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You hear that, wingers?

We do not march in lockstep. Ever.

We are radical left, left of left, left, center-left, center and there's even quite a few right-center people here who call themselves "Kossacks".


you suck!

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Thu May 29, 2014 at 12:21 PM PDT

Principles: Beyond Snowden

by Lady Libertine

and beyond Greenwald or Kerry or whoever else's "heroic" or "hateful" personality is all the buzz today... and as we approach the one year marker of the global surveillance disclosures aka the "Snowden Effect" we could be conversing about our principles and how we go forward from here. The  Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) founded in 1990, (among others) have worked to address some of the big kahunas for some time and have just published this new file.

"Even before Ed Snowden leaked his first document, human rights lawyers and activists were concerned about law enforcement and intelligence agencies spying on the digital world. One of the tools developed to tackle those concerns was the development of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance (the “Necessary and Proportionate Principles”).  This set of principles was intended to guide governments in understanding how new surveillance technologies eat away at fundamental freedoms, and outlined how communications surveillance can be conducted consistent with human rights obligations.  Furthermore, the Necessary and Proportionate Principles act as a resource for citizens—used to compare new tools of state surveillance to global expectations of privacy and due process."
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(Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday said the botched execution of a murderer in Oklahoma raises questions about the death penalty in the United States and he will ask the U.S. attorney general to look into the situation.

"What happened in Oklahoma is deeply troubling," he said.

Yes it does raise questions. Hopefully we'll be getting some answers too.
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Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 09:03 AM PST

One year ago today...

by Lady Libertine

we lost him. Yet his fight, our fight, lives on.

Aaron Swartz was an avid champion of internet freedom and open access with a brilliant mind. At the time of his death he was under indictment for his activism and was facing up to 50 years in prison for his so-called crimes. "Swartz was persecuted for the very rights and freedoms for which he stood, and that ultimately broke him."

Imagine.... it's heartbreaking... if he only knew what was to come just a few short months later.

Swartz’s fight for rights online has only been brought more intensely into focus in the year since his death, largely due to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. To see him talk about government spying in this documentary at a time before the Snowden leaks is especially chilling now. But thanks to Knappenberger’s documentary – and other actions being taken to remember the internet activist – the conversation he started can continue.
A forthcoming documentary is entitled The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. This clip was released today over at WIRED.

This clip is only 5:26" long, watch it, and consider.... this month, this year, ask yourself: what would Aaron do?

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I quit doing petitions ages ago. Waste of time and clutters up my inbox.

I'll sign this one for Bernie though.

The Restore Our Privacy Act

Sign your name and support the Restore Our Privacy Act.

Sen. Bernie Sanders  introduced the Restore Our Privacy Act to put strict limits on sweeping powers used by the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to secretly track telephone calls by millions of innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

"We must give our intelligence and law enforcement agencies all of the tools that they need to combat terrorism but we must do so in a way that protects our freedom and respects the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches," Sanders said.

What this bill does:

    Reforms Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act (50 U.S.C. 1861) to limit the ability of the government to engage in dragnet data mining.

    Requires that the NSA or FBI have reasonable suspicion, based on specific and articulable facts, to obtain business records for a terrorism suspect.

    Ends the process of obtaining wide-open orders for data mining; the government would be required to provide reasonable suspicion for each tangible thing to be obtained.

    Removes the presumption that anyone "known to" a suspect is relevant to the investigation.

    Increases Congressional oversight-the Attorney General shall be required to report to the Congress as a whole, not just the members of the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

Read the Bill HERE (pdf)

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much gratitude to joanneleon for the full text transcribed below

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June 5, 1968.

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Liveblogging this event as part of the Hell No! No Grand Bargain blogathon.  Below is a YouTube livestream which will show a countdown until the event livestream starts.

UPDATE: 1:30PM:: the event is over now but the video embed will replay for you in case you missed it.  
CALL your congress critters and tell them: Hell No!
1 - 800 - 998-0180 or
U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121

Over Two Million Americans Tell Obama: No Cuts to Social Security and Medicare Benefits [LIVESTREAM]

From the Social Security Works web site:
Save our Social Security (SOS)

Social Security is under attack. Only this time it is President Obama who has proposed the benefit cuts in his budget.

The President is set to include a major Social Security cut in his budget on Wednesday, according to confirmed reports in the media. The cut he is proposing is the chained CPI, which would cut Social Security and veterans’ benefits more with each passing year, including for people who are ALREADY receiving benefits. We did not vote for Social Security cuts.

It is time to bring our message to the President. But we need your help to make it happen. Here’s what you need to know:

Who: Progressive organizations representing millions of American who have rejected cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits
What: Delivery of hundreds of thousands petitions to the White House to reject the chained CPI benefit cut
Where: Lafayette Square in front of the The White House
When: 12:30 pm EDT, Tuesday, April 9.

This is an emergency. If the President proposes Social Security cuts in his budget, it can only get worse from there. Our parents, children, friends, and neighbors are counting on us.

From the YouTube/Livestream description text:
Over Two Million Americans Tell Obama: No Cuts to Social Security and Medicare Benefits

Streamed live on Apr 9, 2013
Organizations Representing Tens of Millions of Americans to Deliver Over 2 Million Petition Signatures Directly to the White House Rejecting Cuts to Social Security Benefits

Will Be Joined By U.S. Senator Who Vows to Block Benefit Cuts

Coalition Includes, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, CREDO, National Organization for Women, Social Security Works, Alliance for Retired Americans, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Democracy For America, Non Commissioned Officers Association, Campaign for America's Future, VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association, The Other 98%, Progressives United, Blue America, Rebuild the Dream, and Others

(Washington, DC) -- A United States senator will join organizations representing tens of millions of Americans to deliver more than one million petition signatures opposing cuts to Social Security benefits to the White House on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

*Watch Livestream here:

Leading progressive organizations and groups representing retired Americans were quick to denounce the White House proposal for "Chained CPI" -- which would cut Social Security benefits for millions of seniors and veterans. Grandparents who retire today would get $650 less a year when they are 75 and over $1,100 less a year when they reach age 85, according to the Social Security Administration.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who will join the event, vowed last week to "do everything in my power to block President Obama's proposal to cut benefits for Social Security recipients through a chained consumer price index."

WHO: -Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
-Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA)
-Nancy Altman, founding co-director, Social Security Works
-Damon Silvers, General Counsel, AFL-CIO
-Former Obama for America Supporters & Seniors on Social Security
-Stephanie Taylor, Progressive Change Campaign Committee Co-Founder
-Jim Dean, Democracy for America Chair
-Max Richtman, Nat. Cmmte. to Preserve Social Security and Medicare President and CEO
- Bonnie Grabenhofer, National Organization for Women Executive Vice President
-Roger Hickey, Campaign for America's Future President
-Manny Hermann, Deputy Dir. of Online Organizing Platforms
WHAT: Delivery of more than 2 million petition signatures directly to the White House
WHEN: Tuesday April 9, at 12:30pm (ET)
WHERE: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW - Washington DC (In front of the White
House opposite of Lafayette Square)

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Alright alright, so it's not BREAKING but I just saw it and figured I'd share.
Because I don't believe in "coincidences".

FEB 17 2013 San Diego CA: In anticipation of the Sunday Biggest Climate Rally Evah in D.C., thousands of highly intelligent mammals rallied in support in the Pacific Ocean to demand President Obama keep his SOTU promise to save the planet. The dolphin mega pod, sans the traditional cardboard protest signs, made up for that lack by simply assembling en masse. Unprecedented numbers. The dolphin rally, estimated at about 100,000 dolphins, spanned seven miles long and five miles wide.

"“They were coming from all directions, you could see them from as far as the eye can see,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of stuff out here… but this is the biggest I’ve ever seen, ever.”"
Much like the companion human rally in DC on Sunday, the event was all but ignored by mainstream media who were cleverly deployed to Florida - no dolphin sightings but an important tiger was said to be there. The Tiger was evasive and the news-thirsty journalists despaired.


Climate Action and The Left

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Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:51 AM PST

It's a start :: Aaron's Law

by Lady Libertine

“Like most others, I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top.

At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey.

It was the tension between these two poles - a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other - that kept me going.”

~ Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

I imagine Aaron Swartz battled that same tension in his bright short life. Probably on a daily basis. The tragedy of his death has been discussed elsewhere, it is a great loss. Thankfully, he had a good friend in Laurence Lessig. Today Lessig writes a fairly succinct piece that cuts to the chase.
It won't bring him back. But the loss of the Internet activist has prompted a bill in Congress that would protect others from the same kind of prosecutorial abuse.
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The Judge has issued a temporary restraining order and injunction to halt work for two weeks until a hearing which is set for Dec 19th.  ... on the basis of fraud!

A Texas judge has ordered TransCanada to temporarily halt work on a private property where it is building part of an oil pipeline designed to carry tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, the latest legal battle to plague a project that has encountered numerous obstacles nationwide.

Texas landowner Michael Bishop, who is defending himself in his legal battle against the oil giant, filed his lawsuit in the Nacogdoches County courthouse, arguing that ransCanada lied to Texans when it said it would be using the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil.

Tar sands oil — or diluted bitumen — does not meet the definition as outlined in Texas and federal statutory codes which define crude oil as “liquid hydrocarbons extracted from the earth at atmospheric temperatures,” Bishop said. When tar sands are extracted in Alberta, Canada, the material is almost a solid and “has to be heated and diluted in order to even be transmitted,” he told The Associated Press exclusively.

“They lied to the American people” Bishop said.

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Welcome! "What's Happenin'?" is a casual community diary (a daily series, 8:30 AM Eastern on weekdays, 10 AM on weekends and holidays) where we hang out and talk about the goings on here and everywhere.  

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