- Recognizing Real Heroes!

Friday, December 24, 2010

FOX and Fiends!

The Fox News generation has made it impossible to have a serious discussion about policy!

Paul Krugman’s two most recent New York Times columns put forth opinions for why the discredited conservative argument about the economic crisis and free markets has prevailed, as seen by last week’s tax deal and the fact that Rep. Ron Paul, who believes we don’t need regulators and wrote a book called End the Fed, is about to control a House panel that oversees the Federal Reserve. First, big money and corporate power is backing this revisionist story; and second, President Obama has been too meek in advocating for restoring the role of government. But I think the full answer is a more sinister and troubling reflection of the face of today’s Fox News conservatism, which promotes a religious reliance on disinformation about all issues.

In “Wall Street Whitewash” Krugman explains that the Republicans who participated in the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which was designed to “examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States,” pushed conservative talking points and refused to include the terms “deregulation,” “shadow banking,” “interconnection” and even “Wall Street” in their report.

Imagine if the 9/11 commission had left out “Al Qaeda” and “hijacking” in its analysis of the conspiracy.

This is all the more staggering because, as Krugman puts it, the sub-prime mortgage crisis is “a straightforward story,” in which “there was a widely spread housing bubble, not just in the United States, but in Ireland, Spain, and other countries as well. This bubble was inflated by irresponsible lending, made possible both by bank deregulation and the failure to extend regulation to ‘shadow banks,’ which weren’t covered by traditional regulation but nonetheless engaged in banking activities and created bank-type risks. Then the bubble burst, with hugely disruptive consequences.”

But the conservatives tell a very different tale. They blame the collapse on government intervention, particularly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: if the meddling politicians had been kept out of it, so the story goes, then the banks would not have been forced to grant mortgages to low-income minorities. To quote Krugman, in this version of history, Wall Street “erred only to the extent that it got suckered into going along with this government-created bubble.”

How could this nonsense have gained traction, especially in the aftermath of America’s rejection of George W. Bush and embrace of Obama? According to Krugman, Fannie and Freddie did not guarantee international mortgages, or commercial real estate, which formed its own bubble, and they entered the sub-prime market only towards the end. Krugman’s first answer is that this “is what happens when an ideology backed by vast wealth and immense power confronts inconvenient facts.”

And his second answer, found in “When Zombies Win,” holds that Obama never implemented serious big-government-type policy—the stimulus consisted largely of tax cuts, led to a decrease in government employment and slower growth in government spending on goods and services than under Bush—but nonetheless allowed the right to mischaracterize his agenda as socialist. In addition, he has failed to combat free market fundamentalism on a philosophical level by embracing Ronald Reagan’s legacy and GOP rhetoric about the need for fiscal austerity in the face of a recession by offering freezes on federal wages and spending.

But I think the whole story is far more depressing.

What we really have with the modern, FOX News-led Republican Party is the emergence of a new, mainstream form of politics in America: one dominated by disinformation about every issue, not just the economic crisis. Krugman’s depiction of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission illustrates only in microcosm how this works: conservative politicians refuse to concede basic facts that debunk their outlook, no matter what, and instead try to square the circle.

I personally know hard-core conservatives who get nearly all their information from Rupert Murdoch’s news organizations and can depict just how debased their worldview is: on the day Lehman collapsed I, who at that time did not follow politics, asked them what they thought of the financial crisis. “What crisis?” was the reply. “You know, Lehman went under, and thousands of people lost their jobs and the economy might fall into a depression,” was my incredulous response. At this point I was told not to worry, “this too shall pass,” because “the fundamentals of the economy are sound,” echoing presidential candidate John McCain’s impending ill-fated remark (wonder where he got that idea from).

Soon enough, the realities of the crisis were too clear to deny, and so the story changed. Now, according to conservatives, the crisis was caused by government regulation in the form of Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act (which, according to a report compiled by the Federal Reserve, among many other sources, could not possibly have contributed to the crisis.)

Then the bailouts came. And I was told that TARP was the greatest travesty in American history because it’s an epic, socialist waste of taxpayer money that will only postpone the inevitable—the failure of all the financial firms that are too big to fail. A few months later, these conservatives claimed, amazingly, that “if not for the bailouts the economy would have fully recovered by now” (this answers Christopher Hitchens’ rhetorical question posed in his latest Vanity Fair article condemning the Tea Party: “Does anybody believe that unemployment would have gone down if the hated bailout had not occurred?”).

That the conservative take on the causes of the crisis is astonishingly perverse and false has already been covered. As for TARP, it not only prevented a global financial apocalypse but also turned a sizeable profit. It should be added that, as Timothy Geithner testified last week, the entire government intervention, including TARP, the auto bailouts and the mortgage-restructuring program, will cost only one third of the bailout for the comparatively small savings and loan industry of the 1990s!

This is just one of many examples of how debased conservatism has become. As mentioned above, I previously avoided following politics because I presumed everything is too subjective and that both sides have equally valid arguments. But my position was transformed by a research project I conducted on climate change in college. It was then I discovered that conservatives are dangerously eager to discard or distort all facts that contradict their worldview, since nearly every work of global warming denial I came across was a pack of lies. Then I researched the sub-prime mortgage crisis and reached the same conclusion.

Eventually I came to realize that this pattern occurs across the board. Without any exaggeration, it can be asserted that the very definition of being a “true conservative” nowadays, is to believe that: climate change is a hoax, the financial crisis was caused by too much regulation, TARP failed and squandered countless taxpayer dollars, the only way to create jobs is by cutting taxes, tax breaks pay for themselves, the stimulus created no jobs, health care reform is a government takeover that will balloon the debt, Saddam Hussein posed an imminent national security threat to America, waterboarding is not torture, the Geneva Conventions and American law do not outlaw torture against terror suspects in any case, and the safety net will be the undoing of America unless it is dismantled.

So the question remains—is all this merely the result of corporate propaganda and a failed effort by Obama to win the philosophical case against free market orthodoxy?

This accounts for part of the answer, but the whole story is far more disturbing. The Fox News generation has made it impossible to have a serious discussion about policy, as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission illustrates, because conservatism is now a religion, and religion itself influences much of their ideology. Consequently, all the answers are provided and serve as a blueprint for how they view every issue: it’s imperative that they convince themselves that regulation destroyed the economy because to do otherwise would explode their free market faith. And compromise is impossible because their “system” is absolutist (for those who consider the tax deal a conservative compromise, just wait till the Republicans take over the House).

Krugman is right to chalk this phenomenon up to “vast wealth,” but when we consider all the other patently false stories that underlie the conservative narrative, it becomes clear that this is more than a mercenary undertaking: it’s the fruits of a hopelessly brainwashed constituency that would rather see the global economy fly off a cliff than concede that TARP worked and refuses to recognize that there might be some connection between our heavy reliance on fossil fuels and the fact that we’ve seen 10 of the hottest years on record since 1995, when climate scientists formed a consensus about climate change.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Quest to Plug Wikileaks

Posted by Picasathe extent to which the U.S. government has gone to stop the dissemination of WikiLeaks documents is readily apparent. Politicians and government officials have pressured Internet service providers to stop hosting the whistle-blowing organization’s site, and have condemned it on myriad occasions.
But undermining the U.S. government’s attempts is the fact that, thanks to millions of individual users and easily available software, efforts to stop the on-line dissemination of the biggest classified information leak in history have largely proved futile.
“Any effort to put the genie back in the bottle is always futile in the Internet era,” independent technology analyst Carmi Levy said. “Even if WikiLeaks is stamped out, the data is already out there.”
Shortly after WikiLeaks started posting the first of the classified cables last month, Amazon shut down one of the group’s websites, which was running on one of its servers. The timing of Amazon’s decision – coming after U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman inquired about the relationship between the company and WikiLeaks – caused some to question whether Amazon had been pressured into shutting the site down. However, Amazon denied that, saying WikiLeaks had simply violated the company’s terms of service by, among other things, posting material it did not own and that may cause individuals harm.
A few days later, online payment service PayPal also shut down the WikiLeaks account – the whistle-blower website solicits donations to keep the site running.
However, in both cases, the site has simply found other avenues to maintain its presence. The website is now believed to be running on servers in a Swiss bunker, among other locations. It has also set up donation accounts with other companies.
Indeed, WikiLeaks appears to have foreseen such issues years in advance: The organization set up multiple accounts with service providers in several countries long before it became infamous for high-profile leaks.
But perhaps the most significant factor working in the site’s favour is the sheer number of individual users reposting its content. Moments after WikiLeaks releases new information, users tend to upload it using a medium called BitTorrent – a file-sharing tool that allows individuals to simultaneously download and share information. Because of the widely dispersed nature of BitTorrent, it is virtually impossible to shut down.
WikiLeaks has taken advantage of the medium to post what is calls “history insurance,” a massive encrypted file it released to the public without explaining its contents. It is believed that, should the site be shut down or its staff arrested, WikiLeaks would post the decryption code, allowing the people who’ve already downloaded the file to see its contents. Until then, nobody appears to know whether the file contains highly sensitive, embarrassing information, or is simply a bluff by WikiLeaks.
Meanwhile, Washington confirmed Sunday that it may have to relocate some of its sources as a result of the WikiLeaks release, but stopped short of saying any of those sources had come into harm because of the website.
“We may well have to reassign some of our diplomats and a couple of our ambassadors,” Philip Crowley, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, said on CTV’s Question Period. “We’ll be watching that closely in the weeks and months ahead.”
More than 100 demonstrators gathered outside the British Embassy in Madrid late Saturday to protest the detention of the founder of secret-spilling website WikiLeaks and the closing of the site's Swiss bank account.
The Spanish-language website Free WikiLeaks said protests were scheduled to be held in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville and at least three other Spanish cities.
Protesters held placards saying "Free Julian Assange" and "Truth Now," and chanted "freedom of speech."
The website also said demonstrations were planned Saturday in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and in the capital cities of Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru, as well as in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
"We seek the liberation of Julian Assange in United Kingdom territory," the organization said on the website. It urged protesters to gather at 6 p.m. in Spanish cities.
Assange remains in a British jail awaiting a hearing Dec. 14 at which he plans to fight Sweden's request to extradite him to face "sex crimes" allegations there. Basically the same type of charges he had dropped not even a year ago.
One of his lawyers denied media reports that Assange was being held in isolation at Wandsworth Prison in London.
"He told me he had single cell," Mark Stephens said. "He has the ability to watch TV with other prisoners — which he doesn't do because he hates daytime telly. He takes his meals with other prisoners." They're hoping he gets shanked I'm quite sure.
Stephens said lawyers met with Assange at the prison for an hour Thursday to prepare for next week's hearing.
The Free WikiLeaks website also calls for "the re-establishment of the WikiLeaks ( Internet domain," and the restoration of Visa and MasterCard credit card services to enable the "freedom to move money" because no one has "proved Assange's guilt," or charged WikiLeaks with any crime. Even republican tea party leader Ron Paul has stood up in support of Julian Assange saying "In a free society, we're suppose to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, then we're in big trouble!" I never would have guessed I'd be in agreement with a tea-bagger, but he's dead right on this troubling issue of freedom of the press. There is NO free press anymore!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

When Will the 98% Strike Back?

Last night, as reported by News Junkie Post’s O. Olson, Congress passed, by an overwhelming majority, a two year renewal of the Bush tax cuts. The bill is a nice extra Christmas bonus for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, and it will only amplify the monumental US budget deficit. The logic behind the bill goes against, not only common sense but also against the global trend, notably in Europe, to cut spending and increase taxation in order to address a spreading budget crisis. The governments of countries such as Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain are pushing for unpopular austerity measures, and richer countries such as the UK and France are trying to implement the same type of economic policies often by cutting social benefits and programs.
If austerity is the trend in Europe, it is certainly not the case in the United States. The US political and financial ruling class, which can be credited for starting the global financial meltdown of 2008, is still betting on the “virtues” of shock capitalism by cutting taxes and not cutting spending. What Congress did last night is quite simple: Our politicians made the decision to charge our common national credit card with a $700 billion gift to themselves and their real constituents, which are the wealthiest 2 percent Americans. And, once again, future generations will have to pick-up the astronomic tab. That is, of course, unless the United States goes completely bankrupt from 30 years of reckless financial and economic policies.

However, Americans, especially Democrats, should not be surprised at all. The new documentary “Inside Job” exposed how the same players, often switching jobs from top Wall Street executives to “public servants” rigged the system, and are still running the show. By giving Wall Street full license to operate like a Ponzi scheme, we have allowed this very dangerous symbiosis between Wall Street and Congress, where the financial sector is truly in charge of the electoral American process.
Before he became president, Barack Obama was denouncing the “Fat Cats” of Wall Street. Two years later, this hypocritical populist stand has been exposed as a lie. President Obama has, in his own economic team, some of the worst fat cats he was denouncing a while back. The de-regulators or former Wall Street executives such as Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke etc are behind all financial and economic decisions in the Obama administration, and they fully qualify as fat cats.

