Friday, October 28, 2011

Reality


I think


Proud to be a bleeding heart liberal


Hey - we're improving at ONE thing - deaths of citizens under the age of 75.


Cold, hard numbers


We've got Reps for that...

video

The priests practice their rituals


Where are the jobs?


Waiting for the trickle - but I don't think the dam is going to break


How's that private health insurance plan working for us?


The 1% taking charge


Maybe I got this wrong

I am the 66%, but maybe I'm holding my sign wrong. 
   --Dave Pacheco on Google+

Our loss of freedom

One of my greatest concerns over the past decade or two has been the steady erosion of our freedoms. From the Patriot Act to the TSA, we are being watched, searched and recorded by the government at every stage of our lives. I'm a nobody, but I'd bet a nickle that my blog has drawn at least a casual glance from some branch of government. It is intrusive, it is un-American and it is wrong. I can only hope that someday, in the near future, a leader comes along who will reverse all of this and return this nation to the leader in providing freedom to its citizens once again.


I found the following on DownWithTyranny



How the Patriot Act stripped me of my free-speech rights

By Nicholas Merrill, Published: October 25

Sometime in 2012, I will begin the ninth year of my life under an FBI gag order, which began when I received what is known as a national security letter at the small Internet service provider I owned. On that day in 2004 (the exact date is redacted from court papers, so I can't reveal it), an FBI agent came to my office and handed me a letter. It demanded that I turn over information about one of my clients and forbade me from telling "any person" that the government had approached me.

National security letters are issued by the FBI, not a judge, to obtain phone, computer, and banking information. Instead of complying, I spoke with a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a constitutional challenge against the NSL provision of the Patriot Act, which was signed into law 10 years ago Wednesday.

A decade later, much of the government's surveillance policy remains shrouded in secrecy, making it impossible for the American public to engage in a meaningful debate on the effectiveness or wisdom of various practices. The government has used NSLs to collect private information on hundreds of thousands of people. I am the only person from the telecommunications industry who received one to ever challenge in court the legality of the warrantless NSL searches and the associated gag order and to be subsequently (partially) un-gagged.

In 2004, it wasn't at all clear whether the FBI would charge me with a crime for telling the ACLU about the letter, or for telling the court clerk about it when I filed my lawsuit as "John Doe." I was unable to tell my family, friends, colleagues or my company's clients, and I had to lie about where I was going when I visited my attorneys. During that time my father was battling cancer and, in 2008, he succumbed to his illness. I was never able to tell him what I was going through.

For years, the government implausibly claimed that if I were able to identify myself as the plaintiff in the case, irreparable damage to national security would result. But I did not believe then, nor do I believe now, that the FBI's gag order was motivated by legitimate national security concerns. It was motivated by a desire to insulate the FBI from public criticism and oversight.

In 2007, this newspaper made an exception to its policy against anonymous op-eds and published a piece I wrote about my predicament. In August 2010, the government agreed to a settlement, and I was finally allowed to reveal my name to the public in connection with my case, but I am still prevented -- under the threat of imprisonment -- from discussing any fact that was redacted in the thousands of pages of court documents, including the target of the investigation or what information was sought.

I don't believe that it's right for Americans' free speech rights to be bound by perpetual gag orders that can't be meaningfully challenged in a court of law. The courts agreed, but the NSLs and the gag orders live on. Now the FBI is supposed to notify NSL recipients that they can challenge a gag order -- but the government refuses to say how the court's ruling has been put into practice, or how many gag orders have been issued, challenged or reversed. This information is especially important since internal Justice Department investigations have found widespread violations of NSL rules by the FBI.

During the recent debate to reauthorize sections of the Patriot Act, two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) -- warned that the government is interpreting the law to conduct surveillance that does not follow from a plain reading of the text. "When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry," Wyden said. As someone who had to keep silent and live a lie for the better part of a decade, in the false name of "national security," I know he's right.

The writer is executive director of the Calyx Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes "best practices" with regard to privacy and freedom of expression in the telecommunications industry.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I saw the following on The Political Carnival

A couple of days ago, there was a hilarious post at HuffPo by Jonathan Bines called, “How to Speak Republican.” I’m finally getting around to sharing it, but I’ll only give you a few samples. Please go over and read them all, it will be time well spent:
  • Birth Certificate: An official birth record required of all US Presidents, regardless of race, since 2008.
  • Condescending: Accurately informed.
  • Constitution (U.S.): The hallowed founding document of the United States, the text of which must be interpreted strictly and amended immediately.
  • Corporations: Large people who are overtaxed.
  • Fact: Information that has been verifiably posted to a RedState comment board.
  • Jesus: Charismatic religious leader and son of God; born in Bethlehem in the year 0; beliefs include love, charity, enhanced interrogation, privatized healthcare, elimination of the estate tax, and the right to carry concealed semiautomatic weapons.
  • News: Fox News
  • Yes: (no translation available)

Republicans aren't going to change

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holy Shit!

