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Don't take it from me that you're better off occupying, educating, agitating, and moving society as a whole than lining up behind half of a catastrophe in opposition to the other half.
Take it from soon-to-be-retiring Congressman Barney Frank: "There is more to be done trying to change things from outside than by working within."
That's from a member of Congress who only even attempted anything decent very selectively. And he says he can do more outside of that cesspool in Washington:
"I believe I may have more impact speaking, writing and in other ways advocating for the changes that I think are necessary than trying to bring them about inside our constricting political process."
Why would Founders create a class of criminal, "domestic enemies" of the "United States Constitution," if there were no such thing?
If you think soldiers won't do it, think again. Some of the stupidest people on Earth join the Army, and they, in contrast to the many intelligent young patriots who join for the right reasons, will always be there. Reading blogs arguing about Posse Comitatus and martial law I've seen comments like "I expect I might be picking a few civvies (civilians) off the wire someday...but I like my home on base and my kids need the nice playground. Life is good."
I also have close relatives in. I couldn't make this up.
Yesterday, the ACLU and over 30 other organizations sent a letter to the Senate asking them to oppose an effort in Congress that threatens to revive the use of torture and other inhumane interrogation techniques. If passed, an amendment introduced by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to the Defense Authorization bill would roll back torture prevention measures that Congress overwhelmingly approved in the 2005 McCain Anti-Torture Amendment, as well as a 2009 Executive Order on ensuring lawful interrogations. It would also require the administration to create a secret list of approved interrogation techniques in a classified annex to the existing interrogation field manual.
Sen Udall of Colorado Plans to Propose Amendment Stripping War and Imprisonment Abuses Out of Defense Authorization Act
See attached below.
The bill contains one worthy anti-terrorism provision: a reaffirmation of the president’s authority to detain and to use military force against those responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as well as those who are members of or who support al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces.
So, who's to say the next nation the President wants to bomb doesn't support those associated forces? Not that the president wouldn't go ahead and bomb anyway, not that he would ask Congress's opinion, but this "legalizes" unconstitutional war in a manner that RootsAction.org and the ACLU had supposedly stopped months ago.
Add this horror to the reasons for opposing this bill provided by http://unitedforpeace.org below:
Please SIGN THE PETITION in support of the "99%'s Deficit Proposal" and plan direct actions to tell the Super Committee that the 99% have better solutions to our nation's crises. You can plan your own action at your Congressmember's office or join us in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC for marches to Capitol Hill. Check the calendar on occupywashingtondc.org for announcements.
After asking the Congressional Super Committee to consider taxing the rich or cutting the military (and being arrested for that offense), the Occupy movement held our own 99% Super Committee Hearing on November 9, 2011, with top experts, producing solutions based on evidence and popular demand.
The resulting report, "The 99%'s Deficit Proposal: How to Create Jobs, Reduce the Wealth Divide and Control Spending," has been provided to the 12 members of the Congressional Super Committee. An aide to a co-chair of the committee called it "the first actual proposal" they'd received and promised to read it. Keith Olbermann has asked why we can talk about real solutions while the Congressional committee can't.
While Democratic and Republican members of that committee propose deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without serious taxation of the wealthy or corporations, and without serious reduction in military spending, the 99% Proposal would protect essential social programs, raise taxes on the rich, and invest immediately in creating jobs.
Please SIGN THE PETITION in support of the "99%'s Deficit Proposal.".
This is a comprehensive and evidence-based report that:
- Raises $600 billion in annual revenues thereby achieving the deficit reduction goals in two years; shrinks the wealth divide by taxing wealth more and labor less; restores a progressive tax system; taxes speculation by investors; and taxes wealth held overseas.
- Cuts hundreds of billions in annual spending through reducing the bloated military budget and ending the wars, stopping corporate welfare and negotiating better pharmaceutical drug prices.
- Creates millions of jobs by solving the housing crisis; creates public sector jobs for much-needed work on infrastructure, transit, education and other areas; creates health care jobs as part of improving Medicare and expanding it to cover everyone in the United States; invests in the more efficient civilian economy rather than the expensive military economy; and stimulates the economy by erasing student loan debt.
- Saves and strengthens the safety net by restoring the amount of income covered by Social Security to 90% of all income as was always intended; ends poverty retirement by expanding Social Security; reduces spending on health care by expanding Medicare to cover everyone in the United States.
- Presents steps to creating a democratized economy, the already developing new economy that will replace the failed finance, corporate capitalism.
Please SIGN THE PETITION in support of the "99%'s Deficit Proposal."
Nov. 21, 2011, Honoring Whistleblowers at American University
Nov. 21, 2011, Occupy City Council in Charlottesville
Nov. 23, 2011, New Yorkers arrive, walking, in Washington, D.C., and the Super Committee meets its deadline but not our demands
Nov. 23, 2011, 6:30-8:00 p.m. David Swanson at Busboys and Poets, 14th & V Streets, Washington, D.C.
Dec. 6, 2011, 4 p.m. Christmas in Freedom Plaza
Dec. 27, 2011 - Jan 3, 2012, Occupy Iowa Caucuses
Jan. 7, 2012, 5:00-7:00 p.m. ET David Swanson chat at FireDogLake book salon.
Jan. 11, 2012, Washington, D.C., Witness Against Torture
Jan. 20, 2012, Occupy the Courts
Jan. 23, 2012, Day of Rest and Reflection
March 23-25, 2012, Stamford, Ct., United National Antiwar Coalition Conference
April 3, 2012, David Swanson at McNally Jackson Books in New York, NY.
May 15 - 22, 2012, Chicago, Challenge the NATO War Makers
July 14, 2012, David Swanson at Peacestock 2012 in Wisconsin.
By Dave Lindorff
With Congress no longer performing its sworn role of defending the US Constitution, the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee and the Partnership for Civil Justice today filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA and the National Parks Service to release "all their information on the planning of the coordinated law enforcement crackdown on Occupy protest encampments in multiple cities over the course of recent days and weeks."
No, don't get co-opted. No, don't be statisfied. But notice when we begin to start to begin to gain power and influence.
This is from Congressman Ted Deutch:
To be offered to National Defense Authorization Act
Co-sponsors as of Nov. 17
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
Whereas, after al Qaeda attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, the United States rightly sought to bring to justice those who attacked us, to eliminate al Qaeda’s safe havens and training camps in Afghanistan, and to remove the terrorist-allied Taliban government;
Whereas, the Afghanistan War is now the longest in American history;
‘Corporations Are Not People’
‘PEOPLE’S RIGHTS AMENDMENT’ WOULD REPEAL CITIZENS UNITED RULING AND THE CORPORATE RIGHTS DOCTRINE
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts introduced today a constitutional amendment bill to overturn the US Supreme Court’s January 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and to make clear that corporations are not people with rights under the US Constitution. The introduction of the bill – the “People’s Rights Amendment” -- marks a major breakthrough in the growing movement across the country to end corporate personhood and restore democracy to the people.
After OccupyWashingtonDC.org Did It, the Progressive Caucus Tries It: A Hearing the Super Congress Should Hold But Won't
Congressional Progressive Caucus Invites “Super-Committee” Members to Attend Hearing on Job Creation
Hearing to Spotlight Economic Voices Left Out of “Super-Committee” Debate
Say sealing records for 20 years “inconsistent” with Commission’s purpose
Washington, DC—Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) questioned the decision by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan to seal its records from public review for 20 years. They called on the Archivist of the United States to “take immediate steps” to fully disclose the records “as quickly as possible,” consistent with protections for privacy, proprietary information, and other applicable laws.
Wednesday, November 9th at 11:00 AM
Washington, DC: OccupyWashingtonDC.org will hold a hearing on the economy for the 99% that will examine how to create a fair economy for all Americans.
The Occupied Hearing will contrast with hearings on Capitol Hill which are destined to enrich the 1% and protect major donors.
The Occupied Super Committee Hearing for the 99% will examine critical issues facing the economy and the federal budget. The hearing will include testimony from people with great understanding of the issues facing the country as well as comments from the 99% who are directly affected by the economy.
One week after the hearing, OccupyWashingtonDC.org will put forward proposals that should be enacted to fairly fix the economy -- these proposals should not be considered our demands as our demands are much more transformative than a short-term fix of the economy and budget.
From Sam Husseini
Two House budget committee members — Rep. Heath Shuler, (D-N.C.), and Rep. Mike Simpson, (R- Idaho) — have been making the media rounds as the new faces of establishment bipartisanship in favor of a letter 100 congress people signed on to stating “all options for mandatory” — presumably including Social Security, which adds nothing to the deficit — “and discretionary spending and revenue must be on the table.”
Sam Husseini questioned them as they left the Fox studios on Sunday morning.
Shuler: “I think the thing that you look at: here’s an opportunity that we can do so much because once the Supercommittee releases its finding and that becomes a bill, and it’s put on the House floor, there’s no amendments to it, it can’t be altered or changed when it goes from the House to the Senate. So that gives us an opportunity to have a clean slate to be able to put everything on the bill, to increase the revenue. The problem is, you don’t find this very often when you have members of the different political parties working together and acting. It’s much easier to split the screen and let us debate and argue something. But we’re united. We’re together. Now we have 100 members in the House and counting, with the 45 members in the Senate. That is the best, most newsworthy thing we can provide for you under the most difficult situations that we have. And to be able to come up with the cuts that’s necessary and the revenue that’s necessary to put us on a more sustainable path.
Shuler and Simpson’s handlers begin shouting to try to stop the questioning.
Husseini: “Why aren’t you united to tax the rich and the corporations and end the wars? Why aren’t you united for something that is actually popular rather than pursues monied interests?”
Simpson: “We’ve ought to be looking at everything.”
Husseini [holding up box of Band-Aids just off camera]: “Let me ask you this: yesterday I went to a pharmacy and there’s a tax on Band-Aids. Why isn’t there a tax on financial transactions? I had to pay a 6 percent tax on Band-Aids that people need.”
Simpson: “Probably a state sales tax, right?” [Actually, it's D.C. and D.C. is not a state, with many of its laws set by a Congress that D.C. residents have no real voice in and which Simpson and Shuler are members of.]
Husseini: “What’s your position on financial transaction tax?”
Simpson: “You’d have to look it up.”
Husseini: “Why can’t JP Morgan pay its transaction tax on their dealings [like ordinary people have to pay on necessities like Band-Aids]?”
Shuler and Simpson walk away.
Special thanks to Chris Belcher (video), Sam McCanne (transcription), Jonathan Schwarz, Matthew Bradley, David Swanson, Wendy Mink, Thomas Ferguson and Elisa Salasin for helping.
As the Occupy Wall Street movement pushes forward, evolving daily in mission and meaning, its cinematic companion has arrived on the scene. Heist: Who Stole The American Dream? is the latest socially and politically relevant documentary executive produced by Earl Katz, President of Public Interest Pictures. Heist will soon premiere as the fundamental primer on the historical and present-day inequities which gave rise to the Occupy Movement. From its 1930s depiction of Depression Era breadlines to Wisconsin Governor Walker's current assault on Collective Bargaining, Heist tells the story of America in decline due to the excessive greed of corporate executives and politicians bent on destroying the middle class.
Nov. 2, 2011 - A new study suggests that defense hawks are crying crocodile tears over planned cuts to Pentagon spending.
Capitol Hill conservatives and Pentagon brass fighting cuts to defense spending have argued that the military is limping off the battlefield with decrepit hardware. It's quite the sob story: At a hearing last week, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chair of the House armed services committee, cut his remarks short to literally sob for "these young men that are going outside the wire over in Afghanistan, every day on patrol."
Oct. 28: Rachel Maddow expresses exasperation that Paul Wolfowitz is still treated by the media as if he has credibility on foreign policy matters despite his infamous history of disastrously poor judgment.
By Dave Lindorff
Shanghai -- I was talking yesterday with the chief financial officer of a US-based drug firm that operates here in China, producing for the Chinese market, and got an up-close look at how bad things are for what used to be called the Almighty Dollar.
The company in question, a joint venture between a very profitable U.S. drug company and a local Chinese company, is quite profitable itself.
Leah Bolger of Oregon is the Vice President of Veterans for Peace, is occupying Freedom Plaza, and risked jail on Wednesday, with another case pending against her, to speak up in the Super Congress (Deficit Committee) hearing, in which she was arrested. She has been released.
Bolger comments: "I had to speak up. The witness, Douglas Elmendorf, was hiding the fact that military spending has increased dramatically in real terms and as a percentage of discretionary spending. He was focused on percentage of GDP, as if war spending should increase whenever it can, not whenever it has to. The simple deficit solution of taxing the rich and curtailing the militarism is favored by the majority of the public. The 99% had no other voice in that room to compete with those of the corporate lobbyists."
Members of Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square occupations are in the hearing room and marching to rally outside it.
Hensarling, co-chair of Supercons, just lied that military budget has shrunk as % of budget -- see the facts.
Neither Patty Murray, D from Boeing, or Hensarling, R from Texas, has mentioned taxing the rich.
Their witness today sure ought to bring it up.
Douglas Elmendorf is NOT thus far talking about taxing the super rich. He is talking about spending, including military spending, which he calls "defense." He is not using the larger category of "security," prefering to use "defense." But he is talking entirely about discretionary spending, which is a huge problem for this gang and its efforts to go after things it's not allowed to go after -- like Social Security.
Elmendorf describes "defense" spending as declining as percentage of GDP, not as percentage of discretionary spending.
He is proposing very slight caps on base "defense" budget, not counting wars, and on non-"defense" spending. He's offering more than one option.
The C-Span camera is angled to avoid any audience members. The public has been told signs cannot be held and no one can speak.
I am not in the room because of the recent trend toward treating laptop computers as threats to committee hearings.
Here's the testimony from Elmendorf.
Murray is eager to cut nondiscretionary "entitlements," totally avoids possibility of taxing billionaires or corporations, claims that eliminating all discretionary spending would still leave deficit. Elmendorf does not address that claim but agrees that discretionary spending is a shrinking share of all spending.
Excerpt from the testimony:
Discretionary funding for 2011 totaled $1,277 billion: budget authority of $712 bil-
lion for defense and funding totaling $566 billion for nondefense activities, including
$54 billion in obligation limitations for some transportation programs (see Table1).
Budget authority provided for defense activities in 2011 was $3 billion (or less than
1percent) below the amount provided the year before; the sum of discretionary bud-
get authority and obligation limitations for nondefense programs was $39 billion (or
7percent) below the amount provided in 2010. Nevertheless, discretionary outlays in
2011 were close to the amounts spent in 2010, CBO estimates, because of spending
from funds appropriated in previous years.
Questioning continues but lacks a little something I like to call:
TAX THE RICH!
Also, the crowd out in the hallway, outside a number of thick marble walls is giving up and moving on, having not -- as far as I know -- been heard inside the committee room.
Update: the folks say they WERE heard, the doors opened, the media made aware.
Apparently the military spending fairy is in the room too.
Baucus points out that military spending is higher now in inflation-adjusted dollars than during the Korean or Vietnam or Cold wars. Elmendorf admits it. $700 billion now compares to $240 billion during the Korean war. He points out that no caps have been put on or proposed for wars. Baucus gets Elmendorf to admit the obvious point that capping war spending would save money.
Rep Clyburn now points out the CBO's own study linked above showing the upper 1% has increased avg income by 275% while middle 60% of us have seen an increase of 40% over the same period of 28 years.
Rep Clyburn lamely and folksily mentions taxes, but doesn't propose taxing the wealthy or corporations.
Sen Rob Portman (R, Ohio) points out that "defense" has grown from 25% to 50% of discretionary budget.
The march has returned to Freedom Plaza.
The Washington Post says we're wearing out our welcome; we're also using the Washington Post as a welcome mat.
I'm stopping watching the hearing.
In other news, a bankster is being prosecuted.
Corporate welfare, subsidies, satire, humor, oil exploration, financial bailouts, mortgage crisis, agriculture subsidies, energy subsidies, Republicans
by Walter Brasch
“Got any idea how to make a frozen daiquiri?”
Saturday. 6 a.m. A question no one else would have asked at that hour. I knew it had to be Marshbaum, my faux-friend foil.
“Too early to be drinking,” I mumbled, then hung up. The phone rang again.
“It’s not for me,” said Marshbaum, but since I’m going to own a bar, I should learn how to make drinks.”
“Marshbaum,” I said, reluctantly awake, “you can’t even afford to buy soap to wash your fuzzy navel! How are you going to afford a bar?”
“The government’s going to bankroll me,” he said matter-of-factly.
“New kind of welfare?”
By Thomas Ferguson, The Washington Spectator, via Alternet
Under the new rules for the 2008 election cycle, the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] asked rank-and-file members to contribute $125,000 in dues and to raise an additional $75,000 for the party. Subcommittee chairpersons must contribute $150,000 in dues and raise an additional $100,000. Members who sit on the most powerful committees … must contribute $200,000 and raise an additional $250,000. Subcommittee chairs on power committees and committee chairs of non-power committees must contribute $250,000 and raise $250,000. The five chairs of the power committees must contribute $500,000 and raise an additional $1 million. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James Clyburn, and Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel must contribute $800,000 and raise $2.5 million. The four Democrats who serve as part of the extended leadership must contribute $450,000 and raise $500,000, and the nine Chief Deputy Whips must contribute $300,000 and raise $500,000. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must contribute a staggering $800,000 and raise an additional $25 million.—Marian Currinder, Money in the House (2008)