Archive for July, 2013

Julian Assange’s Statement on the Verdict of Bradley Manning

Today Bradley Manning, a whistleblower, was convicted by a military court at Fort Meade of 19 offences for supplying the press with information, including five counts of ’espionage’. He now faces a maximum sentence of 136 years.

The ’aiding the enemy’ charge has fallen away. It was only included, it seems, to make calling journalism ’espionage’ seem reasonable. It is not.

Bradley Manning’s alleged disclosures have exposed war crimes, sparked revolutions, and induced democratic reform. He is the quintessential whistleblower.

This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower. It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short sighted judgment that can not be tolerated and must be reversed. It can never be that conveying true information to the public is ’espionage’.

President Obama has initiated more espionage proceedings against whistleblowers and publishers than all previous presidents combined.

In 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama ran on a platform that praised whistleblowing as an act of courage and patriotism. That platform has been comprehensively betrayed. His campaign document described whistleblowers as watchdogs when government abuses its authority. It was removed from the internet last week.

Throughout the proceedings there has been a conspicuous absence: the absence of any victim. The prosecution did not present evidence that – or even claim that – a single person came to harm as a result of Bradley Manning’s disclosures. The government never claimed Mr. Manning was working for a foreign power.

The only ’victim’ was the US government’s wounded pride, but the abuse of this fine young man was never the way to restore it. Rather, the abuse of Bradley Manning has left the world with a sense of disgust at how low the Obama administration has fallen. It is not a sign of strength, but of weakness.

The judge has allowed the prosecution to substantially alter the charges after both the defense and the prosecution had rested their cases, permitted the prosecution 141 witnesses and extensive secret testimony. The government kept Bradley Manning in a cage, stripped him naked and isolated him in order to crack him, an act formally condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for torture. This was never a fair trial.

The Obama administration has been chipping away democratic freedoms in the United States. With today’s verdict, Obama has hacked off much more. The administration is intent on deterring and silencing whistleblowers, intent on weakening freedom of the press.

The US first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”. What part of ’no’ does Barack Obama fail to comprehend?

See Assange’s statement here

I could not have worded it better. Thank you Julian Assange and thank you Bradley Manning. My heart aches to know that such a fine young man like him will spend the rest of his life in prison as a political prisoner essentially because he exposed crimes committed by our government. And it is even more disturbing that the American people are not more riled up, or riled up at all and do not see just how truly detrimental to the very fabric of this nation such a verdict is.

Bradley Manning is a hero and patriot and it is shocking to see that I live in a country where whistle-blowing and thus exposing government crimes are being treated as espionage and treason.

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The Pope and The Catholic Church Are Still Full of Shit, Despite Protestations to the Contrary

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Yesterday Pope Francis of holier-than-thou and west-catholic-shit-church street saidWho am I to judge a gay person?” Well, I don’t know, the fucking Pope and self proclaimed spiritual leader of a corrupt faith that everyone sees as holy and an authority? But, er, I’m digressing. Anyway, his exact words were “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? […] You can’t marginalize these people.”

I don’t know. Call me a cynic or a skeptic who isn’t easily fooled by someone’s empty words but the Pope paying lip service and saying he now accepts gays means nothing to me, nor does it change how I feel about religion, him and about how detrimental and dangerous and harmful religion is.

Facts speak louder than words: The Knights of Columbus poured over $2 million during the last election cycle alone on funding anti same sex marriage legislation and they are continuing to do so as we speak. Does anyone really believe that these haters and bigots will now suddenly support same sex marriage because the Pope says in some sort of an afterthought that he does not think gays are dirt beneath our feet? Who the fuck cares that he said gay people are good people? If he really believes that, then why treat them like second class human beings and deny them equal rights? Is he for same  sex marriage now? Is he for gay adoption? No. Case closed.

Finally, I find it sad that our expectations of religious leaders are so low that we are actually grateful and elated that some religious figure doesn’t insult gay people to the maximum and wishes death and misery upon them. I mean, really? Are these the low standards we have subscribed to these days? Be thankful that he at least didn’t they say he hates them – never mind he still is not willing to grant them equal rights?

The Pope’s pandering to the gay community is just that, pandering. How magnanimous to say gay people are not automatically deserving of eternal damnation, but of course with the addendum that while homosexuals deserve a chance to find grace, they can only do so if they are celibate. So being gay is okay, so long as you never act on your homosexuality. It’s the old “love the sinner, hate the sin” tripe that is simply an insult.

The Pope and his sheep followers with their insincere protestations of acceptance of homosexuals can kiss my ass.

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An Observation in Light of the Bradley Manning Verdict Tomorrow

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Twenty Five year old Bradley Manning, who was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for nine months after his arrest on May 29, 2010 and forced to sleep naked without pillows and sheets on his bed, and restricted from physical recreation or access to television or newspapers even during his one daily hour of freedom from his cell, all under the pretense that the private was a suicide risk, is awaiting his verdict tomorrow.

Manning was arrested in 2010 in Iraq and accused of providing WikiLeaks with 700,000 intelligence documents and videos, many of them classified and he was subsequently court-martialed.  He  faces life in prison if he is convicted of aiding the enemy, along with 21 other charges related to what has been deemed the largest leak of classified information in American history.

A few things:

Do people really believe it would be “just” or that “justice” would be served if this kid, who isn’t a violent offender, were put into jail for however many years where he will be violated and abused and psychologically damaged simply because, for whatever reason – naivety, idealism, youthful hopefulness, stupidity, patriotism, humanity  – he revealed our government’s dirty little deeds and lies and war mongering and a host of other undemocratic and dishonest practices that take place clandestinely in our names and which have serious consequences for us as well as others? Do people really believe that locking him up, as if he was the enemy,  would be the solution?

As if it wan’t bad and unconscionable enough that he had to endure the inhumane treatment in prison and as if it weren’t bad enough that he has already been robbed off three years of his life and youth, now we believe sending him to jail with a bunch of violent offenders and locking him up would be just?

Bradley Manning, in that case, would then be effectively nothing but a political prisoner.

Look, we all know what the verdict will be, and it won’t be just. And all those people who cite government and allegiance to government need to remember that a government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned. See: the United States government and its spying and our Congress members half of whom are millionaires and in bed with big industry that line their pockets and who are not accountable to anyone. Congress holds the purse, they can give themselves raises, they borrow money from social security and postal service retirement and never pay it back and then count it as part of the budget – as if they weren’t paid into systems – they set the laws, they chose when not to regard and obey certain laws as they see fit –  such as in the case of torture and the NSA spying and other civil rights violations – they approve secret courts that issue secret warrants and they are, in essence not accountable to anyone and thus notably ungoverned. And unless one these Congress members is caught doing it with someone who isn’t his wife, they are virtually untouchable too and stay in office forever so that they can continue to enrich themselves at our expense.

So let me ask again, who is the criminal here?

Transparency doesn’t always mean we need to know every little detail but we do need to know the motives of our leaders and the documents released by Manning and then WikiLeaks show us that the true face of government is very different from what we are shown. A third of your pay, if you are not part of the 1%, goes to that government, which uses it for reasons you don’t understand nor are likely to benefit from.

Finally, if we allow those that would give up their freedom to try to inform and bring understanding to the people of this nation regarding crimes being committed by the Government and the Military Industrial Complex to be found guilty of a crime then we, the citizens of this nation, deserve neither safety nor freedom.

Bradley Manning has attempted to enlighten the citizens of this nation…better put, he has enlightened the citizens of this nation and the citizens of the world as to how horribly wrong war and some acts committed during war can be and are. I mean the atrocities committed were not being committed against paper dolls, those are real human beings whose lives are just as important as the lives of the people in this nation.

Manning should be found not guilty and should be given an honorable discharge from the military instead of sentenced to jail for one year or 20 or 15 or 100.

Wouldn’t we be sending a better message to the world- both as a nation and as a peoples  – if we lived in a world where the judge gave Manning immunity because “the American people are not the enemy“? Instead, we live in a world in which someone like George Zimmerman murders an unarmed black teenager and gets away with it while Bradley Manning who exposes crimes committed by our government gets locked up. This is your America.

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This Shit is Real in The World

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Quote of the Day

No one can earn a million dollars honestly.”

— William Jennings Bryan

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Zimmerman Juror: “He Got Away With Murder”

A 36-year-old Puerto Rican nursing assistant who did not want to reveal her last name and only went by the name Maddy was the only minority on the six-person jury who opposed the “not guilty” verdict of George Zimmerman.  She admitted she was the juror who originally wanted to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder, but eventually realized that the evidence supposedly didn’t support a guilty verdict with respect to his claim of self-defense.

I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury. I fought to the end,” she said. “That’s where I felt confused, where if a person kills someone, then you get charged for it. But as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can’t say he’s guilty.”

She continued, “as much as we were trying to find this man guilty…they give you a booklet that basically tells you the truth, and the truth is that there was nothing that we could do about it. I feel the verdict was already told.”

However, as a mother of eight children, Maddy said she wonders if she made the right decision and feels like she owes Martin’s parents an apology.

It’s hard for me to sleep, it’s hard for me to eat because I feel I was forcefully included in Trayvon Martin’s death. And as I carry him on my back, I’m hurting as much Trayvon’s Martin’s mother because there’s no way that any mother should feel that pain,” she said.

Here is what I have to say to “Maddy”:

1) The road to hell, since you are a believer in god’s law and Jesus and all that crap, is paved with good intentions.

2) It seems to me almost like the legal team and all were trying to intimidate the jurors by throwing that “book of truth” as she calls it, at them, confusing them with a bunch of legal jargon and manipulating them into a non guilty verdict. In other words, the defense and all gamed the system and engaged in a lot of manipulation to coerce and shame the jury into a non-guilty verdict citing “the law” and “procedures” to these clearly uneducated dolts.  As she she said,  she knew he was guilty but was basically talked out of it. This illustrates the degree to which our legal system is divorced from justice.

If the legal process was improperly enforced by the court and state due to incompetence or something worse, this does not change the fact that this jury, including god fearing “Maddy” OK’d vigilantism against a young black man.

 3) This trial was never about proving Zimmerman’s guilt, it was about trying to prove why Trayvon Martin deserved to be shot.

4) As the law states, an aggressor cannot use self defense. Zimmerman was the aggressor because he was the  one who left his car, despite dispatch telling him to stay in, and he was the one who stalked the boy who had no idea who Zimmerman was and probably thought he was gonna get mugged or else attacked by Zimmerman.  So Trayvon defended him himself, not the other way around.

5) Apparently Zimmerman standing his ground was ok, but Martin doing the same thing was not and he deserved to die. 

6) A 17-year old teenager who walked around with candy and was unarmed got killed and the jury really believed that it was not the fault of the person who stalked and murdered him and thus at least deserving of a manslaughter verdict. 

7) “Maddy” knew what the right thing to do was, she is admitting that Zimmerman got away with murder, but she still went ahead and found him not guilty.  “Maddy” could have voted any way she wanted. No gun was at her head. That she chose to vote for acquittal, due to coercion and/or intimidation by other juror, is ultimately on her.  She can’t blame anyone else or anything else. She alone stands to blame  with regards to there not having been a hung jury.

8) “You cant get away from god“? That has got to be dumbest and most hypocritical load of shit I have heard anyone say thus far in this case. How fucking convenient.

I love it how religious people try to excuse their own bad behavior and bad, immoral, detrimental decisions by stating that hey, if I was a terrible person and let a murderer get away, it’s ok, god will take care of it.  That she actually had the nerve to come back and state that Zimmerman will be the one facing his maker, like she had nothing to do with the outcome, is the height of hypocrisy.

Way to not take responsibility for your own actions, “Maddy”, and instead bet on god taking care of something you should have taken care of yourself. Guess what, honey bunch, there is no god, and no one will punish Zimmerman. He racially profiled, stalked and murdered a black boy and got away with it because you let him go. It wasn’t your god or Jesus, it was you. But let me tell you one thing, if there was indeed a god, Zimmerman would not be the only one facing him. You would be standing right next to him.

I have absolutely no sympathy for her and hope she has an eternity of rotten nights of no sleep because of it.

Finally, I would like to point out that there are two kinds of evil in the world: people who do evil things and people who see evil being done and do nothing about it. “Maddy” falls into the latter category. See, she had a choice and she chose to let him go. Her confession and remorse after the fact are absolutely meaningless.

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Can We Leave Anthony Weiner Alone?

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Anthony Weiner is in the news again because of his penis which he dares to use every now and then, sometimes on entities whom he is not bound to in holy matrimony blah blah blah.

Yesterday, the New York mayoral candidate responded to new sexting allegations following claims from nightlife website “The Dirty” that the former congressman had engaged in sex chats with a 22-year-old woman in 2012. The 22 year old he did have the exchange with thought since he is running for mayor she should come out and “expose” him as clearly flirting with a 22 year old is something that would disqualify one from public office or the mayoral position and was an unforgivable offense. She said:

I just want to clarify that although I was 22 and technically an adult, I was obviously immature and I acted irresponsibly. I realize my correspondence with Mr. Anthony Weiner was a huge mistake and I am embarrassed by it. But the facts are the facts, and he’s running for mayor of NYC so I felt I should get my story out there.

I have no reason to lie. I don’t want the attention or I wouldn’t have kept my anonymity. I didn’t get paid for anything. I quite literally have nothing to gain from this.

Some people have doubts about the facebook page he used to talk to me in the beginning, before switching to facebook/formspring/phone calls — It’s his personal account. It’s linked to his wife’s account. It’s deactivated at the moment because of the campaign. Aside from the fact that I know many people in the political realm who have verified that it’s his account, I also know from our phone calls.

And to be totally clear, I did not sleep with him or receive any funds from him. I’ve seen comments stating otherwise and they are all totally false. I think it’s important to reiterate the fact that all of this happened with him after his first scandal, so all of his campaign promises about being a changed man are absolute lies.

Weiner issued the following statement in response to, what the news call a “sex scandal”:

I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have. As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress. While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me. I’ve apologized to Huma and am grateful that she has worked through these issues with me and for her forgiveness. I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption that this has caused. As my wife and I have said, we are focused on moving forward

The most shocking, and to be honest the most sensible and reasonable, response came from Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin who basically stated that people need to leave her husband the fuck alone because whatever he did is “between us and our marriage.”

So my question is, if Weiner has not been engaging in sexual exchanges with a minor and thus did not break the law, and if his own wife is ok with letting the issue rest and clearly, and rightly so,  states that this was something between her and her husband, who the hell is the American public to say otherwise?

Seriously, leave the man alone. Since when is it against the law to send a 22 year old sexy text messages. Both are adults, she isn’t a minor and this media circus, including calling it a scandal, is really beyond ridiculous and bad journalism. Or no journalism at all. It’s is sensationalist garbage.

I know this is a nation based on puritan traditions but we are in the 21st century and what people do in their bedrooms is their concern. Sexting with a 22 year old doesn’t make him a bad person, heck, it doesn’t even make him an immoral person.  She was of consenting age.

Sex is a perfectly normal biological function and I am so tired to see people regularly judged and dismissed and called all sort of names for engaging in sexual activities of any kind. This moral policing of people when it comes to things that are their own damn private business is going entirely too far. And, more to the point, if his wife is upset with him, let her take it up with him. She is the only one who has the right to be upset here and thus the only one with a valid claims.

It’s almost like people are looking for things of this kind to be upset about.

If you wanna be mad, be mad at politicians who sleep with their wives and don’t send sexy texts to anyone but instead are in bed with Koch brothers and big industry squandering your vote and public trust and tax dollars to enrich themselves. Look at half of Congress, no all of Congress, and how they have been selling the American people out in exchange for bribes by the corporations.

Don’t we have anything better to do and more important priorities in life – as a country – such as, for instance, going after BP, or the robber barons of the financial world that were escorted out of Wall Street with multi-million dollar bonus checks courtesy of the taxes us loser middle class, lazy 47% mooches have paid to the government while said robber barons were siphoning their wealth and the collective wealth of the nation into offshore accounts getting wealthier by the day? Or the NRA whose emblem is dripping with the blood of victims of gun violence?

These are the things people should be upset about. Not that Weiner has a penis he uses not to the American public’s liking.

The enthusiasm with which Weiner is being persecuted reveals an astounding absence of any sense of proportion.

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