Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Part II..Feminists Debate the Sexual Allegations Against Julian Assange

In part two of this interesting debate Jaclyn Friedman argues the sexual assault allegations shouldn’t be dismissed just because they’re politically motivated, while Naomi Wolf says by going after Assange, the state is not embracing feminism, it’s "pimping" it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

ACLU event "Reform Cannot Wait"

Written by Fariba Nourian

American Civil Liberties Union hosted a discussion titled, “Reform Cannot Wait,” on Monday, December 6 at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati. The panel of speakers included Terry Collins, retired director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC); Edward Little, consultant with Cuyahoga County Department of Justice Affairs, and Donna Jones Baker, president/CEO of Urban League of Greater Cincinnati.

Terry Collins talked about how we went from a state with 8 prisons and ~11,000 inmates back in the late 1970’s, when he joined the DRC, to the 31 prisons and over 52,000 inmates in Ohio today. He explained that the department has a 1.8 billion dollar annual budget, with one in four state workers working in the DRC, and that the 8 billion dollar budget deficit facing Ohio in 2011 is good reason to look at reforming the criminal justice system for cost savings.

He also spoke to the fact that hundreds of people are circulating in and out of jail every day in Ohio, costing millions of dollars, and that a large number of these people do not need to be jailed. He mentioned how people who are jailed lose their jobs and then upon release, struggle to find jobs, making it so that they continue to be punished beyond their release.

Ed Little discussed the cost of incarcerating people versus the money spent on educating and revitalizing our citizens and communities. He mentioned that while ~$100,000 is spent in Ohio to put a juvenile through the judicial system, only ~$9,000 is spent on his/her education. He also spoke about the Council of State Governments Justice Center Report on Ohio Prisons (see below), of which he highlighted the increasingly large number of non-violent drug offenders in jail, the disjointed parole/probation procedures which are different in each county throughout Ohio, and the costs associated with incarcerating the mentally ill as opposed to properly treating them.

Ed went on to discuss the rural communities that are economically dependent on the local prisons and the fear of devastating those communities if prisons were closed unless we reinvest the money saved from the prisons into those communities. He spoke on the future of our state, saying how more of Ohio’s prisons are likely to become privatized (Ohio currently has two private prisons) and how we are headed in the same direction as California, where the prisons are running at a near 200% capacity (Ohio’s prisons are currently running at a 133% capacity). Privatization of prisons, he said, is not the solution either, and can exacerbate the problem by making prisoners profitable.

Donna Jones Baker told the audience that the justice system in our state is unjust. She mentioned how while African Americans make up ~12% of the population, they make up 45% of the prison population. She also spoke to disparity of sentences applied to the offense of possessing crack vs. powder cocaine and how this adds to the disproportionate number of blacks in jail. Donna went on to discuss the increased number of child-support violators in jail, and how jailing these offenders does not help the situation since they are not able to work to pay back fines while in jail.

Denise Driehaus, a Cincinnati representative in the Ohio House, was also at the event and she commented on the prison reform bill, Senate Bill 22, which was going to be voted on in the lame duck session, but has been put off. She mentioned that the bill has bipartisan support and support from major newspapers across Ohio. She said that citizen’s support is what’s needed to pass the bill. Denise also commented on the belief that there will be increased privatization and consolidation of Ohio’s prisons with the new republican majority in the Ohio Hose and Senate.

The Council of State Governments report can be found here:

In addition to this report, a report written by the ACLU titled “Reform Cannot Wait,” examines the cost of incarceration in Ohio. Read that report and learn more about Senate Bill 22 here:

Feminists Debate the Sexual Allegations Against Julian Assange

In this interesting interview Jaclyn Friedman argues the sexual assault allegations shouldn’t be dismissed just because they’re politically motivated, while Naomi Wolf says by going after Assange, the state is not embracing feminism, it’s "pimping" it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Action Alert

Thanks to everyone that acted on the last action alert. We may be on the verge of a huge victory and you can help see it through.

I received this important message from Josh Spring from the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless.

I have two very important points: two motions have been put forth in the budget committee, collectively they would restore $600,000 to Human Services, reducing the cut from $850,000 to $250,000. This would be a success.

One of these two motions was put forth by Wendell Young today. This motion if passed, would repeal all city only jail-able offenses, including the Marijuana Ordinance. This is the ordinance that has resulted in the criminalization of primarily African American Men and cost the city a lot of money. The resulting $300,000 savings would be put into Human Services if this motion is passed. This is about the only perfect motion I have ever seen at city hall. It chooses prevention over response. This would be a success for our community on several fronts. I have attached this motion.

I think we may have four votes on this one now, and we need to get the fifth. I strongly urge you to email Chris Bortz as well as Roxanne Qualls, Laure Quinlivan, and Charlie Winburn urging them to support this (contacts attached). Let them know that this is perfect because it will save money for the city in the way of paying for the constant implementation of the law, it chooses prevention over response and it truly shows service to the people. This motion can unite fiscal conservatives and also the more left of center folks. I urge you to email Wendell Young thanking him for his insight, creative thinking and work for our people. We need to lend him support in this.

Traditionally the city has spent 1.5% of the budget on human services. These services are crucial to battered women, the homeless and many other great services. This money helps leverage other money.

A poll in 2008 showed that an overwhelming majority of Cincinnatians support this level of funding, but it continues to be targeted for cuts year after year. This year there is a 33% cut proposed at atime when homelessness is growing and changing. There are more and more families with kids on the streets.

Please spread the word far and wide and act now. Thanks for all that you do. You are making our communty better.

Please contact them all and ask them to support Wendell Young's motion to repeal all city only jail-able offenses. Please ask them to support funding for humn services.

