Carol Shea-Porter was endorsed by Blue America again and we were enthused by her taking the bull by the horns and addressing phony-baloney right-wing claims that they have ever had anything to do with protecting liberty or freedom, which has always been abhored by the right. Carol is a direct descendent of General John Stark, the real patriot who said, ?Live free or die.? This stuff is important to her-- and it's not about dressing up in a tri-corner hat.
Treading On Us
-by Carol Shea-Porter
In 2010, Republican candidates for office insisted there was a Democratic intrusion into individual privacy rights. Tea Partiers started waving The Constitution around and claiming that Democrats were stealing our individual freedom and liberty away. Then Congressional candidate Frank Guinta told the Dover Tea Party in 2009 that ?they have been ensuring that more government intervention and oversight is taking over our lives each and every day. This has to stop.? He told the Portsmouth Tea Party in 2010, "We said enough. Enough of taking our freedom, enough of taking our liberty."
The tea-party Republicans won across the nation, in large measure due to these kinds of claims. So, it?s fair to examine how the Republicans have voted on privacy rights in the 112th Congress. It?s also startling and worrisome.
There are several legislative actions with huge implications for privacy, but I want to focus on two. One was an amendment, House Amendment 97 to HR 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011. An American Library Association publication, The District Dispatch: News for Friends of Libraries, said this amendment would improve privacy protections under the PATRIOT Act. This amendment would refuse to allow the U.S. government to spend any money under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to force a library to turn over its circulation records, library patron lists, book sales records, or book customer lists. If passed, this would mean the library would not be forced to tell the government what you or anyone at your town library was reading, or what books you bought at the ?books for sale? table unless the government had a warrant. The Republican Congress, including both New Hampshire members, voted "NO" to an individual's right to privacy. They had a chance to protect innocent library users and refused. Percentage-wise, there are very few times the U.S. government needs to see public library records, but there are some-- and an easily obtained warrant would have allowed that access while protecting the rest of us.
Another huge privacy issue involves Facebook and other social networking websites. There have been recent news reports of employers demanding employees? or job applicants? passwords to their Facebook or email accounts so the employer can look at anything he or she wants to look at. This is an outrageous violation of privacy. What's next, the keys to someone's house? Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter recently tried to stop this snooping. He proposed adding an amendment to H.R. 3309, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Process Reform Act of 2012. He said nothing in that bill should restrict the FCC?s authority to ?protect online privacy, including requirements? that prohibit licensees or regulated entities from mandating that job applicants or employees disclose confidential passwords to social networking sites.? Simply stated, the amendment said the FCC would be able to protect individuals' online privacy. The Republican Congress thought otherwise, and said "NO" to your right to privacy.
In the North Carolina Congressional race (NC-10), Republican primary candidate Ken Fortenberry was upset that his opponent, the incumbent, did not protect individual privacy and freedom. He asked, "How can anyone who honestly believes in respecting the rights of citizens to free speech be in favor of robbing them of their Constitutional rights through this invasion of privacy? Maybe we should ask [US Rep. Patrick] McHenry for the passwords to his social media accounts."
So, how did our two NH members of the House of Representatives vote? They voted against our freedom and against our individual right to privacy. How would Congressman Guinta or Congressman Bass feel about handing over to us, the people who are their employers, the passwords to their private Facebook accounts?
This is just wrong. Our government and our businesses must be vigilant, but not bullying. Alert, but not fearful. Careful, but not liberty trampling. These attitudes have given us the freest nation in the world, and the next generation and the one after that deserve the same gift of freedom. I am proud to be a direct descendent of General John Stark who said, ?Live free or die.? New Hampshire?s members of Congress, Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass, need to stop voting against our individual liberties. They need to stop treading on us and let us live free.
Carol is running against Frank Guinta and Ann Kuster is running against corrupt corporate shill Charlie Bass. If you'd like to help New Hampshire score a clean sweep, you can find Ann and Carol on the same page, here at the Blue America page.
Read The Full Article:
Nooners' latest column is, as always, a target-rich environment for mockery, but this passage -- in which she laments all the Republican saber-rattling and warmongering -- wins out.
The GOP used to be derided by Democrats as the John Wayne party: it loved shoot-'em-ups. Actually, John Wayne didn't ride into town itching for a fight, and he didn't ride in shooting off his mouth, either. He was laconic, observant. He rode in hoping for peace, but if something broke out he was ready. He had a gun, it was loaded, and he knew how to use it if he had to.
But he didn't want to have to. Which was part of his character's power. The GOP should go back to being John Wayne.
Nooners has a bit of a crush on John Wayne, because she also wrote this bizarre column arguing America needed his "manly virtues" after 9/11.
I was there in America, as a child, when John Wayne was a hero, and a symbol of American manliness. He was strong, and silent. And I was there in America when they killed John Wayne by a thousand cuts. A lot of people killed him?not only feminists but peaceniks, leftists, intellectuals, others. You could even say it was Woody Allen who did it, through laughter and an endearing admission of his own nervousness and fear. He made nervousness and fearfulness the admired style. He made not being able to deck the shark, but doing the funniest commentary on not decking the shark, seem . . . cool. [...]
This was not progress. It was not improvement.
The problem, of course, is that John Wayne was a drunk, a drug addict, a serial womanizer, an abusive husband -- and most importantly -- a draft-dodging chickenhawk. While other actors of his generation volunteered to fight in World War II, Wayne stayed stateside to make movies and get rich playing dress up soldier. Years later, this same man who chose not to fight in the war against fascism said that those opposed to the Vietnam War should be shot. There may not be a more perfect embodiment of a man who spouts right-wing "virtues" while actually leading a life exactly in opposition to those virtues.
Actually, Nooners has a point. John Wayne is the perfect embodiment of the Republican Party.
One century ago this weekend, the great “unsinkable” ship ignored warnings of ice bergs in the vicinity, maintained a high speed, hit an iceberg because it couldn’t change course fast enough, and sank. Most passengers died, in large part because there weren’t enough lifeboats.
Director James Cameron offered his own answer this week, in Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron on National Geographic Channel, which I’ve transcribed here. Cameron, who has also released a 3-D version of his epic block-buster movie on the doomed ship, made the connection between what happened on the Titanic and our climate predicament:
Part of the Titanic parable is of arrogance, of hubris, of the sense that we’re too big to fail. Well, where have we heard that one before?
There was this big machine, this human system, that was pushing forward with so much momentum that it couldn’t turn, it couldn’t stop in time to avert a disaster. And that’s what we have right now.
Within that human system on board that ship, if you want to make it a microcosm of the world, you have different classes, you’ve got first class, second class, third class. In our world right now you’ve got developed nations, undeveloped nations.
You’ve got the starving millions who are going to be the ones most affected by the next iceberg that we hit, which is going to be climate change. We can see that iceberg ahead of us right now, but we can’t turn.
We can’t turn because of the momentum of the system, the political momentum, the business momentum. There too many people making money out of the system, the way the system works right now and those people frankly have their hands on the levers of power and aren’t ready to let ‘em go.
Until they do we will not be able to turn to miss that iceberg and we’re going to hit it, and when we hit it, the rich are still going to be able to get their access to food, to arable land, to water and so on. It’s going to be poor, it’s going to be the steerage that are going to be impacted. It’s the same with Titanic.
I think that’s why this story will always fascinate people. Because it’s a perfect little encapsulation of the world, and all social spectra, but until our lives are really put at risk, the moment of truth, we don’t know what we would do. And that’s my final word.
If we don’t act soon, the latest science suggests that few will escape the dire consequences, but certainly the poorest will suffer the most and the very rich will be able to insulate themselves, at least for a while (see “The Other 99% of Us Can?t Buy Our Way Out of the Impending Global Ponzi Scheme Collapse“).
For the record, as the WashPost points out, “First-class men, though collectively glorified for letting steerage women and children go first in the lifeboats, actually survived at a higher rate than the third-class children.”
Stephen Cox, a literature professor at UC San Diego, and author of The Titanic Story: Hard Choices, Dangerous Decisions, tells the WashPost, ?I don?t think a myth can develop unless you have a choice that could be very unfortunate or tragic.” In the case of the Titanic, lots of tragic choices were made, including the decision to steam ahead at high speed in the face of iceberg warnings serious enough to cause other ships, like the Californian, to stop completely that night.
The tragedy today is not merely that we are ignoring multiple, highly credible warnings of disaster if we stay on our current course. The tragedy is that the cost of action is so low, one tenth of a penny on the dollar, not counting co-benefits (see “Introduction to climate economics“) — while the cost of inaction is nearly incalculable, hundreds of trillions of dollars.
The International Energy Agency warned last November that on our current path, “rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change? – warming of an almost unthinkable 6°C [11°F] — whereas ?Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.?
Cameron is hardly the first person to compare our current predicament with the Titanic. In fact, three years ago Newsweek’s Evan Thomas used the metaphor, unintentionally offering one explanation for why the ?status quo? establishment media?s coverage of global warming is so fatefully inadquate.
Certainly media coverage of the problem and the solution has been poor (see ?The media?s decision to play the stenographer role helped opponents of climate action stifle progress? and here). But why?
In a March 2009 cover story, Thomas provided the answer ? the shocking, unstated truth about the media elite: They have ?a vested interest in keeping things pretty much the way they are.?
Assuming we don?t spend the mere 0.11% of GDP per year needed to avert catastrophe, future generations who are puzzled about our fatal myopia need look no further for explanation than Thomas?s full remarks. He begins with the amazing admission, ?If you are of the establishment persuasion (and I am),? and continues with words that should be emblazoned across journalism schools around the country and read out loud at every Ivy league college graduation:
By definition, establishments believe in propping up the existing order. Members of the ruling class have a vested interest in keeping things pretty much the way they are. Safeguarding the status quo, protecting traditional institutions, can be healthy and useful, stabilizing and reassuring. But sometimes, beneath the pleasant murmur and tinkle of cocktails, the old guard cannot hear the sound of ice cracking. The in crowd of any age can be deceived by self-confidence?.
Thomas was writing about the current economic crisis, but his words apply far better to the global Ponzi scheme. Indeed, his use of the Titanic metaphor could not more ironically apply to the catastrophic global warming that he and his establishment buddies are all but blind to:
? the old guard cannot hear the sound of ice cracking.
This might just be an epitaph for modern human civilization (see “JPL bombshell: Polar ice sheet mass loss is speeding up, on pace for 1 foot sea level rise by 2050” and Greenland Ice Sheet ?Could Undergo a Self-Amplifying Cycle of Melting and Warming ? Difficult to Halt,? Scientists Find). The latest science makes clear that unless we sharply change course very soon, we may be irreversibly headed toward an ice-free hothouse planet with a carrying capacity far below 9 billion people.
Finally, there’s one last amazing and relevant piece of the Titanic story that must be mentioned — the disaster was “predicted” 14 years in advance. I first heard about this back in college because one of my dorm mates was a huge Titanic buff. And I was reminded of it reading the New Yorker piece:
The Titanic took two hours and forty minutes to founder after hitting the berg?which is to say, about the time it takes for a big blockbuster to tell a story.
Tragic déjà vu, classic themes, perfect structure, flawless timing: if you?d made the Titanic up, it couldn?t get any better. But someone did make it up. Perhaps the most unsettling item in the immense inventory of Titanic trivia is a novel called ?Futility,? by an American writer named Morgan Robertson. It begins with a great ocean liner of innovative triple-screw design, ?the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men…. Unsinkable?indestructible.? Speeding along in dangerous conditions, the ship first hits something on its starboard side (?A slight jar shook the forward end?); later on, there is a terrifying cry of ?Ice ahead,? and the vessel collides with an iceberg and goes down.
As the title suggests, the themes of this work of fiction are the old ones: the vanity of human striving, divine punishment for overweening confidence in our technological achievement….
Robertson published his book in 1898, fourteen years before the Titanic sailed. If she continues to haunt our imagination, it?s because we were dreaming her long before the fresh spring afternoon when she turned her bows westward and, for the first time, headed toward the open sea.
Surprisingly, the New Yorker omits the full title of the 1898 book — Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan!!! Yes, the ship was named the Titan. And it had a shortage of lifeboats, and more than half the 2500 passengers died (compared to more than half of the Titanic’s 2200 passengers dying).
In the case of climate change, it’s not a fictional novel that is predicting what will happen, it is science. Full steam ahead.
Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman discussed his humorous new marriage equality ad with MSBNC’s Thomas Roberts this afternoon, noting, that a lot of these gay and lesbian people “also have children and those children are also being denied rights that are afforded normal marriages.” “It’s almost like they’re engaging in a war on love,” Offerman said of opponents of marriage equality. Watch it:
There is a huge racial divide among those who believe that Trayvon Martin was unjustly killed: 91 percent of African Americans do, as do 59 percent of Latinos. By contrast, only 35 percent of whites think that George Zimmerman was not justified in killing Martin. Reuters also reports that “in a sign of how riveted Americans have been by the case, 93 percent of those surveyed said they were aware of the shooting.”
The central piece of evidence in Mitt Romney’s charge that President Obama is waging a “war on women” is that “92 percent of the jobs lost under this president where lost by women,” as he said this week. The figure is highly misleading and has been debunked as “mostly false” by Politifact (twice), the Washington Post’s fact checker, the AP, and even the rabidly conservative Daily Caller.
As ThinkProgress noted, this charge may backfire on Romney as most of the jobs lost by women during the recession were in the public sector, where women are over-represented and Republicans across the country are seeking to make cuts.
Now, the Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann brings some more data from the Roosevelt Institute to flush this out. Sixty-four percent of the jobs lost by women in the recession came from the public sector, and over 70 percent of public sector losses came from Republican-controlled states pushing austerity budgets:
40.5 percent of all state and local government job losses occurred in places where Republicans won control of the legislature in 2010. … Meanwhile, another 31 percent of those government jobs vanished in Texas. … All other states combined accounted for just 28 percent of state and local layoffs.
Many of these Republican governors slashing their workforces are among Romney’s biggest supporters, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who has campaigned for Romney. Christie has cut tens of thousands of government jobs during his tenure and women make up 56 percent of the state workforce, and probably an even higher percentage of local government employees. So Christie’s layoffs likely disproportionately impacted women. Indeed, the percentage and number of women in state government has fallen under Christie.
And Romney himself supports austerity budgeting that slashes government jobs, praising Christie’s layoffs and vowing to slice government jobs if elected president. “We?ve got too many of them, and they?re paid too much,” he said of government employees last year.
It's always intriguing to look at the list of the most heavily-shorted stocks. Many investors like to see which companies are expected to tumble by various short-interest gauges. Owning these stocks long-term can give pause, and perhaps a reason to sell if short sellers' arguments appear to be on the mark. Other investors use the list of the most heavily-shorted stocks to find short candidates themselves. And that's a huge mistake. That's because the most-heavily shorted stocks are often the biggest gainers when major events come to pass.
We've seen this phenomenon again in recent days. On Tuesday morning, April 10, distressed grocery chain Supervalu (NYSE: SVU) weighed-in with quarterly results. They were pretty bad, but perhaps . . . → Read More: The ONE Thing that Could Ruin a Great Investment
Read The Full Article:
Thursday was the first operative day of the cease-fire in Syria. On that day, more than a dozen people were reported killed in fighting, and Syrian forces had not pulled back their tanks from the major cities, as per the agreement. So it's the kind of[...]
Read The Full Article:
The White House has come up with a fun widget that will be sure to infuriate you this tax weekend.
Fun with income inequality! Tell your senators to start fixing that, and pass the Buffett Rule.
Oklahoma State Sen. Ralph ShorteyOne has to wonder. Was it the wild turkey or Oklahoma State Sen. Ralph Shortey that was being threatened? Who had the right to "Stand your ground"? Was the turkey protecting its home turf? Or was this habitat invader merely defending himself against an unprovoked attack?
Whatever the case, the turkey lost out, according to the Republican legislator, who said he clubbed it to death. But if state law had been what Shortey thinks is sensible, he would have been able, without a permit, to openly carry a pistol and blow the turkey away. Next time, he said, the situation might be worse. At a committee hearing late last month on House Bill 2522, which would allow the open carrying of firearms without a permit:
"I was in oil and gas," Shortey said. "I was out on a lease at one time and I got attacked by a turkey. Wait until you get attacked by a turkey. You will know the fear that a turkey can invoke in a person. And so I beat it with a club. That was all I could do.The last confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Oklahoma was 1984 when Shortey was two years old.
"I wish that I had a gun with me," he said. "And I started carrying a gun in my truck after that without a license because I didn't want to get attacked by a mountain lion. Turkeys are bad enough."
Nonetheless, a senate committee has voted 7-2 to pass the open-carry law. Which, if it passes the legislature, would make Shortey's current outlawry legal.
Oklahomans with a permit have been able to carry concealed firearms since 1996. But a previous attempt at an open-carry law was vetoed in 2010. Besides Oklahoma, only five states do not allow for the open carrying of firearms. Twenty-nine have no restrictions on open carry, and 14 allow it but require permits. Shortey thinks he shouldn't have to have a permit or pay for one.
Sgt. Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the police department in Portland, Ore., said residents there are also allowed to carry a handgun openly, but that it's not something people tend to do.A spokesman for the Oklahoma presidential campaign of Ron Paul, Shortey isn't new to the realm of the bizarre. He introduced legislation to keep aborted human fetuses out of food. He also introduced Senate Bill 1569, which would require presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens.
"It can create 911 calls that maybe aren't necessary and take police resources to go check out somebody that is legally carrying," he said. "As a police agency we can't ignore somebody calling saying there's someone with a gun. We can't assume that they're legal."
He also introduced a law that would allow the victim of the unlawful act to decide how much force is necessary to stop the act at the time it occurs, not law enforcement who arrive on the scene later. His proposal was sparked when pharmacist Jerome Ersland was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting a robber armed with a knife in 2009. A videotape showed him shoot the robber in the head, then chase a second robber from the pharmacy. He returned, took another gun from a drawer and put five more bullets into the wounded robber as he lay on the floor. That is the sort of thing Shortey thinks should be legal in Oklahoma.
Proof, as if more were needed, that not all the turkeys are wild.
Dave in Northridge has a diary on the subject here.
Correction: There have been 11 sightings of mountain lions in Oklahoma since 2004.