Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 11,248
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 11,248
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More sabre rattling from the WH? What's a progressive peacenik to think?
Obama Declares Venezuela A Threat To U.S. National Security
Reuters * 03/09/2015 * By Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON, March 9 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order on Monday declaring Venezuela a national security threat, sanctioning seven individuals and expressing concern about the Venezuelan government's treatment of political opponents.
"Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of U.S. financial systems," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
"We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government's efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents. Venezuela's problems cannot be solved by criminalizing dissent," he added.
The White House said the executive order targeted people whose actions undermined democratic processes or institutions, had committed acts of violence or abuse of human rights, were involved in prohibiting or penalizing freedom of expression, or were government officials involved in public corruption.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Mon Mar 9, 2015, 02:55 PM (139 replies)
POLICE in the United States have launched an appeal to the public to try and curb the amount of recordings of black people getting shot turning up online. The plea comes after a video was posted on YouTube showing LAPD officers struggling with a homeless man in broad daylight before shooting him to death.
Officers responding to a burglary call in the impoverished Skid Row area of LA got into an altercation with a homeless man known only as “Africa”, before opting to end the struggle by the application of bullets to the heads.
The video, the latest in the “US cops shoot black people” genre, was met with fury from across the online community, which led the chief of police in Los Angeles issuing a heartfelt statement to the public.
“It is with great regret that I inform you all here about the recording of 6 of my officers shooting a homeless man turning up online,” said Mike Lockhard, wiping tears from his eyes. “In these trying times, we would appeal to those of you with smart phones, tablets or Super 8 video cameras, to please refrain from capturing footage of our officers as they kill people on the streets. It’s really, really making us look bad folks. Knock it off”.
The killing in LA brings the number of black people shot to death by police this year to an unconfirmed amount, as everyone has kinda stopped counting at this stage.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Thu Mar 5, 2015, 09:31 PM (5 replies)
Yes, Black America Fears The Police. Here's Why.
03/05/2015 * HuffPo/Salon * By Nikole Hannah-Jones
Last July 4, my family and I went to Long Island to celebrate the holiday with a friend and her family. After eating some barbecue, a group of us decided to take a walk along the ocean. The mood on the beach that day was festive. Music from a nearby party pulsed through the haze of sizzling meat. Lovers strolled hand in hand. Giggling children chased each other along the boardwalk.
Most of the foot traffic was heading in one direction, but then two teenage girls came toward us, moving stiffly against the flow, both of them looking nervously to their right. "He's got a gun," one of them said in a low voice.
I turned my gaze to follow theirs, and was clasping my 4-year-old daughter's hand when a young man extended his arm and fired off multiple shots along the busy street running parallel to the boardwalk. Snatching my daughter up into my arms, I joined the throng of screaming revelers running away from the gunfire and toward the water.
The shots stopped as quickly as they had started. The man disappeared between some buildings. Chest heaving, hands shaking, I tried to calm my crying daughter, while my husband, friends and I all looked at one another in breathless disbelief. I turned to check on Hunter, a high school intern from Oregon who was staying with my family for a few weeks, but she was on the phone.
"Someone was just shooting on the beach," she said, between gulps of air, to the person on the line.
Unable to imagine whom she would be calling at that moment, I asked her, somewhat indignantly, if she couldn't have waited until we got to safety before calling her mom.
"No," she said. "I am talking to the police."
My friends and I locked eyes in stunned silence. Between the four adults, we hold six degrees. Three of us are journalists. And not one of us had thought to call the police. We had not even considered it.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Thu Mar 5, 2015, 06:17 PM (4 replies)
Dishonest White House Response to Warren's Attack on Secret Panels in Trade Deals
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 * By Yves Smith * Naked Capitalism | Truth Out dot com
Elizabeth Warren is clearly getting on the Administration’s nerves.
The Massachusetts senator has come out forcefully against the misleadingly named trade deals, the TransPacific Partnership and its ugly sister, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Mind you, these treaties are not about trade. Trade is already substantially liberalized and in keeping, only five of the 29 chapters of the TransPacific Partnership deal with tariffs.
What these pacts are primarily intended to do is strengthen intellectual property laws to help US software and entertainment companies, along with Big Pharma, increase their hefty profits, and to aid multinational by permitting the greatly increased use of secret, conflict-ridden arbitration panels that allow foreign investors to sue governments over laws that they contend reduced potential future profits. I am not making that up.
Warren focused on the so-called investor-state dispute settlement process in a Washington Post op-ed last week. We’ve discussed these panels in gory detail in previous posts.
That article led the White House to issue a “lady doth protest too much” rebuttal that we’ll shred shortly. But let’s first review the state of play.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 08:25 PM (4 replies)
DoD Releases “Evidence” of Snowden’s Damages to National Security… and it’s COMPLETELY Redacted
By Carey Wedler * March 1, 2015 * The AntiMedia
Per a Freedom of Information Act Request lawsuit filed by Vice News, the Department of Defense has released a report on the damaging effects of Edward Snowden’s 2013 NSA leaks. The only problem? It’s redacted. Entirely. Not a crumb of evidence was present in the “evidence” the government released.
The “assessment” is made up of multiple reports collectively over 100 pages long and was released by the Defense Intelligence Agency, a wing of the Department of Defense. It was made by two dozen DIA analysts and is fully blocked out, save for several headings. For example:
* “Talking Points”
* “Compromised Information”
The redacted reports were constructed from September 2013 to April 2014. According to a declaration signed by the DIA’s FOIA office chair, Aleysia Williams, it was used by DOD “leadership” to “mitigate the harm caused to national security” by Snowden.
David Leatherwood, the DIA’s director of operations, said that to do this, secrecy must be employed (as usual). He alleged:
Further, at a conference on Monday, NSA chief Mike Rogers claimed of the Snowden leaks:
“Anyone who thinks this has not had an impact… doesn’t know what they are talking about.”
Since Edward Snowden exposed the expansive spying practices of the federal government, authorities like Rogers have claimed that the former CIA and NSA analyst compromised national security. However, they are yet to provide a single instance of their claims. They have not even been able to prove that the NSA’s bulk data collection has an effect on terrorism whatsoever.
More here: http://theantimedia.org/dod-releases-evidence-of-snowdens-damages-to-national-security/
Another link: http://theweek.com/speedreads/541288/government-releases-completely-censored-pages-proof-snowden-damaged-national-security
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sun Mar 1, 2015, 11:00 PM (44 replies)
Americans Favor Legalizing Pot and Criminalizing Congress
BY ANDY BOROWITZ * The New Yorker * Feb. 26, 2015
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—By a huge majority, Americans support laws legalizing marijuana and criminalizing Congress, according to a poll released on Thursday. While the poll reflects a relaxation of attitudes about recreational pot use, it also suggests that many Americans now view membership in Congress as a problem ravaging the nation.
Harland Dorrinson, an activist who has spent years mobilizing support for the criminalization of Congress, said that “this poll reinforces what many of us have been saying for a long time: Congress destroys lives.”
“I’ve seen productive members of society get involved with Congress and completely lose the will to work,” he said. “They just sit there, totally numb and out of touch with reality.”
He noted that the once prevalent view that membership in Congress was “harmless” is now being discredited. “If you look at what happens to someone’s brain after ten, twenty, or even thirty years in Congress, it’s devastating,” he said. “There is severe impairment.”
Additionally, he warned that Congress is a “gateway elective office” that leads many to try running for President.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Thu Feb 26, 2015, 05:00 PM (2 replies)
It's a rather longish article, but makes some valid points IMHO.
GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT:
How dirty media brought down Oregon’s clean-energy governor and his activist fiancée
By John de Graaf * The Grist * Feb. 25, 2015
I know and admire Cylvia Hayes.
I support the initiatives that she actively promoted.
I have no special knowledge of her financial dealings.
Regardless, I believe the recent attacks on Hayes and her fiancé, former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), have been sensationalized, and are at best misleading. They feel like more of a witch hunt than honest muckraking. Indeed, there was little real muck to rake. A close look at the public record and the media stories attacking the couple reveals a pattern of innuendo, conflicting accusations, and shameless scandal mongering. But before we get to that, let’s go over some background.
Much More: http://grist.org/politics/how-dirty-media-brought-down-oregons-clean-energy-governor-and-his-activist-fiancee/
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Thu Feb 26, 2015, 03:31 PM (10 replies)
WHY DOES THE FBI HAVE TO MANUFACTURE ITS OWN PLOTS IF TERRORISM AND ISIS ARE SUCH GRAVE THREATS?
By Glenn Greenwald * The Intercept * Feb. 26, 2015
The FBI and major media outlets yesterday trumpeted the agency’s latest counterterrorism triumph: the arrest of three Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS (photo of joint FBI/NYPD press conference, above). As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably documents, “it appears that none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant.” One of the frightening terrorist villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI’s plot: his mom had taken away his passport. Noting the bizarre and unhinged ranting of one of the suspects, Hussain noted on Twitter that this case “sounds like another victory for the FBI over the mentally ill.”
In this regard, this latest arrest appears to be quite similar to the overwhelming majority of terrorism arrests the FBI has proudly touted over the last decade. As my colleague Andrew Fishman and I wrote last month — after the FBI manipulated a 20-year-old loner who lived with his parents into allegedly agreeing to join an FBI-created plot to attack the Capitol — these cases follow a very clear pattern:
Once again, we should all pause for a moment to thank the brave men and women of the FBI for saving us from their own terror plots.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Thu Feb 26, 2015, 02:37 PM (196 replies)
Republican Congressman to DC Mayor: "You Can Go to Prison" for Legalizing Marijuana
GOPers threatened District leaders with jail for implementing a voter-approved initiative.
By Sam Brodey * Wed Feb. 25, 2015 * Mother Jones
On Wednesday, a tense back-and-forth between congressional Republicans and the District of Columbia government over marijuana laws escalated into a dramatic showdown. In November, DC voters passed Initiative 71, which legalized marijuana—though with some major caveats—by an overwhelming margin. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared this week that the law would take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. But Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who chairs the House committee that oversees District governance, has taken a hard line, suggesting that Bowser and other city officials could be arrested for moving forward with the law because it goes against the will of Congress. Here's the breakdown of what's happening in our nation's capital.
What Initiative 71 does: The bill, which was approved by 70 percent of DC voters, is relatively modest in its aims, compared to the more robust legalization laws of states like Colorado. It makes the possession of two or fewer ounces of marijuana legal for people 21 and over, and it permits consumption on private property, as well as the cultivation of a limited number of marijuana plants. Marijuana sales remain strictly prohibited—although people can transfer as much as an ounce to each other as long as no money or goods changes hands—and smoking in public is forbidden, too.
How Congress fought it: Congress' central role in overseeing DC law presented obstacles for the implementation of Initiative 71 from the beginning. Chaffetz, a conservative Republican who won a tight contest to become chairman of the House oversight committee, is a longtime foe of legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana. Once the new Congress convened, it had 30 days in which to approve or disapprove the law. Instead, Republicans chose to undermine it through the federal budget: They attached a rider, or amendment, on this year's $1.1 trillion budget that shuts down the pot law. The rider bars DC from using any funds to "enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance."
How DC fought back: The city government has argued that since voters passed the law before Congress attached the rider, the prohibition is not valid, and the law should stand. Pro-pot Washingtonians have insisted the only legitimate way Congress can block legalization is through a Resolution of Disapproval, in which the entire body votes against the law after the review period. No such action was taken.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Wed Feb 25, 2015, 08:18 PM (2 replies)
But will Obama & Congressional Dems Listen? I certainly hope so.
Coalition of Police Officers Heads to D.C. to Demand the Broken and Brutal Police System Be Fixed
By Jay Syrmopoulos * February 24, 2015 * Free Thought Project
Washington, D.C. – The National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Reform and Accountability (NCLEO) is a contingent of current and retired law enforcement officers and whistleblowers. NCLEO will be meeting with a congressional delegation that includes civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to discuss policing reform.
These former officers seek to assist in helping to reform a system that is severely broken and many times entirely devoid of justice. Problems that range from racial profiling and police brutality to the lack transparency in relation to allegations and complaints of misconduct by officers will be addressed.
All too often we see the police, as well as prosecutors, ignore officer misconduct and in effect passively support the status quo of a broken justice system. To the public at large the “us vs. them” mentality held by law enforcement emboldens an anti-police response from the public and only serves to create a greater divide.
This group of former, retired, and current officers heading to D.C. represents departments from across the U.S.. LEOs from St. Louis, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC Metro, Albuquerque, East Orange, New Jersey, Brockton, MA and the US Marshal Service will be in attendance.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/police-officers-head-d-c-lobby-systemic-policing-reform/#rp8gp4TZIjcxPJLW.99
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Tue Feb 24, 2015, 03:33 PM (5 replies)