Weapons of Mass Instruction – John Taylor Gatto

In this video, John Taylor Gatto discusses how institutionalized schooling destroys the imagination of students. He points out that large numbers of very successful entrepreneurs never graduated from college, and in many cases never graduated from high school. Why would this be? Isn’t it schooling that prepares us for success? Not at all. Schooling is not education. Schooling is indoctrination. You are being prepared to be good corporate workers, not leaders, thinkers or innovators. You are being prepared to “fit in”, without a choice as to what you will “fit into”. (h/t Shorty Dawkins @ Oath Keepers)

 

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Lawmaker to Reintroduce Gun Confiscation Bill

When state lawmakers get back to work in January, Democrats say they plan on reintroducing bills on gun control.

 By Jeff Preval at WGRZ.com, November 10, 2017 •

BUFFALO, NY – When state lawmakers get back to work in January, Democrats say they plan on reintroducing bills on gun control. This comes after the horrific shooting in Texas on Sunday, in which 26 people were killed.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, a downstate lawmaker, says during the new legislative session he’ll reintroduce a bill called the Safe Homes Act.

Under that bill, when police respond to a domestic violence call where a gun is on the premises and make an arrest, the officers would have to to seize the gun and any firearms license owned by the person being arrested.

This is different from what police already do during domestic violence calls. State Police tell 2 On Your Side that during these incidents, they would seize a firearm, only if it was owned illegally, or if they were concerned it could be used to do harm.

Senator Holyman and other supporters say it’s needed after this past weekend’s church shooting that killed 26 people in Texas, where the shooter had a history of domestic violence. Hoylman said in a statement: “had there been a legal mechanism to take away his weapons, Sunday’s shooting may have been avoided.”

Police in Texas, though, haven’t reported any recent domestic incident involving the gunman that a law like this might have applied to.

We wanted to know where Western New York state lawmakers stand on this and called every one of them.

Only four responded, and they were Republican Senators Michael Ranzenhofer and Patrick Gallivan and Republican Assembly Members David DiPietro and Angelo Morinello — all said they were unavailable to talk with us about this legislation.

“It’s a totally unnecessary bill the police have all the authority they need to take weapons in a situation they think is dangerous,” said Budd Schroeder, chairman emeritus of SCOPE.

The Safe Homes Act has been proposed in the legislature for the past six years, but has not gotten out of committee and put to the floor for a full vote.

Ed. Note: At best, this is the proverbial slippery slope. More than likely, however, this is a Progressive backdoor gambit to put in place a new confiscation measure; any cause du jour will do to justify. Because after the law has been enacted, all that needs be done next is to change the definition of “domestic violence.” Physical abuse will no longer be the standard. A mere accusation of “hateful” words by one party may one day justify seizing private firearms. (See Hate Speech laws already on the books across this country.) With our First and Fourth Amendments already under serious attack, this play for the Second — the holy grail of American Progs and Communists — should never be dismissed as fantasy.

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New Piece Of Legislation Could Demolish State Gun Control Laws Across The Country

By Mac Slavo, originally publishes at SHTFplan.com, August 1, 2017 •

Over the past century there has been one undeniable trend working against gun rights. Put simply, as time goes on, it’s harder for a law abiding citizen to own and use a firearm, largely due to the proliferation of state and federal gun laws. A hundred years ago, one could own pretty much any firearm without restriction, and buy a firearm without even a background check (though of course one argue could that a few of these laws are a good idea). Now it’s a heavily regulated industry.

And sure, there have been some victories for the Second Amendment. A few decades ago there were only a handful of states where it was fairly easy to attain a concealed carry permit, and even many deeply conservative states didn’t issue these permits at all. Now that situation has completely reversed, and continues to improve. However, when you look at gun rights on a long enough timeline, it’s obvious that the Second Amendment has lost more than it has won, as state and federal laws have chipped away at our rights little by little.

Fortunately there is a new piece of legislation that could significantly roll back the worst of these laws on the state level, in particular the laws that were put in place under the Obama administration. The Second Amendment Guarantee Act, which was recently proposed by New York Congressman Chris Collins, could prove to be the most significant attack on gun control laws that we’ve seen in generations. According to a press release issued by Collins’ office:

“This legislation would protect the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers that were unjustly taken away by Andrew Cuomo,” said Collins. “I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and have fought against all efforts to condemn these rights. I stand with the law-abiding citizens of this state that have been outraged by the SAFE Act and voice my commitment to roll back these regulations.”

SAGA would provide an intimidating bulwark against gun control advocates in blue states. In a nutshell, it would prevent these states from passing restrictive laws that exceed the scope of federal gun laws.

In the Collins’ bill, States or local governments would not be able to regulate, prohibit, or require registration and licensing (that are any more restrictive under Federal law) for the sale, manufacturing, importation, transfer, possession, or marketing of a rifle or shotgun. Additionally, “rifle or shotgun” includes any part of the weapon including any detachable magazine or ammunition feeding devise and any type of pistol grip or stock design.

Under this legislation, any current or future laws enacted by a state or political subdivision that exceeds federal law for rifles and shotguns would be void. Should a state violate this law, and a plaintiff goes to court, the court will award the prevailing plaintiff a reasonable attorney’s fee in addition to any other damages.

For decades, gun owners living in certain states have had their rights slowly stripped away by legislative bodies that repeatedly passed laws which are in violation of the Second Amendment, and they’ve done so almost completely unopposed. It’s the perfect example of what the Founders hoped to prevent in our society. They feared that the rights of the minority could be taken away by the majority, which is exactly what gun owners in leftists states have had to contend with.

But if SAGA passes, state governments will no longer be able to bully gun owners with their onerous and unconstitutional laws. Gun owners will finally have the same right to bear arms in every state of the union.

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Wait, What? Governor Cuomo Getting a 47% Raise?

Andrew-Cuomo-1024x683By Mary Calamia for the Independent Sentinel, August 7, 2016 •

Have YOU ever gotten a 47 percent raise?

Not likely, but New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature are currently being considered for salary bumps as high as 47 percent.

In a year already rocked by multiple corruption scandals and the “dark of night” passage of a most controversial and hotly contested budget, the power brokers of New York State are now engaged in another slick move that will saddle the taxpayers with yet another burden.

Ask any New York taxpayer, “Does Governor Cuomo deserve an $84,000-a-year raise?” You will probably hear a few classic four-letter words, none of which will be “Sure!”

Yet the New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation, an “independent” panel that determines legislative salaries will be meeting this September to discuss salary increases for elected officials. Under consideration is upping Cuomo’s base pay from $179,000 to $263,000.

What is most interesting is that this brand new, “independent” body is appointed by the very people whose salaries they determine:

“Every four years, beginning June 2015, the Commission is established with seven appointed members – three are designated by the Governor, one by the President Pro Tempore of the New York State Senate, one by the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, and two by the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, one of whom serves as chair of the Commission.” (NYS Commission on Compensation)

Conveniently, the Commission has until a week after Election Day to present its recommendations.

Under the proposed salary schedule, the base salary for a legislator (a part-time position) would jump from $79,500 to $116,900. Senators and Assembly members are also paid thousands more for participating on and/or chairing committees.

It is inconceivable that anyone could think a salary increase is appropriate at this point in time — NOT for a legislature that passes bills without even reading them — NOT in a state that is still uncovering layer upon layer of corruption in government — NOT for legislators who have denied the constituents’ pleas for meaningful ethics reform in the wake of the most shameful and embarrassing period in New York State history.

Panel member Roman Hedges, who was appointed by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, proposed these exorbitant salaries, saying, “I’d like the legislators to be well enough rewarded that they’ll stick around.” (Record Online)

Newsflash, Mr. Hedges: Albany has legislators who have been serving for decades – some starting as far back as the 1970’s. They’re not going anywhere. Given their performance, however, it might be better for all of us if they did.

So take heed, New Yorkers. Even in the quiet months when the Legislature is out of session, Albany has its hands deep inside your pockets.

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Globalist Ideology Undermines National Identity, Sovereignty

By Wayne Hill for the Standard-Times, March 9, 2016 •

One World Trade Center has now replaced the old World Trade Center. “One” is an address, but the subliminal message is clear.

The political movement for world government has many facets. For example, we have so-called free-trade agreements that create supranational organizations that govern the agreements made and these supranational organizations supersede our nation’s own congressional authority, resulting in a loss of national sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats. Eventually these supranational organizations will be transformed into regional governing bodies.

What the globalists’ vision is a world similar to what the United States was, which is sovereign states that all agree to a common defense, with open borders and the free flow of goods and services across those borders and the freedom of citizens to move from state to state without hindrance. We have since lost our state sovereignty and are dictated to by a federal master and the coming world government will be master of all the nation states.

Another facet of world government is the creation of global citizens, which entails the loss of national identity and national interests. Ridding a nation of its national identity starts by re-educating its population to think in global terms. The younger generations don’t question globalism, since they’ve been hearing it all their lives, but most of their parents don’t question it either.

Globalist ideology is that all citizens of the world have the same status as all other citizens of the world, regardless of whether they are native to that nation or not. Both illegal immigrants and those who are brought here by United Nations mandates are given higher status for food, medical care, housing and education than our own citizens. Even our homeless veterans don’t have it as good as most illegal immigrants.

Mass immigration serves the globalist ideology by diluting the national identity. If immigration were a controlled process, like the one that existed decades ago, it can be beneficial to a nation, but when it’s out of control and immigrants are literally pouring in as they are today, it leads to a fragmented society of conflicting interests.

Another way that globalist ideology is served by mass immigration is to weaken our form of government. Most of the immigrants entering the U.S. today come from Third World nations who have little to no idea how our national government is designed to work. They come from nations with repressive regimes and would be happy as long as a gun isn’t pointed in their face. Their presence provides the opportunity for a government that no longer answers to constitutional law to continue to expand its power and authority over the true government of this nation, “We the people.”

Globalists pass themselves off as true humanitarians who care about these poor unfortunate people, but in reality their goal is evil in concept because they are imposing their will over you.

Globalist ideology has stolen the power from the people. We had a government of the people, for the people and by the people. That meant a government guided by God, because the true constitutional government of this nation is the people of this nation who overwhelmingly believe in God. Now that the people have lost that power, God is no longer guiding the decisions made in our nation’s capital. The lust for power and privilege, however, is. #

Wayne Hill lives in San Angelo.

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Decentralize Sovereignty

By Bruce Walker for American Thinker, June 23, 2016 •

Throughout the world, the fundamental problem we face is the hyper-centralization of sovereignty. In America, the vast majority of problems in government would begin at once to heal naturally if the limitless credit card of the federal government, the dimwitted bullying of federal courts and bureaucracies, and the myopia of national media were not consumed by the cesspool on the Potomac.

When Governor Perry began his campaign for the nomination in 2012, he had the best theme of any candidate since Reagan: make what happens in Washington the least important thing in the lives of ordinary Americans. That is the solution to our most pressing political problems: decentralize sovereignty back, where it was always supposed to be, with the states.

More and more conservatives ought to ask themselves what the federal government is doing that could better be done by others

Any currency – banknotes backed by gold, for example – would be better than the Monopoly money issued by that farcical creature, the Federal Reserve System.

The federal government does not protect our borders or keep out terrorists or wage war to win or protect our intellectual property or do anything but engage in destructive and malicious meddling with the American states and the American people. It is the tool of angry ideologues and the milk cow for the true plutocrats, the lobbying and government mafia.

The second part of that decentralization of sovereignty is, of course, to take as much sovereignty as can be possibly transferred and then give that back to individuals or to families or to small communities of like-minded folks who just want to be left alone. There are a few things we really need from state governments but even states are largely now bottomless pits of over-funded programs doing nothing anyone really wants.

Even those few things of value that government does today could be privatized or devolved to local governments, which are truly responsive to the voters and whose foul-ups would cause people to move across city lines and cause property values to plummet – creating a marketplace that works even when politicians did not.

It is a stunning and grim fact that in this presidential election year of profoundly disaffected voters, the most important issue, the radical decentralization of sovereignty, hardly registers a blip in the rhetoric of the candidates and federal politicians, and candidates talk as if problems not “solved” by Washington cannot be solved at all.

What is true in America is true everywhere. The decentralization of sovereignty in Europe has been profoundly liberating – just ask the Irish, the Croats, the Bosnians, the Slovaks, the Montenegrins, the Ukrainians, the Lithuanians…and so on.

The horror that is the European Union is held together now by invested national politicians, greedy pseudo-capitalists, and vast barracks of bureaucrats. These groups always howl at the imagined dangers of decentralization of power because the only value that they have is the calculated and murky manipulation of centralized power producing tawdry bribes and substitutes for the real blessing of liberty. The EU has degraded into a grinning goblin of that worst horror of internationalism, the United Nations, the enemy of truth and freedom everywhere.

Less noticed but no less important than the grave danger of hyper-centralization of sovereignty is the vital benefit of decentralizing sovereignty around the globe. Most of Africa and Asia consists of large nations that are really empires. Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, China, Nigeria, and Indonesia, among others, are empires that have many different languages, many different tribal groups, and many different regionally located religious minorities.

What would happen if America strongly supported the decentralization of sovereignty in the Iranian empire, whose Persian population is scarcely half the population? What if America supported the independence of the Azeris, the Baluchs, the Kurds, the Turkmens, the Lurs, and other oppressed subject nationalities trapped within that empire?

What if we supported the creation of small nations carved out of that evil empire as safe havens for the Yazidis, Mandeans, Zoroastrians, Bahá’í, and others who simply want to live in peace in the place they have always called home?

Why doesn’t anyone in Washington advocate this? Why doesn’t the left, that pretended champion of minorities, call for this dissolution into natural parts of the Iranian empire? The left loves to rant about “capitalism,” the real problem is rather “capitolism,” the complete inability to conceive of any solution which does not come from the elites within the ruling city of a huge land.

No politicians, no punditry class, no bureaucratic legions, no power-peddlers with deep pockets – no one who “counts,” in other words – supports the decentralization of sovereignty. It helps only that least important, most forgotten part of any governmental system: the governed.

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DHS Secretary Sees All Americans As a Threat: “Gun Control Has To Be a Part of Homeland Security”

un-twisted-gunBy Mac Salvo at SHTFplan, June 15, 2016 •

The agency’s source of power has always been fear.

And now is the time to capitalize upon it.

Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson has seized upon the Orlando shooting and is… rather predictably… using the specter of terrorism as a pretext for instituting gun control on a wider scale. (Of course, he isn’t alone.)

Secretary Johnson told CBS News that:

Just days after the massacre in an Orlando nightclub left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday said that gun control is now a critical element of protecting the U.S. homeland and keeping Americans safe.

“We have to face the fact that meaningful gun control has to be a part of homeland security,” Johnson said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.” “We need to do something to minimize the opportunity for terrorists to get a gun in this country.”

[…]

“I thought frankly after Sandy Hook where you have schoolchildren murdered in a classroom that maybe finally this will be the tipping point and we were not able to move the needle in Congress, unfortunately,” Johnson said.

It seems Jeh Johnson thought Sandy Hook would be all that was necessary to reign in gun rights. For him, it is all part of ‘public safety.’

But apparently, the powers-that-be will wait for a bigger and bigger tragedy until something too big to ignore happens, then they can push for their un-American agenda with the opposition pinned down and the rest of the population too afraid to think.

Maybe the Orlando mass murder is that event.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson: Passing gun control is now ‘part and parcel of homeland security’:

Though quieter than than it has been under past heads, Homeland Security has clearly maintained the twisted view that all Americans are potential terrorists, and that a preemptive police state, complete with surveillance, data mining and social profile trolling is necessary in order to maintain relative peace.

This attitude is noted in recent meetings of the Homeland Security Advisory Committee, discussing in part its community partnership program for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE):

“Secretary Johnson said there is much left to accomplish in this final year of the Administration… Counterterrorism remains a cornerstone mission of the Department. There is a new environment when it comes to the global terrorism threat, which includes not only terrorist-directed attacks, but terrorist-inspired attacks. These threats call for a whole-of-government response, including military, law enforcement, and robust intelligence gathering and sharing efforts. These efforts extend to the private sector as well, and DHS is very active in this arena.”

It is clear that so-called “right-wing extremists” are still a leading concern for Homeland Security and the federal government agencies.

via Breitbart

One month after the San Bernardino terrorist attack that left 14 innocent people dead, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told advisors that right wing extremists pose just as much of a threat to the country as Islamic extremists.

Johnson made the comments during the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s (HSAC) January meeting. City of Austin Mayor Art Acevedo, whom Johnson appointed to HSACshifted the discussion to the threat of right-wing extremists, according to the official meeting minutes.

“Member Acevedo reminded the Council that the threat from right-wing extremists domestically is just as real as the threat from Islamic extremism,” the minutes state.

The Homeland Security Advisory Committee reports:

“Secretary Johnson agreed and noted that CVE, by definition, is not solely focused on one religion. Member Goldenberg seconded Member Acevedo’s remarks and noted the importance of online sites in right wing extremist communities, not only in America but worldwide.”

Against all logic, the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration and the borders in addition to law enforcement and national security issues, has vowed to ‘give voice to the plight’ of Muslims, rather than focusing on keep out radical and potentially violent members of that group – essentially welcoming another attack.

Instead, ordinary Americans, including those with dissident political views of any kind, are typically regarded as potential threats under Homeland Security watch lists.

Flags, firearms and incendiary conversations on social media have given ’cause’ to a government that is out of control and only wants a population that is ready to turn in its guns and be afraid of what the media tells them, not a population that is ready to challenge the unconstitutional actions of its government.

Changes are coming. Keep your eyes open and encourage those around you to stand up for their rights.

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New York Common Core Opt Out Movement Gains Steam, Support from Teachers

common-core-new-york-040616By Shane Trejo for Tenth Amendment Center, April 6, 2016 •

While many state legislators have been reluctant to pull their states out of the Common Core educational standards, a growing number of New Yorkers are taking matters into their own hands. Parents and students, with support from some teachers, are opting out of testing in growing numbers.

An Apr. 4 New York Post report covered this tend. Some New York teachers have been lending support to the “opt-out” movement:

Some parents at PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights received emails directly from teachers telling them that their kids can skip the exams without punishment.

“It’s your right to opt out of the NY State Tests. . . . Alternative educational activities are planned for all students opting out,” one email sent by a third grade PS 8 teacher said…

And a fourth grade teacher forwarded an attachment about opting out, claiming it came at the request of assistant principal Robert Mikos, a copy obtained by The Post reveals.

The Post also reported that 20 percent of parents chose to opt their children out from the Common Core standardized testing last year. In the Lower Hudson Valley, the number reported this week was even higher, according to the USA Today:

Some school officials voluntarily reported their figures on Tuesday; others declined, saying the numbers should first be reported to their boards of education; others did not respond at all. Those who responded were responsible for nearly 44,000 students, nearly 10,000 of whom declined to take the test, at a rate of 24 percent.

The Washington Post reported that he number of opt-outs were also high in other areas.

Eighty-six percent of test eligible students in the Long Island district of Comsewogue refused the test, and 89 percent of students in Dolgeville in the Mohawk Valley said “no.”

Newsday reported that 49.7 percent of all Long Island students refused the test Tuesday even though the Newsday editorial board has repeatedly urged parents to have their children take it.

This demonstrates that while state legislators may lack the desire or courage to end participation in Common Core, the public still has options.

BLUEPRINT

James Madison advised Americans in Federalist #46 to engage in a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” as the means to fight back against government overreach, and said that such actions in multiple states would be effective in bringing down federal programs. While Common Core supporters will claim that it’s a state-based program, connecting the dots shows that, at very least, it’s being directed and pushed by the feds.

New York parents and teachers provide a blueprint for people in other states to follow. This year, more bills to nullify Common Core and replace it with state controlled curriculum options have been introduced than ever before. However, many of these bills failed or stalled during the legislative session due to resistance from establishment politicians from both major political parties.

The next step for people in others states is to emulate New York and stage massive opt-out movements. This can  open eyes, raise awareness and put legislators on notice. Ultimately, if enough students opt out of the testing, it could collapse the Common Core system altogether. #

Additional reporting from Mike Maharrey and Michael Boldin.

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Andrew Cuomo and Other Democrats Launch Severe Attack on Free Speech to Protect Israel

cuomo-israel-article-headerEd. Note:

Ed. Note: Personally, I like most of the Israeli people that I have met, and most of the Jews that I know. I also approve of the actions that the Israeli government takes most of the time. Assuming that the Mossad didn’t orchestrate and/or participate in a sanctioned destruction New York’s Twin Towers, you’d have to count me in the number that says, ‘I stand with Israel.’

However, Andrew Cuomo’s new Executive Order #157 (yes, the governor has a phone and a pen, too) treads rather ominously on the Nation and New York’s beloved freedom of speech. The first of its kind in the country, the order punishes those doing business with New York State who happen to hold political views different from his highness. This is a dangerous precedent, to say the least.

One wonders if those sacred, public progressive learning institutions that harbor pro-Palestinian, hate-baiting, anti-Israeli professors would see their funds cut, or perhaps the professors themselves dismissed. Not that I’d mind. But principles are principles, and the Bill of Rights is the Bill of Rights.

We’ll let The Intercept take it from here. #

By Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman at The Intercept, June 6, 2016 •

One of the greatest free speech threats in the West is the growing, multi-nation campaign literally to outlaw advocacy of boycotting Israel. People get arrested in Paris — the site of the 2015 “free speech” (for Muslim critics) rally — for wearing pro-boycott T-shirts. Pro-boycott students on U.S. campuses — where the 1980s boycott of apartheid South Africa flourished — are routinely sanctioned for violating anti-discrimination policies. Canadian officials have threatened to criminally prosecute boycott advocates. British government bodies have legally barred certain types of boycott advocacy. Israel itself has outright criminalized advocacy of such boycotts. Notably, all of this has been undertaken with barely a peep from those who styled themselves free speech crusaders when it came time to defend anti-Muslim cartoons.

But now, New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (above, in the 2016 Celebrate Israel Parade) has significantly escalated this free speech attack on U.S. soil, aimed at U.S. citizens. The prince of the New York political dynasty yesterday issued an executive order directing all agencies under his control to terminate any and all business with companies or organizations that support a boycott of Israel. It ensures that citizens who hold and express a particular view are punished through the denial of benefits that other citizens enjoy: a classic free speech violation (imagine if Cuomo issued an order stating that “anyone who expresses conservative viewpoints shall have all state benefits immediately terminated”).

Even more disturbing, Cuomo’s executive order requires that one of his commissioners compile “a list of institutions and companies” that — “either directly or through a parent or subsidiary” — support a boycott. That government list is then posted publicly, and the burden falls on them to prove to the state that they do not, in fact, support such a boycott. Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told The Intercept: “Whenever the government creates a blacklist based on political views it raises serious First Amendment concerns and this is no exception.” Reason’s Robby Soave denounced it today as “brazenly autocratic.”

To read the relevant provisions of Cuomo’s order is to confront the mentality of petty censoring tyranny, flavored with McCarthyite public shaming, in its purest form. See for yourself:

cuomo-1024x695

Making matters worse still is the imperious nature of Cuomo’s order. As Salon’s Ben Norton noted, “The New York legislature has unsuccessfully tried to push through anti-boycott legislation for months.” So instead, Cuomo just unilaterally decreed this punishment of boycott advocates.

New York’s Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer wasted no time, now demanding a federal statute that tracks Cuomo’s order. Hillary Clinton, last July, wrote a public letter to her (and the Democratic Party’s) billionaire supporter, self-described Israel fanatic Haim Saban, endorsing the core principle of this censorship effort — that boycotting Israel is a form of anti-Semitism — and did so again in her March speech before AIPAC. Numerous Republicans support similar measures.

Beyond the McCarthyism and profound free speech threat, the stench of hypocrisy of Cuomo and Democrats is suffocating. Just over two months ago, Cuomo banned state officials from traveling to North Carolina in order to support the boycott against that American state in protest over its anti-transgender law. That pro-boycott executive order from Cuomo began by proclaiming that “New York state is a national leader in protecting the civil rights and liberties of all of its citizens” and thus barred “publicly funded travel” to North Carolina.

But in justifying this punishment for Israel critics, Cuomo’s counsel told the New York Times: “It’s one thing to say I want to engage in political speech. It’s another thing to say I’m going to sanction you or penalize you for engaging in commercial activity.” But that — “I’m going to sanction you or penalize you for engaging in commercial activity” — is exactly what Cuomo did just two months ago by boycotting North Carolina. Think about how warped that is: To the governor of New York, it’s not only permissible but noble to boycott an American state, but it’s immoral and worthy of punishment to boycott Israel, a foreign country guilty of a decadeslong brutal and illegal occupation. Questions submitted by The Intercept to Cuomo were not answered as of publication.

More ironic still is that Cuomo, in imposing a boycott of North Carolina, said he was doing so because in “a free society the equal rights of all citizens … must be protected and cherished” — exactly the principle that the boycott of Israel is seeking to fulfill by ending oppression and discrimination against Palestinians. But even if you disagree with the Israel boycott itself, no rational person should want Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials to have the power to dictate which political views are acceptable and which ones result in denial of state benefits.

The free speech hypocrisy on the part of all sorts of people here is obvious. In 2012, conservatives were furious when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he would block the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A from expanding in the city as punishment for its owner’s anti-gay activism, depicting this move as a grave threat to free speech (a position we shared). Throughout 2015, pundits such as New York’s Jonathan Chait wrapped themselves in the free speech flag when it came time to defend racist and anti-gay speech on campus, insisting that all forms of speech, even “hate speech,” should be protected (positions we also share).

Yet now, a systematic, international campaign — fully bipartisan in the U.S. — is being implemented to abuse state resources and the force of law for a full-frontal assault on free speech and free assembly rights, and virtually none of them is objecting because it’s all in service of protecting Israel from criticism. It’s bizarre enough that someone gets elected as governor of New York and then believes it’s part of his job to shield Israel from criticism. That he does so by assaulting the free speech rights of citizens of his own country — just weeks after imposing a boycott on another American state — tells you all you need to know about the role Israel continues to play in American discourse and the willingness of people to stomp on free speech principles the moment doing so benefits their political goals.

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Activists Expose Monsanto’s Senate Lackeys Minutes Before DARK Act Vote

Actions highlight how senators who took money from Big Ag companies are voting against majority public opinion on GMO labeling

monsanto_3By Nadia Prupis at CommonDreams, July 6, 2016 •

Just before a controversial genetically modified (GM or GMO) labeling bill came up for a cloture vote in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, food and consumer advocates dropped over $2,000 on the chamber floor in a symbolic protest against what they are calling the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act.

The action aimed to highlight the fact that senators who took money from biotechnology giants like Monsanto are voting against majority public opinion, as recent polls have found that roughly 90 percent of Americans want labels on GMO foods.

The legislation, a so-called “compromise” bill introduced in June by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), would mandate GMO labeling nationwide but allow food companies to choose between using symbols, electronic codes, or packaging language—an unnecessary and confusing method, according to critics. The bill would also undo Vermont’s landmark labeling law, which went into effect July 1.

Roberts and Stabenow are reportedly pulling out all the lobbying stops to get the bill passed in the days before the Senate breaks for the summer. According to Politico, that includes “letters being sent, staffs briefed, reports and FDA assessments flaunted, and farmers and consumers are being encouraged to inundate lawmakers with phone calls.”

Politico notes that “The cloture vote is expected sometime after 3 p.m. If successful in winning the 60 votes needed, lawmakers can limit debate to 30 hours, setting up a floor vote as soon as Thursday.” If they can’t reach 60 votes, Sen. Bernie Sanders has vowed to put a hold on the bill.

“The American people have a right to know what they’re eating,” Sanders said during a press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. “The timing of this legislation is not an accident. Its goal is to overturn and rescind the very significant legislation passed in the state of Vermont. I will do everything that I can to see that it’s defeated.”

Activists say the legislation was negotiated behind closed doors with executives from Monsanto as well as other corporate organic companies, including Whole Foods, Stonyfield, and Smucker’s. Lobbyists from the Organic Trade Association were also involved.

“This bill was written and approved by Monsanto and America’s most corrupt food companies in a last ditch effort to avoid common sense, mandatory labeling of GMOs, while keeping the doors wide open for a flood of campaign cash,” Dave Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now!, said Wednesday.

Murphy’s group, along with other advocacy organizations, also staged protests in New Hampshire this week targeting the state’s Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and the Londonderry-based Stonyfield Yogurt’s headquarters for their central roles in the lobbying blitz. The activists say Ayotte has taken more than $10,000 from Monsanto in campaign donations.

The Senate last week approved the bill 68-29 in a procedural vote. According to an analysis of OpenSecrets.org data by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), senators who voted ‘Yes’ received more than twice as much in contributions from the agriculture lobby than those who voted ‘No’ ($867,518 for the supporters vs. $350,877 for opponents).

OCA political director Alexis Baden-Mayer, who participated in the money drop, said, “When Congress moves to crush the will of 9 out of 10 Americans because they need companies like Monsanto to fund their campaigns, you know our democracy is in real trouble.”

“The corporate lobbyists are totally corrupt,” Baden-Mayer said. “These companies have organic brands, but they also sell a lot of GMOs that they don’t want to label.”

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