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An update

Greetings all. I just wanted to post a quick post that we will be adding some exciting new events here in the near future. Stay tuned.

Protect yourself

Hello again. I apologize in advance for this long post. However, I feel a simple picture or meme will not suffice to express all the information I wish to convey, so here goes.

 

Glen Greenwald is a reporter for The Guardian, a large daily newspaper based in the United Kingdom. . He is the reporter that Edward Snowden turned to in order to leak out all Edward knew about the NSA vacuum cleaner from when he formerly worked as a technical assistant for the CIA, and as a subcontractor at the NSA for both Dell, and Booz Allen Hamilton. This link should provide the gist of what Glen reports, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/glenn-greenwald-security-liberty

What I find interesting is that, with the possible exception of The Washington Post, I see very little of the actual leaked material in the mass media. With these current events in mind, I wish to expand on what I had been discussing on last Sunday’s “East meets West” show , located at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/lehigh-valley-coffee-party , about how one can begin to protect themselves while on the internet. Information on PRISM can be found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

 

Here is a comparison between Candidate Obama and President Obama, http://iroots.org/2013/06/07/obama-2007-meet-obama-2013/

 

Want to see some other links related tp PRISM? Check these out.

http://prism.arl.army.mil
http://prism.ogden.disa.mil
http://prism.sd.spawar.navy.mil
http://prism.nrlssc.navy.mil
Most likely
they won’t work, but hey.

 

So, what can be done about this, besides complaining to your elected officials? Read on.

 

TOR, or The Onion Router, is a popular method of surfing anonymously by appearing to have a constantly changing IP, or Internet Protocol address. However, not all web sites and services work with TOR. Also, there are people who set up malicious exit nodes that can sniff all incoming and outgoing traffic on there exit node. More information can be found at https://www.torproject.org/

 

Tails is a live, bootable DVD which can be installed to a usb flash drive. Using Tails, it allows you to use the internet anonymously using both TOR and I2P and leaving no trace on the host machine while using state of the art cryptography. This open source project has a very active development cycle, and comes out with a new version roughly every couple of months. It can be found at https://tails.boum.org/

 

GnuPG, or GNU Privacy Guard, is a free, cross platform, and open source replacement for PGP or Pretty Good Privacy. Invented in 1991 by Phil Zimmerman, PGP is still the standard used throughout the world for encrypting email. More information can be found at http://www.gnupg.org/ or for PGP, http://www.pgp.com Please be aware that PGP is now owned by Symantec, of Norton Antivirus fame.

 

Truecrypt is a free, cross platform, and source code available software package that can encrypt files on your computer, and offers full disk encryption, More information can be found at http://www.truecrypt.org/

 

Microsoft Skype has also been named, along with other video chat and IM or Instant Messaging programs. For a free, cross platform, securable, and open sourced chat and video chat application try

https://jitsi.org/ Jitsi uses an encryption algorithm called ZRTP. Developed by Phil Zimmerman, the same fellow who invented PGP back in 1991, this is the actual method used to encrypt video chats.

 

OpenVPN is an open source software application that implements virtual private network techniques for creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities. It is capable of traversing network address translation (NAT) and firewalls Considering what we DON’T know about the NSA’s spying on American citizens, I would suggest not trusting any US based providers as well as doing your homework on the others. Some links to check out are as follows:

http://torrentfreak.com/vpn-services-that-take-your-anonymity-seriously-2013-edition-130302/

http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/readerpicks/tp/The-Best-VPN-Service-Providers.htm and

http://www.google.com/search?q=list+of+VPN+providers&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&ie=&oe=

 

If you are using the Android operating system on your smartphone, look on Google Play for apps by “The Guardian Project” that could help make your online activities a little more secure. If you are using Blackberries, they offer some security natively for a little while longer. Apple and Windows mobile users, SOL. Sorry. All phones have a hidden software package called CarrierIQ, which is not easily removable. This is spyware installed by the major carriers on over 150 million smartphones throughout the world. More information can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrier_IQ

 

Dropbox was specifically named as one of the internet companies that are in the PRISM program. As with other cloud providers, when anything is uploaded to dropbox, or any other cloud provider, the user forfeits any and all rights to any data uploaded. More info can be found here, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/10/governments-attack-cloud-computing A free alternative has been created by Bittorrent labs called Sync. This application allows the user to sync all files within a pre selected set of folders across 2 or more computers. This application does not involve a cloud or hosting provider of any kind. More information can be found at http://labs.bittorrent.com/experiments/sync.html

 

Someday, this article will get buried under the weight of all the facebook posts that will follow this. I will also post this at http://lehighvalleycoffeeparty.org as well as http://www.realchange.us/protect-yourself As new technologies become available, I will be updating this post as new information becomes available. . If the reader finds any new methods I did not list, please share. Thank you.

 

Below, I post a few links that will allow the reader to explore there options further. Enjoy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSAKEY

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/06/12/1424238/keeping-your-data-private-from-the-nsa-and-everyone-else

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/06/13/1632210/ask-slashdot-how-to-bypass-govt-spying-on-cellphones

http://prism-break.org/

And last, consider supporting this group because they fight for all of us, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/what-we-need-to-know-about-prism

 

The best tool out there that you can use to secure your internet usage is COMMON SENSE. Since asking spooks to be honest in today’s America is a sad joke, you should safely assume everything you do on the internet is monitored, logged, and analyzed in triplicate, at 7 different locations simultaneously, with off-site backups 12 times a day, and twice as often on Sunday, all on the NSA’s watch board by Monday. I can’t stress this enough, DO YOUR HOMEWORK when it comes to using any internet security product. Stay safe out there, and please don’t do anything stupid. Because I will not be held responsible when you get caught. Having said that, I believe if everyone using the Internets uses these tools with common sense, the NSA’s snoopers and vacuums would bog down under the weight of it all. Have a nice day.

On our next show

On our next East meets West show this Sunday, we will have the slate of Allentown City council candidates Alphonso Todd, David Melman, and Kim Velez appear live on East meets West this Sunday at 6:00 pm at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/lehigh-valley-coffee-party . In addition, I will also be talking about the current crop of electronic voting machine, basic use, and most importantly how to make sure your vote is counted correctly.

rohrich govt-corp

rohrich govt-corp This is the Coffee Party’s response to Wayne Schissler’s Venn Diagram, which he posited as  a modification of the original Tea Party-Occupy Venn Diagram. Copyright 2013 by Alyssa Rohrich. Used by permission.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsn3uzydr8k&feature=share&list=PLXHYyXBpf3ctxu3h-5wn9hn5aEqfK_FBh

Maryland Gov. Pushes for Death Penalty Repeal
February 4, 2013 · by Alyssa Röhricht

On January 15th, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced that he will once again push for repeal of capital punishment in the state. O’Malley, who has long been opposed to the death penalty, attempted repeal in 2009 but fell short. Now, with renewed momentum and stronger support within the legislature, many think that Maryland may be the next state to abolish capital punishment.

And it seems about time. While the entire nation scrambles to cut spending in the wake of recession, anti-death penalty advocates argue that we simply cannot afford to maintain a system marked by such high costs and seemingly little returns. Governor O’Malley said,

“It is not a deterrent. It cannot be administered without racial bias. It costs three times as much as locking someone up for life without parole. And it cannot be reversed if an innocent person is executed.”

A 2008 study by the Urban Institute estimated that Maryland taxpayers are paying about $186 million for the capital punishment system in the state – a system which has carried out only five executions since 1978 when Maryland reenacted the death penalty. The study estimated that, in comparison to an equivalent non-death penalty case, Marylanders paid an extra $1.9 million more per death sentence – a total of about $3 million per death penalty case. According to the Death Penalty Information Center,

“The study examined 162 capital cases that were prosecuted between 1978 and 1999 and found that seeking the death penalty in those cases cost $186 million more than what those cases would have cost had the death penalty not been sought. At every phase of a case, according to the study, capital murder cases cost more than non-capital murder cases.”

What’s more, the study looked at 106 cases where the death penalty was sought but not handed down in Maryland and found that those cases cost the state an additional $71 million simply to seek a death sentence, yet the final outcome was ultimately life or a long-term sentence.

If Maryland successfully repeals the death penalty, it will be the sixth state in the past decade to repeal, including Connecticut which voted for repeal last year. 17 states plus the District of Columbia have abolished the death penalty. Along with Maryland, Senator Hank Sanders of Alabama plans to introduce a bill to abolish the death penalty this year, as do Kentucky Representative Carl Rollins, Senator Claire Levy of Colorado, New Hampshire Governor Margaret Hassan, and Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon.

O’Malley has been a true champion for progressive causes since he was elected Governor of Maryland in 2006. In 2011, he signed a law to make certain undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state college tuition, also known as the Dream Act, and in 2012 he signed a law to legalize same-sex marriage in the state which was upheld by majority vote during the general elections. This year, O’Malley has stated that he plans to pursue stricter gun safety regulations, including a ban of assault weapons and gun safety courses and background checks for potential gun owners. He also announced plans to increase the use of renewable wind-energy off of the Atlantic coast through use of incentives.

Also published on the Raging Chicken Press and Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
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Gun Appreciation Day

Courtesy of Alyssa Rohrichr/Culture Clash

Gun Appreciation Day
January 14, 2013 · by Alyssa Röhricht

This January 19th, mark you calendars for the first inaugural “Gun Appreciation Day“, a day to celebrate our nation’s rabid and hysterical committment to upholding the Second Amendment of our Constitution, even as the rest of the Good Book is left to deteriorate. The event is scheduled to coincide with Obama’s inauguration and to protest Vice President Biden’s recommendations for possible new gun control laws following the recent spat of mass shootings.

The website for Gun Appreciation Day calls for supporters of the Second Amendment to show up to “your local gun store, gun range or gun show with your Constitution, American flags and your ‘Hands off my Guns’ sign” to send a message to Congress and the White House that you will not surrender your right to bear arms. And you know what, I agree with them. I rarely leave my house without my arms and I don’t look forward to a day where I am told that I have to. Here is a recent picture of me displaying my American Pride (U.S.A. #1!!!) and my constitutionally granted right to bear arms:

bearing arms

Our socialist president Barack Hussein Obama has stuck his big-government, socialist hands into one too many things. First, he tried to tell us that we should all be allowed to go to the doctor when we’re sick and that the government will help us with the cost (pfft!). Then he and his Commie cronies tried to get their paws into our Medicare! Government-run Medicare? Can you imagine such a thing?!

Now Obama is saying that he wants stricter gun control regulations like more thorough background checks for potential mental illnesses. He also suggested a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. I think this meme from the Gun Appreciation Day web site says it all:

EXACTLY! If you haven’t been in your share of gun fights like myself and my other gun-loving friends out there, you can’t possibly know how many rounds you might need to fight bad guys. I myself have been in many gun fights and I’ll tell you this: ninjas NEVER attack alone. They attack in gaggles of at least 30 or more. Thank God I’m always packing clips with a minimum of one billion rounds or we would be in some real trouble!

And let’s not call them “assault weapons” because, honestly, that’s entirely misleading. ANYTHING can be an assault weapon, including my cat, jello, beanie babies, and, worst of all, a pencil. pencilI mean, you have no idea what I can do with a pencil. It is sick and disturbing and I won’t even explain it. Suffice it to say that I’d rather an oozie in the hands of my enemy than fully loaded Number 2 lead pencil. Those babies are dangerous! If Big Government is going to regulate something, they should first look to the menace that is laying dormant in schools and libraries all over the country, ready to attack at any moment.

There are so many great reasons to bear arms in this country. Government tyrants, civil war, the apocalypse, the Second Coming, Zombies. Bottom line: we need to be prepared. You never know what crazy plans the government is concocting to take over the world.

courtesy, Alyssa Rohricht/Culture Clash

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“We the People”: Why Corporate Personhood Must End
January 31, 2013 · by Alyssa Röhricht

David Cobb, the 2004 Green Party Presidential candidate, has been making his rounds across the country to promote the cause of ending corporate rule with the organization, Move to Amend. His tour is part of Move to Amend’s 2013 Barnstorming Tours, which aims to educate the public “in the tradition of the mighty Populist Movement” about corporate personhood and the need for a constitutional amendment that firmly establishes that money is not speech and corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights . This past Tuesday, Cobb stopped in Emmaus, PA for a chat with the Lehigh Valley Coffee Party and other concerned citizens about restoring democracy.

The gathering at the local All That Salon was small but active and engaged as Cobb wove a story of the constitution and how it has been co-opted by moneyed interests and large trans-national corporations to benefit their bottom lines at the expense of the people. “We the People”, he began, we who are free and sovereign, come together to make government which is thus subordinate and accountable to the people. At the time when the constitution was ratified in 1789, Cobb explained, corporations gained approval through a series of obstacles and were passed through the House and Senate just like a law. Corporate charters could even be revoked if they acted outside of the already approved charter or acted outside of the public interest. Not a single one of the huge trans-national corporations, Cobb raved, could exist today under that law.

What’s more, following the January 21, 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court granted that corporations are persons, entitled to all rights protected under the United States Constitution. “We the People” now includes you, your mother, your best friend Mike, your cousin Fay, your doctor, your lawyer, JP Morgan, Shell Oil, CitiGroup, Goldman Sachs, and all of the other corporations that have systematically sought to bolster their bottom lines at the expense of our health, our environment, our economic stability, and our democratic system. “We the People” now means that corporations, as well as you and I, are afforded the same rights under the constitution and now legally hold the power over our government. The government used to be subordinate and accountable to men and women. Real men and real women with consciences, desires, feelings of love and sometimes of hatred, thoughts, and actual physical bodies. These men and women used to hold all of the legal power over the government. Corporations, who do not have beliefs or thoughts or desires or consciences, now legally hold that same power, and in fact, since money was also ruled to be equated to speech, hold that power even more so than does the natural human.

Today we are living in a corporatocracy. Elections, laws, and even our rights can now be bought and sold. Perhaps it would be easier if we were just more transparent about this fact, afterall, the spectacle that can be called our modern-day political arena can be best equated to a sports game with its endless corporate sponsors. “This election brought to you by: Royal Dutch Shell, killing polar bears since 1907. Annnnd the Koch Brothers, “We love your social security so much, we want it for ourselves!””

And the mainstream media only encourages this display of political theatre. As Cobb noted during his lecture, the corporate media frames what we are allowed to think about. It tells the story that the power elite want us to hear and paints it in their favor. Across the country, movements against the power elite have sprung up, both liberal and conservative. The Tea Party has railed against Big Government. Occupy Wall Street has cried out againstTeaParty_Occupy corporate power and greed. As Cobb explained, the media would have you think that these two movements are entirely separate; fringe groups with little in common. We are shown the racists and homophobes within the Tea Party. We are shown the Anarchists and hippies living in Occupy encampments. This divisiveness and disunity only serve to secure the power of those in charge. Terrifying to the plutocracy is the unity of the common man. It is when we see our collective disenfranchisement, that we have been collectively sold out— the conservatives by the Republican Party and the liberals by the Democratic Party—that we can truly rise up and affect real change. As Karl Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!” It is not hard to see how power, wealth, and greed have plundered our republic.

Democracy (n.) from Greek demokratia: demos “common people” and kratos “rule”

Plutocracy (n.) from Greek ploutokratia: ploutos ”wealth” and kratia “rule”

We call ourselves a democracy for a reason. The power lies with us. It is implicit in the very definition of our system of government. It is time we reclaim what is ours.
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This entry was posted in Politics and tagged Big Government, CitiGroup, Citizens United, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Coffee Party, Corporate media, David Cobb, Democracy, Green Party, Karl Marx, Koch Brothers, Move to Amend, Occupy Wall Street, Plutocracy, Power Elite, Royal Dutch Shell, Supreme Court of the United States, Tea Party, United States Constitution. Bookmark the permalink.
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As Suicides, Brain Injuries Mount, Safety of Football Questioned, from NFL to Youth Leagues
Ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl, the safety of football is coming under increasing scrutiny as more evidence emerges about links between concussions and brain damage. President Obama recently weighed in on the issue, saying, “If I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.” We speak to former professional wres […]
“Long Distance Revolutionary”: Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Journey from Black Panthers to Prison Journalist
The new documentary, “Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal,” premieres today in New York City. We play an excerpt of the film and speak to writer, producer and director Steve Vittoria, as well as Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio, who has interviewed Abu-Jamal many times over the years. The film features many supporters of Mumi […]
Mumia Abu-Jamal: “The United States Is Fast Becoming One of the Biggest Open-Air Prisons on Earth”
In a rare live interview, Mumia Abu-Jamal calls into Democracy Now! as the new film, “Long Distance Revolutionary,” about his life premieres in New York City this weekend. After 29 years on death row, he is now being held in general population at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution – Mahanoy. “How free are we today, those who claim […]
“Larger-Than-Life” Ex-NYC Mayor Ed Koch Leaves Complex Legacy of Racial Tension, Social Programs
Former New York City Democratic Mayor Ed Koch died Friday morning at the age of 88. He served three terms in office from 1978 to 1989. Koch is widely credited with rescuing the city from the brink of financial ruin, an achievement Democracy Now! co-host Juan González notes was also the result of sacrifices from labor unions. González describes Koch’s mi […]
Headlines for February 1, 2013
Turkey: At Least 2 Dead in Suicide Attack on U.S. Embassy, Hagel Grilled on Israel Stance During Senate Confirmation Hearing, Hagel: Iraq War Was Worst U.S. Decision Since Vietnam, Kerry to be Sworn In as Secretary of State, U.N. Report: Israel Must End West Bank Settlements or Potentially Face ICC Charges, Anti-Morsi Protesters Return to the Streets After R […]
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The HBO documentary “Redemption” examines New York City’s canners — the largely invisible people who survive by redeeming bottles and cans they collect from curbs, garbage cans and apartment complexes. Many have quietly slipped into poverty after losing their jobs, now living on the margins of society. The film has been nominated in the docum […]

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Finally, the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has removed Cardinal Roger Mahony, a top clergyman linked to efforts to conceal child abuse, “as it released thousands [of] files [on] priests accused of molesting children,” The Guardian reports. The 12,000 pages of files were made public more than a week after church records pertaining to 14 priests were rel […]
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The Measure of Chuck Hagel
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SEEKING COMMON/HIGHER GROUND ON GUN VIOLENCE

In an op-ed written on July 12, 2012, immediately after the Aurora mass
killings that preceded the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy by a scant
five months, Craig R. Whitney’s op-ed titled “A Way out of the Gun
Stalemate” succinctly stated the central issue in mass gun violence in the
U.S. Hear the wisdom:

“The national conversation about guns…has been a dialogue of the
deaf. Unless gun-control advocates and gun-rights supporters stop
screaming at each other and look for common ground on how to deal with gun
violence, the next massacre is only a matter of time [How prophetic!-
present author]….[T]he only realistic way to control gun violence is not
by keeping guns out of the hands of as many Americans as possible, but by
keeping guns out of the hands of people we all agree should not have
them.”

With this obvious but brilliant statement of the problem, Mr. Whitney
[expert and author of a book with the somewhat unlikely title "Living with
Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment" (PublicAffairs:
11/13/2012)] has pointed the way toward common ground.

Since 1968 there have been ten classes of people who are not legally
permitted to have guns, including, among others: anyone sentenced for a
crime carrying a maximum sentence over one year; fugitive from justice;
controlled substance user; mental defective; illegal or undocumented
alien; dishonorably discharged veteran; perpetrator of domestic violence;
and former felon. Today, only the last class – felon – is included on the
FBI background check system (NICS).

This revelation flies in the face of everything we Americans think we know
about the so-called background check system, and, unfortunately, it is the
“dirty little secret,” rarely if every discussed.

This list of disqualifiers has consistently been settled law, policy, and
consensus for almost a half century, after the mass murders by Charles
Speck and Terry Whitman as well as the murders of John Kennedy, Robert
Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Medgar Evers shocked the conscience of a
nation and forever changed the way we look at gun violence. But the “dirty
little secret”, the one that nobody knows about, prevents the law from
being effectively enforced.

The “dirty little secret” is a classic example of insider Washington
saying one thing yet doing another. The 1986 “Gun Owners’ Protection ACT,”
designed by the NRA to vitiate the entire common understanding born during
those hard events of the sixties, made the states’ obligation to report
those disqualified from owning guns completely voluntary. And there we
are; there we have been for a quarter century.

So the most important step toward gun sanity is a simple one: Enforce the
intent of fifty years of laws on background checks. Simple and
uncontroversial. Then, eliminate the “gun show” exception that exempts gun
show buyers from background checks. Require dealers to take and pass on to
the FBI fingerprint samples for every gun buyer. Require gun owners to
report the theft of a gun within seven days. Finally, make every private
sale or gift of firearms subject to the background check: require the
parties to appear before a notary of a sheriff to record the
transaction and conduct the background check.

This will restore the state of the law to what the American people have
believed and intended it to be for well-nigh a half-century. Further, it
will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of our children and others.
And it will not result in onerous regulation or wild talk about
confiscation of guns by the govSEEKING COMMON/HIGHER GROUND ON GUN VIOLENCE

In an op-ed written on July 12, 2012, immediately after the Aurora mass
killings that preceded the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy by a scant
five months, Craig R. Whitney’s op-ed titled “A Way out of the Gun
Stalemate” succinctly stated the central issue in mass gun violence in the
U.S. Hear the wisdom:

“The national conversation about guns…has been a dialogue of the
deaf. Unless gun-control advocates and gun-rights supporters stop
screaming at each other and look for common ground on how to deal with gun
violence, the next massacre is only a matter of time [How prophetic!-
present author]….[T]he only realistic way to control gun violence is not
by keeping guns out of the hands of as many Americans as possible, but by
keeping guns out of the hands of people we all agree should not have
them.”

With this obvious but brilliant statement of the problem, Mr. Whitney
[expert and author of a book with the somewhat unlikely title "Living with
Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment" (PublicAffairs:
11/13/2012)] has pointed the way toward common ground.

Since 1968 there have been ten classes of people who are not legally
permitted to have guns, including, among others: anyone sentenced for a
crime carrying a maximum sentence over one year; fugitive from justice;
controlled substance user; mental defective; illegal or undocumented
alien; dishonorably discharged veteran; perpetrator of domestic violence;
and former felon. Today, only the last class – felon – is included on the
FBI background check system (NICS).

This revelation flies in the face of everything we Americans think we know
about the so-called background check system, and, unfortunately, it is the
“dirty little secret,” rarely if every discussed.

This list of disqualifiers has consistently been settled law, policy, and
consensus for almost a half century, after the mass murders by Charles
Speck and Terry Whitman as well as the murders of John Kennedy, Robert
Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Medgar Evers shocked the conscience of a
nation and forever changed the way we look at gun violence. But the “dirty
little secret”, the one that nobody knows about, prevents the law from
being effectively enforced.

The “dirty little secret” is a classic example of insider Washington
saying one thing yet doing another. The 1986 “Gun Owners’ Protection ACT,”
designed by the NRA to vitiate the entire common understanding born during
those hard events of the sixties, made the states’ obligation to report
those disqualified from owning guns completely voluntary. And there we
are; there we have been for a quarter century.

So the most important step toward gun sanity is a simple one: Enforce the
intent of fifty years of laws on background checks. Simple and
uncontroversial. Then, eliminate the “gun show” exception that exempts gun
show buyers from background checks. Require dealers to take and pass on to
the FBI fingerprint samples for every gun buyer. Require gun owners to
report the theft of a gun within seven days. Finally, make every private
sale or gift of firearms subject to the background check: require the
parties to appear before a notary of a sheriff to record the
transaction and conduct the background check.

This will restore the state of the law to what the American people have
believed and intended it to be for well-nigh a half-century. Further, it
will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of our children and others.
And it will not result in onerous regulation or wild talk about
confiscation of guns by the government.

SEEKING COMMON/HIGHER GROUND ON GUN VIOLENCE

In an op-ed written on July 12, 2012, immediately after the Aurora mass
killings that preceded the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy by a scant
five months, Craig R. Whitney’s op-ed titled “A Way out of the Gun
Stalemate” succinctly stated the central issue in mass gun violence in the
U.S. Hear the wisdom:

“The national conversation about guns…has been a dialogue of the
deaf. Unless gun-control advocates and gun-rights supporters stop
screaming at each other and look for common ground on how to deal with gun
violence, the next massacre is only a matter of time [How prophetic!-
present author]….[T]he only realistic way to control gun violence is not
by keeping guns out of the hands of as many Americans as possible, but by
keeping guns out of the hands of people we all agree should not have
them.”

With this obvious but brilliant statement of the problem, Mr. Whitney
[expert and author of a book with the somewhat unlikely title "Living with
Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment" (PublicAffairs:
11/13/2012)] has pointed the way toward common ground.

Since 1968 there have been ten classes of people who are not legally
permitted to have guns, including, among others: anyone sentenced for a
crime carrying a maximum sentence over one year; fugitive from justice;
controlled substance user; mental defective; illegal or undocumented
alien; dishonorably discharged veteran; perpetrator of domestic violence;
and former felon. Today, only the last class – felon – is included on the
FBI background check system (NICS).

This revelation flies in the face of everything we Americans think we know
about the so-called background check system, and, unfortunately, it is the
“dirty little secret,” rarely if every discussed.

This list of disqualifiers has consistently been settled law, policy, and
consensus for almost a half century, after the mass murders by Charles
Speck and Terry Whitman as well as the murders of John Kennedy, Robert
Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Medgar Evers shocked the conscience of a
nation and forever changed the way we look at gun violence. But the “dirty
little secret”, the one that nobody knows about, prevents the law from
being effectively enforced.

The “dirty little secret” is a classic example of insider Washington
saying one thing yet doing another. The 1986 “Gun Owners’ Protection ACT,”
designed by the NRA to vitiate the entire common understanding born during
those hard events of the sixties, made the states’ obligation to report
those disqualified from owning guns completely voluntary. And there we
are; there we have been for a quarter century.

So the most important step toward gun sanity is a simple one: Enforce the
intent of fifty years of laws on background checks. Simple and
uncontroversial. Then, eliminate the “gun show” exception that exempts gun
show buyers from background checks. Require dealers to take and pass on to
the FBI fingerprint samples for every gun buyer. Require gun owners to
report the theft of a gun within seven days. Finally, make every private
sale or gift of firearms subject to the background check: require the
parties to appear before a notary of a sheriff to record the
transaction and conduct the background check.

This will restore the state of the law to what the American people have
believed and intended it to be for well-nigh a half-century. Further, it
will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of our children and others.
And it will not result in onerous regulation or wild talk about
confiscation of guns by the government.

SEEKING COMMON/HIGHER GROUND ON GUN VIOLENCE

In an op-ed written on July 12, 2012, immediately after the Aurora mass
killings that preceded the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy by a scant
five months, Craig R. Whitney’s op-ed titled “A Way out of the Gun
Stalemate” succinctly stated the central issue in mass gun violence in the
U.S. Hear the wisdom:

“The national conversation about guns…has been a dialogue of the
deaf. Unless gun-control advocates and gun-rights supporters stop
screaming at each other and look for common ground on how to deal with gun
violence, the next massacre is only a matter of time [How prophetic!-
present author]….[T]he only realistic way to control gun violence is not
by keeping guns out of the hands of as many Americans as possible, but by
keeping guns out of the hands of people we all agree should not have
them.”

With this obvious but brilliant statement of the problem, Mr. Whitney
[expert and author of a book with the somewhat unlikely title "Living with
Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment" (PublicAffairs:
11/13/2012)] has pointed the way toward common ground.

Since 1968 there have been ten classes of people who are not legally
permitted to have guns, including, among others: anyone sentenced for a
crime carrying a maximum sentence over one year; fugitive from justice;
controlled substance user; mental defective; illegal or undocumented
alien; dishonorably discharged veteran; perpetrator of domestic violence;
and former felon. Today, only the last class – felon – is included on the
FBI background check system (NICS).

This revelation flies in the face of everything we Americans think we know
about the so-called background check system, and, unfortunately, it is the
“dirty little secret,” rarely if every discussed.

This list of disqualifiers has consistently been settled law, policy, and
consensus for almost a half century, after the mass murders by Charles
Speck and Terry Whitman as well as the murders of John Kennedy, Robert
Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Medgar Evers shocked the conscience of a
nation and forever changed the way we look at gun violence. But the “dirty
little secret”, the one that nobody knows about, prevents the law from
being effectively enforced.

The “dirty little secret” is a classic example of insider Washington
saying one thing yet doing another. The 1986 “Gun Owners’ Protection ACT,”
designed by the NRA to vitiate the entire common understanding born during
those hard events of the sixties, made the states’ obligation to report
those disqualified from owning guns completely voluntary. And there we
are; there we have been for a quarter century.

So the most important step toward gun sanity is a simple one: Enforce the
intent of fifty years of laws on background checks. Simple and
uncontroversial. Then, eliminate the “gun show” exception that exempts gun
show buyers from background checks. Require dealers to take and pass on to
the FBI fingerprint samples for every gun buyer. Require gun owners to
report the theft of a gun within seven days. Finally, make every private
sale or gift of firearms subject to the background check: require the
parties to appear before a notary of a sheriff to record the
transaction and conduct the background check.

This will restore the state of the law to what the American people have
believed and intended it to be for well-nigh a half-century. Further, it
will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of our children and others.
And it will not result in onerous regulation or wild talk about
confiscation of guns by the government.

ernment.

Last night in Emmaus, we got to hear 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate David Cobb speak about how accountability of corporations have changed and morphed from Colonial times, when corporations were used to initiate larger projects, into the controversial Citizen’s United ruling by the Supreme Court. Video of this event can be seen at our Ustream channel, located at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/lehigh-valley-coffee-party. I apologize for both the audio quality and the video quality, as this was a last minute decision to do this.