On Thursday, the Supreme Court denied the Republican sham lawsuit trying to dismantle Obamacare with an intentionally false reading of the Affordable Care Act. Naturally, President Obama was kinda thrilled and took to the Rose Garden to celebrate on behalf of America.
As the President shared, the stakes were high:
“…for many, insurance would have become unaffordable again, many would have become uninsured again, ultimately everyone’s premiums could have gone up. America would have gone backwards. And that’s not what we do, and that’s not what America does. We move forward.”
Definitely watch the whole announcement, but Obama’s last line really was the gist of if:
“Today is a good day. Now let’s get back to work.”
I know its tough to wrap your head around, but Right wing terrorism is more dangerous and a worse threat to Americans than Islamic extremism.
As this great video from The Young Turks points out, Islamic extremism is mostly a rhetorical threat to us as Americans. Sure, extremism endangers our interests in the middle east, and is a danger to Americans bombing middle east countries into oblivion – but to us here at home, its a mostly statistical non-factor.
On the other hand, right-wing, anti-government, racist Americans are a definite danger. Mass shooting happen around the country routinely, yet they’re reported as the work of “lone nuts” or “mental illness”, but somehow not an overwhelming risk of further harm from a group trying to incite terror.
“…In the time since 9/11, jihadists have killed 26 Americans on US soil, while those with right-wing leanings have killed 39.”
Keep in mind, that stat was prior to the 9 shot dead in Charleston, and doesn’t include all those who have been targeted and injured, but not killed. Also, it’s sometimes hard to know motive of all mass shootings because the media often doesn’t identify white-related murder as terror.
Because only Muslims can incite terror, not white christians – don’t you know that?
“Headlines can mislead. The main terrorist threat in the United States is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists. Just ask the police.
In a survey we conducted with the Police Executive Research Forum last year of 382 law enforcement agencies, 74 percent reported anti-government extremism as one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdiction; 39 percent listed extremism connected with Al Qaeda or like-minded terrorist organizations. And only 3 percent identified the threat from Muslim extremists as severe, compared with 7 percent for anti-government and other forms of extremism.
George W Bush recognized this and pledged resources to investigate white terror groups just like muslim terror, but under Obama, right-wing anti-government groups bitched the government was thwarting Republican political beliefs and “coming for OUR GUNS!!!” – so the Fed stopped pressing, as did local police. Sigh.
As the video above makes clear: muslim extremists are not a different breed, they’re the same right wing, religious fundamentalists seeking to right some perceived racial/religious wrong through terror — just like their white, christian counterparts.
This video by Represent.Us brilliantly explains how our government is completely bought and paid for.
Although this idea is nothing new, the biggest “revelation” is that public support (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with passing legislation. According to a recent study:
“The preferences of the average american appear to have only a minuscule, near zero, statistically non-significant impact on public policy.”
The ONLY thing that matters is whether the economic elites want it to happen, and whether they will pay to make it happen. This means that all the REAL problems facing 99% of Americans go unaddressed, yet tax cuts, spending-cuts, corporate subsidies and de-regulation rule the day.
With an estimated $10 billion expected to be spent in the 2016 Presidential election (around $6-7 billion was spent in 2012), this isn’t going to stop any time soon.
Watch the video to see how this crappy corruption wheel keeps turning- and if/how we can ever break the wheel.
Regardless of whether you approve of how he did it, there is no denying that Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing brought NSA spying and its unconstitutional privacy violations into the national (and world) conversation.
Two years later, Congress finally made some changes to the Patriot Act to limit the NSA’s ability to spy on American meta-data. One can certainly question whether the changes will actually curb NSA spying, but at least people are pissed off enough to try to fix the problem.
MOSCOW — TWO years ago today, three journalists and I worked nervously in a Hong Kong hotel room, waiting to see how the world would react to the revelation that the National Security Agency had been making records of nearly every phone call in the United States. In the days that followed, those journalists and others published documents revealing that democratic governments had been monitoring the private activities of ordinary citizens who had done nothing wrong.
Within days, the United States government responded by bringing charges against me under World War I-era espionage laws. The journalists were advised by lawyers that they risked arrest or subpoena if they returned to the United States. Politicians raced to condemn our efforts as un-American, even treasonous.
Privately, there were moments when I worried that we might have put our privileged lives at risk for nothing — that the public would react with indifference, or practiced cynicism, to the revelations.
Never have I been so grateful to have been so wrong.
Two years on, the difference is profound. In a single month, the N.S.A.’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated.
This is the power of an informed public.
Ending the mass surveillance of private phone calls under the Patriot Act is a historic victory for the rights of every citizen, but it is only the latest product of a change in global awareness. Since 2013, institutions across Europe have ruled similar laws and operations illegal and imposed new restrictions on future activities. The United Nations declared mass surveillance an unambiguous violation of human rights. In Latin America, the efforts of citizens in Brazil led to the Marco Civil, an Internet Bill of Rights. Recognizing the critical role of informed citizens in correcting the excesses of government, the Council of Europe called for new laws to protect whistle-blowers.
Beyond the frontiers of law, progress has come even more quickly. Technologists have worked tirelessly to re-engineer the security of the devices that surround us, along with the language of the Internet itself. Secret flaws in critical infrastructure that had been exploited by governments to facilitate mass surveillance have been detected and corrected. Basic technical safeguards such as encryption — once considered esoteric and unnecessary — are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private. Such structural technological changes can ensure access to basic privacies beyond borders, insulating ordinary citizens from the arbitrary passage of anti-privacy laws, such as those now descending upon Russia.
Though we have come a long way, the right to privacy — the foundation of the freedoms enshrined in the United States Bill of Rights — remains under threat. Some of the world’s most popular online services have been enlisted as partners in the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs, and technology companies are being pressured by governments around the world to work against their customers rather than for them. Billions of cellphone location records are still being intercepted without regard for the guilt or innocence of those affected. We have learned that our government intentionally weakens the fundamental security of the Internet with “back doors” that transform private lives into open books. Metadata revealing the personal associations and interests of ordinary Internet users is still being intercepted and monitored on a scale unprecedented in history: As you read this online, the United States government makes a note.
Spymasters in Australia, Canada and France have exploited recent tragedies to seek intrusive new powers despite evidence such programs would not have prevented attacks. Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain recently mused, “Do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” He soon found his answer, proclaiming that “for too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: As long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.”
At the turning of the millennium, few imagined that citizens of developed democracies would soon be required to defend the concept of an open society against their own leaders.
Yet the balance of power is beginning to shift. We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy. For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason. With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear. As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects.
A local Georgia news station takes a brilliant behind the scenes look into American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – a corporate funded “charity” that writes many of our local/Federal bills, and then deals with legislators to push those bills into law.
Obviously, every one of these bills are handouts to the corporations that pay ALEC to do their work.
This great look into the shady practices exposes how ALEC and Georgia legislators write the bills behind the scenes, and conduct shady (and illegal) legislating outside of the public eye.
In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. OR you just get LeBron to come back.
Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers are back in the NBA Finals, its a good time to remember the notorious open letter piece of shit owner Dan Gilbert posted on the team’s site after LeBron James’ left for the Miami Heat…
Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.
Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.
The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.
There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.
You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
You have given so much and deserve so much more.
In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”
You can take it to the bank.
If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.
Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.
Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.
This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.
But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.
The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
Sleep well, Cleveland.
Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….
I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:
DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….