The Oligarchs: Wall Street Fat Cats And Congressional Fat Cats
In November, many confused American voters were fed-up with Washington, and decided to vote for what they thought were the outsiders of the Tea Party. The Tea Party activists were conned, and now their so called representatives will just be pawns in the same old Washington game where only money can do the talking. If a majority of Americans, traditionally the ones voting Republican, are voting against their own financial interests, it is not the case for Senators and House Representatives. In other words, last night, Congressional millionaires voted for their own personal interests, financial gains and the ones of their real friends: Namely the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
In effect, despite a dreadful national economy, Congressional members’ personal wealth has increased since the 2008 crash. Last night, Congress voted an enthusiastic yes for they own financial stimulus. According to a recent study from the Center for Responsive Politics, Congressional members’ personal wealth collectively increased by more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009.
According to the study, nearly half (261)members of Congress are millionaires. Of these Congressional millionaires, 55 had an average calculated wealth of $ 10 million or more in 2009, with eight in the $100 million plus range. In 2009, the median wealth of a US House member stood at $765,010 up from $645,503 in 2008. The median wealth of a US Senator was an astronomical $2.38 million up from $2.27 million in 2008. For all members of Congress, regardless of chamber, median wealth in 2009 reached $911,510 up from $785,515 in 2008.
“Few federal lawmakers must grapple with the financial ills-unemployment, loss of housing, wiped out savings- that have befallen millions of Americans. Congressional representatives, on balance, rank among the wealthiest of wealthy Americans, and boast financial portfolios that are all but unattainable for most of their constituents,” said Sheilla Krumholz, Executive Director at the Center for Responsive Politics.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Does Jesus Want Tax Cuts For The Rich?

The number of people lacking health insurance rose from 46.3 million to 50.7 million, due mostly to the loss of employer-provided health insurance during the recession.
And Republicans are running on a platform of repealing the health care bill and blocking tax cuts for 98% of Americans. Too surreal for words. Republican's claim that they are motivated by the words of Christ, but does Jesus really say "Woe to you poor who want to raise the tax on the wealthy"? Let's take a look at the actual words of the Bible and see how much Godly support the rich plutocrats have.

Proverbs 22:22,23 Don't walk on the poor just because they're poor, and don't use your position to crush the weak because God will come to their defense; the life you took he'll take from you and give back to them.

Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" Jesus said to him, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Psalm 41:1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.

Deuteronomy 15:7-8 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.

Proverbs 11:24-25 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Matthew 23:25 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too!

Matthew 25:34-36 “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me”

Psalms 17:14 LORD, use your power to deliver me from these murderers, from the murderers of this world! They enjoy prosperity; you overwhelm them with the riches they desire. They have many children, and leave their wealth to their offspring.15 As for me, because I am innocent I will see your face; when I die you will reveal yourself to me.

2 Timothy 3:2 For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unequal

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.

Luke 3:14 Then some soldiers also asked him, "And as for us - what should we do?" He told them, "Take money from no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your pay."

Matthew 19:24 Again I say, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God."

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of the laborer is pleasant - whether he eats little or much - but the wealth of the rich will not allow him to sleep.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 The one who loves money will never be satisfied with money, he who loves wealth will never be satisfied with his income. This also is futile.

Psalms 15:5 He does not charge interest when he lends his money. He does not take bribes to testify against the innocent. The one who lives like this will never be upended.

Nehemiah 5:10 Even I and my relatives and my associates are lending them money and grain. But let us abandon this practice of seizing collateral!

Leviticus 25:37 You must not lend the poor your money at interest and you must not sell the hungry food for profit.

Exodus 22:25 "If you lend money to any of my people who are needy among you, do not be like a moneylender to him; do not charge him interest.

Hebrews 13:5 Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you and I will never abandon you."

Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison as though you were in prison with them, and those ill-treated as though you too felt their torment.

Isaiah 5:8 Those who accumulate houses are as good as dead, those who also accumulate landed property until there is no land left, and you are the only landowners remaining within the land.

Jeremiah 6:13 "That is because, from the least important to the most important of them, all of them are greedy for dishonest gain. Prophets and priests alike, all of them practice deceit. 14 They offer only superficial help for the harm my people have suffered. They say, 'Everything will be all right!' But everything is not all right! 15 Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things? No, they are not at all ashamed. They do not even know how to blush! So they will die, just like others have died. They will be brought to ruin when I punish them," says the LORD.

Sounds like a "Socialist Agenda"! There's a lot more where that came from. The right-wing Christians push their bigoted and greedy agenda in the name of Christianity. They want their Taxes cut while taking away the programs that help the poor. Their even going after our social security. This country was founded on Religious freedom from persecution, but seeing their reaction to the Muslim community center in New York I guess it's only Christian freedom. They're prejudice against Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, progressives, facts and anyone else that intrudes into their picket fenced white America. Well they can have the "Religion", but they'll never take away our relationship with Jesus.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Assange: Now They Got Him But Don't Know How To Convict Him

Protests commenced today in Sydney, Australia in defense of Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. With claims of sexual assault charges looming, protesters deem the timing of such accusations as a violation of freedom of expression.

While the country of ‘Freedom of Speech’ has its own politicians demonizing Assange, few are at his defense.

Ron Paul has staunchly defended the once elusive Mr. Assange, but now even Russian Prime Minister Putin was asked what he thought of a US diplomatic cable that called him the “alpha-dog” ruler of Russia.

Putin replied:
“Do you think the American diplomatic service is a crystal clean source of information? Do you really think so? If it is a full democracy, then why have they hidden Mr Assange in prison? That’s what, democracy?”
Using a Russian equivalent of the expression “the pot calling the kettle black” he added “maybe other people’s cows can moo, but not yours.”
Assange has also been defended by the president of Brazil. Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva said the arrest was “an attack on the freedom of expression,” and criticized other governments for staying silent.

Assange, at the present time is behind bars in a London prison, and is expected to be charged with spying by US prosecutors. His legal team says the US decision to charge him with spying for his publication of secret documents is ‘imminent’.

The said documents involve both America and other countries’ diplomatic services which a US military man obtained, then handed them to WikiLeaks. The justice department had no comment:

The controversial move appears to circumvent legal opinion that Mr Assange has committed no crime in the US, but Washington is under enormous pressure to hold him responsible for the world-wide embarrassment caused by diplomatic comments in the documents. US Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed recently a criminal investigation had begun, claiming the leaks put the US at risk.
With America in an uproar over the release of the cables, US politicians are trying to conjure up charges against Julian Assange. Even Vladimir Putin isn’t shaken up, and they have more secrets in Russia than most.

As for the charges of a sexual nature, it’s not a rape charge but more of a draconian law — Mr. Assange is charged with having sex without a condom which brings a minimum of two years in prison in Sweden.

Assange is in solitary confinement without use of a computer.


Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it is known that the information is in unauthorized hands.
Espionage is usually part of an institutional effort by a government or corporation, and the term is most readily associated with state spying on potential or actual enemies, primarily for military purposes.
Who is the spy, Mr. Assange or our government? By this definition, it’s not Julian Assange.

In 2006, he pleaded guilty to 24 charges of hacking and was fined $2,100 in Australia, then was released on bond.

Assange’s mission is to facilitate the free flow of information and free use of computer tools and open the gateway to transparency worldwide.

For Fox fans:
“In 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide’s The News, wrote: “In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.”

On the same network Murdoch owns, Newt Gingrich called Mr. Assange an “enemy combatant” and called for WikiLeaks to be shut down by the NSA. Ironic isn’t it that Rupert Murdoch’s father fought censorship when the British tried to shut him up and Gingrich uses Fox to embrace it.

Inside the Mind of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange (Infographic)
Infographic by Visual News

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Simpson Says We're Selfish!

Alan Simpson is feeling a little besieged these days. It seems people aren't taking too kindly to his proposals to cut a chunk out of their Social Security benefits, and they're saying so.

But Simpson said that while every interest group that testified before his committee agreed that the mounting federal debt is a national tragedy, they would then talk about why government funding to their area of interest shouldn't be touched.

"We had the greatest generation -- I think this is the greediest generation," he said.

All this hubbub isn't a surprise to Simpson, given how politically polarized the country is these days.
"You don't want to listen to the right and the left -- the extremes," he said. "You don't want to listen to Keith Olbermann and Rush Babe [Limbaugh] and Rachel Minnow [sic] or whatever that is, and Glenn Beck. They're entertainers. They couldn't govern their way out of a paper sack -- from the right or the left. But they get paid a lot of money from you and advertisers -- thirty, fifty million a year -- to work you over and get you juiced up with emotion, fear, guilt, and racism. Emotion, fear, guilt, and racism.

"Time to go for facts. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but nobody's entitled to their own facts," Simpson said, paraphrasing former U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Oh, how right he is. Facts are important. One really important fact that seems to be overlooked in his crusade against Social Security is this one: Social Security isn't contributing to the national debt or deficit. Yet he insists on making it part of the discussion.

Here's another fact: Simpson, at age 79, received his Social Security benefits right on schedule at age 65. He also received his government pension at age 65. Both of those were financed by contributions the Baby Boomer generation made through their work which boosted the economy. Without our contributions, his generation wouldn't have enjoyed their retirement years in relatively good health with a decent financial safety net.

More facts: People Simpson's age working in the private sector were more likely to be covered by a pension plan in their early working years and later by 401(k) plans. They were also more likely to remain with one employer for a longer period of time, allowing them to accumulate a decent pension before they reached age 65. All of that was done on the taxpayers' dime. Pension contributions are deductible by corporations; 401k contributions in the early years were exempt from ALL taxes (later that changed to exemption from income tax only), and funds are accumulated on a tax-free basis.

In plain terms, the Greatest Generation's comfortable retirement has been bought and paid for by those members of the generation Simpson describes as "selfish", and his generation enjoys a far more comfortable retirement than we can expect to receive.

Meanwhile, that so-called "selfish" generation is the one now most likely to have lost significant portions of their 401(k) savings to the market crash, lost their homes or a large portion of their home's value, lost their jobs and are not likely to be employed any time soon. When employers have the option to hire younger, less experienced workers who will work for less money and cost less in benefit dollars, they exercise it, leaving older workers (and particularly women) out in the cold.

Selfishness is as selfishness does, Mr. Simpson. We've paid for you without complaint. Now it's time to step up and really identify who is selfish. Start with the companies listed on the Dow Jones index and work from there.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

From Sanity to Bernanke!

I apologize to the few of you that actually read me for not blogging in a week, but its been one hell of a disappointing seven days. I made it to the 'Rally To Restore Sanity' last weekend. I found a seat on a van filled with 15 people, some of them Coffee Party friends and some strangers (not all like minded). Two of them were heroin attics and thieves. One was a kid that had no respect. A couple were whiny alcoholics who that this was a party wagon. It was a long 14 hour trip to DC, full of stops for the complaining entitlists, so we were late for breakfast with Annabel Park and other Coffee Party leaders.

As soon as we arrived to DC half of our gang wanted to hop out and catch a ride downtown by way of subway. Luckily Del (the man who put this trip together) wouldn't allow it, because no cellphones worked do to the massive amount of people in DC. Once we finally found a parking garage it was just minutes away from show start. After trying to get everyone together and got the stoners to put their joints out we were ready for action.

The crowd got thicker and thicker as we passed K street and approached the mall. The Coffee Party had it's own tent with chairs and a fence around it, but the closer we got the tighter the crowd, until we were absolutely stuck and couldn't move any further. After a few minutes went by and I realized I was unable to reach into my pockets for a smoke I started to panic. All I could see in all directions was miles of heads! I had to get out so I started to push and squirm my way through until I had some arm space.

It took half a hour but felt like much more. I had an instant headache and nausea from the anxiety. I found the Newsy museum which had a giant screen and speakers playing the rally. Everyone in our group ended up on their own. The show was amazing and worth all the uncomforts of a human swarm. According to CBS News, 215,000 people showed up for the rally on Saturday. By comparison, CBS estimated that 87,000 -- just 40% of the Sanity Rally estimation -- attended Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in August.

Jon Stewart managed to do something with his Rally to Restore Sanity that hasn’t been done in a long time. He confused the mainstream media to the point of a near collective nervous breakdown. The media couldn’t figure out what this rally was about, and it was only when Stewart explained it to them that they realized that it was about them.
"These are dark times, but they're not the end times," said Stewart, beginning a lengthy monologue in which he expressed his gratitude to the attendees, for lending their "presence," and attempted to explain his intentions on the virtues of reason. He did what he's always done, broadly critiquing the media as an institution that had "broken," that had shone their magnifying glass as a terrorizer of small insects. He decried small-mindedness, generalizations, and smugness. He urged the crowds to stop writing off Tea Partiers as racists, and instead see them as people with perspectives on the world that were informed by very real concerns and hurts and hopes.

The real racists, Stewart reminded the crowd, worked hard, and put the time and effort into being racist.
Somewhere in the middle of Stewart's monologue, he started to at last expand upon the "sanity" theme in a way he couldn't manage with the comedy, pushing a call for something much more meaningful: decency. The metaphor he summoned, oddly enough, was zipper merging! I know: very strange, and very idiosyncratic to a guy who grew up in New Jersey and who now lives in New York City.
And yet, it was affecting, listening to Stewart described one nation, "a little bit late for something they have to do," in rush hour traffic, slowly merging down from many lanes into one, until everyone, with one shared voice, orderly allows cars to filter into the merge. The idea being: we don't know or care about the political passions of the person in the next car...we just make way for one another.

After his inspiring close we started to make our way to the van. I was the first one there so I managed to squeeze my hand into a partially cracked window and pull the door lock. I laid in a seat patiently waiting for arrivals.
Mind you that at this point Ice been up for 36 hours plus. Finally everyone found the garage so we were ready to make our way to the Coffee Party after party. By the time we found the place there was only a hand full of people.
So we loaded the van back up and hit the road. After a couple hours of being on the road and starting our long hike up the mountains we voted for a new driver because Del was all over the road. I was the lucky winner to drive all the way back while everyone else slept. My eyelids felt like fifty pound bags and every fifty feet there was a dead deer on the side of the road with blood painted all over the concrete.

We were way up in the mountains and I was so tired everything I seen was an animal waiting to jump in front of the van. By the time I made it home and got to bed I was up for a total of 54 hours. For a rally about sanity that trip was crazy!

After seeing so many progressive voters come together I had new found hope for the midterm elections. Then Tuesday came and I voted in every candidate I've been following and studying for weeks. But the billions pored in from corporations and foreign investors to fund neocon politicians stole our democracy and the clowns came marching in with their crocodile tears of victory. It could have been worse though I guess. At least most of Palin's posse lost. What gets me is they ran on cutting the deficit and ending stimulus. In his election night remarks, Rep. John Boehner, the leader of the new House Republican majority, promised: “[The Republican agenda] starts with cutting spending instead of increasing it. Reducing the size of government instead of expanding it.” Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made the same pledge.
Then just days after the election Ben Bernanke throws another $600,000,000,000 at Wall Street! Do conservative voters really have that short of a memory? Are they that stupid that they'd just had our country over to corporations as long as they can keep the Mexicans out? I've lost all hope in the civility and sensibility of the American people!

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top Ten Political Halloween Cartoons Of 2010!

...And number 1 goes to.............

Fear is in the eye of the beholder or the ear of the tea-bagger. Republicans are dressing up early this Halloween. They're pretending to be human. They have a frightening Halloween crew; a wicked witch (O'Donnel), an evil doctor (Dr.Laura), a Tea Party Mad-hatter (Rand Paul), a megalomaniac dictator (Glenn Beck) and a screaming banshee (Sarah Palin). Have a happy Halloween, but after it's all over and the devil crawls back to Hell don't forget to vote Democrat or else we'll be stuck with these monsters destroying every part of the America we love! They may try to trick us but we'll treat ourselves to our democratic right to vote!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Hard Facts Republican Voters Need To Know!

Incessant debating using Fox News facts seems to be a prerequisite during every election, or so it seems, but this time, just give them real facts and be done with it.

We’ve heard their concerns about the deficit, banks, the stimulus, tax cuts, the costs of health care reform, Social Security and the economy. Here are the answers, they think they know already.


1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush’s last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama’s first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the “stimulus” was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the “stimulus” with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be “non-reviewable by any court or any agency.”) The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.
4) The stimulus didn’t work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.
5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is “going broke,” people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.
8 ) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on “welfare” and “foreign aid” when that is only a small part of the government’s budget.

Next time you hear Uncle Bob or your neighbor pounce on these talking points with their Fox News morphed conclusions, just tell them the facts. It’s voting time and all bets are off. The lies are being twisted into bigger lies and the truth is hardly recognizable. Stick to the facts, then bring your neighbor or uncle with you to vote.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Boycott Gold's Gym!

Four Gold's Gyms franchises in the San Francisco Bay Area will leave the Gold's brand after 22 years following the revelation that the owner of Gold's gave $2 million to American Crossroads, the conservative jihadist organization known for their homophobic and racist campaigns. They're probably just compensating for their tiny man parts.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How Teabaggers Get The Constitution Wrong!

Credit to NewsWeek

Since winning the Republican senate primary in Delaware last month, Christine O’Donnell has not had trouble getting noticed. When the Tea Party icon admitted to “dabbl[ing] into witchcraft” as a youngster, the press went wild. When she revealed that she was “not a witch” after all, the response was rabid. O’Donnell has fudged her academic credentials, defaulted on her mortgage, sued a former employer, and campaigned against masturbation, and her efforts have been rewarded with round-the-clock coverage. Yet few observers seem to have given her views on the United States Constitution the same level of consideration. Which is too bad, because O’Donnell’s Tea Party take on our founding text is as unusual as her stance on autoeroticism. Except that it could actually have consequences.

Last month, the candidate spoke to 2,000 right-wing activists at the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. She wore a black suit and pearls, and swept on stage to the sound of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Most of the speech was unremarkable: a laundry list of conservative platitudes. But near the end she veered into stranger—and more revealing—territory. O’Donnell once told voters that her “No. 1” qualification for the Senate is an eight-day course she took at a conservative think tank in 2002. Now she was revisiting its subject: the Constitution.
The Founders’ masterpiece, O’Donnell said, isn’t just a legal document; it’s a “covenant” based on “divine principles.” For decades, she continued, the agents of “anti-Americanism” who dominate “the D.C. cocktail crowd” have disrespected the hallowed document. But now, finally, in the “darker days” of the Obama administration, “the Constitution is making a comeback.” Like the “chosen people of Israel,” who “cycle[d] through periods of blessing and suffering,” the Tea Party has rediscovered America’s version of “the Hebrew Scriptures” and led the country into “a season of constitutional repentance.” Going forward, O’Donnell declared, Republicans must champion the “American values” enshrined in our sacred text. “There are more of us than there are of them,” she concluded.

By now, O’Donnell’s rhetoric should sound familiar. In part that’s because her fellow Tea Party patriots—Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the guy at the rally in the tricorn hat—also refer to the Constitution as if it were a holy instruction manual that was lost, but now, thanks to them, is found. And yet the reverberations go further back than Beck. The last time America elected a new Democratic president, in 1992, the Republican Party’s then-dominant insurgent group used identical language to describe the altogether different document that defined their cause and divided them from the heretics in charge: the Bible. The echoes of the religious right in O’Donnell’s speech—the Christian framework, the resurrection narrative, the “us vs. them” motif, the fixation on “values”—aren’t coincidental.
From a legal perspective, there’s a case to be made that O’Donnell’s argument is inaccurate. The Constitution is a relentlessly secular document that never once mentions God or Jesus. And nothing in recent jurisprudence suggests that the past few decades of governing have been any less constitutional than the decades that preceded them. But the Tea Party’s language isn’t legal, and neither is its logic. It’s moral: right vs. wrong. What O’Donnell & Co. are really talking about is culture war.
When Barack Obama took office, experts rushed to declare an end to the old battles over race, religion, and reproductive rights—whether because of Obama’s alleged healing powers, or the Great Recession, or both. But these analyses ignored an important reality: at heart, the culture wars were really never about anything as specific as abortion or gay marriage. Instead, as James Davison Hunter wrote in Culture Wars, the book that popularized the term, the conflicts of the 1990s represented something bigger: “a struggle over…who we have been...who we are now, and...who we, as a nation, will aspire” to be. Such conflicts, Hunter explained, pit “orthodox” Americans, who like the way things were, against their more “progressive” peers, who are comfortable with the way things are becoming.

For the forces of orthodoxy, the election of a black, urban, liberal Democrat with a Muslim name wasn’t a panacea at all; it was a provocation. So when the recession hit, and new economic anxieties displaced the lingering social concerns of the Clinton era, political fundamentalists sought refuge in a more relevant scripture—one that could still be made to accommodate the simpler, surer past they longed for but happened to dwell on taxes and government instead of sinning and being saved.
The Constitution was waiting. Today, Tea Party activists gather to recite the entire document to each other. They demand that a wayward America return to its Constitutional roots. They even travel to Colonial Williamsburg and ask the actor playing George Washington how to topple a tyrannical government. In short, they take their Constitution worship very, very seriously. The question now is whether the rest of us should as well.
Contemporary Constitution worshipers claim that they’ve distilled their entire political platform—lower taxes, less regulation, minimal federal government—directly from the original text of the founding document. Any overlap with mainstream conservatism is incidental, they say; they’re simply following the Framers’ precise instructions. If this were true, it would be quite the political coup: oppose us, the Tea Party could claim, and you’re opposing James Madison. But the reality is that Tea Partiers engage with the Constitution in such a selective manner, and for such nakedly political purposes, that they’re clearly relying on it more as an instrument of self-affirmation and cultural division than a source of policy inspiration.
In legal circles, constitutional fundamentalism is nothing new. For decades, scholars and judges have debated how the founding document should factor into contemporary legal proceedings. Some experts believe in a so-called living Constitution—a set of principles that, while admirable and enduring, must be interpreted in light of present-day social developments in order to be properly upheld. Others adhere to originalism, which is the idea that the ratifiers’ original meaning is fixed, knowable, and clearly articulated in the text of the Constitution itself.
While conservatives generally prefer the second approach, many disagree over how it should be implemented—including the Supreme Court’s most committed originalists, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Thomas sympathizes with a radical version of originalism known as the Constitution in Exile. In his view, the Supreme Court of the 1930s unwisely discarded the 19th-century’s strict judicial limits on Federal power, and the only way to resurrect the “original” Constitution—and regain our unalienable rights—is by rolling back the welfare state, repealing regulations, and perhaps even putting an end to progressive taxation. In contrast, Scalia is willing to respect precedent—even though it sometimes departs from his understanding of the Constitution’s original meaning. His caution reflects a simple reality: that upending post-1937 case law and reversing settled principles would prove extremely disruptive, both in the courts and society at large. As Cass Sunstein, a centrist legal scholar at the University of Chicago who now serves in the Obama administration, has explained, “many decisions of the Federal Communications Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and possibly the National Labor Relations Board would be [ruled] unconstitutional” if Thomas got his way. Social Security could be eliminated. Same goes for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve. Individual states might be allowed to establish official religions. Even minimum-wage and maximum-hour laws would be jeopardized.
Tea Partiers tend to sound more like Thomas than Scalia. Every weekday on Fox News, Glenn Beck—“the most highly regarded individual among Tea Party supporters,” according to a recent poll—takes to his schoolroom chalkboard to rail against progressives like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. “They knew they had to separate us from our history,” he says, “to be able to separate us from our Constitution and God.” In Beck’s view, progressives forsook the faithful Christian Founders and forced the country to adopt a slew of unconstitutional measures that triggered our long decline into Obama-era totalitarianism: the Federal Reserve System, Social Security, the graduated federal income tax. True patriots, according to Beck, favor a pre-progressive vision of the United States. When Nevada Senate nominee Sharron Angle says we need to “phase out” Social Security and Medicare; when Alaska Senate nominee Joe Miller asserts that unemployment benefits are “unconstitutional”; when West Virginia Senate nominee John Raese declares that the minimum wage should “absolutely” be abolished; when Kentucky Senate nominee Rand Paul questions the legality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; when Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann claims that Obama’s new health-insurance law violates the Constitution; and when various Tea Party candidates say they want to repeal the amendments that triggered the federal income tax and the direct election of senators—this is the vision they’re promoting. At times, the Tea Party can seem like a popularized, politicized offshoot of the Constitution in Exile movement.
Over the years critics have lodged dozens of objections to originalism—the disagreements among the Founders; the preservation of slavery in the final product; the inclusion of an amendment process—and they apply to the Tea Party’s interpretation of the Constitution, too. But at least originalism is a rational, consistent philosophy. The real problem with the Tea Party’s brand of Constitution worship isn’t that it’s too dogmatic. It’s that it isn’t dogmatic enough. In recent months, Tea Party candidates have behaved in ways that belie their public commitment to combating progressivism. They’ve backed measures that blatantly contradict their originalist mission. And they’ve frequently misunderstood or misrepresented the Constitution itself. In May, for example, Paul told a Russian television station that America “should stop” automatically granting citizenship to the native-born children of illegal immigrants. Turns out his suggestion would be unconstitutional, at least according to the 14th Amendment (1868) and a pair of subsequent Supreme Court decisions. A few weeks later, Paul said he’d like to prevent federal contractors from lobbying Congress—a likely violation of their First Amendment right to redress. In July, Alaska’s Miller told ABC News that unemployment benefits are not “constitutionally authorized.” Reports later revealed that his wife claimed unemployment in 2002.
The list goes on. Most Tea Partiers claim that the 10th Amendment, which says “the powers not delegated” to the federal government are “reserved to the states,” is proof that the Framers would’ve balked at today’s bureaucracy. What they don’t mention is that James Madison refused a motion to add the word “expressly” before “delegated” because “there must necessarily be admitted powers by implication.” In last week’s Delaware Senate debate, O’Donnell was asked to name a recent Supreme Court case she disagreed with. “Oh, gosh,” she stammered, unable to cite a single piece of evidence to support her Constitution in Exile talking points. “I know that there are a lot, but, uh, I’ll put it up on my Web site, I promise you.” Angle has said that “government isn’t what our Founding Fathers put into the Constitution”—even though establishing a federal government with the “Power To lay and collect Taxes” to “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare” is one of the main reasons the Founders created a Constitution to replace the weak, decentralized Articles of Confederation. In 2008 Palin told Katie Couric that the Constitution does, in fact, guarantee “an inherent right to privacy,” à la Roe v. Wade, but added that “individual states…can handle an issue like that.” Unfortunately, Palin’s hypothesis would only be viable in a world without the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave Washington sole responsibility for safeguarding all constitutional rights. Then there are the proposed amendments. In the current Congress, conservatives like Michele Bachmann have suggested more than 40 additions to the Constitution: a flag-desecration amendment; a balanced-budget amendment; a “parental rights” amendment; a supermajority-to-raise-taxes amendment; anti-abortion amendment; an anti-gay-marriage amendment; and so on. None of these revisions has anything to do with the document’s original meaning.
The truth is that for all their talk of purity, politicians like Palin, Angle, and Miller don’t seem to be particularly concerned with matching their actual positions to the Constitution they profess to worship. For them, the sacred text serves a higher purpose—and in the end, that purpose isn’t hard to pinpoint.

