Archive for September 7th, 2012

Free Wood Post


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Observers have been previously unable to understand the phenomenon keeping Republicans from being able to say the word “Democratic” when describing the opposition party.

Their insistence on saying things like “the Democrat Party” and “Democrat Senator” were initially thought to be snide little barbs meant to demean the Democratic Party in some sort of not-really-funny way.

Alas, science has come to the defense of grammar-challenged conservatives everywhere. Dr. Rodney P. Malprick of the National Institutes of Health has reportedly identified the gene responsible for the ability to master the entire word “Democratic” and use it in a sentence.

“At first, we thought the inability of some people to say the complete word was a result of the amphibian brain not being able to successfully put four syllables together,” Dr. Malprick said.

“Now that we realize it comes from a genetic deficiency, we understand that these people deserve our sympathy. Through no fault of their own, many conservatives make themselves sound like petty and petulant third graders. We must conduct research that can help them overcome this painful condition,” he added.

It’s hoped that further research can indeed lead to a future wherein Republicans happily call the opposition by the proper name and Democratic Senators are identified as such. Dr. Malprick is planning to develop a powder that can be dissolved in warm milk that will reverse the imbalance and restore phonetic correctness.

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5 ways the Republican party is destroying America – Orlando liberal | Examiner.com


5 ways the Republican party is destroying America – Orlando liberal | Examiner.com.

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Ever since President Obama was elected president in November of 2008, the Republican party has taken a hard turn to the right of the political spectrum. With chants of “socialism” and outrageous claims about President Obama’s birth certificate and religion, the Republican party is more conservative today than it has been in its history. Whether it’s their constant obsession to widen the wealth gap to their views on social issues, the Republican party has tunnel vision when it comes to the future of the United States.

Conservatives see a light at the end of the tunnel and they will make sure that everyone follows their path. As the election inches closer, it’s important to look at the ways the Republican party plans to take over the United States and mold the country to fit their core ideology. The list could be endless, and over time another article will be released, but in the meantime lets take a look at five ways the Republicans plan to destory America.

1. Taxes – Ever since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the United States tax system has completely changed. With the term “supply side economics,” the promise was made that if we drastically cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans that they will in turn, take those same tax cuts and create jobs. The problem with this system is that, while it looks promising on paper, it doesn’t translate in reality. Former president, George H.W Bush called supply side economics “voodoo economics” and talked about its weaknesses. Known throughout the country as “Reaganomics,” when the wealthy received their tax cuts they didn’t create jobs in the United States, but instead took advantage of weak trade policies and created jobs in other countries. Countries like China, India and Pakistan were places that American companies were moving their jobs because for every Union worker that asked for $20 dollars an hour, there was a person in another country doing it for less than a $1.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), from the time Ronald Reagan became president until 2007, income at the top 1%, adjusted for inflation, increased by 281% compared to only a 25% increase for the middle 20% of Americans. President Bush came into office in 2001 and was handed a surplus by President Clinton. With the surplus in hand, Bush gave it back to the American people, but primarily to the most wealthy, adding over $3 trillion to the national debt over the last decade. As the wealthy continue to count their money, average Americans have to watch theirs and hope they can pay the bills.

2. Trade – One of the biggest reasons that Americans have struggled to find work over the years is that millions of jobs are being created in other countries. While Republicans claim that the reason jobs are being sent over seas is that union workers have demanded wages that were too high, the reality is that there is another reason. There is truth that many union workers have a demand for a high rate of pay, but fair wages is a necessity when it comes to living in the United States. From the businesses side, there is a case to be made that creating jobs in a third world country could benefit the company because of the low wages that are paid, however, the other side is more realistic.

Currently, while companies are paying criminally low wages in other countries to turn a profit, bonuses throughout the higher-ups in these companies are hitting a record high. If these companies brought jobs back to the United States, the workers would then take their pay and invest it back into the country and the economy. These companies don’t just benefit from cheap labor, they also use the tax code to line their pockets. Many companies receive tax cuts for creating jobs in other countries, which just increases the likelihood of jobs not returning.

President Obama has stated he wants to end tax cuts for companies who ship jobs to other countries and instead give those tax breaks to companies who create jobs in America.

3. Religious Freedom and Civil Rights – Conservatives say that they love the constitution and hold it close to their heart. With a bible in one hand and the Bill of Rights in the other, conservatives claim they are the only ones who know how to run the country. The problem with these statements is that from the opening line of the First Amendment, their claim of religious dominance is shown to be false.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

If you take a look at the first ten words of the First Amendment, it states that the United States will make no law respecting an establishment of religion. So while the country respects everyone’s right to believe what they want, there will be no law that is made to fit a particular religious belief. With the recent debate about contraception and birth control dealing with Catholic organizations, religious freedom is back on the front lines.

Conservatives claim that President Obama and liberals are trying to strip away the First Amendment and religious freedom and force secular beliefs in America. The problem is that President Obama, a Christian himself, is just following the law of the land. The president isn’t forcing Catholic businesses to use contraception, but just make it available to women who want it if they choose, just like all the other businesses in the country.

As the contraception issue was going on, LGBT rights have also come back. Prop 8 in California, the ban on gay marriage, was ruled unconstitutional at the same time same-sex marriage was being legalized in Washington. Once again radical religious conservatives have claimed that letting gay and lesbian Americans marry will undermine the morals of America and break away from their Judeo Christian values. Religious conservatives also take their argument to the classroom by attacking science. 97% of all scientists accept and agree with the theory of evolution, but religious conservatives want to force a faith-based religious belief into public schools.

The issue of religion in public school is a two-part problem. Churches don’t pay taxes and because of this, they can run their private schools and manipulate the curriculum to fit their ideology while doing the minimum to fit the national educational standards. While private schools have the right to work with the churches, they shouldn’t be able to have a say in the public sector since they don’t pay a dime towards it. Religious freedom should be protected and every American has the right to believe what they want, but at the same time those beliefs should not make their way into the public.

4. War and Foreign Policy – Once President Bush came into office in 2001 and handed over $3 trillion in tax cuts over the last decade, America also went to war with not one, but two countries. While the war in Afghanistan is more debatable, the war in Iraq was proven to be based on a lie, or “bad intelligence”. The United States has spent trillions of dollars in Iraq while private companies like Halliburton have made a gigantic profit. Thousands of American lives and Iraqi civilians have been taken all at the cost of the American taxpayer. While President Obama has completed one of his promises from the campaign trail and ended the war in Iraq, he is also starting to pull out troops of Afghanistan. The problem is that if a Republican takes over the White House they have all made it clear that they will have a quick trigger finger when it comes to going to war with Iran. The majority of American people have spoken and they don’t want to be involved with another war, the cost in both dollars and human life is just too much.

5. Financial Reform – The biggest reason for the financial meltdown in 2008 was because the entire industry was given too much slack. Like a teenager given the entire house to themselves for the weekend, only bad things can come of it. During the Reagan administration, as the wealthy saw their tax rates dropped from 70% to 28% within eight years and union workers found themselves without a job, another industry saw a change. With the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 signed into law, banks found it easier to do business and hurt the American people in the process. Allowing big banks to merge and set their own interest rates, bankers felt like it was Christmas. While the banks and wall street found it easier to make money, the American people struggled. With tax cuts and deregulation on the move, Reagan tripled the national debt, raiding the Social Security trust fund at the same time in an attempt to cover up the massive loses. As the years went on, Wall Street reform was never seriously on the table, whether it was President George H.W Bush or President Clinton, there was never enough being done to tackle the problem.

In the 1990s, the economy started to pick up again, President Clinton finally raised taxes on the most wealthy, bringing in the revenue needed for the government to perform the duties it had promised. Not all was sunshine and rainbows however, in November of 1999, with a Republican controlled House and Senate, President Clinton buckled and signed into law the repeal of Glass-Steagall act that had helped refrain big banks from over taking the market.

As America moved on, less than a decade later the economy collapsed. Too much power concentrated in the hands of a select few will be over come by natural human greed every time and that’s what happened in 2008. In 2010, President Obama signed into law the “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” which eased the pain on consumers and started to put more of the responsibility back to the big banks. Following the anger of the American people towards the bank bail out of 2008, the Wall Street reform bill put an end to future tax payer bailouts of big banks. The bill passed was a start, but much more is needed before we get back to where the country needs to be.
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Clinton: Over Last 50 Years, Two-Thirds Of Private Sector Job Growth Came Under Democratic Presidents


Clinton: Over Last 50 Years, Two-Thirds Of Private Sector Job Growth Came Under Democratic Presidents.

Former President Bill Clinton poured cold water on the Republican Party’s jobs rhetoric last night in a speech at the Democratic National Convention, telling the nation that in the 50 years since John F. Kennedy took office, the vast majority of private sector jobs have been created under Democratic administrations. In those 52 years, as Bloomberg reported in May, 42 million of the new private sector jobs were created during 24 years of Democratic presidencies versus just 24 million under Republicans.

Clinton highlighted the statistic last night as evidence that the Republican vision for the economy, which ignores that “poverty, discrimination, and ignorance restrict growth,” won’t provide the recovery the American economy needs:

CLINTON: Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private sector jobs. So, what’s the job score? Republicans, 24 million, Democrats, 42 (million). Now, there’s a reason for this. It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics. Why? Because poverty, discrimination, and ignorance restrict growth. When you stifle human potential, when you don’t invest in new ideas, it doesn’t just cut off the people who are affected, it hurts us all.

Watch it:

The GOP’s supply-side economic policies, which rely on tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, have failed to boost economic growth for more than three decades, a point Clinton made while hammering Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s plan to push through a tax cut four times the size of George W. Bush’s. “We simply can’t afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down,” Clinton said.

Clinton isn’t alone in analyzing the GOP’s economic failures: in July, 40 economists looked at the Republican Party’s plans and determined that it had abandoned economic reality. During the GOP primaries, economic professors said the party’s plans couldn’t pass a basic economics class.

ACLU Says D.C. Police Illegally Seized Man’s Cellphone After Photographing Alleged Misconduct | WebProNews


ACLU Says D.C. Police Illegally Seized Man’s Cellphone After Photographing Alleged Misconduct | WebProNews.

The American Civil Liberties Union has just filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia and two police officers after alleging that they violated the law by seizing a man’s cellphone and stealing his memory card. The plaintiff in the case, Earl Staley, was reportedly using his cellphone to record the activity of the officers, who were mistreating members of the public, according to the lawsuit.

According to the court documents, Staley claims that on July 20th, he saw a Metropolitan Police Department cruiser hit a man on a motorbike. As the man lay on the ground, the officers reportedly starting punching the injured biker. Soon after, our two defendants, officer James O’Bannon and officer Kenneth Dean, arrived in plain clothes, announced that they were indeed MPD, and began “aggressively demanding the bystanders leave the scene, including making physical contact.”

Thinking this was improper, Staley took out his phone and snapped a picture of Dean. Shortly after, O’Bannon approached Staley and grabbed the phone out of his hands.

Staley was told that he was breaking the law by taking the photograph and threatened arrest if he didn’t “chill out.” Staley was told that he could pick up his phone at the station later in the day.

But when he did, he found that his memory card was missing. Staley claims that the card stored irreplaceable information, such as pictures of his daughter and other family from 2008 onward.

“That memory card had a lot of my life on it,” said Mr. Staley. “I can never replace those photos of my daughter’s first years. The police had no right to steal it. They’re supposed to enforce the law, not break it.”

The ACLU has stepped in, and here’s what they have to say:

Mr. Staley’s activities on July 20, 2012, did not interfere in any way with police operations. No reasonable police officer in the position of defendant O’Bannon could have believed that he had a lawful basis to seize Mr. Staley’s phone or to threaten to arrest him.

The ACLU is suing on grounds that the officers violated Staley’s First Amendment and Fourth Amendement rights, dealing with freedom of expression and illegal search and seizure.

First, on the First Amendement front:

Defendants’ actions, described above, violated Mr. Staley’s right to freedom of expression under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution by preventing him from taking additional photographs of police activity, by intimidating him from asserting his right to recover his camera and criticize the police, and by destroying the photograph he had taken of Officer 2, as well as many other valuable photographs and expressive material,

And in terms of the Fourth Amendment:

Mr. Staley’s conduct on July 20, 2012, did not provide probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe that he had committed, was committing, or was about to commit any crime, and did not provide defendant O’Bannon with any lawful basis on which to seize Mr. Staley’s phone or to search, destroy or dispose of Mr. Staley’s memory card. Defendant O’Bannon’s actions in seizing Mr. Staley’s phone and searching, destroying or disposing of Mr. Staley’s memory card violated Mr. Staley’s right under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

The ACLU is seeking the return of Staley’s memory card, compensatory damages, and an order to D.C. Police to train all officers in the First and Fourth Amendment implications of photographing police procedures.

Strangely enough, the events in question took place just one day after the MPD issued a general order concerning the rights of the public to record police business.

“The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) recognizes that members of the general public have a First Amendment right to video record, photograph, and/or audio record MPD members while MPD members are conducting official business or while acting in an official capacity in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity,” it states.

It also says that officers “shall not…[i]n any way threaten, intimidate or otherwise discourage an individual from recording members’ enforcement activities” and calls for supervisors to be present before any device is seized.

“When a police officer sees a camera he should smile,” said Arthur B. Spitzer, Legal Director of the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital and the attorney representing Mr. Staley. “Officers must learn that people have a right to photograph them in public places, and that trying to cover up police misconduct is worse than the initial misconduct. The officer’s actions here will have consequences.”

It’s not surprising that some police would have the desire to crack down on citizens photographing or videotaping their activities. The rise of YouTube and social media has meant that actions that were once secret are seen by millions of people within a matter of minutes. American law enforcement has bad apples, there’s no getting around that.

Of course, it’s unfair and just plain wrong to suggest that a majority of police officers around the country are participating in illegal seizures and intimidation surrounding cellphone recording. But orders like the one issued by the D.C. MPD are there to protect citizen’s rights. The ACLU has made cases of illegal search and seizure one of their most important issues, and as more and more citizens gain access to tools like smartphones and wireless internet, it should be shocking if more lawsuits like this one appear on dockets around the country.

[via Wired]

[Image Courtesy vpickering, Flickr]
Related Items 4th amendment ACLU cellphones civil rights Crime law Lawsuits Police Privacy
[Josh Wolford]
About Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a Writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Sriracha and Cormac McCarthy. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf
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