Here are council's contact info:

"Mallory, Mark" ,
"Quinlivan, Laure" ,
"Berding, Jeff" ,
"Bortz, Chris" ,
Chris Monzel CCC ,
"Thomas, Cecil" ,
"Ghiz, Leslie" ,
"Qualls, Roxanne" ,

Here are their phone numbers and fax numbers etc. They like to hear from their constituents.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls
City Hall, Suite 351
Phone: (513) 352-3604
Fax: (513) 352-3621
Cecil Thomas - President Pro-Tem
City Hall, Suite 349
Phone: (513) 352-3499
Fax: (513) 352-3218
Jeff Berding
City Hall, Suite 348
Phone: (513) 352-3283
Fax: (513) 352-3289
jeff.berding@cincinnati-oh.gov Chris Bortz
City Hall, Suite 356
Phone: (513) 352-3249
Fax: (513) 352- 3264
Leslie Ghiz
City Hall, Suite 354
Phone: (513) 352-3344
Fax: (513) 352-3277
leslie.ghiz@cincinnati-oh.gov Chris Monzel
City Hall, Suite 352
Phone: (513) 352-3640
Fax: (513) 352-4649
Laure Quinlivan
City Hall, Suite 346B
Phone: (513) 352-5303
Fax: (513) 352-5390
laure.quinlivan@cincinnati-oh.gov Charlie Winburn
City Hall, Suite 346A
Phone: (513) 352-5354
Fax: (513) 352-5367

Wendell Young
City Hall, Suite 350
Phone: (513) 352-3466
Fax: (513) 352-3957

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Action Alert: Please contact City Council

Dear Coffee Partiers,

We are asking you to contact city council to ask them to repeal the city’s anti-marijuana ordinance. A disproportionate number of blacks are being locked up and labeled as criminals for simply possessing of small amounts of marijuana.

Currently the city is facing a $60 million budget deficit and a billion dollar hole in the retirement fund. Councilman Wendell Young- a former police officer-estimates that the marijuana law costs the city $360,000 a year. He says it is ineffective and should be repealed.

Below is a letter with some talking points. Please contact city council members and ask them to repeal the law and use those resources on the important services that are going to be cut. Please pass this along to your friends and ask them to contact council as well. Don’t be afraid to call them as well.

There is a budget hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 15 at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center (3711 Clifton Avenue) at 6 p.m. You can sign up and speak for two minutes.

A better Cincinnati is possible and we can make a difference in our city. Thanks for all you do!

Here's an example:

Dear Councilmember (X),

As our city leaders deal with a $60 million budget deficit I want to encourage you to consider the drain that the anti-marijuana puts on the budget. Councilman Wendell Young estimates repealing the law will save $360,000 and according to Citybeat that number doesn’t even include the amount of police overtime for police officers to show up in court.

The law also costs many of our citizen’s job opportunities by labeling them as criminals for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The punishment is much harsher than the current state law that exists against possession of marijuana and there doesn’t seem to be any significant benefits.

Another troubling aspect of the ordinance is the disproportionate number of young black males being arrested under the ordinance. I believe that Cincinnati has come a long way in building community-police relations and this law undermines that trust.

The resources currently spent on the law would be better spent on human services that help those most in need and prevent crime. Homelessness is growing and changing. We have more people on the streets, currently we don’t have enough room for single women and we do not have enough room for families. I’ve heard reports that families are being seen outside now.

In 2008 Applied Information Research did a study which showed that most Cincinnatians favored Human services being funded at 1.5%. Please don’t cut those crucial services again. Our city needs policies that lift people up instead of taking away opportunities for jobs. I think that is the moral and fiscally responsible thing to do.


Justin Jeffre

Clifton Heights

Here are their email addresses.

"Mallory, Mark" ,
"Quinlivan, Laure" ,
"Berding, Jeff" ,
"Bortz, Chris" ,
Chris Monzel CCC ,
"Thomas, Cecil" ,
"Ghiz, Leslie" ,
"Qualls, Roxanne" ,

Here are their phone numbers and fax numbers etc. They like to hear from their constituents.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls
City Hall, Suite 351
Phone: (513) 352-3604
Fax: (513) 352-3621
Cecil Thomas - President Pro-Tem
City Hall, Suite 349
Phone: (513) 352-3499
Fax: (513) 352-3218
Jeff Berding
City Hall, Suite 348
Phone: (513) 352-3283
Fax: (513) 352-3289
jeff.berding@cincinnati-oh.gov Chris Bortz
City Hall, Suite 356
Phone: (513) 352-3249
Fax: (513) 352- 3264
Leslie Ghiz
City Hall, Suite 354
Phone: (513) 352-3344
Fax: (513) 352-3277
leslie.ghiz@cincinnati-oh.gov Chris Monzel
City Hall, Suite 352
Phone: (513) 352-3640
Fax: (513) 352-4649
Laure Quinlivan
City Hall, Suite 346B
Phone: (513) 352-5303
Fax: (513) 352-5390
laure.quinlivan@cincinnati-oh.gov Charlie Winburn
City Hall, Suite 346A
Phone: (513) 352-5354
Fax: (513) 352-5367

Wendell Young
City Hall, Suite 350
Phone: (513) 352-3466
Fax: (513) 352-3957

Prisoner Advocate Elaine Brown on Georgia Prison Strike: “Repression Breeds Resistance”

Democracy Now! reports that at least four prisons in Georgia remain in lockdown five days after prisoners went on strike in protest of poor living and working conditions. Using cell phones purchased from guards, the prisoners coordinated the nonviolent protests to stage the largest prison strike in U.S. history. There are reports of widespread violence and brutality by the guards against the prisoners on strike. They speak to longtime prison activist Elaine Brown of the newly formed group Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights.

To our readers on Facebook, (Pt.II)

Once again I'm posting this in response to comments left on our Facebook page. I think there are several comments that are worthy of a response and I posted the article to spark a debate. I'm still not on Facebook so I'm responding via this blog.

Walter Broadnax Obama's accomplishments aren't very impressive???
Check this link if you think the President has done nothing.

I didn't say "the President has done nothing". I said his accomplishments haven't been very impressive and his policies are largely a continuation of the Bush administration's policies. FYI some of the sources on that site are from blogs and one is from Wikipedia so it like my oped shouldn't be taken as gospel. A lot of the things that site touts are about Obama's Republican health care bill that has just been ruled unconstitutional because of the very unpopular mandate. It's future is uncertain at best.

The drug and insurance companies' stocks went up after the heath care bill passed because they basically wrote it. Obama negotiated a deal that would prevent the government from negotiating drug prices. He failed to even push universal health care, much less deliver it. He said everything was on the table, but Medicare-for-all never was. When it didn't matter he supported single payer and said,

In 2003 he said,

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program.” (applause) “I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”

During his campaign he talked about universal health care or "universality" or something like that.

In 2009 he said,

Obama: I want to cover everybody. Now, the truth is that, unless you have a -- what's called a single-payer system, in which everybody is automatically covered, then you're probably not going to reach every single individual because there's always going to be somebody out there who thinks they're indestructible and doesn't want to get health care, doesn't bother getting health care, and then, unfortunately, when they get hit by a bus, end up in the emergency room and the rest of us have to pay for it.

He didn't even really support a public option.

Martha L. Meacham I think it's a little early to throw the President under the bus. Plus, looking at Walter's link would be informative, IMO

It isn't too early to judge the President's record so far. He's been in office for two years with large majorities. What are we suppposed to do wait until his first term is over to evaluate what he has done? I don't think that is wise. Besides I spoke about his record going back to when he was in the State House. I'm judging his record going back as long as he's been in a political office.

I think his base needs to push and pull him in a progressive direction. The corporations and the Republicans are pulling him to the right 24/7. Citizens should do more than simply vote.

Marc Conter: There are some issues not directly tied to our core message (which is very muddled right now) where we can openly work towards compromise...there are others where we can't and shouldn't. Standing tall on principles is a long term strategy and once violated it takes 10X more effort and money to overcome the sell out than it would have cost to stand strong in the first place.

I agree. Simply compromising for the sake of compromising doesn't move us forward as a nation, especially when both parties are beholden to the corporations and they take issues off of the table by protectively imitating each others positions on the wars and for profit health care etc.

Pamela Zelman Here is my opinion of what I just read: I, too, joined this group believing that the Coffee Party was for people in the middle to have a quiet place to debate issues with manners. I'm disappointed to read that the "debate" is started by op...inions being stated as fact. The editor may believe that President Obama has squandered his opportunities, but that is only his OPINION. Blogs, like statistics, can support or refute any viewpoint.

Perhaps the way forward is to do like Martha did above, and begin by saying "I think" or "I believe" rather than stating their opinion as gospel. This acknowledges the validity of the other side.

Pamela, I don't believe that anything I said was rude or without manners. I think it is pretty clear that my article was an oped, but just because it was an oped doesn't mean that there weren't facts listed to make my overall point which was 'do progressives have a breaking point or will they vote for Democrats no matter what their policies are?'.

I think it is a fair question. I believe the answer for many liberals and progressives is no, they will always vote for the Democrats no matter what they do. The problem with that as I see it is that you allow yourself to be completely ignored and taken for granted and then you get taken everytime. I think we must fight for what we believe in, not make excuses and ignore bad behavior from a party or politician that has betrayed the working class for decades.

Just because an opinion appears on a blog doesn't make it invalid. The purpose of the blog is to have a debate that includes the other side of the debate. The snarky site that Walter linked to certainly isn't unbiased and it doesn't acknowledge the other side yet nobody seems to have a problem with it. It doesn't have a comment section where people can point out some of the problems with some of the statements made on it. This site is different in that regard.

Jim Taylor I thought the Coffee Party Idea was a good one because we can actually discuss the problems, use real facts, and try to come up with the best solutions, most often out of several potential solutions. There is no perfect solution to complex ...things, so compromise and time will tell how good the guess was. One cannot quit because of disagreement. Also, there are those in the political arena that daily tell absolute lies, half truths and are only talking because they have been bought by a corporation or PAC. And boy, they sound like it to any thinking person. THESE are the people we need to bring into the public eye for not defending the best for the country.

I agree and that was the point of my original post. Both parties get massive amounts of coporate cash. You aren't considered a "serious" candidate by the corporate media without it. Therefore you don't get media coverage.

Glenna Allison Well, I can see I have some people who disagree with me. And that's fine. However, maybe some don't realize how Congress works. Our President can't make laws.....or do away with the laws. Congress does....And no matter if the Dems contro...l the congress, many did not support him when it came to a vote. And, by the way, no Republicans did. Now, if we could elect him to be King, he could get his agenda passed. But, as Harry Truman said, The Buck Stops Here. And the person at the top has to take the blame. Fair or not.

Glenna, I am well aware of how Congress works. The Democrats have large majoritites in the House and the Senate. They will maintain control of the Senate when the Republicans take the House and the President still has veto power. The Senate is the place where good bills-which are extremely rare these days-get watered down or buried.

The President has the power to stop Don't Ask, Don't Tell from being used to kick gay people out of the military. He said he would end the policy. He didn't say 'if I'm elected the Congress will repeal it'.

Obama also has the power to end the wars without Congress or the Senate. He hasn't done either. The President also has the power of the bully pulpit. He leaned on Dennis Kucinich who was the only Democrat taking a principled stand for the public option which Obama negotitated away from the begining even though he was still publicly stating he supported it. Obama didn't lean on the conservative Blue Dogs.

President Obama has declared that he can assassinate US citizens without due process. If that's not the power of a King I don't know what is. It is certainly a position that is at odds with our constitution. If Bush had taken the same positiion people on the left would be outraged. Obama can do no wrong as far as some on the left are concerned. That was the point of my article and I stand by that statement.

"Congress does....And no matter if the Dems contro...l the congress, many did not support him when it came to a vote."

I'm not sure what vote you are refering to but it sounds to me like your using this as an excuse for a whole host of issues. The POTUS is the most powerful position on earth, especially when he has a mandate and both Houses on his side. We should be calling on him to lead and fix the problems, not the blame.

Thanks for the comments. I don't intend to respond to every comment on Facebook, but I do think this is an important subject that is being discussed in liberal circles across the country.

Please feel free to comment here at the blog or if you would like to submit an article we would be happy to publish it. Thanks!

Monday, December 13, 2010

10 years after the 2000 stolen election

Though many Democrats like to repeat the lie that Ralph Nader spoiled the 2000 election and gave us Bush the reality is that Republicans stole the 2000 election and that is well documented. Because the Democrats basically rolled over and blamed Nader we ended up with another stolen election in 2004. We still need a lot of electoral reforms.

Orwell Rolls In His Grave is a documentary that desricbes our corrupt corporate controlled media and how they helped Republicans steal the 2000 and the 2004 elections.

Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections documents the 2004 stolen election in Ohio.

A positive meeting and moving forward

I’d like to thank everyone that came out to our last meeting on Thursday. I thought it went very well and the feedback we got about was very positive.

For those that couldn’t make it I gave a short presentation about legal scholar Michelle Alexander’s presentation at City Hall where she talks about the New Jim Crow. You can read a great interview with her here and here. When asked if Cincinnati’s anti-marijuana ordinance contributed to the New Jim Crow she said that she thought it fed into it.

Fariba gave a report on the ACLU’s presentation Criminal Justice Reform Cannot Wait. There is good legislation at the state house for reforms that we will be supporting.
They discuss how Ohio’s criminal justice system employs policies that increase cost, reduce safety and contribute to racial disparities. Prison officials, judges and community advocates are calling for reform to lessen the number of people sentenced and to support those who leave prison.

Fariba will be posting her review of it here soon. We will also be posting some action alerts where we will be asking you all to contact your representatives and ask them to reform these policies. Please stay tuned and engaged!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How corporate control of the media creates a conservative bias in our media

It seems rather obvious that there would be a corporate bias from a corporate controlled media, but the liberal media bias lie has been repeated so often that some have started to believe it. Some think the media is objective or at least strives to be objective, but this is simply not the case. There’s a corporate bias.

First of all, it is important to understand that corporations have political agendas. For instance GE-which owns NBC and MSNBC-has a position on tax policies because they don’t like to pay taxes. They have a position on pollution because they are a major polluter.

They have a position on trade because they like to be able to build things overseas. And they have a position on the wars and America’s foreign policy because they make huge profits selling weapons and jets used by our military and militaries that we aid. GE is so political that they even have their employees write and call Congress in support of funding the engines they make for our military.

GE doesn’t just have a lot of influence because it has its employees contacting members of Congress, it has PACs and it donates to candidates etc. GE has the power to shape the news because it owns NBC and MSNBC. These aren’t the most profitable parts of their business, but the propaganda machine is crucial to their profits.

Now you might be saying to yourself, ‘Wait a minute, this has to be nonsense because Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow, and Ed Shultz are on MSNBC and they are definitely on the liberal side of the aisle. And that is true to a point, but you should consider this.

As Glenn Greenwald points out in this excellent article,

Last May, CNN's Jessica Yellin said that when she was at MSNBC, "the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this [the Iraq War] was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation"; "the higher the president's approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives ... to put on positive stories about the president"; and "they would turn down stories that were more critical and try to put on pieces that were more positive." Katie Couric said that when she was at NBC, "there was a lot of undercurrent of pressure not to rock the boat for a variety of reasons, where it was corporate reasons or other considerations" not to be too critical of the Bush administration.

“MSNBC's rising star, Ashleigh Banfield, was demoted and then fired after she criticized news media organizations generally, and Fox News specifically, for distorting their war coverage to appear more pro-government.”

And, of course, when MSNBC canceled Phil Donahue's show in the run-up to the Iraq war despite its being that network's highest-rated program, a corporate memo surfaced indicating that the company had fears of being associated with an anti-war and anti-government message.”

In Bill Moyers excellent documentary Buying the War he documents how all of the major “news” outlets in the corporate media beat the drums for war. This is an example of how “liberal” MSNBC is.

BILL MOYERS: You had Scott Ritter, former weapons inspector. Who was saying that if we invade, it will be a historic blunder.

PHIL DONOHUE: You didn't have him alone. He had to be there with someone else who supported the war. In other words, you couldn't have Scott Ritter alone. You could have Richard Perle alone.

BILL MOYERS: You could have the conservative.

PHIL DONOHUE: You could have the supporters of the President alone. And they would say why this war is important. You couldn't have a dissenter alone. Our producers were instructed to feature two conservatives for every liberal.

BILL MOYERS: You're kidding.

PHIL DONOHUE: No this is absolutely true.

BILL MOYERS: Instructed from above?

PHIL DONOHUE: Yes. I was counted as two liberals.

Greenwald points out that,

A leaked memo from NBC executives at the time of his firing made clear that Donahue was fired for ideological reasons, not due to ratings:

The study went on to claim that Donahue presented a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war . . . . He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives." The report went on to outline a possible nightmare scenario where the show becomes "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

NBC executives then proceeded to hire Dick Armey as an MSNBC commentator and give a show to Michael Savage. Michael Savage.

Not only have they fired reporters for being critical of the justifications given for war. MSNBC has hired Michael Savage, Dick Armey, Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough.

It is widely believed that GE's CEO Jack Welch insisted that they call the election for the Bush even though the exit polling showed Gore-Lieberman won. This helped set the stage for the stolen election in 2000.

The Center for Public Integrity reports that,

Throughout 2001, California Congressman Henry Waxman accused Welch of intervening in NBC's 2000 election night coverage and pressuring the network to prematurely declare Bush the winner. Welch admitted he attended an election night party at NBC's headquarters and that he cheered for Bush but denied interfering with coverage decisions. When the major network and cable news division heads were called before Congress in January 2001 to account for the election night debacle, the president of NBC News offered Waxman access to internal videotapes made of Welch on election night, only to withdraw the offer just days later.

Greenwald also exposed how NBC censored and silenced Keith Olberman and their use of Richard Wolffe is sleazy. Olberman no longer criticizes Bill O’Reilly or Fox because Fox had begun attacking GE and they decided to come to an agreement with Fox. Olberman no longer counts down the days since the former commander in chief had declared mission accomplished. They were happy to cover Obama’s 'combat mission accomplished' propaganda campaign uncritically.

Greenwald also describes how the Associated Press has refused to use the White House’s propaganda terms for the war in Iraq, but that NBC and MSNBC have agreed to use them. NBC and MSNBC were given exclusive coverage of the Obama’s administrations campaign to fool their liberal viewers into thinking that US combat troops have left Iraq.

The AP knows that thousands of US troops are still engaged in combat missions, but Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman and the “journalists”/stenographers at NBC are pushing government lies. Though they are more honest than many TV commentators but they are paid to push lies in support of the corporate-government agenda too.

While I used the example of NBC and MSNBC the same can be said for all of the corporate owned media outlets. I once interviewed Phil Donohue and he encouraged people to watch cable news-including Fox-because it is important to know what people are being told by these media outlets. He also encourages people to look to independent media outlets like Democracy Now! that aren’t corporate controlled.

It is important to look at many different news sources and to use critical thinking skills to evaluate them. As I.F. Stone once said, “All governments lie”. It is important to question those in power and to pay attention to what is going on in our community and around the world. As George Seldes once said, “Nothing can stop the march of an informed people”.

Friday, December 10, 2010

To our readers on Facebook,

I’m not on Facebook (I know that’s kind of weird in this day and age) so I hadn’t seen your comments until a friend forwarded some of your comments along. First, I’m not surprised that some people were upset that I criticized President Obama. I believe that I’m not alone and there are many progressives that are very disappointed in what the President and the Democratic majority have done or failed to do.

Having said that, I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable. The purpose of the blog is to spark discussion and debate. Different points of view are welcome as long as we keep the discussion civil and respectful.

I appreciate the feedback and have chosen to respond to your comments below. Please feel free to comment at the blog or submit an article of your own.

"I do not know. I only know that there was no way I would have voted for McCain-Palin. I can't even watch/listen to either of them. And, I live in SW Ohio and dread the times Boehner and McConnell are on camera."

I didn’t vote for McCain-Palin either. I voted for Nader-Gonzalez because I believe we must always vote our conscience and if the American people stopped voting out of fear and started voting their values and beliefs the country would be transformed rather quickly. I dread Boehner and McConnel as well.

Glenna: "What do you expect him to do? He is out numbered. You are blaming him for something that is out of his control. If he hadn't made this deal, many would be in worse shape. What is your group doing to change things other than complain."

Glenna, thanks for your comments. President Obama isn’t out numbered. The Democrats still control the House, the Senate and the White House. Nobody is beyond criticism, especially politicians that can’t keep their campaign promises and then have the nerve to show contempt for their own base when the people that elected them complain because he’s failing to deleiver. I pay taxes and have a right to complain.

"A true patriot is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins" - Frederick Douglas

The Coffee Party is working to help get people engaged in politics in a way that is more meaningful than simply voting for a lesser evil. Voting is important, but voting is the bare minimum for a citizen.

Our local group is currently working on a campaign to educate about the New Jim Crow also known as the prison industrial complex. We are contacting our members of council and encouraging them to repeal that anti-marijuana ordinance which disproportionately affects young black males. And we are contacting our representatives at the state level about reforming laws at the state level.

If you have any suggestions for things we can work on we are happy to hear them. Thanks!

"Thank you Glenna-I think he is doing the best he can do under impossible circumstances. Therefore, I am leaving this page. Our president needs support, not negative criticism."

The President has had huge majorities in both the House and the Senate. He hasn’t delivered on many of the things that he promised and what he has delivered hasn’t been good. He has pursued a strategy of triangulation which means he’s moved to the right. Now he is further embracing that strategy which is bad for the country, the world, his legacy and his chances of being reelected. Patronizing his base isn’t good for him.

"I thought the coffee party was neither a republican or democrat movement, but one where we can discuss civily our points of view and hear others and perhaps in the process begin to understand and even respect others views which may temper m...y views. This article, (written by whomever) sounds very much like a far left liberal democratic view ( I am more a liberal than a conservative) but realize that we may have to meet somewhere in the middle on many issues. Isn't that what the "discussion wheel" was all about, finding out where we agree, disagree and which points/issues we could find common ground and MOVE FORWARD. Ithink the last thing we need is to sound angry if we are tryng to communicate in a civil way."

Thanks for your comment. I wrote the article and yes I’m an unapologetic independent liberal. I don’t support either party because as I stated in my article they are both beholden to the corporations. Money has an undue influence on our political system and I think that is a view held by a majority of the Coffee Party members and citizens in general across the country.

I’m not sure what the “discussion wheel” is, but I don’t think my article was uncivil or angry. It was an analysis of the President and his party’s record. I see no reason to beat around the bush, his policies are largely a continuation of the Bush administration’s policies.

You are free to disagree and to counter my argument. The point of this blog and my article is to spark debate.

Glenna: "I never said I would be leaving your group, however, if I am being dropped because I disagree with your comments, then so be it. If my voice is only good when I agree, then your are like the Tea Party, I thought you were different. I see where there were others who agree with me."

Glenna, your views are welcome here and I'm sure there are others that agree with you. I think that when you said you are leaving the page people took that to mean you were leaving the group. Nobody wants you to leave. I just wanted to express my views on the current political climate. I’m sure we can find plenty of common ground. But I don’t think blind support for any politician is a pragmatic strategy for bringing progressive change to our city and country.

Glenna: "We have a President, who is doing an impossible job. The Republicans are determined to say "no" to anything they can to stop progress, and the Democrats don't stand by him either. He isn't a magician, that can turn a rock into an apple. He's dealing with a bunch of people acting like 2 yr. olds. He must feel alone in trying to bring our country back to where it leads the world. The Dems did this to Jimmy Carter too."

Glenna, we agree about the Democrats and the Republicans. We disagree about Obama. Nobody expects him turn a rock into an apple. We expect him to deliver on some of his campaign promises like letting the tax cuts for the rich expire, ending don’t ask, don’t tell and ending the war in Iraq etc. Obama was given a mandate for change and large majorities in the House and the Senate. He had an army of citizens that were willing to take to the streets in support of a progressive agenda. But that agenda was never on the table and he squandered the opportunity he was given to be a transformative figure.

His accomplishments as President aren’t very impressive. His base is demoralized and he and his party are responsible for that. Is it mean of me to point that out?

The media's authoritarianism and WikiLeaks

There has been a lot of hype about Wikileaks. And unfortunately there has been a lot of misinformation put out in the media. Glenn Greenwald has been eloquently writing and passionately speaking about the issue. I highly recommend going to Salon.com where you can see him debating the issue and writing extensively about it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Obama capitulates again and again

The corporate Democrats still control the House, the Senate and the White House. A majority of the country opposes extending tax cuts for the rich, but President Obama has chosen to move to the right again and then lecture his liberal base which he has contempt for. And he’s abandoning net neutrality.

The Republican will take the majority in the House, but the corporate Democrats still control the Senate and the White House. ‘So why are the corporate Democrats going to move to the right?’, because they are owned by the same corporate interests as the Republicans. In fact, Obama got more corporate money than McCain-Palin or Bush-Cheney.

I know that many people were excited about candidate Barrack Obama because he gave good speeches that sounded progressive. But that was all just overheated rhetoric. Many of us predicted that progressives that were energized by his excellent PR campaign would become greatly disappointed.

This wasn’t just because a racist backlash was predictable for the first black President. It was because his record has always been one of capitulation to the corporate agenda. Even Obama’s famous anti-Iraq war speech made clear he didn’t oppose war. He just wanted the right war at the right time.

Those who took a deeper look into is his record knew that he always advocated keeping a force of 50,000 troops in Iraq and all the private mercenaries like Blackwater. He has kept some of his promises, like escalating the war in Afghanistan-what he believes is the right war at the right time-and increasing the bloated Pentagon budget.

Obama and his corporate Democrats have demonstrated that they can’t deliver a progressive agenda when they are in control of government with large majorities. The only question now is: do his supporters have a breaking point or will they vote for him no matter how much he serves the corporations and shows contempt for liberals and progressives that believed in his hype?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot

Glenn Greenwald hits the nail on the head once again with this article about the FBI’s pride in the fact that they thwarted their own terrorist plot. As he points out there a many reasons to be skeptical of the FBI’s account of what happened.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peter Camejo

Here's an interesting article about Peter Miguel Camejo. I heard him speak in 2004 when he ran as Ralph Nader's running mate and he was a powerful speaker. The article describes a lot of movements throughout our history.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Exposing the Liberal Media bias myth

When talking with conservatives you will often hear them speak about the so called liberal media bias. Those of us on the left know that this is absurd because there is actually a conservative bias in our corporate controlled media.

In order to have an intelligent and productive discussion it is important to have a good understanding of how the system works. Here’s a short video worth watching that explains why that myth is so ridiculous.

Glenn Greenwald wrote a great article about this and it has some good links worth looking at. This article is older but also has some interesting information in it.

Help save Bernard Pastor from deportation

CPC, your help is needed NOW--the next 24 hours are crucial--to prevent the deportation of Bernard Pastor, the 18-year old, undocumented Reading OH resident who was recently charged with a traffic violation and is now in jeopardy of being deported. He has been living in the US since the age of three.

To learn about Bernard’s case, here is a link to The Cincinnati Enquirer article:  http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20101123/NEWS01/311230026/Deportation-case-draws-interest

Quick Facts:
  • His name is Bernard Pastor (His father actually is a pastor).
  • Family fled Guatemala with him to escape political & religious persecution.
  • Bernard graduated top 5 in his class from Reading High School.
  • He is an avid community volunteer.
  • He was three when he was brought to the U.S.; the choice to come here was not his.
  • Native language is English; he speaks very limited Spanish.
  • Bernard has never been back to Guatemala and does not know any family members still living there.
  • For all intents and purposes, Bernard is a foreigner to Guatemala

Constituent Phone calls & Emails are needed!!!  (Lots of phone calls – so please circulate this email.) Please place a call tomorrow morning (Wednesday) after 9:00 a.m. to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Cincinnati office to express your opposition to the deportation of this young man who has lived here since the age of 3.   The Senator and others are trying to help, but time is of the essence, we’ve been advised. If you are an Ohio resident, simply identify yourself and say that you “support Bernard Pastor and do NOT want him deported.  Senator Brown’s Cincinnati Office:   Phone:  (513) 684-1021 

Or, In lieu of making a phone call, you can email a message tonight to Senator Brown at this link: http://brown.senate.gov/contact/ 

This is just another case, in our own backyard, that begs immediate passage of the Dream Act now being reconsidered by the U.S. Congress. Thank you for helping this young man and for advancing the cause of justice!

Very kind regards,
Coffee Party Cincinnati

Health industry whistleblower exposes smear campaign against Michael Moore

Health industry insider Wendell Potter speaks with Michael Moore about how the health insurance industry tried to smear Michael Moore and his film SICKO because they were afraid it would create a populist uprising for not for profit health care.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Buying the War and corporate propaganda

In this Bill Moyers Journal special called Buying the War it illustrates how the corporate media manufactured consent for the war in Iraq. I highly recommend watching it because it illustrates how our media acted as stenographers for those in power and ignored information and sources that cast serious doubts about the claims of those in power.

Manufacturing Consent

This is a great documentary about Noam Chomsky who is arguably the most important intellectual in the world. Chomsky wrote a book called Manufacturing Consent where he discusses thought control in a democratic society. In the book and the documentary he examines the way the media works and the public relations industry shapes and controls the information that the public gets. I highly recommend it.

Fact vs. fiction in the information age

In an age where we have access to all kinds of information it is more important than ever to think about what is fact and what is fiction or spin. The Author of a book called “Blur: How To Know What’s True In The Age Of Information Overload” suggest that citizens ask themselves some of these questions when evaluating information.

What is the source?

How direct is the knowledge of that source?

What evidence does that source offer?

What is the quality of that evidence?

How was the evidence vetted?

What alternative explanations are there that might explain what is going on and did the source look at those alternatives?

Are there questions that weren’t asked or answered?

Is this an opinion piece?

Is it partisan or more straight forward journalism?

Is there spin being used?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blaming the left for the Dems losses and the GOP tidal wave myth

The pundits that know so little about so much are pushing a narrative that the Democrats lost in a tidal wave because the country rejected them for being too liberal and now they need to compromise and move to the right. But that narrative is total BS.

First, the GOP failed to take the Senate which is the graveyard for many bills that make it through the house. And Obama’s in the White House and he can use his veto power, but instead he will do what Bill Clinton did and adopt the GOP’s platform.

If the article I linked to above doesn’t convince you Salon’s Glenn Greenwald and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell had a very heated and interesting debate about it. O’Donnell was blaming the left for the Democratic Parties losses in the midterm election. Greenwald pointed out how progressive Democrats largely held their seats while conservative Blue Dogs-like Steve Driehaus lost half of their caucus and that is a good thing.

It starts here when Greenwald take on O’Donnell’s narrative. They went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe where the debate gets really heated.

Greenwald responds with the transcript after O’Donnell vehemently denies his own words. Then Greenwald went on O’Donnell’s show and they had a much more substantive and constructive discussion about questions like “Why did Democrats lose? What effect do Blue Dogs have? What's the real Blue Dogs agenda? Can Democrats win without them?”.

I think their debate touches on some important issues that people should really think about. And the last article I linked to has some good links with more discussion about the topic.

Rethinking the anti-marijauna ordinance

Dear Councilman Thomas,

I was pleased to see you at tonight’s event and I hope that you found Professor Alexander’s speech as compelling as I did. After the speech I noticed that you left council chambers and I wanted to make sure that you were aware that Ms. Alexander was asked about our city’s anti-marijuana ordinance. She said she believed that it fed into the New Jim Crow caste system and that it wasn’t a good use of our limited resources.

I have no doubt that you and your colleagues had the best of intentions when you passed that legislation. But we have looked closely into the numbers and I challenge you to do the same.

This is the most recent report on the ordinance and it clearly shows that African American males are being locked up at disproportionate numbers despite the fact that studies show blacks and whites use marijuana at about the same rates.

Furthermore, Councilman Wendell Young estimates that it costs $360,000 a year. I believe that this a very conservative estimate.

Judge Nadine Allen spoke eloquently about the effects that the ordinance has on people and challenged legislators that support the policy to go to a court room and see the real world effects and the collateral damage it causes. Having a criminal record prevents people from getting jobs and housing and it has caused some college students to lose their scholarships.

I believe that non-violent drug offenders need treatment instead of criminal records. As you know marijuana will still remain illegal and will still be punished under Ohio state law. The current policy does more harm to marijuana users than their abuse of the drug itself does.

Given the city’s current financial woes and the detrimental effects that these laws have on the African American community I’m asking that you please reconsider this policy and join your fellow council members that are for repealing it. I know that you are a good man that wants the best for our entire community.

If you spend some more time contemplating this issue you will find it in your heart to do the right thing. I thank you for your many years of service.


Justin Jeffre

Clifton Heights

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Author, panel to discuss The New Jim Crow at City Hall

Michelle Alexander will host a signing of her new book, “The New Jim Crow,” followed by a panel discussion of experts in civil rights, policy, legal and exoffender testimonials from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday Nov. 18, at Cincinnati City Hall City Council Chambers on the third floor.

You can see this interview here.

Here’s part II.

The public is invited to this Human Relations Summit sponsored by the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, The AMOS Project, Faith Community Alliance and the Ohio Justice and Policy Center. Call 352-3237 for information and to RSVP.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The problems with “Obamacare” and corporate propaganda


Much has been said about the Republican health care reform bill that President Obama and the Democrats passed and much of it simply isn’t true. An insurance company insider speaks out here about how corporate PR is killing health care and deceiving Americans.

*Update-Here's partII of the interview.

Quantitative Easing Explained by Cartoon Animals

Monday, November 15, 2010

ACLU: Criminal Justice Reform Cannot Wait

What: Join the ACLU of Ohio and the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati for a call to change our criminal justice system.

Ohio’s criminal justice system employs policies that increase cost, reduce safety and contribute to racial disparities. Prison officials, judges and community advocates are calling for reform to lessen the number of people sentenced and to support those who leave prison. Come, learn and take action!

This call to action is a part of the ACLU 2010 Freedom Tour, bringing people together in three cities across the state, to highlight the disparities of the criminal justice system.

Who: Terry Collins, former director, Ohio Department of Correction and Rehabilitation
Donna Jones Baker, executive director, Urban League of Greater Cincinnati
Ed Little, Department of Justice Affairs, Office of Re-entryGary Daniels, associate director, ACLU of Ohio, moderator

When: Monday, December 6, 2010
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Where: Urban League of Greater Cincinnati
3458 Reading Road Cincinnati, OH 45229

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available. To RSVP for the event, call (216) 472-2200 or email contact@acluohio.org.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Greens, Libertarians, redefining the middle and transcending the left-right divide

In 2008 Ralph Nader got together with Ron Paul, Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin to express support for four key principles that the American people can use to transcend the left right divide. By focusing on common ground and common sense solutions perhaps we can change the tone of our political discourse.

Here are four positions where many conservatives and liberals can agree and transncend the left-right divide.

1) Foreign Policy: The Iraq War must end as quickly as possible with removal of all our soldiers from the region. We must initiate the return of our soldiers from around the world, including Korea, Japan, Europe and the entire Middle East. We must cease the war propaganda, threats of a blockade and plans for attacks on Iran, nor should we re-ignite the cold war with Russia over Georgia. We must be willing to talk to all countries and offer friendship and trade and travel to all who are willing. We must take off the table the threat of a nuclear first strike against all nations.

2) Privacy: We must protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We must repeal or radically change the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the FISA legislation. We must reject the notion and practice of torture, eliminations of habeas corpus, secret tribunals, and secret prisons. We must deny immunity for corporations that spy willingly on the people for the benefit of the government. We must reject the unitary presidency, the illegal use of signing statements and excessive use of executive orders.

3) National Debt: We believe that there should be no increase in the national debt. The burden of debt placed on the next generation is unjust and already threatening our economy and the value of our dollar. We must pay our bills as we go along and not unfairly place this burden on a future generation.

4) The Federal Reserve: We seek a thorough investigation, evaluation and audit of the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationships with the banking, corporate, and other financial institutions. The arbitrary power to create money and credit out of thin air behind closed doors for the benefit of commercial interests must be ended. There should be no taxpayer bailouts of corporations and no corporate subsidies. Corporations should be aggressively prosecuted for their crimes and frauds.

And there are more issues that some conservatives and liberals can agree. For instance both parties have continued to support the failed War on Drugs. It has wasted valuable resources in terms of law enforcement it has ruined lives with harsh penalties for non-violent drug offenders.

Liberals like Raplh Nader's running mate Matt Gonzalez and conservatives like Ron Paul are still advocating for these changes. For those looking to build bridges this looks like a good model and some important issues that need to be addressed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rachel Maddow interviews Jon Stewart

Here’s the full interview where Jon Stewart opens up about his personal views. Topics range from George W. Bush, WMD’s, water-boarding and the media. I disagree with Stewart on some things, "but I’m pretty sure he isn’t Hitler".

I’m a huge Jon Stewart fan not only because he’s funny, but because he’s very thoughtful, informed and some of his interviews are amazing. I’ll never forget when he went on Crossfire and literally destroyed the show that was the model for modern day punditry.

While I like the idea of the Rally to Restore Sanity/and or Fear. Like many critics I think in trying to be fair-minded he does sometimes make false equivalencies. I think Glenn Greenwald made the point very well. And Bill Maher elaborated on it.

I’m still a big fan and I’m glad the he’s not afraid to say what he thinks, even if I disagree with him on a few points. I think his overall point about toning down the general tone in the national dialog is right on.

Taking on the Prison Industrial Complex and being smart on crime

At the recent local Coffee Party meeting at the OM CafĂ© we decided that we should pick a direction because there are so many issues. We decided to start working on overcrowding in our prisons and jails-what is often referred to as the Prison Industrial Complex. Here’s a short video by Angela Davis talking about the issue. As one of Cincinnati’s own Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors, Mike Shyrock, wrote that what they need is, “Not Jail Beds, but Treatment Beds” because a restorative justice is more effective and much cheaper.

Our local Coffee Party wanted to pick an issue that we can find common ground with many different groups that may not agree with us on every issue. (We aren’t sure if we agree with each other on every issue. This is a problem that ruining lives-particularly minorities and non-violent drug offenders that would be better off with treatment-and it is busting budgets at every level of government.

To those Americans that consider themselves fiscal conservatives and fiscally responsible we think that this is an area where many Americans can agree that government has gotten bloated and oppressive. We believe that instead of being tough on crime we need to be smart on crime. One way to do this is with restorative justice and treatment for non-violent criminals.

Another important issue that needs to be addressed is the disproportionate number of minorities that are being locked up for non-violent drug offenses even though studies show that blacks use drugs at about the same rate as whites. Cincinnati’s own anti-marijuana ordinance is a local example of this. Click here to learn more about it.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the ACLU and state Sen. Nina Turner a Cleveland Democrat and Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican are at odds on many issues but the agree that Ohio prisons are in crisis because of overcrowding.
Here’s an excerpt:

The report summarized the findings of other reports over nearly two decades and reached the same conclusions: Ohio sends far too many people to prison, spends an inordinate amount of money on adult and youth prisons, and has done little to reduce crime and recidivism.

It costs taxpayers $66.31 per day to house each adult offender and $330.33 per day for each juvenile offender. Community sanctions, treatment and probation cost a fraction of those amounts.

Seitz said the state's 1996 "truth-in-sentencing" law failed miserably, largely because lawmakers added dozens of tough-on-crime sentence "enhancements" that increased the overall average time served instead of reducing it as intended.
"We created layer after layer of additional sentences," he said.

Seitz is the sponsor of Senate Bill 22, which would funnel some low-level, nonviolent offenders to community treatment programs and give offenders time off their sentences for successfully participating in education and treatment programs behind bars. It would initially save about $13.7 million in operating costs, but it would help avoid billions in spending if it prevents the state from having to build new prisons because of severe overcrowding, he said.

The US has 2.2 million people in prison, more than any nation in the world. Nearly half are non-violent drug offenders.

We believe these common sense reforms can bring people from across the political spectrum together to create more humane policies that ease the strain on our city, county, state and federal budgets. We believe these policies are socially just and fiscally responsible. They will help us reduce the cost and size of government and bring more liberty and justice for all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate the Victory for Healthcare Reform!

Coffee Party Cincinnati would like to thank Steve Driehaus for voting for healthcare reform! We will be having a happy hour event in Northside on April 30th from 6-9pm to:
  • sign a letter thanking Congressman Driehaus for his efforts
  • learn more about what healthcare reform really means to you
  • learn more about Coffee Party Cincinnati and how you can be more involved
  • AND hear from Steve Driehaus himself as he will be in attendance!

Join us for a meet and greet, info session, and celebration of the healthcare reform victory!


Welcome to the new blog for Coffee Party Cincinnati!

We are Cincinnati voters and volunteers who share the mission of the national Coffee Party Movement. We aim to utilize the mission of the Coffee Party Movement--reviving participatory democracy with a civil, solution-driven approach--in addressing local and national political issues that are important to Cincinnati residents. Please join us!

Stay tuned for future web content, posts, and event information. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook.