Category Archives: Take Action

Tell the @EPA: it’s time to ban #Organophosphates

It’s that time again! The EPA is taking public comments on whether chemicals that cause cancer and are linked to autism and other developmental delays should be allowed on our food! And in our water! Let’s say no  … all over again! Just say no! No means no!

 

Click here, enter your name and address, and click submit OR copy/paste my slightly longer paragraph below into the text box and submit THAT. Also, take 30 seconds if you have time to read the original April 2016 report released by the EPA stating that these organophosphates are killing us, our kids and plants & animals — link at the bottom of the post. THANK YOU!! You earth lover, you.

 

It’s time to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion. These nerve-damaging pesticides put nearly 97 percent of all endangered species at risk of harm, jeopardizing the existence of plants and animals listed under the Endangered Species Act. Multiple scientific research studies link these organophosphates to cognitive delays in children and a host of other detrimental human health effects. The World Health Organization last year announced that malathion and diazinon are probable carcinogens. The EPA should immediately remove them all from use. Please take action on this important issue.

 

 

April 2016 EPA Analysis: 97 Percent of Endangered Species Threatened by Two Common Pesticides

Copy/paste this into your browser for more info: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2016/pesticides-04-07-2016.html

Why does AT&T have the WORST customer service ever? @ATT

The tweets below will speak for themselves but suffice it to say, I am officially at war with AT&T. I have been a customer of theirs so long that I can’t even remember if it was 2004 or 2005 that I switched to them, and in October of 2008, I bought my first iphone on an unlimited data plan, meaning a flat monthly fee for unlimited internet access. They have been throttling my internet and not loading the page while I watch the spinning wheel indefinitely for several years; from time to time, I would call and complain and they would lie to me and say it was just that time of the day when service might be slower and make excuses, etc, ad nauseum.

 

And the FCC knew they were lying too. Which is why, back in June, the FCC fined AT&T to the tune of $100 MILLION for being so full of shit. And as you will soon read in my tweets below, AT&T at first forced their customer service reps to respond to any customer who brought that up with a party line: AT&T is contesting the fines. In July, they even claimed that their actions caused no harm to any customers and that the big bad government was violating their 1st Amendment rights (HA HA HA HA HA HA!) by forcing them to disclose that they actually do throttle data. Then apparently, in September, someone with a law degree thought better of their original idiocy-based strategy/argument and decided they would simply update their website with a disclosure that data really isn’t unlimited and by the way the new threshold is 22 GB. Prior to the FCC intervening, AT&T was throttling anything over 5GB – to put it in perspective, I use about 7 GB a month. And if you’re wondering, “What? Unlimited data?? Sign me up!” I’m sorry to say that they stopped offering this plan; I am considered “grandfathered in” – I know this because every time I have gone into the store to get a new phone, the salesreps tell me to hold on to that plan for dear life because no one else is getting that good of a deal (then I tell them it doesn’t matter how good it seems if in reality, AT&T throttles my data; and then they reluctantly admit that I have a point without admitting that AT&T is throttling).

 

BUT THEY ARE STILL THROTTLING. THEY ARE STILL THROTTLING MY DATA AFTER 5GB.

 

So here’s the deal, AT&T, every time you do this, I’m going to tweet it and add that tweet to this page. And I’m going to tweet this blog post every night. And soon it will be the first result in any google search for why you are so terrible. (The only good thing about AT&T is that all their customer service rep call centers are in the US, unlike Comcast’s, whose business model is predicated on good living wage jobs getting outsourced overseas.)

 

Now let’s go back to June of this year. On June 28, I learned about the FCC putting the federal smack down and tweeted my gleeful reaction. Then on June 30, AT&T sent me a text survey asking me how likely I would be to recommend them to family and friends. My response was a link to the Tweet of Glee. See below.

 

 

Now this may have pissed someone off because the next day my service was like molasses. Even when they throttled me, I could still tweet and my new email would load, I just couldn’t search the internet. But that day, July 1, my email wouldn’t refresh and I couldn’t access any websites using safari either. So I called tech support and read the rep the WaPo headline about the $100 mill over the phone to her, basically saying, the government said you can’t do this to me so, hey, I know, why don’t you stop:

 

 

I also told her I’d be tweeting our WHOLE conversation, everything she said to me. So what did AT&T do? Completely cut my service off. Instantly. No twitter. No email. No internet. So I run with the phone in my hand on speaker to the laptop in my kitchen. AT&T probably thought I was out and about or at work and wouldn’t be able to do anything about not having access to twitter on my phone. Watch what happens:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now this all went down two months before AT&T made the wise decision to update their policy and stop having their reps parrot the party line about “disputing the FCC’s fines” but they are still throttling. And how this all came to a head – me finally pissed off enough to write this blogpost – was when I was trying to google a phone number the day before yesterday and not being able to get any search results because of throttling. This was not an emergency, but it really put it into perspective for me, the gall of that kind of greed: there I was in an unpleasant part of town, needing google, and needing it right now. The reason I have stayed with AT&T all these years is because their range is greatest, meaning, I can be in an elevator and have reception, or in a basement. When everyone else has no bars, I still have at least one. To me it’s a matter of safety, but if they’re going to throttle my access to the internet anyway, range becomes more and more of a moot point. So I called customer service and the rep I spoke to was literally silent to me on the other end of the phone when I asked for a supervisor. He actually wouldn’t transfer me until I told him I needed his name and that I would be tweeting everything he said to me. He then gave me his name and finally transferred me to not-a-supervisor who then said she’d have a real supervisor call me back in ten minutes. No one ever did.

 

Here’s how that conversation went:

 

 

 

 

 

Then later that night was the straw that broke the camel’s back. And this kind of throttling is just reprehensible, plain and simple. AT&T, how dare you. How fucking dare you. You don’t know what kind of situations people are in or where they need to go or how fast they need to leave. FUCK YOU. Fuck you.

 

 

 

And what if there’d been no wifi open around me? Jesus!

 

So how does this end? For starters, look for a video of me calling the FCC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the near future to find out what action I can take next. AT&T, you trolled me. And if you think you can troll me without consequence, think again. Every time you violate our agreement that you will provide me unlimited data in exchange for my money, I will tweet it. And I will then add it to this blog post. And I’ll be tweeting this blog post every single day.

 

 

Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

Buy this book. Read this book: “Murder at Camp Delta” by Sgt. Joseph Hickman

 

SPOILER ALERT: my review of this 5 star book is not only a recommendation but a summary of its plot

 

This book has it all. Patriotic American soldier compelled by his conscience to prove his government’s attempt to cover up a war crime? Check. Neckless corpses of prisoners of war returned to their families with no further explanation? Check. Autopsy reports showing mysteriously high dosages of an unnecessary vaccine whose side-effects at such a high dose are the psychological equivalent of the terror of 30 days of nonstop waterboarding? Check. Tom Clancy style intelligence community tipsters who call late at night from a blocked phone number to drop URL breadcrumbs leading to missing pages of a 3,000 page NCIS report so redacted it takes a team of law students to make heads or tails of it over months of research? Check. But this is no novel. “Murder at Camp Delta” is a true story written by a marine who values his oath to serve his country and protect the Constitution so intensely that it trumps all concern for any potential consequences he might suffer as a result of this book’s publication.Murder at Camp Delta

 

Sgt Joseph Hickman paints a picture of his experience at the prison at Guantanamo Bay in a series of vivid and sometimes even funny memories of his deployment to JTF-GTMO, among them a bit of culture-shock when an English speaking detainee, replete with British accent, calls him “mate” and asks him to toss a fugitive soccer ball back over a fence, the time he gets called Satan and told he fights like a demon by a group of detainees who rush his team in a communal cell, or the brotherly (and hilarious) grief he gets from his squad for going to a movie with a younger female medic. All of these vignettes show us the unique personality of a soldier who serves in the military with pride and honor. But it is the moments where Sgt Hickman serves our country, willing to make sacrifices many in his position might not, that make this story one of heroism. One of the most memorable is when he stops two guards from playing a game with a detainee who had a prosthetic leg. The guards liked to make the man, al-Gazzar, put on his prosthetic leg, shackle him, and make him walk that way so that when one of them tapped the prosthetic leg, the detainee would collapse and flail on the ground. Why? When Sgt Hickman asks them why, they say because it’s “f—ing hilarious.” In contrast, Hickman addresses this man as a human being — an alleged terrorist — not as a monster, and speaks to him in a rapport-building manner, affording him basic decency, the kind the United States used to lead the world in displaying even in times of desperation such as war. Sgt Hickman’s resistance to the steamrolling of our national moral compass, not only when he protects al-Gazzar from torment (and, no, not because reverse-Stockholm syndrome kicked in and he was sympathizing with al-Gazzar or even because Geneva Convention dictates: he did it because treating prisoners of war humanely is the right thing to do) but again when he goes to the Inspector General, adhering to all military protocol, to report discrepancies in the official Pentagon version of the story of the deaths of 3 detainees on the night of June 9, 2006. What the Pentagon announces to the media is that the three deaths were part of a suicide pact among 3 detainees determined to commit asymmetrical warfare against the US by hanging themselves in their cells. The discrepancy? Sgt Hickman was on duty as SOG (Sergeant of the Guard) and assigned to watch over the entire Alpha Block where all 3 of those detainees were housed, standing fewer than 200 feet away from those very cells. As he states in the book, he was a witness to the fact that three men were not carried from Alpha block to the medical clinic after midnight or at any time that evening, contrary to what the NCIS investigation report stated; but he was witness to three men – three alive men – being let out and taken away from their cells hours before the “suicides” were alleged by the Pentagon to have taken place. (For those familiar with recent history’s revelations that GTMO was also used as a black site for the EIT program, you can guess that they were being taken to that black site building for some “Q & A;” Sgt Hickman is very careful, however, to merely state the facts as he observes them which in my view, lends even greater credibility to his testimony. And he does state that it was a common occurrence for detainees to be removed from their cells and brought back at a later time.)

 

Haunted by his memories and how they compare to the “official version” of the night of June 9, 2006, Sgt Hickman describes the anguish that compels him to find out if his government was involved in a true cover-up. When he realizes he’ll need help to prove it — or, as he initially and optimistically hopes, to disprove any hint of conspiracy — he chooses Seton Hall University School of Law’s Center for Policy and Research based on their impressive “Report on Guantanamo Detainees: A Profile of 517 Detainees Through Analysis of Department of Defense Data” which deduced that only 8% of Guantanamo detainees were actually al qaeda fighters. The most interesting thing about Seton Hall’s team of researchers is the methodology they employ, relying only on the government’s own public reports and public federal court findings to identify contradictions and then use the process of elimination to reveal the truth, much like solving an elaborate logic square puzzle. So without knowing anything about any Joseph Hickman or his side of the story, the graduate students on the Seton Hall team focus only on the heavily redacted and incomplete 3,000 page NCIS report of the investigation into the events of June 9, 2006 and slowly but surely scrape away the layers of misdirection that inundate it. Their conclusion? Three prisoners died but not in their cells.

 

 

Three Guantanamo prisoners died on the night of June 9, 2006. But not in their cells.

 

 

Additionally, after the research team learns that the cell blocks had cameras both inside the cells and out, they are shocked to see that NCIS had made this illogical note in the report: “No video evidence is available.” Really? And conveniently, when the the bodies of the dead were sent back to their families, the families could not have their sons properly autopsied to independently verify death by hanging. Why? Because they were sent back without the necks. And then there was the repeated reference NCIS made to an unnamed Senior Medical Officer (SMO) who had examined all three of the detainees and pronounced them dead, yet, oddly, none of the investigators had taken a statement from him or her.

 

The reader soon learns that, meanwhile, the IG (Inspector General) has declined to order the FBI to investigate Sgt Hickman’s claims, and then, disappointingly, that ABC declines to air the TV interview of Sgt Hickman they had filmed (after running it by the Pentagon, they changed their mind). Harper’s magazine does run an award winning story about the deaths in 2010, but the backlash from both government officials and the mainstream media is endless. All hope seems lost when — very suddenly — the story takes an unexpected Tom Clancy turn and Sgt Hickman gets a mysterious phone call from someone whose caller id is blocked. Someone, the reader gasps to discover, within the intelligence community who won’t even say his name before rushing to alert Hickman to an obscure file on the Department of Defense website, one of over 200,000 released in response to a FOIA request, showing a memo from, and signed by, Admiral Harris – the highest ranking military official at GTMO on June 9, 2006 – to General Craddock (then head of SouthCom) encouraging him to encourage NCIS to specifically seek evidence of a suicide plot in their investigation despite the fact that NCIS had already concluded that there was not one. While this is surprising and a blatant attempt to manipulate the outcome of the investigation, this reader concluded that the real point of Unnamed Caller’s tip was to get Sgt Hickman onto the page of the DoD website with the data dump so that Hickman would eventually ask himself, “wait – if this Admiral Harris memo somehow mysteriously ended up on here, what if something else having to do with the NCIS investigation got inadvertently uploaded too?” Which something else did. Two something elses that Hickman finds after three weeks of sifting through a hay-mountain.

