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Member since: Tue May 13, 2008, 03:07 AM
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"...I think the decision we've got here as we debate this legislation is whether we're gonna commit to a promise thats bigger than what are kids, can fulfill. IT COSTS MORE THAN OUR KIDS CAN AFFORD....."

Sen. Richard M. Burr

When Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a bill to substantially improve the quality of life for America’s heroes, our veterans, his intentions were to vastly enhance care and education. On February 27, 2014: A massive veterans legislative package that would have expanded a host of post-military benefits was sidelined after Senate Democratic backers failed to find enough support among their Republican colleagues. This impressive and comprehensive bill rectified so many of the ills at the Veterans Administration. I encourage everyone to glance at the bill and then ask the journalists why is this is not THE REAL ISSUE?

The GOP, the self-appointed party of “patriots,” was overjoyed President Obama’s West Point Commencement address was received with tepid approval. Why? Because he spoke the truth? “America’s costliest mistakes have stemmed not from restraint but from rushing to armed adventures without thinking through the consequences, without building international support and legitimacy for our action, without leveling with the American people about the sacrifice required.” Imagine if the address given by George W. Bush at that very same place in 2002 was as insightful, logical and considerate to the soldiers he stood before, many of them would not have become casualties of his poorly-planned wars.

Senator John McCain would entangle our military in dozens of wars if he had his way. Famous for being a POW, he has been voting repeatedly against his fellow veterans for years against needed funding for benefits. He was among the Republicans who voted against the Sanders Bill. He and his fellow Arizona Republican, Senator Jeff Flake need to do some serious soul-searching after laying the blame on Secretary of the VA Shinseki and the Obama Administration.

Does anyone else see this pattern: the GOP votes against funding (embassy security and Veterans’ care) and an inevitable crisis ensues? Perhaps if the Chris Matthews and Chuck Todds of the MSM would stop reading from Frank Luntz’s daily manifestos, the real villains would be held to account for the problems they create. I’m sure veterans would appreciate a government that actually cares for them rather than those who live to demonize the Obama Administration and fail our nation’s heroes.


Bad News For Bad Cops: Court Rules FILMING POLICE Is A First Amendment Right

“...It is clearly established in this circuit that police officers cannot, consistently with the Constitution, prosecute citizens for violating wiretapping laws when they peacefully record a police officer performing his or her official duties in a public area....”


The right to film the police in public was held up by the The First Circuit Court of Appeals, viewing it as protected under the First Amendment.

In late night of March 20, 2010 Carla Gericke was following her friend Tyler Hansllin on the way to his home in the town of Weare, New Hampshire. A police cruiser began to flash its lights and she pulled over assuming the police officer was attempting to pull her over. After she had stopped Sergeant Joseph Kelly approached her vehicle and informed her it was not her she was attempting to pull over but rather Hanslin. Kelly then told her to move her car to a nearby middle school parking lot. After she parked her car Gericke told Kelly she was filming him. The video camera Gericke was using was not actually recording but Kelly did not know that. Officer Brandon Montplaisir arrived on the scene and demanded Gericke hand over her video camera which she had already put away in the center console of her car. She was then arrested on several charges, including disobeying a police officer and a wiretapping charge.

Quoting Mills v. Alabama (1966) The appeals court cited that the rapid dissemination of information “serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ‘the free discussion of governmental affairs.’ Protecting that right of information gathering “not only aids in the uncovering of abuses, but also may have a salutary effect on the functioning of government more generally.”

The charges against Kelly were dropped but she decided to sue the Weare Police Department. The suit brought on by Kelly claims that her “First Amendment rights were violated because the officers, by filing the charge of illegal wiretapping, retaliated against her for her attempt to film the public traffic stop.”



House's Pro-Medical MARIJUANA VOTE SHOCKS Even Longtime Supporters


Even longtime supporters of marijuana legalization were surprised early Friday morning when the House of Representatives voted for an amendment that would prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration and federal prosecutors from targeting medical marijuana in states where it is legal. "Quite frankly, many of us who were sponsors of this amendment… didn't expect to win and were surprised by the margin of that victory this morning," Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said at a press conference Friday morning, less than nine hours after the vote. "While I always knew it would happen sooner than most political observers thought, it's still hard to believe this just happened," said Tom Angell, the chairman of Marijuana Majority.


"This is a will of Congress vote," said Polis. "We all are realists here, we know that we haven't had an appropriations process in some time, it's likely that it will be omnibuses in the future. We don't know where this particular amendment and particular bill are going. It's the will of Congress: it has ramifications for banking, for insurance, for a number of other issues that effect the industry." "The president famously said that he had bigger fish to fry, but there are 93 U.S. attorneys and the DEA, and some of them are frying those smaller fish," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). "There continues to be uncertainty. There are now many small businesses who are perfectly legal in these jurisdictions that are operating under a cloud. There have been lives that have been disrupted. This is not something that is theoretical."


"The hemp flag flying over the Capitol was the lowest point in this person's career? Give. Me. A break!" Blumenauer said. "Maybe this will be a signal to the administration that they can't sort of tap dance around this, that they need to get their signals aligned and hopefully they're aligned with what the House did and where America is going." A DEA spokeswoman referred a request for comment to the Justice Department, where a representative said the department was reviewing the medical marijuana amendment, as well as two pro-hemp amendments that also passed overnight.


Blumenauer said the vote should give Attorney General Eric Holder political cover to move ahead with initiating the rescheduling of marijuana next year. The federal government currently classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug with no legitimate medical purpose. Holder told HuffPost last month that while he would be willing to work with Congress to reschedule marijuana, the administration had made the political decision not to unilaterally do so, given all of the other executive actions it had taken on criminal justice reform. "This is an integral part of why we need smarter sentencing reform, because we've had people trapped in this nightmare, and you've got non-violent people doing time for doing things that the majority of people in America now think should be legal," Blumenauer said Friday.




The PEASANTS Are About To REVOLT And The 1% Is Already Plotting To Stop It

The Guardian has a fascinating article about how the Masters of the Universe are starting to realize that screwing 99% of the Earth’s population will lead to a populist uprising. In other words, the peasants are about to revolt and the aristocracy is getting worried. So will they amend their ways? Will they put a check on their enormous greed? Will they stop rigging the system and stealing millions billions trillions from the people that do all the work?


"...Far from acknowledging the predatory and unequalising impact of neoliberal capitalism, the document shows that the inclusive capitalism project is concerned with PR to promote “a more nuanced view of society,” without which “there is a risk that… we will be led down a policy path of increased regulation and greater state control of institutions, businesses and the people at the heart of them, which will fatally cripple the very system that has been responsible for economic prosperity.”

The project is thus designed “to influence political and business opinion” and to target public opinion through a “media campaign that seeks to engage major outlets....”


By “nuanced”, of course, they mean “shovel copious amounts of bullshit.” Because if there’s one thing the rich despise more than anything else, it’s a well-informed populace capable of rationally discussing the issue of income inequality and corporate greed. But the sentence really sums up the 1%’s resistance to government regulation is the one in bold above: “We will be led down a policy path of increased regulation and greater state control of institutions, businesses and the people at the heart of them, which will fatally cripple the very system that has been responsible for economic prosperity.” This is absolutely correct! Increased government control would fatally cripple that system. What the 1% neglects to mention is that the economic prosperity they’re so protective of only exists for them. More specifically, it only exists for them at the expense of everyone else.

Under the old system of tighter regulations and higher taxes, the rich still got richer but so did the people that provided the labor. Banks still made money but they couldn’t rob people blind or risk the entire economy. The 1% got rid of that system because they just weren’t getting richer fast enough. The current system lets them destroy the economy and still accumulate mass amounts of wealth in the process. What’s not to love about that? If you’re already rich, that is.



BAM!!- Popular Kentucky Governor Challenges McConnell's KYNECT LIE

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, the popular Democrat who spearheaded Kynect, the state's Obamacare implementation, fires back at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's claim that repealing Obamacare—also known as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA—is "unconnected" with Kynect.

"...Now comes Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's amended election-year promise, delivered as he's fighting for his political life: To rid the state of the ACA even while keeping all the good that "kynect" does.

At best, of course, his promise represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the ironclad link between the ACA and "kynect." At worst, it's a blatant attempt to mislead Kentucky families for his political benefit..."


And not only does Beshear say McConnell is either clueless or a liar, but he makes it clear what Kentucky would lose if McConnell were to get his way:

"..In fact, over 421,000 Kentuckians have signed up for health insurance through "kynect" -- about 75 percent of whom didn't previously have insurance and about 52 percent of whom were under age 35.

That's almost 1 in 10 Kentuckians.

Those numbers -- and the testimony of the people behind them -- contradict the mindless nattering of partisan-minded critics who need to leave their Washington D.C. echo chambers and talk to the people they represent.

Because if each of the over 421,000 people who signed up via "kynect" could grab 10 minutes of Sen. McConnell's time to explain what health care coverage means for their families, and if the Senator had the endurance to listen 24/7, it would take eight years to hear from each enrollee.

That's longer than the entire new Senate term he says he deserves...."


The simple truth is that as long as Mitch McConnell wants to repeal Obamacare, he has to own up to the fact that if he gets his way, he'll throw more than 400,000 Kentuckians off health insurance. For him to claim otherwise is an insult to their intelligence and should offend everyone in Kentucky who supports Kynect.


Dick Cheney, Chickenshit Architect Of America's BIGGEST FOREIGN POLICY BLUNDERS, Calls Obama 'Weak'

If I was the president, and that will never happen because I am not insane and neither are you, I'd be pretty pleased with having the still-proud architect of some of the biggest foreign policy disasters in the last half-century peeved at me.

“He is a very, very weak president,” Cheney said in an interview with Fox News. “Maybe the weakest — certainly in my lifetime.”

Cheney went on to say that during a recent trip to the Middle East, allies he had “dealt with all the way back to Desert Storm” expressed alarm at the president’s handling of foreign policy.


What kind of people do you suppose Cheney meets with, in the Middle East? Meeting for tea and crumpets with Ahmed Chalabi? A teary reunion with a fellow dubbed "Curveball?" A collection of depressed arms dealers pining for the good old days of Bush and Reagan?

“They all are absolutely convinced that the American capacity to lead and influence in that part of the world has been dramatically reduced by this president,” Cheney said. “We’ve got a problem with weakness, and it’s centered right in the White House.”

This is all part of that baffling conservative notion of strength and weakness where having New York and the Pentagon attacked by terrorists shows you are strong, and putting a bullet in the head of the person who masterminded it without having to wander blindly through a pair of poorly premised and abominably executed wars shows you are weak. A Benghazi would have never happened on his watch, except for the multiple times it most definitely did, and foreign leaders liked his administration, which is why a grateful world gave the Nobel Peace Prize to the guy that replaced it in proactive thanks for just showing the eff up.

All right, Obama: Iraq War architect, serial liar and torture advocate Dick Cheney does not approve of the way you are handling his incompetently planned wars and imagined American colonies. So do the right thing and, I don't know, get T-shirts printed up saying so. There's probably no higher honor in Washington than having the architects of disaster not like you.


Andrew Cuomo’s BATTLE WITH THE LEFT And Last-Minute Frenzy To Avoid A LIBERAL CHALLENGE

As has been well-documented, the activists are fed up with an economic agenda that’s protected corporate and wealthy taxpayers (slashing taxes on estates, banks, property and millionaires), while reducing public services, boosting charter schools, opposing a minimum wage hike in the city, and failing to pass meaningful campaign finance reform. The problem for Cuomo is that these activists, rather than the unions, make up a large part of the state committee — the entity that votes to decide the party’s nominee at its state convention this Saturday.

This is it, folks; years of sparring, speculation and scheming in New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s battle with the left is about to come to a head. Sometime in the next 48 hours, the fiscally conservative governor will learn whether the liberal Working Families Party (WFP) will choose him — or someone else — to run on its ballot line in his reelection this fall. Here’s what’s at stake. If he gets WFP’s backing, Cuomo will neutralize what potentially could have been a loud and damaging critic from the left, and he’ll secure a much larger margin of victory by avoiding facing another opponent. (Polls show that the addition of a liberal third-party candidate to the race could put Cuomo’s vote total under 40 percent and reduce his margin of victory to the teens). If he doesn’t, there will be branding setbacks, national embarrassment and the possibility of finishing his reelection with a majority of voters choosing someone else. For a pol with national ambitions, these are more than mild irritants.

Here’s what we know so far. As of Thursday morning, the party remains deeply divided on how to proceed. While several party members considered a challenge to Cuomo all but inevitable as recently as a week ago — with the party even having settled on its candidate to challenge the governor (while education activist Diane Ravitch’s name has gotten a lot of attention, Fordham professor Zephyr Teachout is believed to be a leading option) — a meeting between Cuomo and key party figures on Tuesday is said to have softened the opposition. In a significant turn of events, a plan to enact public financing of elections in New York, long the explicit price of the party’s endorsement, now appears to have lost momentum. Which means it will take a different kind of pitch from the governor to get this done. As described in today’s Times, one scenario being considered is one in which the governor would hold a public event “express[ing] his intent to help the Democrats reclaim the [state] Senate” if Republicans fail to pass a public financing bill. But several insiders say that it will take much more than this to sell the party’s rank and file on a governor they see as the biggest enemy to their economic agenda. These sources say that to have a chance to get members to back Cuomo, it may require something along the lines of a big kumbaya-type press conference with all the major players of the state’s institutional left — the governor, Mayor Bill de Blasio (who is playing a real peace-making role behind the scenes), WFP, and major labor unions — coming together to declare several things.

