Thursday, January 31, 2013

InfoGraphic - Where Does Air Pollution Come From?

Click to enlarge

Bible Endorses Salvery - Conservative Christian Values?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Help Pardon CIA Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou



Former CIA agent John Kiriakou spoke out just days after he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, becoming the first CIA official to face jail time for any reason relating to the U.S. torture program. Under a plea deal, Kiriakou admitted to a single count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing the identity of a covert officer to a freelance reporter, who did not publish it.

Kiriakou was unfairly targeted by the Obama Administration for having been the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the Bush administration’s use of waterboarding.  While the people who actually commited war crimes run free, the man who exposed them will rot in a maximum security federal prison.

This ... was not a case about leaking; this was a case about torture. And I believe I’m going to prison because I blew the whistle on torture. My oath was to the Constitution. … And to me, torture is unconstitutional. ~ John Kiriakou

You can help!


Unless we act now, whistle blower John Kiriakou will be the first and only person to go to prison in connection to CIA torture. Please donate $10+ to put this ad on YouTube and recruit supporters from across the country to call on President Obama to pardon John Kiriakou.

Assange to Run for Aussie Senate in Coming Election


According the Wikileaks Twitter stream, Internet Hero Julian Assange has confirmed he will run for the Australian Senate in the coming 2013 election. Below is the Tweet announcing it.




Below is Tweet from the Wikileaks Twitter stream showing his current living conditions at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London England. The picture is a 360 degree interactive photo taken during one of his press conferences.  The $64,000 question remains though as to how he will be able to run and eventually serve in office if he is holed up in the Embassy 10,000 miles from his homeland? If elected would the UK still feel justified in arresting him and turning him over to the CIA?





About Julian Assange:
Assange is currently under the protection of the Ecuadorean embassy. The Ecuadorean government has found that Mr. Assange has justified in his application and through additional material that he has a well-founded fear of political persecution, and risks torture or the death penalty in the United States in connection with the publication of truthful information of matters of interest to the public through his work with WikiLeaks.


 

Learn more about Justice for Julian Assange here:


http://justice4assange.com/

The Power of Wind - Video



Video provided by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

NCAR is developing and applying several weather model and statistical processing technologies to improve the prediction of wind for the wind energy industry. Wind is among the most difficult weather variables to forecast. A number of factors can affect it, such as topography, ground cover, temperature inversions, and even the state of the vegetation at ans around the wind farms. NCAR's task is especially challenging because researchers will try to pinpoint wind direction and strength in the vicinity of individual wind turbines, which are generally about 200 to 400 feet above the ground and arrayed in wind farms. 

Learn More:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Justice Dept Responds to Frontline

Martin Smith: Frontline - Well, the justice department called and said they thought it was a hit piece, That I came with an agenda and they will never co-operate with us in the future.
Obama Justice Exposed

Frontline: Marty - some viewers have wondered about whether or how the [Obama] Justice Department or other government agencies have responded to the film. Any word?

Martin Smith: Frontline - Well, the justice department called and said they thought it was a hit piece, that I came with an agenda and they will never co-operate with us in the future.

Watch the Frontline documentary here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/untouchables/

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yes Johnny Can Read, but Can He Wipe?


This is really sad, if it happened in some third world back water or a movie I might laugh, but this is America. In fact if it happened during the 1980's when I went to school in Michigan I would have said it was just an urban myth. It isn't. 

According to new shocking reports, schools in Pontiac Michigan are so broke not only don't they have any money for text books, they can't even afford toilet paper for the kids bathrooms. What is the reason for this mess? Answer: the GOP controlled state gov has voted to slash $2 billion dollars from the state education budget while at the same time giving big business a $1.9 billion tax cut.

This is all part of the Regressive Republican plan to raise taxes for the average person all the while massively cutting funding for services too. The Michigan League for Human Services recently noted a new analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy that found households earning $17,000 or less would pay 1.1%  more of their income in new taxes, while those making $355,000 or more would pay 0.01% more under Republican Gov Snyder's latest tax proposals. A recent league analysis also found further that Snyder's Reverse Robin Hood plan will cut business taxes by 86% while increasing individual income taxes 31%. 

This is what State House Democratic Leader, Tim Greimel had to say about disgraceful matter:

It might be funny if it weren’t true. Our kids in Pontiac can’t even use textbooks in place of toilet paper, because classrooms don’t have enough of those, either. Since the start of this year, the hard-working and dedicated teachers of Pontiac have been paying out-of-pocket for toilet paper in their own classrooms. What’s happening here is utterly shameful, and all the more so because it could have been avoided.

Republicans don’t mind that their slash-and-burn approach to school funding is hurting our kids and destroying their right to get a quality education. When the Pontiac schools faced a $2.4 million shortfall in funding from the state, it responded by laying off dozens of teachers and cutting spending on necessities such as textbooks and toilet paper. The only possible result of that is having our kids crammed into overcrowded classrooms that lack even the most basic supplies. Our children deserve better than this, and that’s why House Democrats demand that education funding be restored and that Republicans stop raiding the School Aid Fund to pay for massive corporate tax breaks.

Please Help

To find out more about how you can help school employees and students in Pontiac, contact Pontiac EA President Aimee McKeever at amckeever@mea.org or by calling (248) 253-1867.



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Think Progress Pwn by Milwaukee Sheriff and NRA



Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke who released a radio ad urging Milwaukee-area residents to learn to handle firearms so they can defend themselves while waiting for police said Friday that law enforcement cutbacks have changed the way police can respond to crime. In the 30-second commercial, the Sheriff says:

I need you in the game. With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option," he adds. "You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. ... Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there.

There however is a huge fly in the ointment,  according Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, it simply isn't true. There hasn't been any recent layoffs or furloughs in the suburban police departments or in Milwaukee. Unfortunately Think Progress, a site I refer to often, failed to do their ground work and bought right into this PR scam. They state in their article about the subject:

While it is true police departments have thinned — thanks to Republican public sector budget cuts — Clarke has an absurd expectation that citizens could act as interim police officers, with minimal firearm training. Armed citizens usually do not stop violent crime, and their intervention only increases the danger and bloodshed, “given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances.”

While they do make a valid point about GOP austerity efforts aimed at the public sector and vigilantes taking the law into their own hands, in this case it simply isn't true as Chris Abele explained. The real motivation however seems to be fourfold:

  1. Get frightened people to buy guns.
  2. Get frightened people against gun control.
  3. Get frightened people to demand an increase in the police dept budget.
  4. Get Sheriff Clarke's name in the news.


Bottom Line:


Milwaukee County Sheriff and Tea Party Member David Clarke Jr. is ambitious man, this ad serves to turn people against the current mayor, thereby laying the groundwork for his possible run for mayor in 2016 or other political office in 2014. Having the NRA and ALEC in your back pocket would go a long way in funding any campaign. Think Progress would have seen through this scam had they simply listened to the AP interview. By reporting it the way they did they fed into this lie and became useful idiots by spreading this spurious propaganda.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Why Putting Women in Combat is Irrelevant



US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently announced that he would clear the way for women in combat. On Jan. 24, 2013 he issued this statement from a defense department briefing:
Today Gen. Dempsey and I are pleased to announce that we are eliminating the ground combat exclusion rule for women and moving forward with a plan to eliminate all gender-based barriers to service. Our purpose is to ensure the mission is carried out by the best qualified and most capable service members, regardless of gender and regardless of creed and beliefs. If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job -- and let me be clear, we are not reducing qualifications -- then they should have the right to serve.
Predictably the conservative pundits had a field day with this. Heather Mac Donald of the National Review said:
We have apparently arrived at the Golden Age, free from strife and the threat of foreign enemies. Little else can explain so gratuitous a decision as to place women in combat units.
Then there is David A. Pattern of NewsMax who said this:
This is not a Hollywood movie. This has real consequences that are going to affect our sons and daughters whose lives are on the line… The hard truth of combat oftentimes is brutal. It involves face-to-face, hand-to-hand, close-quarter battle. And I think we forget that. We’ve become so sensitized that warfare is wrapped up in a two-hour movie featuring stars who always live. And that’s not how it really is.
What the regressive types don't seem to understand is the day of Spartacus like battles of hand to hand combat is rapidly coming to an end.  There has already been a massive change in the way wars are fought since Vietnam, let alone World War 2. Today's soldiers need the skills of a video gamer more than that of a Spartacus like super warrior. Obama's Drone War has really brought this point home to it's victims in the middle east.

Bottom Line:

The truly frightening point is however this new type of warfare is no longer the province of super powers like the US, now it only takes a few grand and a couple clicks to order the right UAV. A UAV or drone doesn't care if you are a muscle man who can do 500 pushups or an old woman who can barely walk, the only thing that matters is being able to point and click. The video above really brings these points home like it or not.


Frontline Investigates Why Obama Never Sent a Single Bankster to Prison - Video

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How the GOP Plans to Steal the 2016 Presidential Election

The GOP knows that the demographics are not in their favor with a shrinking white rural population so they plan on using voter suppression and now Electoral Vote gerrymandering.
How to steal an election in 6 easy steps.

Under the current electoral vote system the person who wins the most votes in a state wins that state's electoral votes and the loser gets nothing. The GOP in a number of key states are in the process of changing the rules to put an end to that. Under the new GOP plan the electoral votes would be awarded based on congressional districts, and because of a massive gerrymandering effort in 2010 the GOP currently controls a majority of the districts despite having substantially less votes. In a state like Michigan where President Obama won by a 9.5% margin he would have lost under this new plan. This essentially gives rural right-wing voters several votes for every progressive urban/suburban voter.

The GOP plan was first concocted by radical regressive Republican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi in 2011. Later that year it spread to Wisconsin when another Teabag lawmaker circulated an identical plan to his fellow regressives, which Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) labeled an “interesting idea.” From there the infection spread to Ohio’s top elections official, Republican Secretary of State John Husted. He endorsed the plan after a post-election conference, since then he has backtracked off the scheme following massive criticism. A version of the election-rigging plan is currently pending in the Virginia State Senate, and it was recently reintroduced in the Pennsylvania House. Expect the anti-democratic infection to spread to every GOP controlled state in the nation by the end of 2013.

The really sad part about this is the history of Fourteenth Amendment and electoral votes regarding voter suppression efforts. Time was the Republican Party was the leader in aggressively protecting voter rights. On May 8, 1866, during a debate on the Fourteenth Amendment, Thaddeus Stevens, the leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, delivered a speech on the amendment's intent. Regarding Section 2, he said:
The second section I consider the most important in the article. It fixes the basis of representation in Congress. If any State shall exclude any of her adult male citizens from the elective franchise, or abridge that right, she shall forfeit her right to representation in the same proportion. The effect of this provision will be either to compel the States to grant universal suffrage or so shear them of their power as to keep them forever in a hopeless minority in the national Government, both legislative and executive.

So essentially the GOP has gone from saying 'protect voter rights or loose them' to 'how can we rig the elections so no Democrat is ever elected again'.

Bottom Line:

The GOP knows that the demographics are not in their favor with a shrinking white rural population so they plan on using Voter Suppression, Gerrymandering, and now Electoral Vote Gerrymandering.  Contact your congress man/woman and senator to let them know how you feel about this.



Read More:




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chamber of Commerce Unveils New Plan to Destroy the 99%



The US Chamber of Commerce has announced their plan to restore America's economy and create jobs via it's recently issued 2013 American Jobs and Growth Agenda, a series of key policy measures. Their claim is it will stimulate the economy and lower unemployment, lets take a look. They have broken it down to several key categories: energy, free trade, regulatory reform, immigration, and the fiscal crisis.