 

Remember the missing Senior Medical Officer’s statement? The one the Seton Hall researchers were shocked was never taken by NCIS when that person would have been the one to examine the bodies and pronounce them dead? Lo and behold, that missing page of the NCIS report was part of the same FOIA “data dump” as the Admiral Harris Memo, and in it, the Senior Medical Officer clearly states the cause of death of one of the three detainees who died on June 9, 2006, al-Zahrani: asphyxiation caused by a blockage of the airway, a result of cloth inserted through his oral cavity and into the windpipe. Not hanging. Not suicide. Cloth. Rags stuffed so far down his throat that he choked to death.

 

The second document Sgt Hickman found in the data dump was the sworn statement — three pages long — of a master-at-arms (military police officer here identified as an MA3) who said he saw al-Zahrani in the early hours of June 10, 2006 in the medical clinic still alive, but limp, his feet blue. This MA3 and his partner had been called to assist by the use of a medical brevity code that indicated a living detainee having life-threatening symptoms, a code used frequently to call responders to hunger-striking detainees who had become faint from lack of food, not one used to indicate a suicide in progress. And, this MA3 described medical staff then telling the Camp 1 guards to remove al-Zahrani’s handcuffs so an IV could be inserted. (Slightly difficult for a person to hang themselves with handcuffs on – even more odd for a person to put his or her head in a noose and get all set to jump and then put handcuffs on before jumping.) This MA3 makes 2 more astounding claims, under oath: 1) that after the handcuffs were removed, he observed a corpsman binding an altered detainee bed sheet to each of al-Zahrani’s wrists, leaving approximately a foot of cloth in between and 2) that two Combat Camera personnel began to film all three detainees before “Colonel B” stopped them.

 

Then we learn that those three pages comprising the MA3’s statement were not only removed from the 3,000 page NCIS report, but three other pages of it were copied and RE-NUMBERED BY OUR GOVERNMENT and inserted back into the 3,000 page report as if no one would ever pore over each page and realize that three pages had duplicates. (The Seton Hall students at first merely assumed those pages were misnumbered, not that they were re-numbered by a federal government employee and deliberately falsely substituted in place of the actual pages. However, I would like to give that person the benefit of the doubt, because perhaps he or she is actually a whistleblower and had planned all along to release the missing three pages during a FOIA data dump, and once they were available online, to call an IC tipster with the specific DoD website folder they were uploaded to who would then contact someone in the press if it wasn’t discovered by them without any clues.)

 

Then the plot takes a blood-curdling turn as Sgt Hickman makes another devastating discovery. And the specific horror we learn our government allowed to be inflicted on other human beings at GTMO at the direct behest of George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld defies all sense of wrong and right and knowing the difference between the two. Each detainee, upon arrival at GTMO, was given the drug mefloquine at 5 times the normal dose, a dose known to cause hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and the feeling of being terrified — non-stop — for at least 30 days. And while these human beings were being subjected to the equivalent of psychological waterboarding from the mefloquine, they would also be held in isolation. That’s the government’s word for solitary confinement which we now know can cause insanity on its own, to say nothing of combining it with pharmacological warfare.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that “Murder at Camp Delta” will be required reading in every U.S. high school’s American History class half a century from now. If only it were required reading for Congress, today. And there is a commensurate lack of doubt in my mind that this book’s author’s testimony will be instrumental in the conviction and sentencing of alleged war criminal Donald Rumsfeld. If reading this review makes you wonder what happened to your country, stop. We know what happened. A culture of vengeance-gone-wild, nurtured by Orwellian terms like “detainees” instead of prisoners, “enhanced interrogation” instead of torture and “unlawful combatants” instead of prisoners of war, a Wall Street incentivized by incredible returns on investments made in companies like Halliburton, a Congress incentivized by re-election campaign donations from behemoth national security contractors, and an entire intelligence community held hostage by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld as surely as the passengers on flights on September 11, 2001 were held hostage by terrorists, all contributed to the stain on our nation’s history that is Guantanamo Bay. Mix in a recession so damaging to national morale that Americans were too consumed with worry over imminent layoff, foreclosure and/or bankruptcy to protest the Bush Administration’s moral bankruptcy, and presto, change-o: unbridled tyranny.

 

Buy this book. Read this book. Ask your Senators and Representative to read this book. Ask the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to hold a congressional hearing to fully investigate the factual information available to them through this book and from other sources regarding the Special Access Program that, through the stroke of a secret, classified 2002 executive order issued by President Bush, turned a detention center into a battle lab, one in which the most heinous of war crimes were allegedly committed.

 

NOTES:

**Think no one at GTMO back in 2002 protested the horrors being done in the American people’s names? Think again. Hickman learned over the course of writing this book that Mark Fallon, then the deputy commander of the Criminal Investigation Task Force at Guantanamo, wrote an email to a CIA lawyer and a military lawyer about the use of torture techniques, stating, “This looks like the kind of stuff Congressional hearings are made of. Someone needs to be considering how history will look back at this.”

 

**See also the impeccable investigative reporting in this 2010 truthout article by Jason Leopold and Jeff Kaye mentioned by Sgt Hickman in the book on the use of mefloquine on all GTMO detainees as part of the “Standard Inprocessing Orders for Detainees” given in 1250 mg dosages, five times the normal dose, which the military already knew would cause “severe neuropsychiatric side effects, including seizures, intense vertigo, hallucinations, paranoid delusions, aggression, panic, anxiety, severe insomnia, and thoughts of suicide.”

Ask Congress: Make College Tuition-Free at Public Institutions

Click here for an easy to use link – simply enter your zip code and Roots Action will automatically pre-fill your 2 Senators and 1 Representative’s information. Take a second, if you wish, to compare my re-write below to their text that pops up after you enter your zip code. Mine is more specific so be sure to take out “as a consistent supporter” on the second to last line if you don’t support your Congresspeople and then enter your name where I have YOUR NAME in all caps on the last line if you are going to use my text instead of Roots Action’s text.

 

 

As your constituent, I urge you to support legislative efforts to make college tuition-free. The United States has the money to do this, as some other nations do, and the 1.2 trillion (not billion – trillion!) dollar student loan debt crisis is crippling an entire generation of potential leaders, entrepreneurs, and young families – families that choose to have only one child or no children because they simply cannot afford to.

