The Thunderbolt 081513 Portraits

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Action Alert Calendar

The Thunderbolt!!!

 

Portraits in Fascism:

 

1)  FYI Section:

   1A)  Fellowship of Reconciliation Events

   1B)  The Trans Pacific Partnership:  Fascism in Action

   1C)  Public Comment on Proposed Longview Coal Terminal

   1D)  Videos from Localize This Action

2)  KAOS Fundraiser Dance Party

3)  Leafleting Party for Sue Gunn for Port Commissioner

4)  Bonus Tip of the Day

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Hey Kids!

 

Summer Vacation!

 

I am trying to put the best face upon the fact that there are only two events on the calendar this week.

 

Whas’ up, Kids?

 

I assume everyone has the late summer blahs and that we’re storing our energy to burst back into action soon!

 

Hero Alert

 

This week I wish to begin by honouring two more heroes who have paid a large personal cost to defend our freedom!

 

[Fanfare, applause, wild abandon etc.]

 

First, we have a gentleman named Ladar Levison, who — secretly in the middle of the night so the feds wouldn’t know what he was up to and so they could not deliver a ‘national security letter’ — shut down his encrypted email company Lavabit rather than turn his customer’s information over to the government!

 

Courage!  Honour!  Principles!

 

Hip hip hooray!

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/13/exclusive_owner_of_snowdens_email_service

 

The second is Nicholas Merrill, who was running an Internet service provider in New York called Calyx and in 2005 he was issued a national security letter that ordered him to hand over detailed private records about some of his customers.

 

Surprise surprise.

 

From Democracy Now:

 

Under the law, recipients of the letters are barred from telling anyone about their encounter with the FBI.  While Merrill was not the first American to be gagged after receiving a national security letter, he was the first to challenge the FBI’s secret tactics.  Merrill went to the American Civil Liberties Union, which then filed the first lawsuit challenging the national security letter statute.  In the lawsuit, Merrill was simply identified as John Doe.  It was only in August 2010, after reaching a settlement with the FBI, that Merrill was able to reveal his identity.  “[The case] resulted in the national security letter provision of the PATRIOT Act being ruled unconstitutional twice,” Merrill says.

 

Here is part of what Mr. Merrill had to say:

 

…what I started to get a sense was happening back in 2004 was that essentially the rule of law was being eroded by a combination of the Department of Justice acting without proper checks and balances overseeing what they were doing.  By evading the courts and by evading the court oversight and by issuing these national security letters themselves, they were able to gather huge amounts of information on Americans.  And then, also by putting everyone under gag orders who received them, they were able to prevent anyone from talking about what was happening.

 

Read or watch this segment here if your blood needs a little chillin’ this morning.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/13/former_internet_provider_gagged_by_national

 

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And now, ladies and gentlemen and various permutations thereof!  Here it is again — the event you’ve all been waiting for!

 

Yes, Kids!  It’s the…

 

Irony of the Week!

 

The Irony of the Week for this week is brought to you by NSA Director Keith Alexander, chief administrator of the NSA’s secret illegal and unconstitutional spy program!

 

[Wild Applause]

 

Yes, Kids, Mr. Alexander recently told Congress that they couldn’t investigate the NSA spy program because Congress’ investigation would infringe upon the privacy rights of American citizens!

 

[Wild Applause]

 

*******************************************

 

Mr. Alexander actually made several other amazing statements as well — though I’ve already revealed the punch line…

 

First, he says that the NSA will be purging the agency of 90% of its system administrators in an attempt to block the next Edward Snowden.  This purge would not have actually stopped Snowden since Snowden worked for a private contractor, but Mr. Alexander can be seen taking decisive measures and that is what counts, not whether his measures actually accomplish anything.

 

Some wish that the NSA would instead purge 100% of the information that they are illegally collecting with no probable cause from private citizens — but Mr. Alexander did not address those concerns.

 

Mr. Alexander did say that his spy program has been “grossly mischaracterized” by the media and urged his audience to “get the facts” and think for themselves.

 

Right; the only way the public has gotten any snippets of any manner of facts of any kind at all is due to the leaks that Obama and Alexander are so vigourously fighting to plug.

 

As for thinking for myself:  The facts that have been exposed make me think for myself that Mr. Alexander is a fascist and that we are living in a police state.

 

And then, Mr. Alexander made his classic comment that managed to encapsulate the themes of both Catch 22 and 1984 about how a Congressional investigation would compromise people’s privacy rights.

 

Don’t these people ever listen to themselves?

 

Expert Critique of National Security Letters

 

One of the best blastings of the so called ‘national security letters’ that I am aware of was delivered in 2005 by a constitutional scholar named — Senator Barack Obama!

 

Yes, Kids, this was our Dear Leader then:

 

This is legislation that puts our own Justice Department above the law.  When national security letters are issued, they allow federal agents to conduct any search on any American, no matter how extensive, how wide-ranging, without ever going before a judge to prove that the search is necessary.  All that is needed is a sign-off from a local FBI agent.  That’s it.  Once a business or a person receives notification that they will be searched, they are prohibited from telling anyone about it, and they’re even prohibited from challenging this automatic gag order in court.  Even though judges have already found that similar restrictions violate the First Amendment, this conference report disregards the case law and the right to challenge the gag order.  If you do decide to consult an attorney for legal advice, hold on.  You will have to tell the FBI that you’ve done so.  Think about that.  You want to talk to a lawyer about whether or not your actions are going to be causing you to get into trouble.  You’ve got to tell the FBI that you’re consulting a lawyer.  This is unheard of.  There is no such requirement in any other area of the law.  I see no reason why it’s justified here.  And if someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document, through the library books that you read, the phone calls that you’ve made, the emails that you’ve sent, this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law.  No judge will hear your plea; no jury will hear your case.  This is just plain wrong.

 

Yes, Mr. President!  The ‘national security letters’ are blatantly and outrageously in-your-face unconstitutional and illegal and making it illegal to even talk about something that is itself illegal is Orwellian double-think to its very essence!

 

See?  Never say I have never agreed with Barack Obama!

 

However, that was then and this is now…

 

…and now is the complete opposite of then.

 

(Sigh!)

 

Portraits in Fascism:  Jeff Bezos

 

For some reason everyone has warm fuzzy feeling s for Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.  This is especially true with the hometown crowd here in Washington State.  They have these feelings even though Bezos actually is exactly the kind of sociopathic cut-throat slime-ball that is destroying our world.

 

Now, in a highly alarming move, Mr. Bezos has purchased the Washington Post.

 

Mr. Bezos has never had anything to do with journalism or media before.

 

It is hilarious to watch all the talking heads conjecturing as to whether Bezos might be just the palliative that the Post needs to rise from the economic ashes and become profitable again.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/7/how_the_washington_posts_new_owner

 

The unquestioned assumption amongst the talking heads on the Corporate Propaganda Machine is that Bezos bought the Post to make money.

 

An interesting question is this:  Are they ignorant, are they stupid, or are they conscious collaborators?

 

Believe me; I can just about guarantee you that Jeff Bezos did not buy the Washington Post to make money.  The Washington Post is worth approximately 10% of what it was worth in the late 90’s and investors have been bailing like rats off a sinking ship.

 

So why would someone like Jeff Bezos purchase an economic dinosaur?

 

How about this:  While the Post is not economically viable it still carries a great deal of political clout.

 

It seems pretty obvious to me that Mr. Bezos bought the Post not to make money directly from the Post but to have a propaganda outlet for his right-wing business policies — and thus gaining the ability to use the Post to make much more money by leveraging the Post’s influence to buy more laws and tax breaks for himself.

 

This is why Rupert Murdoch was happy to lose tens of millions of dollars per year on Fox News for the first five years of its existence.  This is why Sun Myung Moon is more than happy to lose bundles of cash on the Post’s cross-town rival the Washington Times ever since the Times has been in existence.

 

Buying the Post cost Mr. Bezos less than 1% of his personal fortune.  I’m pretty sure he’ll be happy to lose money on the Post.

 

As to Mr. Bezos’ business policies:  Mr. Bezos was the one who made the decision to pull the plug on the Wikileaks website thus marginalizing and crippling our best source for information about crimes in government.  Mr. Bezos just inked a $600 million deal with the CIA for cloud computing.  Mr. Bezos was the leading funder of the anti-income tax movement that defeated our last initiative to establish an income tax here in Washington — and in fact, Mr. Bezos has never met a tax that he can’t avoid.  Amazon is supposed to collect sales tax on everything they sell.  They never have and they continue to not do so.  Mr. Bezos originally wanted to found Amazon on an Indian reservation because he thought he would be immune to local taxes but he finally settled on Washington because there is no income tax.  Our president spoke the praises of Amazon recently at an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee even though Amazon has yet to pay a single penny in taxes to the State of Tennessee.

 

Evidently Mr. Bezos is perfectly copacetic with letting other people pay for the infrastructure that made it possible for Mr. Bezos to accumulate and maintain his fortune.

 

As for his business practices:  Mr. Bezos conducts his business by driving everyone else out of business.  While Jeff Bezos is one of the richest men in the world, Amazon.com itself has never made a profit because their business model is to sell products at a loss until everyone else in the field is driven out of business.

 

Take book sales:  Until Mr. Bezos came along small retailers were rampant all over the country.  These people were almost unanimously in the book-selling business not to make a fortune but because they loved books.  Mr. Bezos drove nearly all of them out of business by selling books for below cost and with no sales tax.  Mr. Bezos came along and saw a business filled with people rather than machines and took over with his no-holds-barred cut-throat cost cutting efficiency measures and now has a near monopoly on book sales.

 

Now, only ‘name’ authors have an outlet for their material.  Unknowns or unusuals or cutting edgers need not apply.

 

He did exactly the same thing with music sales.

 

But Amazon creates lots of jobs!  Just ask Barack Obama, who just gave a speech at an Amazon warehouse praising Mr. Bezos for all the jobs that Amazon is creating!

 

Right.  Democracy Now recently aired an interview with Mac McClelland who went undercover and got one of those famous minimum-wage jobs in one of Mr. Bezos’ Amazon warehouses.  Here is her description:

 

I stopped by a warehouse that one of my ex-girlfriends from college was running and my friend, who is a really nice person, was being sort of a monster.  I was there for 20 minutes, and she was firing people for going to the bathroom and for talking to each other even though they were continuing to work while they did it.  Those were the orders that she had from up top, and she just — if she wanted to keep her job, she had to enforce them.

 

So, basically, [when Ms. McClelland obtained a job at an Amazon warehouse for her story] from the moment I arrived in town, even before I got to the warehouse, I stopped by the local Chamber of Commerce, and they told me, “Don’t start crying, and don’t take anything that happens to you personally, because it’s a very ugly scene in there.  And there are lots and lots of people who would be willing to take your job because the economy is so bad, so basically put up with whatever they throw at you and, you know, leave your dignity at the door.”

 

And so, that’s what I did, and that’s what everybody else there did every day.

 

I was what is called a picker, which is the person who actually retrieves the items that you order online.  And these are hundreds of thousands of square feet, these warehouses, just absolutely enormous.  And you have a little scanner that tells you where in the warehouse you have to go.  There’s a map on you ID badge.  And it tells you how many seconds they want you to take to get there.  So, you know, a Barbie will pop up, and you have 20 seconds to traverse this ground, and you run to where the place is on the shelving, and you’re, you know, picking through items as fast as you can, and you grab the Barbie, and you scan it, and you put it in a tote.  And then your next thing pops up, and you have 15 more seconds.  And that is just relentless.  We had minimum 10-hour shifts when I was there.  And there’s people walking around telling you how close you are to making your numbers, or not making your numbers in a lot of cases.  And so, someone comes up to you every couple hours and says, “You’re making 70 percent of your goals.  You’re doing a bad job.  You’re going to have to pick it up.”  And so you’re counseled sort of incessantly on your pace.  And so you run back and forth to the lunch room.  You have to go through metal detectors.  You have to wait in line to go to the bathroom, eat some food really fast, and run back to your station.  And that’s it, just over and over and over again.

 

During summer heat waves, Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside, ready to treat any workers who [were] dehydrated or suffered other forms of heat stress.  Those who couldn’t quickly cool off and return to work were sent home or taken out in stretchers and wheelchairs and transported to area hospitals.  And new applicants were ready to begin work at any time.

 

The people who had to load trucks were standing in these tractor-trailer containers, just baking in the parking lots under the sun for hours and hours at a day.  They had like a couple little fans blowing on them.  They won’t air-condition the warehouses because it’s too expensive.  They don’t heat the warehouses because it’s too expensive.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/7/i_was_a_warehouse_wage_slave

 

So, the good news is that — in confirmation of one of the few factually accurate statements that our president has made lately — Amazon is hiring!

 

The bad news is that you will be treated and paid like a slave.

 

Hey, Barack, since you think that these McJobs are so wonderful then I just thought of a way that you can personally demonstrate your enthusiasm!  You can have your daughter Natasha work a summer job in one of Mr. Bezos’ 100+ warehouses!

 

And never fear!  You can rest assured that if she passes out from heat exhaustion then the good Mr. Bezos will have an ambulance standing by!

 

(Actually Mr. Bezos was forced against his will to have ambulances standing by outside his warehouses as a concession to avoid more humane — but more expensive — methods of avoiding having his employees dropping like flies during summer months forced upon him.)

 

Hey, it’s good enough for us, eh?  Think of the public relations opportunities of having Natasha photographed lying on a stretcher next to all the other happy Amazon employees!

 

Yes indeed, Kids, folks like the good Mr. Bezos are certainly cashing in on the financial crisis that folks like Mr. Bezos created, let me tell you!  As the workers are being hauled away in ambulances there are literally people lined up to take their place!

 

Jeff Bezos!  Bringing us the economy of the future!

 

Read all about it in the Washington Post!

 

It’s time to get to work…

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1)  FYI Section:

 

1A)  Fellowship of Reconciliation Events

 

Olympia FOR does lots of things every month.  Here are a couple of them:

 

Peace Vigil — Wednesday Noon Hour

Date:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Time:

12:00PM – 1:00PM

Location:

Sylvester Park’s NW corner
Legion & Capitol Way
Olympia, WA 98501

 

EVERY WEDNESDAY from 12 noon to 1 pm: 
Peace Vigil
 in NW corner of Sylvester Park (corner of Legion & Capitol Way). 
Please come for all of the hour — or as long as your schedule allows — to witness in a very friendly way for peace and nonviolence. We provide plenty of signs. 
Info: 491-9093 info@olympiafor.org   
See information about our vigils at http://olympiafor.org/vigils.html

See the Olympia FOR’s website for our many other activities.

 

http://olympiafor.org/vigils.htm

 

 

“Confronting the Climate Crisis”

Date:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Time:

6:30PM – 8:30PM

Location:

Olympia Center
222 Columbia Street NW, downtown
Olympia, WA 98501

 

“Confronting the Climate Crisis”

Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s vigorous group meets on the third Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:40 at the Olympia Center, 222 Columbia Street NW, downtown.  Info: Bourtai or Ted at 352-6327 climate@olympiafor.org  http://www.olympiafor.org/Climate_Crisis.html>

Click on the “Climate Crisis” link for lots of information.

 

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1B)  The Trans Pacific Partnership:  Fascism in Action

 

The TPP is the next step in establishing the New World Order.  This is a corporate takeover of nearly everything which is exactly why it is being negotiated in such utter complete secrecy that even members of Congress tasked with oversight of such things are not allowed to know the details.

 

What do they have to hide?

 

According to Dr. Brian Moench, this is what they have to hide:

 

“The TransPacific Partnership will allow corporations virtually unchecked control of our food supply, our land, air, water, wallets and our future.”

 

Denny Heck and Maria Cantwell both support the TPP.  Call, write, and fulminate.

 

If you are unfamiliar with this newest outrage from Barack Obama then you should check out this exposé in Truthout:

 

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18115-mankind-death-by-corporation-part-iii-the-tpp-as-corporate-deathstar

 

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1C)  Public Comment on Proposed Longview Coal Terminal

 

I don’t know how much effect public comment has, but it can’t hurt.

 

This from Ryan:

 

Cowlitz, state, and federal officials are at it again soliciting public comments for the proposed coal terminal in Longview!

 

Please pass the word:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/08/12/2726235/officials-to-study-impact-of-coal.html

 

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1D)  Videos from Localize This Action

 

Check out these inspiring activist actions on video!  It’s the Backbone Campaign at the top of their game!

 

Army Corps, Relieved of Duty!

NEW Video from Localize This! 2013 Finale Action in Seattle

Please Share, Tweet, Like, Comment AND Pitch In to Support the Work!

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After a week of training in nonviolent direct action and artful activism, attendees of the Backbone Campaign’s Localize This! 2013 action camp executed a bold, beautiful, and timely action to stop plans to turn the Pacific NW into a fossil fuel corridor to Asia.  Click on image below or view and share on Facebook.  Find press release, action photos and more news clips HERE.

Our fundraising effort for camp fell approximately $3,000 short.  If you value the work that results in principled and powerful, high visibility/low risk actions like this, then please pitch in TODAY.

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2)  KAOS Fundraiser Dance Party

Saturday August 17th from 12:30 to 3:30 pm @ West Central Park, Corner of Harrison and Division Streets NW

 

It’s a KAOS fundraiser at our new People’s Park on the West Side!

 

Check it out:

 

KAOS 40th Birthday Celebration and Kid’s Dance Party!  August 17th from 12:30 to 3:30 at West Central Park.  The event is free with kids music dj’d by Cottleson’s Pie’s, Miss Melissa, crafts, bubbles and more!

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3)  Leafleting Party for Sue Gunn for Port Commissioner

Sunday August 18th at 10 am @ Lion’s Park, Corner of Wilson St SE and 7 Ave SE

 

The Green Party is endorsing Sue Gunn for Port Commissioner and they will be having a leafleting party!

 

This from the Greens:

 

There is a leafletting party/picnic at Lion’s Park this Sunday, August 18, starting at 10 AM.  This would be a great time for going out to distribute lit for Sue; you’d be part of a team, with all the support and fun that that implies.  Go here to learn more about it:   https://www.facebook.com/events/405755889529609/

 

Later on there will be a house party in northern Thurston County, and you can help with food and invitations as well as hear Sue speak in person. 

 

There will be an opportunity to table at the Farmers Market as well (date TBA).

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4)  Bonus Tip of the Day:

 

Draw a new portrait.

 

Peace.

 

Dana

 

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