NEWS2U Articles & Comments
Critical Reporting

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ron Paul blasts TSA road checkpoints

by Charlie Spiering
The Washington Examiner
Oct 24, 2011
[Emphasis added]

Ron Paul isn't happy about recent news from Tennessee about the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) new program checking the nation's highways for terrorist threats.

"Disarming the highways and filling them full of jack-booted thugs demanding to see our papers is no way to make them safer.  Instead, it is a great way to expand government surveillance powers and tighten the noose around our liberties." Paul said in a statement. (Please Read)

The program is called the "Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response" (VIPR) program and has set up road checkpoints to screen vehicles for illegal substances. The program is also recruiting truck drivers to report suspicious behavior.

For more on the program, watch the video below:

YouTube upload comment:

Perhaps you are so disgusted by the attitude and tactics of the TSA at the nations airports, that you have chosen to cut back on air travel as much as possible, or stop flying completely. Well, Big Sis has news for you! As this page and many others have warned, the TSA is beginning its roll-out onto the streets of America!

The Tennessee Highway patrol began multi-jurisdictional checkpoints on its highways this week, under the auspices of fighting terrorism. Of course, the 'authorities' always use these checkpoints for any purpose they please- setting up a dragnet for drugs, DUIs, and even bureaucratic regulatory violations! Did anyone doubt what Barack Obama had in mind when he said: "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

Despite running a campaign as a peace candidate, and a civil libertarian, the President has shown himself a real proponent of government force, by using any and all means necessary. With their ubiquitous "See something, Say something" campaign, the Dept. of Homeland Security clearly envisions a civilian spy force- looking for terrorists around every corner- and reporting any other suspicious activity along the way!

Is this the kind of country you want to live in?

New York and DC are likely terrorist targets, and if the people of those cities feel better with massive police state surveillance- so be it. But this is going NATIONWIDE. It is an absurd waste of money and resources, and history shows that law enforcement/intelligence centralization is dangerous!

These video clips may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes only. This constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

Video aired October 18, 2011 - NewsChannel 5 WTVF-TV (CBS - Nashville TN)


Saturday, October 29, 2011

How did our the economic system become so messed up?  

Digging into the roots of our current economic mess. The Great American Fraud Machine or Why Eliot Spitzer was assassinated. 

Elliott Spitzer was doing the right thing on predatory lending and that's why he was politically assassinated with the help of the FBI.

It's one of the most amazing displays of journalistic incompetence and malpractice in recent memory.

The US news media failed to draw the obvious connection between the bizarre federal law enforcement investigation and leak campaign about the private life of New York Governor Spitzer and Spitzer's all out attack on the Bush administration for its collusion with predatory lenders.

The predatory lending industry had a partner in the White House. While the international credit system grinds to a halt because of a superabundance of bad mortgage loans made in the US, the news media failed to cover the details of Spitzer's public charges against the White House.

Read Elliot Spitzers' Washington Post article in 2008 that exposed the scam and sealed his fate.

Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime

Who says the US doesn't make anything any more? The US excels in the field of institutional sized financial fraud. One guy was on the road to shutting it down - and he was shut down instead.

Yet when salacious details were leaked about alleged details of Spitzer's private life, they took that information and made it the front page news for days.

From the 9/11 fiasco, the Iraq War, the travesty of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, and the shredding of the US Constitution, we can now add a deliberate and reckless undermining of the credit and banking system of the US to the list of Bush administration "accomplishments."

No external enemy, or group of external enemies, could have done as much harm to the nation as this group has in less than eight years.

Hey, do you think it's a coincidence that a Bush was involved the last time the US banking industry fell into a black whole because of White House-facilitated fraud? There's actually a lot of money to be made blowing up banks.

Here's how Bush Sr. and his friends in the Mafia and CIA profited from it the last time:

The Mafia, the CIA and Bush Sr.Roots of the Savings & Loan Scandal
Banking - Bush style

Astute TV political watch dogs know that throughout its second term, the Bush administration actively interfered with states that attempted to enforce their own state lending laws.

Bush & Co. used the Office of the Controller of the Currency to sue states like New York to stop them from going after predatory lenders.Bush Jr. is not the first Bush to get "hands on" involved in shaping the lending industry to his will.

Many know that one of this brothers, Neil, was part of a spectacular Savings & Loan failure in the 1980s. What far fewer people are aware of is how deeply the CIA, organized crime and, George Bush Sr. were involved in the Savings & Loan disaster which caused US taxpayers and estimated trillion dollars plus.

The term of art for these kinds of operations is a "bust out." The scam works as follows: an organized crime group takes over a business, borrows as much as it can in the business' name, fails to pay vendors and then disappears with all the cash.

The Bush family and its associates in organized crime and the CIA have figured out how to run this scam on a multi-hundred billion dollar level using the entire US banking system as its playground.

When you consider that Reagan was probably out of it from Day One of his term and that Bill Clinton is a close associate of George Bush Sr., the Bush crime syndicate has been influencing when not outright running the executive branch continuously since 1980, which, perhaps not so coincidentally, marks the earliest days of the credit bubble the economy is now having serious trouble digesting.

Watch the video series that exposes the Savings and Loan Scandal, the beginnings of our current economic disaster.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Watch More

The entire video archive is available for free download at The Internet Archive

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Anonymous Hackers Take Down 40 Child Porn Websites, Leak Users' Names

By Matt Liebowitz
Oct. 20, 2011

Members of the Anonymous hacktivist movement are claiming responsibility for taking down more than 40 secret child-pornography websites and leaking the names of more than 1,500 members of one of the illegal sites.

The Anonymous campaign began Oct. 14, when members of the hacktivist group found a cache of child-pornography websites while browsing a secret website called the Hidden Wiki, a guidebook to hundreds of underground websites invisible to search engines and regular Internet users. The hackers singled out Lolita City, a file-sharing site used by pedophiles, and leaked the names of the site's 1,589 active members to Pastebin on Tuesday (Oct. 18), the Examiner reported.

Member of Anonymous deciding to hack a website whose stance they don't agree with is by no means shocking news. In the past year, Anonymous-affiliated hackers have gone after the New York Stock Exchange, the Westboro Baptist Church, the Recording Industry Association of America and government sites in Malaysia, Egypt, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

However, in targeting child pornography sites, and in explaining its methods of attack, these Anonymous-affiliated hackers have revealed a deeply disturbing side of the Internet unknown to most people.

The so-called "darknet," from which this "Operation Darknet" hacking campaign takes its name, is any part of the Internet that is hidden from view — not just hard to reach, but deliberately concealed. In this instance, a darknet appears to have grown out of the free TOR routing service, which offers anonymous, encrypted Web browsing to any user.

The TOR-based darknet has reportedly grown into a private, encrypted constellation of websites offering a variety of shady and illegal services, from fake IDs and steroids to email hacking and tip on how to call in police raids as pranks. There's even a hidden site called "The Last Box" that bills itself as an "Assassination Market."

Only computers that have installed TOR browser plug-ins can access the TOR-based darknet, including its guidebook the Hidden Wiki, the security site Infosec Island reported.

In another Pastebin posting, the hackers explained that their campaign against the child pornography sites took root when they found a site listed on the Hidden Wiki called "Hard Candy," which "was dedicated to links to child pornography." The group delved deeper and discovered that nearly all of the pornography sites listed on the Hidden Wiki "shared a digital fingerprint with the shared hosting server at Freedom Hosting."

The Anonymous-affiliated hackers then issued a warning to Freedom Hosting asking it to remove the child pornography links from its server. Freedom Hosting did not comply, so the group, at approximately 11:30 p.m. (CST) on Oct. 14 shutdown Freedom Hosting's server. Freedom Hosting restored service the following day, but it was attacked and taken down again that night.

In its statement, the Anonymous members explained their goals and how they aim to achieve them through repeated pressure and consistent online attacks.

"The owners and operators at Freedom Hosting are openly supporting child pornography and enabling pedophiles to view innocent children, fueling their issues and putting children at risk of abduction, molestation, rape and death," the message said. "For this, Freedom Hosting has been declared #OpDarknet Enemy Number One. By taking down Freedom Hosting, we are eliminating 40+ child pornography websites, among these is Lolita City, one of the largest child pornography websites to date containing more than 100 GB of child pornography. We will continue to not only crash Freedom Hosting's server, but any other server we find to contain, promote, or support child pornography."

The statement added a demand to Freedom Hosting and other Web servers hosting child pornography.

"Remove all child pornography content from your servers. Refuse to provide hosting services to any website dealing with child pornography. This statement is not just aimed at Freedom Hosting, but everyone on the Internet. It does not matter who you are, if we find you to be hosting, promoting, or supporting child pornography, you will become a target."

The trail goes cold in looking for whoever is behind Freedom Hosting. The domain is currently offline; WHOIS domain-name lookups show that the registration for expired on Aug. 7, and the registrar is holding the URL pending renewal.

Pastebin posting


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rabbit-Hole Economics

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
October 13, 2011
[emphasis added]

Reading the transcript of Tuesday’s Republican debate on the economy is, for anyone who has actually been following economic events these past few years, like falling down a rabbit hole. Suddenly, you find yourself in a fantasy world where nothing looks or behaves the way it does in real life.

And since economic policy has to deal with the world we live in, not the fantasy world of the G.O.P.’s imagination, the prospect that one of these people may well be our next president is, frankly, terrifying.

In the real world, recent events were a devastating refutation of the free-market orthodoxy that has ruled American politics these past three decades. Above all, the long crusade against financial regulation, the successful effort to unravel the prudential rules established after the Great Depression on the grounds that they were unnecessary, ended up demonstrating — at immense cost to the nation — that those rules were necessary, after all.

But down the rabbit hole, none of that happened. We didn’t find ourselves in a crisis because of runaway private lenders like Countrywide Financial. We didn’t find ourselves in a crisis because Wall Street pretended that slicing, dicing and rearranging bad loans could somehow create AAA assets — and private rating agencies played along. We didn’t find ourselves in a crisis because “shadow banks” like Lehman Brothers exploited gaps in financial regulation to create bank-type threats to the financial system without being subject to bank-type limits on risk-taking.

No, in the universe of the Republican Party we found ourselves in a crisis because Representative Barney Frank forced helpless bankers to lend money to the undeserving poor.

O.K., I’m exaggerating a bit — but not much. Mr. Frank’s name did come up repeatedly as a villain in the crisis, and not just in the context of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which Republicans want to repeal.

You have to marvel at his alleged influence given the fact that he’s a Democrat and the vast bulk of the bad loans now afflicting our economy were made while George W. Bush was president and Republicans controlled the House with an iron grip. But he’s their preferred villain all the same.

The demonization of Mr. Frank aside, it’s now obviously orthodoxy on the Republican side that government caused the whole problem. So what you need to know is that this orthodoxy has hardened even as the supposed evidence for government as a major villain in the crisis has been discredited.

The fact is that government rules didn’t force banks to make bad loans, and that government-sponsored lenders, while they behaved badly in many ways, accounted for few of the truly high-risk loans that fueled the housing bubble.

But that’s history.

What do the Republicans want to do now? In particular, what do they want to do about unemployment?

Well, they want to fire Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve — not for doing too little, which is a case one can make, but for doing too much. So they’re obviously not proposing any job-creation action via monetary policy.

Incidentally, during Tuesday’s debate, Mitt Romney named Harvard’s N. Gregory Mankiw as one of his advisers. How many Republicans know that Mr. Mankiw at least used to advocate — correctly, in my view — deliberate inflation by the Fed to solve our economic woes?

So, no monetary relief.

What else? Well, the Cheshire Cat-like Rick Perry — he seems to be fading out, bit by bit, until only the hair remains — claimed, implausibly, that he could create 1.2 million jobs in the energy sector. Mr. Romney, meanwhile, called for permanent tax cuts — basically, let’s replay the Bush years! And Herman Cain? Oh, never mind.

By the way, has anyone else noticed the disappearance of budget deficits as a major concern for Republicans once they start talking about tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy?

It’s all pretty funny. But it’s also, as I said, terrifying.

The Great Recession should have been a huge wake-up call. Nothing like this was supposed to be possible in the modern world. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be engaged in serious soul-searching, asking how much of what he or she thought was true actually isn’t.

But the G.O.P. has responded to the crisis not by rethinking its dogma but by adopting an even cruder version of that dogma, becoming a caricature of itself. 

During the debate, the hosts played a clip of Ronald Reagan calling for increased revenue; today, no politician hoping to get anywhere in Reagan’s party would dare say such a thing.

It’s a terrible thing when an individual loses his or her grip on reality. But it’s much worse when the same thing happens to a whole political party, one that already has the power to block anything the president proposes — and which may soon control the whole government.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Anti-Capitalist Argument

Echidne of the Snakes

I keep hearing various right-wing politicians and pundits state that the Wall Street Occupation is anti-capitalist, as if they were saying that it's against mom and apple pie*. Everyone is supposed to frown upon such an awful act of disrespect against capitalism!

Capitalism has somehow clawed itself up on a pedestal, right next to the Christian God in this country, as something we no longer debate at all. It's not a system we can tinker with. It's a religion.

After all, didn't Ronald Reagan gird himself and ride upon a white steed to kill the dragon of communism? Now we are all capitalists!

Except, of course, that the capitalist system does not mean anything of the sort. Capitalism gone haywire is a pretty terrible system, using child-labor in mines or whatever makes the profits highest possible ones. In its extreme form it barely differs from feudalism, except for the marker of what constitutes the upper classes.

I'm a muddy-middle kind of goddess (the middle naturally defined by me!), and I have never been able to fathom why people would want a world of child-labor in mines or a Banana Republic, unless they are so deluded that they believe in their own divine right to belong to the small group of capitalists. And of course a truly unbridled capitalism would kill off most of the would-be-capitalists, too. It's a winner-take-all system.

What's so bad about mixed economies? They do very well in international comparisons. They combine the best aspects of collective and individual systems.

Though I admit that having a Mixed Economy as the label on a pedestal doesn't sound very exciting.
*"Mom and apple pie" isn't exactly a neutral myth, either, as I have stated before. But you get the meaning.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Warning to US: Yuan bill to spark trade war

China warned the United States on Monday of a trade war if Congress passes a bill pressuring Beijing to appreciate the yuan. The warning came a day before US lawmakers are set to vote on the bill.

By Wu Jiao and Cui Haipei
China Daily
Oct. 11, 2011

Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai reiterated Beijing's opposition to the bill and said that it will hamper global economic recovery and further hurt US jobs growth.

"Should the proposed legislation be made into law, the result would be a trade war between China and the US and that would be a lose-lose situation for both sides," Cui said at a news briefing.

The bill is likely to pass with bipartisan support in the Senate, before being sent to the House of Representatives.

The bill would require the US Department of Commerce to estimate what they claim to be currency under-valuations when calculating duties imposed on imports deemed to be State-subsidized.

"(The currency bill) in no way represents the reality of the economic and trade relationship" between the two leading economies, said Cui, who currently heads the China delegation for G20 negotiations.

"Of course it would be detrimental to the development of economic ties and might have an adverse impact on bilateral relations. If this type of situation occurs, it would certainly have negative effects on US economic and job growth," he said. "At the same time, it would hinder global economic recovery."

The legislation, if passed in the Senate, still faces an uncertain future in the House of Representatives.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner has signaled that the legislation will die.

"It's dangerous. You could start a trade war. And a trade war, given the economic uncertainty here and all around the world - it's just very dangerous, and we should not be engaged in this," Boehner said last Thursday.

China's central bank and the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs last week jointly warned that the proposed currency law could lead to a trade war between the two countries.

Some US politicians claim that China holds down the value of its currency to give its exporters an edge. But Beijing says it is committed to gradual reform of the yuan, which has risen 30 percent against the greenback since 2005.

The yuan hit a fresh high against the US dollar late on Monday, up 0.6 percent from 6.3859 on Sept 30 to 6.3486. China's financial markets were closed for National Day holidays last week.

It represents the highest closing level since the country unified the official and market exchange rates at the end of 1993, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.

It is also the biggest daily increase since China loosened the yuan's peg to the dollar on July 21, 2005.

The Wall Street Journal carried an article on Oct 7 which quoted a Boston Consulting Group study, saying that due to rising labor and raw material costs in China, "the jobs that some US politicians want to bring home may already be trickling back to the US".

The study calculates that production that returns to the US from China could add 800,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector, and up to 3 million altogether if service-sector support jobs are included, according to the article.

Wang Haifeng, a senior researcher with the Foreign Economic Research Institute, a think tank for the National Development and Reform Commission, told China Daily that the currency bill may damage the US more than China, because trade friction will reduce imports from China.

"The passage of this bill will surely spark a trade war and US consumers would be the final victims," Wang said. Whether this currency issue will have long-term effects on the Sino-US trade relationship depends on how quick the US economy recovers, he added.

The US imposing sanctions on China would violate international trade rules, said Cao Fengqi, director of the Finance and Securities Research Center at Peking University.

"The US should not blame China for its trade deficit and high unemployment," he said.

"The bill will be unfavorable for Chinese exports. China may also take retaliatory measures, including raising tariffs on imports from the US," Cao said. However, he believed the bill has little chance of passing in the House.

Economist Robert Mundell, winner of the Nobel Prize, said that US legislation to press China to raise the value of the yuan would be a "disaster".

"This is not going to help Americans," Mundell said on Sept 27 in a Bloomberg Television interview. "This is not going to create jobs for Americans. It's just going to create a disaster. This would have a wounding effect on the stability of international relations. There's never been any precedent in economic history where a country, through any legal system, was forced to appreciate its currency relative to another country."

Also at the news briefing, Cui said China will once again raise the issue of US arms sales to Taiwan at a high-level meeting in Beijing on Tuesday.

The meeting will be co-hosted by Cui and US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.

Cui reiterated that US arms sales to Taiwan seriously undermine China's core interests. The US said last month that it would sell $5.85 billion in military hardware to the island.

Reuters and Chen Jia contributed to this story.


Monday, October 10, 2011

As Occupy Wall Street began, Chase made biggest donation in history to NYPD

By Xeni Jardin
Boing Boing
Oct 2, 2011

A coincidence, I imagine, but it sure is poetic. In mid-June, just before the Occupy Wall Street movement took shape, JPMorgan Chase donated what the financial organization itself described as "an unprecedented" $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation, part of which will be used to expand and fortify surveillance systems.

The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD's main data center.

Source: JP Morgan Chase website.

Update: commentors have pointed out that while news of this donation has just been making the rounds this week, the donation was made in mid-June. The first Occupy Wall Street demonstrations happened in mid-September; organizers gathered in the weeks leading up to that point.

Where not otherwise specified, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. Boing Boing is a trademark of Happy Mutants LLC in the United States and other countries



CCTV and police abuse of power
Investigations into the London Gaza protests last year have called into question how CCTV evidence is being used by police

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Against Nostalgia

By Mike Daisey
The New York Times
October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs was an enemy of nostalgia. He believed that the future required sacrifice and boldness. He bet on new technologies to fill gaps even when the way was unclear.

He often told the press that he was as proud of the devices Apple killed — in the parlance of Silicon Valley, he was a master of “knifing the baby,” which more squeamish innovators cannot do because they fall in love with their creations — as the ones it released. One of the keys to Apple’s success under his leadership was his ability to see technology with an unsentimental eye and keen scalpel, ready to cut loose whatever might not be essential. This editorial mien was Mr. Jobs’s greatest gift — he created a sense of style in computing because he could edit.

It would be fascinating to know what Mr. Jobs would make of the outpouring of grief flooding the developed world after his death on Wednesday. While it’s certain he’d be flattered, his hawk-eyed nature might assert itself: this is a man who once called an engineer at Google over the weekend because the shade of yellow in the second “O” was not precisely correct. This is a man who responded to e-mails sent by strangers with shocking regularity for the world’s most famous C.E.O. His impatience with fools was legendary, and the amount of hagiography now being ladled onto his life with abandon would undoubtedly set his teeth on edge.

Many of Silicon Valley’s leaders regularly ask themselves “What would Steve do?” in an almost religious fashion when facing challenges, and it is a worthy mental exercise for confronting the fact of his death. I think Mr. Jobs would coldly and clearly assess his life and provide unvarnished criticism of its contents. He’d have no problem acknowledging that he was a genius — as he was gifted with an enormously healthy ego — but he would also state with salty language exactly where he had fallen short, and what might be needed to refine his design with the benefit of hindsight.

Mr. Jobs leaves behind a dominant Apple, fulfilling his original promise to save the company from the brink when he returned in 1997. Because of its enormous strength in both music sales and mobile devices, Apple has more power than at any time in its history, and it is using that power to make the computing experience of its users less free, more locked down and more tightly regulated than ever before. All of Apple’s iDevices — the iPod, iPhone and iPad — use operating systems that deny the user access to their workings. Users cannot install programs themselves; they are downloaded from Apple’s servers, which Apple controls and curates, choosing at its whim what can and can’t be distributed, and where anything can be censored with little or no explanation.

The Steve Jobs who founded Apple as an anarchic company promoting the message of freedom, whose first projects with Stephen Wozniak were pirate boxes and computers with open schematics, would be taken aback by the future that Apple is forging. Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself, a testament to how quickly power can corrupt.

Apple’s rise to power in our time directly paralleled the transformation of global manufacturing. As recently as 10 years ago Apple’s computers were assembled in the United States, but today they are built in southern China under appalling labor conditions. Apple, like the vast majority of the electronics industry, skirts labor laws by subcontracting all its manufacturing to companies like Foxconn, a firm made infamous for suicides at its plants, a worker dying after working a 34-hour shift, widespread beatings, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to meet high quotas set by tech companies like Apple.

I have traveled to southern China and interviewed workers employed in the production of electronics. I spoke with a man whose right hand was permanently curled into a claw from being smashed in a metal press at Foxconn, where he worked assembling Apple laptops and iPads. I showed him my iPad, and he gasped because he’d never seen one turned on. He stroked the screen and marveled at the icons sliding back and forth, the Apple attention to detail in every pixel. He told my translator, “It’s a kind of magic.”

Mr. Jobs’s magic has its costs. We can admire the design perfection and business acumen while acknowledging the truth: with Apple’s immense resources at his command he could have revolutionized the industry to make devices more humanely and more openly, and chose not to. If we view him unsparingly, without nostalgia, we would see a great man whose genius in design, showmanship and stewardship of the tech world will not be seen again in our lifetime. We would also see a man who in the end failed to “think different,” in the deepest way, about the human needs of both his users and his workers.

It’s a high bar, but Mr. Jobs always believed passionately in brutal honesty, and the truth is rarely kind. With his death, the serious work to do the things he has failed to do will fall to all of us: the rebels, the misfits, the crazy ones who think they can change the world.

Mike Daisey is an author and performer. His latest monologue, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” is scheduled to open at the Public Theater on Tuesday.


Monday, October 03, 2011

My Fellow American

Submitted Commentary
Oct. 3, 2010

Muslims are our fellow Americans. They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.

My Fellow American is an online film and social media project that calls upon concerned Americans to pledge and spread a message that Muslims are our fellow Americans. It asks people of other backgrounds to pledge, and share a real life story about a Muslim friend, neighbor, or colleague that they admire. Using the power of social media, My Fellow American seeks to change the narrative – from Muslims as the other, to Muslims as our fellow Americans.

Most Americans have never met an American Muslim. Many only know Muslims through the way they are portrayed in the media. American Muslims are so often vilified as “the other” that it is possible not to recognize that most were born in the U.S. Or that those who immigrated here came seeking the same freedoms and opportunities that have always attracted people to America.

Muslims are our fellow Americans, who today face threats to their civil rights and even their personal safety because of the fearful and often hateful rhetoric that would not be tolerated were it uttered about any other minority group.

Unity Productions Foundation (UPF)

My Fellow American is a project of Unity Productions Foundation (, a 501©3 media and education non profit organization. The mission of Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) is to create peace through the media. Founded in 1999, UPF produces documentary films for television and online broadcast and theatrical release, and implements long-term educational campaigns aimed at increasing understanding between people of different faiths and cultures, especially between Muslims and other faiths. We are convinced of the power of media to empower citizens with greater understanding and to nourish pluralism in America.

UPF films have been viewed by an estimated 150 million people worldwide and have won dozens of national and international awards. UPF has partnered with prominent Jewish, Muslim, Christian and interfaith groups to run dialogues nationwide — with more than 80,000 participants in classrooms, community centers, living rooms, government offices and religious congregations.

Year after year, UPF’s films are recognized for excellence:

  • Best Documentary at the 2007 American Black Film Festival
  • 5 Telly Awards for excellence in educational documentaries
  • 11 TIVA-DC Peer Awards, including Best Documentary
  • Hamburg World Media Film Festival’s Gold and Silver Awards
  • 4 CINE Golden Eagle Awards
  • 4 Grand Goldies Awards
  • Newark Black Film Festival’s 2008 Paul Robeson Award
  • Official Selection of 2 dozen film festivals around the world

Watch the My Fellow American Movie Trailer

About the Film

My Fellow American was produced by Unity Productions Foundation in association with Gardner Films, Inc ( It was directed by the Oscar-nominated, multiple Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker, Robert Gardner. Unity Productions Foundation has collaborated with Gardner Films on several previous projects, including the PBS documentary, Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain and a documentary based on the Gallup Poll of the Muslim world called Inside Islam: What A Billion Muslims Really Think.

My Fellow American was shot in Baltimore using some of the personnel who worked on the popular television series, The Wire. The voices heard in the film are actual excerpts found on youtube, and were a small sample of such comments from various public figures, including law makers, radio and television personalities, and leading religious leaders.

My Fellow American was made possible by the support of individuals and charitable organizations including the Odyssey Networks, a media organization delivering videos of interfaith news beyond the headlines and inspirational stories of faith in action.

Unity Productions Foundation

Commentary Source:

Sunday, October 02, 2011

As Obama Goes Abroad Searching for Monsters to Destroy, Ron Paul is Right to Reject Assassinating Americans

The bipartisan disregard for the Constitution and the rule of law stopped when Texas Congressman Ron Paul was asked about the air strike that on Friday killed the two Americans in Yemen.

By John Nichols
Nation of Change
Op Ed
Oct. 1, 2011

President Obama’s authorization of the assassination of an American citizen, New Mexico–born Anwar al-Awlaki—in a drone attack that also killed American citizen Samir Khan, who was raised in New York City and North Carolina—drew high praise from execution-enthusiast Rick Perry, who congratulated Obama by name for “getting another key terrorist.”

But the bipartisan disregard for the Constitution and the rule of law stopped when Texas Congressman Ron Paul was asked about the air strike that on Friday killed the two Americans in Yemen.

The congressman, who is competing with Perry and others for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has long complained about “war on terror” abuses that he sees as part of “the disintegration of American jurisprudence.”

And he was blunt in rejecting the victory-lap mentality that saw Obama Democrats and Perry Republicans celebrating the killing of American citizens.

“I don’t think that’s a good way to deal with our problems,” Paul said in New Hampshire. “Al-Awlaki was born here; he is an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes. Nobody knows if he killed anybody. We know he might have been associated with the underwear bomber. But if the American people accept this blindly and casually—that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys—I think it’s sad."

Noting that no move was made to assassinate Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was arrested, tried and executed, Paul said: “To start assassinating American citizens without charges, we should think very seriously about this.”

The congressman, who has been an outspoken critic on the expansion of the September 2001 Congressional authorization of a response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to support a perpetual “war on terror,” said, “I voted to authority to go after those individuals responsible for 9/11. Nobody ever suggested that [Awlaki] was a participant in 9/11.

Paul’s statement, and a slightly less pointed response from another libertarian-leaning presidential contender, reflects a more traditionalist view of the Constitution. As recently as the 1950s, “old-right” Republicans such as Ohio Senator Robert Taft and Nebraska Congressman Howard Buffett (Warren’s father) opposed undeclared wars and military adventures. Their stances extended from founding principles outlined by James Madison, when he warned that “no nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

It was a successor to Madison, John Quincy Adams, who warned against searching the globe for targets of assassination and military conquest.

“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will [America’s] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be,” Adams told Congress in 1821. “But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

This story originally appeared in The Nation.
This story originally appeared in The Nation

This story originally appeared in The Nation.

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