“We Are At War! I Believe America Is Part Of The Battlefield! I Hope You Believe It Too!”

Not only is this just disgusting, but they’re misrepresenting what the bill actually does when they say it’s designed solely to address the issue of Al-Qaeda from other countries coming into America. They’re blinding the audience to the reality of what this bill is by only using the trigger words Al-Qaeda and war, to externalize the matter and make anyone listening automatically bias into the speakers’ favor. That’s a sick, twisted psychological spin-job to use.


Sen. McConnell Claims Electing The President By Popular Vote Is A ‘Genuine Threat To Our Country’

Sen. McConnell Claims Electing The President By Popular Vote Is A ‘Genuine Threat To Our Country’

McConnell and six Republican secretaries of state discussed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPV), a proposed plan for using a popular vote in presidential elections. The NPV would guarantee whichever candidate wins the popular vote would also win the electoral college – preventing a repeat of the 2000 election when Al Gore won the most votes but still lost the presidency. It would do so by getting states to agree to collectively award their electoral votes to the popular vote winner, but the compact would only kick in once states with a majority of the electoral college sign on. Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia have joined the NPV, comprising 132 of the needed 270 electoral votes for the compact to take effect.

Of course he doesn’t like the idea, what’s the point of owning custom districts if they can’t deliver the right votes any more? It would mean all that careful redistricting amounts to nothing but a lot of money wasted on local community matters…

You might be a terrorist if…

FBI Handout: Communities Against Terrorism: Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Military Surplus Stores

Includes such warning signs as “demands privacy”, “pays cash”, “shaves beard or changes hair color”, and “makes bulk purchases of MREs”. The best part:

Some of the activities, taken individually, could be innocent and must be examined by law enforcement individuals in a larger context to determine whether there is a basis to investigate.

could be innocent. Oh no way, there is never a time when a close shave and a cash payment could be innocent. Let’s not get soft on terror here.

Following is the The Cell video on how to spot a terrorist, created in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security:

This one encourages every citizen to report any sign of suspicious terrorist activity, and details a list of activities that should be considered suspect. It’s been quoted widely in the media and always sounds a little bit hysterical, so here’s the source and here’s some of their choicest warning signs straight from the filmhorse’s mouth.

-use of binoculars, multi-use watches, or cameras
-taking notes
-watching police and rescue units arrive to a scene
-asking questions about schools, sports stadiums, or malls (finally a legitimate excuse to never stop to ask directions!)
-applying for a job at a school, sports stadium, or mall
-forgetting your bag in a bus, train, or other public place
-making large purchases with cash, seeking out street trade and “for sale by owner” transactions
-making charitable donations
-leaving your car in an out-of-the-way place
-buying one-time-use cellphones
-exchanging electrical equipment with someone else
-anything which causes any onlooker to have a “gut feeling that something is just not right”

So think carefully the next time you hand your cellphone to someone before writing down a shopping list, then checking to be sure you have enough cash to cover the bill, especially if you intend to buy more than seven days’ worth of food. Because there might be someone across the street who thinks you’ve changed your hair color lately and has a gut feeling that something’s just not right, especially if you’ve cut anyone off in traffic lately who might work for the government and hold a grudge. Because you could be about to vanish for a really long time.

WASHINGTON — In Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio has been attacked as a “traitor.” In Arizona, tea party members protested against Sen. John McCain. In Utah, Occupy demonstrators donned black hoods to stand against “radical and uncalled for constraints on our constitutional rights.”

The uprising is directed at provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, approved by the Senate last week, that would require the military to arrest terrorist suspects in the United States and detain them indefinitely without trial.

Rick Perry’s Viral Video Fail

Rick Perry’s Viral Video Fail

Let’s play a game… see if you can spot how many times in these ads this man is divisive, bigoted, pushing fear of artificially-inflated ‘unAmerican’ threats, or displaying bold assumptions designed to dismiss anyone who isn’t a part of the conservative right. The fact that anyone would run a presidential campaign based on this “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” intolerance, and be considered a legitimate contender by any part of the population, practically skywrites that we’re in trouble here.

The real divide in America

The real divide in America

Individualists are those who see society’s successes and problems as coming mostly from individual behavior. Motivated by impulse and human nature’s affinity for simple good-versus-evil stories, Individualists tend to see history as a series of parables about Great Men and Bad Men, Rogues and Bureaucrats, Heroes and Villains. In other words, Individualists subscribe to Margaret Thatcher’s theory that “there is no such thing as society — there are individual men and women.”

So, for example, an economic boom period is viewed by the Individualist as a success story of individual and/or presidential intelligence, innovation and hard work, not a triumph of institutions such as good schools, solid infrastructure or properly calibrated tax and trade laws. Likewise, rich people are viewed as singular superheroes whose wealth is a consequence of personal perseverance, not beneficiaries of institutional support whose assets have been accrued through systemic privilege.

