Thursday, September 30, 2010

Marijuana Legalization Initiative Increasingly Popular Among California Voters

More than half of Californians now say that they will vote ‘yes’ this November on Proposition 19, which would legalize the private adult use and cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis, and allow local governments the option of regulating its commercial production and retail distribution.

The latest poll of 2,004 likely voters throughout the state by the Public Policy Institute of California reports that 52 percent of Californians back Prop. 19, versus 41 percent opposed and seven percent undecided.

Of the statewide propositions polled, only Prop. 19 possessed majority support among California voters. In fact, the same poll reports that a greater percentage of voters now back Prop. 19 than support incumbent Democrat Senators Barbara Boxer (42%) and Dianne Feinstein (44%), Senate Republican challenger Carly Fiorina (35%), Gubernatorial Democrat candidate Jerry Brown (37%) or Gubernatorial Republican candidate Meg Whitman (38%).

Historically, ballot initiative campaigns lose support in the months prior to election day. But Prop. 19 is bucking this trend, as recent results from the Field Poll, Survey USA, and clearly show that marijuana legalization is maintaining, and in some cases gaining, voter support as we approach November 2, 2010.

Proposition 19 is endorsed by a broad coalition of divergent and powerful interest groups, including the California NAACP; the Latino Voters League; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); the National Black Police Association; the United Food and Commercial Workers, (UFCW) Western States Council; the California Council of Churches IMPACT; Firedog Lake; the California Green Party; and the Republican Liberty Caucus. These organizations, along with millions of Californians, agree that it is time to end criminal marijuana prohibition in California.

If you live in California but are not registered to vote, you can do so by going here. Help make history on November 2!

At least 78 GOP candidates would force women to bear rapists’ babies

From Raw Story:

By Daniel Tencer
Thursday, September 30th, 2010 -- 7:51 pm

A partial list of Republican candidates running for US Congress in this year's mid-term elections shows that at least 78 of them have professed to oppose abortion in all cases, including where rape or incest are involved.

The Republican National Coalition For Life, a political action committee formed by anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly, sends out questionnaires every election season to Republican candidates asking them to lay out their positions on abortion. 

A list of responses from this year's candidates indicate that 78 Senate and House candidates answered that they are "pro-life without discrimination," meaning they don't agree with any exceptions to a ban on abortion.

The list was flagged earlier this week by Charles Johnson at the Little Green Footballs blog. Johnson counted 112 candidates who hold that view of abortion, but a Raw Story count of the listed candidates found 78 who have won their primary and indicated they would make no exceptions to allow abortion.

Crack Down on Importation of Legitimate Pharmaceuticals into the USA?

09/30/2010 — Suzan

I am writing this at 2:00am.

I was checking my e-mail before going to bed and read the following in The Bilrico Digest I get every evening:

“ stops shipping to the US Filed by: Alex Blaze September 29, 2010 6:00 PM”

My feelings regarding this are:
Many transsexual and transgender people purchase their prescriptions from non-US based pharmacies. We do this for numerous reasons including concern regarding being denied Medical Insurance should these prescriptions be discovered by the Health Insurance companies that have written exclusionary policies and so often deny coverage to people based on the flimsiest of excuses and also have a history of dropping coverage at times when patients most need it.

The other major reason many non-insured people have shopped the global pharmaceutical markets is cost. The monopoly practices of the drug manufacturing corporations in the US gouge the patients charging many times the prices charged for the same drugs by our neighbor to the north. The huge charges many well enhance the lifestyle and cash flow rich pigs who are the CEOs and investors in these corporations as well as finance a huge volume of advertising for drugs of dubious merit marketed for socially constructed “disorders” such as male sexual dysfunction. (a natural part of aging)

At the same time denying us access to lower priced drugs available through off-shore pharmacies is a method of preventing access to drugs available from countries where the government negotiates and sets the legitimate prices for those drugs.

See Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”

In House Pharmacy as the following announcement posted:

Important Notice to United States Shoppers

We regret to advise that this site is no longer able to supply to shoppers residing in the United States.

After recent action taken by we have had to stop supplying customers within the USA. is actively closing down hundreds of sites that operate from outside the United States. We have been targeted as we have operated for 13 years on a no prescription basis despite the fact that we meet the pharmacy laws of Vanuatu where we are based.

We appreciate that most of our customers have been very loyal, long term shoppers and we deeply regret being unable to supply you from this site.

All customers who have already placed orders but not yet received them, will receive them.

The following self-serving post by the President of appeared on Huffington Post. While conservatives whine about “nanny states” I am far more concerned with corporate fascists who put profits before the lives of people.

I suspect is acting as an agent for the drug manufacturing corporations who wish to maintain their monopoly to gouge the US consumers by shutting off the re-importation of drugs from places like Canada where they are but a fraction of what they cost in the US.
When Drug Companies Choose Profits Over People
John Horton
President, LegitScript

Posted: September 29, 2010 02:18 PM
For medication safety, we rely on our doctors to prescribe and our pharmacists to dispense the right drugs. But on whom do doctors and pharmacists rely? Increasingly, the answer is drug companies. This is not inherently bad. After all, a drug company probably knows its product better than anyone, and can play a valuable role in educating doctors and pharmacists about the appropriate use of the drug. And, a central element of the FDA’s drug-approval process is intended to give the drug companies a clear idea of what the drug can be marketed for and to whom it may be prescribed.
Continue reading his self-serving drivel at:

It is not the role of a private corporation to start acting as a NGO law enforcement agency. Especially not as one that appears to be acting as an astro turf agency for the drug corporations.
From Pharmacy Checker:

LegitScript – Not So Legit?

On March 3, 2010, in Online Pharmacy Verification Services, by Tod Cooperman, MD, President,, and Gabriel Levitt, Vice President,

A firm called Legit Script ( claims to be protecting people by labeling legitimate Canadian and other non-U.S. pharmacies as “Unapproved” or “Rogue.” This serves the big pharmaceutical interests but not the American consumer. More than that, its founder, John Horton, appears to have exploited his former government position to establish for his own gain.

Continue reading at:
With an update:

Call for an Investigation of John Horton, President of LegitScript, for Possible Government Ethics Violations

On September 16, 2010, in Drug Prices, Online Pharmacies, Online Pharmacy Verification Services, Personal Drug Importation, by Tod Cooperman, MD, President,, and Gabriel Levitt, Vice President,

Today we asked the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and any other appropriate government agencies to investigate possible violations of government ethics laws by John Horton, president and founder of, while he was Associate Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and after leaving his government post.

Our request was sent to Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns and Ranking Member Darrell Issa.

Mr. Horton appears to have misused and abused his government position for private gain by starting, while in office, an online pharmacy verification service,, and given unfair market advantage to his business. More importantly, his actions appear to have violated the will of Congress, misled the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and instigated and/or encouraged government actions by ONDCP and other government agencies adverse to the interests of Americans, specifically hindering access by Americans to safe and affordable medication.

As further described in our letter, we believe that, to serve his private interests and those of prospective pharmaceutical and pharmacy clients, Mr. Horton appears to have subverted the activities of ONDCP by ignoring the congressional request found in Section 1107 of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006 to develop strategies to stop the online advertising of controlled substances without a prescription. Instead, Mr. Horton developed strategic policies for blocking the online advertising of all prescription medication from licensed Canadian and other non-US pharmacies that do require a prescription. Such pharmacies have been a lifeline to affordable medication for millions of Americans.

Click here to read the full request and view supporting exhibits.

From Alex Blaze at Bilrico:

While a drug company in Vanuatu may seem shady, LegitScript specifically marks as illegitimate Canadian pharmacies that sell to the US, which PharmacyChecker doesn’t do ( is a much more visited website that provides consumer information on online pharmacies). LegitScript goes to some propagandatastic length on their site to justify this (they found one drug company that was illegally using a Canadian pharmacy license!), blocking Canadian drug reimportation into the US has always been about one thing only: money.

In other words, Americans pay more for prescription drugs than everyone else in the world because we have a government that is beholden to big pharma, and LegitScript goes the extra mile that law enforcement can’t/won’t in order to ensure that Americans keep on getting looted.

Continue reading at:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Europeans protest, strike against austerity moves

Corporations exist to make profits for their owners.  That is their sole purpose.  Governments exist to protect the people’s rights.  The idea that corporations deserve the same rights as people is a legal fiction.
The Free Market must go.  It is an abject failure.  The Free Market advocates quote Adam Smith the same selective way Christo-fascists quote the Bible.  Their real god is Ayn Rand, a talentless hack much beloved by the John Birch Society and other ultra right wing neo-Nazi organizations.

Naomi Klein’s book “Shock Doctrine” details what the IMF and GATT did in South America and in Africa.  How money was lent to nations and how they were urged to privatize their governmental functions with the lie of efficiency.  Privatized functions cost the tax payers as much or more and give less as private corporations sole purpose is to make money for its owners.It makes its profits on the backs of the workers.  Profits are generated by the gap between the cost of labor and materials and the price the product or service is sold for.

Wealth is power.

The freest societies are those where the gap between the incomes of the lowest paid workers and the highest paid are the smallest.  The least free are those societies where the bulk of all wealth is in the hands of a small minority with the bulk of the population subsisting on a minority portion of the wealth.  That constitutes an oligarchy since wealth is automatically power and creates a power as well as wealth differential.

Under Keynesian economics government regulated the economy by providing a safety net of services and jobs as well as a policy of progressive taxation that effective limited the consolidations of all power in the hands of a few.

Call me a commie if you will but Marx and Engels were right.  Americans are kept stupid by an educational system that keeps them ignorant of their history, science, and economics.  Wealth is power and only the wealthy are really educated.  The majority are kept stupid by religion, media based commercialism from infancy, distracted from their personal exploitation by a constant stream of increasingly violent sports spectacles and the meaningless trivia regarding the lives of entertainers including the clowns of right wing media who substitute bombast for real honest information.

In Europe workers who know the score and how the government/corporate partnership that characterizes fascism are fucking the working people over are in the streets rioting against austerity measures.

In Spain

In Brussels

BRUSSELS, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people marched in a day of protests across Europe on Wednesday against government austerity measures that unions say will slow economic recovery and punish the poor.

Big marches were held in Brussels, in Portugal’s capital Lisbon and its northern city of Porto, and Spanish unions staged a general strike.
Unions called protests in 10 other capitals against steps such as spending cuts and pension and labour market reforms.

In Brussels, they said they achieved their goal of bringing 100,000 people onto the streets, but police put the figure at 56,000 and said 218 people were detained for minor offences.

Unions said 50,000 joined the Lisbon March and 20,000 in Porto. Portuguese police gave no estimates and attendance at other rallies appeared to be much smaller.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mass Arrests in DC: We Shall No Longer Be Crucified Upon the Cross of Coal

by Jeff Biggers

Over one hundred protesters from the Appalachian coalfields were arrested in front of the White House today, defiantly calling on the Obama administration to abolish mountaintop removal mining. As part of the Appalachia Rising events, the coalfield residents took part in a multi-day series of events to bring the escalating human rights, environmental and health care crisis to the nation's capitol.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth leaders Teri Blanton and Mickey McCoy, the first arrested in today's nonviolent act of civil disobedience, were joined by allies from around the country, including NASA climatologist James Hansen. Meanwhile, protesters led by the legendary Rev. Billy Talen staged a nearby sit-in at the office of the PNC bank, which remains one of the last major financiers of coal companies engaged in this extreme form of strip-mining in Appalachia.

In a stark reminder of the national connection to the coalfields, the Obama administration officials looked on from their White House offices, as their electricity came from a coal-fired plant generated partly with coal stripmined from Appalachia.

As a litmus test of the administration's commitment to science and the rule of law, Appalachian residents are calling on the EPA to halt any new permit on the upcoming decision over the massive Spruce mountaintop removal mine.
Mountaintop removal coal only provides, in fact, less than 10 percent of all coal production.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

FBI raids: Protests in 19 cities called by solidarity activists

Published Sep 26, 2010 6:47 PM 
The International Action Center supports the call below from the Minnesota Antiwar Committee for Emergency Actions at federal buildings and FBI offices on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 28 and 29, to support anti-war and international solidarity activists and stop FBI raids and harassment, and urges you to participate in one of the actions listed below or to organize an action in your city if one is not already planned.
In solidarity, Sara Flounders and John Parker, Co-Directors, International Action Center

Emergency actions to support anti-war and international solidarity activists

Stop FBI raids and harassment
We denounce the Federal Bureau of Investigation harassment of anti-war and solidarity activists. The FBI raided seven houses and an office in Chicago and Minneapolis on Friday, September 24, 2010. The FBI handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to eleven activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. The FBI also attempted to intimidate activists in California and North Carolina.

This suppression of civil rights is aimed at those who dedicate their time and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S. funded occupation and war. The FBI has indicated that the grand jury is investigating the activists for possible material support of terrorism charges.

The activists involved have done nothing wrong and are refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI about their political views or organizing against war and occupation. The activists are involved with many groups, including: the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. These activists came together with many others to organize the 2008 anti-war marches on the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

We ask people of conscience to join us in fighting this political repression, as we continue working to build the movements against US war and occupation.

Take Action:

Call the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 or write an email to:

• Stop the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.

• Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.

• End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.

Plan and Support national days of protest at FBI offices or Federal Buildings, September 27 and 28th.
A demonstration has been called at the Minneapolis FBI Office Monday, 4:30, Sept. 27 (111 Washington Ave. S.).

In Solidarity, the Anti-War Committee –

The following is a list of the 19 planned protests that we have heard of so far, and the list is growing. Please participate in the one nearest you, or if there is not one in your city, organize one and let us know at so we can publicize it and add it to the list: Please be in touch with the Minnesota Anti-War Committee —

Monday 9/27:

Minneapolis, MN — 4:30, FBI Office Monday, 111 Washington Ave. S. Chicago, IL — 4:30 Fedeeral Building, Federal Plaza. Kalamazoo, MI — 4:30 Federal Building, 410 W Michigan Ave Salt Lake City, Utah — 9 AM at Federal Building Durham, NC — 12 noon Federal Building, 323 E Chapel Hill St
Buffalo, NY — 4:30 pm at FBI Building — Corner of So. Elmwood Ave. & Niagara St.
Gainesville, FL — Monday, 4:30 PM at FBI Building

Tuesday 9/28:

NYC, NY — 4:30 to 6pm Federal Building, 26 Federal Plaza, Newark, NJ — 5 to 6pm Federal Building Broad Street Philadelphia, PA — 4:30pm Federal Building, 6th & Market, Washington DC — 4:30 – 5:30 FBI Building, 935 Pennsylvania Ave NW. Boston, MA — 5 pm, JFK Federal Building Detroit, MI — 4:30 pm McNamara Federal Building, Michigan Ave. at Cass
Raleigh, NC — 9 am. Federal Building, 310 New Bern Ave Asheville, NC — 5 pm Federal Building, Atlanta, GA — Noon, FBI Building Los Angeles, CA — 5 pm, Downtown Federal Building, 300 N Los Angeles St
Tucson, AZ — 5 pm Federal Building, Wednesday 9/29:
Albany, NY — 5 to 6 pm Federal Building

Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Roundup: "Don't F*ck With Our Activists" - Community Responds to Raids

From Twin Cities Indymedia:

Submitted by TCIMC on Sat, 09/25/2010 - 07:44
Over 150 people attended a community meeting at Walker Church Friday night, most on less than six hours notice, to begin to respond to Friday morning's FBI raids and subpoenas to local antiwar and international solidarity organizers.  (See video of the meeting at right.)  At the church, activists confirmed that five homes and the Anti-War Committee's office were raided.

Organizers also announced two upcoming events: a protest outside the Minneapolis FBI office, 111 Washington Ave. S., at 4:30pm on Monday; and a solidarity committee meeting on Thursday at 7pm, location to be determined.  The subpoenas ask activists to appear before a grand jury in Chicago, where a solidarity vigil was held last night as a raid was still ongoing in that city, on or around October 19, reported a Chicago Indymedia post.

Those following international news on Friday noticed an eerie coincidence--or perhaps not. On Thursday, the Colombian military assassinated the #2 leader of the guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or FARC. On Friday, President Obama met at the U.N. General Assembly to schmooze with incoming Colombian President Juan Manual Santos, leading to clear suspicion of U.S. involvement in the assassination. FARC is among the resistance groups termed "foreign terrorist organizations" by the U.S. and is listed in the warrant for Mick Kelly's residence.  Another bit of interesting timing: just earlier this week, the FBI's Inspector General criticized the FBI for lying to the Justice Department about raids and surveillence of peace groups after 9/11.

Videos: Friday Afternoon Press ConferenceMick Kelly Interview: Guns drawn, FBI raids peace activist's apartment"Don't F*ck With Our Activists" (The Uptake) More: Original TCIMC Story | Fight Back News: Activists Denounce Raids | Nigel Parry: FBI Raids of Pro-Palestine Activist Homes | CIMC: Activists Respond in Chicago | Twin Cities Daily Planet coverage | World Socialist Web Site coverage Corporate Coverage: New York Times | Chicago Tribune Keep watching TC Indymedia for coverage of this ongoing story--receive breaking movement news text message alerts via @tcimc on twitter

Why is the political right on the offensive in America?

By Barry Grey
25 September 2010
Less than six weeks before the midterm congressional elections, the political initiative rests entirely with the Republicans and the most right-wing sections of the US political establishment. There are many indications that the Obama administration and the Democrats accept as inevitable substantial Republican gains in both legislative houses, including the possible Republican capture of the House of Representatives.

This is despite mounting anger against Wall Street and a general shift in popular sentiment to the left. Even the opinion polls show a substantial majority in favor of raising taxes on the rich to pay for job-creation programs.

To date, the growth of popular discontent fueled by mass unemployment and mounting social distress has found political expression only on the right. The corporate-sponsored, pseudo-populist Tea Party movement is largely the creation of forces within the Republican Party. Its popular support is vastly exaggerated by the media, which has relentlessly promoted it.

Nevertheless, this right-wing formation has been able to tap into popular anger and gain a degree of political traction, despite its program of brutal cuts in social programs and more deregulation and tax cuts for big business and the rich.
Continue reading at:

Repeal? Most Americans think health reform did not go far enough, poll finds

All Republicans lie.  All Republicans twist fact until they are lies.  One of the current big lies is that the majority of Americans do not like Obama's Health Care Reform Plan.  The grain of truth that gets twisted into the lie.  Most people do not think it went far enough and still left the thieving plundering private corporations robbing us.

By The Associated Press
Saturday, September 25th, 2010 -- 11:28 am

President Barack Obama's health care overhaul has divided the nation, and Republicans believe their call for repeal will help them win elections in November. But the picture's not that clear cut.

A new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1.

"I was disappointed that it didn't provide universal coverage," said Bronwyn Bleakley, 35, a biology professor from Easton, Mass.

More than 30 million people would gain coverage in 2019 when the law is fully phased in, but another 20 million or so would remain uninsured. Bleakley, who was uninsured early in her career, views the overhaul as a work in progress.

Continue reading at:

The Super-Rich Get Richer, and Everyone Else Is Going Down the Drain

Only twice before in American history has so much been held by so few, yet they're going to keep their fat tax cuts.

September 24, 2010

The super-rich got even wealthier this year, and yet most of them are paying even fewer taxes to support the eduction, job training, and job creation of the rest of us. According to Forbes magazine’s annual survey, just released, the combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans climbed 8% this year, to $1.37 trillion. Wealth rose for 217 members of the list, while 85 saw a decline.

For example, Charles and David Koch, the energy magnates who are pouring vast sums of money into Republican coffers and sponsoring tea partiers all over America, each gained $5.5 billion of wealth over the past year. Each is now worth $21.5 billion.

Wall Street continued to dominate the list; 109 of the richest 400 are in finance or investments.
From another survey we learn that the 25 top hedge-fund managers got an average of $1 billion each, but paid an average of 17 percent in taxes (because so much of their income is considered capital gains, taxed at 15 percent thanks to the Bush tax cuts).

The rest of America got poorer, of course. The number in poverty rose to a post-war high. The median wage continues to deteriorate. And some 20 million Americans don’t have work.

SDS Voices Out Against FBI Raids*

Members of Students for a Democratic Society stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters across the country in the face of FBI repression of progressive causes.  SDSers, along with members of the Palestine SolidarityGroup, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the National Committee to FreeRicardo Palmera had their homes searched and documents and electronic devices seized.

"The government hopes to use a grand jury to frame up activists. The goal of these raids is to harass and try to intimidate the movement against U.S. wars and occupations, and those who oppose U.S. support for repressive regimes," said Colombia solidarity activist Tom Burke, one of those handed a subpoena by the FBI. "They are designed to suppress dissent and free speech, to divide the peace movement, and to pave the way for more U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and Latin America."

 Grace Kelley, an SDSer from the University of Minnesota, said “SDS at the U of M condemns the terror tactics used by the FBI to silence activists who organize against wars and for peace here in Minneapolis as well as across the nation. Tracy Molm from SDS at U of M was one of the activists whose house was raided. SDSers across the country need to stand up and condemn these raids and say that we will not be scared into silence, that we will continue to stand up and fight for what’s right”.

Several activists in Minnesota and Chicago have had papers, CDs, and cell phones stolen among other items; as well as being issued subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury. The FBI are apparently looking for evidence linking activists to "material support of terrorism" specifically liberation struggles in Colombia and Palestine. In addition to SDSers being harassed in Minneapolis, two SDSers in Milwaukee were also contacted by the FBI about their anti-war activism.

The activists involved have done nothing wrong and are refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI about their political views or organizing against war and occupation.  No arrests have been made – make no mistake, this is a fishing expedition by the FBI.

We urge all progressive activists to show solidarity with those individuals targeted by the U.S. Government.  Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and are encouraged to politely refuse - just say “No”.

Show your support!  Organize solidarity actions in your city demanding that the FBI halt all searches and seizures against progressive activists who have done nothing wrong. Contact your local media and let them know that we will not tolerate this kind of harassment from the government. And be aware – if the FBI knocks, you do not have to give out any information or answer any questions.

For more information, contact:

Grace Kelley, University of Minnesota SDS: 612.709.3424

Kas Schwerdtfeger, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee SDS: 262.893.2806

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nationwide FBI terrorism raids target anti-war activists

Friday, September 24th, 2010 — 3:37 pm

The FBI said it searched eight homes in Minneapolis and Chicago as part of a terrorism investigation on Friday, and two subjects said the agency is targeting leaders of the anti-war movement.

FBI spokesman Steve Warfield told The Associated Press agents served six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago. “These were search warrants only,” Warfield said. “We’re not anticipating any arrests at this time. They’re seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”

The home of Minneapolis anti-war activists Mick Kelly and Jess Sundin were among those searched, they told the AP. “The FBI is harassing anti-war organizers and leaders, folks who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America,” Kelly said before agents confiscated his cell phone. Sundin called the suggestion they were connected with terrorism “pretty hilarious and ridiculous.”

Activists Denounce FBI Raids on Anti-war and Solidarity Activists Homes

Subpoenas, Searches, and FBI visits carried out in cities across the country
By Staff |
September 24, 2010
Read more articles in
We denounce the Federal Bureau of Investigation harassment of anti-war and solidarity activists in several states across the country. The FBI began turning over six houses in Chicago and Minneapolis this morning, Friday, September 24, 2010, at 8:00 am central time. The FBI handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to about a dozen activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. They also attempted to intimidate activists in California and North Carolina.

"The government hopes to use a grand jury to frame up activists. The goal of these raids is to harass and try to intimidate the movement against U.S. wars and occupations, and those who oppose U.S. support for repressive regimes," said Colombia solidarity activist Tom Burke, one of those handed a subpoena by the FBI. "They are designed to suppress dissent and free speech, to divide the peace movement, and to pave the way for more U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and Latin America."

This suppression of democratic rights is aimed towards those who dedicate much of their time and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S. funded occupation and war. The activists are involved with well-known anti-war groups including many of the leaders of the huge protest against the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN in September 2008. The FBI agents emphasized that the grand jury was going to investigate the activists for possible terrorism charges. This is a U.S. government attempt to silence those who support resistance to oppression in the Middle East and Latin America.

The activists involved have done nothing wrong and are refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI about their political views or organizing against war and occupation. The activists are involved with many groups, including: the Palestine Solidarity Group, Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera (a Colombian Political Prisoner).

Steff Yorek, a long-time antiwar activist and one of the activists whose homes was searched, called the raids “An outrageous fishing expedition.”

We urge all progressive activists to show solidarity with those individuals targeted by the U.S. Government. Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and are encouraged to politely refuse, just say “No”.
Please contact or if you would like to provide support to the targeted activists.

FBI Raids Peace Organization (Freedom Road Socialist Organization) Members Homes

*Breaking News* At least four houses in Minneapolis raided, other houses in Michigan, NC, Chicago targeted.

Submitted by smiley on Fri, 09/24/2010 – 09:20
Update – At least four known houses were raided this morning including another location at Stevens Square. There were also at least two subpoenas served on activists. Keep on alert! Know your rights! Don’t talk to the FBI 

Urgent – Community Meeting tonight! 5:30 pm Walker Church 3104 16th Ave S regarding the FBI Raids 

On Friday morning, three houses in the Minneapolis area are believed to have been raided by SWAT Teams. While we have few details right now, the F.B.I. appears to be targeting people associated with the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Besides the raids in Minneapolis, houses in Michigan, North Carolina and Chicago were also targeted.

Raids occurred at 1823 Riverside, above the Hard Times Cafe, and the 2900 block of Park Ave. One other raid is reported, as well.  Outside Hard Times Cafe, three unmarked black SUVs (one with an Illinois license plate) sat in the parking area as of 10am, when a lawyer observed 8 FBI agents sitting in the residence examining materials.  Otherwise the scene was calm.

Agents had broken in the door there at 7am Friday morning, breaking an aquarium in the process.
The Federal search warrants appear to be focusing on seizing electronic devices, international travel, and alleging “co-conspirators.”  They do not authorize arrests.

The search warrant for 1823 Riverside, the residence of activist Mick Kelly, sought information “regarding ability to pay for his own travel” to Palestine and Columbia from 2000 to today.  The warrant hyped potential documents indicating any contacts/facilitation with FARC, PFLP, and Hezbollah – what it called “FTOs” or  “foreign terrorist organizations”.  It mentioned seeking information on the alleged  “facilitation of other individuals in the US to travel to Colombia, Palestine and any other foreign location in support of foreign terrorist organizations including but not limited to FARC, PFLP and Hezbollah”.

The wording of the warrant appears to indicate the government seeks to create divisions among social justice and international soldarity activists by hyping alleged connections to what they call “foreign terrorist organizations.”

The warrant also sought information on “Kelly’s travel to and from and presence in MN, and other foreign countries [sic] to which Kelly has traveled as part of his work in FRSO [Freedom Road Socialist Organization”, as well as materials related to his finances and the finances of FRSO, and all computer and electronic devices.

The federal warrant was signed by Judge Susan Nelson at 3:30pm yesterday, September 23.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

That 'Official' Poverty Rate? It's Much Worse than You Think

The shocking poverty statistics released last week tell only part of the story.

By David DeGraw, AlterNet
Posted on September 23, 2010, Printed on September 23, 2010
While the shocking new poverty statistics from the Census Bureau indicating that a record 43.6 million Americans lived in poverty in 2009 emphatically demonstrates the severity of the economic crisis, the Census is drastically undercounting this demographic. Apparently the government's poverty statistics are as accurate as its unemployment statistics.

I have read many reports that simply restate what the government has said without questioning the fact that the metrics it uses to calculate poverty are extremely outdated.

News reports say that in 2009 the poverty rate “skyrocketed” to 43.6 million -- up from 39.8 million in 2008, which is the largest year-to-year increase, and the highest number since statistics have been recorded -- putting the poverty rate for 2009 at 14.3 percent. This is obviously a tragedy and horrific news. However, this is also the result of lazy reporting.

Let’s revisit the 2008 Census total stating that 39.8 million Americans lived in poverty. It turns out that the National Academy of Science did its own study and found that 47.4 million Americans actually lived in poverty in 2008. The Census missed 7.6 million Americans living in poverty that year.

Continue reading at:

Brazilian socialism distorts free markets to feed hungry poor and dying babies

By Bruce Sterling

*There are people around North America who’ve never seen any existing socialism, so they have no real idea what “socialism” is. So, you know, this article describes what that is. A labor-union party takes power, and they feed the poor voters by government fiat. Simple really.

*Socialism is a major bureaucratic drag, unless you’re starving, or weirdly obese or malnourished, or a fifth of the children in your country are living in poverty. Actually, what’s really needed to make socialism more or less work is large organized cadres of militant and patient socialists. People who don’t mind filling milk-powder packets and hanging out with poor folk all day.

*A lot of countries don’t have anybody that patriotic.

*On the other hand, the USA is full of gold-hoarding Glenn Beck fans who are convinced we’ll all be starving any minute. This is what that would look like. You know: radical government intervention to keep the abjectly poor from starving to death.

*There are also a lot of green leftie types who are very keen on resilient urban agriculture and food co-ops. This is what that would look like in practice. Dull. Dull, and really talky, with lots of production statistics.

*Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blame the Ultra Right Wing Extremist Republicans

I’m tired of liberals, progressives and especially LGBT/T folks blaming the Democrats for actions of the ultra right wing Republi-Nazis.

As the late Molly Ivins used to say, “You got to dance with them that  brung you…”

We don’t have a Progressive Party.  Every attempt that has been made to build a third party has been performed top down and ass backwards.  The most recent example being “The Green Party”, which is now mostly a burnt out shell funded by Republi-Nazis.  Before that there was “Peace and Freedom”.  The lesson that needs to be learned is, “You do not start a political party to run someone for president.  You start by running someone for school board.”

We have spent the last 40 years or so engaging in self-defeating behavior including identity politics, only organizing among people like ourselves.

The Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s crossed racial lines.  It may have seemed patronizing to some but a multi-racial movement had seriously left wing progressive roots and the potential to unite poor black and poor white people as well as the better educated  and higher up the class structure, leaders.  One year to the day after Martin Luther King started talking about matters of class and how poor whites and poor blacks were in much the same boat when it came to opportunity, they killed him.  They being the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Hillary was right on that one, there is a “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” in this country.  It is both long standing and powerful, backed by moneyed interests like Murdoch, Mellon-Scaife, and Koch.  They own the media, fund right wing think tanks, and fund astro-turf organizations like the Tea Baggers.  They are in a partnership with the religious right, which is funded via tax free tithings from their flocks.

They have a police state on their side that has the power to disrupt and destroy any movement that threatens to actually stand up for equality and social justice.  They infiltrate and subvert our movements, sow dissension and suggest we get apathetic.
They whisper in our ear, “Aww the Democrats didn’t get you what you wanted.  Why don’t you show them who is boss and sit this election out?  Why don’t you withhold money from them?”

Of course Democrats aren’t helped by having a bunch of oh so nice wimps on our side.  You know the kind, the ones who spew the lines about how calling Republi-Nazis the same sorts of names they call us is stooping to their level.  Shit, the oh so nice wimps don’t even want us to bring a knife to a gun fight, they want us to bring kind platitudes, an oath to passivity and a flower to that gun fight.

And at the first sign of failure on the part of the Democrats they want to give up.

Fuck that shit.

We let those Nazi dickwads funded by Breitbart  destroy ACORN, a truly progressive organization and we didn’t put up a protest or a fight.  We have let the media give these bestiality loving Nazis like that cum bag Paladino and self avowed Satanist Christine O’Donnell all the publicity while they ignore serious Democratic candidates who might be better equipped to govern this nation.  We aren’t making a huge uproar when Tea Bagger candidates suggest committing genocide on LGBT/T people by invoking the imprimatur of  “The Bible” and “God”.

It is time to get tough.  Out organize them and take seats from them rather than giving up seats.  If they sling one clod of mud at one of out candidates dump a truck load of manure on theirs.

The corporate funded media have treated ultra right wing airheads like Rand Paul as people to be taken seriously, when in reality they are insane and their ideas are totally un-American.

Speaking of which…  Remember Molly Ivins?  She said of Pat Buchanan’s speech at the ’92 Republi-Nazi Convention, “It probably sounded better in the original German.”

We have let these Confederate flag and Nazi values assholes trademark “American Values” and after giving them exclusive rights of usage allowed them to pervert those very same values into something I sure as hell do not recognize as American Values.

I was pretty proud of how far we have come when we elected President Obama, even prouder still when the nomination came down to being between a man of color and a woman.  When I looked at our convention I saw the common people who make up the beautiful tapestry of this diverse nation, and I was proud to be a Democrat.

Not that the Democrats have gotten me the things I want but they have at least tried.

When I looked at the Republican Convention, my only comment was….  “I…I…see white people…” They do not represent us.  The majority of the people of this nation including the majority of Republican voters support the repeal of DADT.

We have about 45 days to work for the party.  Less than half a month to show we refute all the Birther lies about Obama.  45 days to show the world how proud we are of all sorts of people, of all different races and sexualities as well as classes all pulling our oars in the same direction in 2008 to elect the first President , who wasn’t a white male.

Even if we are disappointed this isn’t a time to retreat or to surrender… And damn it I am sometimes seriously disappointed with both Obama and with our congress.  I want them to fight harder but then I realize that we Democrats are a wishy-washy bunch and we don’t like fighting.  Say something is “socialist” and we fold when we could fight for it instead and make the Democratic party represent the sort of democratic socialism they have in much of western Europe.

Am I disappointed with not having Single Payer, inclusive ENDA, the Repeal of DADT and Marriage Equality?  Damn right I am.  But giving in now means never getting those things.  Giving in now means letting a bunch of racist, homophobic bigots who care only for the interests of the rich win.

Now isn’t the time to mourn our failures. Now is the time to organize.

The 'Rightwing Backlash' That Never Was

The consensus is that angry voters are moving rightward. But it's nothing Democrats couldn't fix with a dose of economic populism

by Mark Weisbrot
Is America in the grip of a rightwing backlash that will hit the November elections like a hurricane?
This narrative is gathering steam. It is fed not only by the minority partisan rightwing media, but also its majority "liberal" counterpart, which loves a horse race and is fascinated with the Tea Party, even if it isn't so eager for the Republicans to take congress.

Regardless of the outcome, 90%-plus of the pundits and press will cheese up the same tired old cliché in their post-election analysis: the Democrats were punished (they will inevitably lose at least some seats in congress) because they tried to go too far, too fast and too left for the inherently conservative American masses. And this junk will be consumed for years, adding another layer of fat to the lazy couch potato that is American journalism's "conventional wisdom".

How about another narrative that makes more sense? 

Let's start with the economic issues, since the economy was the number one issue for likely voters in the latest New York Times/CBS poll. Our worst and longest recession since the Great Depression was caused by a real estate bubble that accumulated and burst before Obama was elected. The Democrats passed a stimulus package that was much too small to compensate for the resulting loss of private spending. 

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Feds: Privacy Does Not Exist in ‘Public Places’

The Obama administration has urged a federal appeals court to allow the government, without a court warrant, to affix GPS devices on suspects’ vehicles to track their every move.

The Justice Department is demanding a federal appeals court rehear a case in which it reversed the conviction and life sentence of a cocaine dealer whose vehicle was tracked via GPS for a month, without a court warrant. The authorities then obtained warrants to search and find drugs in the locations where defendant Antoine Jones had travelled.

The administration, in urging the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reverse a three-judge panel’s August ruling from the same court, said Monday that Americans should expect no privacy while in public.

“The panel’s conclusion that Jones had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the public movements of his Jeep rested on the premise that an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the totality of his or her movements in public places, ” Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Smith wrote the court in a petition for rehearing.

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Weekly Standard peddles yet another bogus scandal

From Daily Kos Mailing List

Weekly Standard peddles yet another bogus scandal
September 21, 2010 9:43 am ET 
by Jamison Foser

The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack does his best to create a scandal out of a comment allegedly made by an Obama administration official about Koch Industries, the massive energy company that uses use the fortune it accumulated in part by stealing oil from US taxpayers and Indian lands to provide millions of dollars in funding for the conservative movement. But, as is often the case, McCormack’s best isn’t good enough.

The attempted scandal stems from an August 27 background briefing in which Obama administration official supposedly said: “So in this country we have partnerships, we have S corps, we have LLCs, we have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income tax. Some of which are really giant firms, you know Koch Industries is a multibillion dollar businesses.” Supposedly this is scandalous because it raises questions about how the official is aware of Koch’s tax status.

McCormack’s source for the Obama administration official’s alleged statement is Koch Industries senior vice president and general counsel Mark Holden. But even Holden is apparently unwilling to allege any wrongdoing by the Obama administration: "I’m not accusing any one of any illegal conduct. … I don’t know what [the senior administration official] was referring to. I'm not sure what he's saying. I'm not sure what information he has. … [I]f he obtained it in a way that was inappropriate, that would be unlawful. But I don't know that that's the case."

Holden’s unwillingness to actually allege any wrongdoing might have been a sign that there’s less here than meets the eye, but McCormack credulously writes: “Holden claims that the revelation of tax information could have been improper, depending on how the information was obtained by the White House.”

“Could have been”? “Depending on”? Can McCormack possibly include more wiggle-words? Yes he can: “Holden says that to his knowledge the tax status of Koch Industries has not been previously reported in the press.”
But surely John McCormack didn’t just take Holden’s word for that? Surely he looked into it himself? Ah, no:
So, questions remain: Why won't White House officials say if the quotation about Koch Industries is accurate--or even if a transcript of the briefing exists? And, if the quotation is accurate, why won't they say how the White House obtained tax information on Koch Industries?
But, as Politico’s Ben Smith reports, obtaining the tax information isn’t hard: It’s on Koch’s public web site:
[A]nother administration official said in an email this morning that the White House got the information from testimony before the the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) and from Koch's own website.
… [The official writes:] This issue was raised repeatedly by outside experts that testified before the PERAB and Koch was cited to the PERAB as an example by outside commenters to the group.  We assume it came up from publicly available information such as the Forbes magazine annual report listing Koch as one of the largest private companies in the nation or the fact that a high fraction of the largest companies within Koch Industries are listed on the Koch website as LLCs, LPs or other frequent pass-through entities.  If this information is incorrect, we are happy to revise statements.
Sure enough, if you go to and click on “Fact Sheets,” then on “Koch Facts,” you’ll see a list of Koch companies, many of which contain labels like “LLC” and “LP.” Here are a few examples:
No wonder Holden wasn’t willing to allege wrongdoing by the White House. The supposedly top-secret information is readily available on Koch’s web site!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

FDA won’t allow food to be labeled free of genetic modification: report

By Raw Story

Saturday, September 18th, 2010 -- 11:05 pm

'Extra labeling only confuses the consumer,' biotech spokesman says

That the Food and Drug Administration is opposed to labeling foods that are genetically modified is no surprise anymore, but a report in the Washington Post indicates the FDA won't even allow food producers to label their foods as being free of genetic modification.

In reporting that the FDA will likely not require the labeling of genetically modified salmon if it approves the food product for consumption, the Post's Lyndsey Layton notes that the federal agency "won't let conventional food makers trumpet the fact that their products don't contain genetically modified ingredients."

The agency warned the dairy industry in 1994 that it could not use "Hormone Free" labeling on milk from cows that are not given engineered hormones, because all milk contains some hormones.

It has sent a flurry of enforcement letters to food makers, including B&G Foods, which was told it could not use the phrase "GMO-free" on its Polaner All Fruit strawberry spread label because GMO refers to genetically modified organisms and strawberries are produce, not organisms.

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