The Reason Why This Politician ‘Accidentally’ Voted For The Opposing Party’s Bill Is Beyond Pathetic

According to a Twitter post this week by California State Assemblyman Scott Wilk, the confusing vote he had just cast was due to social media preoccupation. His error was immediately evident, considering he not only campaigned against the 12-digit state budget prior to voting for it–every other Republican voted the opposite way.

He quickly issued an explanation, perhaps appropriately, via social media:

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Some, including GQ’s Jack Moore, at least credit Wilk with “admitting his mistake and being honest about its cause.”

Others, however, could not believe anyone would make such a mistake – let alone announce it to the world.

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A few thought Wilk might have been joshing…

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…while others used the opportunity to share their own jokes.

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As Moore pointed out, California law provisionally allows state legislators to change their votes after casting them. Wilk reportedly did just that and, as of this writing, has not further addressed the controversy over his initial vote on Twitter.

Should lawmakers be expected to pay attention when casting votes? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Watch: What Obama Called For When Addressing Massacre Has Critics Furious

President Obama took the opportunity to address gun control Thursday after nine people were gunned down inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, S.C., the night before.

All nine who were killed Wednesday have since been identified by Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten, with the suspect being apprehended about 240 miles away in North Carolina. Max Rosenthal of Mother Jones reported the names Thursday:

  • Democratic state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of the church
  • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, another pastor of the church
  • Cynthia Hurd, manager of the St. Andrews branch of the Charleston County Public Library
  • Tywanza Sanders, recent graduate of Allen University, Columbia, S.C.
  • Myra Thompson, wife of the Rev. Anthony Thompson of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church in Charleston
  • Ethel Lee Lance, employee at Emanuel AME
  • Susie Jackson, patron at Emanuel AME
  • Danuel L. Simmons Sr., ministry staff member at Emanuel AME and former pastor of Greater Zion AME Church in nearby Ayendaw
  • Depayne Middleton, mother of four and Emanuel AME choir member

While Obama did offer his condolences to the victims and those affected, he also managed to sprinkle in some political rhetoric. “Now’s the time for mourning and for healing, but let’s be clear — at some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” Obama said in the White House press room Thursday.

It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now.

But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it, and at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

“We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” added Obama. The suspect was reportedly given a .45 caliber handgun by his father, though it is unclear if it was the same one used in the incident.

Many did not take too kindly to the president’s comments:

h/t: The Daily Caller

Are you sick of Obama inserting politics into literally every situation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Donald Trump Promised A ‘Really Big Day For America’ And He Just Made This Major Announcement

Donald Trump officially entered the presidential fray Tuesday, making the real estate executive and television personality the 12th Republican to do so.

Trump made the declaration at Trump Tower in Manhattan, giving what is probably the most unfiltered presidential announcement speech in recent memory, bemoaning the policies of the Obama administration and the attitudes of Republican politicians alike while at the same time touting his own accomplishments and negotiating skills.

“Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. We used to have victories, but we don’t have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say China in a trade deal?” Trump said. “I beat China all the time. All the time.”

The man sometimes affectionately referred to as “The Donald” did not shy away from touting his success and his wealth throughout the 45 minute speech.

“I’m really proud of my success, I really am. I’ve employed tens of thousands of people over my lifetime. That means medical, that means education, that means everything. So a large accounting firm and my accountants have been working for months — because it’s big and complex — and they’ve put together a statement.”

The paper which he held in his hand revealed a net worth of about $9 billion. Trump also pledged to not use donors during the campaign. “I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich,” he said.

While calling himself a free trader, Trump came out against Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). “The people negotiating it have no clue,” he asserted.

Trump pledged to “repeal and replace the big lie Obamacare,” while also promising to “build a great, great wall on our southern border,” making “Mexico pay for that wall.” The host of The Apprentice also said: “Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump. Nobody.”

He did not hesitate to slam former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, who announced his candidacy Monday. “Bush is totally favor of Common Core, is weak on immigration, how the hell can you vote for this guy?” Trump asked the crowd, who occasionally chanted “We Want Trump!”

Trump echoed some of the themes he told Western Journalism in February:

It’s a very simple pitch: We want to make America great again. We are losing this country. We are making so many bad decisions, whether it’s ISIS and the way we go about it. Whether it’s Obamacare which is a disaster. Whether it’s social security and other things that are going down the tubes because of what’s going on.

Whether it’s our debt, which is at $18 trillion and it’s going to be 24 trillion very quickly and that’s a very important number because that’s a number you’re not going to come back from.

There are so many problems with this country – we have such great potential. The way we negotiate with China is a joke. The potential is there, but the country is in trouble. We have no leadership.

Democratic National Committee press secretary Holly Shulman sarcastically acknowledged Trump’s entrance into the race.

“Today, Donald Trump became the second major Republican candidate to announce for president in two days,” Shulman said. “He adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward hearing more about his ideas for the nation.”

Trump flirted with running for president in years past, but it became clear he was serious after he announced a presidential exploratory committee in March. The newly minted candidate is scheduled to fly to Iowa for a rally, then to New Hampshire Wednesday, according to his campaign website.

According to TMZ, Trump’s show The Apprentice will be going black during his presidential bid.

Would you vote for Donald Trump? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Slave Or Rebel? Ten Principles For Escaping The Matrix And Standing Up To Tyranny

“Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled, they cannot become conscious.”—George Orwell

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It’s a shell game intended to keep us focused on and distracted by all of the politically expedient things that are being said—about militarized police, surveillance, and government corruption—while the government continues to frogmarch us down the road toward outright tyranny.

Unarmed citizens are still getting shot by militarized police trained to view them as the enemy and treated as if we have no rights. Despite President Obama’s warning that the nation needs to do some “soul searching” about issues such as race, poverty, and the strained relationship between law enforcement and the minority communities they serve, police killings and racial tensions are at an all-time high. Just recently, in Texas, a white police officer was suspended after video footage showed him “manhandling, arresting and drawing his gun on a group of black children outside a pool party.”

Americans’ private communications and data are still being sucked up by government spy agencies. The USA Freedom Act was just a placebo pill intended to make us feel better without bringing about any real change. As Bill Blunden, a cybersecurity researcher and surveillance critic, points out: “The theater we’ve just witnessed allows decision makers to boast to their constituents about reforming mass surveillance while spies understand that what’s actually transpired is hardly major change.”

Taxpayer dollars are still being squandered on roads to nowhere, endless wars that do not make us safer, and bloated government agencies that should have been shut down long ago. A good example is the Transportation Security Administration, which, despite its $7 billion annual budget, has shown itself to be bumbling and ineffective.

And military drills are still being carried out on American soil under the pretext of training soldiers for urban warfare overseas. Southeastern Michigan, the site of one of the many military training drills taking place across the country this summer, has had Black Hawk helicopters buzzing its skies and soldiers dressed for combat doing night combat drills in abandoned buildings around the state.

In other words, freedom, or what’s left of it, is being threatened from every direction. The threats are of many kinds: political, cultural, educational, media, and psychological. However, as history shows us, freedom is not, on the whole, wrested from a citizenry. It is all too often given over voluntarily and for such a cheap price: safety, security, bread, and circuses.

This is part and parcel of the propaganda churned out by the government machine. That said, what we face today—mind manipulation and systemic violence—is not new. What is different are the techniques used and the large-scale control of mass humanity, coercive police tactics, and pervasive surveillance. As we have seen with the erection of the electronic concentration camp, there is virtually no escaping the invisible prison surrounding us. Once upon a time, one could run and hide or duck into a cave; but that is no longer feasible as caves are quite scarce, and those running the camp have their eyes watching everything.

Moreover, we are presented with the illusion that we act of our own volition when most of the time, we are being watched, prodded, and controlled. “The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative,” Aldous Huxley stated. “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible.”

In fact, with the merger of the Internet and the corporate state, unless you are alert and aware, it will be increasingly difficult to discern the difference between freedom and enslavement. With the methods of mind manipulation available to the corporate state, the very nature of democratic government has been changed. Again, as Aldous Huxley writes:

[T]he quaint old forms—elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of nonviolent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial . . . Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.

To many, the situation seems hopeless. But is it?

From the day you’re born until the day you die, the choices you exercise are very limited. You don’t choose to be born or choose what sex you are or who your parents are or where you live. When you are a child, you are told what to do; and when you enter school, you sit plastered to a desk and are taught what others demand you should know. Yes, the indoctrinating process begins on day one.

Then there are the rules, the endless rules. If you say the wrong word, write the wrong story, or wear the wrong clothes, you can get thrown out of school or even arrested. You live where you are told and eat what others think you should eat. As you grow older, this list expands into employment, marriage, and so on. In other words, your so-called reality is socially constructed. It is predetermined for you; and if you step out of line and disagree with what the current society deems proper, you will be ostracized. If you speak your mind to the governing authorities, you might find yourself behind bars.

The point is that in order to develop a compliant citizenry, people must be forced to live in a mental matrix of words, ideas, ideologies, and teachings that are designed to make us conform. “As the Matrix in the movie was used to facilitate the exploitation of humans,” writes author Henry H. Lindner, “so the current ideological Matrix was created for, and serves to exploit us, turning us into unthinking workers and consumers—slaves of the ruling elite who themselves are trapped in the Matrix.” In fact, “few of us are able to escape the Matrix. We do not even know it exists.”

For there to be any hope of real change, you’ll have to change how you think about yourself, your fellow human beings, freedom, society, and the government. This means freeing your mind, realizing the truth, and unlearning all the myths you have been indoctrinated with since the day you were able to comprehend language.

The following principles, taken from my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, may help any budding freedom fighters in the struggle to liberate themselves and our society.

First, we must come to grips with the reality that the present system does not foster freedom. It denies freedom and must be altered. “Our authoritarian system is based on cruelty and control—it increasingly drives natural love and feelings from our society and produces violence and greed,” Lindner recognizes. “Our society is deteriorating morally and intellectually. This system cannot be reformed.”

To start with, we must recognize that the government’s primary purpose is maintaining power and control. It’s an oligarchy composed of corporate giants wedded to government officials who benefit from the relationship. In other words, it is motivated by greed and exists to perpetuate itself. As George Orwell writes:

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship. . . .. The object of power is power.

Second, voting is practically worthless. “In principle, it is a great privilege,” Aldous Huxley recognized. “In practice, as recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty.”

We live in a secretive surveillance state that has virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. As Jordan Michael Smith, writing for the Boston Globe, concludes about the American government:

There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

How many times have the various politicians, when running for office, lied about all they were going to do to bring hope and change to America? Once they get elected, what do they do? They do whatever the corporate powers want. Yes, the old boss is the same as the new boss. The maxim: power follows money.

Moreover, voting is a way to keep the citizenry pacified. However, many Americans intuitively recognize that something is wrong with the way the electoral process works and have withdrawn from the process. That’s why the government places so much emphasis on the reassurance ritual of voting. It provides the illusion of participation.

Third, question everything. Don’t assume anything government does is for the good of the citizenry. Again, that is not the purpose of modern government. It exists to perpetuate a regime. Remember the words of James Madison, considered the father of the U.S. Constitution: “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” Power corrupts. And as the maxim goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Fourth, materialism is a death knell to freedom. While it may be true that Americans are better off than citizens of other nations—we have jobs, food, entertainment, shopping malls, etc.—these are the trappings meant to anesthetize and distract us.

Like the dodo, any “bird that has learned how to grub up a good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the privilege of flight and remain forever grounded,” Huxley warned. “Same thing is true of human beings. If bread is supplied regularly and capaciously three times a day, many of them will be perfectly content to live by bread alone—or at least by bread and circuses alone.” Free as a bird, some say, but only if you’re willing to free your mind and sacrifice all for a dangerous concept—freedom.

In other words, the hope is that the cry of “‘give me television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty,’ may give place, under altered circumstances, to the cry of ‘give me liberty or give me death.’” This is indeed dangerous freedom.

Fifth, there is little hope for any true resistance if you are mindlessly connected to the electronic concentration camp. Remember, what you’re being electronically fed by those in power is meant to pacify, distract, and control you. You can avoid mind manipulations to a large degree by greatly limiting your reliance on electronic devices—cell phones, laptops, televisions, and so on.

Sixth, an armed revolt will not work. Although we may have returned to a 1776 situation where we need to take drastic actions to restore freedom, this is not colonial America with its muskets and people’s armies. Local police departments have enough militarized firepower to do away with even a large-scale armed revolt. Even attempting to repel a SWAT team raid on your home is futile. You’ll get blown away.

Seventh, be wise and realize that there is power in numbers. Networks, coalitions, and movements can accomplish much—especially if their objectives are focused and practical—and they are very much feared by government authorities. That’s why the government is armed to the teeth and prepared to put down even small nonviolent protests.

Eighth, act locally but think nationally. The greatest impact can be had at local governing bodies such as city councils. Join together with friends and neighbors and start a Civil Liberties Oversight Committee. Regularly attend council meetings and demand that government corruption be brought under control and that police activities be brought under the scrutiny of local governing bodies and, thus, the citizenry.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, for example, police were involved in 39 shootings dating back to 2010. After a 2014 police shooting of an unarmed homeless man camped out in a public park, residents engaged in nonviolent acts of civil disobedience to disrupt the normal functioning of the city government and demand that the police department be brought under control. Community activists actually went so far as to storm a city council meeting and announce that they would be performing a citizens’ arrest of the police chief, charging him with “harboring fugitives from justice at the Albuquerque police department” and “crimes against humanity.”

In Davis County, California, in August 2014, after a public uproar over the growing militarization of local police, council members ordered the police to find a way of getting rid of the department’s newly acquired MRAP tank. One man at the council meeting was quoted as saying: “I would like to say I do not suggest you take this vehicle and send it out of Davis, I demand it.”

Ninth, local towns, cities, and states can nullify or say “no” to federal laws that violate the rights and freedoms of the citizenry. In fact, several states have passed laws stating that they will not comply with the National Defense Authorization Act which allows for the military to indefinitely detain (imprison) American citizens. Again, when and if you see such federal laws passed, gather your coalition of citizens and demand that your local town council nullify such laws. If enough towns and cities across the country would speak truth to power in this way, we might see some positive movement from the federal governmental machine.

Tenth, understand what freedom is all about. “Who were the first persons to get the unusual idea that being free was not only a value to be cherished but the most important thing that someone can possess?” asks Professor Orlando Patterson. “The answer in a word: slaves.”

Freedom arose from the hearts and minds of those who realized that they were slaves. It became a primary passion of those who were victims of slavery.

Some Americans are beginning to realize that they are slaves and that if they don’t act soon, they will find themselves imprisoned in the electronic concentration camp indefinitely. Mind you, there may not be any chains hanging from the dungeon walls; but it is a prison nonetheless–and we are, without a doubt, inmates serving life sentences.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

What The American People Just Said About Bush Vs Obama Will Have The White House Shrieking

How many times have Barack Obama, his defenders, and apologists tried to blame George W. Bush for something that’s gone wrong? How many times have we heard the finger-pointing excuse, “It’s George Bush’s fault?” Well, given the results of a new poll, that move in the administration’s blame game may be off the table.

But from the headline CNN politics has attached to the story of the poll results — “Warming on W.: More Americans like George W. Bush than dislike” — you’d never know that President Obama has now clearly fallen behind his predecessor in terms of favorability.

Coverage of the game-changing survey in The Hill does point out that significant finding — “George W. Bush tops Obama on favorability in new poll.”

The CNN/ORC poll reveals that 52 percent of Americans see Bush positively, while 43 percent do not.

The new poll finds that 49 percent view Obama favorably, while 49 percent do not.

The report in The Hill notes that Bush’s favorability numbers have seen a dramatic increase since he left office. Back in 2009, a similar survey found that the former president was viewed positively by just about a third of poll respondents.

“CNN said that the former president has notched an 11-point favorability increase among men, a 10-point increase among Republicans and an 8-point increase among suburbanites.”

Bush has even seen his favorability rating among Democrats improve some fifteen points, though the poll finds that about 70% of Democrats still maintain a negative view of the former president.

As for Obama, the new poll results show a drop of three points in favorability since March, when a similar sampling of public sentiment saw the president with a 52% positive rating.

Taking a look at job approval ratings, President Obama is seeing a similar measure of disapproval from the American people.  According to the latest Gallup track of Obama’s job approval trend, only 47% of those surveyed give the nation’s chief executive a thumbs up for his performance in office.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Obama faring even worse, with an overall job approval rating of just 44%.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth