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:

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: 

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

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.