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PM May to fight 2020 election on pledge to deliver ‘British Bill of Rights’

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Fox News Focuses on Snowden, Ignores Gov't Assault on Bill of Rights

Lindsey Graham wants him “follow to the ends of the earth”; Ron Paul worries that he might be targeted for an Obama drone strike;...

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What America’s Most Vulnerable Need: A Bill of Rights for the Homeless

Paul Boden, a homeless rights advocate for 30 years, is helping groups around the country draft legislation to help the homeless.

January 11, 2013  |  

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Editor's Note: In the next 10 days AlterNet will be launching an in-depth special coverage series on a wide range of stories addressing the shameful levels of growing inequality, poverty and homelessness in our nation. This interview is a preview of the topics we will be addressing. Veteran reporter Evelyn Nieves, who has covered these issues for a range of publications, will be contributing to the series.

Homeless shelters began opening en masse three decades ago, but the crisis is only getting worse. In a survey of 25 cities from every region of the country, the U.S. Conference of Mayors found more than half are experiencing a spike in homelessness. A majority of the cities said families seeking shelter were turned away for lack of space and that they expect an increase in homeless families. Yet more and more cities are addressing homelessness not by creating housing, but by banning activities such as sitting, sleeping or lying down in public, effectively making being homeless illegal.

This year, advocates for the homeless are fighting back. Until new policies and programs address the causes of homelessness--a lack of affordable housing, lagging incomes that have not kept pace with rising housing costs and the severe cuts in housing assistance programs for the poor—the nation must stop treating our most downtrodden fellow humans like criminals.

Last June, Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to pass a Homeless Bill of Rights, banning discrimination against homeless Rhode Islanders and asserting their right to use public parks, transportation and buildings like anyone else. In California, a Homeless Persons’ Bill of Rights and Fairness Act (AB 5) was introduced last month by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, Similar bills are expected to be introduced in several other states, including Massachusetts and Oregon.

Paul Boden, an advocate for poor and homeless people for 30 years, helped draft the California legislation as organizing director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), a coalition of homeless advocacy groups from several Western states. Boden will be criss-crossing the region and the country in the coming months, working with groups hoping to help draft homeless rights bills.

For Boden, who co-founded the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness 25 years ago, ordinances designed to drive homeless people from public spaces are akin to laws that once discriminated against African Americans, Japanese Americans and the disabled. At a time when even cities considered liberal and tolerant have laws curbing the activities of the unhoused, homeless rights bills are likely to face tough public opposition. The California measure, for example, would grant legal protection to homeless people engaged “in life-sustaining activities on public property,” including sleeping, panhandling, urinating and “collecting and possessing good for recycling, even if those goods contain alcoholic residue.” 

Editorial writers have sneered at the bill. The S an Francisco Chronicle called it “a non-starter ... an absurd reaction to restrictions on homeless conduct and tough-love ideas.” The M erced Sun-Star called it a “nightmare scenario.” But Boden says that by putting the laws that criminalize homeless people in a historical context and exposing how they do nothing to solve homelessness but much to demonize society’s most stigmatized members, the bills could turn the national discussion around. He spoke about the Homeless Bill of Rights strategy advocates are planning to use to force cities into moving the discussion away from homelessness as a public nuisance and toward solutions to homelessness.

Evelyn Nieves: Why a Homeless Bill of Rights?

Paul Boden: The Homeless Bill of Rights is an attempt on our part to validate in law that people regardless of their housing status have a right to exist in public space. More and more and more, we see private security, business improvement districts and policing programs with sit-lie or loitering or jaywalking or sleeping or park closures, where it really has come down to we don’t want you in this community.

How U.S. Officials Circumvented the Bill of Rights

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On the News With Thom Hartmann: The Bill Meant to Strengthen Gun Regulations Could...

In today's On the News segment: The bill the Senate is voting on next month to strengthen gun regulations could turn into one that actually enhances guns rights; nearly every state in our nation has reduced funding for public universities; the Westboro Baptist Church has a new neighbor; and more.


TRANSCRIPT:

Thom Hartmann here – on the news...

You need to know this. Next month, the Senate will vote on gun control legislation, but provisions that the majority of voters support won't be in the bill. Yesterday, California Senator Diane Feinstein's assault weapons ban was pulled from the legislation, despite a Pew Research poll showing 55% of Americans support the ban. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will allow the weapons ban to be offered as an amendment, but he will only introduce one measure, which increases the charges and penalties for gun trafficking. As Republicans would mount fierce opposition to the ban on military-style weapons, Mr. Reid said he felt sympathy for Diane Feinstein, but that her bill did not have the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster. The final bill may also include provisions to strengthen background checks, but it could be weighed down with pro-gun amendments from the other side of the isle. According to the New York Times, if that happens, the bill meant to strengthen gun regulations could turn into one that actually enhances guns rights. In an interview with reporters, Feinstein said, "How many assault weapons do you need circulating? To have these mass killings is such a blight on everything that America stands for." So, the gun lobby wins again, and modest legislation, which would help keep military-style weapons out of criminals' hands, can't even be put up for a vote. The American people deserve to know which side their representatives stand on. Either Senators are with the majority of Americans that want these weapons off the street, or their with the gun lobby. As President Obama said in his State of the Union, "they deserve a vote," and now is the time for that vote to happen.

In screwed news... In the five years since the 2008 financial meltdown, nearly every state in our nation has reduced funding for public universities. According to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, only North Dakota and Wyoming are investing in our future leaders at the same level they were before the Great Recession. The Think Progress Blog points out that some states have made these drastic cuts to education funding only to preserve tax breaks, leaving students on the hook for the skyrocketing tuition costs. Students in Arizona have been hit the hardest, with a 78% increase in college costs just since 2008 – all to preserve a $538 million corporate tax break enacted in 2011. So, while corporations in that state enjoy a 4.9% tax rate, students suffer with closed campuses, eliminated courses, inadequate school resources, and they pay nearly double the cost to obtain a degree. This is immoral... and extremely unwise. Our nation is 16th in the world at educating our future leaders, and huge cuts and ballooning tuition costs will only push us down further on that list. We must start investing in an educated workforce. If we're supposed to be the greatest country in the world, why don't we guarantee the right to a world-class education? This has to change.

In the best of the rest of the news...

Senator Elizabeth Warren is a warrior for the middle class. And in between taking on the banksters, and calling Republicans out for the pro-1% policies, Warren is also working on a book to document the battles she's fought on behalf of working people of our nation. In an interview with the Associate Press on Tuesday, Sen. Warren said the new book, called "Rigged," will tell the story of her time on a Congressional Oversight Panel, how she helped set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and how she ran a successful senate campaign to defeat Scott Brown. Warren said, "the title refers to how the economic system is too often rigged against families that work hard and play by the rules. The story is national, but it's also personal." Leave it to Senator Elizabeth Warren... not only does she fight everyday for the middle class, but manages to find time to document the story.

Next time you hear the Republican talking point about the U.S. having the highest corporate tax rate in the world, remember this: In 2012, some of our nation's largest corporations actually got huge refunds. For instance, General Electric made $81 billion dollars in profits last year, yet received a whopping $3 billion dollar tax refund. Bank of America is another tax-dodger, as the company earned over $75 billion last year, yet wrote off so many legal settlements the company was eligible for a tax refund of over $1 billion. It is a privilege to do business in our nation, and to make huge profits off of hard-working American citizens, yet we're actually paying corporations to be here. If Republicans are so worried about the debt and the deficit, they should be putting an end to this corporate welfare. If companies want to use our commons to make huge profits off our fellow citizens, let's demand they start paying their fair share.

And finally... The Westboro Baptist Church has a new neighbor. About six months ago, Aaron Jackson, a founding member of a charity organization called Planting Peace, bought the house directly across the street from the anti-gay group. The purchase is part of a new nonprofit he calls "Equality House." Mr. Jackson found out the house while playing around on Google Earth, and was struck with a brilliant idea. He said that as soon as he saw it was for sale he thought, "Oh my gosh, I could buy a house in front of the [Westboro Baptist Chuch]! And I'm going to paint that thing the color of the pride flag." And yesterday, that's exactly what he did. Out front of the newly-painted rainbow exterior, Mr. Jackson also flies the pride flag, and he is already working on the next steps in his fight for LGBT equality. Congrats to Aaron Jackson for standing up to Fred Phelps and his homophobic, hate group. In the words of Jesus, "love thy neighbor, as thy self." I wonder if that includes neighbors living in a rainbow covered house...

And that's the way it is today – Wednesday, March 20, 2013. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.

One Billion Rising: Globalizing the Battle for Women’s Rights

There’s talk about union, and then there’s acting in unison. As the President was talking about the State of the Union this week, the organizers of V-day were working with activists all around the world to pull off what will doubtless be the most public breaking-of the silence around gender violence that the world has seen.

One Billion Rising is the brainchild of Eve Ensler and the women and men of V-day. For fifteen years,the anti-violence mobilization V-day has used Valentines Day productions of Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues, to draw attention to violence against women and girls.  As Ensler says, V-day’s goal was to stop the violence that according to the UN, affects one in three women in the world.  Fifteen years on, she decided it was time to escalate – and she put out a global call for one billion people to Strike Dance or Rise today – February 14, 2013.

The call went out a year ago today. At last count, people in more countries than there are countries had announced they would be Striking or Dancing or Rising today. That’s 202 countries and territories. Go to the website OneBillionRising.org. Type in your zip code and you’ll find a Google Map that is a mad mass of risings. You can watch the action in South Africa, India, Congo and many other places via live videostream from home.

The action began at dawn with indigenous women in Papua New Guinea. It is sweeping through Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe to the Americas. The Prime Minister of Australia and the President of Croatia are rising. Migrant workers, domestic workers, nurses, doctors, even the Dalai Lama.  Solidarity pledges have come in from movie stars and Dalit women and the president of the United Steelworkers.

By this time tomorrow what will OBR have achieved?  It’s not like some Mayan Calendar prediction of world transformation overnight. Some organizers have taken advantage of the rising to give momentum to legislation. In the US, in Washington, the One Billion Rising Rising will be calling for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. In London, Stella Creasy MP, has introduced a bill to demand more comprehensive sex education – and she’s calling it the One Billion Rising  Act.

But OBR’s greatest impact may have to do with borders. Not only has the mobilization brought women from all over the world together into an organizing effort that puts a whole new spin on internationalism, but it has also shone a spotlight on the intersections between so called “social” issues and “economic.”

Women and the men now working in jobs typically held by women, have been the shock absorbers of our economy, said labor leaders on a panel sponsored by One Billion Rising held at Cooper Union last fall. There, National Nurses United co-president Karen Higgins made the point that “The issues women face as workers as well as healthcare providers are very personal to us.”

NNU is one of a slew of labor groups supporting OBR in this country and abroad, including the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers, The United Steelworkers, the American Federation of Teachers and Working America. The largest unions in the Philippines and UK, Kilusang Mayo Uno and UNITE, are also participating. Said Higgins this November:  

“We're seeing more and more the fall out from this economy. Violence against us is rising, not just against nurses, but all healthcare workers and we’re having to fight with employers who don't' want word to get out that we're facing that much violence. That silence hurts us too...Among our patients, heart disease in women is becoming more of a killer than cancer. And we're watching women, responsible for welfare of family, choosing between their own welfare and those of kids.”

Today women in the Philippines will be rising to end violence against women and simultaneously to raise wages. They are integrated movements.  After breaking the silence around violence against women, will the global anti-violence movement take on breaking the silence about the violence of today’s economy?

© 2013 Grit TV

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders was the founder and host of GRITtv and is the author of the books BUSHWOMEN and Blue Grit. She's the editor of At the Tea Party

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Mandatory Vaccination Bill Introduced in Congress

Bob Livingston
Personal Liberty

Government is force. When it finds that soft force doesn’t work, it becomes more aggressive.

Having found itself unable to scare and/or coerce all Americans into “voluntary” vaccination compliance, now Congress has before it a bill titled the “Vaccinate All Children Act of 2015.” Of course this requirement is being done “in the public interest” and “for the greater good.”

It would accomplish the task of vaccinating all children by withholding federal funds from public elementary and secondary schools that enroll students who are not vaccinated according to recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Of course, children are required by law to attend school, and most children attend public schools. And people are forced to fund those schools whether they have children attending them or not. Opting out of the public indoctrination camps passing as public schools requires jumping through special hoops and/or forking over large sums of cash to a private school.

And who sits on the Advisory Committee that sets the recommendations? Why, it’s health professionals who benefit — either directly or indirectly – from vaccination programs. And some get thousands of dollars from drug makers like Pfizer, Merk and GlaxoSmithKline for “consulting” and “speaking” fees. One member, Marietta Vazquez, M.D., pocketed more than $20,000 for three speeches.

Even if they worked and were without risk, vaccines only stimulate temporary immunity. By trading lifelong immunity for temporary vaccine-induced immunity, people become vaccine dependent. The winners of repeated mandatory vaccinations are the pharmaceutical companies. The losers are the people, who are first put at risk as children for vaccine adverse events and then put at risk as adults for repeated vaccinations that have already failed. The pharmaceuticals have discovered a money machine in mass vaccinations. But they need and have to have your body for the pretense.

The development of asthma, diabetes and autism in children has increased substantially in the last four decades, coinciding with the significant increase in childhood immunizations. People are finally recognizing the link and questioning Big Pharma, and more and more are beginning to “opt out.”

Public awareness has been manipulated. Why does no one question the authority of injecting agents of unknown toxicity into their body? Unbelievably, the general public is satisfied with the disinformation provided by the government. Unfortunately, now is the wrong time for apathy. We are on the verge of a vaccine mania and by the time our wakeup call comes, it just may be too late.

The worldwide market for human vaccine is now over $24 billion – and expected by the World Health Organization to rise to $100 billion in 2025 — with the underlying purpose cloaked by the guise of protecting public health.

The act of forcing people through intimidation and deception into dangerous medications is terrorism of the most malicious sort. This act by public authority constitutes assault, violating civil and human rights under national and international law.

There can be no “greater good” in this act of war against the American people.

© Personal Liberty Media Group

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BREAK THE KOCH MACHINE A number of billionaires are flooding our…

BREAK THE KOCH MACHINE

A number of billionaires are flooding our democracy with their money, drowning out the voices of the rest of us. But Charles and David Koch are in a class by themselves. They’re using their fortune – they’re the fifth and sixth richest people in the world — to create their own political machine designed to protect and advance their financial interests. The Koch machine includes:

1. Political front groups pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into elections at every level of our democracy, while disguising the sources of the money.

2. Giant advertising campaigns to convince Americans climate change is a myth, the Affordable Care Act will harm them, unions are bad, and wealthy people deserve tax cuts.

3. A network of think tanks designed to come up with findings the Kochs want. For example, over $23 million for studies arguing we should abolish the minimum wage or keep it where it is forever.

4. A campaign to suppress the votes of minorities. In the last presidential election, funding white “poll-watchers” where minorities vote, leading to complaints of voter intimidation. And peddling a Voter ID bill to state legislators across the country, designed to make it harder for many to vote.

5. A nationwide effort to bust unions.  Funding anti-union campaigns in states like Wisconsin, and pushing an anti-union law that’s been used in dozens of states to undermine workers’ collective bargaining rights.

And 6. A long-term strategy to unravel America’s campaign finance laws, even organizing secret meetings with sympathetic Supreme Court justices. 

The Koch political machine would be troubling in any circumstance. But it’s especially dangerous in present-day America, where wealth is more concentrated than it’s been in over a century and the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates to big money.

The problem isn’t that the Kochs are so rich, or their political views are so regressive. The problem is they’re using their exorbitant wealth to impose those views on the rest of us, undermining our democracy.

More than 200,000 of you have already signed my MoveOn petition denouncing the Koch brothers for undermining our democracy.

The Kochs won’t care what we say, but when a half a million of us stand up to them, politicians will have to think twice before taking their money. When a million of us stand up to them, their money will be a political liability.

Standing up to bullies is the hallmark of a civilized society. Please join our petition — and stand up for our democracy. The link to the petition is at the end of the video.

Or go to http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/we-denounce-the-koch

Our democracy is not for sale.

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Iranians Execute Billionaire; Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?

The Iranians may have an oil-soaked, corrupt regime led by a nuke-crazy megalomaniac, but at least the Iranian people won't stand for billionaires milking them dry. An Associated Press article posted on OpEd News reports of a stunning end to one billionaire's bank scam:

"TEHRAN, IRAN—A billionaire businessman at the heart of a $2.6 billion state bank scam, the largest fraud case since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, was executed Saturday, state television reported.

"Authorities put Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, also known as Amir Mansour Aria, to death at Evin prison, just north of the capital, Tehran, the station reported. The report said the execution came after Iran’s Supreme Court upheld his death sentence.

"Khosravi’s lawyer, Gholam Ali Riahi, was quoted by news website khabaronline.ir as saying that his client was put to death without any notice."

Oh how I have dreamed of such a fate for the Wall Street thieves we bailed out in 2008. Alas, here in America we have a much more advanced legal process. Our justice system is much more deliberate (meaning, if you have enough money you can bombard prosecutors in enough paperwork to delay trial for years). You are permitted competent and committed legal representation (if you have the monetary wherewithal, that is). You are granted certain inalienable rights (unless, of course, you are African-American or Latino). You have the right to appeal to a higher court if you are convicted in a lower court (but don't appeal to the Supreme Court, the most corrupt and vial high court in American history). So summary execution of a U.S. billionaire would never happen (no one with that much money in this country will ever be tried of anything, much less convicted).

I wonder how long Sheldon Adelson would last in Iran? One can dream, right?

http://neverlandpublishing.com/tpm.html

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Duplicitous Obama Civil Rights Hyperbole

Duplicitous Obama Civil Rights Hyperbole

by Stephen Lendman

Obama represents the worst of rogue governance. On April 10, he honored Lyndon Johnson. One war criminal paid tribute to another.

He spoke at his Austin-based Presidential Library and Museum. He did so commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

His words rang hollow. The New York Times called his speech "stirr(ing)." It stopped short of denouncing his duplicity. More on what he said below.

America's human and civil rights record is by far the world's worst. No other nation matches its lawlessness. None approach it.

It's by far the world's most unprincipled. It's responsible for virtually every crime imaginable and then some.

It's police state than democracy. It's more battleground than homeland.

Lawless FBI, CIA, NSA, FEMA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Border Patrol, and other federal operatives work jointly with state and local authorities. 

They target fundamental freedoms. They harm their own people.

Anyone can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and imprisoned for any reason or none at all. US citizens at home or abroad can be murdered. Obama can order them killed by presidential diktat.

Others can be arrested and detained. They can be held indefinitely. They can be thrown into military dungeons. They can be denied civil justice. They can be held uncharged.

Innocence is no defense. State terrorism is official policy at home and abroad. Police states operate this way. America is by far the world's worst.

Freedom, human rights, and other democratic values don't matter. Supporting right over wrong is hazardous. 

Challenging Washington's right to dominate globally risks persecution or death. America is unfit to live in. Things go from bad to worse.

Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. Rogue governance defines his agenda. Humanity may not survive on his watch.

On July 2, 1964, Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. Officially it's called:

"An act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States of America to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes."

It was more feel good than do good. Objectives fell short of promise. They were more hype than reality. They weren't achieved. Things today are worse than ever in modern times.

On June 11, 1963, Jack Kennedy called for legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public…"

He included "hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments." He urged "greater protection for the right to vote."

Segregationists kept legislation from being enacted. Bottling it up in committee works as intended.

Kennedy's November 22, 1963 assassination changed things. Johnson was a former Senate Majority Leader. He was a powerful mover and shaker.

He wielded bully pulpit power as president. He supported civil and voting rights legislation. On November 27, 1963, he told Congress:

"No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long."

Enactment of legislation he sought followed. Designed to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin fell woefully short.

Powers enacted were weak. They remain so. Equal protection under law is more fantasy than real. It's a figure of speech.

Millions of persons of color bear witness. Muslims in America at the wrong time know the sting of US injustice. They're persecuted for praying to the wrong God. Constitutional protections don't help.

Johnson's July 2, 1964 statement rang hollow. He called signing the Civil Rights act a "proud triumph."

"Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom," he said. 

They died for imperial lawlessness. More than ever today. Johnson didn't explain. Nor presidents following him.

"Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities," he said. For America's rich, well-born and able alone. 

"Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders," he added. 

It's selectively given. America has the best democracy money can buy.

"We believe that all men are created equal," said Johnson. "Yet many are denied equal treatment."

The vast majority do today. A select few benefit. They do so at the expense of all others.

"We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights," said Johnson. 

"Yet many Americans do not enjoy those rights." Overwhelming numbers enjoy few today. 

Freedom is an endangered species. It's disappearing in plain sight. Tyranny is on a fast track toward replacing it. International, constitutional and US statute laws don't matter.

Democracy is pure fantasy. A year after civil rights legislation passed, the Voting Rights Act followed. On August 6, 1965, Johnson signed it into law.

It nominally supports 15th Amendment protections. They prohibit federal or state governments from denying citizens voting rights based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

On February 3, 1870, it was ratified. Fulfillment didn't follow promise. Nor from the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

US voting rights were constitutionally flawed by design. America's founders enfranchised adult white male property owners only.

Laborers were excluded. So were women. They were considered homemakers and child-bearers alone. Slaves were called property, not people. 

Native Americans, free Black men, apprentices, felons, and persons considered incompetent were denied.

From inception to today, US elections were never open, free and fair. Big money controls them. Electoral fraud is rife.

Things are pre-scripted. Voters have no say. Secrecy and back-room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process.

Candidates are pre-selected. Monied interests own them. Key outcomes are predetermined. America is a one-party state.

Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. Not a dime's worth of difference separates them.

Independent candidates are shut out. Media scoundrels ignore them. 

Issues mattering most are unaddressed. Horse race journalism and trivia substitute.

Millions of Americans are disenfranchised. Criminal records alone exclude many. Effort to suppress minority voters are rife.

Half of eligible voters opt out. They do so because interests they most care about go unaddressed. 

Because candidates from either party don't care. Because corporate-controlled touchscreen electronic voting machines are rigged.

They're programmed using secret software. They're easy to manipulate. They steal elections.

They provide no receipts. Excluding them prevents vetting. Opponents end up with voter choices. Losers are declared winners.

Partisan politics serves privileged elites. Democracy is pure illusion. It's a figure of speech. It bears repeating. Americans get the best one money can buy. 

Supreme Court rulings affirmed it. One dollar = one vote. Deep pockets cast many. It's the American way. It shams the right way.

Commemorating civil rights legislation ignores today's deplorable conditions. Duplicitous Obama rhetoric highlighted the disgraceful state of the nation. He called expressing them "a singular honor."

Doors "swung open for" him, he said. "That's why I'm standing here today," he added. 

"…I have lived out the promise of LBJ's efforts." He spoke at the end of a three-day summit. It commemorated civil rights law. Carter, Clinton and GW Bush spoke earlier. 

None connect to popular struggles. Jim Crow never touched their lives. Human and civil rights eroded on their watch. 

So did other fundamental freedoms. They did nothing to prevent it. They support wealth, power and privilege. Ordinary people don't count. People of color least of all.

Clinton signed the repressive 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) into law. It violates constitutional protections. 

It compromises habeas rights. It limits judicial relief. It assured more capital punishment for innocent victims. 

Nearly always, people of color, Muslims, or others among society's most disadvantaged are affected.

Clinton lied calling AEDPA "an important step forward in the federal government's continuing efforts to combat terrorism."

Its enactment had nothing whatsoever to do with it. International or homegrown terrorism is a ruse.

Clinton said he requested legislation after Oklahoma City. On April 19, 1995, a massive explosion destroyed its downtown Murrah Federal Building.

It killed 168 people. Hundreds more were injured. A 16-block area was affected. Over 300 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

Elgin Air Force Base's Armament Wright Laboratory studied the incident. No single truck bomb caused it. 

Former director/explosives and ordnance expert/(Ret.) Brig. General Benton K. Partin was in charge. His report was damning. In part it said:

"Indeed, a careful examination of photographs showing the collapsed column bases reveal a failure mode produced by (internally installed) demolition charges and not by a blast from (a) truck bomb" as claimed.

Additional forensic evidence showed other devices were involved. Official reports suppressed what happened. 

Lies substituted for truth. It's longstanding US practice. So-called terror plots are state-sponsored. 9/11 is Exhibit A.

Bush administration police state laws followed. Civil and human rights were targeted. They were eviscerated.

Patriot Act legislation alone gutted Fifth and 14th Amendment due process rights.

First Amendment ones eroded. Anyone can be wrongfully accused. Prosecutions can claim membership in, association with or support for so-called "undesirable groups."

Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures no longer exist. Unchecked surveillance was authorized.

Powers include accessing personal financial, medical and other records. So-called "sneak and peak" searchers are OK.

"Delayed notice" warrants were approved. Warrantless searches became standard practice.

So were roving wiretaps, email and text message tracking, as well as Internet and telecommunications monitoring.

Prosecutions include secret evidence withheld from defense counsel. It's officially OK. It's common police state practice.

Guilt by accusation follows. For the first time, so-called "domestic terrorism" became a federal crime.

Virtually none exists. Numerous innocent victims were charged. They languish unjustly in America's gulag. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other political prisoners do so.

Patriot Act legislation began things. Other harsh measures followed. Homeland Security is America's Gestapo. 

It operates ruthlessly. It does so extrajudicially. It targets innocent victims. It lies calling them terrorists.

Military commission legislation gutted civil protections. It grants extraordinary power to detain, interrogate, and prosecute alleged terrorists extrajudicially.

It legalized torture. Bush made it official US policy. It continues under Obama. He exceeded the worst of all his predecessors.

He presides over a repressive police state apparatus. Big Brother watches everyone. Mass surveillance is official US policy.

Fake war on terror persists. Rule of law principles don't matter. Nor democratic values. Human and civil liberty violations are rife.

Administration policies are the most secretive in US history. Whistleblowers are ruthlessly targeted. Exposing government lawlessness was criminalized.

So is protesting for fundamental constitutional rights. Tyranny is official US policy. Executive diktats can declare martial law. 

Constitutional law can be suspended. It can be abolished altogether. Federal troops can be deployed against ordinary people.

Peaceful protests are endangered. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation authorized indefinite detentions. 

Anyone can be held without charge or trial. Solely based on suspicions, baseless allegations or none at all is OK.

Presidents have unchecked authority to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens. They can target anyone they wish. They can do it extrajudicially.

No one is safe. Due process, civil protections, and judicial fairness don't apply. Abuse of power replaced them. Obama endorses them.

He mocks legitimacy. He governs lawlessly. His duplicitous civil right rhetoric rings hollow. His agenda bears witness to his lies.

'No one knew politics and no one loved legislating more than President Johnson," he said . 

"He was charming when he needed to be, ruthless when required."

"Those of us who've had the singular privilege to hold the office of the presidency know well that progress in this country can be hard and it can be slow, frustrating. And sometimes you're stymied." 

"You're reminded daily that in this great democracy, you are but a relay swimmer in the currents of history, bound by decisions of those who came before, reliant on the efforts of those who will follow to fully vindicate your vision." 

"But the presidency also affords a unique opportunity to bend those currents by shaping our laws and by shaping our debates, by working within the confines of the world as it is, but also by reimagining the world as it should be."

Obama's demagoguery wore thin long ago. Duplicity substitutes for truth. His deplorable record speaks for itself. He's a world class con man.

He's a war criminal multiple times over. He's a serial liar. He's a moral coward. Throughout is tenure, he waged war on freedom.

He's gone all-out to destroy it altogether. He deplores equity and justice for all. He's beholden solely to monied interests.

He supports wealth, power and privilege. He's mindless of popular needs. He trashed human and civil rights throughout his tenure.

He represents the worst of rogue governance. His agenda is state terrorism writ large. His worst crimes go unpunished. 

He's got nearly three more years left in office. Humanity may not survive his onslaught.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Billionaire Mayor Wins Genesis Prize

by Stephen Lendman

Outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ranks 13th among Forbes magazine's global billionaires. He's America's 10th richest. 

He's worth an estimated $31 billion. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison, Charles and David Koch, as well as four Walton family members alone best him.

On October 21, he was awarded the first Genesis Prize. The Israeli government, Jewish Agency for Israel, and Genesis Philanthropy Group launched it.

It's awarded "to individuals who have achieved international recognition in their professional field, the worlds of science and the arts."

It's for "exceptional people whose values and achievements will inspire the next generations of Jews."

"The objective of the Genesis Prize is to emphasize across the Jewish community and the world at large the importance of Jewish values to the fulfillment of human potential and to the betterment of the world."

A Monday New York news conference announced the award.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present it to Bloomberg in Jerusalem next May. Organizers call it the Jewish Nobel Prize. Recipients receive $1 million. 

For Bloomberg it's pocket change. He issued a statement saying:

"Many years ago, my parents instilled in me Jewish values and ethics that I have carried with me throughout my life, and which have guided every aspect of my work in business, government, and philanthropy."

Most New York residents feel otherwise. Throughout nearly 12 years in office, he spurned them. He served wealth and power interests. 

He won't be missed. Nor will New York Times editors' endorsements. Ahead of his 2009 reelection, they headlined "For Mayor of New York City," saying:

He "ma(de) the unpredictable city of New York work astonishingly well." Hitler and Mussolini once earned praise for keeping trains running on time.

Times editors ignore public need. They're beholden to the same wealth and power interests as Bloomberg.

He "has has been a first-rate steady hand during unsteady times," they said. His "foresight easily earned another four years."

"His plans suit the times." He favors "helping working-class and middle-class residents."

"Public education is better over all…Crime is down...We enthusiastically endorse (him) for re-election." 

Times editors earlier called him "one of the greatest mayors in New York City history." 

Bloomberg's tenure was polar opposite. He won election the old-fashioned way. 

He bought it. He spent millions. He outspent challengers multiples over. He flooded the airwaves with campaign ads. 

He drowned out opposition voices. He used the power of deep pockets to win. He's Wall Street's man. It's where his working career began.

He worked for Salomon Brothers. In 1973, he became a general partner. He headed equity trading. He earned millions. 

In 1981, he used them to launch Innovative Market Systems. In 1987, he renamed it Bloomberg LP. Thereafter, he established Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Message, and Bloomberg Tradebook.

He has his own radio network. WBBR AM New York is its flagship station. 

Since January 2002, he's been New York mayor. He's stepping down. He's ineligible for another term.

His record in office has been deplorable. Among America's 25 largest cities, New York unemployment is among the highest.

Most city workers lack pensions. Many earn sub-subsistence wages. Poverty is extremely high. It's risen annually under his tenure. 

Census figures rank New York sixth poorest among America's 20 largest cities. Over two-thirds of New Yorkers can't afford a home.

City homelessness is at record levels. It more than doubled since Bloomberg took office. It includes numbers sleeping in public shelters.

It excludes countless thousands on city streets. Many more rely on overcrowded substandard apartments. Others live with family or friends.

New York has a housing crisis. Rental prices are extremely high. Low cost alternatives are in short supply. Demand way exceeds what's available.

What's ongoing reflects New York's unprecedented social polarization. It worsened steadily under Bloomberg.

New York's top 20% most well off earn 40 times more than the bottom one-fifth. It's top 1% earns infinitely more.

Last winter Bloomberg lied saying "nobody's sleeping on (New York City) streets." Anyone on them late at night or using public transportation knows better.

Homelessness plagues New York. It's at epidemic levels. It worsens annually. Little is done to address it.

Since crisis conditions erupted in 2008, Coalition for the Homeless figures show well over 100,000 men, women and children used city shelters. 

Perhaps that many or more slept on streets, relied on family, or made due best they could. Record numbers are expected this winter. Main Street economic conditions are worse than ever.

City budget balancing harmed ordinary New Yorkers. Onerous tax burdens were imposed. Over $1 billion in public worker concessions were demanded.

Massive layoffs affected thousand of teachers, hundreds of firefighters and many other city workers. Dozens of senior centers and day care ones were closed.

Public wages were frozen or minimally increased. Benefits were cut. At the same time, Wall Street got generous ones on top of trillions of dollars of federal bailout largesse. 

Bloomberg strongly opposed extending a so-called "millionaires tax." Eliminating it cost the state and city billions of dollars. 

Rich residents got cuts. Other New Yorkers got increases. Bloomberg implemented numerous financial sector tax giveaways.

Crisis conditions affected ordinary New Yorkers. They still do. Rich ones never had things better. Since 2009, their wealth increased exponentially. 

Bloomberg added billions to his own. High-net worth individuals across America benefitted hugely. New York represents their epicenter. 

It wreaks of wealth and privilege. It stands in stark contrast to millions of ordinary city residents struggling daily to get by. They're increasingly on their own out of luck. 

Bloomberg largely ignored them. He bragged about breaking a city school bus worker strike. For the first time in decades, he privatized its operations. 

He excluded an Employee Protection Provisions (EPP) clause. For over half a century, it protected worker jobs and wages. Profiteers are free to ignore it.

He waged war on public education. He wants it made another profit center. He wants city children cheated. He wants them denied opportunities he had growing up.

He endorsed Bush's No Child Left Behind and Obama's Race to the Top. Both prioritize privatization. They feature drastic cost-cutting. 

Dozens of New York schools were closed. Low-income neighborhoods were targeted.

Student testing is mandated. It requires teaching to tests at the expense of learning. Teacher evaluations depend on scores. Job retention's contingent on raising them.

In September 2011, Occupy Wall Street was launched. It emerged in New York's Zucotti Park. It's located in Wall Street's financial district. 

Bloomberg waged war to destroy it. City police were ruthless. Peaceful protesters were attacked. Beatings and arrests followed.

Bloomberg accused protesters of "tak(ing) jobs away from people working in this city. They're trying to take away the tax base we have."

"(I)f you focus for example on driving the banks out of New York City, you know those are our jobs."

"You can't have it both ways. If you want jobs you have to assist companies and give them confidence to go and hire people."

Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly intensified longstanding NYPD stop and frisk practices. Doing so is flagrantly racist. Blacks and Latinos are targeted.

Hundreds of thousands of law abiding residents are persecuted.  According to New York's ACLU, mostly minority "New Yorkers (were) subjected to police stops and interrogations more than 4 million times since 2002."

On August 12, US District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled the practice unconstitutional. Equal protection under the law is fundamental, she said. It's mandated for everyone.

Bloomberg responded angrily. He denounced Scheindlin's ruling. He accused her of deliberately not giving New York "a fair trial." 

He wrongfully claims stop and frisk works. He lied saying it enhances public safety. He arrogantly said "(y)ou're not going to see any change in tactics overnight."

He appealed. He wants unconstitutional practices continued. He reflects the worst of rogue leadership. Next May he'll be honored for "exceptional values and achievements." 

Apparently they include making money the old-fashioned way, waging class warfare, targeting First Amendment rights, and enforcing racist harshness. Millions of ordinary New Yorkers understand best.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/billionaire-mayor-wins-genesis-prize/

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