Thom Hartmann: Republicans have destroyed The American Way

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Bradley Manning’s Army of One

From New York Magazine:
How a lonely, five-foot-two, gender-questioning soldier became a WikiLeaks hero, a traitor to the U.S., and one of the most unusual revolutionaries in American history.

Published Jul 3, 2011

On the night of February 21, 2009, a year before Army private Bradley E. Manning allegedly leaked the largest cache of classified information in American history, he sat at a computer in his barracks at Fort Drum in upstate New York. It was a Saturday in midwinter, and the barracks were nearly empty. He pulled a chair up to the computer in his cinder-block room, briefly debated between a pizza and a sandwich from Domino’s, went with the sandwich, and passed over into his “digital existence,” as he thought of it. He logged on to AOL’s instant-messenger service under the handle Bradass87, and off he went to transform himself. On the web, he could be whomever he chose.

It was 8:27 p.m. at Fort Drum when he popped up on the computer screen of ZJ Antolak.

“hi,” he began.

“hi,” ZJ responded.

“You don’t know me, i apologize, i got this [address] from your youtube channel.”

“No problem, there’s a reason I put it on there :P,” wrote ZJ, adding an emoticon to indicate her playful tone—or his, depending on your frame of reference. ZJ was Zachary Antolak, a 19-year-old gay activist and web designer. On YouTube, he went by the name Zinnia Jones. On the Internet, he was a she who called herself Queen of the Atheists, wearing her auburn hair below her shoulders and painting her lips a bold red.

Manning was an atheist himself—“I’m godless,” he told an acquaintance. But even more, he identified with ZJ’s self-­invented life. “I saw your more personal stuff and figured you were on the same page … as me,” Manning wrote. “You ­remind me of … well … me.”

Among fellow soldiers, Manning had to conceal the basic facts of his sexual orientation. On the web, he was proudly out and joined a “Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” group. He’d even begun to explore switching his gender, chatting with a counselor about the steps a person takes to transition from male to female.

On the web, being one thing didn’t mean you couldn’t be another. And for all of his boundary-crossing and self-­exploration online, he was, at first, a committed soldier. In fact, he was gung ho, eager to put his technical expertise to use for the cause—he had the skills of a ­hacker, though at that point, he didn’t yet have the ideology. The Army had trained him at Fort Huachuca as an intelligence analyst. “With my current position,” he wrote to ZJ with a new graduate’s earnestness, “i can apply what i learn to provide more information to my officers and commanders, and hopefully save lives … i feel a great responsibility and duty to people.”

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‘We the People’ or ‘I the Person’?

From Common Dreams:

by Linda Wagner Schmoldt
Published on Monday, July 4, 2011 by

There is a concerted effort these days by the powers that be to break down the structures that allow people to come together.

It is no accident that we see the Supreme Court taking rights and power away from groups of citizens and workers while increasing the powers of the ruling class and corporations. On state and federal levels we see rulings that restrict the formation of unions, negate collective bargaining, and squelch class-action suits.

It is harder and harder to hold public demonstrations and protests as codes, laws, and fees limit where, when and how we can gather. We have lost many of our common spaces–places where we can come together and speak truth to power. The rights of civic/social leaders and organizers are threatened with scrutiny and abuse. Exorbitant prison sentences and fines are imposed on those who gather to protest and/or do civil disobedience. The making of crowd control devices is a strong industry in the U.S. (and in our ally, Israel.) We are becoming a police state and the military is waiting in the wings.

When the news covers demonstrations they always focus on the most radical looking people. They don’t show the old women and the families walking peacefully with their children. The media relishes any show of violence or aggression. The message is clear. These people are not like you. People like you don’t take to the street and protest. We are taught to fear the masses.

And what shall we gather around? It becomes more and more difficult to sort out truth from lies, especially when the lies are echoed across the corporate-owned media and halls of power. Support for Wiki-leaks, or any other organization that exposes the truth behind what is really going on, is labeled as treason. There is a crack down on whistleblowers.

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Dirty Oil – A Documentary on The Alberta Tar Sands

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Strauss-Kahn to Face New Sex Charge in France

From The New York Times:

Published: July 4, 2011

PARIS — A French writer who recently said Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to sexually assault her in 2003 will officially accuse him of attempted rape, her lawyer announced Monday, even as separate sexual assault charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn in New York seemed to be weakening.

In an interview published on the Web site of L’Express magazine, the lawyer, David Koubbi, said he would file papers on Tuesday alleging attempted rape. He said his client, Tristane Banon, now 32, “truly suffered what she accuses Mr. Strauss-Kahn of doing,” apparently trying to differentiate her from the hotel maid who accused him in New York, whose credibility is now in doubt. Mr. Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest on Friday, though he still faces felony counts.

Mr. Koubbi insisted said that Ms. Banon’s case was “extremely solid.”

While previously, he said his client would hold off any action until Mr. Strauss-Kahn was tried in Manhattan, in the interview, he said, “What happens in the United States is no concern of ours.”

Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers riposted that he had asked them to file a counter-complaint of slander. The pending formal accusation raises further questions about any political comeback by Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a prospect that had suddenly appeared possible, if unlikely.

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