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Gender: Male
Current location: NC
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 40,324

Journal Archives

Let's Help WikiLeaks Liberate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiating Text

Let's Help WikiLeaks Liberate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiating Text
Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:40
By Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed

On September 6, negotiators will go to Leesburg, Virginia, for the latest round of secretive talks on the "Trans-Pacific Partnership" (TPP) agreement. This proposed agreement threatens access to essential medicines in developing countries, threatens environmental regulations and threatens Internet freedom. Even members of Congress and their staff have been blocked from seeing the draft text, while corporate representatives have been allowed to see it.

Americans - and citizens of the other countries that would be covered by the agreement - have a right to see what our governments are proposing to do. Parts of the draft negotiating text have been leaked. But don't we have a right to see the whole text before the agreement is signed? After the agreement is signed, if there's anything in it we don't like, we'll be told that it's too late to change it.

Just Foreign Policy is issuing a reward if WikiLeaks publishes the TPP negotiating text. Instead of getting one rich person to put up the money, we're "crowdsourcing" the reward. We figure, if many people pledge a little bit, that will not only potentially raise a helpful sum of money for WikiLeaks, it will show that the opposition to this secretive agreement is widespread.

If WikiLeaks publishes the TPP negotiating text, it will show that WikiLeaks is still relevant to citizen demands for government transparency, that publishing US diplomatic cables wasn't the end of WikiLeaks' contribution to public knowledge of government misdeeds. And it will show that the WikiLeaks campaign for government transparency isn't just about issues related to war, but extends to every area where secretive government action threatens the public interest.


Remove Rep. Todd Akin from the House Science and Technology Committee

Sign your name to call on Speaker John Boehner to remove Rep. Todd Akin from the House Science and Technology Committee.

Republican Congressman Todd Akin told a Missouri news station:

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare... If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

The notion of "legitimate rape" is insulting. But this isn't the first time Akin went down this path. In 2011, Rep. Akin co-sponsored House bill H.R. 3 that proposed redefining rape to only cases of "forcible rape" to deny access to women's health services. Paul Ryan supported it too.

It is outrageous that someone with Rep. Akin's views and appalling ignorance is on a committee devoted to overseeing science policy. This is something that John Boehner can and must change right now.

Tell Speaker Boehner to immediately remove Rep. Akin from the House Science and Technology Committee.




Senate Candidate Provokes Ire With ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comment
Published: August 19, 2012 582 Comments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In an effort to explain his stance on abortion, Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy.

Asked in an interview on a St. Louis television station about his views on abortion, Mr. Akin, a six-term member of Congress who is backed by Tea Party conservatives, made it clear that his opposition to the practice was nearly absolute, even in instances of rape.

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

The comments, made during an interview with KTVI-TV that was posted on Sunday on the station’s Web site, provoked howls of outrage from Democrats and women’s rights organizations. Senator Claire McCaskill, the Democrat who will face Mr. Akin in the November election, immediately took to Twitter with a blunt response. “As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,” she wrote, “I’m stunned by Rep Akin’s comments about victims this AM.”


Help the NLG Protect Protest!



Help the NLG Protect Protest at the RNC and DNC

Have you ever written the number for a National Lawyers Guild hotline on your arm before setting out to a protest march? Have you ever stood in a crowd squaring off with police and been comforted by the sight of bright green NLG Legal Observer® hats? Has an NLG member ever helped you through a legal problem stemming from a demonstration?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if you simply care about keeping the First Amendment strong and the streets safe for protesters, now is the time to consider giving to the NLG through our Indiegogo campaign at http://indiegogo.com/nlg.

The Republican and Democratic national conventions are rapidly approaching. In addition to the delegates coming to shake hands and eat catered food, thousands of demonstrators will converge to protest politics as usual, and the NLG is mobilizing dozens of volunteers to provide protest legal support. That means keeping Legal Observer® eyes on police for as long as protesters are in the streets. That means staffing a support office and a 24-hour legal hotline to ensure that each arrested protester has an ally in the courtroom. And, despite the fact that the NLG is not-for-profit, that means coming up with money.

The things we need are simple: office space and office supplies, gas money, housing, and hats for our Legal Observers®. But every piece is vital to this effort, and the costs add up. To make this happen we need $20,000. We know it sounds like a lot, but it is only 1/5,000 of the budget for policing the two conventions. Put another way, law enforcement may have the latest in tear gas and surveillance technology, but with some of the best legal minds in the country volunteering their services, a few computers and hats will go along way.

Help us defend dissent. Donate today, and pass the word on to your friends and family.

Texas Executes Man With IQ of 61; State Cites Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” To Justify Killing (DN!)


Last night, Texas executed 54-year-old Marvin Wilson, despite evidence that he was mentally disabled and reportedly sucked his thumb into adulthood. Wilson’s lawyers had argued that an IQ test on which Wilson scored 61 — nine points below the standard for competency — should have saved him from execution under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring execution of the intellectually disabled. Wilson is the second prisoner in Texas to be executed by a new lethal injection method involving a single drug. We speak with Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz, who has long reported on the death penalty, especially in Texas, where she has covered the state’s ongoing execution of developmentally disabled prisoners. Feltz reads from a statement by the son of legendary author John Steinbeck condemning Texas for using Steinbeck’s fictional character, Lennie Small, from "Of Mice and Men," as a "benchmark to identify whether defendants with intellectual disability should live or die."

"On behalf of the family of John Steinbeck, I am deeply troubled by today’s scheduled execution of Marvin Wilson," Thomas Steinbeck wrote. "The character of Lennie was never intended to be used to diagnose a medical condition like intellectual disability. I find the whole premise to be insulting, outrageous, ridiculous, and profoundly tragic. I am certain that if my father, John Steinbeck, were here, he would be deeply angry and ashamed to see his work used in this way." [Transcript to come. Check back soon.]


The Devil Still Has Us Death Dancing at Fukushima


Published on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 by Common Dreams

The Devil Still Has Us Death Dancing at Fukushima

by Harvey Wasserman

Our lives still hang by a Devil’s thread at Fukushima.

The molten cores at Units 1, 2 & 3 have threatened all life on Earth. The flood of liquid radiation has poisoned the Pacific. Fukushima’s cesium and other airborne emissions have already dwarfed Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and all nuclear explosions including Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Children throughout Japan carry radioactive burdens in their thyroids and throughout their bodies. Hot spots in Tokyo demand evacuation. Radioactive tuna has been caught off San Diego. Fallout carried across the Pacific may have caused spikes in cancer and infant mortality rates here in the United States.

And yet, 16 months later, the worst may be yet to come. No matter where we are on this planet, our lives are still threatened every day by a Unit 4 fuel pool left hanging 100 feet in the air. At any moment, an earthquake we all know is coming could send that pool crashing to the ground.

If that happens---and it could as you read this---the radiation spewed into the atmosphere could impact every living being on Earth. And that certainly includes you.

Cecile Pineda lays it all out in her brilliant new DEVIL’S TANGO: HOW I LEARNED THE FUKUSHIMA STEP BY STEP (Wings Press: San Antonio; www.ipgbook.com).


OK, Is this where I wish Jerry Garcia a happy 70th b-day?

Republican agenda: 400,000 more abortions a year and increases in Medicaid-related costs..

reposting this,
with a more compelling title..

nytimes: Republicans vs. Women [View all]

Even with a persistent gender gap in a presidential election year, House Republicans have not given up on their campaign to narrow access to birth control, abortion care and lifesaving cancer screenings. Far from it.

A new Republican spending proposal revives some of the more extreme attacks on women’s health and freedom that were blocked by the Senate earlier in this Congress. The resurrection is part of an alarming national crusade that goes beyond abortion rights and strikes broadly at women’s health in general.

These setbacks are recycled from the Congressional trash bin in the fiscal 2013 spending bill for federal health, labor and education programs approved by a House appropriations subcommittee on July 18 over loud objections from Democratic members to these and other provisions.

The measure would bar Planned Parenthood’s network of clinics, which serve millions of women across the country, from receiving any federal money unless the health group agreed to no longer offer abortion services for which it uses no federal dollars — a patently unconstitutional provision. It would also eliminate financing for Title X, the effective federal family-planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for sexually-transmitted diseases. Without this program, some women would die, and unintended pregnancies would rise, resulting in some 400,000 more abortions a year and increases in Medicaid-related costs, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health.


NRA “point man” recants

Source: Salon

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 11:20 AM EDT

NRA “point man” recants

The Republican lawmaker who killed gun safety research teams up with the scientist he targeted
By Alex Seitz-Wald

In 1996, Mark Rosenberg and Jay Dickey were arch-rivals in a key battle over guns. Rosenberg ran the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dickey, a Republican member of Congress from Arkansas, was spearheading an effort to eliminate it. The issue was publicly-funded research conducted by the Center that exposed the public health dangers of gun ownership. The powerful National Rifle Association was not pleased, and Dickey took up the cause, first trying to kill the agency outright before successfully stripping funds for gun research and putting into law new prohibitions on this kind of inquiry. At a hearing in May of that year, he accused Rosenberg of secretly “working toward changing society’s attitudes so that it becomes socially unacceptable to own handguns.” Dickey’s amendment effectively stopped all government research into the hazards and potential solutions for a society with an estimated 270 million privately-owned guns.

But just over 15 years later, Dickey has had a change of heart and he and Rosenberg have come together together to publicly call for for restoring public funding for research into gun safety. In a joint op-ed in Washington Post Sunday, Dickey and Rosenberg write, “We were on opposite sides of the heated battle 16 years ago, but we are in strong agreement now that scientific research should be conducted into preventing firearm injuries and that ways to prevent firearm deaths can be found without encroaching on the rights of legitimate gun owners.”

“One of us served as the NRA’s point person in Congress,” the op-ed continues, noting that Dickey’s amendment “sent a chilling message” to gun researchers. “Since the legislation passed in 1996, the United States has spent about $240 million a year on traffic safety research, but there has been almost no publicly funded research on firearm injuries,” they note, even though firearms kill almost as many Americans every year (about 31,000) as motor vehicle crashes (about 33,000).


Read more: http://www.salon.com/2012/07/30/former_nra_point_man_recants/

Voter ID Could Swing Swing States


Monday, Jul 30, 2012 08:36 AM EDT

Voter ID could swing swing states

Voter ID laws could affect 5 million people; the dark money universe grows; and other top Monday stories
By Alex Seitz-Wald

Voter ID laws could swing swing states: Politico finally accepts what progressive critics have long argued — new Republican-backed voter ID laws, ostensibly meant to combat voter fraud, could disenfranchise millions of voters and potentially sway the election. The beltway paper reports: “At least 5 million voters, predominantly young and from minority groups sympathetic to President Barack Obama, could be affected by an unprecedented flurry of new legislation by Republican governors and GOP-led legislatures to change or restrict voting rights by Election Day 2012.” Voter ID laws have been implemented in many swing states and could tip a very close election in these states by shaving off a few tenths of a percent or more from Democratic-leaning demographics. “To the extent that it’s a political tactic to try and game the system,” said Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justice, which tracks these laws, “It does make sense that that [swing states] is where we see a lot of that because that is where it could make a difference to the outcome.” The Obama campaign is fighting some states’ laws with legal challenges, but the vast majority are likely to survive through November.

Florida’s former Republican Party chairman recently said in a sworn deposition that party officials had met to discuss “voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting.” Still, for the moment at least, Obama has an overall edge in the 12 swing states, The Hill reports today.
Dark matter universe: Astronomers say dark matter makes up a huge portion of our universe, even though we know almost nothing about it, and the same goes for dark money in the universe of campaign finance. The Huffington Post’s Paul Blumenthal reports that dark money — spending from outside political groups that don’t have to disclose their donors or much else to the public — has made up almost half of all spending thus far: ”Through July 26, politically involved groups that do not disclose their donors have spent at least $172 million on campaigns that include television, radio and Internet advertising…Total spending by these groups is likely far greater, since they are required to report only a fraction of their spending to the FEC. Politically involved independent groups that publicly disclose their donors, including super PACs, have spent $174 million so far this election cycle.”


Open support, advocacy, defense of the NRA should not be allowed here, IMO

they are a RW org that bribes and threatens our government leaders. It is disgusting to see NRA supporters on DU.
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