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Thoughts on July 4th: Our Incredible Shrinking Constitution

By Dave Lindorff

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day that the nation’s founders, gathered in Philadelphia a few miles from my house (which as it happens was already standing and about 28 years old already at the time), at great personal risk, signed the Declaration of Independence, with its ringing declaration that all men--Americans and everyone else, too--are born equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Five years ago at this time, I was just starting my road trip promoting my book, The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), which documents the wholesale assault, by then President George W. Bush, and his chief consigliere, Vice President Dick Cheney, on those bold concepts and on the subsequent Constitution and Bill of Rights which those same founders set up as the guiding principles of this nation.

Israeli Freedom Flotilla II Terrorism

Israeli Freedom Flotilla II Terrorism - by Stephen Lendman

Daily, Israel keeps proving its lawless rogue credentials, notably by blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza. As a result, it finds new ways to show contempt for human rights, rule of law standards, civility, fundamental Judaic tenets, and its very legitimacy as a nation state, established by mass slaughter and displacement of indigenous Palestinians from their homeland.

Today, its war against humanity dirty tricks/state terrorism arsenal includes propaganda, intimidating lawsuits, pressure on other governments, sabotage, subversion, cold-blodded murder, and whatever else it takes to ruthlessly commit slow-motion genocide against nearly 1.7 million Gazans, besides daily crimes against others in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

No wonder growing numbers of fed up Jews are leaving, voting with their feet, including studies showing half or more there actively consider it, and why not.

The Gaza Flotilla: Fear of Unscripted Non-Violent Action

By John Grant

Israel and its international operatives are working overtime to stop the 10-ship Gaza flotilla from leaving Athens. The Audacity Of Hope, with 40 Americans on board, tried to leave the harbor Friday only to be chased down and threatened by an armed Greek Coast Guard boat and forced to return to a dock. Trumped-up charges may be brought against the captain of the boat. Greece is now prohibiting all boats from leaving. Another boat had a propeller shaft cut and a third was equally disabled by some kind of sabotage. Others have suddenly been plagued with questions about their insurance or their seaworthiness. Israel has openly threatened to bar news organizations with reporters onboard a flotilla boat from entering Israel for ten years. The US government has made vague threats that it might charge US citizens in the flotilla with something.

Imagine a MoveOn That Doesn't Answer to Democrats

On Friday I read in the New York Times that President Obama would be happy to cut $200 billion out of Medicare in order to inflict pain on his Democratic base, part of an imagined tradeoff in which the two parties inflict pain on their imagined bases in order to reduce the deficit without imposing sensible taxes on billionaires or shrinking military spending to sane levels. Also on Friday I got an Email from True Majority asking me to celebrate Obama's defense of Medicare.

We've progressed from "I feel your pain" to "I inflict your pain," and we're being told to like it.

Pack Journalism Anti-Gaddafi Propaganda

Pack Journalism Anti-Gaddafi Propaganda - by Stephen Lendman

Western media, especially America's, mostly ignore multiple Obama wars (including against Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia), focusing mainly on promoting terror bombing Libya, slaughtering civilians to save them.

Ongoing since March 19, killing and destruction continue daily. NATO's second in command, US Admiral Samuel Locklear, told Congress that Washington wants Gaddafi assassinated. Earlier, one of his sons and three grandchildren were murdered, as well as around 40 Libyan imans, attending a peace conference to end the carnage. Ruthlessly, Obama, the peace candidate, wants it continued, claiming lawless executive privilege to do it.

On the Progressive Radio News Hour, live Tripoli reports discussed hospitals, schools, residential homes, and other non-military targets bombed, civilians killed, anti-NATO anger, and growing popular Gaddafi support, including a million Libyans rallying in Tripoli on his behalf.

Targeting Professor Terri Ginsberg's Academic and Speech Freedoms

Targeting Professor Terri Ginsberg's Academic and Speech Freedoms - by Stephen Lendman

Post-9/11, anyone challenging America's war on terrorism faces possible recrimination, especially vulnerable Muslims, targeted for political advantage to incite fear to justify war.

Moreover, anyone critical of Israel leaves them vulnerable to vilification, intimidation and persecution. Even university professors are targeted, including distinguished tenured ones - censured, suspended and/or fired unjustly.

Yet America's First Amendment states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Of all Bill of Rights freedoms, this one's most important because without it all others are at risk.

Broken Promises, Broken Laws, and Broken Lives Continue Indefinitely for the Men in Guantanamo

In spite of Obama’s campaign promises to close Guantanamo, and in spite of the fact that he signed an executive order to close the prison on his second day in office, Guantanamo remains open. There are still 170 men illegally detained there. Most of them are innocent of any wrong-doing and have been cleared for release by our government. Yet they have no hope of ever being charged with any crime, having a trial, and worst of all, no hope of ever being released and reunited with their loved ones. They were tortured under the Bush Administration. Though torture may not continue in the same way under the Obama Administration, being held indefinitely with no hope of ever again holding your loved ones in your arms, looking into their eyes, building a life together – that would be torture.

John Dean Does Not Know How to Get Rid of Clarence Thomas

Am I the only one who noticed that ex-Nixon lawyer John Dean's article "John Dean Knows How to Get Rid of Clarence Thomas" concludes thus: "In short, nothing is going to happen to Clarence Thomas." Talk about false advertising!

But Dean left out of consideration one strategy, the same one that five years ago he argued against pursuing with Bush and Cheney, whom many of us at that time wanted removed from office. The strategy is the one now being advanced by RootsAction: Impeach Clarence Thomas.

The Dominique Strauss-Kahn Rorschach Test

There's a great deal of disappointment, even distress, in the air as news spreads that Dominique Strauss-Kahn might not be charged with rape (or attempted rape, or sexual assault). He's guilty, the victim's character is being attacked in order to protect him, and the Culture of Rape will emerge triumphant once again -- or so I'm being told by various Emails, Tweets, etc.

On the other hand, the whole thing was a conspiracy to facilitate the pillaging of the Greek people and the replacement of DSK at the IMF by a robber baron more loyal to the Austerity Agenda. Or so I have been assured.

In addition, the entire episode illustrates the danger in recklessly charging people -- especially famous and important people -- with crimes, until they have first been proven guilty. Or so we are learning from Thoughtful pundits.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Safe Nuclear Power

Lies, Damn Lies, and Safe Nuclear Power - by Stephen Lendman

In any form, nuclear power is inherently unsafe. For decades, nuclear expert Helen Caldicott warned it must be abandoned, saying:

"As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced."

Anti-nuclear activist/expert Professor Karl Grossman agrees, calling "Atomic Energy: Unsafe in the Real World" in his June 29 article, saying:

"Nuclear power requires perfection and no acts of God" to avoid accidents that may become catastrophes. Humans and technology aren't perfect. Natural and other type disasters happen. "(W)e can't eliminate them. But we can - and must eliminate atomic energy" or it will eliminate us.

King George III Won: Happy Fourth of July!

The Declaration of Independence is best remembered as a declaration of war, a war declared on the grounds that we wanted our own flag. The sheer stupidity and anachronism of the idea serves to discourage any thoughts about why Canada didn't need a bloody war, whether the U.S. war benefitted people outside the new aristocracy to whom power was transferred, what bothered Frederick Douglas so much about a day celebrating "independence," or what the Declaration of Independence actually said.

When you read the Declaration of Independence, it turns out to be an indictment of King George III for various abuses of power. And those abuses of power look fairly similar to abuses of power we happily permit U.S. presidents to engage in today, either as regards the people of this nation or the people of territories and nations that our military occupies today in a manner uncomfortably resembling Britain's rule over the 13 colonies.

Boeing Overcharging?, Hawks Yawn!

A 'Patriotic' U.S. company ripping off the Army and the American Tax Payers, and military procurement officers allowing it to happen, knowing many will go to work for these defense contractors after their service, especially with two long occupations still ongoing, say it ain't so!

 

Meaner Tougher IMF with Lagarde

Meaner Tougher IMF with Lagarde - by Stephen Lendman

On June 28, New York Times writer Liz Alderman headlined, "France's Lagarde Named New Head of IMF," saying:

She'll assume "one of the most powerful positions in global finance as a worsening crisis in Greece threatens the euro currency union and rattles financial markets worldwide."

Washington's choice all along, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner endorsed her over Mexico's central bank governor Agustin Carsten, her only competitor after IMF board of directors excluded Israeli central bank governor Stanley Fischer. Allegedly because of age, he, in fact, lacked support outside Israel, and US officials stuck with traditional IMF policy of a European in charge.

An American always heads the World Bank, yet Washington dominates all international lending agencies, assuring it anoints officials heading them, public discourse notwithstanding.

On June 28, a brief IMF statement announced Lagarde's appointment, saying:

Israeli Anti-Freedom Flotilla II Propaganda

Israeli Anti-Freedom Flotilla II Propaganda - by Stephen Lendman

On June 27, its press release headlined, "GAZA, WE ARE COMING. Despite pressure and threats of violence, flotilla will sail."

On June 27, A US Boat to Gaza Audacity of Hope press conference reiterated a determination to sail despite threats, pressure and other measures used to stop it.

Participants on board all 10 ships haven't come this far to turn back or let imperial viciousness deter them, especially when their mission is vital and just.

In response to spurious claims that passengers may have chemicals to attack Israeli commandos, perhaps the same ones responsible for the May 2010 Mavi Marmara massacre, Flotilla participants signed a declaration of nonviolence. Spokesman Dror Feiler told Army Radio that if Israel has other information, it should inform Flotilla organizers.

The Business of America Is War

The Business of America is War - by Stephen Lendman

Noted trends analyst Gerald Celente said it, and it's true. In fact, America's business is war, more war, multiple wars, permanent wars, pillaging one nation after another for wealth, power, and dominance, while homeland needs go begging.

America never was and isn't now the "land of the free and home of the brave." In fact, it's become a "Let 'em eat cake" society.

Whether or not Marie Antoinette actually said it, France's 1789-99 revolution was very real, delivering guillotine justice, not promised "Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite," a status now destroying what's left of American freedom, heading for the trash bin of history if not already there.

Earlier articles discussed Washington's wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen, as well as numerous proxy ones in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and at home against Muslims, Latino immigrants, and working households.

Memoirs of Torturers

On September 18, 2009, seven former heads of the CIA publicly told President Barack Obama not to prosecute CIA torturers. On April 16, 2009, Obama had already publicly told Attorney General Eric Holder not to prosecute CIA torturers. On September 18th, Holder publicly reassured the CIA.

The coast was clear. The books started flowing. George W. Bush and John Yoo put their books out in 2010, Donald Rumsfeld in 2011, and Dick Cheney's also later this summer.

Just as the torture techniques drifted down the chain of command from these dealers in death to the rank and file, so too the book contracts. The cogs in the machine are now documenting their bit parts in the past decade's torture epidemic with pride and publishing deals.

Chill Bill: The US Military's A/C Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan Gives Me the Shivers

By Dave Lindorff

The United States Military is spending $20.2 billion a year for air-conditioning the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read that again please: $20.2 billion just to provide air-conditioning for our troops in these two desert countries.

How much is $20.2 billion?

Well, I live in Pennsylvania, where the eighth-largest school district in the country, here in Philadelphia, is about to lose 1300 of its 11,000 teachers--that’s 12% of the teaching staff in an already overcrowded school system, because the state’s Republican governor and legislature want to cut some $500 million in education funding from the state’s $27-billion budget. That military air-conditioning bill could not only restore those teachers by closing the $400 million budget deficit facing the Philadelphia School District. It could almost fund the entire budget of the state! In fact, it could probably fund the school budget deficit in almost all the school districts in the nation.

FBI Entraps Two More Muslims

FBI Entraps Two More Muslims - by Stephen Lendman

By now, the familiar storyline sounds more like a film plot than criminal indictment, especially when Muslims are involved, and the most recent case repeats the same scenario used last December.

Then it involved Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain, accused of plotting to attack an armed forces recruiting center. An undercover FBI agent lawlessly entrapped him, supplying an inert bomb, then stopping him after he allegedly tried to detonate it by remote control. A previous article discussed him, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/12/fbi-sting-entraps-another-victim.html

The BLS

By Laura Leigh

You learn many interesting things traveling on public lands following the wild horse issue in the American West.

You learn that after standing in sub-zero temperatures, attempting to document winter roundups, that returning to the relative warmth of your parked vehicle can make your glasses crack. You learn that chemical toe warmers are good as wrist, neck and “slip into your coveralls attach to your underwear” warmers as well. You learn that rattlesnakes don’t always rattle.

You learn the maneuvers the federal government will attempt to hide their actions when “managing” America’s wild herds: Maneuvers that range from lying about facility contracts to a roadblock on a remote dirt road operated by armed men who stop three woman from seeing the wild horses being captured.

On June 19, 1971 both houses of Congress passed the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro, act without a single dissenting vote. That act read:
 

Staying Human: Preparing to Sail to Gaza, by Kathy Kelly

Urgent posting on behalf of Kathy Kelly, who is now on the US Boat to Gaza.

June 27, 2011

Last week, newly-arrived in Athens as part of the US Boat to Gaza project, our team of activists gathered for nonviolence training.  We are here to sail to Gaza, in defiance of an Israeli naval blockade, in our ship, "The Audacity of Hope." Our team, and nine other ships' crews from countries around the world, want Israel to end its lethal blockade of Gaza by letting our crews through to shore to meet with Gazans.  The US ship will bring over 3,000 letters of support to a population suffering its fifth continuous decade of de facto occupation, now in the form of a military blockade controlling Gaza's sea and sky, punctuated by frequent deadly military incursions, that has starved Gaza's economy and people to the exact level of cruelty considered acceptable to the domestic population of our own United States, Israel's staunchest ally.

When the Public Rises, We'll Want an Ally in Congress

For the majority of people in the United States -- a majority does not vote, a majority believes the government is broken, a majority thinks our public policy is headed in the wrong direction -- the fact that we call this place a democracy is apparently outweighed by the fact that our national government almost never does what a majority of us want done. Some of the things we don't want done include the destruction of the planet's environment, the mass slaughter of war, the spreading of violence, and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny aristocracy while millions at home and billions abroad suffer horrifically for lack of readily available resources.

Breaching Gaza's Siege Update

Breaching Gaza's Siege Update - by Stephen Lendman

Israel keeps exerting pressure to block humanitarian efforts to deliver vital to life and other essential aid to besieged Gazans.

Endorsing Israeli lawlessness, the State Department issued a June 22 "Travel Warning - Israel, the West Bank and Gaza," saying in part:

"The Department of State warns US citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to US interests in those locations," adding "avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip."

Access the full statement through the following link:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5511.html

On June 23, Secretary of State Clinton added:

Israel Toughening Conditions for Palestinian Detainees

Israel Toughening Conditions for Palestinian Detainees - by Stephen Lendman

On June 24, Haaretz writers Barak Ravid and Revital Hoval headlined, "Netanyahu: Israel to toughen conditions for Palestinian prisoners," saying:

On June 23, Netanyahu announced plans "to toughen the conditions of Palestinian security prisoners," meaning all of them wanting Palestine to be free, yet few committed crimes warranting imprisonment.

During his Jerusalem Israeli Presidential Conference, he said:

"We will give them all that they deserve according to international law, but nothing beyond that," despite systematically brutalizing detainees ruthlessly. More on that below. He added that:

"We will stop, among other things, the absurd practice in which terrorists who murdered innocent people enroll in academic studies. There will be no more 'doctors of terror' - the celebration is over."

Solidarity and Resistance: My Cuba Years (1987-920

Ron Ridenour

Part III: My Cuba Years (1987-92)

(This article is Part II of journalist Ridenour’s political autobiography, "Solidarity and Resistance: 50 Years With Che.")

Grethe Porsgaard and I fell in love, in 1979. She was from Denmark and vacationing in Los Angeles. I traveled to her homeland, in 1980, where we married. At my behest, we made a go of it in her country. A major factor in that decision was that my former wife had taken our children, whose upbringing we had been sharing, from me, and had turned them against me. It would have been a negative way to begin a new love life living close to that madness. Although Grethe and I ended our marriage after several years, we remain friends.

Please Call Greek Embassy: Let U.S. Gaza Boat Sail. Call on Congress to Insure Americans' Safety

We kind of take electricity for granted, until you have appendicitis or are having a baby and your doctor is working in the dark, because there is no electricity.  Sure, there are generators, but what if there is no fuel for the generators?  Not to mention basic medical supplies like disinfectant, clean bandages, and surgical instruments.

Banker Occupation of Greece

Banker Occupation of Greece - by Stephen Lendman

Economist Michael Hudson calls it "Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy" in a June 5 article by that title, saying:

After being debt entrapped, or perhaps acquiescing to entrapment, the Papandreou government needs bailout help to pay bankers that entrapped them. Doing so, however, requires "initiat(ing) a class war by raising its taxes (harming working households most), lowering its standard of living - and even private-sector pensions - and sell off public land, tourist sites, islands, ports, water and sewer facilities" - in fact, all the country's crown jewels, lock, stock and barrel, strip-mining it of everything of worth at fire sale prices.

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