Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011-07-31 "8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance; The ruling elite has created social institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance" by Bruce E. Levine
Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.
Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it. A 2010 Gallup poll asked Americans “Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?” Among 18- to 34-years-olds, 76 percent of them said no. Yet despite their lack of confidence in the availability of Social Security for them, few have demanded it be shored up by more fairly payroll-taxing the wealthy; most appear resigned to having more money deducted from their paychecks for Social Security, even though they don’t believe it will be around to benefit them.
How exactly has American society subdued young Americans?

1. Student-Loan Debt.
Large debt—and the fear it creates—is a pacifying force. There was no tuition at the City University of New York when I attended one of its colleges in the 1970s, a time when tuition at many U.S. public universities was so affordable that it was easy to get a B.A. and even a graduate degree without accruing any student-loan debt. While those days are gone in the United States, public universities continue to be free in the Arab world and are either free or with very low fees in many countries throughout the world. The millions of young Iranians who risked getting shot to protest their disputed 2009 presidential election, the millions of young Egyptians who risked their lives earlier this year to eliminate Mubarak, and the millions of young Americans who demonstrated against the Vietnam War all had in common the absence of pacifying huge student-loan debt.
Today in the United States, two-thirds of graduating seniors at four-year colleges have student-loan debt, including over 62 percent of public university graduates. While average undergraduate debt is close to $25,000, I increasingly talk to college graduates with closer to $100,000 in student-loan debt. During the time in one’s life when it should be easiest to resist authority because one does not yet have family responsibilities, many young people worry about the cost of bucking authority, losing their job, and being unable to pay an ever-increasing debt. In a vicious cycle, student debt has a subduing effect on activism, and political passivity makes it more likely that students will accept such debt as a natural part of life.

2. Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance.
In 1955, Erich Fromm, the then widely respected anti-authoritarian leftist psychoanalyst, wrote, “Today the function of psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis threatens to become the tool in the manipulation of man.” Fromm died in 1980, the same year that an increasingly authoritarian America elected Ronald Reagan president, and an increasingly authoritarian American Psychiatric Association added to their diagnostic bible (then the DSM-III) disruptive mental disorders for children and teenagers such as the increasingly popular “oppositional defiant disorder” (ODD). The official symptoms of ODD include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules,” “often argues with adults,” and “often deliberately does things to annoy other people.”
Many of America’s greatest activists including Saul Alinsky (1909–1972), the legendary organizer and author of Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals, would today certainly be diagnosed with ODD and other disruptive disorders. Recalling his childhood, Alinsky said, “I never thought of walking on the grass until I saw a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass.’ Then I would stomp all over it.” Heavily tranquilizing antipsychotic drugs (e.g. Zyprexa and Risperdal) are now the highest grossing class of medication in the United States ($16 billion in 2010); a major reason for this, according to theJournal of the American Medical Association in 2010, is that many children receiving antipsychotic drugs have nonpsychotic diagnoses such as ODD or some other disruptive disorder (this especially true of Medicaid-covered pediatric patients).

3. Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy.
Upon accepting the New York City Teacher of the Year Award on January 31, 1990, John Taylor Gatto upset many in attendance by stating: “The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions.” A generation ago, the problem of compulsory schooling as a vehicle for an authoritarian society was widely discussed, but as this problem has gotten worse, it is seldom discussed.
The nature of most classrooms, regardless of the subject matter, socializes students to be passive and directed by others, to follow orders, to take seriously the rewards and punishments of authorities, to pretend to care about things they don’t care about, and that they are impotent to affect their situation. A teacher can lecture about democracy, but schools are essentially undemocratic places, and so democracy is not what is instilled in students. Jonathan Kozol in The Night Is Dark and I Am Far from Home focused on how school breaks us from courageous actions. Kozol explains how our schools teach us a kind of “inert concern” in which “caring”—in and of itself and without risking the consequences of actual action—is considered “ethical.” School teaches us that we are “moral and mature” if we politely assert our concerns, but the essence of school—its demand for compliance—teaches us not to act in a friction-causing manner.

4. “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.”
The corporatocracy has figured out a way to make our already authoritarian schools even more authoritarian. Democrat-Republican bipartisanship has resulted in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, NAFTA, the PATRIOT Act, the War on Drugs, the Wall Street bailout, and educational policies such as “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” These policies are essentially standardized-testing tyranny that creates fear, which is antithetical to education for a democratic society. Fear forces students and teachers to constantly focus on the demands of test creators; it crushes curiosity, critical thinking, questioning authority, and challenging and resisting illegitimate authority. In a more democratic and less authoritarian society, one would evaluate the effectiveness of a teacher not by corporatocracy-sanctioned standardized tests but by asking students, parents, and a community if a teacher is inspiring students to be more curious, to read more, to learn independently, to enjoy thinking critically, to question authorities, and to challenge illegitimate authorities.

5. Shaming Young People Who Take Education—But Not Their Schooling—Seriously.
In a 2006 survey in the United States, it was found that 40 percent of children between first and third grade read every day, but by fourth grade, that rate declined to 29 percent. Despite the anti-educational impact of standard schools, children and their parents are increasingly propagandized to believe that disliking school means disliking learning. That was not always the case in the United States. Mark Twain famously said, “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.” Toward the end of Twain’s life in 1900, only 6 percent of Americans graduated high school. Today, approximately 85 percent of Americans graduate high school, but this is good enough for Barack Obama who told us in 2009, “And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country.”
The more schooling Americans get, however, the more politically ignorant they are of America’s ongoing class war, and the more incapable they are of challenging the ruling class. In the 1880s and 1890s, American farmers with little or no schooling created a Populist movement that organized America’s largest-scale working people’s cooperative, formed a People’s Party that received 8 percent of the vote in 1892 presidential election, designed a “subtreasury” plan (that had it been implemented would have allowed easier credit for farmers and broke the power of large banks) and sent 40,000 lecturers across America to articulate it, and evidenced all kinds of sophisticated political ideas, strategies and tactics absent today from America’s well-schooled population. Today, Americans who lack college degrees are increasingly shamed as “losers”; however, Gore Vidal and George Carlin, two of America’s most astute and articulate critics of the corporatocracy, never went to college, and Carlin dropped out of school in the ninth grade.

6. The Normalization of Surveillance.
The fear of being surveilled makes a population easier to control. While the National Security Agency (NSA) has received publicity for monitoring American citizen’s email and phone conversations, and while employer surveillance has become increasingly common in the United States, young Americans have become increasingly acquiescent to corporatocracy surveillance because, beginning at a young age, surveillance is routine in their lives. Parents routinely check Web sites for their kid’s latest test grades and completed assignments, and just like employers, are monitoring their children’s computers and Facebook pages. Some parents use the GPS in their children’s cell phones to track their whereabouts, and other parents have video cameras in their homes. Increasingly, I talk with young people who lack the confidence that they can even pull off a party when their parents are out of town, and so how much confidence are they going to have about pulling off a democratic movement below the radar of authorities?

7. Television.
In 2009, the Nielsen Company reported that TV viewing in the United States is at an all-time high if one includes the following “three screens”: a television set, a laptop/personal computer, and a cell phone. American children average eight hours a day on TV, video games, movies, the Internet, cell phones, iPods, and other technologies (not including school-related use). Many progressives are concerned about the concentrated control of content by the corporate media, but the mere act of watching TV—regardless of the programming—is the primary pacifying agent (private-enterprise prisons have recognized that providing inmates with cable television can be a more economical method to keep them quiet and subdued than it would be to hire more guards).
Television is a dream come true for an authoritarian society: those with the most money own most of what people see; fear-based television programming makes people more afraid and distrustful of one another, which is good for the ruling elite who depend on a “divide and conquer” strategy; TV isolates people so they are not joining together to create resistance to authorities; and regardless of the programming, TV viewers’ brainwaves slow down, transforming them closer to a hypnotic state that makes it difficult to think critically. While playing a video games is not as zombifying as passively viewing TV, such games have become for many boys and young men their only experience of potency, and this “virtual potency” is certainly no threat to the ruling elite.

8. Fundamentalist Religion and Fundamentalist Consumerism.
American culture offers young Americans the “choices” of fundamentalist religion and fundamentalist consumerism. All varieties of fundamentalism narrow one’s focus and inhibit critical thinking. While some progressives are fond of calling fundamentalist religion the “opiate of the masses,” they too often neglect the pacifying nature of America’s other major fundamentalism. Fundamentalist consumerism pacifies young Americans in a variety of ways. Fundamentalist consumerism destroys self-reliance, creating people who feel completely dependent on others and who are thus more likely to turn over decision-making power to authorities, the precise mind-set that the ruling elite loves to see. A fundamentalist consumer culture legitimizes advertising, propaganda, and all kinds of manipulations, including lies; and when a society gives legitimacy to lies and manipulativeness, it destroys the capacity of people to trust one another and form democratic movements. Fundamentalist consumerism also promotes self-absorption, which makes it difficult for the solidarity necessary for democratic movements.

These are not the only aspects of our culture that are subduing young Americans and crushing their resistance to domination. The food-industrial complex has helped create an epidemic of childhood obesity, depression, and passivity. The prison-industrial complex keeps young anti-authoritarians “in line” (now by the fear that they may come before judges such as the two Pennsylvania ones who took $2.6 million from private-industry prisons to ensure that juveniles were incarcerated). As Ralph Waldo Emerson observed: “All our things are right and wrong together. The wave of evil washes all our institutions alike.”

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sovereign Citizen Movement

2011-07-30 "Pachyderms hear about sovereign citizens" by NICK ROTUNNO
COEUR d'ALENE - Talking through a slide presentation at Jonesy's restaurant, Paul Finman described in detail the beliefs and habits of so-called sovereign citizens.
They generally live in isolation, he said, off in the woods someplace.
They like to be left alone. Some establish illegal businesses - the cultivation of drugs, for instance - as a means of income.
And they're usually armed.
"These people, they mostly come from out of state," he said.
Finman, the technical director at LCF Enterprises in Post Falls, addressed a gathering of North Idaho Pachyderms on Friday morning, including Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, and Rep. Marge Chadderdon, R-Coeur d'Alene.
They listened as Finman discussed North Idaho's sovereign citizens and the dangers they might pose.
"It was extremely interesting," said Jim Connell of Hayden. "I had not heard about Idahoans living that way. The defiance of the law was more than I expected."
For the most part, Finman said, the sovereigns do not pay taxes, and don't carry driver's licenses. Staunchly anti-government, they have often suffered financial setbacks earlier in life, and many have run into trouble with the law.
"They say that they have a Christian element to their ideology," Finman said.
To circumvent financial obligations, sovereign citizens have been known to alter their names, he added. They might insert random punctuation marks or alter the name in other ways.
The change creates a loophole that a citizen can exploit.
"If you owe any money, and it's in your birth certificate name, you don't have to pay it," Finman said.
Sovereign citizens have become violent in recent years. According to CBS News, sovereigns killed two police officers in Arkansas last spring. Another sovereign allegedly killed three men in Texas, and a South Carolina citizen is on death row after murdering two law enforcement officers.
But those are extreme cases. A sovereign citizen's most common weapon is paperwork - strange declarations or multi-page statements, written in confusing legalese.
According to Kootenai County Sheriff's Maj. Dan Mattos, local deputies have occasionally handled correspondence from sovereign citizens. They were trying to get around a certain process, or tell the sheriff's department what they believe it should or should not do.
"It just was so far out in left field, it never went anywhere," Mattos said of the documents. "It's rhetoric to us, because it has no legal merit. I think there's a lot of these people who truly believe in what they're saying. They believe that the way they see it is correct."
Sovereign citizens are not a pressing issue in Kootenai County, Mattos said.
"It's not like we have problem after problem with them. We don't deal with them consistently."
At Friday's Pachyderm meeting, Finman apparently spoke from experience.
He lives about 10 miles south of Priest River, and is currently involved in a lawsuit with the family of Alexander-Duncan: Campbell (the unorthodox punctuation is deliberate).
Campbell is a sovereign citizen, Finman said, who formerly lived in a house on Finman's property. Campbell was not paying rent on the house, Finman said.
Last fall, Campbell agreed to leave the house by a specified date. After the date had passed, Finman tried to demolish the house, he said, but a woman and two children - Campbell's family - were inside.
Finman was charged with three counts of aggravated assault. He pleaded not guilty in May and will stand trial this fall.
The Campbell family eventually vacated the house, Finman said. At one point during their disagreement, Campbell issued Finman a bizarre summons to the "Ultimate Court of Absolute Justice."
The summons included Bible quotations alluding to untimely death, which Finman found troubling.
On June 10 Campbell's vehicle was stopped on Interstate 90, according to court records. It carried a homemade license plate. A loaded 9mm pistol was found inside the vehicle.
Campbell was arrested and charged with carrying a weapon without a license and failure to purchase a driver's license, records said. His bond was posted, and he is scheduled to appear in a pretrial conference hearing on Aug. 2.
Campbell declined to comment to The Press.
"I think it's a little frightening," said Shirlee Wandrock of Coeur d'Alene, who attended the Pachyderm meeting. "I don't know why our state government hasn't gotten involved."

yellow press posted at 12:38 pm on Sat, Jul 30, 2011.
This is a "hit" piece if I have ever seen one.
There is a huge difference between a Sovereign State Citizen and a United States Citizen. For instance, The Bill of Rights applies to Sovereign State Citizens, and not US citizens. You don't need to title you car as a Sovereign State Citizen, because you are allowed to own property ...if you own it, you don't pay any further taxes on it. As a US citizen, you are a "voluntary servant" of the Federal Corporation known as United States, and not allowed to own property, only your Person(legal faction in which you consent to being known as) is allowed to retain assets, this is why you have to take your bill of sale, which is your legal proof of ownership, and give it to the DMV, then pay taxes on the purchase and get your "Certificate of Title"...not "title", in the mail a couple weeks later. This is likewise with a Birth Certificate. You have a certificate, they own the asset for which you are holding the certificate ... just like a hamburger and gift certificate at GW Hunters... you have the paper, they have the hamburger. To get the hamburger, you need to turn in your certificate. In order to have rights, you need to give back your privileges... this is why our controllers are afraid of Sovereign State Citizens ... thus the "hit" piece.
You are born as a Human with rights God-given, and when you apply for a Birth Certificate from the United States you become a Person with privileges from your new sovereign...the Federal Corporation known as United States... post 14th amendment. The Department of Treasury takes your birth certificate

Jeffrey Wherley posted at 12:26 pm on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.
There has not been a Sovereign born in the United States since 1986, Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Before that until you applied for a SS# you were a Sovereign by definition but the law hasn't recognized Sovereign people since FDR used Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation as precedents to create US Citizenship in the Social Security Act.
The last Group of Sovereigns to try and force the old laws , I remember were the Montana Freemen group. In 1996, the government went after them for Bank fraud when they finally crossed the line from misdemeanors to felonies. That ended in a standoff that ended peacefully but with arrests and convictions. Sovereign citizens are a thing of history that lasted till the 1930's.
There is a fine legal line "sovereigns" walk today, most stay just short of felony crimes, misdemeanors can usually be paid off or dropped. Personally I would love to see Sovereignty come back and move back to the first 13 amendments, but that train left the station 143 years ago. I also wish Lincoln would have had the moral courage and political backing to Free the slaves instead of Emancipating a Select group of them, and creating the First US Citizens. The 13th finally outlawed slavery, but didn't undo the precedent of the Emancipation Proclamation that FDR used later.
yellow press, you are wrong with your attempts to hide from the truths of history.

Sovereign Citizen Movement

2011-07-30 "Economy boosts sovereign-citizen movement" by Michael Braga
Paper terrorism.
That is what the FBI believes sovereign citizens like Jacob-Franz Dyck are committing when they file lengthy lawsuits loaded with non sequiturs and so-called wild deeds backed by supposedly all-powerful land patents on behalf of people facing foreclosure.
But the proclivity of members of this anti-government organization to burden the courts with paperwork is not the only thing law enforcement officials are worried about.
"These people just don't respect the badge," said Stephen Emmett, a spokesman for the FBI in Atlanta. "There is a potential for violence in them that stems from their extreme philosophy."
Terry Nichols, who assisted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, was a sovereign citizen. So was Joe Stack, who flew his small plane into the Internal Revenue Service building in Austin, Texas, during February 2010.
Jared Loughner, who allegedly shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others earlier this year in a Tuscon, Ariz., shopping plaza, also is said to be a member.
So are Jerry Kane and his 16-year-old son, Joe, who gunned down two Arkansas policemen after being stopped and questioned about their license plate in West Memphis during May 2010. In that case, police videos show the police trying to decipher the drivers license they were handed when Kane's son pulled out an AK-47 and riddled them with bullets.
Born of an anti-tax current in the 1970s, the sovereign-citizen movement now claims as many as 300,000 members across the U.S. and Canada, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports.
Their core beliefs are that the U.S. government sold its people into servitude by becoming a corporation in 1868 and abandoning the gold standard in 1933. Since then, the U.S. government has mortgaged the future of Americans by falling deeply into debt to foreigners.
But it is possible to reclaim one's freedom by acknowledging that each individual became a sovereign after overthrowing the tyranny of King George III in 1776, the movement's participants maintain.
After that momentous event, the story goes, the American people established no higher power than the sovereign citizen himself and no higher authority than the One Supreme Court, which was established to rule on matters of dispute.
Both state courts and federal courts are considered inferior, and sovereign citizens have filed suits charging state and federal judges with fraud and treason for failing to adhere to the dictates of their higher court.
"The whole belief system revolves around a bunch of pseudo-legal theories that basically allow them to do anything they want," said Mark Pitcavage, director of fact finding for the Anti Defamation League in Columbus, Ohio, and the creator of the Militia Watchdog Archives.
Drivers licenses, Social Security cards, licence plates and other forms of government-sponsored identification are not considered valid by members of the movement.
While they do not respect the U.S. judicial system, sovereign citizens have found the courts to be the best venue for waging their protests. By filing copious lawsuits against government officials and banks that invariably include a string of biblical references and arcane laws, they can broadcast their beliefs and opposition.
News reports from around the country show these suits usually follow foreclosures or other government actions.
In Ulster County, N.Y., residents Ed-George Parenteau and Jeffrey Charles Burfeindt filed suits against area municipalities and prominent individuals claiming $135 billion in damages after being ousted from a foreclosed house they were illegally occupying in March 2009.
Though the suits were eventually dismissed and Parenteau was jailed, the liens they filed against their adversaries caused credit problems that took months to clear. In Jefferson County, Ala., Donald Joe Barber and his son, Donald Jason Barber, bombarded local government officials with lawsuits and liens after being sued for not paying sewer impact fees, ultimately prompting the government to arrest the two men.
More recently, sovereign citizens have been filing wild deeds on properties in an effort to help members defend themselves against foreclosure or to get properties back that were already seized by banks.
In the Atlanta area, sovereign citizens have gone further, using wild deeds to help squatters occupy dozens of vacant homes.
"They file the deeds and then go to vacant homes and put the deeds in the window," said Emmett, the FBI spokesman. "Then when law enforcement responds to a trespassing complaint, they see the deeds in the window and treat them as a civil matter instead of a criminal matter."
Though squatting has not taken off among sovereign citizens in Florida, at least one title agency claims that members of the movement are trying to use wild deeds to blackmail banks into paying money in order to get clear title to properties without having to go to court.
A sovereign citizen pays 70 cents to file a certificate of title and then waits for someone from a title company trying to close a sale on the same property to send him a letter requesting he sign a quit claim deed to clear the title, said David Heine of Orlando's PCS Title in a missive sent to clients around the state.
"He agrees, however, it will cost the selling bank $1,500 to $2,000 even though he has no legal right to the property," Heine said. "Here is where 'we' facilitate the scam. Rather than lose the sale of a foreclosed property the bank agrees to pay the money as it is much less costly to pay him to go away than pay to straighten this out through legal means."
Lawyers say the filing of such deeds is legal, but banks can sue for slander of title.
"Slander of title suits are civil actions in which perpetrators can be liable for damages," said Lee Husagh, the former president of the Florida Land Title Association. "But most of these screwballs don't have any money to begin with. So judgments often end up being worthless."
2011-07-30 "Rick Perry Backs Constitutional Amendment On Marriage" by JIM DAVENPORT
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Saturday he supports a federal limit on gay marriage and thinks a creator put life on Earth.
The Republican governor is considering a GOP presidential bid and preparing for his first political stop ahead of the key early primary in South Carolina, where social issues always play well. But Perry told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that a presidential campaign would concentrate on jobs, not evolution or gay marriage.
"The issue that is most important and most on people's minds is jobs," Perry said.
"The candidate that Americans can get excited about, that truly understands that and can deliver that, I think, is a candidate that is really going to excite the imagination and get the juices flowing of the electorate out there," he said. Pointing to an increase in employment in his state, the governor said he's cracked the code for figuring out how to create jobs.
Perry said the stimulus and job creation efforts of President Barack Obama haven't worked. "I think we poured about $4 trillion down that rat hole and government has not created a job," he said.
Supporters of the stimulus plan point out that jobs were saved because of the effort congressional Republicans opposed. And while Perry fought Washington over accepting a portion of Obama's economic stimulus package because of strings attached to the money, the state ended up using billions of the federal aid to balance the state budget, avoiding a possible financial disaster.
Perry, 61, said social issues should be decided state by state and even remarked that New York's passage of gay marriage law was that state's business. Still, he said he would support a constitutional amendment that takes away the power of the states to decide who can get married.
"Yes, sir, I would. I am for the federal marriage amendment," he said. "And that's about as sharp a point as I could put on it."
Perry has used more than words to support tempering evolution taught in schools with creationism.
This month, he appointed a biology teacher who disputes evolution as chairwoman of the Texas State Board of Education. In 2009, that 15-member board put the national spotlight on Texas in a debate that led to adopting standards encouraging schools to look at "all sides" of scientific theory. It now is considering educational materials that promote intelligent design even though a federal court ruled against teaching the theory that life on Earth is so complex that it must have come from an intelligent higher power.
"There are clear indications from our people who have amazing intellectual capability that this didn't happen by accident and a creator put this in place," Perry said.
"Now, what was his time frame and how did he create the earth that we know? I'm not going to tell you that I've got the answers to that," Perry said. "I believe that we were created by this all-powerful supreme being and how we got to today versus what we look like thousands of years ago, I think there's enough holes in the theory of evolution to, you know, say there are some holes in that theory."
If there's a creator for Perry's candidate-in-waiting campaign, it's his wife, Anita. Hours before his 2010 election to a third full term, Perry told the AP that his out-of-mainstream views were proof that he could never run for president. Anita Perry changed his outlook.
Perry said his wife's political instincts have always been spot-on. She was concerned about last year's passage of federal health care laws hurting innovation and care as well as a soaring national debt that would burden their children. While her husband had a good job already, she told him "you need to do your duty," Perry recalled.
"That was a very sobering conversation. It was one that made me sit down and reconsider my blanket rejection, if you will, of my interest in running for the presidency. I've gone from `no way, no how' to `I'm going to think about this' to getting comfortable in my heart and calm in my soul that this is an appropriate thing to do," Perry said.
"I still don't wake up every morning and go, `Man, being a president of the United States is something I dream about every day,' no more than, I suppose, a soldier on June the 5th or June the 6th of 1944 looked forward to running up the beach at Normandy," he said.
No decision has been made. Perry said that could wait as long as until Labor Day. Nonetheless, he's on a well-worn candidate-in-waiting trajectory: raising his profile, planning stump speeches in early voting states; putting feelers out for staff, and working key donors to fuel a campaign that would spend hundreds of millions to clinch the primaries, nomination and general election.
On the day he appointed the school board member, Perry headed to the hospital for back surgery. Doctors had discovered a problem when he was 16. "It never caused me an ounce of problems until I got to be about 50 and then it got to be a nagging thing," he said. His doctor persuaded him to try surgery for the pain.
The avid jogger – he was a triathlete between 2002 and 2008 – said he's about 80 percent recovered. "When I'm fully recovered is when I get to start running again. I'm kind of hooked on running," he said. For now, he's swimming and hitting the treadmill for 1 1/2 miles a day, listening to a playlist that includes country singer Clay Walker and a North Dallas alternative rock band, Forever the Sickest Kids.
None of that is keeping him from the campaign circuit, he said. That includes his first political stop in South Carolina, planned for Aug. 13, to talk at a gathering in Charleston sponsored by the conservative website RedStates. The next day, Iowa voters will hold a straw poll designed to show early strength ahead of the state caucuses. Perry's not on the candidate list there and won't make a bid announcement while here.
The one-time Air Force cargo pilot said that won't create a problem getting his campaign airborne if he decides to run.
"I think we'll be able to break ground," he said, "even with a combat load on board."

Friday, July 29, 2011

2011-07-29 "Mayor Emanuel: We demand permits to march! Anti-war and other groups respond to threats of mass arrests at NATO/G8 protests" from "Fight Back!" newswire
Chicago, IL - People from two dozen organizations attended a press conference here, July 28, in front of the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. They were there with one immediate goal: to demand permits to march on the May 2012 summit of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the G8 (Group of Eight).
"Why are we here so early in this process, ten months before the NATO/G8 summit?" asked Joe Iosbaker of the United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC). To answer the question, he held up a copy of a recent Chicago Sun-Times.
On behalf of UNAC, Iosbaker had started the process of applying for protest permits in June when the Obama administration announced the summit would be held in Chicago May 15th to 22nd next year. The response from the Emanuel administration came sooner than expected, when the Sun-Times ran a front page story in which the Superintendent of Police, Garry McCarthy, said he was preparing the 13,000 officers under his command for mass arrests of protestors [http://www.suntimes.com/6513155-417/supt.-mccarthy-to-nato-g-8-protestors-chicago-police-will-be-ready]. McCarthy also made it clear that there would be federal agencies involved in the repression of protestors as well.
The 40 activists on Thursday delivered a letter to Emanuel that was written by a committee of local anti-war and community activists.
The letter demanded [http://www.stopfbi.net/get-involved/nato-g8-police-repression]:
* Grant us permits to rally and march to the NATO/G8 summit
* Guarantee our civil liberties
* Guarantee us there will be no spying, infiltration of organizations or other attacks by the FBI or partner law enforcement agencies

