Obama’s Agenda-Pushers Having Trouble Finding Amnesty Supporters

Organizing for action, a nonprofit set up to push President Barack Obama’s agenda, has put forth considerable effort in organizing rallies aimed at convincing lawmakers to get on board with amnesty-heavy immigration reform initiatives. Despite its massive 13 million-member email list, however, the organization seems to be having a tough time rallying supporters for amnesty.

From Huffington Post:

Organizing for Action, the nonprofit policy advocacy arm formed to push President Barack Obama’s agenda, gathered only eight people to rally outside of the Merillville office of Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) on Monday to push the congressman to support reform. The congressman was not actually in his office at the time. …

…OFA members in southeast Tennessee made a slightly better showing, with 20 people coming out to rally in celebration of the Senate passing an immigration bill. And OFA organized 25 people to rally outside House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) West Chester Township office Monday.

A speech by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) drew hundreds to a rally in support of immigration reform in Las Vegas on Monday.

After the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill on June 27 by a margin of 68-32, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated that the House would apply some breaks to process. Rather than up the Senate bill, Boehner pledged to pass a House measure. Boehner also said that he will invoke the Hastert Rule, which requires the majority of the majority to support a bill before it comes up for a vote in the House.

House lawmakers are set to take up the immigration debate in coming weeks. Republicans in the lower chamber insisted Sunday that they plan to change key elements of the Senate-passed immigration bill.

Lawmaker Wants To Define ‘Reporter’ In A Bid To Control Information

America’s oldest incarnation of journalism had nothing to do with major news networks and iconic ink wretches like Bob Woodruff and William Randolph Hearst. In the years leading up to the Constitutional guarantee of press freedom, it was all about pamphlets and soapboxes.

That free flow of information, not always accurate but readily available, likely had a great deal to do with the Revolutionary spirit that engulfed much of the countryside leading up to the Nation’s war for independence. Over the decades, however, news became business. And sprawling populations, economic hurdles and busy schedules made it possible for only those with the best means of production to hold a monopoly over mass information.

The Internet has changed that. Now, every American with a connection to the World Wide Web has the opportunity to act, for better or worse, in the capacity of a one-man news team.

Unfortunately, the Nation’s ruling class has taken note of the Information Age. And they are hell-bent on creating restrictions that would pick and choose who is and who is not afforded journalist protections pursuant to the 1st Amendment.

In a recent Chicago Sun-Times contribution, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), makes the case for restrictions on who can consider him or herself a journalist:

…Everyone, regardless of the mode of expression, has a constitutionally protected right to free speech. But when it comes to freedom of the press, I believe we must define a journalist and the constitutional and statutory protections those journalists should receive.

The media informs the public and holds government accountable. Journalists should have reasonable legal protections to do their important work. But not every blogger, tweeter or Facebook user is a “journalist.” While social media allows tens of millions of people to share information publicly, it does not entitle them to special legal protections to ignore requests for documents or information from grand juries, judges or other law enforcement personnel.

A journalist gathers information for a media outlet that disseminates the information through a broadly defined “medium” — including newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, magazine, news website, television, radio or motion picture — for public use. This broad definition covers every form of legitimate journalism.

To those who feel politicians shouldn’t define who a journalist is, I’d remind them that they likely live in one of the 49 states, like Illinois, where elected officials have already made that decision.

The leaks of classified information about the NSA’s surveillance operations and an ongoing Justice Department investigation into who disclosed secret documents to the Associated Press have brought this issue back to the forefront and raised important questions about the freedom of speech, freedom of the press and how our nation defines journalism.

It’s long past time for Congress to create a federal law that defines and protects journalists.

Like so many other things that fall out of politicians’ mouths, the words “It’s long past time for Congress to create a Federal law that defines and protects journalists” may sound pretty good at first. But, they also smell of a certain kind of Congressional funk. So here are a few relevant questions:

  • Is Durbin of the mind that Congress should work to protect only “legitimate news media” (i.e., the mainstream media, which acts as a government public relations asset)?
  • Does Durbin believe that conservative blogs have journalistic value?
  • Does a freelance reporter who uses Twitter as a medium of mass communication qualify as a journalist?
  • Could this be used as a means by which to clamp down on the free speech of average people with information to share?

The respective answers to the aforementioned queries are likely: “yes,” “no,” “no” and “yes.”

Per Durbin: “A journalist gathers information for a media outlet that disseminates the information through a broadly defined ‘medium’ — including newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, magazine, news website, television, radio or motion picture — for public use. This broad definition covers every form of legitimate journalism.”

If the Senator’s goal is a return to the monopoly age that major newspapers and television networks enjoyed prior to the proliferation of mom and pop information peddlers on the Internet, he’s making the right argument. But to support his effort, you have to believe you are too stupid to decide what is and isn’t reliable information.

If you have already accepted that, get off the computer and click back over to FOX. Hurry, you may still have time to catch some of Gretchen Carlson’s thigh.

ABC Agents Attack Woman For Buying Water, Charge Her For Their Mistake

Imagine for a moment that you’re leaving a local convenience store with an armful of midnight snacks when, just as you get into your vehicle, seven people approach you, drawing guns and jumping on the automobile. What would you do?

Well, it happened to 20-year-old University of Virginia student Elizabeth Day. And she did what any reasonable law-abiding citizen would: She attempted to get the hell out of Dodge.

Unfortunately for Day, the goons who attacked her and her two roommates at the Barracks Road Shopping Center in Charlottesville, Va., were agents of the State’s Alcoholic Beverage Control board. The agents saw Day leaving the store with a case of La Croix sparkling water and promptly assumed that the just-underage student was making off with a case of beer.

Naturally, the agents did what any well-trained and self-composed group of law enforcement professionals would: They moved in on the young women in the same way they might go after a crack-addled lunatic wielding a Molotov cocktail.

Of course, Day, who had just spent the night at a sexual assault-awareness seminar on campus didn’t realize she was being assaulted by officers of the law, she just saw a group of men and one woman in street clothes attempting to grab her. So she tried to flee, clipping a couple of the creeps with her car in the process.

From The Daily Progress:

A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents clad in plainclothes approached her, suspecting the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. Police say one of the agents jumped on the hood of her car. She says one drew a gun. Unsure of who they were, Daly tried to flee the darkened parking lot.

“They were showing unidentifiable badges after they approached us, but we became frightened, as they were not in anything close to a uniform,” she recalled Thursday in a written account of the April 11 incident.

“I couldn’t put my windows down unless I started my car, and when I started my car they began yelling to not move the car, not to start the car. They began trying to break the windows. My roommates and I were … terrified,” Daly stated.

Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman read Daly’s account and said it was factually consistent.

Prosecutors say she apologized profusely when she realized who the agents were. But that wasn’t good enough for ABC agents, who charged her with three felonies. Prosecutors withdrew those charges Thursday in Charlottesville General District Court, but Daly still can’t understand why she sat in jail.

The ABC agents, who royally screwed up, charged Day with two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and one count of eluding police, all Class 6 felonies carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $2,500 in fines per offense. Prosecutors later dropped the charges.

But the incident brings up a sobering point. It doesn’t matter if the police are right or wrong, misinformed, incompetent or blinded by adrenaline; they can shoot you, jail you, spray you, zap you or beat you.

Who’s watching the watchers?

Monday Afternoon Laugh: HuffPo Contributor Calls For Sex Strike Until Texas Pols Liberate Abortion

Is there any better way to marginalize women’s role in society than asserting that the only power they have to enact change is in their pants?

Untitled

“A sex strike, sometimes called a sex boycott, is a strike, a method of non-violent resistance in which one or multiple persons refrain from sex with their partner(s) to achieve certain goals. It is a form of temporary sexual abstinence. Sex strikes have been used to protest many issues, from water resources to employment equity.” (Wikipedia)

In Kenya, when violence broke out after political elections a few years back, the women in Kenya stopped having sex with the men until the violence ended. Guess what? The men quit fighting one another. We’ve all been there, attracted to that man who does not mean well for us. We sure would not want our daughters dating or married to these kinds of guys who think they should decide what is best for women. How perfectly patriarchal, these Texas men trying to not hear what women want have shown themselves to be, but how incredibly out of touch with today’s reality. Women of Texas, it’s going to be a long hot summer — make sure the men who do not deeply respect and support women feel it.

As a native Texan, and someone who has survived 100-plus-degree temperatures for many summers, I can tell you, this summer in Texas is surely going to be hotter than usual. Sultry, sweaty summers can be made much nicer when good old-fashioned sex is part of the picture. But women, take heed: Don’t give in if your man, boyfriend, husband, toyboy is not voting for your best interests, your reproductive health — do not sleep with that man! I don’t care how cute or charming he is! I don’t care if he is your husband of many years. Resist! Go swimming! Meditate!

Do not make him dinner, do not go fetch him a cold beer from the fridge, do not iron that shirt, hell, do not change that diaper… do not make his life a little nicer this summer if he does not “get it” and learn to respect women! Instead, volunteer some time for senators like Wendy Davis, go with a group of women to Austin and make your voices heard. Get on the computer and the social networks and organize.

Remember that you live in a state where it would not be unusual (and I have seen it) to see a bumper sticker on a pickup truck which reads, “My Wife Yes, My Dog Maybe, My Gun Never.” Remember what happened last time when a Texas good ole boy governor took that patriarchy all the way to become President of the United States. Stop the damage now and take back Texas.

This may sound a bit extreme and some will say sex should not be used as a “weapon” but let’s get real, this is Texas, and men in Texas who have not woken up and smelled the coffee simply do not deserve any loving. Houston has more strip clubs than libraries. You can buy a gun easier than you can get reproductive health care. There is still a virgin and whore fundamentalist mentality which is more dangerous to women as it often is also promoted by the women themselves. These women, like women who hurt other women everywhere by criticizing and judging them, need to wake up as well. Women hurting other women is suicidal. Women who play into the hand of patriarchy need to be shown the way out of that prison. Wendy Davis and Leticia Van De Putte and others are leading the way.

The real problem will actually be with those men who could care less because deep down they don’t really like women. I don’t mean not like them sexually, I mean they really do not respect nor listen to women. There is a breed of Texas male who simply does not hear women. Women’s voices remind them of terrorists.

** Emphasis added in bold.

If you feel compelled, read more here.

 

 

Sticking It To The Man: Gun Maker Gives Away Free 30 Round Mags Ahead Of Colorado Ban

Before a number of highly restrictive gun laws take effect in Colorado, gun rights advocates in the State organized a Farewell to Arms festival last weekend in protest of the measures.

A crowd of nearly 5,000 people gathered at the town of Glendale’s Infinity Park on Saturday afternoon in a last-minute protest against a new Colorado law banning the sale of magazines of more than 15 rounds.

“You are in the Vatican of liberty, the Luxembourg of freedom,” Glendale Mayor Mike Dunfon told the crowd at the beginning of the rally, according the Denver Post.

One of the highlights of the event was a giveaway of 30-round magazines courtesy of Magpul  Industries, a Colorado based firearm company that will be leaving the State because of the new laws.

From the Denver Post:

Hours before the event began, people formed a line over a half- mile long outside the park. The first 1,500 who were at least 18 years old were handed tickets they could redeem for a free 30-round magazine, courtesy of Magpul Industries.

Magpul donated a total of 20,000 magazines for the event, which featured live music, speakers and food. All the free magazines arrived, with great fanfare, via helicopter. The rest were sold at a discounted price of $10, with all of the proceeds going to the group’s recall efforts against state Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron, both Democrats.

Magpul isn’t the only gun-related company sending a message to lawmakers who are less than friendly to the 2nd Amendment. Beretta USA announced last week that they will not expand operations into West Virginia, despite aggressive lobbying from State officials, because they say Senator Joe Manchin’s push to expand background checks makes the State less stable for their business.

Russian Officials, FEMA Could Begin Working More Closely

Last week, officials with the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry and some top dogs with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency got together to make plans to “exchange experts.” Now, Russian assets could possibly start showing up to provide and observe “security at mass events” in the U.S.

Via EMERCOM of Russia:

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry and the USA Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are going to exchange experts during joint rescue operations in major disasters. This is provided by a protocol of the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Group on Emergency Situations and seventeenth meeting of Joint U.S.-Russia Cooperation Committee on Emergency Situations, which took place in Washington on 25 June.

The document provides for expert cooperation in disaster response operations and to study the latest practices.

In addition, the parties approved of U.S.-Russian cooperation in this field in 2013-2014, which envisages exchange of experience including in monitoring and forecasting emergency situations, training of rescuers, development of mine-rescuing and provision of security at mass events.

At the end of the meeting the parties expressed their satisfaction with the level of cooperation between the Russian Federation and the United States in the area of emergency prevention and response and agreed to develop it in order to respond efficiently to all kinds of disasters.

American Tax Dollars Used To Buy Russian Helicopters For Afghans… Who Aren’t Trained To Fly Them

America’s military-industrial complex has benefitted handsomely from the Nation’s ongoing Mideast meddling and, according to the claims of a watchdog, continues to do so — especially when the government is throwing money at projects that undermine its goals and have no beneficial impact on stability in the region.

The Pentagon currently has a $554 million contract to purchase Russian helicopters for the Afghan military. Here’s the kicker: The money used to purchase the choppers could be used by the Russian government to aid the Syrian regime in its ongoing battle against rebels, and the Afghans set to take possession of the aircraft don’t have the skills to fly or maintain them.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has urged the Pentagon to postpone the contract, which provides for $554 million worth of helicopters and $218 million for fixed-wing aircraft purchases for the Afghan government.

Even before reports that the Afghans lacked the know-how to use and care for the aircraft, lawmakers rejected the idea of purchasing helicopters from the Russian arms company Rosoboronexport.

Funding for the purchase was denied by lawmakers in the 2013 National Defense Authorization bill, but the Pentagon diverted leftover funds from its 2012 budget to move forward with the deal.

“American taxpayers should not be indirectly subsidizing the murder of Syrians,” Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) lamented when the purchase was made public.

According to the inspector general report, the Afghan Special Mission Wing, which will control the aircraft, lacks both the personnel and expertise it needs to use them effectively at this time.

The report warns that “U.S.-funded SMW aircraft could be left sitting on runways in Afghanistan, rather than supporting critical missions, resulting in waste of U.S. funds.”

The Pentagon, however, has opted to go through with the plan, stating simply that stopping the contracts “would not be in our national interest.”

FBI Sued Over Facial Recognition, Biometric Database On Americans

The recent revelations about the National Security Agency’s policy of collecting American communications data in bulk has citizens throughout the Nation on high alert for all things related to government spying. A developing story about the FBI’s effort to compile an improved biometrics database provides a good example of why privacy advocates are justified in their concerns.

Last year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation submitted three separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the FBI seeking information on the agency’s plans to build a “bigger, faster and better” biometrics database that would incorporate facial and voice recognition technology along with other biometric identifiers.

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Credit: Sam Rolley

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometrics database would replace and expand upon the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) and is expected to start integrating facial recognition components as early as next year.

Despite quickening progress on the project, the FBI has failed to provide up-to-date information about its plans and hasn’t responded to the EFF’s FOIA requests. Last week, EFF filed a lawsuit against the FBI in a bid to compel agency officials to release the requested information.

Read the full complaint below:

“NGI will result in a massive expansion of government data collection for both criminal and noncriminal purposes,” says EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch, who has testified before the U.S. Senate on the privacy implications of facial recognition. “Biometrics programs present critical threats to civil liberties and privacy. Face-recognition technology is among the most alarming new developments, because Americans cannot easily take precautions against the covert, remote, and mass capture of their images.”

In its FOIA filings, EFF sought information pertaining to “agreements and discussions between the FBI and various state agencies regarding the face-recognition program; records addressing the reliability of face-recognition technology; and documentation of the FBI’s plan to merge civilian and criminal records in a single repository.”

Lynch asserts what many Americans caught off-guard by news of vast government spying likely believe: that the government should be transparent in forthcoming efforts to collect information about Americans.

“Before the federal government decides to expand its surveillance powers, there needs to be a public debate,” Lynch says. “But there can be no public debate until the details of the program are presented to the public.”

If you are super worried about government facial recognition technology, you could always get some of these dorky glasses designed by Japan’s National Institute of Informatics to thwart facial recognition cameras.

dorky

MSNBC Lauds ‘Articulate’ Use Of ‘Black English’ By Inaudible, Mumbling Witness In Zimmerman Trial

MSNBC’s expert John McWhorter, a Columbia University linguist, explains that a star witness for the prosecution in the George Zimmerman trial, Rachel Jeantel,  was abused by defense attorneys who simply didn’t understand her dialect.

McWhorter explained: “It’s been a little scary. Sometimes it’s like she’s speaking Hungarian, and he’s speaking Cantonese. She’s been articulate, just in a different kind of English than mainstream English, she’s speaking Black English. Everything she says, where you can see the Twittersphere, or people I know thinking she’s making a grammatical mistake. If a Martian came down and the Martian happened to be in South-Central rather than in Grand Rapids, the Martian would have as hard a time figuring out how this dialect worked as any other. She said in the clip that ‘I had told you.’ Many people are thinking, ‘why is she using that?’ That’s Black English.”

 

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So, does that mean U.S. courts should begin providing interpreters in cases where Black English speakers and people who speak garden variety English are in mixed company? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

‘What Country Is This!?’: DUI Suspects Strapped Down To Have Blood Drawn By Force

Many States have had longstanding policies that allow police to obtain a warrant to forcibly draw the blood of people suspected of drunk driving if they refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test.

While many Americans likely support efforts to convict drunk drivers, a recent report from Fox 5 Atlanta illustrates just how intrusive the policies are.

Here is the Fox 5 report.

And here is footage of a similar incident in Gillette, Wyoming on May 22, 2012 when police drew blood from a DUI suspect after getting a warrant.

In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that procedures like the one highlighted in the videos above hold up to Constitutional muster.

H/T: Infowars