Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Video: Jonathan Turley: President Obama Can Have American Citizens Killed or Arrested at Whim

This is without a doubt the most frightening warning I've ever heard. At it doesn't come from some wild-eyed radical or right-winger. Jonathan Turley is a respected legal scholar If he says we are no longer a free nation then we should take it very seriously. And he isn't picking one party of the other. Turley says both the Bush and Obama administrations support this assault on the Constitution. He made his comments on Current-TV's 'Countdown.' He was on the program to discuss his Washington Post Op-Ed entitled, "10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free."

Jonathan Turley: 10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

Jonathan Turley is a distinguished legal scholar. If he says we are no longer a free nation then that's a very frightening statement. And it's happening under a Democratic administration. It means this White House has basically kept in place the Bush administration's war on the Constitution. Either we fight for our freedoms now or we will cease to be a free nation altogether before too long:

 Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.
Full article

Deaths of headphone-wearing pedestrians on the rise


Anna Marie Stickel never heard the train coming. The 14-year-old was listening to music on her iPod while walking along the railroad track, taking a shortcut to school after missing the morning bus.

An Amtrak train traveling south along the stretch of track in Maryland's Middle River struck her from behind, instantly killing the high school freshman on Jan. 5, 2010.

Anna's tragic story sparked a national study examining the dangers associated with pedestrian use of headphones, according to Dr. Richard Lichenstein, director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Research at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children in Baltimore. She was among 116 cases studied. 

Romney Says His Effective Tax Rate Is 'Probably' 15%

NYT: Facing Pointed Attacks, Romney

Under new pressure to release his tax returns, Mitt Romney on Tuesday acknowledged that he pays an effective tax rate of about 15 percent because so much of his fortune comes from past investments.

"It's probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything," Mr. Romney said. "Because my last 10 years, I've - my income comes overwhelmingly from investments made in the past, rather than ordinary income, or rather than earned annual income."

The vast majority of the income Mr. Romney reported over 12 months in 2010 and '11 was dividends from investments, capital gains on mutual funds and his post-retirement share of profits and investment returns from Bain Capital, the firm he once led. And Mr. Romney also noted that he made hundreds of thousands of dollars from speaking engagements.

High court rejects appeal of former congressman

High court rejects appeal of former congressman - CNN.com

The federal prosecution of former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona will continue after the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear his appeal.

Renzi, a 54-year-old Republican, faces federal corruption charges related to an alleged illegal land-swap deal designed to help a business associate pay back $700,000 owed the lawmaker. He is also accused of misappropriating money from his family insurance business to fund his campaigns and for personal benefit.

The charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion and insurance fraud.

Fact check: GOP candidates stretch truth in S.C. debate

Source: USAToday:

Romney claimed that "this president has opened up no new markets for American goods around the world in his three years," ignoring trade deals Obama signed in October 2011 with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

When we asked Romney's spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, about this claim, he said the three deals we mentioned were negotiated by the Bush administration and only approved by Congress under Obama. But that, too, ignores work by the Obama administration to break a stalemate and win agreement from lawmakers on the deals. The New York Timessaid that the culmination of the deals "end[ed] a political standoff that has stretched across two presidencies," calling the inking of the pacts "a rare moment of bipartisan accord" and "a victory for President Obama," who bucked some in his own party who opposed the deals.

So it would be accurate to say the president hasn't negotiated any new trade deals, but Romney goes too far when he denies the president any credit for opening up new markets.

Paul vs. history: Income tax

Rep. Ron Paul claimed that the United States had no income tax "up until 1913." Not quite. Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861 to help finance the Civil War.

During the debate, moderator Bret Baier asked each candidate how high they would set the income tax rate. Paul was the only candidate to say "zero" percent, drawing huge applause, and supporting his position with a bogus history lesson.

Paul: Well, we should have the lowest tax that we ever had and up until 1913 it was zero percent. What's so bad about that?

Yes, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave Congress the explicit power to tax "from whatever source derived." But Congress did impose income taxes prior to that.

Donors Gave as Santorum Won Earmarks

And he calls himself a Conservative. Less government? Sounds like corruption to me:

The announcements flowed out of Rick Santorum’s Senate office: a $3.5 million federal grant to Piasecki Aircraft to help it test a new helicopter propeller technology; another $3.5 million to JLG Industries to bolster its bid to build all-terrain forklifts for the military; $1.4 million to Medico Industries to upgrade equipment for its munitions work.

Each of the news releases represented an earmark or, in some cases, multiple ones — the practice by which members of Congress set aside money in federal spending bills for what critics often denounce as pet projects back home.

Mr. Santorum, who picked up the endorsement of a group of prominent Christian conservative leaders on Saturday, has been trying to persuade conservatives to coalesce behind his candidacy. His rivals for the Republican presidential nomination have seized upon his spending record in an effort to cast doubt on his fiscal conservative bona fides.
Full article

Steven Colbert Video: If Corporations are People then Mitt Romney is a Serial Killer

Occupy Movement to Converge on Capitol Hill and Congress

Source: MSNBC:

Thousands of Occupy protesters from across the country are expected to converge Tuesday on Capitol Hill to take their message to the halls of Congress, in what some observers say is the movement’s overdue moment to engage the American political system.

Protesters already have set up camps in public spaces, taken over foreclosed homes and  shut down key shipping ports, but for the most part they have shunned the political system, viewing it as beyond salvation.

The congressional protest – which falls on the movement's four-month mark and the beginning of a new session of Congress – appears to represent a strategic shift aimed at winning support of the many Americans disillusioned with the legislative branch
“Often the complaint that I hear is that, 'you guys are targeting the wrong people.' And so we have that discussion about you know whether or not Wall Street is the source of the problem or really Congress is," said Aaron Bornstein, a 31-year-old neuroscientist and member of the Occupy Wall Street Think Tank, which will hold discussions at the event.

Transcript, Video: FoxNews South Carolina GOP Debate (1-16-12)

Full Transcript. Excerpt below:

But the controversy on the campaign trail in recent days has been about Governor Romney’s record. We are going to talk extensively about jobs, federal debt, world hotspots, and social issues, but, first, let’s clear the air.
Speaker Gingrich, on a debate stage in September, you vowed to, quote, “repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other to protect Barack Obama, who deserves to be defeated,” close quote. And yet in recent days, you and your campaign have cited numerous outlets, from the New York Times to Salon.com, to attack Governor Romney’s business record, the exact line of attack the Obama campaign is using. Why?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I think that the staying positive through Iowa, through $3.5 million of negative attacks, proved you either have to unilaterally disarm and leave the race or you have to at least bring up your competitor’s record.
Second, I think it’s very important for us to look at job creation. As a young member of Congress, I worked with President Ronald Reagan. We passed an economic growth package. We created 16 million jobs. The American people within a framework that Reagan had established created 16 million jobs.
As speaker I came back — working with President Bill Clinton, we passed a very Reagan-like program, less regulation, lower taxes. Unemployment dropped to 4.2 percent. We created 11 million jobs. Now, those are real numbers that people can verify out in the open.

GINGRICH: Governor Romney as governor raised taxes and Massachusetts was 47th in job creation, fourth from the bottom. That’s a public record difference.
The second part of his campaign is citing his experience in business, which is perfectly legitimate, but if that’s a part of your campaign, then questioning it has to be equally legitimate.
And it struck me raising those questions, giving me an opportunity to answer them is exactly what campaigns ought to be about. And we need to satisfy the country that whoever we nominate has a record that can stand up to Barack Obama in a very effective way.
Full video of the debate: