Tuesday / October 21, 2014

“Women’s rights shouldn’t be determined by five old men.”

– Bumper Sticker

(See “Conversation We Need To Have”, below.)

Posted in 2014-10-21 | Tagged | Comments Off

Here Are 5 Takeaways From The Harper’s Clinton Reality Check Story

“She has experience, she’s a woman, and it’s her turn. It’s hard to find any political substance in her favor.”

 
By Sam Levine
The Huffington Post (10/19/14)
 

In the November issue of Harper’s magazine, Doug Henwood argues that Hillary Clinton, if elected president, would do little to assuage liberals’ disappointment in President Barack Obama. This is how Henwood sums up the case for Hillary’s candidacy in 2016: “She has experience, she’s a woman, and it’s her turn.” But, he says, “it’s hard to find any political substance in her favor.”

Tracing Clinton’s life from her upbringing to her time at the State Department, Henwood portrays her as a pragmatic politician motivated more by ambition than by principle. Here are five key takeaways from Henwood’s piece:

1. Hillary Clinton didn’t do much during her time in the U.S. Senate.

Relying on records collected by former Clinton adviser Dick Morris, Henwood argues that the legislation Clinton passed during her first five years in the Senate had little substance. The vast majority of bills, according to Henwood, were purely symbolic or would have passed without Clinton’s support. Clinton did work to extend unemployment benefits for 9/11 responders, but Haywood cites Steven Brill’s book,The Rebuilding and Defending of America in the September 12 Era, to make the case that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was actually responsible for pushing the legislation through.

Even though she didn’t have much of a legislative impact in the Senate, Clinton did spend a lot of time befriending Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who could potentially support her in a presidential campaign, Henwood says.

Clinton’s most substantial legislative accomplishment, Henwood says, is her support for the Iraq War. The rest of her accomplishments in the Senate “were the legislative equivalent of being against breast cancer.”

2. Hillary Clinton is a hawk.

In addition to her support for the Iraq War, Henwood notes, Clinton also linked Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Such an accusation “was closer to the Bush line than even many pro-war Democrats were willing to go,” he writes.

The article goes on to say that during her time at the State Department, Clinton had a “macho eagerness” to call in the U.S. cavalry in foreign affairs. Quoting Time writer Michael Crowley, Henwood writes that, “On at least three crucial issues — Afghanistan, Libya, and the bin Laden raid — Clinton took a more aggressive line than [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates, a Bush-appointed Republican.”

3. Hillary Clinton is ambitious.

Shortly after Bill Clinton graduated Yale Law School, Hillary was already telling colleagues that he was going to be president. Henwood also says Clinton’s private slogan for her and her husband was “eight years of Bill, eight years of Hill.”

4. Hillary Clinton is not idealistic.

At Wellesley College, Clinton wrote her senior thesis on Saul Alinsky’s community organizing tactics, but later found them to be “too idealistic and simplistic,” according to Bill Clinton’s biographer David Maraniss. In her thesis, Clinton doubted the effectiveness of welfare programs, writing that they “neither redeveloped poverty areas nor even catalyzed the poor into helping themselves.” When Clinton turned down a job offer from Alinsky after college, Alinsky reportedly told her that she wouldn’t change the world by going to law school. Clinton told him that she disagreed.

5. Hillary Clinton has no problem representing the rich.

When she worked for the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, she represented business owners who were upset over a ballot measure in Little Rock pushed by community organizers that would have raised electricity rates on businesses and lowered them on residents. Clinton played a crucial part in developing the legal argument that the higher electricity rates would be an “unconstitutional taking of property,” Henwood says, noting that similar arguments are now frequently used against regulation. [And lest we not forget, Hillary served on the board of directors for Bentonvillw, Arkansas-based serial employee abuser Walmart. -- DC Editor.]

Link to Story

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Tagged | Comments Off

The Abortion Conversation We Need To Have

Abortion, in other words, is part of the fabric of American life, and yet it is arguably more stigmatized than it was when Roe was decided.

 
By Katha Pollit
The Huffington Post (10/16/14)

Abortion. We need to talk about it. I know, sometimes it seems as if we talk of little else, so perhaps I should say we need to talk about it differently. Not as something we all agree is a bad thing about which we shake our heads sadly and then debate its precise degree of badness, preening ourselves on our judiciousness and moral seriousness as we argue about this or that restriction on this or that kind of woman.

We need to talk about ending a pregnancy as a common, even normal, event in the reproductive lives of women — and not just modern American women either, but women throughout history and all over the world, from ancient Egypt to medieval Catholic Europe, from today’s sprawling cities to rural villages barely touched by modern ideas about women’s roles and rights. Abortion takes place in Canada and Greece and France, where it is legal, performed by medical professionals, and covered by national health insurance, and also in Kenya, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, where it is a crime and a woman who terminates a pregnancy takes her life in her hands. According to anthropologists, abortion is found in virtually every society, going back at least 4,000 years. American women had great numbers of abortions throughout our history, when it was legal and when it was not.

Consider this: At the beginning of the nineteenth century effective birth control barely existed and in the 1870s it was criminalized — even mailing an informational pamphlet about contraceptive devices was against the law and remained so until 1936. Yet the average number of births per woman declined from around 7 in 1800 to around 3.5 in 1900 to just over 2 in 1930. How do you think that happened?

We need to see abortion as an urgent practical decision that is just as moral as the decision to have a child — indeed, sometimes more moral. Pro-choicers often say no one is “pro-abortion,” but what is so virtuous about adding another child to the ones you’re already overwhelmed by? Why do we make young women feel guilty for wanting to feel ready for motherhood before they have a baby? Isn’t it a good thing that women think carefully about what it means to bring a child into this world — what, for example, it means to the children she already has? We tend to think of abortion as anti-child and anti- motherhood. In media iconography, it’s the fetus versus the coat hanger: that is, abortion kills an “unborn baby,” but banning it makes women injure themselves. Actually, abortion is part of being a mother and of caring for children, because part of caring for children is knowing when it’s not a good idea to bring them into the world.

Need for a complete conversation

We need to put abortion back into its context, which is the lives and bodies of women, but also the lives of men, and families, and the children those women already have or will have. Since nearly 1 in 5 American women end their childbearing years without having borne a child (compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s), we need to acknowledge that motherhood is not for everyone; there are other ways of living a useful, happy life.

We need to talk about abortion in its full human setting: sex and sexuality, love, violence, privilege, class, race, school and work, men, the scarcity of excellent, respectful reproductive health care, and of realistic, accurate information about sex and reproduction. We need to talk about why there are so many unplanned and unwanted pregnancies — which means we need to talk about birth control, but also about so much more than that: about poverty and violence and family troubles, about sexual shyness and shame and ignorance and the lack of power so many women experience in bed and in their relationships with men. Why is it such a huge big deal to ask a man to wear a condom? Or for a man to do so without being asked? Why do so many women not realize they are pregnant until they are fifteen or twenty or even twenty-five weeks along, and what does that say about the extraordinary degree of vigilance we demand women exercise over their reproductive systems? And speaking of that vigilance, what about the fact that some 16 percent of women, according to a Brown University study, have experienced reproductive coercion in at least one relationship — a male partner who used threats or violence to control a woman’s contraception or pregnancy outcomes — with a remarkable 9 percent experiencing “birth control sabotage,” a male partner who disposed of her pills, poked holes in condoms, or pre- vented her from getting contraception. One-third of the women reporting reproductive coercion also reported partner abuse in the same relationship.4 Behind America’s high rate of unintended pregnancy — almost half of all pregnancies — and high rates of abortion lies a world of hurt.

Tyranny of the ‘stray sperm’

We need to talk about the scarcity of resources for single mothers and even for two-parent families, and the extraordinary, contradictory demands we make upon young girls to be simultaneously sexually alluring and withholding: hot virgins. We need to talk about blood and mess and periods and pregnancy and childbirth and what women go through to bring new life into the world and whether deep in our hearts we believe that those bodies mean women were put on Earth to serve and sacrifice and suffer in a way that men are not. Because when we talk about abortion as a bad thing, and worry that there’s too much of it, sometimes we mean there’s too much unwanted pregnancy and that women and men need more and better sex education and birth control, and sometimes we mean there’s too much poverty, especially for children and their mothers, but a lot of the time we mean a woman should have a good cry, and then do the right thing and have the baby. She can always put it up for adoption, can’t she, like Juno in the movie? And that is close to saying that a woman can have no needs, desires, purpose, or calling so compelling and so important that she should not set it aside in an instant, because of a stray sperm.

Abortion has been legal across the United States for more than four decades. More than a million abortions are per- formed every year — some 55 million since 1973, when Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. A few facts: By menopause, 3 in 10 American women will have terminated at least one pregnancy; about half of all US women who have an abortion have already had a prior abortion; excluding miscarriages, 21 percent of pregnancies end in abortion. Contrary to the popular stereotype of abortion-seeking women as promiscuous teen- agers or child-hating professionals, around 6 in 10 women who have abortions are already mothers. And 7 in 10 are poor or low-income. Abortion, in other words, is part of the fabric of American life, and yet it is arguably more stigmatized than it was when Roe was decided.

Link to Story

  • Abortion as a Social Good: Author Katha Pollitt Pens New Vision for Pro-Choice Movement – We look at a book out this week that offers a new vision for the pro-choice movement. In “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights,” Nation columnist Katha Pollitt dissects the logic behind the hundreds of abortion restrictions enacted over the past few years and shows that, at their core, they are not about safety, but about controlling women. In order to reverse the tide of eroding access, Pollitt concludes, the pro-choice movement must end the “awfulization” of abortion. She writes, “I want us to start thinking of abortion as a positive social good and saying this out loud.” Link to 13-Minute Video

 

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

GOP Rep. Duffy Puts Campaign Aide ‘On Leave’ For Misrepresentation (Flat Out Lying)

By Capper
Crooks & Liars (10/19/14)

US Representative and former reality TV star Sean Duffy must be feeling the heat being brought by his Democratic opponent Kelly Westlund, even though he is in what should be a safe seat due to gerrymandering.

So much so that he sent a campaign aide to be a plant in one of Westlund’s events.

While that’s bad enough, said aide is apparently no smarter than his boss. The fool not only agreed to be interviewed by the media, but then lied his butt off:

The man had attended an event in Marshfield on Friday for Democratic party candidate Kelly Westlund, who is challenging Duffy for the Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District.

Following the event, a News-Herald Media reporter asked the man, who had questioned Westlund about mining issues, if he would be interviewed for an article. He agreed. When asked questions about his name and why he was at the event, the man said his name was Tom Jorgenson and he had attended the event to learn more about the candidate and the issues. He said he was not from the area but in town visiting family.

A story about Westlund’s campaign stop in Marshfield appeared online Friday afternoon. Shortly after it appeared, a man who had been at the event called the newspaper and spoke with the reporter. The man said the person identified as Tom Jorgenson was a Duffy campaign field director named Jake Thomfohrda.

Duffy confirmed that Thomforhrda worked for his campaign Monday.

He also looked at the reporter’s cellphone photo of the man who said he was Tom Jorgenson and said that the man was Jake Thomfohrda.

It’s rather telling that Duffy didn’t even fire the guy but rather just put him “on leave.”

Although it does make sense in a way, since Duffy has spent years misrepresenting himself as a representative of the people when he spends his time complaining that hecan’t possibly survive on $174,000 per year and belittling and/or avoiding his constituents.

Don’t expect Duffy to ever explain why he sent his aide to the event or why he didn’t just fire him outright for misrepresenting himself to the media. Duffy is very skilled at dancing around the issues, among other things.

Link to Story

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Tagged | Comments Off

Mr. Slimy: Colorado Dems Catch James O’Keefe & Pals Trying to Bait Them Into Approving Voter Fraud

The conservative provocateur allegedly posed as a mustachioed “civics professor.”

By Andy Kroll
Mother Jones (10/20/14)

James O’Keefe, the conservative provocateur, has been on the prowl in Colorado, the setting of a close Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, as well as a nip-and-tuck governor’s contest. Last week, O’Keefe and two of his collaborators tried to bait Democratic field staffers into approving voter fraud involving Colorado’s universal vote-by-mail program, according to three Democratic staffers who interacted with O’Keefe or his colleagues.

Democratic staffers in Colorado recently came to believe they were the subject of an O’Keefe operation after campaign workers became suspicious about would-be volunteers who had asked about filling out and submitting mail-in ballots for others. Recently, the 30-year-old O’Keefe has targeted the Senate campaigns of Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes by filming undercover videos of staffers or the candidate.

Last Tuesday, a man who appeared to be in his 20s showed up at a Democratic field office in Boulder wanting to volunteer to help elect Udall and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), according to a Democratic staffer who met with him and asked not to be identified. The man introduced himself as “Nick Davis,” and he said he was a University of Colorado-Boulder student and LGBT activist involved with a student group called Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis mentioned polls showing the race between Udall and Gardner was tight, and he asked the staffer if he should fill out and mail in ballots for other college students who had moved away but still received mail on campus. The Democratic staffer says he told Davis that doing this would be voter fraud and that he should not do it.

On Friday, Udall campaigned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus. After the event, a woman calling herself “Bonnie” approached a different staffer and, according to this staffer’s boss, asked whether she could fill out and submit blank ballots found in a garbage can. The staffer, according to her boss, said that she told her no.

That same day, the guy identifying himself as “Nick Davis” returned to the Democratic office in Boulder. He was accompanied by a man wearing heavy makeup and a mustache, according to the Democratic staffer who had met Davis three days earlier. Davis introduced his friend as a “civics professor” at the University of Colorado-Boulder and the faculty adviser to Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis and the professor, who said his name was “John Miller,” picked up Udall campaign literature and canvassing information.

On Monday, O’Keefe tweeted a photo of himself with a mustache and said he’d recently posed as a “45yo” for one of his “election investigations.”

The repeated questions about submitting other people’s ballots led Democratic staffers to suspect they were being targeted. Later, the staffers viewed photos of O’Keefe—including one taken in Colorado showing O’Keefe sans mustache and sporting a Udall campaign sticker and a Women for Udall button—and they concluded that O’Keefe and the college professor were the same person. They also said the image O’Keefe tweeted of himself with a mustache matched the man who visited the Boulder office on Friday.

O’Keefe and two male colleagues also targeted a progressive nonprofit named New Era Colorado, according to New Era executive director Steve Fenberg. On Saturday, Fenberg says, O’Keefe and his friends contacted New Era’s Fort Collins office to set up an in-person meeting and identified themselves as activists affiliated with Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. The three men arrived carrying Udall campaign literature, Fenberg notes, but a New Era organizer met them outside the office’s front door and refused to let them enter with the Udall materials. Outside groups such as New Era cannot coordinate with political campaigns, and Fenberg says he believes O’Keefe and his collaborators “were trying to establish evidence we were working together.”

 

When New Era’s staffers began taking pictures of O’Keefe (including the photo embedded at left), Fenberg says, O’Keefe and a colleague went to their car and returned with a large video camera and a microphone. “If you want to take photos of us, we’ll take photos of you,” O’Keefe said, according to Fenberg, and the New Era staffers closed the door while O’Keefe and his friend tried to push it open and stick their microphone inside. Fenberg says New Era filed a police report about the incident.

Rocky Mountain Vote Pride doesn’t seem to have much of a footprint. There is a website and Facebook page for the organization, both created in July, but they provide no information about who’s behind the group. Searches for Rocky Mountain Vote Pride in the University of Colorado-Boulder student newspaper, the Denver Post, and the Boulder Daily Camera turned up no results. A search of Nexis archives for the past two years yielded zero mentions.

Chris Harris, the communications director for the Udall campaign, accused O’Keefe of “using sleazy, deceptive tactics to undermine the public’s trust in democracy.”

O’Keefe is best known for his undercover videos attacking the community organizing group ACORN. Those videos, hyped by Fox News and the conservative blogosphere, led the GOP-led House of Representatives to hold more than a dozen votes to defund ACORN, and the group disbanded soon after. In 2010, the FBI arrested O’Keefe and three others for phone tampering at a New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and three years of probation and fined $1,500.

This fall, O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas, launched a political offshoot with its sights set on high-profile campaigns and organizations. Project Veritas went undercover to try to get campaign staffers for Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes to contradict the candidate’s pro-coal message. In Arkansas, O’Keefe’s group secretly filmed Sen. Mark Pryor speaking to a local LGBT group in an attempt to expose him as privately supporting marriage equality, which he has publicly opposed. Project Veritas also sought to bait workers for Battleground Texas, the group formed by Obama campaign alums to register and organize Democratic voters, into taking improper actions, but a Texas special prosecutor dismissed the group’s video as “little more than a canard and political disinformation.”

Neither New Era nor the Udall campaign was aware of any other contacts by staff with O’Keefe or his colleagues, and it was not clear whether other organizations in Colorado might have been contacted. Stephen Gordon, a spokesman for Project Veritas, declined to comment. “We’re not making any comment on potential operations in Colorado at this moment,” he said. “But watch for our upcoming videos.”

Link to Story

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

Wisconsin Assembly Candidate Debates TONIGHT: Doyle & Happel / Flesch & Nerison

TONIGHT– Tuesday, October 21

7:00-8:00 p.m.

94th Assembly District

Rep. Steve Doyle

Candidate Tracie Happel

8:00-9:00 p.m.

96th Assembly District

Rep. Lee Nerison

Candidate Pete Flesch

 

University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse (UW-L) Port O’Call, Cartwright Center, 1725 State St. LaCrosse WI 54601.

 

Sponsored by League of Women Voters, UW-L Political Science/Public Administration Department, LaCrosse Tribune, WKBT-TV, WLSU-Radio and UW-L Student Association

 

Each candidate gets a podium and 2 minutes to introduce themselves.

Questions from a panel of five journalists.

Questions directed to both candidates.

Candidates will alternate answering first.

Audience can submit questions via cards to moderator.

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

John Oliver: The Abandonment Of Translators By U.S. Is Moral Crisis

Iraqi and Afghani translators played an essential role in protecting American troops during our 13 years of non-stop war. With troop drawdowns in Afghanistan and withdrawal from Iraq those translators are in danger of being killed. While barriers to getting those translators to the United States was supposed to have been streamlined the reality is that the whole process is mired in paperwork and official indifference.

Shameful.

John Oliver lays it all out.

16-Minute Video

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

Labor Gearing Up For Wisconsin Vote

Early voting started in Wisconsin on Monday. In just about two weeks the full 2014 General Election will take place. There’s not much time left to make a difference for Mary Burke and beat Scott Walker; leave your mark on this election by volunteering with our efforts. We’re talking to the right group of people to win the election, but we need your help to talk to enough voters to push us over the top.

Going Door-To-Door and Phone Calls to Turn Wisconsin Around

      Monday, October 20th: 4 – 7 pm, 5 – 8 pm

      Tuesday, October 21st: 4 – 7 pm, 5 – 8 pm

      Wednesday, October 22nd: 4 – 7 pm, 5 – 8 pm

      Thursday, October 23rd: 4 – 7 pm, 5 – 8 pm

      Friday, October 24th: 3 – 6 pm

      Saturday, October 25th: 10 am – 1 pm, 1 – 4 pm, and 3 – 5 pm

      Sunday, October 26th: 1 – 4 pm, 4 pm – 7 pm

   IBEW Local 14 Office
   3460 Losey Boulevard South
   La Crosse, WI 54601

(*Please note: Due to important non-election-related activities, we are NOT at our usual spot at the IAM Hall on Market Street, but instead are at the IBEW hall on the south side of La Crosse.)

We’re available at other times than those listed above, if you want to help at another time, please let us know. We’ll provide training, materials, and scripts; we just need you.

If you have any questions/concerns, or know when you’d like to take part, please let me know. Thank you and with your help let’s win this election!

 

Andy Thompson
Service Area Organizer – Western WI
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO
2233 Birch Street
Eau Claire, WI 54703
Office: (715) 831-3353
athompson@wisaflcio.org

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

How The Federal Govt. Surrendered To Cliven Bundy And Emboldened The Radical Right Militias

The current wave of antigovernment extremism will only continue to pick up speed.

(Editor’s Note: The unwillingness of the federal government to respond to Cliven Bundy’s lawlessness is a measure of how feckless the government is when confronted by fascist “brown shirts” of the American radical right. Now if it had been a bunch of African American or Hispanic kids, or a gathering of Occupy protesters, the feds would have leveled the full arsenal of weaponry and legal sanction. The radical right — the kind of thuggish ground troops all fascist regimes depend upon for extrajudicial domestic intimidation and revenge — is safe. They have a role in the coming crackdown. Stay alert, folks. — Mark L. Taylor)

By Ryan Lenz
Southern Poverty Law Center (10/19/14)

It has been six months since the federal government called off its attempt to round up cattle belonging to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy amid a tense standoff with heavily armed militiamen who trained their weapons on federal agents.

For weeks prior, the antigovernment right had been portraying a federal court order to remove Bundy’s herd from public lands as a prime example of federal overreach – even though Bundy had refused to pay more than $1 million in accumulated grazing fees and fines because he said he didn’t recognize the government’s legitimacy.

Militias from around the country responded to Bundy’s plight, hoping that in that tiny corner of the desert they could make a stand against the government they see as the enemy. And when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) abandoned the operation to avoid a bloody shootout, they declared victory.

Cowards

Government officials promised accountability for those who broke the law by taking up arms against federal agents. It seems unfathomable, in fact, that the U.S. Department of Justice would allow a mob of antigovernment zealots to get away with using the threat of violence to block the enforcement of the law.

But, as the months have dragged on, there has been no response. Not an arrest. Not an indictment. Nothing.

Speaking with National Public Radio a month after the standoff, BLM Director Neil Kornze promised the agency would work through the legal system. “I can’t say a lot because there’s an active investigation going on, but we are working hard to ensure that those who did break the law are held accountable,” Kornze said.

The Clark County, Nevada, Sheriff’s Department has said an investigation is under way, as has the FBI. But as that investigation drags on, militias have turned the Bundy family ranch into an armed compound ready for a ground war with the Feds, and Bundy has gone on the lecture circuit to claim victory against the government.

Bundy on a roll

Just last month, speaking at a gathering billed as “An Evening with Cliven Bundy” in Nevada, the embattled rancher, now a hero to the radical right, again reiterated his defiance and disdain for the federal government.

“I was really surprised that they would go this far to put their guns down we the people’s throat and try to show the public, the world, the federal government has unlimited power over we the people of the state of Nevada. That isn’t right, and that’s not ever going to happen again in America or in the state of Nevada,” a television station quoted Bundy saying.

Bundy’s confidence has risen no doubt because there have been no consequences for his actions or for those who came to his defense.

What has been equally surprising, however, is just how deeply the Bundy family has become part of the radical fringe since the April 12 standoff.

Bundy abandoned the GOP in favor of the Independent American Party of Nevada, which champions the idea of returning to the gold standard and frequently offers conspiracy theories about the United Nations and its Agenda 21. He has spoken to numerous far-right media outlets, touting his success in turning back the federal government as a victory for what the radical right frequently calls the “cause of liberty.” Members of his family have even become lifetime members of antigovernment groups like the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack’s conspiracy-minded group composed of right-wing sheriffs who promise to keep federal aggressions at bay.

In recent months, Bundy himself has burrowed much deeper into the radical right than that even.

Hatewatch has learned that Bundy, alongside Mack, participated in a conference call with the Republic for the united States of America (RuSA), a “sovereign citizen” group whose members believe the federal government is an illegal corporation designed to enslave citizens. Its members have been involved in violent interactions with police, run-ins with the Internal Revenue Service and widespread harassment of law enforcement.

Right wing contagion

As the Southern Poverty Law Center reported this summer, the government’s slow response and apparent reluctance or inability to hold Bundy accountable led to more potentially violent, antigovernment confrontations in Utah, Texas, Idaho, New Mexico and elsewhere.

And, in a July report, the Department of Homeland Security described a recent spike in antigovernment violence and noted that the “perceived success” of militias at the Bundy ranch “likely will embolden other militia extremists and like-minded lone offenders to attempt to replicate these confrontational tactics and force future armed standoffs.”

The truth of the matter is that until there is action holding those who broke the law accountable, it is likely that the current wave of antigovernment extremism will only continue to pick up speed.

Link to Story

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

The Man Bringing Back The Nazi Movement In America

Andrew Anglin has built a very popular site for white supremacists called the Daily Stormer. But he has even bigger plans

By Shane Dixon Kavanaugh
Vocativ (3/20/14)

In less than a year, Andrew Anglin’s site has become the premiere news venue online for white nationalists, a veritable Drudge Report for Nazi sympathizers and anti-Semites. Each day, its 29-year-old founder curates a constant stream of stories and events from around the world and repackages them as further testament to society’s moral decline, his movement’s enduring race war and the country’s Jewish problem.

But for Anglin, the Daily Stormer is just the start of something far more sweeping and ambitious. It’s the monochrome messenger that may one day pave the way for an extreme brand of right-wing politics in America that is far more conservative—and white—than the current Republican Party.

“Using the daily news is a means to propagandize people,” says Anglin, who launched the site on the Fourth of July. “To get them to look at the world in a certain way.”

Anglin bristles at America’s contemporary conservative movement and even has a beef with its more radical fringes. Conspiracy theorists present too many half-baked notions to be taken seriously. Libertarians do not push back enough against homosexuality and abortion. Meanwhile, men with last names like Rubio and Cruz talk about immigration reform and are considered rising stars in the movement.

“The Republican Party has collapsed, and there’s got to be a backlash,” he says. “That’s what I’m preparing for. There’s an opportunity for a new right-wing to enter American politics.”

The Daily Stormer’s headlines scream things like “The Undeniable and Self-Evident Jewish Creation of the EU and “Black Dope Head Kills 16-Year-Old White Passenger Then Tells Family Not To Get Mad at Him.” In this universe, gay sexwill be the cause of World War III, and this year’s Academy Awards was proof ofJewish Hollywood’s anti-white agenda.

Sound hysterical or borderline bonkers? Perhaps. But it’s precisely the kind of content for which hate mongers clamor. The proof is in the numbers. On a slow day, the site now attracts more than 10,000 unique visitors, Anglin says. Hundreds flood the comment threads.

For Anglin, who grew up in Ohio and has bounced around Europe and Asia, there is little doubt that society is on the brink of collapse. He sees economic strife and endless war. He sees moral perversion and failing families throughout America and Europe. And the mainstream media can’t be trusted to deliver these truths.

“The present situation is so unsettling that it’s necessary to have an extreme response,” he says.

Fascism is not an ideology he arrived at overnight. Anglin says he grew up being spoon-fed America’s liberal brand of politics. In high school, he read Noam Chomsky and dabbled in “all that Communist, Jewish stuff.” Later, he’d go on to study Islam, Buddhism and a host of 20th-century French philosophers, including Jean Baudrillard and Jacques Ellul.

As he sought to make sense of the world, Anglin says his political views became increasingly radical. Eventually, he found what he was looking for in the teachings of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

“The term ‘neo-Nazi’ is clearly a slur, and I’m not certain I want to repeat everything like it was in Hitler’s Germany,” he says. “But I agree with all the core principles of National Socialism.”

In 2012, Anglin launched a website called Total Fascism. There, he wrote on topics ranging from Hitler’s art, to Greece’s Golden Dawn (a far-right political party), to critiques of the radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, with whom Anglin philosophically disagrees.

People read his work on Total Fascism. But Anglin finally concluded that his essays on the site, which were often long, limited his audience. Soon after, he decided to launch the Daily Stormer.

Since then, his work has become nonstop. Anglin says he spends seven days and about 70 hours each week working on the site. Often, he’ll post more than a dozen stories in a single day, most of them a mix of news aggregation and commentary. His labors leave him with little time for much else, he says. While Anglin’s prolific output has expanded the site’s audience, it has also gained greater exposure by its aggressive and decidedly pro-Russian coverage of the Crimean crisis.

In the last few weeks, Anglin has heralded the Russian tanks rolling into Eastern Ukraine. He has published letters from anti-American intellectuals and offered meditations on Vladimir Putin’s spirituality.

“The correct moral position is to be on the side of Russia,” he says. “I think my position is the one anyone—who is not a left-wing extremist—would have if they had the information available to them.”

Link to Story

  • Who Will Be Miss Hitler 2014? – Who is the most beautiful anti-Semitic of them all? A Russian pro-Hitler online group wants to find out … Read the Rest
Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

Denver Police ‘Attack Team’ Targets Wrong Family

Police slammed a minor’s head through a glass window; choked and punched family members.

Police State USA (10/11/14)

DENVER, CO — A so-called ‘Attack Team’ negligently raided the wrong family and used violent tactics against a father and his three sons; choking and punching them, crashing a minor’s head through a glass window, and slamming them face first onto a sidewalk. The innocent family members were then maliciously prosecuted and threatened with the prospect of spending years in prison.

* * * * *

VIOLENT RAID

On January 27, 2009, the Martinez family of Denver — comprised of Daniel Martinez, Jr., Daniel Martinez III (21), Nathan Martinez (19), and Jonathan Martinez (16) — had settled in for the evening when there was an unexpected banging on their door shortly after 11:00 p.m.   A number of Denver police officers, representing the District 1 Special Crime Attack Team (SCAT), were outside demanding that the family open the door.

Responding to the shouting, family patriarch Daniel Martinez, Jr., opened the door slightly, but it was hooked using a bungee cord.  As he struggled to unlatch the door, he responded with “I’m trying” to the repeated demands to open up.  When the bungee cord was released, officers pushed the door open and rushed into the house, according to court documents.  The officers had no warrant and were not given consent to enter.

The intrusion quickly turned to violence, as gun wielding brutes used force to detain the the father and his three sons.

During the foray, sixteen-year-old Jonathan was aggressively grabbed by Officer Jason Valdez, spun around and slammed into a wall.   The officer then pulled him back and again slammed him face-first against a window, breaking the glass. The teen was then dragged outside and slammed face-first to the sidewalk and handcuffed.  The officer spun the 120-pound boy over and took the opportunity to punch him in the stomach, while handcuffed.

Nearby, Officer Bryce Jackson used a choke hold to drag Daniel III outside, then slammed him on the sidewalk, and handcuffed him face-down in the snow.

While Nathan Martinez exclaimed, “You can’t touch my brother, he’s a minor,” Sergeant Robert Motyka punched him in the mouth.  Nathan fell back on the couch, and the officer sprang on top of him to handcuff him.  Nathan demanded to speak to a sergeant, at which point Sergeant Motyka announced that he was a sergeant.

Daniel, Jr., had been forced to his knees and was handcuffed while his children were being assaulted.

MALICIOUS CHARGES

Police came to the realization that they had targeted the wrong family when their four victims were lined up, handcuffed, and no evidence of drugs or prostitutes was discovered.

As defense attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai noted in the Denver Westward, “[The officers] look around and realize they’re in a little family house, not a drug den. Then they ask everyone for their socials, and they’ve all got them; they’re all citizens. So they trump up this story that the kids attacked them once the police came in the house upon consent. That’s their version — that the dad let them in and the kids started swinging on these huge cops.”

The family members were all arrested and criminally charged with assaulting police officers. The charge of third-degree assault on a police officer carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison.

Charges against Daniel III and Nathan — neither of whom had a criminal record — were taken all the way to trial. A jury wisely acquitted both men on all charges during the January 2010 trial.

Charges against Daniel Martinez, Jr., and Jonathan Martinez were eventually dropped.

“The police story, once you dissect it, made no sense at all,” explained defense attorney Mohamedbhai. “There were inconsistencies of what happened, who was there, the sequence of events. It just wasn’t clear.”

Chief District Judge Marcia S. Krieger described the investigative basis of the raid:

Prior to the events at issue, a neighbor of the Plaintiffs raised a concern to Denver police of heavy foot traffic around the Plaintiffs’ home; the neighbor considered such traffic to be possible indicia or a drug or prostitution business being conducted out of the home.  Although the Plaintiffs contend that investigation into police and public records would have revealed that the Plaintiffs had only recently moved into the home (and, correspondingly, that a more troublesome set of prior tenants had recently moved out), the police did not undertake any significant investigation into the matter, other than deciding to go to the home and speak to the occupants.

According to Mohamedbhai, “the Martinez family moved into a house at 1263 Stuart Street in December of ’08, about a month before the incident went down. The police were, I suppose, working on stale information about the former tenants presumably being into drugs and prostitution and some bad stuff. But those guys had been gone for a while. According to the landlord, the house had stayed empty for five or six weeks prior to the Martinez family moving in.”

The Martinezes were “a family Mexican band,” according to their lawyer.  “They’ve even done fundraising for other law enforcement, like in Adams County. They’re good people. Nobody’s got criminal records.”

The Martinez family later filed a lawsuit, alleging excessive force, malicious and vindictive prosecution, and violations of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights “when [police] recklessly, knowingly, intentionally, willfully, and wantonly sought Plaintiffs’ arrests and instituted legal process against them by acting with knowledge that Plaintiffs had committed no violation of law.”

Named in the lawsuit as defendants were the City and County of Denver, Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman, Officer Jason Valdez, Officer Robert Martinez, Sergeant Robert Motyka, and Officer Bryce Jackson.

An internal investigation in the Denver Police Department determined that the complaint was “baseless” and the officers involved did no wrong.

* * * * *

FOLLOW-UP

In September 2014, a jury awarded the Martinez family $1.8 million for wrongful prosecution of the family members.

The lawsuit claimed that officers had violated the Martinez family’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights “when they recklessly, knowingly, intentionally, willfully, and wantonly sought Plaintiffs’ arrests and instituted legal process against them by acting with knowledge that Plaintiffs had committed no violation of law.”

As attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai noted, “there are serious constitutional protections in your home. And intruding into someone’s home at night without a warrant and beating up

Eeveryone inside — and then covering up your own bad acts — is egregious. And, of course, Denver’s internal-affairs bureau just whitewashed everything, which is no surprise.”

The lawsuit had alleged that excessive force had been used during the raid, but the jury was split on that issue.

None of the officers involved were subject to any meaningful discipline, termination, or criminal charges.

Link to Story

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

Republican Alabama House Speaker Arrested

(Editor’s Note: Who does this guy think he works for, Scott Walker? — Mark L. Taylor)

By Sam Levine
The Huffington Post (10/20/14)

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R) was arrested on Monday and charged with 23 felony ethics charges, the Associated Press reported.

Hubbard, who is also the chair of the Alabama Republican Party, faces charges that include using his office for personal gain and voting for legislation with a conflict of interest, Al.com reported.

Hubbard has claimed that he did nothing wrong and called the investigation a witch hunt, according to the AP.

According to WHNT, Hubbard’s indictment is part of an ongoing public corruption investigation in the state.

Read the full indictment below, courtesy of Al.com’se Whitmire:

Mike Hubbard Indictment by Kyle Whitmire

Link to Story

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

Dept. Of Much Needed Humor — Nurse Being Treated For Ebola Impressed With Health Workers’ New Gear

The Onion (10/20/14)

DALLAS—Admiring the personal protective equipment shielding her caregivers from the deadly virus, a nurse receiving treatment for Ebola told reporters Monday that she was very impressed with the medical workers’ newly issued biohazard gear.

“Wow, I only had the flimsy gown that exposed several inches around my neck, but this guy’s decked out in a really nice full-body suit that covers everything,” said the infected nurse, who was particularly taken by the updated gear’s sealed hood, large apron, rubber boots, and second pair of surgical gloves, which are now recommended by the CDC for all hospital staffers treating patients exposed to the disease. “Sure, the surgical mask I had seemed great at the time, but the brand-new breathing pack and air filtration system my nurse was using really take the cake. It’s cool to be one of the first people to see this high-tech equipment.”

The nurse confirmed she was most impressed with the new protocols for removing the biohazard gear, which reportedly involved more than tossing the protective clothing in the hospital’s laundry bin.

Link to Story

Posted in 2014-10-21, Newsletter | Comments Off

Monday / October 20, 2014

“The lies which our poor people have been exposed to in my time are just beyond anything you’d think reasonable people could accept. But they did.”

– Gore Vidal

Posted in 2014-10-20 | Tagged | Comments Off

Should We Just Follow Orders? Rules Of Engagement For Resisting The Growing Police State

“Let your motto be resistance! resistance! Resistance! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance.”

—Abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet

By John W. Whitehead
The Rutherford Institute (10/7/14)

The perils of resisting the police state grow more costly with each passing day, especially if you hope to escape with your life and property intact. The thing you must remember is that we’ve entered an age of militarized police in which we’re no longer viewed as civilians but as enemy combatants.

  • Take, for example, Mary Elizabeth VandenBerg who was charged with disturbing the peace, a crime punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, for daring to vocalize her frustrations over a traffic ticket by reading a prepared statement to the court clerk and paying her $145 traffic ticket with 145 one-dollar bills. VandenBerg was also handcuffed, tasered and pepper sprayed for “passively” resisting police by repeatedly stopping and talking to them and stiffening her arms. The incident, filmed by VandenBerg’s brother, is now the subject of a lawsuit.
  • Zachary Noel was tasered by police and charged with resisting arrest after he questioned why he was being ordered out of his truck during a traffic stop. “Because I’m telling you to,” the officer replied before repeating his order for Noel to get out of the vehicle and then, without warning, shooting him with a taser through the open window. The encounter, recorded with a cell phone by Noel’s friend in the passenger seat, offers a particularly chilling affirmation of how little recourse Americans really have when it comes to obeying an order from a government official or police officer, even if it’s just to ask a question or assert one’s rights.
  • Eighteen-year-old Keivon Young was shot seven times by police from behind while urinating outdoors. Young was just zipping up his pants when he heard a commotion behind him and then found himself struck by a hail of bullets from two undercover cops. Despite the fact that the officers mistook Young—5’4,” 135 lbs., and guilty of nothing more than taking a leak outdoors—for a 6’ tall, 200 lb. murder suspect whom they later apprehended, the young man was charged with felony resisting arrest and two counts of assaulting a peace officer.

What these incidents make clear is that anything short of compliance will now get you charged with any of the growing number of contempt charges (ranging from resisting arrest and interference to disorderly conduct, obstruction, and failure to obey a police order) that get trotted out anytime a citizen voices discontent with the government or challenges or even questions the authority of the powers that be—and that’s the best case scenario. The worst case scenario involves getting probed, poked, pinched, tasered, tackled, searched, seized, stripped, manhandled, arrested, shot, or killed.

What’s a citizen of an occupied country to do?

So what can you really do when you find yourself at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect”? In other words, what are the rules of engagement when it comes to interacting with the police?

If you want to play it safe, comply and do whatever a police officer tells you to do. Don’t talk back. Don’t threaten. And don’t walk away. In other words, don’t do anything that even hints at resistance.

Keep in mind, however, that this is not a fail-safe plan, especially not in an age where police officers tend to shoot first and ask questions later, oftentimes based only on their highly subjective “feeling” of being threatened, and are reprimanded with little more than a slap on the wrist. Indeed, the news is riddled with reports of individuals who didn’t resist when confronted by police and still got tasered, tackled or shot simply because they looked at police in a threatening manner or moved in a way that made an officer fear for his safety.

For example, Levar Edward Jones was shot by a South Carolina police officer during a routine traffic stop over a seatbelt violation as he was in the process of reaching for his license and registration. The trooper justified his shooting of the unarmed man by insisting that Jones reached for his license “aggressively.”

Some possible guerilla options

If compliance isn’t quite your cup of tea—and we’d be far better off as a nation if we were far less compliant—then you’ve got a few more options ranging from legal-but-sure-to-annoy-an-officer to legal-but-it-could-get-you-arrested to legal-but-it-could-get-you-shot.

If this is war—and a good case could be made for the fact that the government is indeed waging a war on the American citizenry—then the tactics I’m about to outline could be considered nonviolent guerilla warfare, using whatever strategic, legal, creative and nonviolent means are available in order to outmaneuver an opponent—in our case, the American police force—whose language is the language of force.

Know your rights

To begin with, and most importantly, Americans need to know their rights when it comes to interactions with the police, bearing in mind that many law enforcement officials are largely ignorant of the law themselves. In a nutshell, here are your basic rights when it comes to interactions with the police as outlined in the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

You have the right under the First Amendment to ask questions and express yourself. You have the right under the Fourth Amendment to not have your person or your property searched by police or any government agent unless they have a search warrant authorizing them to do so.  You have the right under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.

You have the right under the Sixth Amendment to request an attorney. Depending on which state you live in and whether your encounter with police is consensual as opposed to your being temporarily detained or arrested, you may have the right to refuse to identify yourself. Presently, 26 states do not require citizens to show their ID to an officer (drivers in all states must do so, however).

Knowing your rights is only part of the battle, unfortunately. The hard part comes in when you have to exercise those rights in order to hold government officials accountable to respecting those rights.

As a rule of thumb, you should always be sure to clarify in any police encounter whether or not you are being detained, i.e., whether you have the right to walk away. That holds true whether it’s a casual “show your ID” request on a boardwalk, a stop-and-frisk search on a city street, or a traffic stop for speeding or just to check your insurance.

As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, if you feel like you can’t walk away from a police encounter of your own volition—and more often than not you can’t, especially when you’re being confronted by someone armed to the hilt with all manner of militarized weaponry and gear—then for all intents and purposes, you’re essentially under arrest from the moment a cop stops you.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to clarify that distinction, as Kahler Nygard learned. Nygard was threatened with arrest for failing to comply with an order by TSA agents to undergo additional screening after flying with no incident from Minneapolis to his final destination in Denver. It turns out that Nygard, at one time a vocal critic of the government, had been placed on a special list requiring him to undergo extra airport screening. When airport officials realized that they had failed to carry out the additional screening prior to Nygard’s departure, they attempted to cover their mistake by screening him once he landed. To the annoyance of the government agent, Nygard—who filmed the entire encounter—repeatedly asked the agent whether he was being detained or not. Once he deduced that the TSA had no legal rationale for detaining him, Nygard walked away without incident. The encounter might have ended far differently had a police officer been standing nearby, however.

Record your encounters with police

Another important takeaway from Nygard’s experience is to record your encounter with police. While technology is always going to be a double-edged sword, with the gadgets that are the most useful to us in our daily lives—GPS devices, cell phones, the internet—being the very tools used by the government to track us, monitor our activities, and generally spy on us, cell phones are particularly useful for recording encounters with the police and have proven to be increasingly powerful reminders to police that they are not all powerful.

No matter what individual police officers might say to the contrary, members of the public have a First Amendment right to record police interactions, as the Justice Department recognized in a 2012 memorandum acknowledging that “recording governmental officers engaged in public duties is a form of speech through which private individuals may gather and disseminate information of public concern, including the conduct of law enforcement officers.”

That said, there may still be consequences for filming the police, as Fred Marlow learned the hard way. Marlow was charged with interfering and resisting arrest, and fined $5,000 for daring to film a SWAT team raid that took place across the street from his apartment. Marlow was asleep when he heard what sounded like “multiple bombs blasting and glass breaking.” Rushing outside to investigate, Marlow filmed police officers dressed in army green camouflage standing beside an armored vehicle, in the process of carrying out a SWAT team raid to serve a search warrant (more than 80,000 such raids take place every year in the U.S. for such routine police procedures as serving search warrants). Ordered to return inside or face arrest for interference, Marlow explained that he was on his own property and could be outside. He was subsequently arrested.

One popular alternative to citizens filming police encounters is having the police wear body cameras, which have been proven to decrease the number of use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints when used properly. Unfortunately, given that they can be turned off as easily as they are turned on, these devices are also ripe for abuse, not to mention the fact that they are privacy-threatening, roving extensions of the surveillance state whose cameras are conveniently pointed at us, not them.

Clearly, the language of freedom is no longer the common tongue spoken by the citizenry and their government. With the government having shifted into a language of force, “we the people” have been reduced to suspects in a surveillance state, criminals in a police state, and enemy combatants in a military empire.

In such an environment, as every resistor from Martin Luther King Jr. and on down the line has learned, there is always a price to be paid for challenging the status quo. Then again, the price for not challenging the status quo is even worse: outright tyranny, the loss of our freedoms, and a totalitarian regime the likes of which the world has never seen before.

Read the Rest: The Rutherford Institute :: Should We Just Follow Orders? Rules of Engagement for Resisting the Police State.

Posted in 2014-10-20, Newsletter | Tagged | Comments Off