Sunday, October 31, 2010

Study: Alcohol more lethal than heroin, cocaine

Sun Oct 31, 3:06 PM
By Maria Cheng, The Associated Press

LONDON - Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study.

British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.

Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.

Heroin, crack cocaine and metamfetamines, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.

The study was paid for by Britain's Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and was published online Monday in the medical journal, Lancet.

Experts said alcohol scored so high because it is so widely used and has devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them.

Yes, Of Course They're Brownshirts. What The Hell Did You Expect?

October 31, 2010 - 11:08am

You know, I hate like hell using the tired old Nazi analogy.

For one thing, everybody does it, and everybody does it all the time. It hasn't exactly earned an A for originality in about a half century now.

For another thing, not only does everybody do it, but now complete idiots who couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel are doing it too, and of course they're too dumb to even use the term properly. You can't foam at the mouth about what a freaking socialist Barack Obama is and then call him a Nazi at the same time. Unless, of course, you happen not to mind looking like a moron. Which, of course, all too many Americans don't anymore. But here's a hint to all y'all in the ganglion-cyst-where-there's-supposed-to-be-an-actual-brain crowd: Nazis hate socialists. Indeed, they murder them, along with Jews and Gypsies and homosexuals. Get it?

And then there's a third reason to avoid the Nazi analogy, namely that because everyone else is doing it, the term has now been diluted to the point of lacking all impact or meaning anymore. If everyone's a Nazi, no one is.
All good reasons not to use the term.

But, that said, there are also three good reasons to do just that.

GOP plans attacks on the EPA and climate scientists

The Republi-Nazis represent  strange cults of dispensationalists and Armageddon wishing Rapture Bunnies  that want to bring on the end of the world by any means necessary thereby hastening the return of magic Jesus and the thousand year Taliban Christian Reich.

These people are dangerous on so many levels. Ignorant of science, hateful towards ecology and bigoted beyond all belief toward anyone who isn't part of their cults.

By Neela Banerjee
October 30, 2010

Reporting from Washington —
If the GOP wins control of the House next week, senior congressional Republicans plan to launch a blistering attack on the Obama administration's environmental policies, as well as on scientists who link air pollution to climate change.

The GOP's fire will be concentrated especially on the administration's efforts to use the Environmental Protection Agency's authority over air pollution to tighten emissions controls on coal, oil and other carbon fuels that scientists say contribute to global warming.

The attack, according to senior Republicans, will seek to portray the EPA as abusing its authority and damaging the economy with needless government regulations.

In addition, GOP leaders say, they will focus on what they see as distortions of scientific evidence regarding climate change and on Obama administration efforts to achieve by executive rule-making what it failed to win from Congress.

Former Mexican president on California marijuana legalization: ‘May God let it pass’

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, October 29th, 2010 -- 2:03 pm

In California's battle to legalize marijuana, former Mexican President Vicente Fox has picked a side, announcing in a recent radio interview that he favors Prop. 19. 

"How great it would be for California to set this example," he said, speaking to the W radio network on Wednesday. "May God let it pass. The other U.S. states will have to follow step."

The quote was first snagged stateside by McClatchy Newspapers.

The former president also criticized his successor's violent campaign against the drug cartels, suggesting that the country's path has been ultimately destructive.

"Violence never resolves violence," he said.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

UN deal struck to 'save ecosystems'

Almost 200 countries sign up to key targets on pollution, forest and reef protection, and creating conservation areas.
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2010 04:37 GMT

The world's most threatened species are to benefit from a UN plan to protect world's forests, coral reefs and other fragile ecosystems.

A summit of rich and poor nations in Japan agreed on Saturday to take "effective and urgent" action to curb the destruction of the biodiversity upon which human survival depends.

Delegates from 193 countries agreed to key targets on pollution, forest and reef protection and the creation of conservation areas.

"This is a day to celebrate," Achim Steiner, the UN environment programme chief, said after the accord was struck following almost two weeks of negotiations in the Japanese city of Nagoya.

Clear targets

Anshuman Saikia, the regional spokesman for the International Union for Conservation of Nature based in New Delhi, told Al Jazeera this was the first such success in terms of the convention on biodiversity.

"There are clear targets, clear mechanisms of trying to reduce or even reverse the loss of biodiversity.

"What is different in terms of this treaty is that it has adopted a strategic plan as opposed to just a target and a series of indicators related to the target."