This is so spot on that I wanted to stand and cheer, sitting here alone in my office, as I watched this.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I have done well in my life. I am not rich - I am not 1 of the 1% - I am one of the 99%. I had a good job and contributed to my own well being and that of the country (paid taxes, provided services, etc.)


I just posted 2 videos that I believe pinpoint the current state of affairs in the United States - we are giving up our freedoms for a little security, which is not security at all, as our freedoms fall away. Remember when we were told that Al Qaeda hated us for our freedom? Ha. One of the most tell-tale signs that our freedom is being eroded is the strong arm tactics of the TSA. Some argue that the government has the right to search us when we travel because it is "a choice" that we make to get on an airplane or travel by train, but I fail to see where in the Bill of Rights of this nation that it says where our liberties need only be allowed when we are doing something not-by-choice.


What's next - searching us as we enter restaurants - because we eat there by choice? How about when you drink municipal water - because you drink by choice?  Where does it stop?


Read the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution again, and tell me where it says anything about restrictions on our freedoms.



The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Part 2 to the video just previously posted.

This video is brilliant...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rep. Crowley - Speechless

You may want to watch this one in full screen mode for easier viewing...

TSA - Your Ass is in Our Hands

Another reason why our war in Afghanistan is futile

Having fun at Sarah Palin's expense

Jesus Is Republican

The great Jesus swindle

Republican lies

Exposing 10 Republican Economic Lies

LIE -- The government won't work right (and to the benefit of all citizens) until the national debt is eliminated and a balanced budget is imposed.

TRUTH -- I'm not sure how they would know this because the United States government has never been out of debt in the entire history of this country. When the very first Congress adjourned they had left the country with a national debt of $75 million. The debt was close to being eliminated in 1835 (when the country owed just $34,000), but a recession the next year (which caused a 33% decline in business and lasted for two years) took care of that. Since then the debt has climbed. Although the debt has set a new "record high" since the 1950's in absolute terms, a better measure is to compare the debt to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This peaked in World War II at about 120% of GDP, but it has not been close to that figure since then.

LIE -- The current national debt is largely a result of the policies of President Obama.

TRUTH -- Most of the national debt can be traced directly to Republican policies and actions. A big hunk of the debt is due to the massive tax cuts for the rich -- a little more than $400 billion each year. The two unnecessary Bush wars also added (and continue to add) to the debt at a rate of about $2 billion each week. Most economists believe that without these two things the national debt would be about two-thirds lower than it currently is. The millions of jobs lost in the Republican recession also took away millions of taxpayers which could have been paying into the government tax revenues.

Read more at jobsanger

Exposing 10 Republican Economic Lies

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The businesses that are going to save us by creating jobs will screw us over first.

Will Hunting had it right 14 years ago

Rich Bro - Poor Bro

Monday, October 10, 2011

Funny little quip

More information about the candidates. MITT ROMNEY speaks French and JON HUNTSMAN is fluent in Chinese. When MICHELE BACHMANN heard they were bilingual she said, “That’s okay, as long as they don’t get married.”
From  The Political Carnival

Baby Body Slam


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Alan Grayson

The word I read is that Alan is the first person to get a standing ovation from a Bill Maher crowd.

Speaking truth to poswer

Friday, October 07, 2011

How the U.S spends its money...


Understanding the role of religion in modern political life


Iraq - an exit strategy


The Battle hymn of the Republicans

One of the most spot-on political cartoons I've seen in a long time.

A kid with a brain


Perhaps this why why the Constituion was designed to protect the rights of the minorities...


Understanding the role religion plays in politics


Headlines

Some days the steam just builds up in my craw to the point that I can't stand the lunacy of the way the world works. Posting some headlines from other blogs helps let me vent just a little bit...




Feds give California medicinal cannabis providers 45 days to shut down or face charges  (Did we not learn that you can't effectively legislate morality during Prohibition? What a bunch of ultra-maroons. And THAT'S why I won't donate to Obama's reelection campaign - fuck him!)



The cops in NYC need to chill out - the crowds represent values that they (the cops) should care about themselves. Journalist at Occupy Wall Street is beaten by NYPD cops, takes a night stick to the gut. "I'm a fucking journalist, you mother fucker."
Maybe we need some new videos on the store shelves called "Cops Gone Wild."


I hate what Justice Scalia represents, but even a broken clock is right twice a day...



Wall Street protestors speak out
(What they stand for)

Based on declarations of donations filed by members of Congress to the Federal Election Commission, 10 super-committee members have received $83,000 from the 19 biggest political donors in the country.