March 2012

Student Scholarship Essay based on Immigration Reform Questions

Have you ever wondered how to get your high School student or young college student to start thinking about immigration reform? By getting students to stop and think about immigration and the issues surrounding immigration they have the potential to automatically start evaluating how immigration affects individuals, both immigrants and those affected by immigrants. This can include both positive and negative effects.


Dick Cheney's Stock in Trade

Dick Cheney was born Richard Bruce Cheney in Lincoln, NE on January 30, 1941 and served as the 46th Vice President of the United States—2001 – 2009—under President George W. Bush.

Shame on Rush!

Despite having no knowledge of why Fluke requires birth control Limbaugh is continuing with the personal attacks

When I was a child back in the early 1990s I remember my mom telling me we weren't going to go to Pizza Hut anymore, because the company had hired a very bad man named Rush Limbaugh to be its spokesperson.

I wondered what atrocities this guy had committed to warrant a family boycott of Pizza Hut and all its deliciousness. When I asked my mom, she told me he hated women and girls. Yikes. Ten years and a lot of locally-produced pizza later, I was a young adult who still didn't know much about Rush Limbaugh, except that my mom was not a fan and he had an oxycotin addiction that was suddenly all over the headlines.

Now, as I'm pushing thirty and am a mother of a little girl, a recent news story has driven home the fact that my mother was absolutely right (don't you hate when that happens?). Rush hates women and girls. Why else would he say this about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who  testified before Congress in favor of contraception mandates:

"What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex -- what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."

What's the Deal With Monsanto?

Navigating GMOs.

It's pretty hard to ignore the hype extolling the evils of the Monsanto corporation right now. You may know the company better for its product, RoundUp, which is a popular weed killer in home gardens. But why does everyone hate them so much?

Power and Trade

You Can't Understand One Without The Other

Trade is not the enemy, but “free trade” is. One of the most common defenses of free trade is to say that trade is human nature, a conflation of trade with free trade when they are actually two very distinct concepts. If you're going to say that people have always traded, you'll be right. Extensive trade networks covering thousands of miles appear to date back to the Neolithic, so it's pretty clear that trade will always be with us.

War With Iran?

Maybe They're Building Nukes... Maybe They're Not

So, Iran has a nuclear program and we don't want them to have it, because we can't be sure they aren't trying to build a nuclear missile. I'm going to break ranks on this one with a lot of my friends and fellow activists, who would oppose a military strike on anyone for any circumstances whatsoever.

The fact is that the primary reason for any government to exist at all is to protect its people from hostile attack by other nations or groups. Physical defense of its citizens is the most primal duty of any government. It's the reason some band of humans wandering through the Stone Age world first made some guy the war chief. Every other function of government developed after that.


So if Iran- a country not exactly known for its rational leadership- presents a serious threat, our government is not only within its rights to use force to protect us, it's obligated to do so. But I still don't support a war with Iran.


Liberal Gun Rights Supporters

The liberal blog site “Daily Kos” is not exactly a haven of Second Amendment gun rights defenders. But that just changed a little bit with the creation of the RKBA (“right to keep and bear arms”) group of pro-Second Amendment Kossacks. The RKBA intends to advocate for the idea that liberals should support and defend the right to keep and bear arms. I consider myself a radical, not a liberal, but I agree that liberals should stand up for the Second Amendment. Why is that?

Go On Food Stamps, Lose Your Voting Rights?

"They are slaves to the government and should be reminded of that fact."

A “trial balloon” is a controversial proposal floated in some public forum as a talking point in preparation for a later piece of legislation. The idea is to check how people will react, while also normalizing the otherwise shocking by just getting it into the public discourse.

HR 347

Yes, It Really Does Criminalize Protest

It has become the standard practice of Democratic legislators to pass sweeping new pieces of authoritarian legislation, and then to breezily deny they have done anything of the sort. So if your Democratic Senator or Congressman tells you that HR 347 doesn't criminalize protest, seek out some other source of information. The wording of the law is perfectly clear:

Georgia Plans To Secede From The Union

Georgia looks to pass nullification laws similar to the Confederacy of the 19th century.

Some state lawmakers in Georgia are really pushing what the concept of “limited government”. Last week Majority leader Chip Rogers and four other Republican state senators introduced a bill that would allow the state to ignore or disregard federal laws. In case you’re not aware, the U.S. Constitution declares that acts of Congress, “shall be the supreme law of the land”. In fact, it was exactly this kind of dismissal of federal law, deemed “nullification”, that precipitated a Civil War, threatened the dissolution of the nation in the 1830’s, and has encroached from time to time from the radical fringes of political discourse.

Supreme Court Case May Be Death Knell of Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action doesn't have the same relevance it once did, and the Supreme Court doesn't have the defenders either.

Several years ago Affirmative Action would have been a non-starter for the Supreme Court. Colleges and universities that use race as a criteria for acceptance has been in place for decades, and nearly every challenge to the practice has been defeated in court. However, the Supreme Court has accepted the case of Abigail Fisher, a young white woman that was denied acceptance to the University of Texas over their affirmative action criteria. The court’s acceptance of the case shows how far the pendulum has moved away from Affirmative action, and their decision could narrow or even end it.

According to a recent feature in TIME, Fisher was denied admission to UT in 2008 based on their Affirmative Action racial criteria. The university accepts 80% of admissions that are students that graduated in the top 10% of their class. The other 20% of admissions are selected based a number of criteria, of which race is one. There are plenty of legal precedents, even at the Supreme Court level, that have found university admissions decisions based on race to be OK. However, since the last court case involving Affirmative Action criteria (Grutter v. Bollinger) was in 2003, and the makeup of the Supreme Court has changed. Sandra Day O’Connor, who was the deciding vote in that 2003 case, has since retired and been replaced by Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy, who has tended to vote along conservative lines, does present difficult position in that he thinks that Affirmative Action does have place in society, “but must be used carefully.”

Improving Economy Threatens To Derail Republican Strategy

It's no mystery why, as the economy improves, the GOP is starting to worry.

I feel there’s a correlation between the building optimism over our gradually improving economic picture, and the growing pessimism within the conservative ranks. There have been indicators in the past several months that the economic recovery may be accelerating after nearly two years of sluggish, or stagnant, progress. Republicans are continuing to sing the same old song, painting a bleak economic picture so they can hang it around Obama’s neck. Unfortunately, the picture’s looking brighter, and the GOP rhetoric is starting to sound not just tired, but forced.

Shut Down ALEC

National Day of Action

“Shut Down the Corporations” is a big action against ALEC, the corporate lobbying group that gives our Senators and Congressmen their marching orders. ALEC actually writes the legislation it wants to see passed, hands it over to its puppets in our Congress, and waits complacently for them to do as they are told: slash social services, destroy the unions, create new crimes to fill up the privatized prisons owned by ALEC's member companies. This action is international- thousands of students are participating right now in Barcelona- but a lot of the action is centered in the USA, where Occupiers are shutting down Wal Mart distribution centers, marching on Pfizer and Monsanto, and challenging Bank of America in New York City.


Shutting Down The Corporations

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 is F29, the huge international day of global resistance called “Shut Down the Corporations.” As I write this blog, Occupiers have already succeeded in shutting down three Wal Mart distribution centers in Southern California, and there are large marches in multiple cities from New York City to Barcelona. By the time this blog is up online, it will be March 1, so any readers will be in a position to confirm the following predictions-

The Criminalization of Protest

Dems and Repubs Betray America

HR 347 just passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 388-3, once again giving the lie to the idea that there's any substantial difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to liberty and authoritarianism. So what does HR 347 do? Oh, nothing much- it merely criminalizes protest under a wide range of circumstances, outlaws the “mike check” as a tool of civil disobedience and drives another nail into the nearly-completed coffin of American democracy.

"The Police Aren't The Real Enemy"

No, But They Do All The Dirty Work For The Real Enemy

“The police are not the real enemy”- people who have never seen what the police are capable of are very fond of saying this, because to them the police are the people who save you if you're in danger. They don't come from the neighborhoods where people are most likely to be in danger, where the police take forty-five minutes to even show up, where the police behave like an occupying army at the best of times. They haven't experienced what happens when you try to exercise your right to protest, and the police show up with their tear gas and shotguns to unleash violence and terror.