Since the earliest days of the republic, Americans have, like the Tea Partiers, spoken of the Constitution in religious terms. In 1792, Madison wrote that “common reverence…should guarantee, with a holy zeal, these political scriptures from every attempt to add to or diminish from them.” George Washington’s Farewell Address included a plea that the Constitution “be sacredly maintained.” In his Lyceum speech of 1838, Abraham Lincoln cited the document as the source of “the political religion of the nation” and demanded that its laws be “religiously observed.” In 1968, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black called the Constitution his “legal bible,” and a few years later, during Richard Nixon’s impeachment hearings, Texas Rep. Barbara Jordan testified that her “faith in the Constitution is whole.” But the similarity between these figures and the Tea Partiers ends at the level of language. For leaders like Lincoln and Jordan, the Constitution is a symbol “that suppl[ies] an overarching sense of unity even in a society otherwise riddled with conflict,” as sociologist Robin Williams once wrote. It is an integrative force—the cornerstone of our civil religion.
The Tea Partiers belong to a different tradition—a tradition of divisive fundamentalism. Like other fundamentalists, they seek refuge from the complexity and confusion of modern life in the comforting embrace of an authoritarian scripture and the imagined past it supposedly represents. Like other fundamentalists, they see in their good book only what they want to see: confirmation of their preexisting beliefs. Like other fundamentalists, they don’t sweat the details, and they ignore all ambiguities. And like other fundamentalists, they make enemies or evildoers of those who disagree with their doctrine. In the 1930s, the American Liberty League opposed FDR’s New Deal by flogging its version of the Constitution with what historian Frederick Rudolph once described as “a worshipful intensity.” In the 1960s, the John Birch Society imagined a vast communist conspiracy in similar terms. In 1992 conservative activists formed what came to be known as the Constitution Party—Sharron Angle was once a member—in order to “restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.” Today, Angle asserts that “separation of church and state is an unconstitutional doctrine,” and Palin claims that “the Constitution…essentially acknowledg[es] that our unalienable rights…come from God.” The point is always the same: to suggest that the Constitution, like the Bible, decrees what’s right and wrong (rather than what’s legal and illegal), and to insist that only the fundamentalists and their ilk can access its truths. We are moral, you are not; we represent America, you do not. Theirs is the rallying cry of culture war.
The Tea Partiers are right to revere the Constitution. It’s a remarkable, even miraculous document. But there are many Constitutions: the Constitution of 1789, of 1864, of 1925, of 1936, of 1970, of today. Where O’Donnell & Co. go wrong is in insisting that their idealized document is the country’s one true Constitution, and that dissenters are somehow un-American. By putting the Constitution front and center, the Tea Party has reinvigorated a long-simmering argument over who we are and who we want to be. That’s great. But to truly honor the Founders’ spirit, they have to make room for actual debate. As usual, Thomas Jefferson put it best. In a letter to a friend in 1816, he mocked “men [who] look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched”; “who ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.” “Let us follow no such examples, nor weakly believe that one generation is not as capable as another of taking care of itself, and of ordering its own affairs,” he concluded. “Each generation is as independent as the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone before.” Amen.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Monday, October 18, 2010

What has Obama done? 108 Answers!

I'm sick and tired of people asking "What has Obama done?" So here's a list of things he's done since he's been in office. Remember..... He was elected President. He wasn't elected Jesus!
The list is still growing. Let me know if I missed anything.

1. Saved the collapse of the American automotive industry by making GM restructure before bailing them out, and putting incentive money to help the industry

2. Shifted the focus of the war from Iraq to Afghanistan, and putting the emphasis on reducing terrorism where it should have been all along

3. Relaxed Anti-American tensions throughout the world

4. Signed order to close the prisoner “torture camp” at Guantanamo Bay

5. Has made the environment a national priority, and a primary source for job creation

6. Has made education a national priority by putting emphasis and money behind new ideas like charter schools, but speaking directly to school children in telling them they have to do their part.

7. Won the Nobel Peace Prize

8. $789 billion economic stimulus plan

9. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court

10. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles

11. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans

12. Renewed dialogue with NATO and other allies and partners on strategic issues.

13. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force… this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.

14. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops

15. “Cash for clunkers” program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulates auto sales

16. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan

17. Closed offshore tax safe havens

18. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan

19. Ended media “blackout” on war casualties; reporting full information

20. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts

21. . Ended media blackout on war casualties and the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB.

22. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules

23. Ended previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings

24. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports

25. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has created 2.1 million jobs (as of 12/31/09).

26. Ended previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions

27. Ended previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back

28. Ended previous policy on torture; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards

29. . Launched to track spending from the Recovery Act, an unprecedented step to provide transparency and accountability through technology.

30. Ended previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry’s predatory practices

31. Ended previous “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date

32. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources

33. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient

34. Established a new cyber security office

35. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children

36. Expanding vaccination programs

37. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses

38. . Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans.

39. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research

40. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools

41. Responded with compassion and leadership to the earthquake in Haiti

42. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters

43. . Launched – enabling conversation and online collaboration between small business owners, government representatives and industry experts in discussion forums relevant to starting and managing a business. Great for the economy.

44. Improved housing for military personnel

45. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals

46. Changed failing war strategy in Afghanistan.

47. Improving benefits for veterans

48. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) after years of neglect

49. Donated his $1.4 million Nobel Prize to nonprofits.

50. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program

51. Provided tax credits to first-time home buyers through the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 to revitalize the U.S. housing market.

52. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel

53. Increasing student loans

54. Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit loved ones

55. Cracked down on companies that deny sick pay, vacation and health insurance to workers by abusing the employee classification of independent contractor. Such companies also avoid paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance taxes for those workers.

56. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000

57. Limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House

58. Protected 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors through the Recovery Act that would have otherwise been lost.

59. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration

60. Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act on February 4, 2009, provides quality health care to 11 million kids – 4 million who were previously uninsured.

61. Lower drug costs for seniors

62. Making more loans available to small businesses

63. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration

64. . Signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis

65. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals

66. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans

67. Announced creation of a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record for members of the U.S. Armed Forces to improve quality of medical care.

68. New federal funding for science and research labs

69. New funds for school construction

70. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending

71. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices

72. . Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals.

73. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren’t even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan

74. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions

75. Provided tax credit to workers thus cutting taxes for 95% of America's working families.

76. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic

77. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research

78. . Helped reverse a downward spiral of the stock market. On January 19, 2009, the last day of President Bush's presidency, the Dow closed at 8,218.22. In February 2010, the Dow closed at 10,309.24

79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel

80. Restarted the nuclear non-proliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols

81. Provided attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles.

82. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters

83. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy

84. Unveiled a program on Earth Day 2009 to develop the renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. These regulations will enable, for the first time ever, the nation to tap into our ocean’s vast sustainable resources to generate clean energy in an environmentally sound and safe manner.

85. Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program

86. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards

87. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced

88. Successful release of US captain held by Somali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job

89. The FDA is now regulating tobacco

90. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date.

91. The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010

92. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying

93. The “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed

94. US financial and banking rescue plan

95. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast

96. . Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system.

97. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office

98. Improved relations with Iran

99. Improved U.S. policy on climate change

100. Set timetable for exiting Iraq (already started removing troops)

101. Improved relations with Russia

102. Improved relations with the Islamic World

103. Made progress towards grater cooperation on limiting nuclear proliferation

104. Economic stimulus plan has created jobs. (Unemployment rate decreasing)

105. Drastically slowed down the recession

106. Saved Wall Street

107. Passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act (equal work for equal pay)


Once again, this is a lot to accomplish in such a short amount of time. He was elected President, he wasn't elected Jesus.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

O'Donnell Goes Rogue!

Republican candidate Christine O’Donnell has taken another page from Sarah Palin’s playbook by going rogue and blaming the GOP for her expected defeat. On ABC’s This Week O’Donnell said, “We’re hoping that the National Republican Senatorial Committee will help us, but it’s two and half weeks left, and they’re not.”

O’Donnell is already making excuses. She said, “The state party isn’t helping us, and we’re asking the National Republican Senatorial to help us. We’ve got the Democratic Senatorial Committee coming after me. We’re hoping that the National Republican Senatorial Committee will help us, but it’s two and half weeks left, and they’re not.”

What O’Donnell didn’t bother to mention is that raised $3.8 million from late August through the end of September. She has more money in the bank than her Democratic opponent Chris Coons, who has $2.6 million, so although O’Donnell is trying to blame a lack of support from the state and national Republican parties for her troubles, money is not the issue. In a small state like Delaware, almost $4 million could buy her all of the negative ads that she could ever need to run.

Christine O’Donnell’s reasoning is deeply flawed. Her problem is not that Coons is popular but that she can’t convince many of the state’s Republicans to support her. Only 68% of the state’s Republicans are supporting her. Her issue is not that voters have too much of a positive perception of Chris Coons, but that almost a third of her own party members aren’t supporting her.

The state and national GOP aren’t going to support her. She has tons of money already, and she is a loser of a candidate. O’Donnell is likely upset because the GOP is actually making her spend the money that she raised. O’Donnell has a well documented history of using campaign funds as her personal bank account. For O’Donnell, winning the nomination was like hitting the lottery. She probably can’t wait to get her hands on that cash. What wrong with the Republican Party? Don’t they realize that a lazy, jobless, Grifter for God has to eat?

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bill O'Reilly, Here's Proof That Not All Terrorists Are Muslim!

Bill O'Reilly thinks all Muslims are terrorists. If that's true then all Christians must be Nazis.
Lord, protect us from these absolute morons.

Some of those Muslim terrorists:

Timothy McVeigh

Eric Rudolph

Irv Rubin

Ted Kaczynski

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold

Bruce Edwards Ivins

James Von Brunn

Glenn Beck

Look at ‘em, all them Moooslims what killed ‘mericuns!

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

Jack Black in '[Mis]information'!

Share this video with everyone!

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This Election Bought For You By The Chamber of Commerce!

By Bill Press

Tribune Media Services

Ah, democracy. It was nice while it lasted, because, if the essence of democracy is honest and fair elections, democracy doesn’t exist anymore. This election has been bought and sold by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove. And nobody cares.

Here are the facts. In this year’s mid-term elections, the Chamber is spending $75 to $80 million on TV commercials to elect their acolytes to the House and Senate. Except for a handful of Democrats, all the money is going to Republican candidates.

Who’s providing this mountain of cash to the Chamber? Oil companies? Banks? Insurance companies? Nobody knows … except the Chamber and its corporate sources. Because, under the Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United ruling, the Chamber is no longer legally required to disclose the names of its donors. And it refuses to do so.

As first reported by Think Progress, the Chamber also receives significant political contributions from more than 80 foreign-owned companies in 115 countries, and those funds are deposited into the same 501(c)(6) account used to pay for political ads. If you believe the Chamber, they carefully segregate their revenue stream, so that no foreign dollars are used to pay for campaign ads — which would, of course, be illegal. That seems unlikely, if not impossible. But, again, nobody knows the truth. Because there’s no disclosure.

In addition to the Chamber, several other stealth committees have popped up, including “American Crossroads,” created by Karl Rove and former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie, which has already exceeded its goal of raising $50 million to support Republican House and Senate candidates. Together with the Chamber, predicts Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, those groups will spend more than $200 million in this year’s mid-term elections — more than the Democratic and Republican National Committees combined.

Whether foreign funds are involved or not, the massive amounts of secret special interest spending in this election should concern all Americans, because it seriously undermines our democratic process. Even if we can’t escape the avalanche of TV ads, we should at least know who’s paying for them — as argued by President Obama in announcing his support for this year’s Disclose Act: “Now, of course, every organization has every right in this country to make their voices heard. But the American people also have the right to know when some group like ‘Citizens for a Better Future’ is actually funded entirely by ‘Corporations for Weaker Oversight.’” That legislation — which would have required full disclosure by all organizations, whether the Sierra Club or the Big Oil Club — was killed in the Senate after heavy lobbying against it by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

And no sooner had Obama repeated his call for full disclosure in spending for the mid-terms, than Karl Rove and the Chamber cried foul. Bruce Josten, chief lobbyist for the Chamber, complained of the president’s “smear tactics.” Rove even accused him of keeping “an enemies list.” Which, of course, Rove should know something about. Just ask Valerie Plame.

Rove’s whining is especially suspect considering the fact that, until the court’s Citizens United ruling, it was Republicans, not Democrats, who insisted on full disclosure. The political process “ought to have full disclosure, full disclosure of all of the money that we raise and how it is spent,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner on “Meet the Press” in February 2007. “And I think that sunlight is the best disinfectant.” But that was then, and this is now. Republicans were for disclosure, before they were against it.

In the end, who’s kidding whom? There’s only one reason Rove and the Chamber don’t want to release the names of their donors. Because they don’t want to confirm what we already know: that their ads are being paid for by banks who want to return to their old rapacious practices, by oil companies who want no restrictions on when and where they can drill, and by insurance companies who want to go back to denying coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition. They want more anti-consumer votes in the House and Senate, and they’re willing to pay any price — and maybe even break the law — to get them.

So much for 2010. With $200 million in secret contributions, special interests have already bought and sold this election. I can’t wait to see how much money they spend in 2012.

© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!