Why should politics be polite?

I've been bothered by the Rally this weekend for a number of reasons.  I like Stewart and Colbert.  But they are satirists on The Comedy Channel and like the Fox Network comedian Beck's rally this to feels like a performance piece with people spending time and effort on Spectacle as diversion rather than working toward something with meaningful political content that might actually improve their lives.

As for the liberal politeness.  That is reason enough for me to take the Phil Ochs position regarding liberals.

I'm not a liberal.  I'm a radical.  When some one calls me a name or hits me I don't whimper off and pout about them calling me a name.  I hurl an insult right back.  If someone hits me I hit them back.

I don't believe in god and Jesus is a common Latino name as far as I am concerned.  Gandhi's game owes as much to the Nazis and Japanese destruction of the British military and Britain's ability to rule an Empire as it does to some sort of moral imperative.

Dr Martin Luther King's non-violence wouldn't have made half the civil rights gains had there not been the huge riots scaring people into passing civil rights legislation.

Scott McLemee
October 28, 2010

TO RESIDE in Washington, D.C., means occupying a front-row seat on life's rich pageant.

We get regular visits from the Tea Partiers, with their outrage, their guns and their imaginatively spelled signs. Earlier this month, amidst the many thousands of people attending the One Nation rally, a few hundred people in the Socialist Contingent marched with signs demanding higher taxes for the rich and an end to the wars. (Full disclosure: I was part of this, and joined in chanting, "We're gonna make Glenn Beck cry!") And each year, shortly before Halloween, the drag queens turn out in force to strut their stuff on 17th Street--as if to show that Monica Lewinsky is alive and well, albeit with a hint of stubble.

The Klan comes to town every so often. Then the police get a lot of overtime. Other than that, these gatherings tend to be peaceable enough. And so one would expect with this coming weekend's gathering, convened by Comedy Central's faux news anchors Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert--particularly since it's being promoted as a rally for the militantly moderate.

Blaming the left and the right equally for the shabby state of American political discourse, its goal is, in the words of Stewart, to "take it down a notch for America." The default response a longtime DCer will be, if anything, even more non-ideological: "Thank you for your tourism dollars. Now please go home."

But while bracing for the influx of visitors (this is a city, after all, where the mass transit system occasionally doesn't break down), I've been trying to think about the strangeness of this event. It is not so much a political protest as a parody of a political protest. Yet it will nonetheless serve partisan ends. The Democratic slogan for this election season might as well have been, "Don't blame us, we've never actually done anything!" which has not exactly galvanized the youth vote.

The Democrats are, of course, a predominantly centrist party (delirious fantasies about Obama as follower of Franz Fanon notwithstanding). So it's not hard to tell which electoral base will be mobilized by the opportunity to consume well-produced comic infotainment in the nation's capitol.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Catholic schools cannot refuse to hire gay teachers, says Brussels

28.10.2010 @ 19:52 CET

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission has said that Roman Catholic schools in Poland or elsewhere in the EU cannot refuse to employ gay teachers.

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said on Wednesday (26 October) in a written statement that EU law on non-discrimination in the workplace allows religious outfits "to take a person's religion or belief into account, where necessary, when recruiting personnel and to require their personnel to show loyalty to that ethos."

But she added: "While it is difficult to make a statement about a hypothetical case, the commission fails to see how a teacher's sexual orientation could reasonably constitute a genuine and determining occupational requirement."

The remarks come in response to formal questions by two MEPs, British centre-left deputy Michael Cashman and Spanish Green member Raul Romeva i Rueda.

The questions arose after a Polish junior minister in charge of equality, Elzbieta Radziszewska, said in an interview in Catholic daily Gosc Niedzielny in September that Catholic schools can exclude openly gay teachers and that the EU's 10-year-old anti-discrimination directive gives them a special exemption to do so.

Continue reading at:

Lawyer at Center of Robo-Signing Scandal Sees ‘More of the Same’ From Banks

by Marian Wang
ProPublica, Oct. 28, 2010, 12:21 p.m

Despite banks’ assurances that they’re fixing foreclosure documentation problems and that the crisis may amount to a “blip in the housing market [1],” the lawyer who helped spark the foreclosure furor [2] said that the banks’ solutions to the problem have so far been inadequate and don’t address the underlying structural deficiencies that plague the foreclosure process.

Banks have defined the problems as procedural errors that “can be fixed in the near term [3]” and did not lead “to foreclosures which should not have otherwise occurred [4].”

But Thomas Cox—whose deposition [5] of GMAC robo-signer [6] Jeffrey Stephan brought fresh scrutiny on the foreclosure process—told me that in Maine, where GMAC has resumed foreclosure sales, the fixed and re-filed documents he’s seeing are “more of the same, cheap stuff.”

“There’s a structural mess in their departments that they’re not fixing,” Cox told me. “[Banks] refuse to organize their servicing departments in a way that would produce accurate results. There’s a foreclosure department that doesn’t talk to the department handling modifications.”

The war on WikiLeaks

Nicole Colson reports on new revelations about the U.S. war machine in Iraq--and the attempt by politicians and the media to deflect attention from the real crimes.
October 28, 2010
TORTURE, BRUTALITY and civilian deaths. That is the legacy of the U.S. war on Iraq, according to nearly 400,000 secret U.S. military field reports recently released by muckracking Web site WikiLeaks.

But once again, U.S. political leaders and establishment media outlets are trying to shoot the messenger. Not only have the media tried to spin the reports to make the U.S. look better, but politicians are denouncing WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange for publishing the material.

The same people who cheered on these wars in the first place--from government officials who jumped on the Bush administration bandwagon to invade, to a mainstream media that mindlessly parroted the case for war--are now trying to downplay what WikiLeaks has revealed, while smearing Assange for good measure.

Attack-Ad Spending Floods Pro-Choice Candidates

The Taliban Christians and their terrorist cohorts are stepping up their attacks on Women's rights to reproductive choice.

By Sharon Johnson
WeNews senior correspondent
Friday, October 29, 2010

Pro-choice Sen. Boxer's re-election campaign in California has been hit by $4 million in attack ads in the past two months, making her race appear one of the most affected by the Supreme Court's January decision to lift campaign financing restrictions.

(WOMENSENEWS)--The Supreme Court's January decision on campaign financing has helped make this the most expensive midterm election in history, with $3 billion spent, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that tracks election spending. 

Since corporations, unions and individuals now enjoy a First Amendment right to anonymous and unlimited campaign financing, it's hard to know who's spending what money on which races.

But the nail-biting race in California between Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is trying to defend her seat against Republican challenger Carly Fiorina, the billionaire anti-choice former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is attracting some of the biggest money.

From Sept. 1 through Oct. 10, business groups and conservative organizations spent more than $4 million on round-the-clock TV ads and mailings attacking Boxer's support on everything from the federal stimulus program to environmental restrictions on oil companies.

Why the Politicians with the Most Dangerous, Wrong Ideas Are Probably Going to Win the Congress

Shaken by an assault on their assumptions, many Americans become more adamant in defense of discredited ideology.

October 28, 2010 |
Redistributionist -- as epithets go, the moniker is so mild, so...2008. Today, we're hammered by screeds against Democrats' alleged socialism and President Obama's supposed Marxism. The class war is clearly on -- the paranoids and royalists of the world have united, seizing the means of propaganda production in these waning days of this year's election campaign.

The onslaught, of course, is predictable. After all, this is an election season -- which inevitably evokes redbaiting crusades by the plutocrats. Less predictable is this crusade's traction. As Wall Street executives make bank off bailouts, as millions of Americans see paychecks slashed and as our economic Darwinism sends more wealth up the income ladder -- it's surprising that appeals to capitalist piggery carry more electoral agency than ever.

What could cause this intensifying politics of free-market fundamentalism at the very historical moment that proves the failure of such an ideology? Two new academic studies suggest all roads lead to ignorance.

The first, by Harvard's Michael Norton and Duke's Dan Ariely, finds that Americans grossly underestimate how much inequality our economy produces. Among the survey respondents, the vast majority said they believe the richest 20 percent own 59 percent of the wealth, when, in fact, that quintile owns 84 percent of the wealth. In other words, in spite of the data, many believe our system produces the moderate equality we desire, which means many see efforts to better spread wealth as a confiscatory overreach.

Michael Moore on The Rachel Maddow Show

Wealth buys health

October 28 2010

The title above is part of a headline from a recent article in Science Daily. Nobody should be surprised to learn that in a class society wealthy people are going to be healthier than poor folks. But the complete title of the article is actually "Wealth Buys Health - Even in China."

Lets see just what this is supposed to show. Science Daily says we have long known, by scientific studies, that the "health gap" between rich and poor exists in the U.S. and that the gap "gets worse as people get older." The article then asks: "But is this because the U.S. is a capitalist society?" An interesting scientific question. The answer they propose is: "Apparently not."

North Carolina State University has recently released a study made of the health gap in China between people with high and low socioeconomic status (SES) and the study shows "the same is true for China" as for the U.S. But is it really the same? The study found "In China, the overall health gap across generations is getting narrower - and it's getting wider in the U.S." A strange use of the word "same."

Millions march in France against pension cuts

By Kumaran Ira and Alex Lantier
29 October 2010

Millions of workers and students took to the streets across France Thursday to protest final approval by the National Assembly of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension “reform” bill. The French economy was still crippled by gasoline shortages due to ongoing refinery and port strikes.

The General Confederation of Labor (CGT) estimated that about 2 million people participated in the day of action, down from 3.5 million in the previous national mobilization, held October 19. The government, which has given lowball estimates of previous days of action, said the turnout was 560,000 as compared to 1.1 million on October 19.

The demonstration had overwhelming popular support, with 65 percent of the population approving it, according to the most recent Le Parisien poll. The Sarkozy government, on the other hand, has fallen in recent polls to a record low 29 percent approval rating.

In line with numerous statements by government and media officials aimed at discouraging strike action, Labor Minister Eric Woerth said the “significant slowdown of the mobilization” meant there could be “an exit from the crisis in coming days or weeks.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

GOPer: Food Stamps "Too Darn Comfortable"GOPer: Food Stamps "Too Darn Comfortable"

Thu Oct. 28, 2010

Three dollars and thirty-seven cents. That's the average benefit an individual on government food stamps receives each day, according to the USDA. Here in DC, it's enough to buy, say, a box of cereal or a head of lettuce or a couple cans of beans. Would you call that $3.37 a day "too darn comfortable"?

Nick Popaditch, a Republican House candidate in California and retired Marine, did just that last week in a debate with opponent Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.). As Think Progress reported, an audience member at the debate asked Popaditch how, if elected, he would ensure there were "no further cuts are made to the food stamp benefits." I'll bet the questioner didn't expect this response:
What would I do to make sure no further cuts are made to food stamp benefits? Wow. Once again, I recognize there’s a difference between an entitlement and a promise. Now that would fall under the category of an entitlement. Now I believe in a safety net, but I certainly don’t think we need to make it too darn comfortable down there on that safety net. I’m not a cruel man, but I think we absolutely need to make these systems not as comfortable as they are now.
"Too darn comfortable"? $3.37 a day? At a time when the shelves of food banks across the country are bare due to skyrocketing demand, when the country's largest food charity is helping to feed 37 million Americans (including 14 million children) each week, when more than a third of households needing food from shelters have to choose between food and other essentials including rent and health care, Popaditch's remark is as tone-deaf and off the mark as you'll hear all election season.

Ginni Thomas' Think Tank Allied With Group That Celebrates Spanish Inquisition

Time to end the Taliban Christian Jihadi reign of terror.

Impeach Clarence Thomas.


The Tea Party think tank run by Justice Thomas' wife counts among its friends the far-right Catholic group Tradition, Family and Property.
In recent days, the media has turned its attention to Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas -- not for her troubling ties to right-wing extremist groups, but for her bizarre demand for an apology from the woman who accused her husband of sexual harassment more than a decade ago. Yet Mrs. Thomas' Tea Party think tank, Liberty Central, promotes the causes of groups that take pride in intolerance, including one right-wing Catholic group, Tradition, Family and Property, whose founder declared the Spanish Inquisition "the most beautiful page in the history of the Church."

Earlier this year, AlterNet reported on Liberty Central's embrace of Gun Owners of America, whose president, Larry Pratt -- guru to the militia movement -- unapologetically addressed a rally of white supremacists in 1992, and more recently told attendees of a gun owners' rally in Washington, D.C., that they are "at war" with the federal government. We also looked at Liberty Central's relationship with the Missouri Sovereignty Project, which threatens armed insurrection against the government. Since then, Thomas has added to the "Friends of Liberty Central" page on her think tank's Web site a plug for Tradition, Family and Property, a virulently anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-democratic Catholic group founded in 1960 in opposition to Brazilian land reform.

TFP has long enjoyed ties to the far right in American politics, including the International Freedom Foundation, which existed primarily as an American front group for the apartheid regime in South Africa during the Reagan years, according to researcher Richard Bartholomew, and was once led by convicted felon and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But TFP is better known for its role in promoting and supporting authoritarian regimes in South America. Here's Bartholomew:
TFP played a role in the 1964 coup in Brazil, and in Uruguay it allegedly received explosives from the Brazilian military attaché that were used to attack communist installations. The editor of TFP's Chilean magazine, Jaime Guzmán, became chief ideologist for General Pinochet's regime.

Pennsylvania Homeland Security called coal documentary a security threat

From Raw Story: 

By David Edwards
Thursday, October 28th, 2010 -- 12:41 pm

A 2009 documentary on modern day coal mining is almost as threatening as anarchists and "international jihadists," according to a document uncovered by Discovery Channel's Treehugger website.

In a 2009 briefing (.pdf) at the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security, a documentary entitled Coal Country is called "potential catalyst for inspiring 'direct action' protests or even sabotage against facilities, machinery, and/or corporate headquarters."

The documentary, which originally aired on the Planet Green Reel Impact Series, describes the controversy that stems from the coal-mining practice of mountaintop removal.

The briefing, conducted by the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, identifies three facilities allegedly put at risk by the documentary.

"Actions against these facilities would likely cause counter-protests from the pro-coal side, which TAM-C analysts believe already feels assaulted, not only by environmentalists, but by any governmental bodies and/or policies that support them," the briefing says.

Continue reading at:

Pat Condell, God or Nothing

Pentagon’s threat-prediction system would scan emails, texts

By Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 -- 10:09 pm

In an effort to prevent the next Fort Hood-style shooting before it happens, the Pentagon has launched a program to scan massive amounts of communications and detect anomalies in behavior that could predict "insider threats" to the military.

While the Pentagon's advanced research arm describes the project as being designed to detect threats to the military from within its own ranks, critics say such a system would inevitably invade the privacy of millions of people and could be the thin end of the wedge towards a "police state."

Earlier this month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency posted a notice announcing the project. The agency has set aside $35 million for the effort, which has been dubbed ADAMS, or "Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales."

If successful, the project would "detect ‘anomalies’ in a person’s behavior by sifting through billions of e-mail and text messages prior to such a homicidal or suicidal outburst," reports Government Security News.

Has WikiLeaks landed in cyberattack crosshairs?

October 27, 2010
Forget China or Al Qaeda. In a twist that would have been inconceivable even a few months ago, the Web site is being proposed as the first public target for a U.S. government cyberattack.

After the shadowy, document-leaking organization distributed nearly 400,000 classified documents from the Iraq war on Friday, Washington officialdom responded with a torrent of denunciations alleging violations of national security and endangering U.S. military operations.

In a rare point of congruence, The Washington Post and The Washington Times both criticized the release, with the smaller paper arguing that WikiLeaks' offshore Web site should be attacked and rendered "inoperable" by the U.S. government. Some hawkish conservatives followed suit, including Christian Whiton, a State Department adviser under President George W. Bush, who wrote a column calling on the U.S. military to "electronically assault WikiLeaks and any telecommunications company offering its services to this organization."

Their target's actually not that far away. WikiLeaks' Web site is now hosted on servers on United States soil near San Jose, Calif.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rwanda says it will charge "Hotel Rwanda" manager for aiding arrested opposition politician

By: Edmund Kagire,Jason Straziuso, The Associated Press
Posted: 27/10/2010 10:02 AM

KIGALI, Rwanda - The Rwandan hotel manager portrayed by Don Cheadle in the movie "Hotel Rwanda" could face charges by Rwandan authorities over allegations he sent money to opposition commanders, Rwanda's top prosecutor said.

But the former manager, Paul Rusesabagina, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he hasn't sent any money to Rwanda in years, and that the government is launching a smear campaign against him because he has opposed President Paul Kagame in the past.

Rwanda's top prosecutor, Martin Ngoga, said Rusesabagina helped finance what he described as terrorist activities in Rwanda by helping fund commanders with the FDLR, or Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda. No formal charges have yet been filed.

Ngoga said he is asking U.S. officials for assistance in gathering evidence. Some of the financial transactions he alleges were criminal originated in San Antonio, Texas. Rusesabagina has a house in Texas but said he has never sent money to Burundi or Tanzania as is alleged by Ngoga.

"Those who want to continue considering him as a hero can go on," Ngoga told a news conference late Tuesday. "We consider him a serious criminal suspect who has been financing FDLR and we are challenging whoever speaks on his behalf to tell us whether he never sent money to these FDLR commanders we have in custody."
After his story was publicized in "Hotel Rwanda," Rusesabagina was hailed as a hero around the world. Former U.S. President George W. Bush gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest civilian honour in the U.S.
However, the government of Rwanda did not view him as a hero after Rusesabagina began criticizing the regime of Kagame, who has since called Rusesabagina a "manufactured hero," according to Terry George, the director of "Hotel Rwanda."

Rusesabagina, 56, who was released from a hospital operation last week to find that his home in Brussels, Belgium had been broken into and documents stolen, says he has done nothing wrong.

"It is the latest step in a campaign against me by the Rwandan government that has included public insults, lies and physical harassment," Rusesabagina said.

"My foundation is advocating for a truth, justice and reconciliation process to try to foster sustainable peace in Rwanda ... but anyone who opposes Kagame inside or outside the country is treated with this kind of harassment."

Writer Arundhati Roy May Be Arrested For Sedition After Kashmir Remarks

Indian police have been given the go ahead to press sedition charges against author and activist Arundhati Roy. Roy has given speeches in recent days in favor of Kashmiri separatism, the Times of India reports.
Roy, the Booker Prize winning author, had said "Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this."
Some Indian politicians are demanding that Roy be arrested and tried. But the Economic Times says the case may not go forward.
It is not enough to accuse her of creating ‘‘disaffection or feelings of enmity against the government’’. If they book a sedition case against writer Arundhati Roy , the police will have to prove that her speeches on Kashmir, according to the law laid down by the Supreme Court , were an ‘‘ incitement to public disorder or the use of violence’’.
Roy herself issued a statement from Kashmir condemning what she calls a "brutal military occupation."

Attack on MoveOn worker is just the latest example of right-wing violence

October 26, 2010 8:23 pm ET

Attack on MoveOn worker was the latest in string of violence and threats against progressives

White powder and swastikas mailed to Rep. Grijalva. On October 21, an envelope containing "a plastic bag of white powder and two pieces of paper with swastikas written on them" was reportedly mailed to Rep. Raul Grijalva's (D-AZ) campaign office. The powder was determined to be non-toxic.

Byron Williams set out to kill people at Tides Foundation and ACLU. On July 18, Byron Williams was stopped by California Highway Patrol and engaged in a shootout with law enforcement. He later said he planned to murder individuals at the Tides Foundation and ACLU and his mother said he was angry about "Congress railroading through all these left-wing agenda items." As reporter John Hamilton documented, Williams said he saw Fox News' Glenn Beck as "a schoolteacher" and that "it was the things [Beck] exposed that blew my mind." Indeed, the gunman, Byron Williams, was driven by belief in conspiracy theories that have been pushed by Beck and other members of the right-wing media.

AZ federal judge threatened, Grijalva office fired on after ruling on AZ immigration law. Politico reported in July:

These are not the actions of a legitimate Political Party.  These are the actions of Nazi Thugs.

Rand Paul's Goon says he hit victim because of back problems, and now seeks apology

OOOOh...  Break out the world's smallest violin.  Rand Paul's neo-Brown shirt Thug has a sore back and a lame asses excuse for aggravated assault.  Maybe he should add in the part about his having erectile dysfunction.

From Raw Story:

By Raw Story
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 -- 8:59 am

Tim Profitt, the Kentucky man and Rand Paul supporter who was featured in videos stomping on the head of a activist, is now blaming a bad back in his decision to attack the liberal activist -- and says he wants an apology. Via TPM:
Tim Profitt -- the former Rand Paul volunteer who stomped on the head of a MoveOn activist -- told told local CBS station WKYT that he wants an apology from the woman he stomped and that she started the whole thing.

"I don't think it's that big of a deal," Profitt said. "I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you."

"She's a professional at what she does," Profitt added, "and I think when all the facts come out, I think people will see that she was the one that initiated the whole thing."
Continue reading:

This says so much about the right wing  neo-Nazis of the American Taliban it isn't funny.  Perhaps the next thing they will suggest is the stoning of rape victims and un-wed mothers.

Kucinich to liberals: Vote or surrender to the ‘forces of nihilism’

By Sahil Kapur
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 -- 8:34 am

WASHINGTON – As Democrats fear a wave of losses in next Tuesday's elections, due in part to a lack of enthusiasm within their base, one progressive champion made an impassioned plea for liberals to head to the polls and and vote.

"We can get out there and make our voices heard, or we can let the forces of nihilism take over," Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told Raw Story in an exclusive interview late Tuesday afternoon.

The Cleveland Democrat warned progressives that a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives – a likely scenario, according to election experts – could surrender the levers of power to "megalomaniacal neoconservatives who are more in need of mental attention."

"There's no question about it," he said. "We have to vote."

Kucinich, a seven-term congressman who seems to be in no danger, sympathized with liberals who are disenchanted with the Democratic Party, but insisted they must "work within the system" to achieve the results they want, arguing that tuning out wasn't a better solution.

"I would never try to minimize their concerns. I understand them," he said. "I wish we had broader options. I certainly don't like our political system, but I'm not prepared to walk away."

If there's anyone in Congress who shares liberal misgivings about the Obama administration, it's Kucinich. From health care to the economy to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, he has been outspoken about his criticisms. "But this election is a choice," he said.

French lessons

The lessons of the struggle against Sarkozy's pension "reform" apply beyond France.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Message from GetEQUAL Youth to President Obama and Congress

Glaxo Agrees to $750 Million Fine for Sale of Bad Products

Published: October 26, 2010

GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug giant, has agreed to pay $750 million to settle criminal and civil complaints that the company for years knowingly sold contaminated baby ointment and an ineffective antidepressant — the latest in a growing number of whistle-blower lawsuits that drug makers have settled with multimillion dollar fines.

Altogether, GlaxoSmithKline sold 20 drugs with questionable safety that were made at a huge plant in Puerto Rico that for years was rife with contamination. Cheryl Eckard, the company’s quality manager, asserts in her whistle-blower suit that she warned Glaxo of the problems but the company fired her instead of addressing the issues. Among the drugs affected were Avandia, Bactroban, Coreg, Paxil and Tagamet. No patients are known to have been sickened by the quality problems although such cases would be difficult to trace.

Tony West, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, and Carmen M. Ortiz, the United States attorney for Massachusetts, announced the settlement in a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Boston. The outcome provides one of the highest whistleblower award yet in a health care fraud case.

GlaxoSmithKline released a statement saying that it regretted operating the Puerto Rican plant in violation of good manufacturing practices. The company said the problem involved only one plant that was closed in 2009. Its American shares were down 0.37 percent in late afternoon trading in New York.

Why you should say 'yes' to Proposition 19

Why you should say ‘yes’ to Proposition 19
Seventy-eight years ago this November, Californians overwhelmingly voted to repeal a morally, socially, and economically failed public policy — alcohol prohibition. Voters did not wait for the federal government to act; they took matters into their own hands.
On Nov. 2, California voters have an opportunity to repeat history and repeal an equally bankrupt public policy — marijuana prohibition.
California lawmakers criminalized the possession and cultivation of marijuana in 1913, some 24 years before Congress enacted similar prohibitions federally. Yet today some 3.3 million Californians acknowledge using pot regularly, and the Golden State stands alone as the largest domestic producer of the crop. Self-evidently, marijuana is here to stay. The question is: What is the most pragmatic and effective way to deal with this reality?
Proposition 19 — which legalizes the adult possession of limited quantities of marijuana in private, and allows local governments to regulate its commercial production and retail distribution — offers voters a sound alternative to the inflexible and failed strategies of the past. The measure acknowledges that adults should not be legally punished for their private use of a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol or tobacco, while simultaneously enacting common sense controls regarding who can legally consume it, distribute it, and produce it.
Critics of Prop. 19 … express concerns that passage of this initiative will lead to increased marijuana use and send a mixed message to children. Both arguments are specious at best.
Virtually any Californian who wishes to obtain or consume marijuana can already do so, and it is unlikely that adults who presently abstain from pot will cease doing so simply because certain restrictions on its prohibition are lifted. Further, it must be acknowledged that unlike alcohol, marijuana is incapable of causing lethal overdose, is relatively nontoxic to healthy cells and organs, and its use is not typically associated with violent, aggressive, or reckless behavior. Why then are we so worried about adults consuming it in the privacy of their own home?
Critics’ concerns regarding marijuana and youth are also not persuasive. Young people already report that they have easier access to illicit marijuana than they do legal beer or cigarettes. Why?
It is because the production and sale of these latter products are regulated and legally limited to a specific age group. As a result teen use of cigarettes, for example, has fallen to its lowest levels in decades while, conversely, young people’s use of cannabis is rising. In short, it’s legalization, regulation, and public education — coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions — that most effectively keep mind-altering substances out of the hands of children.
Further, a regulated system of cannabis legalization will make it easier, not harder, for parents and educators to rationally and persuasively discuss this subject with young people. Many parents who may have tried pot during their youth (or who continue to use it occasionally) will no longer perceive societal pressures to lie to their children about their own behaviors. Rather, just as many parents presently speak to their children openly about their use of alcohol — instructing them that booze may be appropriate for adults in moderation, but that it remains inappropriate for young people — legalization will empower adults to talk objectively and rationally to their kids about marijuana.
The Bottom line? For nearly 100 years in California the criminal prohibition of marijuana has fueled an underground, unregulated, black market economy that empowers criminal entrepreneurs while having no tangible effect on the public’s access to pot or their use of it. A “yes” vote on Prop. 19 is a first step toward allowing lawmakers and regulators to seize control of this illegal commercial market and turn it over to licensed business. A “no” vote continues to abdicate command of this market to criminal gangs and drug traffickers.
          The choice is up to us.

GOP candidate murdered two unarmed Iraqis and ‘shot them 60 times’

I can't and wouldn't make this shit up.  But if you don't get out there and vote to keep these fucks out of office they will be governing us.

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 -- 11:37 am

A Tea Party-backed candidate who allegedly murdered two unarmed Iraqis could win a seat in the House of Representatives, The Guardian reports.

Thirty-nine-year-old Ilario Pantano, who is running for North Carolina's 7th congressional district as a Republican, was charged with the premeditated murder of two Iraqi civilians in 2005 while serving as a second lieutenant with the US Marines.

In April of 2004, Pantano and his platoon stopped and detained two Iraqi men in a car near Falluja. While the majority of his platoon was away, he and two others ordered the detained Iraqis to search their own car for weapons and then allegedly unloaded two full magazines of his M16A4 rifle into them.

Sergeant Daniel Coburn, who was 27 at the time and one of the three soldiers at the incident, recalled wondering "when the lieutenant was going to stop, because it was obvious that they were dead."

"I believed that by firing the number of rounds that I did, I was sending a message," Pantano told the New York magazine.

GOP State Senate candidate calls Hitler ‘strong leader’

By Raw Story
Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 -- 11:45 am

A Republican state Senate candidate in Wisconsin called Adolf Hitler a "strong leader" in a tweet, and the action is garnering criticism from Democrats. Reports AP:
Dane Deutsch of Rice Lake posted a message on his campaign Twitter account in March that read, "Hitler and Lincoln were both strong leaders. Lincoln's character made him the greater leader whose legacy and leadership still lives on!"
Deutsch says he meant that while both men influenced many people, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had a "righteous character" while Hitler did not.
The State Senate Democratic Committee put out a statement Monday questioning whether Deutsch understood the devastation Hitler and thinks voters really need to discuss it in the election.

Rand Paul's Nazi Goons Stomp Woman Protester

Monday, October 25, 2010

California pot advocates release first television ad, starring a cop

From Raw Story: 

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, October 25th, 2010 -- 5:48 pm

The campaign to legalize marijuana in California has been pretty low-key in terms of media ad buys, but a week out from the election proponents of drug law reform are finally joining the fray and they've chosen none other than Joseph McNamara, former police chief of San Jose, to carry their message to the masses.

And the ad comes not a moment too soon for Prop. 19 supporters, as recent polls have shown opinions trending toward continuing prohibition. 

McNamara, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, doesn't pull any punches.

"Let's be honest: the war against marijuana has failed," he says, as photos of his career in law enforcement flash across the screen. 

"I know from 35 years in law enforcement, today it's easier for a teenager to buy pot than beer. Proposition 19 will tax and control marijuana just like alcohol."

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