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G_j's Journal
G_j's Journal
November 16, 2012

Don't let Wall Street sideline Elizabeth Warren.


Don't let Wall Street sideline Elizabeth Warren.

Elizabeth Warren's victory over Scott Brown means that Massachusetts will soon be represented by the strongest voice for Wall Street accountability in the Senate.

But Wall Street-friendly politicians and lobbyists in DC have started a whisper campaign to keep Warren off of the Senate Banking Committee -- the one Senate committee that would most directly empower her to fight for consumers and stand up to Wall Street banks.

Don't let Wall Street sideline Elizabeth Warren.

Speak out to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to give Elizabeth Warren a seat on the Senate Banking Committee.

We've seen this before. Elizabeth Warren was effectively blocked from heading up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- which she conceived of, advocated for and ultimately helped start up -- by DC insiders who didn't want such a strong advocate of banking reform in charge of the Wall Street watchdog she helped create.

She then ran for Senate and won. Now it's up to us to have her back and ensure that when she gets to the Senate she can be the fierce and effective advocate we so desperately need.

Elizabeth Warren is a clear choice for the Senate Banking Committee. She is a respected Harvard professor and one of the country’s leading experts on bankruptcy law who spent her career focused on the financial struggles of middle class families.

What's more, she has proven time and again that that she is willing to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of consumers, which is why Washington and Wall Street insiders are trying to keep her off the Senate Banking Committee.

Speak out to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to give Elizabeth Warren a seat on the Senate Banking Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hearing from banking industry lobbyists and conservative Democrats who don't want Elizabeth Warren on the banking committee. Now he needs to hear from us.

Put simply, there are far too few people in power who are as ready, willing and able to stand up to Wall Street banks as she is.

And whether it's speaking out against a secret bailout of AIG or demanding Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, resign from the Board of the New York Fed, she has continued to carry the torch to this day.

Warren accomplished all of this before she was elected to the Senate. Just imagine what she'll be able to do if she's allowed to fully leverage the legislative and oversight powers of a sitting senator on the main committee for Wall Street legislation.

Speak out to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to give Elizabeth Warren a seat on the Senate Banking Committee.
November 16, 2012

Other things McCain might have learned if he didn't skip the Benghazi hearing

Other things McCain might have learned if he didn't skip the Benghazi hearing

Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 06:53 AM PST.
by Laura ClawsonFollow .


Sen. John McCain has been on a rage bender against United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, claiming her comments five days after the killings in Benghazi were totally outrageous and irresponsible and how dare she.
Here's what Rice said:

...we'll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy—

SUSAN RICE: —sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that—in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.
And here's what the CIA's talking points for Rice said:

"The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US diplomatic post in Benghazi and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.
Kinda similar, no? So basically John McCain's entire hissy fit about how Susan Rice is not fit for office and he's going to filibuster her because Americans died and it's somehow her fault is because five days later she competently delivered CIA talking points. Of course, we all know it's really because he's still bitter he got trounced in 2008.

(Via The Maddow Blog)

November 15, 2012

Wendell Potter: Beyond Obamacare

We asked some of Moyers & Company’s recent guest thinkers for their instant reactions to the re-election of Barack Obama. They came back with unique and succinct responses that covered everything from Afghanistan and climate change to the “fiscal cliff” and Obamacare. Add your own reactions at the bottom of each post.


Beyond Obamacare

November 8, 2012
by Wendell Potter

The re-election of President Obama and, just as important, the Democrats’ retention of control of the Senate, means not only that health care reform can and will go forward, but that the groundwork can be laid to move beyond the Affordable Care Act. Had the Democrats lost, the insurance industry and other special interests that profit from our dysfunctional and inequitable health care system would have been back in the driver’s seat, and they would have slammed on the brakes and shifted the car into reverse to go back to the (for them) good old days that led to the U.S. having the most costly system in the world while 50 million of its people were uninsured.

The president’s re-election does not mean, however, that Obamacare will necessarily be implemented as Congress intended. Those special interests will now redouble their efforts to try to scare Americans into believing that the provisions of the law that might affect their profits will result in higher premiums. Expect to hear from insurance companies, for example, that Congress will have to allow them to continue their practices of discriminating against people because of their age. If not, coverage will become unaffordable for young families. Take it from me, they are very skillful at making us worry.

The president and congressional leaders will have to anticipate the special interests’ coming PR and lobbying campaigns and be ready with effective campaigns of their own to ensure that reform goes forward, not backward.
November 15, 2012

Suing the military on behalf of antiwar activists spied on by informant John Towery.


Utica Resident Taking U.S. Military to Court

November 2nd 2012

By Brendan Maslauskas Dunn

As the nation inches ever closer to election day, attorney Larry Hildes is preparing for an historic case he will argue before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle, WA on behalf of myself and several other plaintiffs. The case is against the Military, or more specifically, the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and a long list of federal and law enforcement agencies. My plaintiffs and I are suing the military in the case Panagacos v Towery over violations of civil rights and civil liberties when we discovered a spy in our midst while engaged in antiwar activity around Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) just north of the city I once called home – Olympia, Washington.

Shortly after I moved to Olympia in 2006, the Army started to send Stryker military vehicles through the city’s port for the deployment of a Stryker Brigade to Iraq. Not wanting to wait for ineffective and pro-war politicians and government bureaucrats to intervene, I, along with hundreds of residents, decided to take direct action to delay, if not entirely stop, the military shipments.

The actions made national headlines and the antiwar group Port Militarization Resistance (PMR) took shape. Over the next few years, we took similar actions in Olympia, Tacoma and Aberdeen, Washington as the military sent more brigades, weapons and Stryker vehicles to and from the military base. Quite a few Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans joined us in PMR to help slow down the war machine.

In November of 2007, the actions of PMR were so effective that the Port of Olympia was completely shut down for more than a day. It was one of the largest and most under-reported victories of the antiwar movement. To this day, the military has not used the Port of Olympia for any shipments.
November 15, 2012

Rolling Jubilee: Buying Up Distressed Debt, Occupy Offshoot Bails Out the People, Not the Banks

watch, listen: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/15/rolling_jubilee_buying_up_distressed_debt

An offshoot of Occupy Wall Street has launched a new movement called "Rolling Jubilee" to buy distressed debt from financial firms, often for pennies on the dollar, and then canceling it so that borrowers do not have to repay. The people who incurred the debt in the first place then get a certified letter informing them they are off the hook. Typically, financial institutions sell debt for pennies on the dollar to third parties who either try to collect on it or bundle it up for resale. However, the Rolling Jubilee activists say they are buying up the debt in order to "liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal." Tonight, Rolling Jubilee is holding a sold-out benefit concert in New York City to continue its anti-debt fundraising. The group says it has already raised $129,000 through online donations, which is enough to buy approximately $2.5 million worth of defaulted loans, due to their steep markdowns. We’re joined by Pamela Brown, a Ph.D. student in sociology at the New School and one of the organizers of the Rolling Jubilee. She also is participating in the Occupy Sandy efforts to organize local relief efforts to people hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy. (Transcript to come. Check back soon.)

Pamela Brown, Ph.D. student in sociology at the New School and one of the organizers of Strike Debt, which recently launched Rolling Jubilee.

November 15, 2012

Donate to Occupy Sandy & Occupy Sandy NJ

Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy. We have only just begun collecting donations for the New Jersey Relief effort!


November 10, 2012

Occupy Sandy: A Movement Moves to Relief



Published: November 9, 2012

ON Wednesday night, as a fierce northeaster bore down on the weather-beaten Rockaways, the relief groups with a noticeable presence on the battered Queens peninsula were these: the National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Police and Sanitation Departments — and Occupy Sandy, a do-it-yourself outfit recently established by Occupy Wall Street.

“The long-term needs are where the real problems are,” a veteran of Occupy Wall Street

This stretch of the coast remained apocalyptic, with buildings burned like Dresden and ragged figures shuffling past the trash heaps. There was still no power, and parking lots were awash with ruined cars. On Wednesday morning, as the winds picked up and FEMA closed its office “due to weather,” an enclave of Occupiers was huddled in a storefront amid the devastation, handing out supplies and trying to make sure that those bombarded by last month’s storm stayed safe and warm and dry this time.

“Candles?” asked a dull-eyed woman arriving at the door.

“I’m sorry, but we’re out,” said Sofia Gallisa, a field coordinator who had been there for a week. Ms. Gallisa escorted the woman in, and someone gave her batteries for her flashlight. As she walked away, word arrived that a firehouse nearby was closing for the night; the firefighters there were hurrying their rigs to higher ground.

“It’s crazy,” Ms. Gallisa later said of the official response. “For a long time, we were the only people out here doing relief work.”

November 10, 2012

What no one is telling you about Washington's marijuana legalization


First, don't light up just yet. The Initiative does not take effect until Dec, 6. Even then marijuana can not be legally purchased until the state chooses who can legally produce and sell it, a process that could take up to a year, and your neighborhood pot dealer will unlikely be chosen. Users will only be permitted to possess up to one ounce of dried marijuana and possessing just 50% more than the “legal” amount will land you with a felony charge that holds a jail sentence of up to 5 years in prison. Don't expect to be smoking anywhere other than a private residence either because smoking in public is still illegal. In fact a Manette resident has already been arrested after police were called to a local park where the man said that after Tuesday's election, pot is legal. "We saw it on the news," he told the officer.

Even more so, growing, processing, and selling will be controlled by the Washington State Liquor Control Board with a 75 percent tax not including the 10 percent sales tax. The Liquor Control Board will also be in charge of regulating how much THC can be present in the marijuana sold and where and how many distributors will be allowed to open. Ordinary citizens will not be permitted to grow marijuana themselves either. Even more surprising, simply passing a joint from one person to another will still be a class C felony. Growing hemp still remains relatively unchanged as well.

One of the worst parts is the DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) provision and the zero tolerance clause for those under the age of 21 despite that people under 21 can legally possess medical marijuana. Medical marijuana patients and recreational users can now be charged with DUID for being above the designated 5 ng (nano-gram) / ml (milliliter) THC blood content limit (or a ZERO tolerance 0 ng/ml limit for those under 21) which means users will be instantly guilty of a DUID and will have their constitutional right to a fair trial revoked if they refuse a police blood draw. Under previous laws the system required law enforcement to prove impairment in court for a guilty verdict to occur.

This blood limit is not supported by any legitimate science either. The U.S. Department of Transportation concluded that “it is not possible to conclude anything about a drivers impairment on the basis of his/her plasma concentrations.” Other government studies from the National Library of Medicine have gone to show this 5 ng amount can be present in your blood days after using marijuana making arrest for being completely sober while driving a large possibility.

More worrisome is that when Nevada passed a similar DUID law, DUID arrests jumped 76 percent statewide. Several Seattle lawyers have issued their concern over the likely increase in arrests.
November 10, 2012

That Moment When A Major Civil Rights Victory Is Caught On Tape


That Moment When A Major Civil Rights Victory Is Caught On Tape

At 1:45 a.m. local time, the vote on the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota was still too close to call. Then, just as Campaign Manager Richard Carlbom prepared to send the staff and volunteers home to get some sleep, they were informed they had successfully defeated an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment for the first time in U.S. history. Luckily for us, a camera was rolling to capture this beautiful moment for the whole world to see. Skip to 2:32 for the best part.
November 9, 2012

"We believe if (Obama) is not pushed, he is going to be a transactional president..."


As the most expensive presidential election in U.S. history comes to an end, broadcaster Tavis Smiley and professor, activist Dr. Cornel West join us to discuss President Obama’s re-election and their hopes for a national political agenda in and outside of the White House during Obama’s second term. At a time when one in six Americans is poor, the price tag for combined spending by federal candidates — along with their parties and outside groups like super PACs — totaled more than $6 billion. Together, West and Smiley have written the new book, "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto."

Both Tavis and Smiley single out prominent progressives whom they accuse of overlooking Obama’s actual record. "We believe if (Obama) is not pushed, he is going to be a transactional president and not a transformational president," Smiley says. "We believe the time is now for action and no longer accommodation… To be the most progressive means you’ve taken some serious risk. And I just don’t see the example of that." West says that some prominent supporters of Obama "want to turn their back to poor and working people. It’s a sad thing to see them as apologists for the Obama administration in that way." (Transcript to come. Check back soon.)


Tavis Smiley, TV, radio broadcaster, philanthropist and New York Times bestselling author. He hosts the TV show "Tavis Smiley" on PBS and two radio shows: "The Tavis Smiley Show" and "Smiley & West" Which he hosts with Cornel West. Together they have written the new book, "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto."

Dr. Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He is a New York Times bestselling author of numerous books and co-host of the radio show Smiley & West with Tavis Smiley. Together they have written the new book, "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto."

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