Energy: The Chamber believes fossil fuels that big oil and coal provide are the only real sources of energy that matter. They claim there is more the nation can do to achieve energy independence, such as boosting domestic production of fossil fuels and allowing construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Energy independence is an admirable goal, however when it comes non-fossil fuel based energy Thomas J. Donohue , president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said:

'We should waste no time pursuing research to develop alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal, and that the government should not select “winners” through federal funds investment. The federal government shouldn’t pick the winners and losers or subject energy projects to endless and duplicative reviews.'

Translation: 'Tax incentives and gov sponsored research and development is great for big oil just don't waste it on clean energy that competes with us, doesn't require a world wide military empire, and doesn't destroy the planet. Also get off our case about global warming and oil spills, if we spill something you can pay to clean it up, that's why we bribe you.'




Free Trade: The U.S. should eliminate trade barriers, the Chamber says, noting that 95 percent of [U.S. businesses] potential customers live outside of the United States and we need to go sell them something. Specifically, the Chamber believes that the U.S. must get the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement passed as quickly and quietly as possible then fight for a trade agreement with the European Union.

Translation: 'Costs are rising in China so make sure you cut some deals with countries with even lower wage levels like Viet Nam. Also we need to bribe people to get the sweetheart monopoly deals like we have in America, so again get it done then buzz off.'

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (copyrights, patents, etc) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement to comply with America law. Simply put, it has 'NOTHING TO DO WITH FREE TRADE' and everything to do with extending monopoly status to other countries. If you liked SOPA then you will go just giddy over TPP.



 
Regulatory Reform: The Chamber believes the government needs to stem the flood of business regulations focused on trade laws, healthcare, and the environment.
'On the environmental front, major EPA rules imposed over the last decade cost more than $23 billion and its new ozone regulation could cost up to $90 billion. If EPA moves forward with rules on greenhouse gas emissions…it could ensnare roughly 6 million facilities in burdensome permitting requirements.'
Translation: 'Let the taxpayers pay for our pollution and the damage it causes. Socialize the costs, and privatize the profits we always say. If you let us dump toxic waste in public water ways and school yards then maybe we might bring back some jobs from China... if you pay us to that is.'




Immigration: Donohue noted that the U.S. 'needs immigrants,' even given the nation’s high unemployment rate.
'Given our changing demographics, we need more workers to sustain our economy, support our retired population and to stay competitive.'
Translation: 'There some jobs we can't outsource to China and India so we would like to bring as many people here as we want for the jobs and then hold them hostage to their H1B Visas so they can't demand America level wages and benefits.'

The Programmers Guild has extensively documented this scam. Currently there is a requirement that companies attempt to hire Americans first before they request an H1B substitute. So what companies will do is make the requirements for the job completely beyond the scope of the real world. Two Congressional-sponsored studies have found that use of H-1B for cheap labor is commonplace. However even this charade is too much of a bother for the Chamber, so they would like to eliminate the need to prove they couldn't find an American for the job first.




Fiscal Crisis: The Chamber says its goal is to “slow the growth of spending, reform entitlements, and overhaul the tax code,” and it blames the crisis on runaway deficit spending, changing demographics, and unsustainable entitlements.
'We must address the fundamental reality that, due to our aging society and increased life expectancy, the entitlement programs…must be revised.'
Translation: 'Cut spending on things that help the 99% so you don't get any funny ideas about raising our taxes, Lear Jets don't pay for themselves you know.'

The super rich like Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein don't care about the chump change he will get from Social Security, but he does care if we actually wanted them to pay the same rate on FICA taxes that the 99% pays. Currently only the first $107,000 of income is subject to FICA taxes, if you make $20,000,000 a year it means that only 0.535% of your income is subject to FICA taxes. If the cap was removed and brought in line with what the 99% pay, that would be a huge tax increase for them. So rather than them pay the same rate as the average person their solution is raise the retirement age, and thereby cut benefits for 300+ million Americans.