The right to protest against war and austerity -
Iosbaker explained that, "The wars and economic policies of the NATO and G8 nations are not just and will be met by protest." Following him, speaker after speaker rose to add their voices.
Jokarhi Shakur, a student leader with the Save City Colleges (SCC) coalition, reminded Emanuel that students, faculty and workers in the City Colleges were opposed to the budget cuts coming down on them. Shakur and the SCC had been the first group in town to protest the new mayor, having protested at the inauguration in May.
The peace movement in Chicago has a number of prominent activists, but none who are more recognized around the country and around the world than Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Non-Violence. She spoke of the 10 years of war that the Afghan people had suffered under NATO direction.
One of the biggest rounds of applause was received by Mark Clement of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Clement spent 28 years in prison after a Chicago cop tortured him into confessing to a crime he didn't commit. The repressive and violent nature of the Chicago Police Department is clear from his story and those of the many other victims of police torture.
Andy Thayer of the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism (CCAWR), and the Gay Liberation Network, pointed out that it was this history of police abuse that caused the city of Chicago to lose its bid to host the 2016 Olympics. He recalled the years that CCAWR spent fighting for the right to protest against the administration of Mayor Daley. In addition, he talked about the unlawful mass arrest of 800 marchers carried out by 2,000 riot police on the night the Iraq War began in 2003, and the long class action legal battle that was undertaken.
Tom Burke of the national Committee to Stop FBI Repression remarked that the mobilizations against NATO and G8 would put Chicago in the forefront of the struggle against war and austerity. "Rahm Emanuel seems to think he's in charge of an empire, like a new Napoleon. But Chicago belongs to the people of this city, and we're going to march, we're going to bring our families and our children, and we will invite our friends from around the country to join us in Chicago."
Burke is one of the 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists targeted by raids and a grand jury investigation that started in September 2010. That experience was on the minds of the activists when the third demand was added to the letter to Emanuel.
Joe Lombardo, the co-chair of UNAC, flew in from Albany, New York to speak at the press conference. He warned that McCarthy's statements "set the stage for violence on the part of the police." He also reported that the Dept. of Justice has inquired about the August 28th meeting called by UNAC and local anti-war activists to form the coalition to lead the protests in the spring. "They're trying to silence our voices, but we won't be silenced."
At the end of the press conference, Pat Hunt of Chicago Area Code Pink and Chicago Area Peace Action presented the letter to an aide to the mayor, and informed the woman that she would be getting a phone call in one week to learn the administration's response. "This is only the beginning of our fight," Hunt declared to cheers from the group.
2011-07-29 "The tea party's terrorist tactics" by William Yeomans
It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House “hostage takers.” But they have now become full-blown terrorists.
They have joined the villains of American history who have been sufficiently craven to inflict massive harm on innocent victims to achieve their political goals. A strong America has always stood firm in the face of terrorism. That tradition is in jeopardy, as Congress and President Barack careen toward an uncertain outcome in the tea party- manufactured debt crisis.
As we stumble closer to Aug. 2, it has become clear that many in the tea party are willing to inflict massive harm on the American people to obtain their political objective of a severely shrunken federal government. Their persistence in rejecting compromise, even as the economic effects of the phony crisis they have created mount, has taken their radicalism beyond tough negotiating, beyond even hostage-taking.
As markets fall in anticipation that there may not be a timely resolution; as credit agencies issue dire warnings that the U.S. political system has become so dysfunctional that a credit downgrade may be inevitable, and as America looks weakened in the eyes of the world, the tea party’s hostage-taking has evolved into the intentional infliction of harm on innocent Americans to achieve a political objective – terrorism.
Terrorism is a tough term, but, unfortunately, it describes tea party tactics precisely. Their first step was to vow not to vote to raise the debt ceiling.
Here, as in many radical factions, there was a split between the purists and the pragmatists. Pragmatists vowed not to raise the ceiling unless draconian cuts were made in the federal government.
Purists didn’t bother with an “unless.” They, including presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.), were willing to let the entire edifice come crashing down — hiding behind magical thinking that allowed them to deny that anything horrible would happen if the ceiling were not raised.
Out of this vow grew the phony linkage between raising the debt ceiling and addressing the deficit. Raising the debt ceiling, of course, has nothing to do with addressing the deficit. It simply allows the federal government to pay debts that have already been incurred, based on expenditures that Congress has already authorized.
It lets the federal government pay its bills – an act of basic responsibility that every American — conservative and liberal — should embrace. Raising the ceiling is a pro forma act that Congress has performed repeatedly through Republican and Democratic administrations. Every president – from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton – has labeled failure to raise it unthinkable, because to do so would be to intentionally inflict harm on America.
The harm is, in part, unknowable because we have always resisted any temptation to run the experiment of failing to raise the ceiling. Even if the federal government could avoid default on its loan obligations for an uncertain time, the harm would be immense. The president would have to prioritize federal expenditures, choosing whether to send Social Security checks, pay federal employees ranging from FBI agents to food inspectors to troops in the field, make Medicare payments, provide for veterans, collect taxes and on and on.
Even in the absence of default, credit agencies would almost surely downgrade our credit worthiness, producing increases in interest rates that would slow the economy, increase unemployment and force families into foreclosure and bankruptcy.
As the markets dropped, families would watch their retirement and education savings and their dreams disappear.
Rather than reject the unthinkable, the tea party harnessed this potential harm as its weapon of mass destruction.
For pragmatists, it allowed a hostage-taking. The pragmatists threatened to defeat a raise in the debt ceiling unless Congress and President Barack Obama rejected taxes on the wealthy and accepted budget cuts that would move the country toward the tea party’s idealized vision of an America. Their dream is an alternate version of the United States — before the New Deal, the Great Society and civil rights laws alleviated massive inequality and injustice — and extended American opportunity.
The tea party faction could not achieve these goals through straight up democratic means because of their unpopularity. So it resorted to its threat of mass destruction. They were able to do so because they formed a disciplined bloc that gave them leverage over the House leadership and because of the threat that members who did not go along would face primary challenges from the right.
Hard-core tea party members were empowered by their oft-repeated disdain for reelection. They were liberated to pursue their radical course because they were freed from the traditional constraint on members of Congress, imposed by the need to face the voters.
Their goals were also served by the Republican Party’s success in selling the notion that the country faces an urgent debt crisis. Nearly every economist agrees that we face a long-term debt problem, but there is no reason it must be addressed by Aug. 2.
The concern that our credit may be downgraded if we don’t enact an immediate debt reduction plan is driven almost entirely by the loss of credibility in our political system — engendered by the phony frenzy surrounding the debt ceiling legislation.
While most economists agree that we need to address long-term debt issues, many recognize that our immediate crisis is high unemployment and economic stagnation, conditions that will most likely be exacerbated by sucking hundreds of billions of dollars out of the economy in the short-term.
The challenge for America is to stand firm in the face of terrorism, no matter the source.
Tea party members must reassess their distorted vision of patriotism and join true patriots in Congress in raising the debt ceiling promptly until 2013, without inflicting further economic harm on already struggling Americans.
The president should insist on a clean debt ceiling bill, Congress should get it to him — as it has dozens of times in the past — and the president should sign it promptly. So the nation can get on with addressing the truly significant problems that it faces.

Anarchist Movements

2011-07-29 "More Details On Arrests At Anarchist Protest At King County Jail" by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee
Seattle police say 40-50 anarchists tagged buildings, ripped down traffic signs, and threw rocks at cops during a protest outside the King County Jail last weekend.
Around 10:45 pm on July 23rd, a crowd of anarchists gathered at 6th and James, near the jail. "The group was made up of members of the Puget Sound Anarchists," Officer Chris Myers wrote in his report. "This group had held similar protests at the jail in the past resulting in significant property destruction."
The protest came one day after police arrested seven people at a party on Beacon Hill. Police say a mob of partygoers attacked a small group of officers who showed up at the party after neighbors complained about noise.
Following the arrests at the party, a police report says an anarchist group "had publicly threatened retaliation against police for the resulting arrests."
According to police, that promised retaliation initially took the form of a freestyle percussive jam outside the jail. The group of 40-50 anarchists showed up at the jail dressed in black and wearing masks, and began shouting and banging on pots and pans.
A short time later, however, "One of the members of the group then detonated an explosive device in the middle of the street in the 500 block of James St, directly in front of a...vehicle," Officer Myers wrote in his report.
Police say the explosive was "similar to a flashbang device" and "significantly larger than consumer fireworks."
Members of the group then began tagging "ACAB" (which stands for "all cops are bastards") on walls, tried to rip down parking and traffic signs, threw traffic cones and debris into the road, and threw rocks at several Washington State Patrol officers who were following the protesters in patrol cars.
Police say the protesters did $1500 in damage to WSP vehicles.
Police called for backup and, as more officers arrived on scene, the group began throwing fireworks into the street, and blocked off a section of road near Cherry St.
Officers tried to stop the group at 6th and Cherry, but they took off running.
Police chased the group down and arrested several people. It's unclear how many people were arrested in the incident.
Prosecutors say they're reviewing the cases for possible charges.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

2011-07-28 "German Guantanamo Detainee Murat Kurnaz"
German Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz has publicly spoken about being subjected to electroshock torture, lethal beatings and humiliation during his years of unlawful detention.
In an exclusive interview with Russia Today news network on Monday, the former detainee said he was held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for five years before being released without charges.
Kurnaz went on to say that Americans have not apologized for his years of torment at the notorious detainment facility, and he doesn’t think they would ever do so.
He further explained that he was arrested in Pakistan in 2001, and turned to the Americans after he had visited a school run by Tablighi Jamaat — a religious movement hated by the al-Qaeda and the Taliban for its non-political stature — in the Asian country.
Kurnaz had earlier become familiar with Pakistan-based Tablighi Jamaat movement through its assistance to homeless people and youth, who had problems with drugs.
He added that when he got booked, Pakistani forces didn’t tell him anything about what was going on.
“They didn’t tell me that they were looking for terrorists or whatever. They said we’re just going to check your passport. I didn’t know at that time they get a bounty of $3,000 for each person. Not under my name, but for anyone turned over to the Americans as terrorist they get $3,000, and $3,000 in Pakistan is a lot of money,” Kurnaz said.
He noted that after being transferred to Kandahar in Afghanistan, he witnessed all kinds of things that one can imagine as torture.
“I saw many killed under torture. I was one of those who survived those kinds of torture. They used electroshocks on me because I would not sign papers.”
“I was forced to agree I was a member of the Taliban and the al-Qaeda and I said I’m not. Really I didn’t know at that time what al-Qaeda was, I didn’t know [anything] about al-Qaeda. So when they asked me about al-Qaeda and Taliban, I said I’m not a member of them. And they brought me papers, forced me to sign. I refused,” the former Gitmo prisoner said.
“That’s why they tried to make me sign by electroshocks. And another time they forced me by water boarding. Another time they hanged me on chains. I was hanging on the ceiling. They were pulling me on the ceiling with the chain, and until my feet were over the floor. After a few days I started to pass out, because in that situation I couldn’t eat or drink and it was freezing cold. It was wintertime and I had no clothes on,” he added.
Kurnaz said Guantanamo detainees were chained hand to foot in a fatal position on the floor with no chair, food, or water for 24 hours or more.
He also said that the youngest Gitmo prisoner was nine years old, and the second underage detainee in Guantanamo was 12.
Upon taking office, US President Barack Obama signed an executive order to stop military commissions in order to close down the facility by 2010. However, this has not happened yet.
2011-07-28 "Amazon.com ballot initiative shows flaw in system; On California's Initiative Process" by Orson Aguilar and Michelle Romero from "San Francisco Chronicle" newspaper
Orson Aguilar is executive director and Michelle Romero is redistricting fellow of the Greenlining Institute.
Amazon.com, the giant Internet retailer, has decided to put an initiative on California's ballot to try to evade having to pay the same sales taxes that other retailers pay. As the system stands, Amazon's chance of getting its self-interested proposal on the ballot is essentially 100 percent.
Something is very wrong with this picture.
Amazon, the Internet giant that began as a bookseller and branched out into other retail, has local merchants up against a wall in part because until now it has been able to avoid collecting sales tax on purchases. That gives it an 8 percent or more price advantage over local stores. So the Legislature, faced with an ongoing budget catastrophe that has forced cuts to schools, universities, parks, care for the elderly and other vital government functions, sensibly acted to close this loophole. Now Amazon plans to buy its way onto the ballot to repeal this reasonable action.
This is just the latest example of how our ballot initiative system - designed by reformers a century ago to reduce corporate influence on state government by giving ordinary citizens the ability to make laws - has been turned upside down.
In the past year or so, we have seen oil companies try to strangle our clean energy law, insurance companies seek to evade state rate regulations, a major utility company try to block local governments from establishing public power systems, and a variety of corporate interests push to make it harder to raise taxes or fees on big companies. That said, Californians rightly value their ability to go to the ballot with their own ideas for new laws. The process can have great benefits, but it's time to figure out how to put citizens, not special interests, back in charge of "citizen democracy."
Right now, the system is hopelessly skewed toward moneyed interests. Because of the vast number of signatures required and the short time in which they must be gathered, most initiatives qualify largely or entirely through the use of paid signature gatherers. If you have a couple of million bucks to pay petitioners, you can get a proposal onto California's ballot. It's as simple as that.
This isn't what Gov. Hiram Johnson and his fellow reformers intended when they created the initiative system. That's why the Greenlining Institute and other organizations have begun to return the system to the ideal of citizen democracy.
Our polling and research suggest several potential reforms. Voters consistently want more reliable information on who supports and opposes initiatives. There is also interest in a formal process for reviewing and revising proposed initiatives, through either an independent citizens' commission or perhaps the state Supreme Court. And we need to find ways to make the system accessible to true grassroots initiatives, perhaps by lowering the signature count required.
We don't have all the answers yet, but we're convinced the system can be fixed.

2011-07-28 "Who Owns John Boehner? The Corporations That Love The Grim Weeper!" By Jillian Barclay
Johnny Crying All The Way To The Bank!
Boehner Thinks He Is His Own Man! Who Is He Kidding? You?
When the Koch Brothers call, it has been suggested that John Boehner will rush to pick up their dry cleaning or hurry to do the dirty dishes left in their sinks! The suggestion may not be far from the truth because Boehner and the Kochs have stood together through thick and thin.
John Boehner, GOP Speaker of the House, third in line for succession to the Presidency of the United States, is very financially fit! Boehner is a multi-millionaire who, according to his financial disclosure forms owns stock in BP, Conoco Philips, Occidental, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil and other familiar corporations. But he does not just wash dishes for the Kochs; it is suggested that he washes dishes for all of the wealthiest corporations nationwide!
Boehner owns shares in many corporations and thinks he is his own man, but the truth is that corporations own many shares of John Boehner.
Over the years, Boehner has received many millions of dollars from industry. For the next campaign, Boehner has already raised almost $8 million dollars from industry and their PACs. The average Congressman has picked up less than a million.
The top 20 industries that purchased shares of Boehner during the last campaign cycle (2009-2010 campaign season) are:
* Insurance $609,290 (who would a thunk it?)
* Securities & Investment $509,520 (nice!)
* Retired $394,649 (they must not need Medicare or Social Security)
* Electric Utilities $363,372 (NOT energy companies?)
* Lobbyists $353,814 (No Way!)
* Health Professionals $332,865 (They may want to protect their financial interests?)
* Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $329,350 (Think Boehner and Big Pharma want less regs?)
* Real Estate $285,400 (protect the mortgage companies?)
* Lawyers/Law Firms $264,050 (The ones that work for ALEC? policy or authors of laws?)
* Commercial Banks $237,750 (Think they want Boehner to come through on his promise to gut regulation and Consumer Protection?)
* Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $210,700 (again, Boehner supports the destruction of unions!)
* TV/Movies/Music $192,850 (someone help me on this one- no clue!)
* Republican/Conservative $187,345 (No surprise here!)
* Misc Finance $185,890 (gut Dodd-Frank!)
* Oil & Gas $184,650 (energy, again? Let's keep those subsidies!)
* Food & Beverage $170,825 (Coca-Cola also belongs to ALEC!)
* Retail Sales $169,700 (outlaw minimum wage?)
* General Contractors $144,450 (reduce regulations)
* Mining $135,450 (energy interests? Enough already!)
* Hospitals/Nursing Homes $133,350 (save our Medicare payments from being lowered)

These statistics are supplied by the Center For Responsive Politics. Items in parentheses added by this author for companies and/or lobbyists that you may be unfamiliar with.
Also according to The Center For Responsive Politics , Johnny's top twenty individual shareholders during the 2009-2010 campaign year were:
* AT&T Inc $87,300
* American Financial Group $81,400
* FirstEnergy Corp $62,800
* FMR Corp $50,450 (Fidelity Management and Research? a financial investments company?)
* Altria Group $48,025 (Philip Morris?)
* CME Group $47,650 (Derivatives, options and hedgefunds?)
* Blue Cross/Blue Shield $47,500
* Murray Energy $43,600
* Boehner for Speaker Cmte $36,000 (The only non-lobbying group in this list)
* Reynolds American $35,500
* Citigroup Inc $32,950
* General Electric $32,200
* Corinthian Colleges $31,750
* Akin, Gump et al $30,500 (policy lawyers for global companies)
* American Electric Power $28,750
* Credit Suisse Group $28,400 (international financial company)
* Bank of America $27,750
* Consumer Bankers Assn $27,400
* Energy Future Holdings Corp $27,172
* JPMorgan Chase & Co $25,750

