Tag Archives: law

NRA Absurdists and Gun Proliferation in America: time to debate the Ninja Amendment?

This Sunday from 8-9am, Our Town and Revolution and Beer on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT invite you to join us for the first real and honest debate on reasonable gun control, the Second Amendment and the proliferation of guns since the Newtown tragedy. Many are calling this issue a mental health issue and not a gun issue. On both the Left and the Right the rhetoric around the mental health issue has taken a dangerous, wrong-headed, uninformed and regressive tone. The debate over guns in general has taken a decidedly perverse turn.

In fact, within a week of the Newtown tragedy, the NRA’s long awaited statement, following an unusually long silence, was in a word, absurdist. Their answer to the tragedy was not reasonable gun legislation, or even reasonable gun debate and responsibility. The NRA, instead, as a way of prevention for the next Newtown or Columbine was more guns, forcibly armed and trained school teachers, or roving gun-toting guards for every one of the nations 138,900 schools. Militarize the schools!

It is an easy sell to a knee-jerk trained populace, particularly on the Right.A trained man with a gun would certainly have a deterrent effect on a would-be gunmen intent on mayhem, right? But the money-changing marketing on the Right, like the effort by the gun-lobby and the NRA to use these stories as a way to accumulate cash through fear, is flimsy at best. That’s why they have to shout at you, or cajole you through fear and hysteria or false sincerity constantly through the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs or Mike Gallaghers in the media. That’s why they have consolidated and dominated fully their concentrated and fully one-sided message in the media. Drive, as I have done many times,through the south and you will be shocked at the proliferation of pro-Rightwing propaganda, and the absolute desert of unfiltered information.

But under any reasonable thought their absurdist ramblings of the Right and the NRA fall apart quickly. For example, who will pay for the 400,000 sainted and trusted armed guards for our schools who will be necessary to guard multiple entrances, recess, open and large campuses and the fat target of would-be gunmen of masses of kids going to and from buses? Or do we require all kids entering and leaving school straight to secured vehicles to serpentine to cover? All of those armed guards will need sick days, vacation days, mandated lunches and breaks, right? Who will pay that enormous bill? More taxes? Is the Right and NRA now arguing for greater taxation? What would the tea party say?

First and foremost, the ultimate flaw in logic with the gun pimps and absurdists deals with the gunmen themselves. Not a single school gunman has been stopped or brought down by police or anyone else with a gun. They usually kill themselves, or occasionally surrender. Always the would-be gunman comes prepared to shoot, often with greater firepower, more ammunition and body armor, whereas those who may confront them are always reacting.

Perhaps then we’ll simply engender an army of volunteers. Who will oversee and screen them? What if they don’t want to volunteer anymore or one day? Do we use the unemployed as free labor? How will they look for work on school/business days? Or maybe we arm teachers. Would we then require teachers to be armed? As part of teaching degrees would they be mandated to take firearms classes, and pack a weapon to every school and every class on everyday? I could make a joke about how well-behaved classes would suddenly become, but is that the reality and environment we want our children to learn in? Talk about a loss of innocence! 20 children died at Newtown. Does the arming of every school in America now victimize its 55 milliom-that’s million students? http://www.edreform.com/2012/04/k-12-facts/

So, in keeping with that, or in keeping up with the absurdity on the Right, I am proposing what I believe to be an equally workable, and perhaps even more practical solution to the gun issue: 900poundgorilla and Revolution and Beer propose THE NINJA AMENDMENT for school safety?ShinobiNoMono

Ninja’s are all privately funded, apparently. Never have I been at a job and said, “Hey Bob, what are you doing for the weekend?” only to hear, “I’m a part-time Ninja on the weekend.” So, it would seem, there would be no liability to taxpayers. A guard with a gun is also very apparent walking the halls of our schools, whereas a Ninja would drop unseen from a ceiling, burst from a locker or spring from a trash can above, behind or beside the gunman. A gunman could likely hear return gunfire and concentrate his heavier weaponry in hallways or stairwells with little or no cover. A swarm of silent Ninja stars could drop an assailant in the blink of an eye. And there are never costly funerals for Ninjas. Ninjas take care of their own. You’ll never hear a tearful relative at a ceremony lament, “I told Dave this whole Ninja life-style would catch up with him one day, but he just wouldn’t listen.”

Share this with friends, and ask them to send this post to your Congressman and Senator in Washington, the NRA, President Obama and Vice President with a respectful demand to sponsor the Ninja Amendment if they insist on the absurdist course Washington, the Media and the NRA are currently on with regards to guns and our children.

Contact the NRA: https://contact.nra.org/contact-us.aspx, and call, 1-800-672-3888

Contact your House Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Email President Obama here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/fellows/contact

Contact Vice President Biden: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact-vp

Stay tuned for the exact wording for the proposed NINJA AMENDMENT.ninjacatva11

Listen to 900poundgorilla every Sunday morning 8-9 on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT am820 and streaming live worldwide for the Revolution and Beer show only on Our Town with Mike Sanders.
Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com. And check out their fine beer glasswear selections  at the “Beerables” link  at the bottom of their page. 

Outrage! How Congress failed millions of victimized women, but saved Hurricane Sandy relief

There was outrage this week when  House Speaker  and Republicans refused to pass a relief bill for  a few tens of  thousands of legitimately suffering Hurricane Sandy victims. There arose such a cry in the media, from Democrats  and Republicans alike, and from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that the 112th Congress, at their 11th hour passed that desperately critical bill.

A few tens of thousands of Americans. It was that urgent. If they hadn’t acted the bill would have died, likely not to be taken up by the incoming 113th Congress. But this Congress managed to get the job done, amid their busy schedules of lobbyist luncheons, all important Benghazi hearings and FOX News/MSNBC partisan mud-slinging interviews. Another bill died, forgotten in the shadows. The Violence Against Women Act was held up, gutted and then left to die.  Luckily the loss of VAWA bill only affected the lives and well-being of roughly 170 million women in this country. There was no similar outrage, and hardly a whisper of acknowledgement for the death of the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA.

VAWA, credited as being born on the desk of then Delaware Senator Joe Biden in 1994, was actually bred from a history of abuse and brutality against women; the silent civil rights struggle. Signed into effect that same year by Bill Clinton, the bill provided vitally needed resources for abuse victims and began a process of calling attention to the special nature of crimes of violence against women, such as date rape, honor killings, female genital mutilation, human trafficking, sexual slavery, forced abortion, forced prostitution and marital rape, to name a few.

No doubt it was about cost, right? We are, according to the doomsayers, sliding off the cliff into the fiscal abyss. The nation can’t afford the less than 2 billion allotted annually for a project that does little more than save women’s lives. It had to be cut for the sake of the nation. The cost of the sandy relief: 60 billion, to start. It is easy to see the how Congress arrived  at their decision.

In fairness, this is  not about the Sandy victims, or the 72,000 homes and businesses destroyed by the storm. This is about perspective and priorities. This is about whether we are sincere about improving the lives of women, and about offering support to the 1 in 6 women who will be sexually assaulted or molested in this country. Every 9 seconds a woman in the US is assaulted or beaten, or around 21 in the time it takes to read this article. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the US, ahead of  car accidents, rape by a stranger or street crime combined. 2/3s of women abused at home do not contact shelters or police for help. In financial terms, the cost of abuse is more than $4 billion in medical costs, and nearly $2 billion in productivity at work. (Source: http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/)

Given that, the math should be relatively simple to figure out. I surprised Congress has not figured it out since they are among our best and brightest, at least what they would have us believe.


Sunday on the show we’ll talk about this with Aisha Chaudhri from Apna Ghar http://apnaghar.org/, which “provides holistic services to women and children across immigrant communities in the Chicago area to end the cycle of domestic violence.  Apna Ghar empowers women to be self-sufficient by a full spectrum of services from education to emergency and transitional housing to counseling and legal services.”

On the show we’ll have details on becoming involved in reviving VAWA and protecting women. begin by organizing to become the squeakiest wheel you can become. Call and respectfully pester your Representative and Senators at the following, with their phone numbers here:



Or call or email President Obama and tell him how important this is, and that we hold him and his presidential reputation and historical legacy accountable:


202-465-1414 and 202-456-1111.

If you are being abused, or know someone who may be:




The woman,, relative, friend. mother, daughter and wife in life are counting on you.

Tune in every Sunday 8-9am only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT for the Revolution and Beer segment as Brian Murray and I sample the beer of the week with the Our Town gang, and run down the grassroots calendar for the week. If you’re tired of talk, talk, talk radio, this is do something radio. Have a beer. Get involved.

 Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., www.glunzbeers.com. And check out their fine beer glasswear selections  at the “Beerables” link  at the bottom of their page.  



WHEN: January 3, 2013, 12:30 P.M.


Father, Jose Landaverde from Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Catholic Mission wants to know why the U.S. President, Mr. Barak Obama can have a new law for “Hardship Waivers” to by pass congress and reduce the stay of immigrants who are forced to return to their countries of origin for U.S Citizens who have immigrant family members who have been deported to reduce the time for immigrant visa reapplication to as little as a week in some instances for individuals who over stay their visa and are given 3 years before they can apply for a 6 month overstay and 10 years for a one year overstay on their visa application, yet our President does nothing on the deportation of the 11.1 million undocumented which face the same problems and risk of being murdered to save their lives and grant them access via a Moratorium on the deportation.

Are the lives of human beings in the world equal in value or are immigrants worth more to the U.S. government when they are with families of U.S. citizens? What are you doing to be compassionate to human beings throughout the world Mr. President? Are you trying to get foreign born people murdered?
In God’s name we ask that you immediately have a Moratorium on the Deportations to save lives, and reunite families!

Contact: Fr. Jose S. Landaverde 773-512-8015

This post courtesy of the Occpy Chi Press Team

Breaking News: Judge in Stratfor spying whistleblower trial refuses to recuse herself despite serious conflict of interest in Hammond case

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, who denied bail to Jeremy Hammond, a 27-year-old Chicago activist accused of hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor to show systemic corruption by the firm, refused to recuse herself from the case despite substantial evidence showing a glaring conflict of interest. Preska failed to disclose that her husband, Thomas J Kaveler is an employee of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, a current Stratfor client and associate. Kaveler himself was among the documents leaked in the alleged whistleblower effort to uncover corruption between Stratfor, its clients and the government. Stratfor collected information on social movements, critics of corporate clients and on the Occupy movement, of which Hammond was a supporter. Preska may also have been mentioned in the Stratfor emails.

Her judgment to deny Hammond bail came in a long, prewritten statement read at his November hearing, in which she described him as more dangerous than a terrorist or a pedophile-both clearly prejudicial statements. It also shows her decision against Hammond was crafted well in advance, without regard to the evidence. Her refusal to step away from the case, clearly a violation of judicial ethics, is more troubling among revelations that the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Stratfor and local law enforcement combined to discredit and undermine the Occupy movement, according to recent FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act to  the “Partnership for Civil Justice” Fund.

According to the documents the FBI shared intelligence with banks, Wallstreet, Media organizations and corporations, acting as an intelligence wing for the so-called 1%. Even though the FBI acknowledged at the time that the movement was peaceful and non-violent, they continued to promote the movement as having the potential for terrorism and criminality. Interestingly, that was the narrative promoted by the corporate media.  It should be noted that there was no reported attention to the Tea Party, in which members frequently attended rallies with weapons, including a presidential rally. The FBI has a long history of infiltrating, instigating, interfering with and disrupting peaceful social and civil rights movements.

The Stratfor documents were released to WikiLeaks, an unbiased third party whose only intent is transparency and uncovering secret government corruption. Speaking from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has received asylum, WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange recalled the “232 journalists who are in jail” around the globe, including activists like Hammond and Bradley Manning. Both still have not been afforded the constitutional right of a trial. Manning has been imprisoned without trial for more than 2 years. Hammond will have been imprisoned without trial for a year this coming March.

Tune in every Sunday 9-0am only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT for the Revolution and Beer segment as Brian Murray and I sample the beer of the week with the Our Town gang, and run down the grassroots calendar for the week. If you’re tired of talk, talk, talk radio, this is do something radio. Have a beer. Get involved.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., www.glunzbeers.com. And check out their fine beer glasswear selections  at the “Beerables” link  at the bottom of the page.  

With thanks to the good people at Louis Glunz Beer Inc, a family owned business for 125 years in Chicago. Happy Holidays! Visit them @ http://www.glunzbeers.com/Site/SeasonalBeers.aspx?hd=1

Wayne LaPierre says America must do everything to protect first responders. All firemen should be armed! If New York firefighters had carried automatic weapons instead of firehoses to burning building…

Gunman who ambushed firefighters killed grandmother in 1980, police say

By Jason White, NBC News

The gunman who ambushed four volunteer firefighters, killing two, in upstate New York had spent 17 years in prison for beating his grandmother to death with a hammer in 1980, police said.

William Spengler opened fire on the volunteers as they responded to a blaze just before 6 a.m. ET in a small cluster of homes along Lake Ontario in Webster, N.Y., police said …The two injured firefighters, Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter, were being treated for “significant injuries,” …An off-duty police officer was also injured when he was hit by shrapnel after his car took bullets to the windshield and engine block…After the shooting, the fire grew to engulf at seven homes and one motor vehicle…

Excerpted fromhttp://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/24/16125861-gunman-who-ambushed-firefighters-killed-grandmother-in-1980-police-say?lite=

 And that is the absurdity of Wayne LaPierre’s statements following the Newtown CT. shooting. The simple logic at a dozen differnt points is absent from the NRA. The very least of which is, shootings happen everywhere in this society because of the proliferation of guns, and  a sinmplistic attitude regarding them. The culture does not accept them as a tool but as a symbol of defiance and autonomy, which they are not in a civil society. those who content we are not a civil society, and that we must have more guns, beacuse in the 21st Century only the threat of violence will compel us to better humanity, are as dangerous as the  street-corner gangbanger. Reasonably guns may not be the problem, but they are certainly part of the problem. The failure to acknowledge that fact discredits the NRA fully as first an unbiased critic and ultimately as a group possessing intelligent or productive insight.

The Burden of Being on the Right: The NRA, Newtown and Michael Medved’s Confused Logic

So this is the narrative from the NRA and the Right: Evil men are poised to bust down your door or attack you every moment of the day. So that’s why you need to pack a bazooka at all times; cooking dinner, taking a dump, making love you…who ever you make love with. You have to have a gun because it is a brutal dangerous world, filled with brigands and marauders constantly stalking you. You my friend are a limping gazelle in a lion’s den. Without an AK-47, body armor and  more ammo than a Marine battalion you’re done for.

And that narrative has worked, at least as far as the gun industry is concerned. They have reaped a fortune pimping fear and distrust, feeding “scripts” to their surrogates in the right-wing media and in the government. Lobbyists spend huge sums to sway public opinion on guns, and to skew debate about reasonable gun legislation. The NRA spent $2.2 million in lobbying and n additional $17.6 million in outside propaganda, that is, to help create the pressure on and in you to buy guns. And make no mistake, the NRA loves the attention from mass shootings, and exploit it to great financial advantagehttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-07/nra-sought-donations-in-days-after-colorado-shootings.html.

And we’ve bought it fully, despite the fact that the very few incidents of people defending themselves with a gun are so remote as to barely be anecdotal. You are far more likely to be shot with your own gun, by someone you know, like the 7-year-old boy accidentally killed by his father a few weeks ago as the weapon discharged while he was getting in his truck at a local gun store. Last week, following the Connecticut tragedy two Kansas police officers were gunned down last week, responding to a suspicious vehicle report at night http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/17/justice/kansas-officers-killed/index.html. Both officers were armed. Last August, 9 were wounded in a gun battle between police and  a murder suspect. All 9 were accidentally wounded by the police during the battle http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/25/justice/new-york-empire-state-shooting/index.html.

On Friday, the NRA, suspiciously silent since the deaths of 27 a week ago, but for their media servants, spit in the proverbial face of the Connecticut shooting victims by saying “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The truth of it is, not one “good guy” with a gun has ever stopped any of these mass shootings. To believe they would or could is childish and foolish. The victims’ families, that teases their pain with the cruelty of what-if scenarios after the fact.

So where is the inconsistency? Following the Connecticut shooting  it is unavoidable to draw attention to the dangerously high and frequent numbers of mass shootings in the United States, where gun proliferation far exceeds nations at war. Last week Michael Medved, who frequently has difficulty, like many on the right, remembering their previous B.S. positions on critical issues, revealed the absolute inconsistency in the Right’s gun-culture religion.

Right-wing talk host and history propagandist, Medved is an advocate for the NRA’s irresponsible proliferation ideology,  a champion of fraudulent conceal/carry laws and a defender of ridiculous and demonstrably false and cartoonish public perceptions on gun proliferation. Cornered by logic, or the illogic of his positions, Medved claims that America is not a violent nation, and that violent crime has actually declined. And that is true, but that calls to mind a fundamental flaw in the whole perverse NRA ideology.

On one hand they tell us we need guns because the world is a dangerous place. Then, when confronted by the blood-soaked product of that religion of violence they tell us that crime is declining and the nation isn’t violent and dangerous, which would ultimately mean that we all don’t need a personal array of weaponry. And maybe that means that I can take a dump without being strapped, with a thousand yard stare and a finger on the trigger as I reach for the toilet paper. But then taking a very liberal and large dump on the American people is exactly what the Right and the NRA have been doing from the start.

Sometimes being at any way associated with the male gender is shameful…

Sometimes being associated with the male gender is a shameful experience. Ladies, at least you have  a choice,  for the other half of the population, it can be hell being stuck in this body. It seems like that feeling is happening more and more lately, from ridiculous statements from Missouri Senate candidates, to male crafted legislation to harass and violate women’s bodies, sometimes I wish there was a reasonable way to trade in my, shall I say, male apparatus.

Here is an AP  story from Santa Ana, California that adds further weight to the damn-near overwhelming argument against male assertions of being the “dominant” sex.

“Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson said if someone doesn’t want sexual intercourse, the body “will not permit that to happen…saying a rape victim didn’t put up a fight during her assault…The case involved a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes.”

When I was twelve I got pulled into this Evangelical fright fest, in which adults outright attempted to terrify children into their cult with outlandish tales about everything from how girls cutting their hair, to sex, drinking and dancing would put us on a path to the flesh burning eternally and painfully from our bodies in the soul-crushing pits of hell. I was already very into girls at that point, something that didn’t go unnoticed when I buddied up to a cute and also stunned girl in this little shop of biblical horrors. I was told by this almost outraged, red-faced evangio-path, “you know what girls have down there? Teeth that will bite your thing right off! And you know who controls those teeth? The lord! And you can’t hide from the Lord, either of you. He’s sees all!”

Needless to say, in appreciation for my parents, I knew this guy was a little off his rocker, but it did  start souring me to organized religion, and taught me that men come to fundamentalist religion-every religion-the same way men come to sex, with this deeply internalized and barely contained sense of rage and anger that is sometimes obsessive and not  at all healthy to the women and physical partners in their life. It comes  with this weird power that some men feel they must assert like a grenade, erupting in whatever direction it can. If a man feels trapped in a box, or crushed in powerlessness there seems  that tendency to pass their powerlessness to those  he feels are weaker in the most manipulative and abusive ways. And to be clear, I am not talking about all men, but it does reside in all of us to some degree. And guys, if you deny it, you are either kidding yourself, have not analyzed deep enough or are B.S.-ing the rest of us. 

So thank you to Judge Johnson for finally confirming what medical silence, and my experience with women through the years was unable to confirm. You’ve found the female jaws of chastity. Well done, you thick-skulled, cave-man throwback, you flaw of Darwinism and anti-evolutionary exclamation point.  

More from the AP  story:

“The California Commission on Judicial Performance issued a report Thursday saying Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson’s comments were inappropriate and a breach of judicial ethics. Johnson is a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit.

Johnson issued some flimsy apology, saying that he was frustrated,  but curiously did not retract, correct or amend his original  statement. But I just want to apologize on behalf of men who try, despite the male body, and a far too hormone driven mentality, to at least attempt at something akin to progressive non-gender centered thought. And to god or who ever designed things this way, any place I can turn these things in, and no, it has nothing to do with that teeth thing!

Update on American Political prisoner Jeremy Hammond

On December 3, attorneys for imprisoned activist Jeremy Hammond filed a motion in New York’s Southern District Court demanding that Judge Loretta Preska recuse herself following last week’s revelation that her husband, Thomas J Kaveler, as well as his firm, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, were among the government-named victims in the December, 2011 hack of Stratfor (to which Hammond is accused of participating).  The attorneys filed a motion for a new bail hearing.  During Hammond’s November 20 hearing Judge Preska notified Hammond that if convicted on all counts he faces 37 years-to-life in federal prison for his alleged role in the hack.

Thomas J Kaveler is an employee of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, a current Stratfor client and associate, and moreover was himself a victim of the alleged hack (Kaveler’s Stratfor issued user ID is 234103). Court reporters have confirmed to The Sparrow Project that, Judge Preska was made aware of the published connection between her husband & Stratfor and that her husband’s Stratfor-related information was published by Wikileaks, they went on to indicate that Preska was aware of the connection long before the November 22nd communique. Moreover, Preska indicated that this personal connection to the Hammond case “would not effect her ability to be impartial.”   

For your use we have published a recap of Thursday’s press conference by Hammond’s supporters on our website http://www.sparrowmedia.net/2012/12/jeremy-hammond-press-conference-video/.  We have also published statements of support from Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author Christopher Hedges, Bhopal activist Saif Ansari, and Yes Men cofounder Andy Bichlbaum each of these are also available for excerpthttp://www.sparrowmedia.net/2012/12/jeremy-hammond-press-conference-video/  

The Sparrow Project will be collecting statements of support for Jeremy Hammond and posting them for free use below. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Chris Hedges, as well as other prominent activists and journalists have joined the call for a fair trial for Jeremy Hammond. Statements of support can be emailed to info@sparrowmedia.net


Send Jeremy a letter, postcard, or even a book (needs to be mailed directly from publisher or seller like Amazon) to help brighten his day while incarcerated. Letters & books can be mailed to…

Jeremy Hammond 18729-424
Metropolitan Correctional Center
150 Park Row
New York, New York, 10007

You can make a credit card donation to Jeremy’s legal defense fund (controlled by his family) via wepay.com at THIS LINK

With this simple online tool you can donate one tweet (or Facebook post) a day to our efforts. The Sparrow Project will publish statements of support for Jeremy (like the ones below) from influential figures. Your donated posts will help us widen the audience that is exposed to this important story. Simply visit THIS LINK and click donate!

Lastly, we have published a high-resolution video for your free use in television segments, audio excerpts, or for embed on your blogs & websites.  We would love for you to tweet, embed, or share this video with your audience!  Simply visit THIS LINK http://vimeo.com/54656359 or click on the image below.  A download of the full resolution (1920 x 1080) segment for use on TV is available HERE.
If you have any questions feel free to email me or give me a call at 631.291.3010
All the best,
Andy Stepanian

In Fear of the State

Monday evening I was standing with Palestinian Americans, and others, at a rally in Chicago’s Loop. There were Jews, ACLU monitors, Occupy Chicago friends, and many others derived from the amazing diversity of this city. They were people of conscience and peace. A small minority of bigots and idiots were marginalized and largely ignored. It was an unseasonally warm evening, so perfect that one might have, borrowing a page from the right, offered that God was on the side of these good people. They were demanding that the United States stop its biblically based militaristic support for the genocidal policies of the Israeli ultra-rightwing nationalists.

There are long roots to this conflict, and all of them have to do with a bigotry manufactured and defended in arms deals and militarism. For most Israelis and Palestinians peace is the ultimate goal, and coexistence the ultimate dream. The Ultra nationalists and arms dealers in this country and abroad, including Iran, Russia and China and other dealers who profit from supply to the various sides, have no interest in peace. Their hate and violence is a profit center.

I wanted to have someone from the Palestinian community in Chicago on our Sunday radio show on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT. Suddenly, in the middle of a conversation with three young Palestinians at the protest, I found myself anxious that I might draw suspicion, disdain or worse from the government. After all, the Hamas militia in the West Bank and Gaza are considered a terrorist organization. It is an arguable point. What is not is despite the inherent potential for corruption and even terror by any pseudo-military militia, too often crafted by fear, hate and paranoia, and stained by criminality, Hamas remains all the defense, or reactionary defense of the Palestinian people. Certainly, amid the emotional intensity of the Israeli bombardment of one of the most densely populated places on earth, there will be sympathy and solidarity with anyone willing to fight back. War pushes us all into moral and ethical corners.

I didn’t think a great deal about the emotion, swept along as thousand marched down Jackson in the heart of the Loop, and flanked by dozens of well-restrained Chicago Police on bike. They did nothing to interfere with the spirited but respectful marchers. Now and again, Chicago’s police superintendent, McCarthy, leading the march, would consult with the lead protesters. It was already dark, and at Michigan Avenue  I parted ways with the protesters and headed home.

It was two days later when I met with an activist attorney in the Loop with my cohost., Brian We were looking for  a strong legal perspective on  a hearing regarding the so-called Hacktivist, Jeremy Hammond, who revealed a shadow corporate CIA called STRATFOR, in largely what was a prank to expose this dangerous rightwing organization, STRATFOR’s government friends pressed for Hammond’s arrest. The government is threatening him with life in prison for exposing STRATFOR-who some believe is a government crony operation. Life in prison for  a prank to expose a potentially criminal enterprise in which no one was harmed?

What emerged was the vindictive nature of the government, particularly with regards to their corporate minders. Paranoid? The judge in the case is married to a client of STRATFOR. She likened Jeremy to a pedophile during the public hearing, obviously attempting to vilify him in statements likely to be carried by a media that either parrots information from the government without question or helps drive a right facing narrative.

Talking on that street corner about government vengefulness, I again suffered that acute anxiety that simply by discussing these topics, or being opposed to the wrong people politically and ideologically in this country, that I was placing myself, my family and their future at risk.

FOX and the right would trick you into believing that Obamacare, or the “imposition” of gay marriage, or any regulation on big business is a loss of freedom. They craft and market and flood their message throughout the culture with perverse and anti-democratic proliferation. But when a person fears their own government for standing on principle and justice, or even sympathizing for those who stand and sacrifice to real principles and justice, like Jeremy Hammond, that is the truest measure of the freedoms lost to this country.

Their playing field is silence. Through threats and action, the security apparatus of the nation successfully compels some to silence. The media takes care of the masses. But a few remain defiant and prepared to sacrifice, if for nothing more than to stand for what is right and what is just.

I recall a survivor from the mass executions in the Bosnian killing fields, interviewed on Sarajevo TV. He described being lined up with hundreds of men and boys for imminent executions by Serb forces. Most were silent, already given to death, which arguably they already had been their whole lives. A smaller number begged and pleaded for life. But a very few were defiant to the end. They stood tall and straight, with  supreme disdain for their executioners, which I might imagine a man like Jeremy Hammond doing before a court with little interest in true justice, but rather the advocacy and defense of  a dangerously co-opted and corrupted system.

We’ll talk more about this Sunday on WCPT Chicago’s Progressive Talk, 8-9am. Hope you can join the conversation. We need you to spread the word.

fRoM zUCoTTI pARk TO bLAcK fRIdAY: a sTUdY in hYPoCRiSY

There is a far more dangerous and violent event occurring in America than anything surrounding the Occupy movement, and it is encouraged and celebrated: By the standards of FOX News, Mayor Bloomberg, the cities of Seattle, Oakland and Denver, such unsafe and criminal activities should be shut down. Certainly Walmart’s are at the epicenter of the violence and should be shut down and cleared out immediately. Anything less would lead one to believe the concerted and coordinated attacks against peaceful Occupy protesters over a very small number of incidents-which have yielded no arrests- would be a gross double standard. Such a revelation would lead to the inescapable conclusion that the actions were based upon bias and not the law. A short list of the Black Friday violence:

1. A gun battle erupted between rival groups of men at a North carolina Walmart.

2. 15 were injured by pepper spray by a woman attempting to keep them from reaching an xbox at a Walmart in San Fernando valley.

3. A man was shot and critically wounded during a robbery attempt at a San Leandro California Walmart.

4. A bomb was found in a Walmart employee break room in Cave Creek, AZ.

5. OSHA has warned retailers they will be held responsible for injuries and deaths regarding Black Friday shoppers.

6. A woman was assaulted and shot in the foot at a Myrtle Beach Walmart.

In 2010:

A pregnant woman was trampled at a Walmart in the opening Black Friday rush.

In Madison Wisconsin, a woman threatened to shoot fellow shoppers at a Toys “R” Us over a sale.

3. Walmart refused to pay the $7000 fine for their part in the  trampling death of a part time employee at a Long Island Walmart in 2008. The Walmart was criticized for a negligent lack of security and crowd control. In that incident a 34-year-old woman, a temporary Christmas employee was trampled to death in a frantic stampede as the door opened for Black Friday. Later, at that same Walmart, a pregnant woman who was part of the stampede miscarried. 

So far Mayor Bloomberg has not called for city trucks and police to clear all New York Walmarts and have the merchandise hauled away to the city dump. But then, the 99% in America are learning that caorporate donors are more important to defend than the bill of rights and the constitution. In fact, the 99% are learning that the laws and constitution of the nation apply only for the control of all but the most powerful, for whom the law no longer applies.









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