Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Portrait of an American Terrorist Mastermind... According DHS

U.S. journalists should be able to enter the country without fear of detention or intimidation.

But government authorities have been stopping journalists, whistle blowers and many other travelers on a regular basis, seizing their electronic devices and examining them without search warrants.

NPR's On the Media just reported that one of its journalists, Sarah Abdurrahman, was detained with her family at the U.S. border in Niagara Falls for six hours without explanation.

Government officials have detained journalist and filmmaker Laura Poitras more than 40 times at U.S. borders. They’ve interrogated her, seized her laptops and cameras for weeks at a time and denied her access to a lawyer.

Photojournalist Duane Kerzic has been detained and had his laptop searched too, and now he’s part of a lawsuit filed by the National Press Photographers Association. Photography is not terrorism. Taking photographs in public is NOT a crime. Duane Kerzic was arrested for taking photographs of Amtrak trains for a contest, hosted by AMTRAK.

This government intimidation has got to stop.

Tell Attorney General Eric Holder to Ensure Safe Passage for Journalists.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reality versus Propapganda of Saran Gas Death Tolls in Syrian Civil War

Syrian Civil War Death Tolls

Conventional Weapons 100,000
Saran Gas 495

In plain English, less than one half of one percent of the death toll in the Syrian Civil War the result of the use of Saran Gas. Perhaps somebody can explain to me why getting killed by a cluster bomb is somehow better than getting killed by poison gas? Dead is dead. Additionally until the US owns up to what we did with Agent Orange in Vietnam, and with White Phosphorous and Depleted Uranium in Iraq I don't think we have any moral authority to tell any what kind of weapons they can use.

I am in no way condoning the use of nerve gas, just trying to inject some proportionality into the debate. Assad is not somebody worthy of praise, but the rebels don't seem to be much better. I don't see how injecting the US into the mix will do anything but increase the death toll. Hopefully a deal can be worked out where the chemical weapons can handed over for destruction, thus preventing any further US military involvement.

Friday, September 13, 2013

13 Facts about Friday the 13th

1., According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a "Friday the 13th" superstition before the 19th century.

2., Thomas W. Lawson's novel Friday, "the Thirteenth" in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th is the reason given by most scholars as the reason for the current popularity of Friday the 13th.

3., Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales.

4., Professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects.

5., Friday is also the day when Jesus Christ was crucified, according to the Gospels, making it through folklore and adding to its unpopularity.

6., The connection between the Friday the 13th superstition and the Knights Templar was popularized in Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and in John J. Robinson's 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry.

7., Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom "Friday" is named in English and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen.

8., In Spanish-speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th (martes trece) is considered a day of bad luck.

9., The Greeks also consider Tuesday (and especially the 13th) an unlucky day.

10., According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day making it the most feared day and date in history.

11., The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is fourteen months.

12., Tupac Shakur died on Friday the 13th September 1996.

13., If you bought the S&P index on Thursday the 12th and sold on close of Friday the 13th every year since 1985 you would have made 339% on your money.

Source: wikipedia

Robert Reich on the 7 Big Economic Lies of the Regressive Right

New iPhone to Use Figerprints for Security. A Good Idea or Massive NSA Data Collection Scheme?

Great Idea on KickStarter but A Ripoff

Only 20 minutes to a meal, safely sizzling up to 550°F, the GoSun Stove is the first truly practical fuel-free cooking solution is how it is billed on KickStarter.This is actually a great idea. My problem with it is the price, $279. The evacuated tube in the center is actually from a solar hot water heater and cost about a dollar a piece for a full length one, this is a half length. You can buy a complete solar hot water heater from Alibaba.com that has like 20 of these tubes, plus a water tank for around $300 plus shipping. At most this should cost around $30. Just goes to show if you have a good marketing pitch KickStarter is a good place to fleece people.

New Solar Powered Drones to Replace Space Based Satellites for a Fraction of the Cost

In Washington D.C., at the AUVSI show, Titan Aerospace will be unveiling the SOLARA atmospheric satellite, a High Altitude Long Endurance solar atmospheric satellites capable of carrying telecom, reconnaissance, atmospheric sensors and other payloads. With its 164 ft / 50 m wingspan and thousands of high efficiency solar cells, the SOLARA is capable of staying aloft for months or years at a time at an altitude of 65,000 ft / 20 km. During the day, solar energy powers propulsion and payload and charges battery banks for use at night.

The SOLARA promises to open the door for stationing payloads near the edge of earth’s atmosphere. Unlike space satellites, the SOLARA is far less expensive to buy and launch, has a larger launch window, and most importantly, can easily be brought back for maintenance or payload upgrades. This allows the flexibility of flying different missions with the same serviceable airframe.

Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Got Molly?

Australia Has a $16 Dollar an Hour Minimum Wage

Good day mate.
Most workers are covered by an award, which may vary by employee age, geographical location and industry. For adults not covered by an award or agreement, the minimum wage is $16.37 per hour, $622.20 per week; set federally by Fair Work Australia. Junior workers, apprentices and trainees not covered by an award each have a minimum wage level set nationally. These amounts are in Australian dollars. In US dollars that comes out to $15.21 at current exchange rates, which is still twice the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. On top of that Australia has free health insurance.

