March 29, 2012

My take on the Affordable Care Act

So now that the Affordable Care Act is being discussed by the Supreme Court, these videos from 2009 are relevant again.





March 28, 2012

Ben Manski lays it down

Greens didn't spoil a single federal race in 2010.
The Democrats lost because they are spineless, two-faced, corporate puppets, and even with a majority in both houses they get nothing done for the people, and the people realized that, and stayed home.

March 23, 2012

The Horatio Algers Lie

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Senate Bill to Ban Congressional Insider Trading Is Useful, But Timid

Statement of Craig Holman, Government Affairs Lobbyist, Public Citizen

One step forward was the name of the game today in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today followed the footsteps of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in both substance and procedure by forcing the Senate to approve a watered-down bill banning congressional insider trading without any chance for amendments to strengthen the measure. It is a victory of sorts – the legislation clearly applies the laws against insider trading to Congress for the first time, and provides a system of near real-time disclosure on stock trading by Congress to help enforce the law.

But it is also a missed opportunity for more sweeping ethics reforms.

Prompted by the leadership of Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate more than a month ago approved by a 96-3 vote a strong “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge” (STOCK) Act that would have banned congressional insider trading, required political intelligence operatives who prowl the halls of Congress for information to use in stock trading to disclose their clients and activities, and provided the means to enforce ethics laws in the courts.

Wall Street rallied to block the political-intel provision and found a friend in Cantor, a leading beneficiary of its campaign largesse. In a brazen parliamentary maneuver, Cantor pulled the strong STOCK Act, stripped it of the political intelligence and anti-corruption enforcement provisions and brought his substitute measure to the floor under rules prohibiting any amendments. The watered-down House bill was sent back to Reid, who today did much the same thing in the Senate chamber.

Make no mistake: the legislation is a big step forward. But Congress had a chance to do something grander.

Reps. Timothy Walz (D-Minn.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) already have introduced separate legislation to enact the political intelligence and anti-corruption enforcement provisions, and similar legislation is expected to be introduced in the Senate with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) joining Grassley and Leahy. Public Citizen dearly looks forward to helping these members press in the near future for what should have been law today.

March 20, 2012

Local Government Drops Lawsuit Against Occupy Chattanooga

County Voluntarily Withdraws Suit After Public Citizen Moved To Dismiss

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Hamilton County government this week has voluntarily dismissed its own lawsuit against Occupy Chattanooga and nine individuals. Public Citizen and Chattanooga attorney David C. Veazey represented the defendants.

The lawsuit sought both a declaratory judgment about the validity of a county anti-demonstration ordinance and an award of court costs against Occupy Chattanooga and the individuals. The defendants had moved to dismiss the case, arguing that a local government cannot sue its citizens to get a court ruling that its own law is constitutional and then force the individuals to pay the county’s litigation costs.

“We are pleased that the county has abandoned its attempt to impose a monetary penalty on a group of innocent people for their political activity,” said Scott Michelman, the Public Citizen attorney working on the case. “Allowing this case to proceed would have set a dangerous precedent for local governments that would use the threat of court costs to chill political speech.”

Although Occupy movements in various cities have initiated court battles over the extent of their rights, this lawsuit appears to be the first of its kind against Occupy demonstrators. The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in September, has brought the issues of income inequality and excessive corporate power to the forefront of the national political conversation and has inspired demonstrations in cities across the U.S. and around the world.

In solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, a group of demonstrators organized Occupy Chattanooga in the fall and have gathered, and at times remained overnight, on the grounds of the Hamilton County Courthouse. On Jan. 4, the Hamilton County Commission enacted an ordinance restricting expressive activities like those of the Occupy demonstrators, and on Jan. 10, the county filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration that its ordinance is valid. On behalf of the defendants, Public Citizen and Veazey moved on Jan. 30 to dismiss the case. That motion was pending before the court when the county voluntarily dismissed the suit yesterday.

“The county has correctly recognized that it should not pick a fight with individuals trying to express their views peacefully,” Veazey said. “Occupy Chattanooga can express its message in a manner that poses no risk to public safety or the operations of the government.”

The case, Hamilton County v. Alexander, was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. A copy of defendants’ motion to dismiss is available at

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

March 18, 2012

March 17th - ReOccupy: Raw Footage

At 4 minute mark. NYPD are violent and predictable animals, but we'll continue to feed them bodies.

h/t to TimesUp's Brennan Cavanaugh

March 17th - ReOccupy

My friend Becky was there in NYC for Day One, back on Sept 17th. She's been bouncing back and forth between here and NYC ever since, though nowadays she's spending much more time in NYC than here.

She was there at the park last night, and I haven't heard from her since she sent me a text message saying:

"Zuccotti Park is ReOccupied!"

I think she may have been one of the score of occupiers arrested last night.

I hope that she is safe, and I hope to talk with her about her experience soon.

UPDATE: From Becky:

Jail Support for 7 hours last night- got back to the park just in time to see more of my friends (occufamily) brutally arrested. over 65 arrests- 5 hospitalized. I almost got hit with a barricade while trying to pick up my backpack. I'll be [...] doing jail support for the next 24 to 48 hours. Spring has Sprung! (Also the earlier half of the day was wonderful!)

3 POVS of Police Brutality at the Reoccupation of Liberty Park


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March 16, 2012

How Many Hours do YOU need to work to afford rent?

The number of hours you need to work at Minimum Wage, just to afford Rent at a Fair Market Rate.

By the way: May First. Call in Sick. Get out in the Streets.

The Whole Fucking Thing is Coming Down.

March 7, 2012

America: We Love To Hate Women

Running for Office- Episode 3: Cutting Turf & Stupid Ballot Access Laws

Dennis Trainor Jr on RT talking the Occupy SuperPAC, MRG

From the very beginning, one of the defining characteristics of the Occupy movement has been that there is no hierarchy, no clear leaders; occupiers consider their structure to be a horizontal one. Now a 501c3 called the Movement Resource Group has raised about $300,000, the bulk coming from the foundation of Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's. But does this very organization in and of itself go against what Occupy is trying to do? Dennis Trainor Jr. host of Acronym TV weighs in.

March 5, 2012

Outsourcing? What about INsourcing? aka Prison Labor

"Going to China isn't cheap enough now, so they're sending our jobs to the prison system."

In 2005, 14 million lbs of beef was contaminated with rat feces. A recall was not allowed by the USDA, because it would draw too much attention to prison labor.

So here's the deal: ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is a group of corporations that write bills. Then they send them out to corrupt legislators and political leaders around the USA.

One of the things that this group of corporations has been working on is creating a prison labor force.

Some jobs are leaving the country. Others are staying in the country, but being sourced to Prisons. 1 in 100 Americans are in prison right now. We have the highest prison population in the world. Most prisoners are in for nonviolent drug-related offenses.

I'm pretty sure this is the textbook definition of fascism?

NYPD roughs up Food Bank of America at #OWS

Protesters throw a party outside a bank where they give away food for free.

The Police show up and tear down the tents, throw all the food into the street.

The Police ride away, the protesters arrested, the food despoiled in the street gutter.

That's capitalism for you.

A friend of mine commented sarcastically (it's hard to tell these days):
Damn hippies. Lookin for a handout. Why don't they just get one of those millions of jobs we have that pay just enough to over-qualify them for state assistance, but not enough to pay rent and feed themselves? Bunch of freeloaders. I wish the Almighty White Jesus Christ would come back right now and send all these heathens to the abyss.

Jesse La Greca: "We are moving away from a free society" (Trespass Bill HR 347)

The Occupy Wall Street movement has started a new chapter and is now starting to occupy major corporations. Their message is quite simple; they want money and corporations out of politics in hopes to get the power back to the people of America. According to some reports, more than 60 protests were planned all over the US and in NYC several protesters were arrested. Jesse LaGreca, activist and writer for Daily Kos, joins us to see what the focus was for Wednesday's protests.

Goodbye, First Amendment: 'Trespass Bill' will make protest illegal.

Congress Passes Bill Severely Curtailing First Amendment Liberties.