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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is joined by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (L) onboard Romney's 2012 presidential campaign plane enroute to Miami, Florida October 31, 2012.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS
Oh, I just love this. And the fact that it's a bipartisan bill, all the better. No doubt, it will have some lawmakers jumping out of their seats in protest. A turbulent new legislation was introduced in April, that would prevent Congress members from getting a free ride - well, a free ride in First Class, that is. No more extra legroom, special service, and free drinks on the taxpayers dime.

The bill was introduced by Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.). Christina Marcos with The Hill explains:

Each lawmaker is allotted funds known as a Member Representational Allowance to pay for running their offices, including staff salaries and office supplies.
The bill from Gosar and Ruiz, titled the Coach-Only Airfare for Capitol Hill (COACH) Act, would mandate that lawmakers and staffers can only fly first-class with personal funds. It would permit exceptions for first-class travel to accommodate disabilities or other medical needs.
In a joint statement by Gosar and Ruiz, the two lawmakers exclaim:
"Members of Congress are public servants of the people and should not be considered a privileged status."
Wait, what?

So far, 14 lawmakers have co-sponsored the bill - ten Republicans and five Democrats. Come on, Dems! Let's get this passed. Time to get off your asses and get in the back of the bus with 'the people.' (You might learn something.)

There is only one thing is missing from this delightful bill. Congress members should be assigned to 'middle seats' only. We want to be able to love on them.

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Last week in Texas, a Republican lawmaker proposed an amendment so outrageous, that even some of his own GOP colleagues were repulsed. Andrea Grimes, with RH Reality, reports:
Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) put forward an amendment that would make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks, even if a fetus “has a severe and irreversible abnormality,” effectively forcing families with wanted, but unsustainable pregnancies to carry to term at the behest of the state and against the advice of their doctors or their own wishes.
What would cause a lawmaker to want the government to inflict more emotional pain onto an already grieving family, in addition to adding a major health risk to the mother? Does he not realize a woman can easily die of sepsis by carrying a deceased or nonviable fetus?
Schaefer said that suffering is “part of the human condition, since sin entered the world.”
Oh, for fucksake! Where do these people come from? More importantly, how do they hide their vile and odious ignorance long enough to get elected?

Democratic Representative, Jessica Farrar of Houston, is quoted as saying this is the most misogynistic piece of legislation she's seen during her 21 years in office. Matt Schaefer’s amendment actually passed, but he removed it for full committee review after Trey Martinez Fischer, the House Democrat from San Antonio filed a legislative point of order.

The late author, humorist and commentator, Molly Ivins, sums up late term abortion, perfectly, in an excellent video. Here is an excerpt.

"I almost get the impression that somebody thinks women don't have no moral sense at all. No woman who is seven months pregnant, ever waddles past an abortion clinic and says, 'Darn, I knew there was something I've been meaning to get around to.'

This is ridiculous. You have those late-term abortions, because either the mother is going to die, the child is going to die, or both are going to die."

There seems to be a nonstop effort by Republican lawmakers to control women/their bodies - often in the name of God. Thankfully, there are also nonstop efforts by a much larger voice in this country - the people who refuse to let women go back to illegal, back alley, abortion butchery. This battle will most likely not end in our lifetimes, or in our children's lifetimes. But we will stay unified, and we will never give up.

Here are some of the pro-choice organizations and social media groups to visit/support:

Planned Parenthood
Emily's List
NARAL/Pro-Choice America
NOW
4000 Years For Choice
UniteWomen.org
Abortion.com
Abigail Adams Brigade
Fight Laws Against Women
Pro-Choice Liberals
The Guttmacher Institute (an excellent source of current reproductive rights legislation.)
You can share your thoughts with this GOP extremist on his Facebook page, where he is seen buddying up with other anti-choice misogynists like former Republican Governor Rick Perry and Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

Special thanks to Anne Burks.

Note: After careful thought and asking friends I respect (including kossack jplanner), I am removing the word 'deceased' from the title and using 'nonviable.' (If you share the story on Facebook, the change may not appear, given the amount of FB 'likes' the story has garnered.) I still believe, that Matt Schaefer's amendment can be construed to apply to deceased fetuses, as it does not clarify or exclude the term, and the exclusion could  be used against women. I also believe a 'braindead' fetus (considered 'nonviable') is a deceased fetus,' regardless of a heartbeat. So the title change is a compromise. Insulting comments, to the point of being slanderous/libelous are uncalled in our community, and it was a shame to see them made by several folks. Thankfully, it is not common, as kindness and civility prevail here at Daily Kos. Thank you for the incredible support, and apologies for any misunderstandings.

 

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"You know, I, for the love of me, I cannot understand why people who have billions of dollars are compulsively driven for more and how many people have got to die because they don't go to a doctor, because you want to avoid paying your taxes?" ~ Bernie Sanders

I do love this man, and this was the first time I heard the Senator from Vermont speak. Every year, I like to update and republish the speech, in hopes others will see him at his best, attacking Wall Street/1%, expressing the anger and the frustration of the people, and offering assurance and solutions. I remember thinking, 'Wow, where did this guy come from (even though he'd been in office since 2007). Why aren't more lawmakers like him?'

In this 2012 speech, which took place several months before the presidential election, Mitt Romney was running against Obama, and this country was still in recession. We had been suffering from the first extreme bout of Republican obstruction after the 2010 Midterm Elections and feared more oligarchy might become reality. Senator Bernie Sanders, (Independent-Vermont) makes it clear he is working and fighting for the people.

Prior to viewing this, I had never heard a politician speak in this way, with this kind of resolve. Though the numbers and dates have changed since this speech took place, the basic message here is timeless. This kind of passion, this kind of blatant honesty, was rare in American politics and remains scarce today. Too many lawmakers are caught up in tug of wars and political stand-offs. 

Though he has announced he will be running for president on the Democratic ticket, Sanders is an Independent. Perhaps that's why his delivery is so unique and unguarded. He's not worried about offending his party. He is the real deal. Just hearing him rip into the Koch Brothers and Citizens United is worth watching the whole video. I’d venture to say this is one of the best American political speeches in the last ten years. Here is the video, with transcript excerpts below.


Below are my favorite excerpts:
Madam President, the American People Are Angry.€ Young people who are graduating high school and graduating college, they are going out into the world, they want to become independent, they want to work, and there are no jobs.
There are workers out there 50, 55 years old who intended to work the remainder of their working lives, suddenly they got a pink slip, their self-esteem is destroyed, they a€™re never going to have another job again and now they a€™re worried about their retirement security.
What the American people are angry about is they understand that they did not cause this recession. Teachers did not cause this recession. Firefighters and police officers who are being attacked daily by governors all over this country did not cause this recession. Construction workers did not cause this recession. This recession was caused by the greed, the recklessness and illegal behavior of the people on Wall Street. They, the taxpayers of this country, bail out Wall Street, and Wall Street recovers. Wall Street does well, but now we have kids in this country graduating college deeply in debt, can’t find a job. We have older workers losing their jobs and people are saying what is going on in America?
€œIn the United States today we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income since the 1920's. Now, you a€™re not going to see what I a€™m talking about on Fox, you a€™re not going to see it on NBC or CBS, but it is important that we discuss this issue because it's one of the most important issues facing America.
€œ
And as a result of this disastrous Citizens United decision which is now two years old, one of the worst decisions ever brought about by the Supreme Court of this country, a decision that they just reaffirmed a few days ago with regard to Montana, what the Supreme Court has said to the wealthiest people in this country, okay, you own almost all the wealth of this nation that's great, now we a€™re going to give you an opportunity to own the political life of this nation. And if you'€™re getting bored by just owning coal companies and casinos and manufacturing plants, you now have the opportunity to own the United States government.
    €œ
And I think what the American people are saying is enough is enough. This country, this great country, belongs to all of us. It cannot continue to be controlled by a handful of billionaires who apparently want it all. You know, I, for the love of me, I cannot understand why people who have billions of dollars are compulsively driven for more and how many people have got to die because they don'€™t go to a doctor because you want to avoid paying your taxes?€œ
Well, that'€™s not what America is about. That’s not what people fought and died to create. With that, we have got a fight on our hands. The job of the United States national is to represent the middle-class families of this country, all of the people, and not just the super-rich. I hope we can begin to do th.at
    Here is a link to the Speech/ Full Transcript
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Congratulations to Els, from North London, for her astounding accomplishment. The 8-year old managed to convince a mega book publisher to stop marketing books that are titled 'for boys' and 'for girls' in the title.

Els, was very put off when the book company, Scholastic, told her in a title, that the pirate story she wanted to read was 'for boys.' She tells The Independent that when Scholastic comes to visit her school, everyone gets excited, and they spend a lot of money buying books. The UK student thinks Scholastic should be more responsible:

Books should be for everyone, we all like different things. If you tell a girl she could not have one of the books she likes, when she grows up she might feel lonely because she thinks that all the other girls like pretty, pink princesses and she doesn’t.
With her mother's loving encouragement to find a solution, Els sent a petition to Scholastic, signed by 80 friends and faculty from her school. The results were very good. No, the results were awesome. In a statement, Scholastic said that their website is being re-launched.
"We are no longer publishing anything new pitched ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’ in the title. Any historic titles still in the market will be reissued with new covers on reprint. We appreciate that every child is different and has the right to choose the books that are right for them."
That is amazing. Karen Attwood, who reported the story in The Independent, reports nine publishers have now agreed to drop gender labeling on books.

Els is absolutely right. Books belong to all of us. If you'd like to help reinforce her cause, and help keep other children from being limited by their gender, here are six of the top children's book publishers you can contact via Facebook:

Random House
Penguin
Scholastic
HarperCollins
Simon & Schuster
Disney (formerly Hyperion)
Thank you, Els. Perhaps there will be a book about you, or authored by you, which we can buy one day. Meanwhile, you are a hero for children, parents, and educators around the world. And thank you to Els' mom (who did not want her daughter's full name released) for showing Els that each of us really can make a difference.)

Special thanks to the Facebook Page, A Mighty Girl, for sharing this news.
Discuss
Fox News recently brought in celebrated TV therapist, Dr. Phil, to educate their staff on the inequalities between black and white kids in America. Now, with riots in Baltimore spreading throughout the country, Brian Kilmeade seemed befuddled, essentially whining, 'why do these people keep making problems for America?'
Kilmeade: “This is like the fourth major inner city uprising, and we keep saying where’s the character, where are the parents, where’s the opportunity, where are the role models? How long are we going to keep saying, ‘Where are they and what can be done to change this?’ Because those kids have the same potential as your kids and our kids.”
Dr. Phil: “I’m not sure that’s true. They may have the same potential, but I’m not sure they have the same opportunities because the fact is the school system is not necessarily the same, the resources are not necessarily the same, the leadership that they have from the parents because of the generational pass-throughs are not the same. There’s no question that they have a steep hill and a tough row to hoe."
Watch the interesting (and often amusing) take the TYT/The Young Turks gang gives on the Fox/Dr.Phil video segment below:
For being so dangerous to the public, many of the Fox hosts seem clueless. I suppose that's why they are so dangerous.

Special thanks to Rachael Christine.

Discuss
Photo courtesy of J.M. Giordano at the Baltimore City Paper
Public Defender Marci Tarrant Johnson posted this story on her Facebook page and asked it be shared widely. When citizens are being detained for days in unsanitary, overcrowded 'holding cells,' without being charged, and having to use slices of bread for pillows to cushion against the filthy concrete floors - the public needs to know. Some are being held simply for being out after curfew.

With permission, here is Marci's post, verbatim.

OK...here it is...

I'm going to try to keep this as brief as I can, but I've been asked by several people about Central Booking today, so I'll give you guys the shocking highlights. As much as I'd like to, I can't describe the particulars of some of the more egregious arrests, due to attorney/client privilege issues, but I would like to describe the Civil Liberties violations, and the deplorable conditions which people have had to endure.

As many of you know, more than 250 people have been arrested since Monday here in Baltimore. Normally when you are arrested, you are given a copy of your charging documents and then you must see a commissioner within 24 hours for a bail determination ("prompt presentment") and given a trial date. If you are not released after the commissioner hearing, you will be brought before a judge for
a review of the bail set by the commissioner. None of this was happening, so we sent some lawyers to Central Booking yesterday to try to help. I heard, however, that only 2 commissioners showed up, and the correctional officers only brought about 9 people to be interviewed because the jail was on a mysterious "lock-down".

Today we were divided into two groups. Some of the lawyers were assigned the task of actually doing judicial bail reviews for as many folks as they could get interviewed and docketed. I was assigned to the other group. We were the "habeas team", and we were to interview folks that we felt were being illegally detained, so we could file writs of habeas corpus. Governor Hogan had issued an
executive order, extending the time for prompt presentment to 47 hours. We believed that this order was invalid because the governor has no authority to alter the Maryland Rules. As a result, all people who were being detained for more than 24 hours without seeing a commissioner were being held illegally.

Knowing all of this, I was still not prepared for what I saw when I arrived. The small concrete booking cells were filled with hundreds of people, most with more than ten people per cell. Three of us were sent to the women's side where there were up to 15 women per holding cell. Most of them had been there since Monday afternoon/evening. With the exception of 3 or 4 women, the women who weren't there for Monday's round-ups were there for freaking curfew violations. Many had not seen a doctor or received required medication. Many had not been able to reach a family member by phone. But here is the WORST thing. Not only had these women been held for two days and two nights without any sort of formal booking, BUT ALMOST NONE OF THEM HAD ACTUALLY BEEN CHARGED WITH ANYTHING. They were brought to CBIF via paddy wagons (most without seat belts, btw--a real shocker after all that's happened), and taken to holding cells without ever being charged with an actual crime. No offense reports. No statements of probable cause. A few women had a vague idea what they might be charged with, some because of what they had actually been involved in, and some because of what the officer said, but quite a few had no idea why they were even there. Incidentally, I interviewed no one whose potential charges would have been more serious than petty theft, and most seemed to be disorderly conduct or failure to obey, charges which would usually result in an immediate recog/release.

The holding cells are approximately 10x10 (some slightly larger), with one open sink and toilet. The women were instructed that the water was "bad" and that they shouldn't drink it. There are no beds--just a concrete cube. No blankets or pillows. The cells were designed to hold people for a few hours, not a few days. In the one cell which housed 15 women, there wasn't even enough room for them all to lay down at the same time. Three times a day, the guards brought each woman 4 slices of bread, a slice of american cheese and a small bag of cookies. They sometimes got juice, but water was scarce, as the CO's had to wheel a water cooler through every so often (the regular water being "broken".)

My fellow attorneys and I all separately heard the same sickening story over and over. None of the women really wanted to eat 4 slices of bread 3 times a day, so they were saving slices of bread TO USE AS PILLOWS. Let me say that again. THEY WERE ALL USING BREAD AS PILLOWS SO THAT THEY WOULDN'T HAVE TO LAY THEIR HEADS ON THE FILTHY CONCRETE FLOOR.

Interviewing these women was emotionally exhausting. Quite a few of them began crying--so happy to finally see someone who might know why they were there, or perhaps how they might get out of this Kafka-esque nightmare. These women came from all walks of life. We interviewed high school students, college students, people with graduate degrees, people with GED's, single women, married women,
mothers, the well-employed, the unemployed, black women and white women. Almost all of them had no record. Those that did, had things like dui's and very minor misdemeanors. Our group didn't interview any of the men on the other side, but my colleagues reported very similar situations. On the men's side there were journalists and activists, as well as highschool kids with no records, barely 18 years old.

As we were getting ready to leave, we heard that many of these folks might be released without charges, after being held for 2 days. When we returned to the office, our amazing "habeas fellow", Zina Makar, single-handedly filed 82 habeas petitions. That is when we heard that 101 people were released without charges. I'd like to think that the amazing legal response to this injustice played a large part in their release, and I feel privileged to have been a part of it. They may be charged later, but I'm guessing most of them won't based on how minor their alleged infractions are. There are still over a hundred folks in there that need to see a commissioner and/or a judge, but hopefully we have thinned the ranks a little, and we will keep fighting until everyone has received due process. (We are concerned about these folks potential bails, as we are hearing about bails in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for misdemeanor charges).

I'll wrap this up by reminding everyone that all lives matter. We are all human beings. And we are Americans, and as such we are afforded protections under the law, the guilty and innocent alike. If one person is denied due process, we all suffer. If one persons rights and freedoms are trampled on, it's not only a reflection on all of us, but it puts our own liberty at risk. The moment we view some individuals as more important than others, we cheapen ourselves. At the very essence of our democracy is the right to question and stand up to authority. During these trying times, we should all keep that in mind.

I'll leave you with a beautiful picture that was taken today of one of the women who was released without charges. Her husband had been waiting outside CBIF trying to find something...ANYTHING out about when she might be charged or released. This was taken moments after she walked out the door…..

Grateful to all from around the country who are keeping many of us informed. Revolutions are bound to happen when the people cry out for justice, and they are ignored again and again. And so, this revolution has begun.
Discuss
According to International Business Journal, former President Jimmy Carter said he raised 'zero' money in donations during his 1976 run against the current President Gerald Ford, who also reportedly raised no campaign donations. They relied upon public financed campaigns, and Carter doubts he could raise the minimum of $200 million it takes to run today (not that he'd want to run). A charitable man, Mr. Carter lives modestly and has most likely given much of his accumulated wealth to The Carter Center, which he and his wife Rosalynn founded in 1982.

Using only public campaign funding back then had some good benefits, but one benefit stands out as colossal, to the candidate - and to the American people:

'We didn't raise money, so we weren't obligated to any special interest groups, and now, of course, very wealthy people are giving unlimited amounts of money, almost, because of the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United," the Democrat added.
And there it is. Former President Jimmy Carter was 'not obligated to special interest groups' - probably the reason he was not reelected. He refused to play the game. It's no surprise to hear this man of great integrity speak out against Citizens United corruption.

Jimmy Carter also speaks out about the abuses of women these days, and he addresses the problem in his new book, A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, And Power. Last weekend, I published a Daily Kos piece about Jimmy Carter challenging the travesty of religions of today and how they negatively impact women. It's titled the same as his open letter:


Jimmy Carter: 'Losing My Religion For Equality'
People are hungry for the truth, compassion, and integrity Mr. Carter exemplifies on a daily basis. He's a remarkable human being.
Discuss
So, we have 'white riots' (because we lost the game), and 'black riots' (because we're losing our lives). Guess which riots national and mainstream media choose to demonize?

As Occupy Democrats state in their meme below, violent and destructive sports riots barely make the news.

It's a problem. Carl Bialik with the polling aggregation site, Five Thirty-Eight, writes more about the riots we don't see:
"After Wisconsin upset Kentucky in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament Saturday night, there was a riot near Kentucky’s campus in Lexington. People threw bottles and set fires, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The police used pepper spray and arrested 31 people. And this wasn’t the first time people in Lexington reacted violently after a big Wildcats game. Last spring, the police arrested dozens of people after riots when Kentucky lost in the national championship game. And they arrested dozens of people in two separate riots in 2012, after Kentucky’s wins in the national semifinal and final. Those are four of about 50 North American sports riots in the past five decades…" See chart
TYT/The Young Turks did an amusing take on this issue in this YouTube clip. There is a good amount of profanity, so you may want to lower/turn off your speakers, if you're at the office (depending where you work) or if you're at home with children around:
Does this make the Baltimore rioting right? Not at all. It makes mainstream media and a little more wrong.

Thank goodness for social media. We don't always get it right, but we certainly add a whole lot more perspective and information, which mainstream media wouldn't dare touch for fear of losing their high dollar sponsors. Here's to the social, civil, and economical diversity we find everyday at our fingertips.  

Discuss
Actors Saginaw Grant and Loren Anthony on the set of 'Ridiculous Six.' Image source: instagram.com/lorenanthony
Sometimes comedies are just not funny.

During the production of Adam Sandler's upcoming film called, The Ridiculous Six, the offensive script and condescending film staff caused 12 Native actors to walk off the set last week. In an exclusive story for ICTMN Vincent Schilling interviews several of the actors who quit the movie:

The actors, who were primarily from the Navajo Nation, left the set after the satirical western’s script repeatedly insulted native women and elders and grossly misrepresented Apache culture. The examples of disrespect included Native women’s names such as Beaver’s Breath and No Bra, an actress portraying an Apache woman squatting and urinating while smoking a peace pipe, and feathers inappropriately positioned on a teepee.
One of the Native actors who left the film was Loren Anthony, also the lead singer of the metal band Bloodline. Anthony was discouraged with how uncompromising the film staff was, even after multiple concerns were expressed:
“They didn’t want to change anything in the script and said they’d put a lot of money into it so far, so they didn’t feel like we were a priority. We had a cultural adviser, who served as a consultant, and he’d constantly be letting the director and writers know what was wrong as far as cultural taboos, but they didn’t listen to him, so he felt disrespected and decided to walk off. One of the directors said, ‘If you don’t like it, you can leave.’ And then we all walked off.”
The film stars Adam Sandler, Nick Nolte, Steve Buscemi, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Lovitz and Vanilla Ice. Sounds like a boy's night out, with no women mentioned in the leading roles. Allison Young, a former Dartmouth film student said the whole ordeal of insults was pretty upsetting.
"When I began doing this film, I had an uneasy feeling inside of me and I felt so conflicted," she said. "I talked to a former instructor at Dartmouth and he told me to take this as finally experiencing stereotyping first hand. “Nothing has changed,” said Young. “We are still just Hollywood Indians.”
An older actor and member of the American Indian Movement was all too familiar with this kind of stereotype. David Hill, Choctaw, had little tolerance for the movie script written by Sandler and Tim Herlihy. Hill expressed sadness that people, who really needed the work, felt compelled to walk out. The 74-year old said:
"We understand this is a comedy, we understand this is humor, but we won’t tolerate disrespect. This isn’t my first rodeo, if someone doesn’t speak up, no one will.”
This is not a new issue. Below is a 1973 clip from the 45th Academy Awards where Sacheen Littlefeather voices similar concerns.

Thank you to those willing to walk away from a Hollywood paycheck/film credit, for the sake of women, race, and cultural integrity.

Follow ICTMN's Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter
Sources: Indian Country Today Media Network & Daily Beast

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Bush and Cheney belong in jail
It was only a matter of time before little George Jr. would have the audacity (and stupidity) to criticize President Obama's foreign strategies and peace negotiations. This past Saturday turned out to be that time. He just couldn't hold back any longer. Bloomberg and The New York Times both report that during a closed-door meeting for The Republican Jewish Coalition, George Bush Jr. basically told hundreds of donors that President Obama was not handling the whole war thing very well. The JRC audience in Las Vegas listened, knowing this former president is considered a war criminal by many in this country, as well as around the world. Bush's administration is responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousand of innocent civilians, causing the deaths of over 5,000 American troops, and using illegal torture to seek information. Yet this war monger feels it's okay to publicly censure a peace-seeking president - for not being tough enough.

New York Times writers, Michael Barbaro and Maggie Haberman report:

Several attendees sensed a tacit critique of Mr. Obama and his failure to follow through on his threats to use force when Mr. Bush said “you gotta mean it” when talking tough, and that America’s allies and enemies needed to know where an American leader stood. He also discussed his own approach in Iraq, saying he changed course when it was warranted.

“You call in the military and say, ‘Here’s my goal. What’s your plan to help me achieve that goal?'” attendees quoted him as saying. He added that when asked what had to be done with terrorists bent on America’s destruction, the answer was “well, you kill ‘em,” several attendees recalled.

'You kill 'em.' Well, of course, that would be his answer. Killing is what Bush has done best. It's what he's known for - it will be his legacy. According to Josh Rogin with Bloomberg, one of the transcribers from the donor meeting said:
Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama’s policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. On Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011, he quoted Senator Lindsey Graham calling it a “strategic blunder.” Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw those troops, but the idea had been to negotiate a new status of forces agreement to keep U.S. forces there past 2011. The Obama administration tried and failed to negotiate such an agreement.
Bush reportedly implied that during his watch, terrorists were put in jail.
Bush said he views the rise of the Islamic State as al-Qaeda’s "second act” and that they may have changed the name but that murdering innocents is still the favored tactic. He defended his own administration’s handling of terrorism, noting that the terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was captured on his watch: “Just remember the guy who slit Danny Pearl’s throat is in Gitmo, and now they're doing it on TV.”
Perhaps Bush just forgot to mention on his watch, Gitmo (Guantanamo Detention Camp) became one of this nation's monumental disgraces, next to the Iraq War (also known as 'Bush's War'). During his watch, the prison camp was known to be America's torture chamber, using water-boarding as just one of the forms of investigation. And he forgot to mention that on his watch,  his 'War on Terror,' actually fueled more terrorists and hatred towards America. Some think Bush helped create ISIS.

It's hard for some of us to believe this man is not in prison, much less out there having a good time at posh fundraisers, condemning anyone's foreign policies. Perhaps Bush thinks that enough time has gone by, and people have forgotten the damage, destruction, and massive deaths that have been caused by him and his administration. No, Mr. Bush, we haven't forgotten. And history will never forget. Be grateful you and Dick Cheney are still allowed to walk free. Don't push it.

Lesleigh Coyer, 25, of Saginaw, Michigan, lies down in front of the grave of her brother, Ryan Coyer, who served with the U.S. Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia March 11, 2013. Coyer died of complications from a
Read More:
BloombergView.com
The New York Times

Thank you, Wojteck Wocowski and Nannette Harrison.

A special shout out to Facebook Page Americans Against Republican Wars.

And special mention to Code Pink, a grassroots peace and social justice movement (formed in 2002) working to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations. You can visit their website here.

Discuss
Sen. Al Franken speaking at Senate Antitrust Subcommittee held a hearing on AT&T's plan to takeover T-Mobile. The hearing's title,
The people of this country received some great news in April. Comcast opted out of its reported $45.3 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The proposed deal would have been damaging to consumers/internet users on so many levels, leaving Americans at the mercy of yet another conglomerate. Daily Kos writer, Jen Hayden, originally reported the news here.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has been rallying against the Comcast/TWC deal from the time it was first announced in February of 2014. He beckoned Congress, the DOJ/Department of Justice, his constituents, and general public to get involved. Sunday morning Franken sent out this email:

Dear XXXXX,

Friday, cable giant Comcast announced that it is walking away from a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable.

The deal would have been a disaster for consumers. It would have created a cable behemoth that would drive up prices, drive down choice, and, if you can believe it, make service even worse.

Comcast walked away from this deal because they knew the tide was turning against them. They saw the writing on the wall -- and we helped put it there.

I’ve been against this deal from the very beginning. And along the way, thousands of you joined me. You signed petitions. You talked to your friends about it. You posted on Facebook and tweeted about it to boost our efforts.

It’s a huge victory for American consumers. It’s proof positive that a strong, persistent grassroots movement can make a difference. And while our fight to protect consumers will no doubt continue in the days and weeks to come, let’s enjoy this win.

Thank you for all you've done.

Al

The New York Times reports:

The Justice Department confirmed that it had significant concerns that the proposed merger “would make Comcast an unavoidable gatekeeper for Internet-based services that rely on a broadband connection to reach consumers.”

“This is a victory not only for the Department of Justice,” Eric Holder said in a statement, “but also for providers of content and streaming services who work to bring innovative products to consumers across America and around the world.”

Thank you, Senator Franken for putting the people first, and thank you, former Attorney General Eric Holder for filing a lawsuit against the intended transaction. Most of all, thank you to all those who got involved and protested the merger. It's good thing when elected officials hear the voice of the people and do their job. It is a great thing when the people of this country win.

Franken has also been working diligently to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling which has enabled the Koch Brothers and their ilk to buy candidates, buy elections, and buy our laws. I believe Senator Franken will see that one to the end, as well.

Here are way to connect with Franken:

Al Franken On Facebook
Al Franken On Twitter
AlFranken.Com Website
Al Franken: Citizens United Petition

Special Recognition to technology expert Susan P. Crawford and US Representative John Conyers (D-Mich), who were also strong opponents of the Comcast/Time Warner merger from the beginning.

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"We want an Israel that celebrates diversity, where tolerance is not a weakness it’s a strength. We want an Israel that teaches its poor with compassion. We want an Israel that treats minorities with respect. We will not stay silent to racist rants. We want an Israel that treats every citizen as equal regardless of their origin, religion, of financial status. We want an Israel where public officials are held accountable and where public money is distributed with transparency. And above all we want an Israel that does not control millions of Palestinians. We want an Israel that is constantly working for peace."
Meet Stav Shaffir, the youngest female member of the Knesset legislative branch, in the history of Israel. The 29-year old breathes hope for many, with her words of peace, justice, and solidarity. Shaffir is a fierce advocate for government transparency, women's rights, equal marriage, peace with Iran, and the end of Gaza occupation - a sort of Liberal dream come true. And she has no problems calling out the Right, calling out corruption, and calling out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as shown in a YouTube video that went viral last January.

In March of 2015, Shaffir spoke at the 5th National J Street Conference in Washington DC, and her presence was said to be one of the highlights of this year's forum. To the dismay of many attending the conference, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had just been reelected and spirits were low. But Shav Shaffir was not there to commiserate. She began her speech with strength and encouragement.  

“Since I arrived in the United States I have heard frustration I haven’t heard in the past, beyond frustration — almost despair,” said Shaffir. “But despair, this we cannot afford.”
Here is the video of Stav Shaffir's 17-minute speech at the 2015 J Street Conference. She is introduced by Molly Freeman who gives background on Shaffir for a few minutes.
The 2015 J Street speech above was the first time I heard Stav Shaffer speak, and I was mesmerized. She has that 'gift' I see so seldom, and so often cannot forget. Some liken her to Elizabeth Warren and the two met on Capitol Hill, following the conference. Bound for greatness, she beams with integrity, and Israel is fortunate to have her. The world is fortunate to have her, and we can only wonder what amazing things Shaffir will accomplish during her lifetime. I join others in hoping one of those accomplishments will include a reign as Israel's Prime Minister. The world is ready for more leaders like this.
Read more about Stav Shaffir:
Wikipeida
Haaretz.com
Special thanks to Benjamin F, and The Sisterood/Forward.com.
Image by Americans Against Republican Wars.
NOTE: The J Street YouTube video is cued to Shaffir's speech. You can rewind/fast-forward to view other J Street Conference speakers.
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