Politics


The Politics channel is for videos featuring political discussions about government policy or politicians in general.



Free education and the current state of America

Hello all!!!

Firstly, I would like to thank all of those on the Sift who have been so kind as to help me get started on this site, and within this community: Eric3579, Newtboy, Ant, PlayHousePals:)

I recently posted a video, the topic of which is a movement towards free education in America. Another topic brought up in this video is that of a higher wage for Americans($15/hr). My background being in Banking and Finance(I work at Lloyds Banking Group) spurred me to write out what I believe in this talk forum:)



The plain fact is that America cannot operate as other countries in the EU. Not only that, but many countries in the EU don't work well at all(Just look at Greece). The only truly stable economies in the EU are Britain, Germany, France, and Russia. Of these, France and Spain are the most economically unsound, and they are both Socialist-based. Germany has a free education system, and they still have an amazingly resilient economy. They aren't socialist, but can afford a free education system without higher taxes simply because they do not spend tens of billions a year on huge federally run healthcare systems and lofty, inadequate-to-superfluous welfare programs that target the poor. Germany also accepts little to no mass immigration of any kind, requiring many to have Germanic ties before becoming citizens. This, combined with strong capitalist economic practices, provides for a system with a stronger middle class(not upper) than all the countries in Europe except for Britain, and, a free education system.

Not that I am advocating America copy Germany's model, however, I am simply showcasing what an economy needs to be operational, and provide benefits for the people. America isn't functioning on Capitalist practices, as much as many would like to tout. The entire Free Market Capitalism originally brought about by the American economic system isn't being used. The Government spends whatever it wants(under the Obama administration, the national debt IS OVER $18 BILLION!!!!!!), debts are NOT paid back, tax loopholes for corporations are not dissolved, and BILLIONS in Federal funds are just given(yes, given) to the "poor" through welfare programs that, instead of helping American Citizens, help immigrants...

If America cut the loopholes for companies, abolished the horrible "Obamacare" healthcare system(and adopted a better model, such as the UK's), Stopped mass immigration(and provided for gradual immigration, ensuring the mass amount of immigrants actually contributed to the economy), dissolved the immense amount of welfare programs, and went back to free-market capitalism, then yes, there could be provided for a Free Education, and possibly a higher minimum wage...

Currently, however the demand for $15 an hour minimum wage, It wont work. Not in America. Businesses cant have enough money to pay people a substantial $15 an hour and provide health benefits. It would be a disaster. Not only that, but it is a clear disaster that people should have the sense to realize.

I think that continuing would only prove redundant, although I welcome discussion:)

Jennifer Briney,Congressional Dish (Politics Talk)

Jen Briney, host of Congressional Dish, reads the bills passed by the House of Representatives and tells you what's in them: No talking points, no corporate filter. I have been following Jennifer's podcast Congressional Dish for over a year now. I discovered her on the No Agenda stream. She will be on "Off the Grid" with Jesse Ventura. Below is a link her appearance.

http://www.ora.tv/offthegrid/jesse-ventura-5-corrupt-bills-passed-congress-jennifer-briney-0_1l1vibxqvaim

Let's talk about Syria

Who thinks it's a great idea? Who doesn't? Someone needs to talk about it. Thoughts on Obama saying, "I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization." And thoughts one him at the very least deferring to Congress for a declaration of war? And Secretary of State Kerry's comments on military intervention?

Here's a picture of Kerry and his wife having dinner with Assad, taken 2009. I voted for him 2004. Shudder:


Obama's thoughts on it today:

Whistleblower John Kiriakou's letters from prison (Politics Talk)

If you read this, the name John Kiriakou rang a bell and you most likely know what he is in prison for. FireDogLake has just published his first letter from the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania. So I'll skip straight to the letter(s) in question.

In summary, you could say that every prejudice you might have about a run-of-the-mill prison in the US is confirmed in Kiriakou's letter. The racial mix, the separation by colour of your skin, the white-trash correctional officers, deliberate misinformation handed out by COs in order to inflame the prisoners -- just like home.
For instance, COs told an Imam that Kiriakou was told to kill him and in return they told Kiriakou that this Imam was a terrorist's uncle, intent on killing Kiriakou. Straight up lies to provoke violence so both their asses can be hauled into solitary confinement. Dafuq?

Ah, bugger my summary, just read it yourself. Kiriakou has quite some talent as writer, so you'll probably be as entertained as I was.


Greetings from the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto, Pennsylvania. I arrived here on February 28, 2013 to serve a 30-month sentence for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. At least that’s what the government wants people to believe. In truth, this is my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program and for telling the public that torture was official U.S. government policy. But that’s a different story. The purpose of this letter is to tell you about prison life.

At my formal sentencing hearing in January, the judge, the prosecutors, and my attorneys all agreed that I would serve my sentence in Loretto’s Federal Work Camp. When I arrived, however, much to my surprise, the Corrections Officer (CO, or “hack”) who processed me said that the Justice Department Bureau of Prisons had deemed me a “threat to the public safety,” and so I would do serve the entire sentence in the actual prison, rather than the camp.

Processing took about an hour and included fingerprinting, a mug shot (my third after the FBI and the Marshals), my fourth DNA sample, and a quite comprehensive strip search. I was given a pair of baggy brown pants, two brown shirts, two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, and a pair of cheap sandals. My own clothes were boxed and mailed to my wife. The CO then led me to a steel bunk in “Central Unit” and walked away. I didn’t know what to do, so I took a nap.

My cell is more like a cubicle made out of concrete block. Built to hold four men, mine holds six. Most others hold eight. My cellmates include two Dominicans serving 24- and 20-year sentences for drugs, a Mexican serving 15 years for drugs, a Puerto Rican serving [7 ½ years ?] 7 ½ years for drug conspiracy, and the former auditor of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, who’s doing [unintelligible] years a long sentence for corruption. They’re all decent guys and we actually enjoy each other’s company.

The prison population is much like you might expect. Loretto has 1,369 prisoners. (I never call myself an “inmate.” I’m a prisoner.) About 50% are black, 30% are Hispanic, and 20% are white. Of the white prisoners, most are pedophiles with personal stories that would make you sick to your stomach. The rest of the whites prisoners are here for drugs, except for a dozen or so who ran Ponzi schemes. Of the 1,369 prisoners, 40 have college degrees and 6 of us have master’s degrees. The GED program is robust. (Bust when I volunteered to teach a class my “counsellor” [sic] shouted, “Dammit, Kiriakou! If I wanted you to teach a fucking class, I’d ask you to teach a fucking class!”) I’m a janitor in the chapel. I make $5.25 a month.

The cafeteria, or “chow hall” was the most difficult experience of my first few days. Where should I sit? On my first day, two Aryans, completed covered in tattoos, walked up to me and asked, “Are you a pedophile?” Nope, I said. “Are you a fag?” Nope. “Do you have good paper?” I didn’t know what this meant. I turned out that I had to get a copy of my formal sentencing documents to prove that I wasn’t a child molester. I did that, and was welcomed by the Aryans, who aren’t really Aryans, but more accurately self-important hillbillies.

The cafeteria is very formally divided. There is a table for the Aryans whites with good paper, a section of a table for the Native Americans, a section of a table for people belonging to a certain Italian-American stereotypical “subculture,” two tables for the Muslims, four tables for the pedophiles, and all the remaining tables for the blacks and Hispanics. We don’t all eat at the same time, but each table is more-or-less reserved as I’ve described.

Violence hasn’t been much of a problem since I arrived. There have been maybe a half-dozen fights, almost always over what television show to watch. The choices are pretty much set in stone between ESPN, MTV, VH1, BET and Univision. I haven’t watched TV since I got here. It’s just not worth the trouble. Otherwise, violence isn’t a problem. Most of the guys in here have worked their way down to a low-security prison from a medium or a maximum, and they don’t want to go back.

I’ve also had some luck in this regard. My reputation preceded me, and a rumor got started that I was a CIA hit man. The Aryans whispered that I was a “Muslim hunter,” but the Muslims, on the strength of my Arabic language skills and a well-timed statement of support from Louis Farrakhan have lauded me as a champion of Muslim human rights. Meanwhile, the Italians have taken a liking to me because I’m patriotic, as they are, and I have a visceral dislike of the FBI, which they do as well. I have good relations with the blacks because I’ve helped several of them write commutation appeals or letters to judges and I don’t charge anything for it. And the Hispanics respect me because my cellmates, who represent a myriad of Latin drug gangs, have told them to. So far, so good.

The only thing close to a problem that I’ve had has been from the Cos. When I first arrived, after about four days, I heard an announcement that I was to dread: “Kiriakou – report to the lieutenant’s office immediately.” Very quickly, I gave my wife’s phone number to a friend and asked him to call her if, for some reason, I was sent to the SHU (Special Housing Unit) more commonly known as the hole, or solitary confinement. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but this kind of thing happens all the time.

When I got to the lieutenant’s office, I was ushered into the office of SIS, the Special Investigative Service. This is the prison version of every police department’s Internal Affairs Division detective bureau. I saw on a desk a copy of my book, The Reluctant Spy, as well as DVD copies of all the documentaries I’ve been in. The CO showed me a picture of an Arab. “Do you know this guy,” he asked me. I responded that I had met him a day earlier, but our conversation was limited to “nice to meet you.” Well, the CO said, this was the uncle of the Times Square bomber, and after we had met, he called a number in Pakistan, reporting the meeting, and was told to kill me. I told the CO that I could kill the guy with my thumb. He’s about 5’4” and 125 pounds compared to my 6’1” and 250 pounds. The CO said they were looking to ship him out, so I should stay away from him. But the more I thought about it, the more this made no sense. Why would the uncle of the Times Square bomber be in a low-security prison? He should be in a maximum. So I asked my Muslim friends to check him out. It turns out that he’s an Iraqi Kurd from Buffalo, NY. He was the imam of a mosque there, which also happened to be the mosque where the “Lackawana [sic] 7” worshipped [sic]. (The Lackawana 7 were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism.) The FBI pressured him to testify against his parishioners. He refused and got five years for obstruction of justice. The ACLU and several religious freedom groups have rallied to his defense. He had nothing to do with terrorism.

In the meantime, SIS told him that I had made a call to Washington after we met, and that I had been instructed to kill him! We both laughed at the ham-handedness by which SIS tried to get us to attack each other. If we had, we would have spent the rest of our sentences in the [unintelligible] SHU – solitary. Instead, we’re friendly, we exchange greetings in Arabic and English, and we chat.

The only other problem I’ve had with the COs was about two weeks after I arrived. I get a great deal of mail here in prison (and I answer ever letter I get.) Monday through Friday, prisoners gather in front of the unit CO’s office for mail call. One female CO butchers my name every time she says it. So when she does mail call, I hear “Kirkaow, Kiriloo, Teriyaki” and a million other variations. One day after mail call I passed her in the hall. She stopped me and said, “Are you the motherfucker whose name I can’t pronounce?” I responded “Ki-ri-AH-koo.” She said, “How about if I just call you Fuckface?” I just walked away and a friend I was walking with said, “Classy.” I said to him, “White trash is more like it.” And hour later, four COs descended on both of our cells, trashing all of our worldly possessions in my first “shake-down.” Lesson learned: COs can treat us like subhumans but we have to show them faux respect even when it’s not earned.

I’ll write about COs more next time. If you’d like to drop me a line, I can be reached at John Kiriakou 79637-083, P.O. Box 1000, FCI Loretto, Loretto, PA 15940.

Best regards from Loretto,

John

Link: Imprisoned CIA Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou Pens “Letter from Loretto”

Help a petition to get Susan Crawford appointed FCC Chairman (Politics Talk)

Good high-speed internet access is essential for a community like VideoSift. @lurgee alerted me to this fantastic Moyers interview with Susan Crawford. There is a White House petition underway for the Obama administration to appoint Ms. Crawford as FCC chairman, over the usual cronies and revolving door lobbyists. Watch this amazing, infuriating video and then sign the petition.

Polling rights. More than one poll up at a time.

Due to the intense controversy in my last poll, I am putting forward the question that maybe we should have a little more flexibility in the polling process. Perhaps the rule that only one poll be up at a time be amended to 2 polls at a time? What if there were for instance 2 topics that came up simultaneously that needed to be explored? That way no topic would be left behind and forgotten. On a side note it would cause less controversy when someone makes a "funny" poll.

Election predictions? (Election Talk)

Who do you think is going to win, and by what percentage and slice of the electoral college? How about the house and senate?

I'm predicting an Obama win, 271 to 267, unless Iowa stays blue which will make it 277 to 261. I predict Democrats will keep the Senate and may even increase their margin to 54 seats. I predict the house will stay under Republican control and the democrats will probably lose seats.

It doesn't really matter to me who wins in this election because I cannot vote for either candidate with a good conscience. Obama is going to radically transform this country even further (for the worst), and Romney has lied and misrepresented himself so many times that he is completely untrustworthy, and also, his religion will gain preeminence leading many astray.

Bonus question: If you could choose anyone to be president, who would it be and why?

Terrorists acquire nuclear container to smuggle uranium (Military Talk)

The United States has been forewarned for years about an American Hiroshima. The current administration turns a blind eye to unabated smuggling networks across the Mexican and Canadian borders so as to be politically correct. God only knows what else they are, and have been smuggling. Obama has yet to even call the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism. If anyone should doubt the reality of such an event happening, they should keep in mind what JFK had to say during his presidency 50 years ago:

“If things get too bad and war is inevitable,” he said, “they will set it off and that’s the end of the White House and the rest of the city.”

Source: Global Geopolitics

http://glblgeopolitics.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/terrorists-acquire-nuclear-container-to-smuggle-uranium/

Electronic Run On the Banks video / Iran Strikes Back

Quite possibly the scariest thing not yet known...

The video posted on the website is kind of reminiscent on what's happening today. However, if it happens again today, I doubt the US is prepared.

"Iranian hackers took over a University of Michigan computer network during a massive cyber attack on U.S. financial systems last week that continued following comments on the strike by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta."

Source: Global Geopolitics
http://glblgeopolitics.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/iran-strikes-back/#more-3317

Khamenei Warns Iran’s Top Leaders: WAR IN WEEKS

How do I know war is certain, as opposed to 'maybe'? Might be a bit dated, but this is how:

On July 27, just before Friday prayers, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei summoned top Iranian military chiefs for what he called “their last war council.”

“We’ll be at war within weeks,” he told the gathering, debkafile’s exclusive Iranian and intelligence sources disclose.

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/GE5c_9reXz4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Source: Global Geopolitics
http://glblgeopolitics.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/khamenei-warns-irans-top-leaders-war-in-weeks/

Privatization turned The Learning Channel into Honey-Boo-Boo

dft linking to lgf? MADNESS!!! http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/page_286613.html

Romney in the first debate with Obama and the GOP for years have called for PBS to be defunded for many reasons but they hate it’s left wing educational content and the fact its financed by the tax payer (so they claim, I think they hate it because it tilts leftwards).

But a public funded example of PBS being privatized existed before. What can we learn from that?

People forget or did not know that once upon a time The Learning Channel was founded in 1972 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and NASA as an informative/instructional network focused on providing real education through the medium of TV; it was distributed at no cost by NASA satellite. Then it was privatized in 1980 (Reaganism) and was then named the Appalachian Community Service Network. In November 1980 this name was changed to “The Learning Channel”, which was subsequently shortened to “TLC.” From then on we have a sad decline to the abomination of child and poverty exploitation of the TLC’s current hit freak show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”.

The channel back then mostly featured documentary content pertaining to nature, science, history, current events, medicine, technology, cooking, home improvement and other information-based topics. Low ratings and low profits. Smarts don’t sell.

By the early 1990s, The Learning Channel was a sister channel to the Financial News Network (FNN) which owned 51 percent of the channel with Infotechnology Inc. After FNN went into bankruptcy in 1991, the Discovery Channel’s owners went into talks of buying The Learning Channel. An agreement was made with FNN and Infotech to buy their shares for million. The non-profit Appalachian Community Service Network owned 35 percent of the network, and was also bought out.

The Learning Channel continued to focus primarily on instructional and educational programming through much of the ’90s but began to air shows less focused on education and more themed towards popular consumption and mass marketing; these would be later expanded.

In 1998 the channel began to distance itself from its original name “The Learning Channel”, and instead began to advertise itself only as “TLC”.

So when Mitt Romney and the Republicans talk about how much better off PBS would be de-funded and privatized, remember what privatization did to TLC and how TLC went from NASA beaming information into student classrooms to the disgraceful programs it runs today (many of which exploit children).

I am not saying we should not be capitalists and should be against the for profit model - but we should wake up from the delusion that the private sector can do it better. In some cases, the private sector does it worse and is worse.

This will be the last I will write on the Honey Boo Boo topic. I needed to vent.

The Koch Brothers venture into the movie business. (Cinema Talk)

Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation’s education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film “Won’t Back Down” -- set for release September 28 -- portrays so-called “Parent Trigger” laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film's distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting Parent Trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.

While Parent Trigger was first promoted by a small charter school operator in California, it was taken up and launched into hyperdrive by two controversial right-wing organizations: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute.

ALEC brings together major American corporations and right-wing legislators to craft and vote on "model" bills behind closed doors. These bills include extreme gun laws, like Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law implicated in the Trayvon Martin shooting, union-busting legislation, Arizona style anti-immigrant legislation and voter suppression laws that have sparked lawsuits across the nation. The organization's agenda is so extreme that in the last few months 40 major U.S. companies, including Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and General Motors, have severed ties with ALEC.

http://www.prwatch.org/node/11763

Revolt of the Rich

"The objective of the predatory super-rich and their political handmaidens is to discredit and destroy the traditional nation state and auction its resources to themselves. Those super-rich, in turn, aim to create a “tollbooth” economy, whereby more and more of our highways, bridges, libraries, parks, and beaches are possessed by private oligarchs who will extract a toll from the rest of us. Was this the vision of the Founders? Was this why they believed governments were instituted among men—that the very sinews of the state should be possessed by the wealthy in the same manner that kingdoms of the Old World were the personal property of the monarch?"

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/revolt-of-the-rich/

Why I Support Julian Assange (Politics Talk)

I'm glad to be an American - but living outside of the US has given me a bird's eye view of troubling changes taking place in the American political landscape. Mark Weisbrot in the Guardian calls it like I see it:
Today, the US claims the legal right to indefinitely detain its citizens [without trial]; the president can order the assassination of a citizen without so much as even a hearing; the government can spy on its citizens without a court order; and its officials are immune from prosecution for war crimes. It doesn't help that the US has less than 5% of the world's population but almost a quarter of its prison inmates, many of them victims of a "war on drugs" that is rapidly losing legitimacy in the rest of the world.

I have dreams of someday coming back to the US to live - but not to a place like that. Assange may be an egoist, guilty of sexual assault - or just an asshole - for me that's not what is important. I want a light shown on the secret workings of my country because I feel it's slipping into a fascist police state- and I care about my country. I want institutions like Wikileaks to be unfettered and its staff free from fears of assassination or rendition. I want my country to stop its capricious wars abroad and focus on doing great stuff. How about channeling six months of the Afghanistan war budget towards a manned mission to Mars?

As Weisbrot notes - this is the first time a person fleeing persecution from the US has been granted politcal asylum - but the way things are going, I'm afraid it won't be the last.




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