About the US Chamber of Commerce


U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobbying group in the United States that "has become a fully functional part of the partisan Republican machine" since CEO and president Thomas J. Donohue took office in 1997. Prior to Donohue's tenure, the Chamber "used to be a trade association that advocated in a bipartisan manner for narrowly tailored policies to benefit its members." The Chamber's 2010 budget is approximately $200 million, but as a trade organization, its donors can remain anonymous.

The Chamber claims on its website that its mission is to "advance human progress through an economic, political and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility." It describes itself as "the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

Despite these claims, the New York Times reported in October 2010 that half of the Chamber's $140 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 big-money donors, many of whom enlisted the Chamber's help to fight political and public opinion battles on their behalf (such as opposing financial or healthcare reforms, or other regulations). The Chamber is 'dominated by oil companies, pharmaceutical giants, automakers and other polluting industries,' according to James Carter, executive director of the Green Chamber of Commerce.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. It is a member of the Civil Justice Task Force, the Education Task Force, the International Relations Task Force and the Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force, according to 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting materials.

Read More:





Support National Darwin Day

Charles Darwin Day

The American Humanist Association is working with  Democratic U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12)  to introduce House Resolution 41 “expressing support for designation of February 12, 2013, as Darwin Day and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.”

On the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision recognizing women have the right to seek an abortion Rep. Holt gave the following speech in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Mr. Speaker, 40 years ago today, the Supreme Court affirmed the dignity and independence of each American woman.

“The result of the decision [in Roe v. Wade] was an understanding that our Constitution guaranteed decisions about a woman’s own body should be left up to that woman, in consultation with her doctor, her family, and her religion – not the federal government.

“There is now a generation of women who do not remember the time before Roe v. Wade, a time when men assumed they could say what women could and could not do about their personal, private health care and reproduction.

“We still have a lot of work to do. Unfortunately, over the past 40 years, there have been numerous legislative attempts to deny this right to women and treat women who exercise control over their own bodies as criminals. We have to make sure that we defend also Title X, maternal and child health care programs, public access to reproductive health care, and that we reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

“But we must remember the time before Roe v. Wade and what is at stake.”

My favorite line from his resolution is "Whereas the teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States education systems". Truer words were never spoken. The United States owes it position in the world due in large part to the embrace of science and technology, but there has been a concerted effort by regressives over the last 3 decades to turn all that back.

Theocracies don't have the major science and technology breakthroughs that secular countries do. No computer chip or modern medical wonder was ever based on anything in the Bible or Quran. In fact if it were not for the secular world, most of the Middle East would still be living by technology standards set a millennium ago. It is time we pay respect to a man who changed [and improved] the way we live like few others have in history. Surely if we set aside numerous days for mythology we can set aside a day for something that actually matters.

I implore you to help win approval for the resolution by using this form to contact your Congressional representative asking for their co-sponsorship and support. It takes less than a minute to ask your Congressional Representative to support the Darwin Day resolution introduced by Rep. Rush Holt. Just click here:
 
http://action.americanhumanist.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12299

Bottom Line:

Rep Holt is a refreshing change from anti-science people in congress like Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann who disgrace America with their 'proud to be ignorant' attitudes. We salute him and you should too.

Yes We Irony - White House Announces National Day of Hacking


It is not without a huge amount of irony and gall that the Obama Administration has just announce a National Day of Civic Hacking. The event is described as:

National Day of Civic Hacking is a national event that will take place June 1-2, 2013, in cities across the nation. The event will bring together citizens, software developers, and entrepreneurs from all over the nation to collaboratively create, build, and invent new solutions using publicly-released data, code and technology to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states and our country. National Day of Civic Hacking will provide citizens an opportunity to do what is most quintessentially American: roll up our sleeves, get involved and work together to improve our society.

Sounds vaguely familiar to what Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning, and Wikileaks have tried to do, in fact they go as far as saying:

  • Liberate open data that can inform better problem solving in every community.
  • Engage citizens in cities with little technology infrastructure to contribute to changing their community through open source, open data, entrepreneurship and code development.
  • Promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education by encouraging students to utilize open technology for solutions to real challenges.

For example compare that to this quote from Aaron Swartz....

"Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universites in the First World but not to children in the Global South? It's outrageous and unacceptable!"

 Or this from the Wikileaks about page.

Publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people. Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society’s institutions, including government, corporations and other organizations. A healthy, vibrant and inquisitive journalistic media plays a vital role in achieving these goals. We are part of that media.

Bottom Line:

While we fully support the stated goals of open information and transparency, if the White House was really concerned they would stop their jihad against whistle blowers, reform copyright law and do something about Citizens United. This comes off as a crass and obvious attempt to counter the bad PR from US DA Carmen Oritz driving Aaron Swartz to suicide with her massive overkill for a crime that the alleged victim, JSTOR said they didn't even want prosecuted.

President Obama promised us change and to have the most open presidency ever, instead what we got are things like SOPA, ACTA, TPP, NDAA, and a FBI coordinated attack on Occupy Wall Street while at the same time pretending to support their goals. The epic proportions of irony here should make me laugh, instead it just makes me sick to my stomach.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Anonymous Honors Aaron Swartz - #OpAngel

The following is a repost from the Anon Relations website, a reliable and accountable source of information for Anonymous.





Operation Angel, began by Anonymous in response to the death of Aaron Swartz, successfully accomplished phase one of it’s mission by preventing Westboro Baptist Church members from picketing Swartz’s funeral. Anonymous is now preparing for a longer and more extensive battle within the U.S. legal system.

Aaron Swartz was essential to the progression of the Internet. He was renowned for his role in the development of RSS, Open Library and the creation of Reddit. Instead of capitalizing on his talents solely for personal gain, Aaron chose to dedicate his life to the defense of internet freedom and the preservation of civil liberties. At a time when America’s educational system is ranked 17th in the world, he believed that knowledge should be made freely available to all who seek it. Before taking his own life, Aaron was facing up to 35 years in prison for acting on this belief.

The charges against Swartz are only one example of malicious prosecution by U.S. Attorney’s in a history of unequaled viciousness against those accused of cyber crimes. It is clear that the punishment Swartz faced was not proportional to the crimes of which he was accused. We cannot pretend that our system is just when perpetrators of violence are dealt lighter sentences than those whose alleged crimes are essentially victimless. It is our conclusion that dubious laws such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act serve only to provide prosecutors with the means to selectively target and unfairly punish online activists. Anonymous intends to continue Operation Angel with the goal of reforming these laws.

There are several actions planned to raise awareness of this issue and they are listed below:

1) Within the next week we will publicly endorse specific changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. While the introduction of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren’s “Aaron’s Law” is a step in the right direction, it may not go far enough.

2) Several online demonstrations will take place throughout the week leading up to the live protests. Multiple Anonymous groups have promised to down or deface officials website belonging to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Department of Justice, specifically the official websites of prosecutors in Aaron Swartz case.

3) On January 25th the voice of our grievances will transcend the world wide web and be present in the streets of D.C. and Boston. Anonymous protests will take place in D.C. at 600 Pennsylvania Ave (and Constitution Ave.) at 3pm EST. A simultaneous protest will take place at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston located at 1 Courthouse Way. Congresswoman Lofgren is encouraged to attend the D.C. demonstration and we will provide her a platform to discuss Aaron’s Law.

Stay tuned to #OpAngel and @YourAnonNews for updates.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Internet Freedom Day - Please Share This



Fix Broken Copyright Laws Now! 


If SOPA had passed sharing MLK's "I have a dream speech' would be a crime, literally.

Read more about Copyright reform here:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/02/fixing-fair-use-with-seven-little-words/

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Linus Torvalds Weighs in on Aaron Swartz and Carmen Ortiz


The Follow is a repost from Linus Torvalds Google+ feed.

