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We knew this was coming: U.S. Gov’t charges Snowden, will seek extradition.

By: Broke and Unemployed Friday June 21, 2013 5:49 pm

We saw this coming. They went after Bradley Manning. They went after Occupy. This is the same government that is spying on our communications, fourth Amendment be damned. But maybe I naively thought that the government would show some kind of restraint. Maybe I thought they wouldn’t choose to use taxpayer money to bring the full force of the government on a man who was just letting the American people know something that should not have been kept secret for us.

I held out, you know, hope. The government has went after whistleblowers before but I hoped things would, you know, change.

I would be wrong. From Reuters:

The government has filed sealed criminal charges against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who admitted leaking secrets about classified U.S. surveillance programs, U.S. sources said on Friday.

Another U.S. source, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States was preparing to seek Snowden’s extradition from Hong Kong, where he is believed to be in hiding.

So it starts.

The Reuters article says at the end that there may be a plane to Iceland ready for Snowden if he needs it. It’s wrong that it may have to come to that.

I’ve grown increasingly angry as the NSA spying came to light. I watched Republicans on the far-right and “Democrats” and “Progressives” on the center-right call Snowden a traitor. They floated conspiracy theories that he was a spy for China. The corporate media attacked Snowden.  Some in the center-right regions of the “liberal” blogosphere attacked him too. I was getting sick of it.

“Maybe they won’t go after him. Maybe they won’t waste our money to chase him all the way to Hong Kong.” Wishful thinking.

I know and respect that Obama isn’t all that popular in these parts. I’ve defended Obama through police attacks against Occupy camps, chained CPI, and repeated cave-ins to Republicans who hold our economy hostage, and countless other legitimate criticisms. I’ve tried to see him as a calm, collected, pragmatic president who has our backs and has the well-being of Americans in mind even though things look bad. At the beginning of the NSA scandal I tried to see both sides: that the spying was a terrible violation of our rights that Obama should be held accountable, but that he somehow thought he needed to do it to protect us.

If he didn’t go after Snowden it would show the courage and leadership that I really thought Obama had.

Mr. President, my patience is wearing thin. Show that you respect the rights of the American people. Pardon Snowden. Do it soon. Some say Snowden is a traitor. I am starting to feel betrayed, but not by Snowden.

 

Republicans planning to change Electoral College rules to rig future elections.

By: Broke and Unemployed Friday January 18, 2013 10:20 am

“It is difficult to find the words to describe just how evil this plan is, it is an obscene scheme to cheat by rigging the elections”-Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach

Republican Elephant

Some Republicans are pushing for changes to the electoral college that could tip the balance of close elections.

No, this isn’t a joke. Republicans are at it again.

After back-to-back presidential losses, Republicans in key states want to change the rules to make it easier for them to win.

From Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, GOP officials who control legislatures in states that supported President Barack Obama are considering changing state laws that give the winner of a state’s popular vote all of its Electoral College votes, too. Instead, these officials want Electoral College votes to be divided proportionally, a move that could transform the way the country elects its president.

There’s a new scheme brewing in states where the voters voted for Barack Obama but state governments are controlled by Republicans. Since they can’t win swing states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, they want to change the rules to rig the election to give themselves more electoral votes.

For example, say that under a new plan, Mitt Romney got one third of the electoral votes in each of those four states. That would mean that 6 of Ohio’s 18 votes would have gone to Repulbicans. Add 5 votes out of Michigan’s 16, 7 out of Pennsylvania’s 20, and 3 of Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes.

That’s 21 votes swinging to the Republicans, equivalent to a large state like Pennsylvania or New York. Under this scenario Obama still would have won in 2012. But for a closer election, this could swing the vote one way or another. This plan is essentially a way to rig the Electoral College process to give electoral votes to Republicans that they didn’t earn.

Reince Priebus, predicably, loves the idea.

“It’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at,” [RNC chairman Reince] Priebus told the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, emphasizing that each state must decide for itself.

One plan being floated around is to divide up electoral votes by congressional district. An article in The Nation talks about this:

Because of gerrymandering by Republican governors and legislators, and the concentration of Democratic votes in urban areas and college towns, divvying up Electoral College votes based on congressional district wins would yield significantly better results for the GOP.

This has to be treated as a serious attempt by Republicans to skew election results their way. At least some state-level Dems like Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach are sounding the alarm. But will people listen, or will this story just be buried by corporate mainstream media?

This could be a major change in the way presidents are elected, and have implications for generations to come. I know Obama and the Dems aren’t perfect, but they are better than the alternative. We can’t forget that Republicans can and will do whatever they can to advance their extreme agenda, even if it means forgetting about democracy and rigging elections by changing Electoral College rules. There’s no low that they won’t stoop to.

And here’s an article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the fight that’s already brewing in Wisconsin over changing Electoral College rules there.

Unbelievable.  Wow.

Also: This is my first post here at FDL, so thanks for giving me a place to put this where people might read it. You can follow me on Twitter at @bannedbykos. (heh heh..)