To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes.
BREAKING: The House just passed HR1, which includes: -Automatic voter registration -Public financing of elections -An end to gerrymandering -Election Day as a federal holiday -Support for overturning Citizens United This is the greatest victory for democracy in generations.
Is that not a bit premature?
After all it must go to the Senate….and as we all know…the Senate is where good ideas go to die a slow death.
Maybe the media should hold off on proclaiming this a blow for democracy just yet…….maybe wait to see just how bad the Senate can screw this bill up…….
There have been stories of insurgents around the world that use child soldiers……from Africa to the sand of the deserts of the Middle East….child soldiers are still a problem….I have written about this situation before……
I bring this up again because the study made of child soldiers involved in war worldwide……
The number of child soldiers involved in conflicts globally has increased 159 percent within five years, with almost 30,000 verified recruitment cases since 2012, Child Soldiers International, a London-based human rights organization, said in a press release on Monday, February 11.
“Ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and persistent unrest in Somalia, South Sudan, DR Congo, Central African Republic and elsewhere are all leaving children increasingly exposed to recruitment,” the release said. “Boys and girls are routinely being used as fighters and at checkpoints, as informants, to loot villages and as domestic and sexual slaves.”
Child Soldiers International analyzed United Nations annual reports on Children and Armed Conflict issued in 2013-2018, recording 29,128 verified cases of child recruitment in 17 countries. Even though a significant number of cases usually take place in Africa, about half of them happen outside the continent, in countries like Syria, Iraq, Myanmar, and Colombia.
The open letter was issued just over a week ago by the group. Already eight lawmakers who have endorsed the plan, three senators and five members of the House of Representatives. They are predominantly progressives so far, including two presidential candidates in Sen. Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
The open letter describes the “Forever War” as the open-ended war that the US has been engaged in since 2001, and seeks pledges of lawmakers of all political stripes to reclaim Congress’ historical oversight of war and end the conflicts.
Sadly this will go nowhere! The defense industry owns most of the House as well as the Senate and anything that would lessen their profit will be met with failure.
Then they also tackled the subject of net neutrality……
“The Save the Internet Act is one of the few pieces of congressional legislation that actually does what it says in the title,” Evan Greer, deputy director of the advocacy group Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “The internet is going to come down like a political hammer on any lawmaker who fails to co-sponsor it.”
Again this will be met with stern opposition……the GOP rules the Senate and it will not make it past them if it were to possibly make in out of the House…..
I will give them a C+ for trying to do what is right and necessary….but that does not change the fact that this to shall fail.
Our politicians are always, no matter the party, telling us to take back our democracy from one party or the other…..but let’s be honest there are not telling you the truth……most of what they taunt is myths and lies…..
Myth No. 8—We have a democracy.
If you think we still have a democracy or a democratic republic, ask yourself this: When was the last time Congress did something that the people of America supported that did not align with corporate interests? … You probably can’t do it. It’s like trying to think of something that rhymes with “orange.” You feel like an answer exists but then slowly realize it doesn’t. Even the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter believe that America has been transformed into an oligarchy: A small, corrupt elite control the country with almost no input from the people. The rulers need the myth that we’re a democracy to give us the illusion of control.
Myth No. 7—We have an accountable and legitimate voting system.
Gerrymandering, voter purging, data mining, broken exit polling, push polling, superdelegates, electoral votes, black-box machines, voter ID suppression, provisional ballots, super PACs, dark money, third parties banished from the debates and two corporate parties that stand for the same goddamn pile of fetid crap!
Myth No. 6—We have an independent media that keeps the rulers accountable.
Our media outlets are funded by weapons contractors, big pharma, big banks, big oil and big, fat hard-on pills. (Sorry to go hard on hard-on pills, but we can’t get anything resembling hard news because it’s funded by dicks.) The corporate media’s jobs are to rally for war, cheer for Wall Street and froth at the mouth for consumerism. It’s their mission to actually fortify belief in the myths I’m telling you about right now. Anybody who steps outside that paradigm is treated like they’re standing on a playground wearing nothing but a trench coat.
Myth No. 5—We have an independent judiciary.
The criminal justice system has become a weapon wielded by the corporate state. This is how bankers can foreclose on millions of homes illegally and see no jail time, but activists often serve jail time for nonviolent civil disobedience. Chris Hedges recently noted, “The most basic constitutional rights … have been erased for many. … Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security.”
Myth No. 4—The police are here to protect you. They’re your friends.
That’s funny. I don’t recall my friend pressuring me into sex to get out of a speeding ticket. (Which is essentially still legal in 32 states.)
The police in our country are primarily designed to do two things: protect the property of the rich and perpetrate the completely immoral war on drugs—which by definition is a war on our own people.
We lock up more people than any other country on earth. Meaning the land of the free is the largest prison state in the world. So all these droopy-faced politicians and rabid-talking heads telling you how awful China is on human rights or Iran or North Korea—none of them match the numbers of people locked up right here under Lady Liberty’s skirt.
Myth No. 3—Buying will make you happy.
This myth is put forward mainly by the floods of advertising we take in but also by our social engineering. Most of us feel a tenacious emptiness, an alienation deep down behind our surface emotions (for a while I thought it was gas). That uneasiness is because most of us are flushing away our lives at jobs we hate before going home to seclusion boxes called houses or apartments. We then flip on the TV to watch reality shows about people who have it worse than we do (which we all find hilarious).
Myth No. 2—If you work hard, things will get better.
According to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey: “80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs” and “[t]he average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime.” That’s about one-seventh of your life—and most of it is during your most productive years.
Myth No. 1—You are free.
And I’m not talking about the millions locked up in our prisons. I’m talking about you and me. If you think you’re free, try running around with your nipples out, ladies. Guys, take a dump on the street and see how free you are.
I understand there are certain restrictions on freedom we actually desire to have in our society—maybe you’re not crazy about everyone leaving a Stanley Steamer in the middle of your walk to work. But a lot of our lack of freedom is not something you would vote for if given the chance.
Read! These observations are accurate and if you ask yourself questions after reading then you will agree.
But if you blindly follow then you deserve to lose the rights that you have one at a time until there is NOTHING left.
Most Americans do. The bastards that committed the atrocities on that day were members of the extremist group called al-Qaeda whose leader Osama bin Laden ordered the attacks.
We invaded Afghanistan on the pretext of hunting down the culprit and destroying the organization so they could never again be so brazen.
We took our eye off the target by the BS of Iraq and we invaded yet another country in 2003…..we finally found and executed Osama over a decade after he ordered the attacks of 9/11….but that aside he is dead and AQ is on their back foot right now and have been replaced by yet another extremist group named ISIS.
After about 5 years of constant war ISIS is on their back foot….not defeated just a bloody nose and a period of decline (for now)……
The US conned its allies into supporting the war on ISIS…..we groomed many “freedom loving” factions to do the fighting in the region (mostly Syria)……one of the groups that we “armed” either directly or through proxies was…….wait for it…….Al-Qaeda.
I understand the Saudis supporting AQ for they share an extremist view of Islam….but not to the point of total support against ISIS (another extremist view)……
Less than two decades after the attacks of September 11, the U.S. government has now effectively allied with the Al Qaeda terrorist group it has long blamed for planning and executing those attacks, which still remain the worst terror attacks to have ever taken place on U.S. soil.
Despite the U.S. having launched the war in Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the years-long “War on Terror” as a means of allegedly countering Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the past year has revealed several instances in which Washington has been making “deals” with, protecting, and even (indirectly but knowingly) arming Al Qaeda operatives in countries like Yemen and Syria. The about-face has come as the U.S.’ interest in “counter-terrorism” throughout the Middle East has been superseded by regime-change policies targeting countries like Yemen, Syria and Iran.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has issued a letter demanding that President Donald Trump’s administration explain a recent report suggesting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates transferred U.S. weapons to Al-Qaeda.
Warren’s letter came in response to an investigation by CNN, which uncovered reports earlier this month that Saudi Arabia and its ally, the UAE, have taken weapons provided by the U.S. and given them to fighters linked to the Sunni Muslim militant group Al-Qaeda and other organizations as part of a secret, shared initiative to defeat Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebels known as Ansar Allah or the Houthis in Yemen. The document was addressed to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“If this report is true, it raises serious concerns that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other governments have violated their end user agreements with the United States by diverting American weapons to terrorists and other extremists without prior authorization from the United States,” Warren said, as reported Friday by CNN.
I am sorry but I cannot see why we would supply implements of destruction to a regime of wankers that will use them against us…….
I still do not trust the Saudis as far as I could toss their fat butts……plus I am not convinced that they did not know or support the terrorists on 9/11 after all most of them were Saudis…….but this is a good piece that ask an important question……
The BBC’s article merely reports what is accepted as common knowledge and documented fact regarding the inception of this now enduring, notorious and shape-shifting terrorist organization… that it was the initial creation of joint US-Saudi interests.
This fact would carry with it an ironic sting in 2001 when Al Qaeda, allegedly led by Bin Laden, struck the Pentagon in Washington and the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, killing nearly 3,000 people and precipitating now over 15 years of global war.
Without doubt, the US and Saudi Arabia created Al Qaeda, and many believe still control the terrorist organization citing that the immense material support it and its subsidiaries require along with the virtual impunity they enjoy as they operate worldwide could only be due to substantial and influential state sponsorship.
Many have postulated that because the 15 years of war following September 11, 2001 have benefited only a handful of special interests both in the US and Europe, as well as in the Persian Gulf, that it cannot be ruled out that these interests were also somehow involved in the attacks that justified this enduring war to begin with.
I have been one of the few bloggers that show any concern over the proposal for a 6th branch of military service, the Space Force, as Trump has labelled it.
Then I read about the need for a Space Command…..is this the same as the Space Force or yet more waste of the taxpayer money?
Pentagon leaders wanted U.S. Space Command, a new joint combatant command for space warfighting, up and running by the end of 2018. Two full months into 2019, Congress has yet to repeal a law that is preventing the command’s creation, according to defense and Trump administration officials.
Here’s the problem. In the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers ordered U.S. Space Command to be subordinate to U.S. Strategic Command, the same way U.S. Cyber Command started out under STRATCOM. But the administration wants Space Command to begin its organizational life as an independent unified command.
The Space Force proposal has been sent to Capitol Hill……..
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Wednesday sent to Capitol Hill a legislative proposal and a “strategic overview” of how the Pentagon plans to organize a U.S. Space Force as a separate military branch. The information was emailed to the staff directors of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, as well as the House and Senate Appropriations defense subcommittees.
The proposal is the culmination eight months of work since President Trump directed the Pentagon to draw up a plan to create a Space Force. Shanahan already had been designated by Congress as the point man for the space reorganization and he has overseen every step of the process.
Now that the proposal has been kicked over to Congress, DoD faces what could be a harder-than-expected job communicating the plan to Congress and the public. One of the challenges for DoD will be to argue that Congress should authorize a Space Force for reasons of national security, not just to satisfy the commander-in-chief’s directive.
Once again yet another way to expand the DoD budget while asking the nation’s population to make the sacrifice in services and entitlements…..
To make the case for justification for a Space Force…..National Security……
We quickly learned that America no longer owns space. We operate there along with every other space-capable nation, including adversaries like China and Russia. We learned that they are doing everything in their power to interfere with our operations. We learned that future wars will take place in space.
And we quickly realized the grim truth that we aren’t ready.
China and Russia, in particular, are aggressively pursuing space-based capabilities. China successfully destroyed an old weather satellite in a test in 2007, creating a debris field of more than 3,000 pieces, which could have damaged countless other satellites in orbit. They’ve stayed at it, continuing to work on anti-satellite weapons including lasers, signal jammers, and other ways of blinding our assets in space. In some areas, they are beating us.