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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Edward Snowden’s Legal Counsel Talks About the Future of Our Dragnet State (via Moyers & Company)

On Monday, via teleconference, whistleblower Edward Snowden addressed a crowd at SXSW, the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Speaking from Russia, it was Snowden’s first public address to people in the United States since he…

Here’s something to ponder. The corporate propaganda media has been telling hogwash stories about how the fourth amendment to the US does not apply to electronic communications because they are everywhere, in an effort to get us to believe that this is so. This is called manufacturing consent. The fourth amendment is below.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Apparently if you are a college student, and you type a paper, and then send it via email to your professor, the corporate propaganda machine will have you believe that the government can seize it, look at it, without “probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

I say hogwash, that the US Constitution allows your papers to be secure via the US mail, in your house, or via the Internet, and the fourth amendment is supposed to protect us from government illegal surveillance.

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It was Wednesday March 10, 2004. There was a presidential crisis. The US Constitution had been hijacked.

Some time before that day, President George W. Bush had ordered the National Security Agency and other governmental agencies to spy on American citizens without warrants. It was a massive program that spied on tens of thousands of citizens.

The 4th amendment of the US Constitution is clear about this, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Bush had sworn a presidential oath of office to protect the Constitution. Instead, he was burning it under an avalanche of crimes. March 10, 2004 made it obvious that this was so obviously an impeachment moment that didn’t come to pass because most members of congress are bought and paid for plutocrats, on the corporate dole, behind the backs of the 99 percent.

Below is video of the congressional testimony of Bush’s own acting US attorney general of how Bush destroyed the 4th amendment, and then tried to cover it up by making it appear that his destruction of the 4th amendment was legal.

Bush was the worst and most corrupt president in US history. The ultimate question is, Why isn’t he in prison?

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Here’s how free trade works; your income is freely given to the rich. It’s that simple. When your government signs a free trade treaty, it is opening up doors for US companies to ship jobs overseas from the USA, or giving them a conduit through which to create jobs over seas rather than here, which would never have occurred without the treaty. The difference between the old wages here and the new lower wages there go into the pockets of the one percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and enhanced share prices. The losers of those jobs might get unemployment insurance, if they’re lucky. The American tax base is being systematically destroyed via each treaty as more and more jobs are shipped or created overseas by American companies. Schools are starving for money, so are public libraries and other governmental agencies because the tax money has been stuffed into the already fat wallets of the one percent via trade treaties.

In other words, the Obama administration is knowingly negotiating to redistribute income from your pockets and the pockets of your children to the rich as it negotiates the Trans Pacific Free Trade Agreement. How’s that for a man of the people?

Here’s the latest update from Dallas, Texas.

As trade negotiators from throughout the Pacific Rim gathered outside Dallas for a trade summit aimed at speeding the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement towards conclusion, Texans were out in force to demand a public voice in the negotiating process. With the help of Citizens Trade Campaign and the Texas Fair Trade Coalition, local labor, environmental and community advocates:

Delivered over 42,000 petition signatures urging the U.S. Trade Representative to release the texts. Over 24,000 were presented during a media event with speakers from the Texas AFL-CIO, Lone Star Sierra Club, Communications Workers of America Local 6215, and then delivered to Assistant USTR Carol Guthrie. Later in the week, CTC hand-delivered an additional 18,000+ to lead U.S. negotiator Barbara Weisel during a stakeholder briefing, at which point she publicly stated USTR’s new position that “constantly evolving TPP chapter texts cannot be released to the public” — a rollback in transparency from both the current World Trade Organization negotiating process and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) of more than a decade ago.

Followed up on the petition with a high-energy “TPP: Out of the Shadows!” rally and march. The demonstration started with a rally trade justice advocates from across Texas and the Pacific Rim. More than 300 people then marched over into the parking lot of the hotel where negotiators were meeting, before they were stopped by police. Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller led the march by asking “What are they trying to hide?,” and CTC Executive Director Arthur Stamoulis led the crowd in a spirited “mic check” directed at negotiators.

Conducted a wide range of educational activities, including a teach-in moderated by the Dallas Peace Center, with fantastic presentations by Lori Wallach (Global Trade Watch), Celeste Drake (AFL-CIO), Ilana Solomon (Sierra Club) and Sanya Reid Smith (Third World Network). CTC staff also participated in a CWA-hosted telephone town hall, as well as meetings and events throughout the week with the Steelworkers, Teamsters, Building Trades, Sierra Club and Occupy Dallas. Occupy even live-streamed the May 12th rally.

Separate from CTC’s efforts, a number of independent activists also carried out a variety of stunts throughout the week, including a Yes Men award presentation; replacing hotel toilet paper with special TPP TP; projecting transparency messages onto the side of the hotel; putting flyers under negotiators’ hotel room doors; and more.

The next round of TPP negotiations will be in the United States from July 2 – 10, 2012, widely rumored to take place in Los Angeles.

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The one percent has moved to have more middle class income redistributed to themselves via the Trans Pacific Free Redistributing Income Treaty currently being negotiated in Dallas, Texas. Some activists infiltrated an awards ceremony there and the film is below.

Two dozen rogue “delegates” disrupted the corporate-sponsored welcome gala for the high-stakes Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations yesterday with a fake award ceremony and “mic check.” Other activists, meanwhile, replaced hundreds of rolls of toilet paper (TP) throughout the conference venue with more informative versions, and projected a message on the venue’s facade.

The first action began when a smartly-dressed man approached the podium immediately after the gala’s keynote speech by Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative and former mayor of Dallas. The man (local puppeteer David Goodwin) introduced himself as “Git Haversall,” president of the “Texas Corporate Power Partnership,” and announced he was giving Kirk and other U.S. trade negotiators the “2012 Corporate Power Tool Award,” which “Haversall’s” partner held aloft.

The crowd of negotiators and corporate representatives applauded, and “Haversall” continued: “I’d like to personally thank the negotiators for their relentless efforts. The TPP agreement is shaping up to be a fantastic way for us to maximize profits, regardless of what the public of this nation—or any other nation—thinks is right.”

At that point, the host of the reception took the microphone back and announced that the evening’s formal programming had concluded. But Mr. Haversall confidently re-took the microphone and warmly invited Kirk to accept the award.

Kirk moved towards the stage, but federal agents blocked his path to protect him from further embarrassment. At that point, a dozen well-dressed “delegates” (local activists, some from Occupy Dallas) broke into ecstatic dance and chanted “TPP! TPP! TPP!” for several minutes until Dallas police arrived.

Fifteen minutes later, another dozen interlopers from Occupy Dallas interrupted the reception with a spirited “mic-check.” Outside, activists projected a message on the hotel, and throughout the night, delegates discovered that hundreds of rolls of custom toilet paper had been installed in the conference venue.

The activists disrupted the gala to protest the hijacking of trade negotiations by an extreme pro-corporate agenda. “The public and the media are locked out of these meetings,” said Kristi Lara from Occupy Dallas, one of the infiltrators. “We can’t let U.S. trade officials get away with secretlylimiting Internet freedoms, restricting financial regulation, extending medicine patents, and giving corporations other a whole host of other powersallowing them to quash the rights of people and democracies, for example by offshoring jobs in ever new ways. Trade officials know the public won’t stand for this, which is why they try to keep their work secret—and that’s why we had to crash their party.”

There is mounting criticism of the U.S. role in pushing the negotiations forward in secrecy, despite the public’s overwhelming disagreement with TPP goals. (“Buy American” procurement preferences are supported by over 85% of Americans, but U.S. trade negotiators are preparing to accept a ban on such preferences. Two weeks ago, 69 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama asking him not to accept that ban.)
Many are calling the Obama administration duplicitous: while the administration publicly hypes a plan to revitalize American manufacturing and create jobs in the U.S., U.S. trade officials push for new “investor rights” that would make it easier for American companies to lay off domestic workers and open plants overseas.

“The TPP has been branded as a trade ‘negotiation’ by its corporate proponents, but in reality it’s a place for big business to get its way behind closed doors,” said Pete Rokicki of Occupy Dallas. “This anti-democratic maneuver can be stopped if the public gets active—just look at the movement that killed the ill-advised SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) law a few months ago. That’s why Obama’s trade officials lock the public, the press and even members of Congress from the trade negotiation process.”

“We’re really happy to know that even in their most private moments, US trade reps are reminded that a vast majority of the public stands opposed to corporate-friendly, closed-door trade deals like the TPP,” said Sean Dagohoy from the Yes Lab, who assisted in the actions.

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Doonesbury Goes Viral!

Doonesbury has been buried by newspapers recently because of his strips showing how invasive government of the Republicans can be. Slate seems to be the only news outlet willing to carry the series while it’s fixated on government of the invasive. It is a controversial topic this past week. It concerns rape and abortion.

Click here for Doonesbury Goes Viral

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Rick Perry has made his record of job creation as governor of Texas the centerpiece of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. But a new study is drawing attention to a side of the Lone Star State’s recent jobs boom that Perry might not be so quick to tout.

At the heart of Perry’s pitch to voters has been Texas’s jobs performance since the start of the Great Recession, which began in late 2007. During that time, the state has added around 300,000 jobs, while the United States as a whole has lost more than 7 million.

The governor’s critics have pointed out that much of the job growth is the result of simple population growth–both through immigration and through native-born Americans relocating to Texas from other states. Perry has said that only shows that his low-tax, light-regulation policies are making Texas an attractive place to live and work.

But a new study by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based group that advocates for lower immigration rates, could be more difficult for Perry to dismiss. It finds that by far the prime beneficiaries of the boom have been immigrants–both legal and illegal–from other countries.

The key stat? From the middle of 2007, shortly before the recession began, until the middle of this year, Texas added 279,000 jobs. Of those, 225,00 or 81 percent, went to immigrants who arrived in the United States in 2007 or later.

Other important numbers from the study, which is based on Census Bureau data:

• Around half of the newly-arrived immigrants were illegal. So around 40 percent of Texas’s job growth benefited illegal immigrants, and around 40 percent benefited legal immigrants.

• New jobs went overwhelmingly to immigrants even though native-born Americans accounted for 69 percent of the growth in Texas’s working-age population.

• The percentage of working-age natives who held a job fell from 71 percent to 67 percent during the 2007-2011 period. That’s a similar decline to the employment situation in the United States overall during that period.

• 93 percent of the newly-arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas during that time were not American citizens. So more than three quarters of the state’s job growth benefited non-citizens.

What does all this mean?

For one thing, it means that if you think about the population of Texas as it was four years ago, it’s fared just about as well–or as badly, we should say–as the rest of the country. As David Frum, a former speechwriter in the Bush White House who lately has been critical of the Republican Party, puts it, “There was no Texas miracle, from the point of view of the people who constituted the population of Texas back in 2007.”

It also suggests that Perry’s relatively liberal approach on immigration has been a crucial piece of his apparent success on jobs. Frum writes, “A permissive immigration [policy] is the indispensable prerequisite to the no-soup-for-you economy over which Perry presided.”

As a result the study could provide fodder for Perry’s rivals for the Republican nomination, who may use it both to argue that Perry’s record on jobs is less impressive than it sounds, and to attack his permissive approach to immigration from the right.

The study is hardly the only piece of evidence that could undercut Perry’s claims of success as a job creator. As The Lookout reported last month, other government figures show that most of the new jobs created in Texas in the last two years are in government, the low-wage service sector, or the energy sector, which has benefited from rising oil prices. And as the New York Times notes today, Texas’s unemployment rate–which is calculated differently from the total number of jobs created–has spiked lately from 7.7 percent in June 2009 to 8.5 percent today, even as the national rate has edged downward.

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