Linus Torvalds - creator of Linux.
Linus Torvalds
I haven't bothered to mention the whole sad Aaron Swartz saga, because it's been covered elsewhere. 

But having the involved US attorney then basically lie about it all in a very public statement is something that I find particularly offensive. Compare these two statements - one from July 2011, one from yesterday, and tell me Carmen Ortiz isn't lying..

Yesterday (as reported by the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere):

 "At no time did this office ever seek – or ever tell Mr. Swartz’s attorneys that it intended to seek – maximum penalties under the law."

And July 2011 (as posted by justice.gov itself):

 "SWARTZ faces up to 35 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million"

Maybe that official and very public PR thing wasn't "telling Mr. Swartz’s attorneys", right?  Because in private, Ms Ortiz was probably talking about how she wanted to pay Aaron for his services, and just hug him. Right?  Anybody?

Ms Ortiz, just admit you were an ass-hat, and apologize. Instead of this kind of crap. Weasel-wording and misleading about your actions is not making your office look any better.

Here are the sources, so that people can compare them for themselves.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2013/01/17/us-attorney-statement-on-the-prosecution-of-aaron-swartz/

http://www.justice.gov/usao/ma/news/2011/July/SwartzAaronPR.html

Sandyhook: Covert Operation or Rightwing Fantasy?



Video claims that the Newtown Connecticut mass murder at Sandyhook school was a false flag operation by the Obama administration in order to justify a gun grab. I have many issues with President Obama despite having supported him in two elections, but this video is just beyond stupid. I am not going to bother to debunk it because frankly it debunks itself, but CNN has done so here: http://youtu.be/984ZcFgxM3k


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

John Stewart Platinum Coin Fail


The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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www.thedailyshow.com
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I like Jon Stewart and think he has been very funny over the years, but what he and other don't seem to understand is our money is NOT based on gold in Fort Knox or some buried national treasure, it's based on NOTHING but the goodwill of America!

That's correct, since President Nixon took the US off the gold standard the US Dollar has been a fiat currency. Fiat money is money that derives its value from government regulation or law. The term fiat currency is used when the fiat money is used as the main currency of the country. The term derives from the Latin fiat ("let it be done", "it shall be").

From 1944 to 1971, the Bretton Woods agreement fixed the value of $35 United States Dollars to one Troy Ounce of gold. Since then some say the US Dollar has had a de facto oil standard, referred to as the Petrodollar. The idea is based on the fact that all barrels oil are sold in United States Dollars on the international market, but there is no set amount of oil backing a dollar.

The Petrodollar system came about because of the United States overwhelming military power and an arrangement President Nixon made with the Saudis. Some say this is also the hidden reason why the US is so adamant about maintaining control over the Middle Eastern region. Some like former Congressman Ron Paul have gone as far to say the real reason for the Iraq War was Saddam Hussein threatening to sell oil in Euros. Similar claims have been made about Moammar Khadafy.

Furthermore we have had a fractional banking system since 1913 that lets banks just create money out of thin air even when it was based on a gold standard. The way it works is say Bank A has $10 dollars, and John Smith wants to borrow $100 dollars.  Bank A then tells the Federal Reserve they need $90 dollars, then Bank A loans John Smith $100 [their $10 dollars and the $90 dollars the Federal Reserve just printed up]. They do however have to maintain a reserve or balance amount according to Fed rules, the current reserve rate is 12%. How much money could you make if you could do this? This is literally the single largest wealth transfer mechanism in human history.

Bottom Line:


The point of all this is minting a trillion dollar platinum coin is exactly the same thing the Federal Reserve does on a daily basis, create money out of thin air, the only difference it is the Treasury doing it, not a private bank. My question for Jon Stewart is why is it OK for a private bank to create money out of thin air but not the very institution given sole authority to do it by the US Constitution?

Words of Wisdom

Aaron Swartz

"Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universites in the First World but not to children in the Global South? It's outrageous and unacceptable!"

~ Aaron Swartz

Monday, January 14, 2013

Help Carry On Where Aaron Swartz Left Off ... Become an Internet Freedom Fighter!

Aaron Swartz


Learn More and Resources for Internet Freedom Activists

 

Wolf-pac.org: A nonprofit started by the TYT host Cenk Uygur to pass an amendment to the constitution ending corporate personhood and publicly finance all elections. Sign there petition here: http://www.wolf-pac.com/petition

Followthemoney.org: A nonprofit organization revealing the influence of campaign money on state-level elections and public policy in all 50 states.

MapLight.org: A nonprofit organization that provides citizens and journalists the transparency tools to shine a light on the influence of money on politics.

Opensecrets.org: A research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy.

Sunlightfoundation.com: A nonprofit organization that provides tools geared towards promoting greater government openness and transparency.
Anonnews.org/: Is an independent and uncensored (but moderated) news platform for 
Anonymous.

Pastebin.com: Is a website where you can store text for a certain period of time. The website is mainly used by programmers to store pieces of sources code or configuration information, but anyone is more than welcome to paste any type of text. 

Sourcewatch.org: The Center for Media and Democracy publishes SourceWatch, this collaborative resource for citizens and journalists looking for documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion.

Rcfp.org:  For more than 40 years, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has provided free legal advice, resources, support and advocacy to protect the First Amendment and Freedom of Information rights of journalists working in areas where U.S. law applies, regardless of the medium in which their work appears.

 

 

Reading


Matt Taibbi: Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History


Saul Alinsky: Rules for Radicals

Lawrence Lessig: “Democracy After Citizens United.” Editorial. Boston Review. http://bostonreview.net/BR35.5/lessig.php.

Oliver Stone: The UnTold Story of The United States 

Glenn Greenwald: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful


Activist Tools


NEW Republic, Lost: Study Guide and Action Kit. Download the full guide here, or buy it as a book through CreateSpace.

Fast Facts Handout: a simple one pager to help spread the word about the flow of money in politics.

Rootstrikers Poster: 8.5" x 11", suitable for printing in black and white or color and posting just about anywhere.

Arms Across the Aisle Meetup Organizing Guide: the ins and outs of starting a dialogue about corruption with folks who's views may differ from your own.

Meetup Mailing List Signup Sheet: for meetup organizers to capture names and emails of attendees.

Pledge palm card: a palm card for talking about The Anti-Corruption Pledge with citizens and elected officials.

Goodnight Democracy palm card: a palm card to help spread the word about the impact of Citizens United, as told by Goodnight Democracy.

 

Software


VLC is probably about the best movie player there is. Some of it's great features allow you to play many different kinds of video and audio files without installing extra bits and playing subtitles flexibly.

Audacity is a sound editor. it allows you to do multi track editing of audio files and save them to different formats (mp3, wav and ogg). It is cross platorm (Linux, Mac, Windows) and is a great tool to teach people how to use.

Avidemux Is a video encoder to 'transcode' video from one file format to another. You can also do simple edits using it . it has one of the only Graphic User Interfaces (GUI) for encoding files that works on different platforms.

Airtime is the open broadcast software for scheduling and remote station management. Web browser access to the station's media archive, multi-file upload and automatic metadata verification features are coupled with a collaborative on-line scheduling calendar and playlist management.

Scribus is powerful desk-top publisher, to replace InDesign or Quark, that helps you create great looking documents of all kinds.

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that's reliable and very well supported. For Windows users, you might prefer Kubuntu, which has a look and feel that's a bit more Windows like.

Guardian Project make security apps for Android smart phones for browsing the web securely, encrypting SMS/text messages, an more. They also recommend apps made by others.

FDroid Repository is a 'market place' for free (as in freedom) apps for Android phones.

Replicant is a distribution of Android that is 100% Free Software. It runs only on a very limited number of devices. If you have one of these devices, then this is your choice.

CyanogenMod is the most popular aftermarket distribution for Android. It runs on many phones and offers features not found in the official Android based firmwares of vendors.

Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis




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