 

 

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Please cosponsor and support S.1373, a parallel House bill, and any similar legislation that will provide America’s young people with the opportunity to pursue taxpayer funded higher education at any public institution.

 

 

Additionally, please support H.R.2429, the Student Loan Tax Debt Relief Act, which protects students from tax liability when a school closes or an agreement is reached with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to keep a school open.

 

 

As a consistent supporter, I thank you for taking the time to consider my view on this important issue.

 

 

Sincerely,
(YOUR NAME)

Why Ron Wyden’s Traitorous About Face on #FastTrack for the #TPP?

Author’s update: as of June 23, the Senate voted 60-37 to stop debate on Trade Promotion Authority, also commonly called “Fast Track” for the TPP. The next day the Senate passed TPA and on Monday, June 29, 2015, President Obama signed it into law. THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE’RE DONE FIGHTING. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement itself has not been passed – only President Obama’s ability to “fast track” it (approve it by bypassing Congress’ constitutional right to make amendments to it) BUT there is STILL time if you are reading this now. In fact, please read the inspiring comment from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch department in the 3 images below explaining that Fast Track was passed before in the late 1990’s in order to be used on the FTAA but after much public outcry, the FTAA was never even voted on! Then please sign PCGTW’s petition declaring that you will never stop fighting the TPP.

 

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The Trans Pacific Partnership “Free” Trade Agreement, if it is passed, will be nothing less than a corporate coup d’etat whose endgame is a total defunding of state and federal government via erosion of the taxpayer base through the strategic disappearance of jobs that provide the income from which that tax is collected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what happened to Senator Ron Wyden? Ron Wyden who was all “transparency is my middle name”?

 

 

He is so unconcerned about transparency nowadays that he is perfectly content to vote for the constitution-violating process known as “Fast Track” technically termed Trade Promotion Authority [TPA] because it gives all the AUTHORITY to the President (removing any amending capability from the Congress, meaning no changes whatsoever) to approve a trade agreement corporations have helped craft and members of congress can’t even keep a copy of. Seriously. Members of Congress can only read the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement in a locked room and aren’t allowed to take their cell phones or a pen inside and have been forbidden to talk about what they read. So guess who they can’t talk about it with. THEIR CONSTITUENTS. Hmm … I wonder who that would benefit.

 

 

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Corporations.

 

 

 

 

Sound like a reason for concern? Put it this way, would you sign a pre-nup before you had a look-see? This is the lawyers hashing it out, with no consent from either husband or wife regarding the terms of the final contract. (And remember, they’ll be billed hourly. Do the lawyers have a monetary incentive to make a divorce as painful and drawn out as possible? Why, yes! They DO!!)

 

 

So now that Senator Traitor, the one Senator who had the power to stop this whole messy charade in its tracks, has gone to the dark side, it’s one hundred percent relevant that he pulled this same self-serving passive-aggressive rigamarole in 2013. Section 215 ring a bell? Oh, yeah, that time he tried to entrap DNI Clapper into committing a felony and disclosing classified information about the metadata collection. Uh huh, yes, the lying under oath to Congress Snowden was rightfully pissed off about. This is what happened: Pawn Wyden put Clapper in the position of choosing — on the spot on live national television — between answering the question, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” with the word no and committing perjury OR answering the question with the word yes and committing a felony. Nice.

 

 

You can watch the exchange here starting at 3:27 (it should start playing at that moment if all embeds well):

 

 

 

But here’s how Senator Wyden has doubly betrayed his oath to the constitution: he not only already knew about Section 215 because everyone on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence knew about it because they had ALL previously been informed by Clapper himself in a private letter all the way back in 2011, but, as a US Senator, Wyden has something known as “absolute free speech.” This literally means that he could read the *unredacted* Senate Torture Report, in its entirety, on CSPAN, without repercussion. (Well, he might not get re-elected. Then again, a whole new generation might show up to the polls for him.) Or any classified redacted document … including the Section 215 letter (the one from Clapper to the SSCI outlining the metadata collection from 2011). So, instead of, say, taking a picture of it with his phone and posting it on instagram or tweeting that Section 215 letter one word at a time to all his super supportive followers and letting the ACLU know he’s got some juicy retweet fodder, what does he do? He asks a question he knows the DNI is forbidden to answer truthfully when all along, Wyden could have blown the whistle himself! And should have! What a passive-aggressive hypocrite. To really put it in perspective, Wyden could have done exactly what Snowden ended up doing before Snowden — and maybe Snowden never would have!

 

 

To really put it in perspective, Wyden could have done exactly what Snowden ended up doing before Snowden — and maybe Snowden never would have!

 

Ironically, Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA, put it best: “Ron Wyden was trying to trick Jim Clapper into making an admission of classified information that Ron Wyden didn’t have the courage to make himself.” Really think about that (and you can watch him say it in the video below starting at 1:01:50). Hayden is not only saying that Wyden is a coward, he’s saying that if Wyden HAD had the balls to tell the People about Section 215, it would have been courageous! An act of bravery to disclose that classified information. Michael Hayden probably didn’t even realize what he said but his words are tantamount to a request for whistleblowing.

 

 

Once again, my tweets say it shortest and sweetest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now watch this incredible short video made by true patriot Congressman Alan Grayson on the economic evisceration perpetrated by our Congress against our country through NAFTA, and how the TPP is NAFTA on steroids. Anyone who supports the TPP actively desires not only the erosion of our income tax base through the disappearance of our INCOME (via the elimination of our JOBS), they actively desire that we no longer have funds to pay the public servants who make up the agencies of our federal government. Then ask yourself who benefits if we can no longer afford to have a functioning FBI, CIA, FTC, or even an FDA. Now how about a functioning Justice Department. Guess everyone could just languish in prison till they die and never get a trial. Gee, who benefits from that?

 

 

 

 

There’s still time. PLEASE call your Senators and ask them to vote NO on TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) aka Fast Track and no on the TPP altogether. What they need to hear you say are these exact words: “If you vote for TPA, I will vote for your opponent come election day.” Click here to find your Senator’s phone #.

 

 

And oh, yeah, this little reminder about Wyden and Nike sleeping together in the same filthy bed.

 

Go See the Interview with @JamesFrancoTV and @SethRogen Right Now! It’s HILARIOUS.

If you haven’t already seen the Interview, go see it in the theater if possible OR stream it on youtube.