First, the united groups — including unions like 1199 and the Hotel Trades Council, which backed a Republican state senate in recent years — would declare the need for a Democratic state senate. For WFP members to be interested, they’d like to see the governor say he will help fund primary challenges to the Independent Democratic Caucus — a band of breakaway Democrats now caucusing with Republicans — with millions of dollars if they don’t rejoin the party in earnest. Further, they’d want to see him put real money and energy behind an effort to peel off additional seats for Democrats, ensuring a lasting senate majority that has eluded Democrats — and real progressive governance in the state — for decades. Finally, party activists say they want to hear the governor declare his intent to deliver a progressive wish-list including not only public financing of elections, but other items like a minimum wage increase and DREAM Act. While the party’s members do not trust the governor’s word — because he’s pledged fealty to progressive agenda items in the past, but declined to deliver — the thinking here is that if unions and the mayor are there to enforce this plan, it would assume greater legitimacy. For the governor, time is really running out. The WFP state committee will assemble to choose its endorsement at Saturday’s party convention. And if public financing of elections is really not going to happen, he has a matter of hours to figure out a viable package B with which to entice members of a party that does not like him.




"..It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes...." -- Richard Clarke

The 'Bush Cabal Crime Syndicate' should NEVER be allowed to re-write history.......

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, the nation’s former top counterterrorism official has said he believes President George W. Bush is guilty of war crimes for launching the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Richard Clarke served as national coordinator for security and counterterrorism during President Bush’s first year in office. He resigned in 2003 following the Iraq invasion and later made headlines by accusing Bush officials of ignoring pre-9/11 warnings about an imminent attack by al-Qaeda. On Tuesday, Clarke spoke to Democracy Now! in an interview that will air next week.

Amy Goodman: "Do you think President Bush should be brought up on war crimes , and Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, for the attack on Iraq?"

Richard Clarke: "I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have. But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration. It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes."


Conservative Country Singer Spends Memorial Day INSULTING VETERANS Who Don’t Share His Beliefs

"..Apparently veterans are only allowed to be Republicans. All others will be mocked, dead or alive..."

"..My Grandpa, a proud vet, used to start every family meal — yes, every — by saying ‘Republicans use religion to steal from working class...’”

reTHUG Country Singing Bozo..............

It was inevitable. This Memorial Day is the day when Dustin Evans, a conservative country “singer and songwriter”, who opened for Country Music Association Awards nominee Lee Brice and claims to be a “perennial favorite among touring bands in the Upper Midwest and Great Plains regions”, repeatedly insulted a veteran because of his political beliefs; aka, the very freedoms veterans fought for. Apparently veterans are only allowed to be Republicans. All others will be mocked, dead or alive. I wanted to honor my World War II veteran grandfather on Memorial Day. He was very political – he couldn’t breathe without talking politics. So I tweeted the words he always said to us, “My Grandpa, a proud vet, used to start every family meal — yes, every — by saying ‘Republicans use religion to steal from working class.’” It’s sort of hard to find a new low on Twitter, but then this happened (he since deleted this tweet):

— Dustin Evans (@DustinEvans1)
@srjones66 Don't feel bad. You're not responsible for your grandpa's stupidity.
May 26, 2014

So, every single veteran who disagrees with Republicans (and there are a lot of them) is stupid, according to Dustin Evans. This is his cheerful Memorial Day message of co-opting all veterans for his side, or “patriotism”. That’s a “no” to honoring ALL who served. He claims to be sponsored by US Smokeless Tobacco and Roper Western Wear. It’s a rare person with a public profile who will insult your beloved dead relative and then do it again after being called out. A veteran. On Memorial Day. When I responded to this total stranger that he was picking on the dead, he co-opted another veteran for cover and reiterated his insult against my Grandpa. So, doubling down, the country singer tweeted (and since deleted):

— Dustin Evans (@DustinEvans1)
@srjones66 @JoeNBC I'm sitting in a room with a veteran, and he thinks your grandpa is stupid too.
May 26, 2014

Dustin Evans’s stream is full of tweets mocking the President. His chief complaint seems to be that Obama can’t throw a baseball, which is just like being angry about the invasion of Iraq based on a lie, only not. Remember the Dixie Chicks? After his double down failed, Dustin then decided to take refuge in making things up:

— Dustin Evans (@DustinEvans1)
@srjones66 After calling my dead veteran grandpa a thief of the middle class for believing in God. Hypocrisy abounds.
May 26, 2014

Mr. Evans has since deleted all of his previous tweets to me, though he issued no apology. Instead, he made sure I knew he wasn’t sorry, “Create whatever narrative you want, lady. I’m thankful for all our vets, and not everyone on the ‘religious right’ is a thief.”



Eric Holder Holds the Power to RESCHEDULE MARIJUANA – And BETTER Our Society

"....the Controlled Substances Act clearly states that the Attorney General has the authority to reclassify drugs in the Controlled Substances Act. It would literally take a phone call from President Obama (whom has already agreed that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol) to Attorney General Eric Holder to end this madness...."

What are the REAL reasons they continue attacking this complicated, little healing herb?.......

Politicians should not have the ability to hide from physical science and enforce draconian laws based on unfounded and outdated claims. Since physical sciences utilize the scientific method and quantitative measurements to verify hypotheses, the results are proven beyond reasonable doubts. Marijuana legislation defies logic, and it’s classification as a Schedule I narcotic is not based on current scientific knowledge. Marijuana and other drugs are regulated by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which was passed by the 91st U.S. Congress, along with President Richard Nixon. The Controlled Substances Act clearly states that “…the Attorney General may by rule…(2) remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.” Attorney General Eric Holder should immediately remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act based on current knowledge of marijuana’s properties.

In the legislation, five categories (known as Schedules) were created to determine how various drugs would be regulated, with Schedule I being the most harmful. The law states that Schedule I substances have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Marijuana was placed in Schedule I prior to passage of the bill, and as you will see below, marijuana does not meet any of these criteria. A quick look at marijuana’s sister Schedule I Drugs shows the absurd methodology in place. How did we get here? In any industrialized nation the medicinal values of drugs are determined through controlled, double-blind, scientific methods. In the US the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with medical clinics contracted to participate, perform human studies to carefully quantify the effects of medicinal compounds. However, marijuana has never been allowed to enter into FDA trials that use rigorous scientific studies. This is due to the circular logic that if something is already in Schedule I it is already known to have the characteristics of a Schedule I substance. Yet the legislators who placed the drugs in their various categories back in 1970 had not performed or referenced any scientific studies.

Several federal agencies including the FDA, NIDA, and SAMHSA “concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the efficacy of marijuana for general medical use.” Such a null result is the consequential result of the NIDA, DEA, and FDA blocking nearly all attempts to scientifically study medicinal benefits of marijuana in the US. However, the quantitative data regarding the principle component of marijuana, THC, lead to approval of marinol (THC in sesame oil) by the FDA in 1985. Therefore the claim that the natural plant has no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse while it’s principal component is safe and approved is a complete absurdity. Perhaps these agencies are insinuating that the trace cannabinoids and terpenoids present in marijuana plants are the addictive components, which is also ridiculous. As a mater of fact, there is a long history of terpenoid use in traditional medicine and a wealth of current scientific literature demonstrating medicinal effects of numerous cannabinoids other than THC.

Furthermore, the FDA’s argument that “smoked marijuana is harmful” is moot because most pharmaceutical drugs on the market have harmful side effects. Thus, simply citing something as “harmful” does not hold sufficient ground to eliminate a substance’s medical value. Come on now, a slew of opiates are routinely approved by the FDA and prescribed for pain management in the US. Does the FDA imply that these medications are harmless? Actually, oral administration of cannabis is arguably harmless and still banned. Meanwhile, the Controlled Substances Act does not regulate alcohol and tobacco at all, despite their well-known harmful and addictive effects. To make matters even more befuddling, marijuana (i.e. cannabis) has a very long history of medical use and safety going back thousands of years to Chinese medicinal practices. Even the US Pharmacopeia (USP), which was the authority for knowledge of medicinal compounds before the advent of the FDA, included cannabis. The USP editions published from years 1851 through 1936 had included cannabis as a medicinal product. Cannabis was removed from the 12th edition of the USP in the year 1946, and there’s no scientifically justified reason documented anywhere. Currently in the US, 21 States as well as the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. To claim that there is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision is a direct contradiction to the observations of thousands of doctors and millions of patients’ experiences. Therefore, based on the historical evidence, FDA approval of marinol, and popular opinion, two of the three criteria for Schedule I drugs (no medicinal use and no accepted safety under medical supervision) do not apply to marijuana.


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