At the same time, problems are portrayed by the Individualist as the result of personal transgressions, but not systemic forces: Crime is the scourge of individuals like Willie Horton, not a result of institutional forces like poverty or desperation; the education crisis is the result of individual bad teachers or parents, not systemic economic inequality or misguided school funding formulas; prejudice is the plague of individual bigots, not institutional racism; housing market meltdowns happen because of irresponsible home buyers, not because of predatory financial institutions or the banking system; and recessions occur because of “welfare queens,” “parasites,” “takers” or other assorted layabouts — but not larger forces like globalization or crony capitalism.

Institutionalists, by contrast, see it the other way around. They tend to see institutions – whether governmental agencies, corporations, popular cultures or specific policies and incentives – as the most prominent forces in society. To them, it’s “The Man,” more than the particular men.

Rooted more in data and empiricism than in gut feeling and apocrypha, this camp sees the most famous historical achievements like, say, the New Deal and civil rights movement not as merely the personal victory of people like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr., but as the result of decades of mass organizing for systemic change.

Similarly, the big problems in society aren’t seen as a reflection of individual shortcomings, but as a product of systemic dysfunction. In this Institutionalist view, Congress’ recent refusal to reduce the national debt isn’t merely the crime of individual lawmakers serving on the so-called supercommittee, but also the fault of a democratic system that’s rigged to fail. Likewise, abuses of state power — whether torture at Abu Ghraib prison or brutality from municipal police forces — are less the sin of the individual grunts than the product of a culture of violence. And nationwide unemployment doesn’t stem from a lack of “personal responsibility” among workers, but from an economy that is producing only one job opening for every seven job applicants — that is, an economy in systemic crisis.

Obama Office Alters More Federal Rules Than Bush

Obama Office Alters More Federal Rules Than Bush

“We studied the records of 1,080 meetings that have been held at OIRA over the last ten years,” said Rena Steinzor, CPR’s president. “And we found that OIRA has changed 84 percent of environmental regulations, and 65 percent of other agencies’ regulations, and the change rate is worse than it was under George W. Bush.”

In other words, her group argues, this president is watering down or undoing a greater percentage of proposed regulations than his predecessor did.

The issue is that, since democratic presidents are more likely to have new regulations submitted and new changes put into place, when money has too much control over politics there’s an increased risk of industry coming out on top in situations where non-corporate interests ought to be put first.

While the rest of the public might not know about OIRA, lobbyists have the office on speed dial. Industry groups visit OIRA largely for one purpose: to reduce regulation. Steinzor’s analysis found that industry representatives outnumber public health and safety advocates by almost four to one at OIRA meetings.

Jim Tozzi helped create OIRA and worked on regulations under five presidents. He says the tilt towards industry is to be expected.

Regulations, he says, “increase the cost of industry. So they have more direct skin in the game.” In contrast, he says, environmental groups’ members “don’t have skin in the game, because they just say ‘they’ll cough their lungs out’ or something like that.”

Any upsurge in changes and opportunities for change is hazardous when the governmental system is broken. Without repairing the process first, and without removing corporate and financial interests from the running, then what you get is a behind-the-scenes breakdown engineered by people who value money and control more than they care about what they’re actually doing to our country.

Ultimately, one of OIRA’s main jobs is to put a dollar value on things that nobody wants to price. The office must ask how much money the country is willing to spend to save an endangered species, or what cost the country is willing to inflict on companies in order to provide veterans in wheelchairs access to restrooms. These are questions that nobody is comfortable asking. So perhaps it should be no surprise that few people are happy with OIRA’s answers.

US Senate To Vote On Bill That Will Allow The Military To Arrest Americans On American Soil And Hold Them Indefinitely

US Senate To Vote On Bill That Will Allow The Military To Arrest Americans On American Soil And Hold Them Indefinitely

On Monday or Tuesday, the US Senate will vote on a bill that would give the President the ability to order the military to arrest and imprison American citizens anywhere in the world for an indefinite period of time.

A provision of S. 1867, or the National Defense Authorization Act bill, written by Senators John McCain and Carl Levin, declares American soil a battlefield and allows the President and all future Chief Executives to order the military to arrest and detain American citizens, innocent or not, without charge or trial.

Wait, this is a joke, right? You can’t be serious. It’s on the ACLU blog too?

Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

Senate Moves To Allow Military To Intern Americans Without Trial.

Unbelievably, I think this might be real. And the fact that we’ve elected politicians trying to pass anything like this should scare the crap out of everyone, even the people those particular politicians are purporting to represent.

One section of these provisions, section 1031, would be interpreted as allowing the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens on U.S. soil. Section 1031 essentially repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by authorizing the U.S. military to perform law enforcement functions on American soil. That alone should alarm my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but there are other problems with these provisions that must be resolved. ”This means Americans could be declared domestic terrorists and thrown in a military brig with no recourse whatsoever. Given that the Department of Homeland Security has characterized behavior such as buying gold, owning guns, using a watch or binoculars, donating to charity, using the telephone or email to find information, using cash, and all manner of mundane behaviors as potential indicators of domestic terrorism, such a provision would be wide open to abuse.

“American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?”