 

 

I’d never seen James Franco or Seth Rogen together on screen before and let me tell you, they are hilarious. Rogen’s portrayal of no-nonsense, i-dotting, t-crossing, worrywart tv producer Aaron Rapoport is the perfect straight man to Franco’s embodiment of the off the wall, spectacularly horny, nosey, patriotic (not necessarily in that order) tv star Dave Skylark. And there are real twinges of sadness in the movie that both actors never reduce to maudlin plot development requirements. These are two really really talented people. Who made a very very raunchy, crass, sexed-up, piece of political satire.

 

 

My favorite kind!

 
Spoilers ahead.

 

 

 

As a brief recap, in case you missed the news, Sony got hacked (probably by North Korea, says the FBI) and this group of hackers also threatened “9/11 style” attacks on any theaters who chose to show “the Interview” (a Sony Picture) because the premise is a CIA plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un and at one point in the movie, his death via firey head explosion is depicted. North Korea called the movie itself “an act of war.” So all these movie theaters across the country were afraid of these so called 9/11 style attacks. Now if you have a brain in your head, you’re probably shaking it, going, what were they going to drop on us? water balloons? Using logic: let’s say NK does have [working] nukes. Do they want to have a nuclear war? No, because Kim Jong Un wants to live, not die. He wants to stay the dictator of a fascist regime. So is he going to attack the US with nuclear weapons? No. Because then he’d die. Or worse, for people with fascist personality disorder, he’d be alive but no longer have a regime to rule over totalitarianistically. Yes, that is totally a word. Now.

 

 

The best part of this movie is that it is the truest kind of political satire – no one walks away unsatirized. “The Interview” pokes fun at the CIA, the United States, our popular culture AND North Korea’s supreme leader.

 

 

 

So all these movie theaters pull out at the last minute, crying, oh no! the sky is falling! we don’t want our patrons to be attacked while watching this movie! (read: we don’t want to get sued because all we think about is money) and decide not to show it. So many theaters that Sony decides not to release the movie at all, period! And President Obama is going, “Really, Sony? You couldn’t have talked to me first before you cancel the release of this movie everyone has been anticipating for months? Cuz I could have told you that there is no credible threat to our national security, you idiots.” Except I think he said it in that uberdiplomatic Obama way. So then Sony is like, okay, okay, if theaters want to show it, they can AND we’ll also stream it online. And then a few days after that, the NSA hacked in to North Korea’s internet and kept them in the dark for 9 hours. Er … somebody did. Whether or not it was the NSA, we don’t know. And by we don’t know, I mean, we don’t know. They should have kept North Korea off grid for nine days.

 

 

 

And why? Because freedom of speech. The 1st Amendment. The Bill of Rights. That’s the deal with freedom. I might disagree with you and you might disagree with me. We both get to talk. We both get to write. We both get to make movies and we both get to watch them – or not watch them. We get the choice. To paraphrase Voltaire: I may detest what you say, but your right to say it is worth dying for. (So go thank a vet!)

 

 
One of the funniest and most understated bits in the movie (yes, I’m getting to the actual storyline – but really, what a bunch of deballed cowards at Sony; as Seth Rogen put it, since when do we let North Korea decide which movies play in the US?) is when the two CIA officers first visit Dave and Aaron to pitch the idea of killing Kim to them and there are dirty wine and shot glasses everywhere and cocaine all over the dining table. Now Aaron quickly explains to Agent Lacey that it’s not their cocaine, but Dave – hospitable, warm, welcoming Dave Skylark – offers her some! Because that’s the polite thing to do when the CIA comes over: offer up your best coke, ladies and gentlemen. The viewer and Aaron quickly catch on to the fact that Dave is being honeypotted because, as Aaron points out, Agent Lacey has all three of the things he loves, “bangs, huge tits, and glasses.” And the combination works; Dave agrees to participate in the assassination plot. Later when they go to CIA headquarters to do a dry run of the poisonous handshake assassination technique, Agent Lacey isn’t wearing the glasses. Obviously lying, she says she got Lasik.

 

 

 

Dave: “I know what you did to me – with the glasses – honeycombed me.”

Agent Lacey: “What does that even mean.”

Aaron: “You honey potted him – [to Dave] it’s honey pot – you honey potted him.”

Agent Lacey: “No, I didn’t.”

Aaron: “You did honey pot him. I bet you got him [referring to her partner agent] in here as a honey dick just in case I’m gay but I’m not but if I was I would have seen him coming a mile away.”

Dave: “You honey dick him?”

Male CIA: “She’s not honeypotting you and I’m not honeydicking him.”

Agent Lacey: “It’s very offensive because basically if you think about it, what you’re saying to me, you’re saying because I’m a girl, and because I’m attractive, my only use for this agency would be to manipulate men.”

Dave: “I think it’s offensive too!”

 

 

 

Nice. Nice commentary on the CIA, on the federal government’s exploitation of fertility and virility traits, such as beauty, strength, prowess, cunning, etc, for a greater good (men are just as exploited for their masculinity as women are for their femininity over at Fed Gov) and yet another moment in the movie where we see that Dave is really this teenage boy in a man’s body who just loves women and is a chivalrous sweetheart deep down and Aaron is his best friend and the best kind of friend: a loyal, protective defender. I won’t spoil this next part but you’ve got to see in this same scene what Dave refers to as “the money shot.” In comedy, timing is everything. The four actors in this scene nail it. Perfect timing. Perfect facial expressions. Perfect moments of silence, perfect rapport. This movie is so funny that I literally laughed for almost the whole two hours.

 

 

 

Another vivid character in the movie is Sook, the self-described “propagandist for a totalitarian dictatorship.” She tells Aaron, amidst a burgeoning romance between them, how when she was a young girl, she was pulled out of her classroom at school and “selected” to serve the Jong family as a member of Kim’s staff. She doesn’t say how young she was and neither she nor Aaron clarify what kind of service specifically her role entailed at the beginning of her tenure, but we know. And the movie doesn’t shy away from pointing out the 2 x 4 in our own government’s eye when it comes to the foibles of a hyper-interventionist foreign policy in this scene either. Sook and Aaron are practically naked in Aaron’s bed when Dave bursts in; Sook hides under the covers. After getting a glimpse of Kim’s true nature, Dave is finally ready to go through with the handshake plan.

 

 

 

Dave: “I wanna know if you still have that poison so we can kill that mothafucka!”

Sook (erupting from underneath a hill of covers): “What?!?”

Aaron (leaping in front of Dave who’s about to karate chop Sook): “She’s on our side!”

Sook: “I hate Kim – he is a terrible leader.”

Aaron: “See? She can help us kill him!”

Sook: “What? No! No killing! How many times can the US make the same mistake?”

Dave: “As many times as it takes!”