These were NOT contributions by the companies, but rather the company PAC's, individual employees, lobbyists or owners of the companies. Items in parentheses added by this author for companies and lobbyists that you may be unfamiliar with.
Source: Center for Responsive Politics

The Koch Connection! No Better Friends!
Boehner and the Kochs have stood together through thick and thin.
Think Progress reported that on the day that the 112th Congress was sworn in on January 5, 2011, David Koch was there to meet and greet the Tea Party freshmen, the very freshmen that Charles and David Koch had spent millions to elect. Koch and his operatives also had a private meeting with John Boehner that same day.
"David Koch spent millions of dollars to make John Boehner the Speaker of the House and now Speaker Boehner is thanking him with a budget that protects taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil and tax breaks for the ultra rich paid for by ending Medicare," said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Speaker Boehner's priorities are clear: protecting Big Oil billionaires like David Koch at the expense of seniors. Big Oil and David Koch have no better friend than John Boehner."
Prior to becoming the Congressman from Ohio's 8th District in Washington, Boehner was a state representative serving in the Ohio State Legislature from 1985-1990. During that time, he was an active member of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. That may be where he was initially introduced to the Koch model of leadership, but his first meeting with the Kochs is undocumented. It is documented that he spoke at the ALEC national meeting in 2009, extolling the work and benefits of ALEC. The Koch brothers are key to ALEC's success, and Boehner is one of ALEC's tools.

ALEC, in just the past few years has promoted and helped to pass:
* Voter ID bills that seek to suppress voting.
* Bills that have destroyed collective bargaining rights in states such as Wisconsin and Michigan. ALEC stands behind laws that would decimate employee protections, worker's compensation, OSHA, and they seek to do away with the minimum wage and all unions.
Bills that eliminate pension plans.
* The bills designed to overturn the Affordable Care Act. ALEC seeks an end to Medicaid protections offered in the states.
* The bills that do away with any environmental protections. ALEC has 15 such model bills. ALEC seeks the closure of the EPA.
* The bills that lower corporate taxes and increase taxes on the poor, middle class and seniors. In fact, to assist in this effort, ALEC has written the "State Budget Reform Tool Kit".
* The bills that strip education of funding and decimate local control of schools. ALEC seeks the closure of public schools by replacing them with corporate-owned schools that will have no public input.

This list of desired ALEC legislation includes prison reform designed to incarcerate more frequently and build additional private prisons, legislation designed to "protect innocent corporations from liability for asbestos poisoning", the marketing of pharmaceuticals with less regulation, as well as privatizing every sector of government.
And Speaker John Boehner advocates for ALEC!
Boehner: Best Bad Actor Award!
In the recent debt ceiling debate, Boehner has been one of the best Bad actors. He is a signer of the blood pledge to Grover Norquist in which he promises to never, ever, ever, ever raise taxes. He has advocated for cutting the deficit by gutting Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, but seeks no tax revenue increases for the wealthiest of corporations. Check again- See where most of his contributions have come from and that may be a hint to his philosophy of protecting the corporations!
2011-07-28 "Court upholds 10-year term in medical pot case" by Bob Egelko from "San Francisco Chronicle" newspaper
A federal appeals court upheld the conviction and 10-year sentence Wednesday of a medical marijuana advocate who grew 32,000 pot plants for patients and fellow Rastafarians on his land in Lake County.
The federal judge who sent Charles "Eddy" Lepp to prison in 2009 criticized the federal law that required a 10-year term for growing at least 1,000 marijuana plants. But U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of San Francisco said she was bound by the law, and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.
"The statutory minimum sentence is not cruel and unusual punishment," the three-judge panel said.
Federal agents arrested Lepp in 2004 after finding the marijuana plants in gardens near his home in Upper Lake, most of them in view of Highway 20.
He said the plants were for patients who had a right to use marijuana with their doctors' approval under California law. Lepp also said that he was a Rastafarian minister, for whom marijuana is a sacrament, and that he was growing the plants for 2,500 members of his church who were sharecroppers.
Federal law strictly bans marijuana, however, even in states that allow its medical use. The appeals court upheld Patel's refusal to allow Lepp to invoke his religion as a defense to the charges, saying his prosecution served the government's "compelling interest in preventing diversion of sacramental marijuana to non-religious users."
Lepp's lawyer, Michael Hinckley, had argued that the 10-year sentence was grossly disproportionate to the crimes. Hinckley said that he was disappointed by Wednesday's ruling and that "the thought of him spending 10 years in prison, in circumstances like these, is tragic."
2011-07-28 "Report: U.S. corporations avoided paying $60 billion in federal income taxes" by Vicki Needham from "The Hill"
U.S. corporations avoided paying about $60 billion in federal income taxes while the Fortune 100 companies took advantage of $90 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts last year, the Greenlining Institute reports in a new analysis released Thursday.
The report finds that top companies added 44 new subsidiaries in countries identified as “tax havens” since the Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyzed the issue in 2008, according to report authors Samuel Kang, Greenlining Institute general counsel and legal associate Tuan Ngo.
“America’s richest corporations avoid $60 billion a year in taxes by hiding $1 trillion in profits overseas while making billions in federal contracts,” Kang said. “It should be illegal, yet Congress is looking to cut the deficit by slashing Medicare, Social Security, food safety, education and health without collecting another dime from these wealthy companies.”
The report mentioned that a recent study found that eight of the top 12 companies effectively paid no federal income taxes from 2008 through 2010.
In 2010, General Electric paid no federal income tax, the report determined.
Of the 77 Fortune 100 companies with subsidiaries in so-called tax haven countries, 69 had federal contracts.
The largest in terms of dollar amounts was General Dynamics, with nearly $15 billion in federal contracts and 14 subsidiaries in tax haven or financial privacy jurisdictions.
The pharmaceutical and tech sectors loom particularly large, including Merck, Pfizer, General Electric, Dell and Google. G.E., had more than $3 billion in federal contracts.
“Individual Americans pay on average 20.4 percent of their income in federal income taxes, while Exxon pays 14.2 percent, IBM pays 3.8 percent and DuPont and General Electric pay virtually nothing, even though the corporate tax rate is supposed to be 35 percent,” Ngo said.

Sovereign Citizen Militias

2011-07-28 "Militia co-defendant: We were set up" by Jill Burke
FAIRBANKS -- There's no way to know what U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan thinks about the federal weapons case the government has brought against Coleman Barney, a command major in the Alaska Peacemakers Militia. But statements he made at the beginning and end of Barney's nearly four-hour bail hearing Thursday in Fairbanks may offer a clue.
"There was a lot of stuff seized that is not illegal," Judge Bryan noted as the defense prepared to deliver its opening statement. He wanted to know which of the seized items -- machine guns, silencers, grenades and grenade launchers -- were directly tied to Barney, and of those, which were illegal.
Hours later, after Barney had taken the stand and prosecutors had called an FBI agent as their witness, Bryan commented that he knew a federal judge who owned a larger weapon collection than Barney.
Barney and four other militia members stand accused of plotting to kill state and federal officials. The investigation was carried out jointly between the FBI and Alaska State Troopers who also depended on two paid informants.
Bryan said he'll file his written decision Monday about whether it's safe to let Barney out of jail.
Until then, he has a lot to mull over.
Barney spoke at length about how another militia member, Gerald "J.R." Olson, now known to be a government informant, manipulated him and Alaska Peacemakers Militia leader Schaeffer Cox. He spoke of how he didn't necessarily subscribe to or fully understand Cox's "common law" court and Cox's sovereign citizen notions of law and justice. He explained why a trailer the government describes as a "weapons cache" was dropped off at a public park with children nearby.
And Barney swore there will be not be one scintilla of evidence showing him talking about or planning to kill people.
"It's of course a dangerous thing to have a defendant testify, but I think it's necessary," said Tim Dooley, Barney's attorney, prior to Barney taking the stand.
Yet if Judge Bryan chooses instead to view the situation through the eyes of prosecutors, Barney's chances of getting out of jail may not be so good.
It's not about what weapons are legal, but what they were used for, argued assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Skrocki. "When you intend to kill people it's a real problem," he said.
'Major Barney' takes the stand
On the stand Barney was straightforward, polite and calm. At times he was also surprisingly naive, or so he claimed, to the belief systems espoused by Cox. During his testimony, Barney offered new details about how the government orchestrated his and Cox's arrests on March 10.
According to Barney, Olson -- the informant -- was tasked with arranging Cox's flight from Alaska via a fictitious truck driver known only as "Han Solo." On the day of the arrests, Olson drove Cox and Barney straight into the arms of the FBI, under the guise that the trio was actually on their way to meet the truck driver.
Before they made that ill-fated, final drive, Barney had had a busy day. He was finalizing a contract for an electric job his company was pursuing. He was a designated field trip helper for a visit by his 7-year-old son and his classmates to the Fairbanks ice park; and, according to investigators, also managed to find time to squeeze in an illegal arms deal.
Since he had such a jam-packed morning, Barney tried to get Cox and Olson to themselves handle the arrangements with the mythical driver, but Olson kept putting it off until Barney could join them. When, after the school field trip, Barney had to make a trip to his house, Olson and Cox agreed to go check out the size of the fictitious driver's trailer. They also made plans to return and pick up Barney so the three of them could meet with the driver together.

All photographs by Jill Burke:

Schaeffer Cox, founder of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, is accused in an alleged conspiracy to kill a state judge and others. He faces conspiracy and weapons charges in state and federal court.
Michael Anderson is accused as a conspirator in an alleged plot to kill a state judge and others. Photographed in Fairbanks on April 5, 2011.
Lonnie Vernon faces multiple conspiracy and weapons charges in connection with alleged plots to murder state and federal judges and others. Photographed in Fairbanks on April 5, 2011.
Karen Vernon faces state and federal conspiracy and weapons charges in connection with alleged plots to murder state and federal judges and others. Photographed in Fairbanks on April 5, 2011.
Coleman Barney, accused in an alleged plot to kill a state judge and others, faces conspiracy and weapons charges in state and federal court. Photographed in Fairbanks on April 5, 2011.
Rachel Barney, charged in state court with helping hide a fugitive, in a Fairbanks courtroom April 5, 2011
Judge David Stewart.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

2011-07-27 "Bachmann Ally and Anti-Gay Minister Sues Rachel Maddow for Slander"
by Jessica P.

he head of a far-right Minnesota-based ministry with ties to Rep. Michele Bachmann is suing Rachel Maddow and The Minnesota Independent for $50 million over reporting on the group’s extreme anti-gay beliefs [http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/bachmann-ally-bradlee-dean-sues-rachel-maddow-50-million]. Bradlee Dean heads up You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, a ministry that believes gays are responsible for the Holocaust and that gays should be executed and is claiming the reporting on his group was slanderous.
A full copy of the complaint is posted here [http://www.dumpbachmann.com/2011/07/bradlee-deans-complaint-against-msnbc.html]. Be warned: it reads as a rambling, poorly-written and tangentially tied to reality screed on a perceived persecution. It is noteworthy for just how bad it is. That’s it.
The heart of Dean’s complaint is that Maddow, and others, mis-reported on his comments praising radical Muslims who want to execute gays and lesbians.
Here is the statement at issue:
[begin excerpt]
Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America. This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination…. If America won’t enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that. That’s what you are seeing today in America.
[end excerpt]
According to the complaint, these statements were taken out of context to further a liberal pro-homosexual agenda and maligning Dean and his ministry as advocating for the execution of gays and lesbians. Maddow and MSNBC dismissed the allegations as nonsense, as did the Minnesota Independent and reporter Andy Birkey [http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/07/minnesota_independent_msnbc_respond_bradlee_dean_lawsuit.php].
Dean is no stranger to publicity, but this latest stunt can’t be the kind that presidential contender Bachmann was hoping for. The longer Dean stays in the spotlight the more her ties to him get discussed and the greater the focus on their radical anti-human rights agenda. Which is good news for the rest of us looking to stem that tide of hate.
2011-07-27 "15 Years in Prison For Taping the Cops? How Eavesdropping Laws Are Taking Away Our Best Defense Against Police Brutality; More and more people use their smartphones to record police misconduct. But laws against wiretapping are being used to intimidate and stop them" by Rania Khalek
Over Memorial Day weekend this past May, residents of Miami Beach witnessed a horrific display of police brutality as 12 cops sprayed Raymond Herisse's car with 100 bullets, killing him [http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/06/raymond_herisse_ided_as_man_sh.php]. The shooting provoked outrage in the surrounding community, not only because of the murder, but because of what the police did afterward.
Officers on the scene confiscated and smashed witnesses' cell phones; later, when they were confronted by the media, the police denied trying to destroy videos of the incident.
But 35-year-old Narces Benoit removed his HTC EVO’s SIM card and hid it in his mouth [http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/06/08/6812110-memory-card-in-mouth-saves-police-shooting-video]. He later sold the video to CNN, placing the police in the awkward position of explaining why they lied about allegations of cell phone destruction. More importantly, the video showed at least two officers pointing guns at Benoit, demanding that he stop filming.
Police brutality takes many forms around the country on a regular basis, particularly in poor and minority neighborhoods. Sometimes, the only method of accountability is a victim’s word (if they are still alive) against that of an officer. Unsurprisingly, the police officer’s version of the story is often adequate for a judge to dismiss allegations of wrongdoing, unless there is hard evidence of misconduct, such as a video or audio recording, which can be useful to unravel conflicting versions of police-citizen encounters.
Due to advancements in technology, the average citizen carries a digital camera in his or her pocket or purse, creating a potential army of amateur videographers on every street corner. A quick YouTube search of "police brutality" lists endless videos, often cell phone footage, of what appear to be police acting with unnecessary and violent force. Some of those videos have served a crucial role in bringing charges against brutality that may have gone unaddressed had it not been for bystanders recording.
One would think the fear of videographers on every block would be a powerful deterrent to police misconduct. However, legislatures are not taking this newfound power against police abuse lightly. In at least three states, it is illegal to record any on-duty police officer, even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists [http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/07/the-war-on-cameras/singlepage]. The legal justification is usually based on the warped interpretation of existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited.
Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland are among the 12 states [http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/07/the-war-on-cameras/singlepage] where all parties must consent for a recording to be legal. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested and charged with a felony. Most all-party consent states (except Illinois and Massachusetts) include a "privacy provision" that says a violation occurs only when the offended party has a reasonable expectation that the conversation is private. This is meant to protect TV news crews and people who record public meetings — where it is obvious to all that recording is underway — from accidentally committing a felony.
Massachusetts [http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ma-supreme-judicial-court/1330122.html] and Illinois [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/08/chicago-district-attorney-recording-bad-cops_n_872921.html] are the only states that do not recognize an expectation-to-privacy provision to their all-party consent laws. While courts in Massachusetts have generally held that secretly recording police is illegal, recording them openly is not. Illinois, on the other hand, is the only state where the legislature specifically amended the state's wiretapping law to make it illegal to record on-duty police officers without their consent, even in public.

Cases Keep Piling Up -
Recording on-duty police officers has gained momentum in states around the country for some time now. But it's only in the last few years, after several high-profile incidents, that the topic has begun to generate nationwide headlines and debate.
Two of these incidents occurred in Maryland last year, just weeks apart.
One involved Jack McKenna [http://articles.cnn.com/2010-04-13/justice/maryland.police.beating_1_third-officer-two-officers-police-officer?_s=PM:CRIME], who was arrested by Prince George's county police last March and charged with assault and resisting arrest when he was out celebrating the University of Maryland basketball victory over Duke. Fortunately for him, his fellow Terps fans happened to record the encounter on their cell phones, showing riot police throwing McKenna against a wall and beating him with batons. Once the videos appeared on the Internet, Prince George's County suspended the officers and dropped the charges against McKenna.
The second incident took place last April, when Maryland State Trooper David Uhler pulled over Anthony Graber for speeding and reckless driving. Graber had swerved across several lanes and did at least one wheelie on his motorcycle while driving 80mph. Graber had a video camera mounted to his motorcycle helmet that was recording at the time of the stop, and captured footage of Uhler, dressed in plainclothes while yelling with his gun in hand.
Although Graber was only given a traffic ticket, he posted the video on YouTube to publicize Uhler's threatening behavior [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/15/AR2010061505556.html]. Maryland State police responded by raiding Graber's home, confiscating his computer and charging him with two felonies. One was for violating Maryland's wiretapping law by recording a trooper without his consent, and the other was for "possession of an intercept device," a provision intended for bugs and wiretaps but in this case referred to Graber's video camera. As a result, Graber faced up to 16 years in prison for recording a police officer during a public traffic stop.
Graber's case was ultimately dismissed [http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/crime/blog/2010/09/motorcyclist_wins_taping_case.html], as are almost all of these cases, on the grounds that on-duty cops have no such expectation of privacy, which is in accordance with every court in the country that has considered the issue. Because there is no legal justification, the charges are usually dropped or never filed at all. But that doesn't stop the arrests. Radley Balko points out that, more often than not, police arrest photographers for obstructing law enforcement even in states that have no wiretapping law [http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/07/the-war-on-cameras/singlepage]:
“In addition to arresting citizens with cameras for wiretapping, police can use vaguer catch-all charges, such as interfering with a police officer, refusing to obey a lawful order, or obstructing an arrest or police action. Such arrests are far more common. Even more frequent are incidents where police don’t make arrests but illegally confiscate cameras, delete photos and videos, or incorrectly warn camera-wielding citizens that they aren’t allowed to film.”
One such encounter took place earlier this year, when a California man, who recorded a police officer arresting someone at gunpoint down the street, found himself handcuffed as well. Lonell Duchine was videotaping the arrest on his cell phone from inside his garage, when an officer pulled up to his home and demanded the phone for evidence [http://www.ktvu.com/news/27551276/detail.html]. Duchine refused, so the police officer arrested him, citing “police interference” for withholding evidence.
While illegal confiscation happens in a range of scenarios, from traffic stops to people's homes, the most famous example was on New Year’s day 2009, when Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Officer Johannes Mehserle shot 21-year-old Oscar Grant at point-blank range, as he lay face down in an Oakland subway station, allegedly resisting arrest [http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/06/remembering_oscar_grant_on_the_day_of_johannes_mehserles_release.html]. The incident captured the nation's attention not simply because an unarmed black man was publicly killed by a white police officer, but also because dozens of onlookers captured it on their cell phones for the world to see.
In California, police are not permitted to confiscate a phone unless the phone was used in a crime [http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/07/the-war-on-cameras/singlepage]. Nonetheless, after the incident BART police attempted to confiscate the phones of subway riders, and even chased one camera-wielder onto a subway car [http://www.pixiq.com/article/do-police-have-the-right-to-confiscate-your-camera?page=5]. Had a bystander not been equipped with his cell phone, charges may not have been brought against Mehserle, demonstrating the crucial role video recording can play in accountability. Since then there have been multiple incidents of police brutality recorded by cell phones, which may have otherwise gone unaddressed.
The most pernicious prosecutions to date have taken place in Illinois, where the sentence for recording a police officer is considered a class 1 felony — on par with a rape charge — and can land a person behind bars for more than a decade [http://www.arte-sana.com/articles/rape_statutes.pdf].
Tiawonda Moore from Chicago, Illinois, faces up to 15 years in prison for using her Blackberry to record two Internal Affairs investigators who spoke to her inside police headquarters [http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/us/23cnceavesdropping.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2]. She was there last August to file a sexual harassment complaint against another officer, who she alleges had fondled her and left his personal telephone number when he was at her home investigating a domestic dispute. She says the police department actively discouraged her from filing a report, so out of frustration, she began to record the conversations on her phone. Although the case initially received national media coverage, attention has since died down as 21-year-old Moore awaits a trial date that continues to be pushed back.
Michael Allison is another Illinois resident facing the wrath of the eavesdropping law [http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/07/the-war-on-cameras]. The 41-year-old mechanic from Bridgeport faces four counts of violating the eavesdropping law, which adds up to a possible 75-year sentence. Allison believed the local police were harassing him in retaliation for a lawsuit he'd filed against the city over a local zoning ordinance, so he began to record his conversations with them.
Allison was eventually charged with violating the zoning ordinance. When he was told there would be no record of his trial, he informed court officials that he would record his trial with a digital recorder. This prompted the judge to have him arrested on the day of his trial, for violating her right to privacy. After confiscating Allison's digital recorder, the police found the recordings between Allison and the cops.
Christopher Drew, a 60-year-old artist and teacher, is also being prosecuted for violating the eavesdropping law [http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/us/23cnceavesdropping.html]. Drew was arrested in December 2009 for selling art without a permit on the streets of Chicago. He recorded his arrest, and now faces four to 15 years for documenting the incident.
These are just a handful of cases that illustrate the danger that comes with recording police in public. Carlos Miller, a journalist who has been arrested twice for photographing the police, has documented hundreds of similar cases on his blog, Photography is Not a Crime [http://www.pixiq.com/user/carlosmiller].

What Do the Police Think?
In the most comprehensive article to date about recording the police —" The War on Cameras [http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/07/the-war-on-cameras]" — Radley Balko interviewed James Pasco, executive director of the national Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) [http://www.fop.net/], which describes itself as "the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers." Pasco argues that videotaping police officers in public should be illegal because it can intimidate officers from doing their jobs. Mark Donahue, president of FOP, concurs, telling the New York Times [http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/us/23cnceavesdropping.html?pagewanted=1] that his organization “absolutely supports” the eavesdropping act and was relieved that the ACLU's challenge filed last year failed, adding that allowing the audio recording of police officers while performing their duty “can affect how an officer does his job on the street.”
Police officers are not a monolith [http://www.americancopmagazine.com/expecting-privacy-in-public/], so while there are many, like Pasco and Donahue, who support these laws, there are also many who doubtless oppose them. At the same time, police apprehension about being videotaped on the job is understandable, especially with the advancement in cell-phone technology increasing at record speed. Some also worry that their actions will be preserved and used against them in ways that weren't possible just a few years ago, while others are simply uncomfortable being videotaped.
However, when considering recent developments in police surveillance, Pasco's argument is rather baffling. In stark contrast to the laws banning citizens from monitoring police misconduct with recording devices, police officers are equipped with top-of-line surveillance cameras in their cars and on their uniforms. According to a recent AP report [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/09/ap/business/main20078184.shtml], hundreds of police departments across the country are equipping officers with tiny body cameras to record anything from a traffic stop to a hot vehicle pursuit to an unfolding violent crime. The mini cameras have even spawned a new cable reality TV series, "Police POV," which uses police video from Cincinnati, Chattanooga and Fort Smith, Ark.
The cameras are intended to provide more transparency and security to officers on the street and to reduce the number of misconduct complaints and potential lawsuits. Which begs the question: what is the difference between these cameras and the footage captured by citizens in public? Why is it acceptable for police officers to record, but not citizens? Aren't the uniform and dashboard cameras, which unlike citizen recordings document police actions all through the day, intimidating police from doing their jobs, just as Pasco suggested?

Unconstitutional -
Pasco goes on to suggest that we have to "put faith and trust in our authority figures," which is the absolute antithesis of a functioning democracy and the US constitution, which rests on transparency and accountability.
As usual, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken the lead in challenging these laws. In August of last year, the ACLU of Illinois filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago challenging the Illinois Eavesdropping Act (ACLU v. Anita Alvarez [http://www.newsroomlawblog.com/uploads/file/ACLU%20recording%20police%20case(1).pdf]), arguing that the act violates the First Amendment and has been used to thwart people who simply want to monitor police activity, including the ACLU itself [http://www.firstamendmentcoalition.org/2010/08/aclu-suit-seeks-to-allow-citizen-recording-of-police-in-action/]. The Illinois law is unique in that it makes it a crime to record not only private but also public conversations made without consent of all parties. In the lawsuit, the ACLU pointed to six Illinois residents who have faced felony charges after being accused of violating the state’s eavesdropping law for recording police making arrests in public venues.
Although the lawsuit was dismissed in January, the ACLU has appealed the suit and expects to begin making oral arguments sometime in the fall. Adam Schwartz, senior staff attorney with the Illinois Chapter of the ACLU, explained why the eavesdropping law is unconstitutional:
"The First Amendment protects the right to gather information for the purpose of sharing it with other people and for the purpose of using it to petition government for redress of grievances. And so for a long time courts have protected the right to record by various means what government officials are doing in public, so the press can publish that and so that citizens can use it to petition government.
"When we talk about police officers doing their jobs in public, we’re talking about very important government activity which is often used properly but sometimes is abused, and it’s very important that citizens have the ability to document what police are doing so they can seek improvement in police policy and the like… therefore, the first amendment protects the right to make audio-recordings of on duty police officers who are doing their jobs in public places."
Schwartz went on to compare audio-recording to other forms of documentation that, although less efficient, are not illegal:
"We believe that a police officer who is doing their job in a public place does not have an expectation of privacy. Even the police can see that if they’re arresting somebody on a corner, other people can watch….they don’t dispute that someone can stand a small distance away and watch, or that the person who’s watching can take out a pen and take notes or on what they’re seeing, or that they can take photographs of what they’re seeing or that they can make a silent video recording of what they’re seeing. The addition of the audio is a very powerful way for citizens to ensure that police officers are turning square corners."
Schwartz also emphasized that resolving disputing testimonies with citizen recording, while important, is not the only benefit to overturning the eavesdropping law:
"If police officers are doing their jobs in public places, for example policing a demonstration and something goes awry, it is very valuable for there to be a strong record, including audio of what happened, so that if there is a need to change the rules, the public can go to the government and say "look what happened, change the rules about how police officers are enforcing the peace at a political demonstration."
The court's decision in this case is said to be critically important in setting a precedent that will either protect or endanger newsgatherers‘ constitutional rights to monitor and record police misconduct. Schwartz said the ACLU is "cautiously optimistic" about the eventual ruling, which is expected to be handed down sometime in 2012.