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grahamhgreen's Journal
grahamhgreen's Journal
April 30, 2013

"Which Tech Companies Protect Your Data From the Government?"

The Electronic Frontier Foundation just released its annual "Who Has Your Back" report card, detailing the privacy policies of tech companies. Here's the rundown of who fights for your privacy in the face of government requests for your data—and who doesn't even bother.

April 30, 2013

"Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin."

It's insanity to kill your father with a kitchen knife. It's also insanity to close hospitals, fire therapists, and leave families to face mental illness on their own.
"OHIO ONCE HAD one of the top mental health systems in the country," lamented the National Alliance on Mental Illness in a 2011 report. "Today, after several years of significant budget cuts, thousands of youth and adults living with serious mental illness are unable to access care in the community and are ending up either on the streets or in far more expensive settings, such as hospitals and jails."

The glory days of Ohio's mental-health department had already come to an end by the time the budget crises of the late 2000s rolled around. But the recession and the subsequent tea party austerity movement made things even worse. On the list of the 10 states that cut the most from mental-health budgets between 2009 and 2011, Ohio was No. 6. Then Gov. John Kasich's 2012-13 budget slashed local government funds by a billion dollars and continued a trend of downsizing community mental-health programs. "The most fragile people in our society, we looked out for them," the governor said. "And if there's a hole or a mistake, we'll come back later to figure it out." (He's since proposed restoring some services.)

"Ohio," as Roth explains, "is a microcosm of the United States." Collectively, states have cut $4.35 billion in public mental-health spending since 2009.


"I can't even tell you how many times I've seen this kind of situation leading up to somebody killing somebody," says Lipetzky, the Contra Costa County public defender. "I have two NGI clients right now who tried to kill their parents," Eleanor says. "One of them even had 'em tied up and everything" when the parents were able to talk their child out of it. If we don't talk about the whole, true picture of untreated mental illness, Torrey says, so that we can treat it, the far-from-standard but still very real possibilities for violence from a judgment- and impulse-impaired brain, "the stigma's going to go on forever because of the high-profile homicides that cause the stigma."

"Once Houston is finally hospitalized and treated," my Aunt Annette says, "maybe Mark will finally be able to truly rest." And if that doesn't happen, at least—at the very least—"his story can go to a greater cause. I want people to know about this," she says, with a sharp, gasping cry. That's why she's telling me, and I am telling you: "If this story can serve a purpose, I feel like Mark will not have died in vain."

April 30, 2013

What American Majority Wants: Polls

What American Majority Wants: Polls

Along with the polling data on the The American Majority Project’s polling page, here is some info from recent polls:

Infrastructure investment:

Democracy Corps, November 2012:

52 percent agree that “we should invest now in infrastructure, education and technology, and re-hiring teachers and firefighters to get people back to work to make our country stronger in the long-term.”

Washington Post/ABC News, September 2012:

52 percent agreed that “spending money on projects like roads, bridges and technology development” was a better way for the government to create jobs than tax cuts.

YouGov, Dec 2012:

43 percent said President Obama’s plan for $50 billion in immediate new infrastructure spending was a “good idea;A only 28 percent said it was a bad idea.

NBC, Feb 2011:

71% percent of all respondents support Obama’s plan to spend $53 billion on high-speed rail and $30 billion on a national infrastructure bank.

Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation, August 2012:

63 percent believe that “additional spending on roads, bridges, and other public works projects” would help, not hurt, the economy.

Clarus Research Group, conducted for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, December 2012:

77% percent believe the infrastructure in their state and throughout America “is in serious need of rebuilding and modernizing,” and 68% percent agree we need to make investments to build up our infrastructure to compete with foreign countries that are doing so.
Modernizing infrastructure is seen as “both a safety and economic issue” by 90% of voters nationwide.
A solid majority (61%) say the best way to pay for infrastructure improvements is to “use a combination of
funding sources such as some additional tax revenues, user fees and private investment.
84% of voters believe that “If the United States can afford to spend billions of dollars rebuilding the
infrastructure in foreign countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, we can afford to do the same here at home.”

68% of voters nationwide say that the United States needs to make investments to build up our infrastructure
to compete with foreign countries that are doing so.

Carbon tax, oil companies, alternatives:

Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, November, 2011:

90 percent of Americans say developing sources of clean energy should be a very high (30%), high (35%), or medium (25%) priority for the president and Congress, including 82 percent of registered Republicans, 91 percent of Independents, and 97 percent of Democrats.
65 percent of Americans support a revenue neutral carbon tax that would “help create jobs and decrease pollution,” including majorities of registered Republicans (51%), Independents (69%), and Democrats (77%).
Likewise, 60 percent of Americans support a $10 per ton carbon tax if the revenue were used to reduce federal income taxes, even when told this would “slightly increase the cost of many things you buy, including food, clothing, and electricity.” This policy is supported by 48 percent of registered Republicans, 50 percent of Independents, and 74 percent of Democrats.
49 percent of Americans support a revenue neutral carbon tax if the revenue was instead returned to each American family equally as an annual check. Only 44 percent support this policy if the revenues were instead used to pay down the national debt.
69 percent of Americans oppose federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, including 67 percent of registered Republicans, 80 percent of Independents, and 68 percent of Democrats.
54 percent of Americans oppose subsidies to the ethanol industry to make fuel from corn, including 56 percent of registered Republicans, 65 percent of Independents, and 49 percent of Democrats.
85 percent of Americans (including 76% of registered Republicans, 83% of Independents, and 90% of Democrats) say that protecting the environment either improves economic growth and provides new jobs (54%), or has no effect (31%). Only 15 percent say environmental protection reduces economic growth and costs jobs.


Hart Research, February 2013:

66% say that the richest 2% should pay more in taxes. 64% say large corporations should pay more in taxes.
Only 28% of voters believe that the fiscal cliff bill passed on New Year’s Day raised taxes on the rich enough, while more than twice as many (59%) say that we still need to do more.
66% say close loopholes and limit deductions for wealthy individuals to reduce the budget deficit and make public investments. 23% want to reduce tax rates.

TIPP/Investor’s Business Daily Poll, April, 2012:

51% say tax capital gains same rate as income vs 35% say keep current low rate.

Rasmussen (!), November 2012:

57 % of voters say they agree with the president’s proposal to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 per year. 35% oppose that move.

Quinnipiac University, December 2012:

65% of voters back increased taxes for Americans making more than $250,000 a year, 31 percent oppose.
Voters said a “no-taxes” pledge isn’t a good idea, 85-10 percent.


Voters overwhelmingly oppose cutting Medicaid spending, 70-25 percent.
Voters oppose gradually raising the Medicare eligibility age, 51-44 percent.


Gallup, November 2012:

95% say restoring the job market is a top priority.

Public Policy Polling, November 2012:

49 % say President Obama’s mandate following his reelection is to focus on jobs. 22% say the president’s mandate involved reducing the debt.
36% said that the president was tasked with striking a compromise with congressional Republicans.

Assist those in need:

Food Action and Research Center, various polls:

“The opposition to cutting food stamps crossed party lines: 92 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Independents, and 63 percent of Republicans say this is the wrong way to reduce spending.” this amounts to 72% of all voters who think food stamps are a positive thing for the country
“Only nine percent of those polled said they would be more likely to support a candidate who favors cutting funds for the food stamp program; half said they would be less likely.”
“Opposition to food stamp cuts is even more overwhelming than in polling data FRAC released in November 2010, when 71 percent said it was the wrong way to cut spending.”
“Voters are broadly concerned about the nation’s hunger problem: 81 percent say that low-income families and children not being able to afford enough food to eat is a serious problem.”

Hart Research for AFL-CIO. November 7, 2012.

88% of respondents favor allowing Medicare to negotiate drug policies.


Kaiser Family Foundation, January 2013:

61% of Americans are not willing to see any cuts to public education.
Only 21% of Americans favor major reductions in Unemployment insurance

Gallup, December 2010:

66% of Americans supported the extension of unemployment insurance in 2010

What This Means

These polls (and so many others not listed here) are simply overwhelming.

In other words, the Congressional Progressive Caucus “Back To Work Budget” reflects what voters voted for and what polls show people want. And, much more importantly, the CPC “Back To Work Budget” reflects what history and economists tell us will fix the economy and boost the standard of living for regular Americans!


April 28, 2013

Who are we at war with this week? I can't keep up! Is it Westasia (Iran, Syria) or Eastasia(Korea)?

The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.
- George Orwell

April 27, 2013

Poll: Are Wars a Financial Attack on Americans?

In the end, we wind up paying for them, not the wealthy.

Estimated cost of Iraq & Afghanistan is now up to 10 Trillion, or MOST of our national debt.

Yet, the wealthy, war profiteers and corporations are taxed less and less, if at all.

So, it seems to me that in the end, war is a financial attack on Americans, as much as it is a physical attack on the people of whatever country they feel like attacking this week (Syria, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, wherever).

April 27, 2013

Time to levey a war tax on the wealthiest, just in case they go to war. An Eisenhower tax of 91%. I

mean, last week it was war with North Korea, this week Syria, before that Iran - kind of GWB's "axis of evil", they are following the neo-con playbook, time for a tax, cuz you know they are itching to do it.

And YOU are gonna pay for it.

April 22, 2013

Majority in U.S. Want Wealth More Evenly Distributed

PRINCETON, NJ -- About six in 10 Americans believe that money and wealth should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of the people in the U.S., while one-third think the current distribution is fair. Although Americans' attitudes on this topic have fluctuated somewhat over time, the current sentiment is virtually the same as when Gallup first asked this question in 1984. Slightly fewer have favored a more even distribution since October 2008.

April 22, 2013

Gunman Sought After Shootout at Nuclear Power Plant in Tennessee

Police are looking for a suspect who used a boat to access a Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear power plant Sunday morning and exchanged fire with a security guard on the plant grounds before fleeing downriver.

The shootout occurred "several hundred yards from the site’s protected area, which houses the reactor and power production facilities," TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said in a press release.

A security guard on routine rounds reportedly spotted the suspect leaving his boat and walking ashore about 2 a.m. When the guard advanced to question the suspect, the lone man began shooting. The guard returned fire and called for backup. The suspect then "sped away on his boat," according to a local news report.

Authorities labeled the shootout an "unusual event," the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's lowest emergency classification.

Opened in 1996, Watts Bar is in southeastern Tennessee between Chattanooga and Knoxville. Nearly 1.2 million people live within a 50-mile radius of the plant, and population growth since 2000 has been rapid.

There was never any immediate danger to the plant's reactor
, and it's not clear how much damage a lone gunner could actually do to a complex like Watts Bar. Coincidentally, federal authorities just ran their first-ever nuclear terrorism drill last Tuesday at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. In that simulation, a team of eight gunmen attempted to take over the plant; government spokesmen would only say publicly that that the plant's response was "adequate."


"There was never any immediate danger to the plant's reactor" LOL. Right, a person with a gun does not present "any" danger to the reactor.

I hope we don't have to wait until after the next nuclear disaster to eliminate this dirty, dangerous fuel from a bygone era.
April 18, 2013

"The President's budget, Among Other Things, Cuts the Home Heating Program by 14%." - Grayson. Why?

Why would you cut heat for the poor?

It's the thing that lets people stay warm in the winter.

Why is this at the top of the list?

Can one of the budget supporters explain this? 3d chess? Brilliant bargaining? Why?

April 17, 2013

George W Bush Says: Prosecute Torture!

"I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture..."

- George W. Bush, June 2003

On the heels of today's breaking story "U.S. Practiced Torture After 9/11, Nonpartisan Review Concludes" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/world/us-practiced-torture-after-9-11-nonpartisan-review-concludes.html?ref=world ), I thiink it's important to remember GWB's own words and prosecute!

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