 

*This is so so funny and sad at the same time. And it’s one of the reasons I enjoyed this movie so much. In previous blog posts and youtube videos, I’ve talked about the “dark gray area” that intervention often leads us into as a nation. This movie isn’t afraid to go there either.

 

Sook continues to explain, using logic: “Killing Kim won’t change anything! He will be replaced. He has brothers, he has other generals. The people need to be shown that he is not a god, that he is a man. Then they will be ready for change.”

Dave: “Yeah. How?”

Sook: “Interviewing him: everyone in North Korea will be watching.”

Dave: “The interview’s scripted – his people are never gonna let me ask real questions.”

Sook: “Dave, I am his people.”

Aaron: “You get Kim to cry like a baby – they’ll know he’s not a god.”

 

 

 

During the actual interview, Dave succeeds, using charm and a disarming combination of warmth and confidence, in drawing out the true Kim, and all of North Korea gets to see that he is not in fact a god. Once again, the filmmakers also allowed an unflattering tidbit about the US to be revealed when Kim remarks to Dave that the US has more incarcerated people per capita than North Korea. True enough. A battle in the studio’s control room ensues as Sook and Aaron fight off Kim’s minions to keep the show broadcasting live to the people, and a revolution is sparked with the incendiary flame of information.

 

 

 

Without spoiling too much of the ending, let me say that my favorite part is during the follow-up montage, where we see North Korea having democratic elections. That alone would be cause for the real Kim Jong Un to declare the movie an act of war. But the biggest threat to his or any fascist regime is the movie’s message that an assassination of character can be far more effective than an actual assassination.

 

 

 

Go out and see it, stream it – do both if possible. Watching it is an act of patriotism in this situation because any attempt by one state to censor or inhibit the free flow of information among members of another state is totally unacceptable, morally reprehensible, and calls for resistance and defiance.

 

 

 

 
“The Interview” is hilarious and awesome. Thank you, James and Seth! You made a great movie.

 

 

 

*Or watch some honeypotting preview action here:
For some reason, the “weapon of ass destruction” line wasn’t in the actual movie. It’s funny as hell in the trailer though!

 

 

I was a lobbyist for a day! Promoting Net Neutrality for We The People

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Me and the Crew in Senator Klobuchar’s Minneapolis Office with her staffer Adam (to my immediate left)

My first experience as a lobbyist went great – ok, I got lost on the way there and one of Senator Klobuchar’s kind staffers had to literally guide me as I walked down Washington Ave, providing visual landmarks for me to find my way. But other than THAT. (Oh, yes! I was using google maps. How did you know?)

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Me delivering the “Ask.”

The beauty of this particular meeting was that it was arranged by Free Press, an organization in Massachusetts dedicated to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. They sent an email to all their members — in every state — asking us if anyone was interested in visiting their Senator in person to ask for a commitment on net neutrality. So thanks to Free Press who really made this day happen on the back end – I just had to show up! The funny thing, the lovely Rachel at Free Press explained during our first call, was that this would technically be an act of lobbying … which would make me, technically, a lobbyist! Instantly, an image of Glenda the Good Witch asking me, “Are you a good lobbyist or a bad lobbyist?” popped into my head. (Good, good!!)

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Each person got a chance to speak.
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Senator Klobuchar’s staffer Adam listened intently to each person’s concerns.

The other great thing was that we had a teleconference the night  before (moderated by the awesome Candace at Free Press) which allowed us to get to know each other a little bit and decide who was going to be the Note-taker, the Photographer, the Introducer, and the Asker. I volunteered to do the formal ask, where I would specifically say what it is that we were asking for as a group. I was definitely nervous the night before but really excited on the train on the way there. I kept repeating my ask over and over in my head as I chugged extra strong coffee. I had met Senator Klobuchar at the net neutrality meeting she had hosted with former FCC Chairman Genachowski back in 2010 at the U of M’s Carlson School of Business so I reminded myself to mention that too.

The first part of the meeting (which only lasted about 25 minutes total) consisted of each of us introducing ourselves and saying why net neutrality was important to us. I said that as an independent blogger, I want to know that my website will load just as quickly and easily as the New York Times’ website. Even though I don’t have any corporate backers, my voice should matter just as much and be just as easily heard by those who want to hear it. I stressed that I agreed with Senator Franken that at the deepest level, Net Neutrality is a 1st Amendment issue because it comes down to freedom of speech.

For some constituents, their reasoning was as simple as content shouldn’t be discriminated against (or shown preference toward) by Internet Service Providers, period (agree, agree! hear hear!) and for others it was about their livelihood – their profession – being dependent on an internet that allows their clients and customers to be able to reach them. Everyone I met was totally awesome and passionate about the importance of equality online and Adam, Senator Klobuchar’s aide, was totally welcoming and attentive during the entire session.

I wrapped it up with the formal ask, first saying that I was a longtime supporter of Senator Klobuchar’s and had voted for her twice now, first in 2006 and again in 2012, and that I knew she was a proponent of an open internet because she had hosted the meeting with the former FCC Chairman back in 2010, where I had briefly gotten to say hello to her, and that we all were appreciative of her efforts. Then I gave The Ask: We ask Senator Klobuchar to make a strong public statement in support of the FCC reclassifying broadband internet as a telecommunications service instead of an information service under Title II of the Communications Act which would allow the FCC to write and enforce rules that prevent the blocking and discrimination of content online by Internet Service Providers. One of my fellow lobbyists, Chad, suggested I email Adam directly the words of the ask and cc all of the others in the meeting so that Senator Klobuchar would have the words to review herself — Adam agreed that would be a good idea and replied back to us the very same day that he would get an answer for us and reply shortly.

If you have not made your own comment to the FCC in support of Net Neutrality, here is one link (you can also go straight to the FCC’s website but this one by US PIRG is easiest because they provide text for you). Here is what I said – and feel free to copy/paste it:
Please reclassify broadband internet as a telecommunications service instead of an information service which would allow the FCC to write and enforce rules that prevent the blocking and discrimination of content online by ISP’s. Please do not allow fast lanes and slow lanes on the internet.

Here’s me talking about it in Day 96 of my ongoing series, “A Year in the Life of the Progressive Patriot.”

Ask your Congressperson and Senators: Please Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership

 

There’s still time to prevent the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement, a.k.a. NAFTA on steroids, from becoming the law of the land. Please click this Roots Action link and enter your zip code. There you will see a form letter that you can edit to your satisfaction which will be sent to the President, your two U.S. Senators and your one Representative. The text they provide is very short, so please feel free to copy and paste my letter below and use that text instead. It is almost verbatim the text that Public Citizen provides on this “Expose the TPP” page.

 

As your constituent, I urge you to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

 

The TPP would provide big banks with a backdoor means of rolling back efforts to re-regulate Wall Street in the wake of the global economic crisis.

 

The TPP would require domestic law to conform to the now-rejected model of extreme deregulation that caused the crisis. The TPP would forbid countries from banning particularly risky financial products, such as the toxic derivatives that led to the $183 billion government bailout of AIG.

 

The TPP would threaten the use of “firewalls” – policies that are employed to stop the spread of risk between different types of financial institutions and products. While many in the United States have called for a reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, that helped eliminate banking crises for four decades by prohibiting deposit-holding commercial banks from dealing in risky investments, the TPP would bar such reform. The TPP would ban capital controls, an essential policy tool to counter destabilizing flows of speculative money. Even the International Monetary Fund has recently endorsed capital controls as legitimate for mitigating or preventing financial crises.

 

The TPP would prohibit taxes on Wall Street speculation. That means that there would be no hope of passing proposals like the Robin Hood Tax, which would impose a tiny tax on Wall Street transactions to tamp down speculation-fueled volatility while generating hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of revenue for social, health, or environmental causes.

 

The TPP would empower financial firms to directly attack these government policies in foreign tribunals, and demand taxpayer compensation for policies they claim undermine their expected future profits.

 

At the core of this unjust trade agreement is the violation of our own United States Constitution because the TPP would render the decisions of secret tribunals sovereign to the decisions of our own courts. Please commit to opposing the TPP and using your considerable influence as a member of Congress to prevent this  tragedy from becoming the law of the land.

 

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Take Action: Ask Senator Franken & Judiciary Subcommittee to Release the Memos on Obama Administration’s Targeted Killing Program Using Drones

From my friends at the ACLU: Help the ACLU of Minnesota protect civil liberties

Ask the hard questions about the government’s secret killing program.
On Tuesday, April 23, the Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on drones and the targeted killing program in which an estimated 4,700 people across two continents have been killed, including four American citizens.  Please send Senator Franken a clear, strong message that you are watching and are expecting him to ask the hard questions about the government’s secret killing program.  And, on Tuesday at 10 am, you can tune in to the hearing here. 
Here’s the letter I sent to Senator Franken; part of it is form letter that the ACLU provided. The parallel drawn between viewing bin laden’s 9/11 airplanes as manned aerial vehicles and viewing drones as unmanned aerial vehicles is my own.
Dear Senator Franken,
I am thrilled that the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee is about to hold its first-ever hearing on drones and the killing program that has killed an estimated 4,700 people across two continents, including four American citizens. I am grateful to the many Senators who have been calling on the Obama administration to release its legal memos on when it believes any president can order the Pentagon and the CIA to kill people far from any battlefield.

Terrorists are supposed to be the ones who execute people they determine to be criminals without the charging of the accused with a crime, without affording them a jury trial, and without obtaining a guilty verdict first. Not the United States.Whether terrorists orchestrate flying manned aerial vehicles (airplanes) into buildings in order to execute people they believe to be guilty or our government orchestrates flying unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) into sovereign airspace in order to execute people it believes to be guilty, the result is the same: the violation of the longstanding principles of the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof, and due process via jury trials in courtrooms where evidence of premeditation and guilt are presented. When bin laden’s attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 led to the onset of the War on Terror, he was attempting to achieve the eventual financial destruction of our country. He didn’t succeed. Let his legacy not be the destruction of our 5th Amendment and due process in a court of law. Let bin laden’s legacy not be the destruction of what President Obama called in 2009 our strongest currency in the world, our moral authority.

 

 

Ordering the execution of human beings without charge or trial is what bin laden would have done — and did do. Targeted killing via the usage of drones is not only unconstitutional, immoral and unjust, it’s what terrorists would do.

While some senators have seen a handful of the eleven legal memos, it is imperative that all of the memos be available to all members of Congress and that minimally redacted copies be made public. And it is paramount that the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee charged with enforcing the rule of law, conduct robust oversight of the killing program.  I will be watching the hearing on Tuesday, and I want to hear you ask hard questions and demand clear answers about when the administration claims broad authority to kill people, including American citizens, far from any battlefield.
Sincerely,
Sarah Reynolds

What a fascist regime looks like

Question: What does a fascist regime look like?

Answer: Russia.

 

 

In Russia, if you criticize the government in public, you end up in prison. What will the charge be? “Hooliganism.” The women of the Rock Group “Pussy Riot” did exactly this in February of 2012 by shouting, “Mother Mary, please drive Putin away,” in a protest act inside Christ Savior Cathedral in Moscow. Today, October 1, is their appeal trial. Before taking action and signing the petition below, let’s reflect on how lucky we are in the United States to have our multiple rights to freedom of expression (specifically, freedom of speech, the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and freedom of religion) protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Now let’s reflect on the irony. These women were praying for mercy from the tyranny of a fascist regime, out loud, in public.

From my friends at Avaaz:

“Facing 2 years in jail for singing a song criticizing President Putin in a church, a member of Pussy Riot gestured to the court and said in her show-trial’s closing statements, “Despite the fact that we are physically here, we are freer than everyone sitting across from us … We can say anything we want…”

Russia is steadily slipping into the grip of a new autocracy — clamping down on public protest, allegedly rigging elections, intimidating media, banning gay rights parades for 100 years, and even beating critics like chess master Garry Kasparov. But many Russian citizens remain defiant, and Pussy Riot’s eloquent bravery has galvanized the world’s solidarity. Now, our best chance to prove to Putin there is a price to pay for this repression lies with Europe.”

 

 

Sound familiar? The Dixie Chicks protested the U.S government in 2003 during a London concert ten days before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when lead vocalist Maines said, “we don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States [George W. Bush] is from Texas.” Only they didn’t end up in prison.

 

 

Please join me in signing the petition from my friends at Amnesty International:

“As an Amnesty activist, you know we don’t need a bulldozer to free a prisoner – just the power of our voices. And we need your voice more than ever as [the women of members of the rock band] Pussy Riot face[s] an appeal hearing on October 1st.

Turn up the volume of protest to end the political persecution of Pussy Riot. Send your message calling for the unconditional release of Nadya, Masha and Katja.

Nadya and the other members of Pussy Riot went to the cathedral to give Russia – and the rest of the world – a wake-up call. They felt it was their civic duty to expose the corruption and repression they saw.

Pussy Riot stood up for their ideals. As artistic expression. Nonviolently. Legally.

Except, of course, in Putin’s Russia, where their dissent was stifled and condemned as “hooliganism.”

But there is hope. The world is watching. Last week, Pyotr Verzilov travelled with his daughter Gera to the United States to work with Amnesty to raise awareness for his wife’s case. During the Amnesty International Youth Town Hall, Aung San Suu Kyi met with Pyotr and Gera and called for the release of the women. With Amnesty at her side, Yoko Ono gave the band the LennonOno Grant for Peace to honor their courage.

During their visit, Pyotr expressed how moved he was by your advocacy on behalf of his wife and the other courageous women imprisoned for expressing their opinions peacefully:

“We are grateful to Amnesty International for your work on the case and all of your support. The most important thing you can do is rally people. We need your voices.”

Use your voice to tell the Russian authorities to release Nadya, Masha and Katja. Take a stand for free speech and human rights before Pussy Riot’s Oct. 1 appeal hearing.

In solidarity,

Michelle Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns & Programs
Amnesty International USA”

 

 

Here’s the letter I sent to Russia’s Prosecutor General today:

“I am deeply concerned about the imprisonment of Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova for performing a protest song in a cathedral as part of the feminist punk group “Pussy Riot” on February 21, 2012.

The two-year prison sentence handed down to Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova  is far too severe. The cathedral performance was a peaceful protest against President Vladimir Putin and those leaders of the Orthodox Church who have supported his repressive tactics.

While it is true that many Russians were offended by Pussy Riot’s actions, the women never incited violence and they do not deserve prison terms. They were prosecuted for political reasons and they are prisoners of conscience.

I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release the three imprisoned members of Pussy Riot. It is up to you to uphold the fundamental right to freedom of expression in Russia and ensure that there are no additional arrests or trials related to this case.”

 

 

Let’s take action and join our voices in protesting injustice and objecting to government abuse of power anywhere and everywhere on Earth.

Bring Back Glass-Steagall and End Too Big To Fail

I just signed the petition to end “too big to fail” banks who had gotten so big in 2008 that when their risky investments went bust, their ruin threatened our entire economy. And instead of demanding a return to the commonsense and time-tested Glass-Steagall Act (which was passed in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression because of the banks’ role in causing it), President Bush and Congress handed the banks big bailouts, paid for with our tax dollars and inflation of the money supply by the Federal Reserve.

 

Now, the consummate Wall Street insider, Sandy Weill, who successfully lobbied Congress to tear down the walls between Main Street banks and Wall Street by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 (after which he proceeded to build Citibank into the financial behemoth Citigroup), has come out on national television against the very changes he had advocated, the changes which helped create the “too big to fail” financial giants, saying:

 

What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking…Have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not too big to fail.. That means we need to press our solution hard enough for them to hear us on the rest of Wall Street — and in Washington.

 

Let’s NEVER let these behemoth banks hold our economy hostage again. Let’s end “too big to fail.” Please join me in protesting the tragic injustice of the repeal of Glass-Steagall in ’99 and objecting to the abuse of power by authority that Congress and President Clinton perpetrated against an entire nation by not doing everything in their power to stop it.

 

This image came from the website of economic journalist Barry Ritholtz.

Take Action: Ask the House of Representatives to Impeach Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

I just learned from my friends at The Other 98% that Justice Clarence Thomas, along with Justice Antonin Scalia, has accepted paid vacations and speaking engagements at conservative think tanks, Koch Brother strategy retreats, and other conflict-of-interest-laden gatherings, just weeks before ruling on cases involving these groups, including Citizens United. This is a true tragedy, my fellow millennials and activists. How did we get here, to a reality where a United States Supreme Court Justice, while checking his online bank account in the morning, asks himself, “Hey, where did this million dollars come from? Oh, yeah, the health insurance company lobbyists who ‘suggested’ I decide the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.” We got here on the smooth road of Apathy and it was paved courtesy of a small group of people whose hearts are closed and cannot feel Love. After forgiving them, we are filled with all the passion for Truth and Justice that every member of the Supreme Court would ideally embody. With this passion and faith in the checks and balances of The System, I urge you to join me in signing this petition.

 

 

From The Other 98%:

Enough. Is. Enough.

It’s time to impeach Clarence Thomas.

We have a right to expect our Supreme Court to be impartial, fair, non-partisan and uncorrupted by money and access – but Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has so flagrantly betrayed these expectations, that there is no recourse left but to introduce articles of impeachment.

Justice Thomas “neglected” to report nearly a million dollars in household income made from lobbying related to cases before the court – and then, only made the disclosures when forced by legal obligation.

It’s time to impeach Clarence Thomas.

Justice Thomas ignored the calls of 75 members of Congress (and over 100,000 Other 98% activists) to recuse himself from the Affordable Care Act ruling, despite standing to gain millions of dollars in household income through future anti-healthcare lobbying. He then ruled in a way that would make himself richer anyway.

It’s time to impeach Clarence Thomas.

Justice Thomas, along with Justice Antonin Scalia, has accepted paid vacation junkets and speaking engagements at conservative think tanks, Koch Brother strategy retreats, and Tea Party gatherings – in a few cases just weeks before ruling on cases these interests had before the court, including Citizens United.

It’s time to impeach Clarence Thomas.

Justice Thomas has made his partisan allegiances clear. And we must act. It is time to remove this corporate servant from a position where he can continue to cripple our democracy.

Any member of the House of Representatives can introduce the motion to Impeach – it literally takes a single member of Congress brave enough to do the right thing.

This simple step could do wonders for our national discourse – sending a clear message to members of the Court that they act in the public eye, and can no longer let their lifetime appointment be a cover for blatant corruption.

Let’s take that step together.

Take Action: Ask your Senators to pass the DISCLOSE Act

From Public Citizen:

Shine Sunlight on Election Spending

Tell Your Senators to Pass the DISCLOSE Act

If a group is trying to influence your vote, then you should know who is paying them to do so.

That is the commonsense principle behind the DISCLOSE Act (S. 2219, H.R. 4010) – a bill to require that the identities of those who fund election-season political ads be disclosed to the public, regardless of whether that funding comes from corporations, labor unions or millionaires and billionaires.

Use the form below to tell your senators to support the DISCLOSE Act.

Please type your zip code into the box below. Then take a moment to add your own words to the email message that appears. This greatly increases the likelihood that your message will make a difference. You can also ask your senators to support the DISCLOSE Act by phone by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Let us know how it goes with an email to action (at) citizen (dot) org!

 

 

Click here to take this action on Public Citizen’s website. And here’s me calling Senator Franken and Senator Klobuchar: