Posted by in News on March 12, 2016
Organic farmer Lynda Hopkins
Lynda Hopkins, a writer, farmer and former journalist, issued a press release today announcing her candidacy. “There are many pressing issues that we as a community need to address, including the need for affordable housing and childcare. I don’t want to wait any longer,” said Hopkins in her press release.
Hopkins is a published author and a former journalist for Sonoma West Publishers.
Hopkins proposes seeking a ballot measure to raise hotel bed taxes from 9 to 12 percent, generating an estimated $3 million per year to pay for roads. Hopkins also said she would consider seeking voter approval for a bond to bolster the county’s road repair budget. “It would have to be specifically allocated to roads so it’s not something that can wind up being siphoned for the general fund,”
Supervisor James Gore announced that he had endorsed Lynda Hopkins saying he viewed the 32-year-old organic farmer from Forestville as “part of the next wave of public leadership here in Sonoma County… I endorsed her because I want to work with her, and I have trust in her values, and I have confidence in her work ethic.”
Former State Sen. Noreen Evans.
Evans, 60, is the second candidate to enter the race. In order to qualify to run for Fifth District Supervisor, moved into the district, to Sebastopol — and out of her home in eastern Santa Rosa —
Evans was first elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 1996, and in 2000 she ran unsuccessfully for county supervisor against then-incumbent Tim Smith. She was elected to the state Assembly in 2004 and served until 2010, when she won election to the state Senate.
Her time in the Legislature also was marked by public comments that suggested she was disenchanted with elected office, and early into her Senate term she applied for an appointment as a judge on the California Court of Appeal.
Evans supports stronger requirements that more new units be set aside for low- and moderate-income residents.
Evans says that taxes from medical marijuana — and potentially those from recreational pot sales, if California voters sanction such sales and use this year — could provide money to help the county fix its roads. “The only big source of revenue we can look at is regulating and taxing cannabis,” said Evans.
Special-education teacher Timothy Sergent
Moved to Sonoma County in 1988 after serving in the U.S. Army Infantry in Panama. He studied at Santa Rosa Junior College, went on to U.C. Berkeley for a degree in Social Science with a focus in social and economic development. Upon graduation, Sergent moved to Washington D.C. to work as a staff assistant on the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, and as a Congressional Liaison to the House of Representatives for the Secretary of Defense, during the Clinton Administration.
Sergent says he is running to fix the county’s roads, rein in public employee pension costs and increase access to higher education for high school students.
County eligibility worker Marion Chase
Chase said her entry into politics was sparked by her daily interaction with low-income people. At the county, she helps them apply for Medi-Cal and food stamps.
Chase, 50, who advocated for increased attention to mental health services and housing for homeless people.
She also said better broadband Internet service is critical for the small businesses and rural residents in west county.
Rio Nido attorney Lew Brown
I cannot find any information relating to Mr. Brown
Posted by in News on November 24, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — Seven British women have won substantial damages and an extraordinary apology from the Metropolitan Police after being deceived into forming relationships with undercover police officers.
The unprecedented apology and admittance of “abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong behaviour” by the Met comes four years after the women launched legal action against the force.
Since the exposure of undercover police officer Mark Kennedy in 2009, evidence that the Metropolitan Police sanctioned officers to sleep with targets has mounted. Kennedy spent seven years living as eco-activist Mark Stone after infiltrating a close-knit group of environmental activists. Despite being married, those in the movement claim the undercover cop had numerous sexual relationships over the years, which were a systematic means of gathering intelligence.
Another undercover officer, Bob Lambert, had relationships with four women while pretending to be an animal rights and environmental activist in the 1980s.
Some of the abusive and indefensible relationships which targeted political movements in the U.K. bore children.
On Friday, Police chiefs released a statement apologising unreservedly to the seven women who were deceived into forming “abusive and manipulative” long-term relationships with undercover officers.
Undisclosed, substantial amounts of compensation have also been paid those duped into the immoral and intimate relationships with undercover spies — some lasting up to nine years.
On Friday, the Metropolitan Police Service published the full apology after it was given to the seven women in person.
“Thanks in large part to the courage and tenacity of these women in bringing these matters to light it has become apparent that some officers, acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong,” Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said, as part of the settlement.
“I acknowledge that these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma. I unreservedly apologise on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service. I am aware that money alone cannot compensate the loss of time, their hurt or the feelings of abuse caused by these relationships,” he added.
The statement acknowledged that the women were deceived and suffered gross privacy violations in a situation that “may well have reflected attitudes towards women that should have no part in the culture of the Metropolitan Police.”
It said officers preyed on the women’s good nature and manipulated their emotions gratuitously and added that the subsequent trauma and secrecy left the women at risk of further abuse and deception by the officers, even after the deployment ended.
Responding to the apology, the women said: “No amount of ‘sorry’, or financial compensation, can make up for what we and others have endured, we are pleased the police have been forced to acknowledge the abusive nature of these relationships and that they should never happen.”
The relationships — which span a period of nearly 25 years — had remained hidden until they begun to be exposed by a series of media reports in 2010. By linking the cases together, a clear pattern of abusive and discriminatory behaviour towards women was revealed, which pointed to institutionalised sexism by the Metropolitan Police.
Police Spies Out of People’s Lives, a support group for legal action against the sinister policing methods, said:
“While the UK purports to be a democratic country, the level of deception perpetrated by state agents seeking to undermine movements for social change is more akin to that of the Stasi in East Germany. These professionally supported relationships – some of which bore children – lasted as long as nine years and have remained hidden from the public for decades. Indeed, the police still refuse to publicly acknowledge the harm caused to the children born of and into these relationships or even bring themselves to refer to them in their apology today.”
Substantial financial settlements made to seven of the women mean they are now unable to take the matter forward to open court. However, one has refused the settlement, and her fight to obtain disclosure and have the legal framework governing Britain’s undercover policing examined by the courts will continue.
This article (Scotland Yard Apologises For Undercover Relationships with Activists) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and theAntiMedia.org.
I posted this photo and tag on FaceBook.
“What a load of Bullshit”
My post released a shitstorm. The immediate response I got was from a friend who concluded my post to mean “Joe doesn’t think police lives matter”.
This is a total misunderstanding.
A lot of people instantly think if you endorse “Black Lives Matter”, that somehow by doing so you declare that no other lives matter. When “Black Lives Matter” was first seen in the media, I made a naive, knee-jerk statement. Wait a minute, “All lives matter”, I said. (I was soon schooled by a friend.) When taken out of the context of of the moment, all lives should matter. The problem is that they don’t. There are a LOT of people who have no experience that can help them relate to the idea. They’ve never been pulled over for ‘driving while black’, they’ve never been marginalized in an everyday situation (I could go on, but I won’t).
“Black Lives Matter” is a legitimate campaign to bring attention to a facet of the problem- police brutality waged on black people. The idea is to bring a subject to people who don’t understand what is, and has been happening to black people in America for a very long time. If you don’t think there is a huge difference between a cop killing a member of the majority class and a cop killing a member of a minority class, you haven’t been paying attention. The “Black Lives Matter” movement is bringing this point to your attention.
The point is that white lives, cops lives, ruling class lives, employed lives, mainstream lives, etc… matter by default.
If you are not a majority, mainstream, accepted-by-society person, your life matters less in America. It’s a fact. If we accept this behavior, it will only get worse, until the only people who’s lives really matter are the people in control. We are very neat that point now.
Think about this quote written by Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime. He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
The point is if you are silent about oppression, you are complicit in it.
At this time, we are becoming more aware of black lives being taken by out of control police. If you dilute “Black Lives Matter” with “(enter group here) Lives Matter”, your action reduces the impact and diverts attention away from the point. When you promote the oppressors (Police Lives Matter) you turn the whole thing upside down.
- I think the a large percentage of the police in this country are out of control.
- People of color are inordinately the object of brutality by police.
- The behavior of the bad cops is condoned by good cops who refuse to say anything about their own kind.
- The system is rigged to give the police a pass on their behavior while going through the motions of Grand Jury reviews.
- If we don’t help shine the light of exposure on brutality by police against those who are different than ourselves we are complicit in the brutality.
- Impunity breeds defiance. We don’t know who will be next.
I wrote this after reading a Press Democrat article by Clark Mason
(who can be contacted at 707-521-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @clarkmas.)
The real estate sharks (investors) called The Drake Property Group decided to grab a jewel-in-the-rough. The Prentice Apartments in Healdsburg, California. They aim to buy low, turn the tenants out, fix it up, refill it and make a killing. Their prospectus statement says they are-
“seeking ‘a tenant demographic more appropriate to the refined nature of the Healdsburg community, tenants who value good design and beautiful surroundings.'”
Peter Supino, the head of Drake Property Group, states “we had no idea who was in that building” when his company issued the statement last year.
“It was a general statement, before I knew Healdsburg and knew those people. I would not repeat it.”
How can this be true? The statement specifically mentions “…the refined nature of the Healdsburg community.” He specifically mentions the group is “seeking a tenant demographic more appropriate…” I have to ask, more appropriate than what? Mr. Supino could only mean the current tenants, in his words, ‘those people’.
Why would the head of the esteemed Drake Property Group invest in a property with tenants he didn’t know, in a town that he didn’t know? Isn’t he responsible for researching investments? Doesn’t he hold a fiduciary responsibility to his investors to have a basic clue about what he is suggesting they do with their money?
The answers are simple- He wouldn’t, he is, and he does. Mr. Supino is a liar.
There are other questions not asked by Mr. Mason, the PD’s stenographer.
- Who decides who is ‘more appropriate to the refined nature of the Healdsburg community’?
I would venture to guess that in The Drakes Group’s world, ‘refined nature’ = white (or not ‘Those people’).
- Who decides how you gauge whether a tenant ‘values good design and beautiful surroundings?
Again, I would venture to guess that in The Drakes Group’s world, ‘values good design and beautiful surroundings’ = can afford double the rent (or not ‘Those people’).
Another aspect of this situation barely touched by the PD stenographer is that the position of the Healdsburg City Council. Aside from some chit-chat about how difficult it is to implement rent control, there was little digging done. It seems that the Drake Property Group’s plan is OK by them. But the question wasn’t asked. I’m sure some on the council feel like it would be nothing but an improvement to their cute little town, a tax bonanza, a wonderful way to clean things up a bit while marginalizing the people on whose backs the town was built. But I am just as sure there are others that do not feel the same.
Stenographers write down what others say. Journalists dig into the story acting as the eyes & ears of their community. Journalists ask follow-up questions because they give a damn about what they are reporting on.
The Press Democrat gives us stenographers. Sonoma County needs journalists
Posted by in News on May 28, 2015
On Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a rousing speech kicking off his campaign in his home state of Vermont.
“This campaign,” Sanders said, “is not about Bernie Sanders. It is not about Hillary Clinton. It is not about Jeb Bush or anyone else. This campaign is about the needs of the American people, and the ideas and proposals that effectively address those needs.” Sanders went on to deliver a surprisingly policy-heavy speech. Here are his prepared remarks, minus the thank-yous and glad-to-be-heres at the beginning.
Today, here in our small state — a state that has led the nation in so many ways — I am proud to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.
Today, with your support and the support of millions of people throughout this country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally.
Today, we stand here and say loudly and clearly that; “Enough is enough. This great nation and its government belong to all of the people, and not to a handful of billionaires, their Super-PACs and their lobbyists.”
Brothers and sisters: Now is not the time for thinking small. Now is not the time for the same old — same old establishment politics and stale inside-the-beltway ideas.
Now is the time for millions of working families to come together, to revitalize American democracy, to end the collapse of the American middle class and to make certain that our children and grandchildren are able to enjoy a quality of life that brings them health, prosperity, security and joy – and that once again makes the United States the leader in the world in the fight for economic and social justice, for environmental sanity and for a world of peace.
My fellow Americans: This country faces more serious problems today than at any time since the Great Depression and, if you include the planetary crisis of climate change, it may well be that the challenges we face now are direr than any time in our modern history.
Here is my promise to you for this campaign. Not only will I fight to protect the working families of this country, but we’re going to build a movement of millions of Americans who are prepared to stand up and fight back. We’re going to take this campaign directly to the people – in town meetings, door to door conversations, on street corners and in social media — and that’s BernieSanders.com by the way. This week we will be in New Hampshire, Iowa and Minnesota — and that’s just the start of a vigorous grassroots campaign.
Let’s be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It is not about Hillary Clinton. It is not about Jeb Bush or anyone else. This campaign is about the needs of the American people, and the ideas and proposals that effectively address those needs. As someone who has never run a negative political ad in his life, my campaign will be driven by issues and serious debate; not political gossip, not reckless personal attacks or character assassination. This is what I believe the American people want and deserve. I hope other candidates agree, and I hope the media allows that to happen. Politics in a democratic society should not be treated like a baseball game, a game show or a soap opera. The times are too serious for that.
Let me take a minute to touch on some of the issues that I will be focusing on in the coming months, and then give you an outline of an Agenda for America which will, in fact, deal with these problems and lead us to a better future.
Income and Wealth Inequality: Today, we live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world but that reality means very little for most of us because almost all of that wealth is owned and controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. In America we now have more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone is wider than at any time since the 1920s. The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time. And we will address it.
Let me be very clear. There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. There is something profoundly wrong when, in recent years, we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires at the same time as millions of Americans work longer hours for lower wages and we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth. There is something profoundly wrong when one family owns more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans. This grotesque level of inequality is immoral. It is bad economics. It is unsustainable. This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change and, as your president, together we will change it.
Economics: But it is not just income and wealth inequality. It is the tragic reality that for the last 40 years the great middle class of our country —once the envy of the world — has been disappearing. Despite exploding technology and increased worker productivity, median family income is almost $5,000 less than it was in 1999. In Vermont and throughout this country it is not uncommon for people to be working two or three jobs just to cobble together enough income to survive on and some health care benefits.
The truth is that real unemployment is not the 5.4 percent you read in newspapers. It is close to 11 percent if you include those workers who have given up looking for jobs or who are working part time when they want to work full time. Youth unemployment is over 17 percent and African-American youth unemployment is much higher than that. Today, shamefully, we have 45 million people living in poverty, many of whom are working at low-wage jobs. These are the people who struggle every day to find the money to feed their kids, to pay their electric bills and to put gas in the car to get to work. This campaign is about those people and our struggling middle class. It is about creating an economy that works for all, and not just the one percent.
Citizens United: My fellow Americans: Let me be as blunt as I can and tell you what you already know. As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, the American political system has been totally corrupted, and the foundations of American democracy are being undermined. What the Supreme Court essentially said was that it was not good enough for the billionaire class to own much of our economy. They could now own the U.S. government as well. And that is precisely what they are trying to do.
American democracy is not about billionaires being able to buy candidates and elections. It is not about the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and other incredibly wealthy individuals spending billions of dollars to elect candidates who will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer. According to media reports the Koch brothers alone, one family, will spend more money in this election cycle than either the Democratic or Republican parties. This is not democracy. This is oligarchy. In Vermont and at our town meetings we know what American democracy is supposed to be about. It is one person, one vote — with every citizen having an equal say — and no voter suppression. And that’s the kind of American political system we have to fight for and will fight for in this campaign.
Climate Change: When we talk about our responsibilities as human beings and as parents, there is nothing more important than leaving this country and the entire planet in a way that is habitable for our kids and grandchildren. The debate is over. The scientific community has spoken in a virtually unanimous voice. Climate change is real. It is caused by human activity and it is already causing devastating problems in the United States and around the world.
The scientists are telling us that if we do not boldly transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies, this planet could be five to ten degrees Fahrenheit warmer by the end of this century. This is catastrophic. It will mean more drought, more famine, more rising sea level, more floods, more ocean acidification, more extreme weather disturbances, more disease and more human suffering. We must not, we cannot, and we will not allow that to happen.
It is no secret that there is massive discontent with politics in America today. In the mid-term election in November, 63 percent of Americans did not vote, including 80 percent of young people. Poll after poll tells us that our citizens no longer have confidence in our political institutions and, given the power of Big Money in the political process, they have serious doubts about how much their vote actually matters and whether politicians have any clue as to what is going on in their lives.
Combatting this political alienation, this cynicism and this legitimate anger will not be easy. That’s for sure. But that is exactly what, together, we have to do if we are going to turn this country around — and that is what this campaign is all about.
And to bring people together we need a simple and straight-forward progressive agenda which speaks to the needs of our people, and which provides us with a vision of a very different America. And what is that agenda?
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: It begins with jobs. If we are truly serious about reversing the decline of the middle class we need a major federal jobs program which puts millions of Americans back to work at decent paying jobs. At a time when our roads, bridges, water systems, rail and airports are decaying, the most effective way to rapidly create meaningful jobs is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation which would invest $1 trillion over 5 years to modernize our country’s physical infrastructure. This legislation would create and maintain at least 13 million good-paying jobs, while making our country more productive, efficient and safe. And I promise you as president I will lead that legislation into law.
I will also continue to oppose our current trade policies. For decades, presidents from both parties have supported trade agreements which have cost us millions of decent paying jobs as corporate America shuts down plants here and moves to low-wage countries. As president, my trade policies will break that cycle of agreements which enrich at the expense of the working people of this country.
Raising Wages: Let us be honest and acknowledge that millions of Americans are now working for totally inadequate wages. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised. The minimum wage must become a living wage — which means raising it to $15 an hour over the next few years — which is exactly what Los Angeles recently did — and I applaud them for doing that. Our goal as a nation must be to ensure that no full-time worker lives in poverty. Further, we must establish pay equity for women workers. It’s unconscionable that women earn 78 cents on the dollar compared to men who perform the same work. We must also end the scandal in which millions of American employees, often earning less than $30,000 a year, work 50 or 60 hours a week — and earn no overtime. And we need paid sick leave and guaranteed vacation time for all.
Addressing Wealth and Income Inequality: This campaign is going to send a message to the billionaire class. And that is: you can’t have it all. You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America, if you refuse to accept your responsibilities.
That is why we need a tax system which is fair and progressive, which makes wealthy individuals and profitable corporations begin to pay their fair share of taxes.
Reforming Wall Street: It is time to break up the largest financial institutions in the country. Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial instruments while expecting the public to bail it out. If a bank is too big to fail it is too big to exist. We need a banking system which is part of the job creating productive economy, not a handful of huge banks on Wall Street which engage in reckless and illegal activities.
Campaign Finance Reform: If we are serious about creating jobs, about climate change and the needs of our children and the elderly, we must be deadly serious about campaign finance reform and the need for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. I will not nominate any justice to the Supreme Court who has not made it clear that he or she will move to overturn that disastrous decision which is undermining our democracy. Long term, we need to go further and establish public funding of elections.
Reversing Climate Change: The United States must lead the world in reversing climate change. We can do that if we transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, toward energy efficiency and such sustainable energies such as wind, solar, geo-thermal and bio-mass. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, our transportation system needs to be energy efficient, and we need a tax on carbon to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuel.
Health Care for All: The United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for all as a right. Despite the modest gains of the Affordable Care Act, 35 million Americans continue to lack health insurance and many more are under-insured. Yet, we continue paying far more per capita for health care than any other nation. The United States must join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all as a right by moving toward a Medicare-for-All single-payer system.
Protecting Our Most Vulnerable: At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to keep their heads above water economically, at a time when senior poverty is increasing, at a time when millions of kids are living in dire poverty, my Republican colleagues, as part of their recently-passed budget, are trying to make a terrible situation even worse. If you can believe it, the Republican budget throws 27 million Americans off health insurance, makes drastic cuts in Medicare, throws millions of low-income Americans, including pregnant women off of nutrition programs, and makes it harder for working-class families to afford college or put their kids in the Head Start program. And then, to add insult to injury, they provide huge tax breaks for the very wealthiest families in this country while they raise taxes on working families.
Well, let me tell my Republican colleagues that I respectfully disagree with their approach. Instead of cutting Social Security, we’re going to expand Social Security benefits. Instead of cutting Head Start and child care, we are going to move to a universal pre-K system for all the children of this country. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt reminded us, a nation’s greatness is judged not by what it provides to the most well-off, but how it treats the people most in need. And that’s the kind of nation we must become.
College for All: And when we talk about education, let me be very clear. In a highly competitive global economy, we need the best educated workforce we can create. It is insane and counter-productive to the best interests of our country, that hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and that millions of others leave school with a mountain of debt that burdens them for decades. That must end. That is why, as president, I will fight to make tuition in public colleges and universities free, as well as substantially lower interest rates on student loans.
War and Peace: As everybody knows, we live in a difficult and dangerous world, and there are people out there who want to do us harm. As president, I will defend this nation — but I will do it responsibly. As a member of Congress I voted against the war in Iraq, and that was the right vote. I am vigorously opposed to an endless war in the Middle East — a war which is unwise and unnecessary. We must be vigorous in combatting terrorism and defeating ISIS, but we should not have to bear that burden alone. We must be part of an international coalition, led by Muslim nations, that can not only defeat ISIS but begin the process of creating conditions for a lasting peace.
As some of you know, I was born in a far-away land called Brooklyn, New York. My father came to this country from Poland without a penny in his pocket and without much of an education. My mother graduated high school in New York City. My father worked for almost his entire life as a paint salesman and we were solidly lower-middle class. My parents, brother and I lived in a small rent-controlled apartment. My mother’s dream was to move out of that small apartment into a home of our own. She died young and her dream was never fulfilled. As a kid I learned, in many, many ways, what lack of money means to a family. That’s a lesson I have never forgotten.
I have seen the promise of America in my own life. My parents would have never dreamed that their son would be a U.S. Senator, let alone run for president. But for too many of our fellow Americans, the dream of progress and opportunity is being denied by the grind of an economy that funnels all the wealth to the top.
And to those who say we cannot restore the dream, I say just look where we are standing. This beautiful place was once an unsightly rail yard that served no public purpose and was an eyesore. As mayor, I worked with the people of Burlington to help turn this waterfront into the beautiful people-oriented public space it is today. We took the fight to the courts, to the legislature and to the people. And we won.
The lesson to be learned is that when people stand together, and are prepared to fight back, there is nothing that can’t be accomplished.
We can live in a country:
Where every person has health care as a right, not a privilege;
Where every parent can have quality and affordable childcare and where all of our qualified young people, regardless of income, can go to college;
Where every senior can live in dignity and security, and not be forced to choose between their medicine or their food;
Where every veteran who defends this nation gets the quality health care and benefits they have earned and receives the respect they deserve;
Where every person, no matter their race, their religion, their disability or their sexual orientation realizes the full promise of equality that is our birthright as Americans.
That is the nation we can build together, and I ask you to join me in this campaign to build a future that works for all of us, and not just the few on top.
Thank you, and on this beautiful day on the shore of Lake Champlain, I welcome you aboard.
Posted by in News on May 20, 2015
Tens of thousands of HTTPS-protected websites, mail servers, and other widely used Internet services are vulnerable to a new attack that lets eavesdroppers read and modify data passing through encrypted connections.
The weakness is the result of export restrictions the US government mandated in the 1990s on US developers who wanted their software to be used abroad. The regime was established by the Clinton administration so the FBI and other agencies could break the encryption used by foreign entities. Attackers with the ability to monitor the connection between an end user and a Diffie-Hellman-enabled server that supports the export cipher can inject a special payload into the traffic that downgrades encrypted connections to use extremely weak 512-bit key material.
Read about it in Threat Attack, here.
Test your browser here.
Because most of the corporate media missed the issue or minimized it while concentrating on the sensational aspects of Mr. Hughes heroic flight (why wasn’t he shot down? Bla, bla, bla…). I have posted the letter (below) he brought with him to deliver to every member of Congress.
He’s a hero in my book.
Consider the following statement by John Kerry in his farewell speech to the Senate —
“The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself. They know it. They know we know it. And yet, Nothing Happens!” — John Kerry, 2-13
In a July 2012 Gallup poll, 87% tagged corruption in the federal government as extremely important or very important, placing this issue just barely behind job creation. According to Gallup, public faith in Congress is at a 41-year record low, 7%. (June 2014) Kerry is correct. The popular perception outside the DC beltway is that the federal government is corrupt and the US Congress is the major problem. As a voter, I’m a member of the only political body with authority over Congress. I’m demanding reform and declaring a voter’s rebellion in a manner consistent with Jefferson’s description of rights in the Declaration of Independence. As a member of Congress, you have three options.
1. You may pretend corruption does not exist.
2. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform.
3. You may actively participate in real reform.
If you’re considering option 1, you may wonder if voters really know what the ‘chase for money’ is. Your dismal and declining popularity documented by Gallup suggests we know, but allow a few examples, by no means a complete list. That these practices are legal does not make them right! Obviously, it is Congress who writes the laws that make corruption legal.
1. Dozens of major and very profitable corporations pay nothing in taxes. Voters know how this is done. Corporations pay millions to lobbyists for special legislation. Many companies on the list of freeloaders are household names — GE, Boeing, Exxon Mobil, Verizon, Citigroup, Dow …
2. Almost half of the retiring members of Congress from 1998 to 2004 got jobs as lobbyists earning on average fourteen times their Congressional salary. (50% of the Senate, 42% of the House)
3. The new democratic freshmen to the US House in 2012 were ‘advised’ by the party to schedule 4 hours per day on the phones fund raising at party headquarters (because fund raising is illegal from gov’t offices.) It is the donors with deep pockets who get the calls, but seldom do the priorities of the rich donor help the average citizen.
4. The relevant (rich) donors who command the attention of Congress are only .05% of the public (5 people in a thousand) but these aristocrats of both parties are who Congress really works for. As a member of the US Congress, you should work only for The People.
1. Not yourself.
2. Not your political party.
3. Not the richest donors to your campaign.
4. Not the lobbyist company who will hire you after your leave Congress.
There are several credible groups working to reform Congress. Their evaluations of the problem are remarkably in agreement though the leadership (and membership) may lean conservative or liberal. They see the corrupting effect of money — how the current rules empower special interests through lobbyists and PACs — robbing the average American of any representation on any issue where the connected have a stake. This is not democracy even if the ritual of elections is maintained.
The various mechanisms which funnel money to candidates and congress-persons are complex. It happens before they are elected, while they are in office and after they leave Congress. Fortunately, a solution to corruption is not complicated. All the proposals are built around either reform legislation or a Constitutional Amendment. Actually, we need both — a constitutional amendment and legislation.
There will be discussion about the structure and details of reform. As I see it, campaign finance reform is the cornerstone of building an honest Congress. Erect a wall of separation between our elected officials and big money. This you must do — or your replacement will do. A corporation is not ‘people’ and no individual should be allowed to spend hundreds of millions to ‘influence’ an election. That much money is a megaphone which drowns out the voices of ‘We the People.’ Next, a retired member of Congress has a lifelong obligation to avoid the appearance of impropriety. That almost half the retired members of Congress work as lobbyists and make millions of dollars per year smells like bribery, however legal. It must end. Pass real campaign finance reform and prohibit even the appearance of payola after retirement and you will be part of a Congress I can respect.
The states have the power to pass a Constitutional Amendment without Congress — and we will. You in Congress will likely embrace the change just to survive, because liberals and conservatives won’t settle for less than democracy. The leadership and organization to coordinate a voters revolution exist now! New groups will add their voices because the vast majority of Americans believe in the real democracy we once had, which Congress over time has eroded to the corrupt, dysfunctional plutocracy we have.
The question is where YOU individually stand. You have three options and you must choose.
Douglas M. Hughes
Posted by in Opinion on April 23, 2015
2 fatal accidents, texting, alcohol involved, two very different results.
White driver- Nicholas Tognozzi
Two deaths in the car he rear-ended while going 65 mph while texting under the influence of marijuana. The two dead women were in the back seat of what used to be a Toyota Camry. Nicholas Tognozzi gets 1 year in the county jail and three years probation. If Tognozzi successful completes 18 months of probation, the two felony gross vehicular manslaughter charges will be reduced to misdemeanors. CHP determined Tognozzi was not over the line for alcohol, but was arrested anyway after officers searched his car and found several buds of marijuana in a glass jar and a pipe. Tognozzi had received at ticket in 2011 for using a cellphone while driving.
He was driven to the CHP office in Rohnert Park where he was tested three hours later by a drug recognition expert, Officer Greg White, who determined Tognozzi was under the influence of marijuana but not impaired.
Deputy District Attorney Dustin Hughson said the prosecution had not made any plea offers to Tognozzi and did not have any input on the indicated sentence that was reached between the defense and the judge during discussions in the chambers. Hughson, objected last month when Judge Chouteau removed from the complaint the great bodily injury enhancement. Hughson said the enhancement would have added five years to Tognozzi’s sentence. Nicholas Tognozzi was arrested at the scene on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The CHP says Tognozzi was determined to be under the influence of pot. So where are the driving under the influence charges?
Brown driver- Rafael Prieto-Gonzalez
One death, of his passenger, when he lost control of the vehicle and hit a tree. Rafael Prieto-Gonzalez gets 19 years in San Quentin. Prieto-Gonzalez will be eligible for release after serving 85 percent, over 16 years, of his sentence. He pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, vehicle theft and other allegations in a deal with prosecutors. No indication in the article that he had a lawyer, most likely a public defender, who probably didn’t ask if they could make a deal in chambers with the judge (but he isn’t a nice local white person). Prieto-Gonzalez’ request to postpone his sentencing so he could get married in the county jail was denied by Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite. Prosecutors argued he could just as easily tie the knot at San Quentin State Prison.
Posted by in Opinion on October 22, 2014
Opium poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko writes:
“Despite spending over $7 billion to combat opium poppy cultivation and to develop the Afghan government’s counternarcotics capacity, opium poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013 . . . As of June 30, 2014, the United States has spent approximately $7.6 billion on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan”
Read the article quoted above.
Read the Wiki on Afghan opium.
A different approach
Prohibition doesn’t work. (You would think we might have learned hat lesson from our own experiment with alcohol.) What if we tried something different? Here’s a simple description-
Have the Afghan government license the poppy farmers (to keep track of things) and the United States guaranteed we would buy all the opium they could produce ? What might happen?
- Something seen as evil could be put to a good use.
- As part of the program, Big Pharma would use it to produce useful drugs.
- The opium would be off the street and out of the black market.
- The Afghan farmers would make a legitimate living doing what they know how to do.
- The Afghan military would have a real, vested interest in protecting their country from insurgents.
- Afghanistan would have the basis for a real economy using a product that thrives naturally.
- Per capita income, standard of living, loyalty to the government vs. the Taliban would all increase.
- The United States would exchange the role of occupying oppressor for benevolent business partner.
- We might still spend ~a billion a year, but it would buy positive results.
- Afghanistan and the world would be better for it.
This is a three part video presentation produced by the REAL News Network.
Phil Donahue and the Donahue show have been honored with 20 Daytime Emmy Awards, including nine for Outstanding Host and a George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Journalism Award.
- Part One Mr. Donahue says he believed he was blessed, living in the greatest country on earth – but through hosting his show, speaking to people like Chomsky and the Black Panthers, he came to question what he had thought was true.
- Part Two Corporate Media is Destroying Democracy. Corporate media doesn’t rock the boat, it is the boat.
- Part Three Whistle Blowers, Dissenters, and Progressives are the Patriots. We are a nation of laws, until we are scared.