New Film Explores America's Dystopian Wealth Inequality and 6 Ways to Fix it

Worth a watch, this great new documentary covers topics like the raising the minimum wage, Wall Street reform, education, and getting corrupting influence of money out of politics. Robert Reich is a best-selling author of thirteen books, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, and a foremost expert on economics.

Learn more: http://inequalityforall.com/

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Iowa Now Lets the Blind Own and Carry Guns

Iowas Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington, claims it is perfectly safe for 100% legally blind people to carry around and use guns Zimmerman style. [I am paraphrasing.] Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa, who says blocking visually impaired people from the right to obtain weapon permits would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. That federal law generally prohibits different treatment based on disabilities. I guess blind drivers licenses will be next? Oh wait their is no radical NRA style lobby trying to push that through. Never mind.

Private gun ownership, even hunting by legally blind Iowans is nothing new. But the practice of visually impaired residents legally carrying firearms in public became widely possible thanks to insane NRA/ALEC sponsored gun permit changes that took effect in Iowa in 2011.

Read more:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Frightning InfoGraphic from the ACLU Demostrates the True Extent of the NSA's illegal Spy Programs

The visualization above demonstrates the staggering scope of just what the government is doing. The ACLU learned this summer that when a NSA analyst wants to search through the phone records of a suspect, they also search through the records of anyone "three hops" away from that suspect. If three sounds like a small number to you, consider what that means if each of those "hops" has just 40 contacts. The size of the government's dragnet suddenly becomes clearer and considerably more frightening.

Senate Foreign Relations Members Voting for Syrian Invasion All Massive Recipients of Pro-Israel, Defense, and Wall St Money

On Sept. 4, 2013 the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations held hearings to determine a wider Senate vote on whether or not to authorize President Obama's so-called limited invasion of Syria. Those voting no heavily favored the GOP including several members likely to run for president in 2016 like Rubio and Paul. Both Paul and Rubio will likely use this as a campaign issue, especially if it goes bad. Of the 18 members, 7 voted no and 10 voted yes with Sen. Ed Markey [Democrat] unable or willing to decide. The Senators voting no were:
  1. Senator John Barasso - Republican
  2. Senator Ron Johnson - Republican
  3. Senator Chris Murphy - Democrat
  4. Senator Rand Paul - Republican
  5. Senator Jim Risch - Republican
  6. Senator Marco Rubio - Republican
  7. Senator Tom Udall - Democrat
Of those voting yes [7 Democrats and 3 Republicans] all have received in the 2014 campaign cycle massive amounts of money from pro Israel Groups, Defense Contractors, and in Corkers case over a million dollars from financial interests that are sure to gain from a spike in oil prices that will likely result from another middle eastern war.

Senator Barbara Boxer: [Democrat] received $30,000 from defense industry unions in her state that would surely benefit from increased defense spending. She also received $266,054 from pro Israel groups.

Senator Benjamin Cardin: [Democrat] received $30,000 from the Carlyle group, owner of many defense industry companies like Edward Snowden's old hangout, Booz Allen and Hamilton. He also received $244,193 from pro Israel groups.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen: [Democrat] hit the lottery in defense industry money, with $31,500 BAE Systems, $30,000 from Honeywell, and $25,500 from Ratheon. She also got another $57,000 from defense industry PACs.

Senator Chris Coons: [Democrat] is a rank amateur in bribery and only got $6,500 from defense industry PACs.

Senator Richard Durbin: [Democrat] is also a minor leaguer and only got $38,000 from defense industry PACs. Perhaps he and Coons are hoping this vote will turn that around?

Senator Tim Kaine: [Democrat] received $30,750 from Northrop Grumman, $2,000 from defense industry PACs and $245,820 from pro Israel groups.

Senator Jeff Flake: [Republican] received $38,650 from Marriott Hotels which just happens to be owned by the Carlyle Group. He also got $22,300 from Goldman Sachs who is busy rigging financial markets to profit from a new war. Last but not least he also received another $119,350 from pro Israel groups.

Senator John McCain: [Republican] here is a man who never met a war he didn't like. However that hasn't stopped him from taking $31,000 from Lockheed Martin, $28,900 from GE, and a whopping $154,199 from pro Israel groups.

Senator Robert Menendez: [Democrat] is a man who truly loves Israel, their money that is. He received an amazing $341,170 from pro Israel groups.

Senator Bob Corker: [Republican] Corker is a league all his own when it comes to doing Wall Street's bidding. He received $81,750 from JP Morgan, $55,500 from Goldman Sachs, $44,500 from convicted money launder UBS, $35,750 from Credit Suisse Group, and then there is the mother load... $1,122,351 from Wall Street lobbyists. Wall Street would love another war and all the profiteering that comes with it.

Source: opensecrets.org

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sacha Cohen in The Dictator Explains What Would Happen if America was a Dictatorship

This speech near the end of Sacha Cohen's most recent movie The Dictator sums up American political reality to a tee. Its not often a message as on target as this gets seen in our kleptocracy and is a refreshing change from Hollywood's usual fascist fair where the police are always right and moral standard bearers. Just getting people who somehow don't already know this to perhaps think about how things actually work in American made the whole movie worth it.

Search Democratic Progress


DemocracticProgress readers get 1 Month Free of Amazon Prime Video Streaming... Click Here