Noting that the national security establishment such as the NSA and FBI lobbied against the newly-signed National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA,) also known as the Homeland Battlefield Bill, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has filed suit against President Obama in Federal District Court for egregiously violating the U.S. Constitution. Count I of the official complaint states:
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The best book I've read in a very long time is a new one: "The End of War" by John Horgan. Its conclusions will be vigorously resisted by many and yet, in a certain light, considered perfectly obvious to some others. The central conclusion -- that ending the institution of war is entirely up to us to choose -- was, arguably, reached by (among many others before and since) John Paul Sartre sitting in a café utilizing exactly no research.
Horgan is a writer for "Scientific American," and approaches the question of whether war can be ended as a scientist. It's all about research. He concludes that war can be ended, has in various times and places been ended, and is in the process (an entirely reversible process) of being ended on the earth right now.
Beating Up on Chavez - by Stephen Lendman
Since inaugurated in February 1999, he's faced open US hostility, including by go-along major media scoundrels.
Wisconsinites v. Governor Scott Walker - by Stephen Lendman
Last winter's epic battle between Wisconsin public workers and Republican Governor Walker ended badly for social justice. Nonetheless, struggling for it continues.
As issue was old-fashioned union busting. It included eroding collective bargain rights before ending them altogether. In addition, draconian wage and benefit cuts were imposed.
Sometimes an event breaks into the mainstream media that reveals the truly brutal, oppressive nature of the armed forces of the US and the wars they are fighting. At a moment when we are being told by the oh-so-rational and humane administration of Barack Obama and Co. that we must line up behind a new aggressive war against an oil-producing Central Asian country, the recently released video of US soldiers urinating on Afghan corpses has exposed the way "our" soldiers view the entire population of the region: as subhuman.
Now we must challenge Americans to not look away from these terrible images, but absorb what these incidents tell us about the essence of what is still happening in our names: unjust, illegitimate violence unleashed by the most powerful against some of the poorest people on the planet.
Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, New York 300+ cities: Without doubt, last week saw the largest protests yet against the torture and detention policies of the US in Washington, DC.
When Iranian director Asghar Farhadi received the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Film Sunday night, he said:
When I was coming up on the stage, I was thinking what should I say here. Should I say something about my mother, father, my kind wife, my daughters, my dear friends, my great and lovely crew. But now I just prefer to say something about my people. I think they are a truly peace-loving people. Thank you very much.
19 January 2012 - A North Carolina human rights group is calling on state officials to investigate and stop alleged CIA missions originating in Johnston County that involve illegal torture.
North Carolina Stop Torture Now delivered a University of North Carolina School of Law report Wednesday to the governor, attorney general and others that claims the Central Intelligence Agency relies on Smithfield-based Aero Contractors Ltd. to provide planes and pilots to transport prisoners overseas from the Johnston County Airport for secret interrogation using torture techniques.
Israel Tamps Down Iran War Threats
Editor's Note (consortiumnews.com): For months, Israeli hardliners and their neocon allies in the United States have been beating the war drums over Iran. But apparent resistance to war from President Obama has brought a softening of rhetoric in Israel, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reports.
By Ray McGovern
In a stunning departure from recent Israeli threats to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday used an interview with Israel’s Army radio to assert that any attack on Iran “is very far off,” adding, “We haven’t made any decision to do this.”
I recently recommened a comprehensive Constitutional amendment addressing the corruption of our elections.
The largest piece of it, largely inspired by an amendment drafted by Russell Simmons, had not been introduced in Congress . . . until now.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich has just introduced HJRes100 which proposes this Constitutional Amendment:
Section 1. All campaigns for President and Members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate shall be financed entirely with public funds. No contributions shall be permitted to any candidate for Federal office from any other source, including the candidate.
Section 2. No expenditures shall be permitted in support of any candidate for Federal office, or in opposition to any candidate for Federal office, from any other source, including the candidate. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.
Section 3. The Congress shall, by statute, provide limitations on the amounts and timing of the expenditures of such public funds.
Section 4. The Congress shall, by statute, provide criminal penalties for any violation of this Article.
Section 5. The Congress shall have the power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This does not state that corporations are not people or bribery is not speech or the moon is not made of cheese, but it proceeds accordingly and handles the corruption of our elections as effectively as anything I've seen. No amendment is completely comprehensive, but no completely comprehensive amendment is likely to get passed (or even read). I also doubt very much that Congress will ever advance any such amendment, at least until there is a serious threat from two-thirds of the states to circumvent Congress with a Constitutional Convention.
But if there is an amendment to build the list of cosponsors on, this looks like the one. This looks to me like something that the anti-corporate-personhood movement, the clean elections movement, the peace movement, and every other cause for peace, justice, or representative government should get behind. I don't mean get behind a politician or a party or censor your own complete demands. I mean get every possible Congress member to cosponsor this bill, which exists because of our movement.
Blocking funding without providing public financing is a half-solution. Limiting private election spending while leaving loopholes is no solution. Prohibiting private spending, creating public financing, and making those laws enforceable is a huge chunk of the solution.
We can all remember "H J Res 100". Now to ask our misrepresentatives to sign on!
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. An important rule to live by. So is this corollary: Friends don't let friends watch presidential primary debates.
I think the clip at this link is a safe dose bit.ly/xVAIF6 and I have survived it myself or I would not urge it on others.
I recommend it to you only because I believe it is important for us to stop and ask what it means for a group of people who tend to promote both Christianity and the combination of Christianity with politics to have just booed the golden rule.
Protesting Internet Censorship - by Stephen Lendman
On May 12, Senator Patrick Leahy (D. VT) introduced "S. 968: Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP)." Referred to the Judiciary Committee, May 26 hearings were held. Debate's scheduled for next week.
Postponing Joint US/Israeli Exercises - by Stephen Lendman
Last November, Haaretz said Washington and Israel planned holding their "largest" and "most significant" ever joint military exercise, involving over 5,000 US and Israeli troops. Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro for Political-Military Affairs confirmed it.
It's a quid pro quo. Only the most gullible rube ready to buy swampland in Florida could think otherwise. The citizen's watchdog MAPlight.org found that congressmen who voted for TARP, the "Troubled Assets Relief Program," received nearly 50 percent more in campaign contributions from the financial services industry (an average of about $149,000) than congressmen who voted no.
Speaking to the resolution:
David Swanson (activist and author) 11:30
Larry Bishop (activist) 19:45
Tony Russell (activist) 21:15
Helena Cobban (author) 27:40
Ira Bashkow (U. of VA anthropology professor) 31:30
Brandon Collins (activist) 35:20
Stratton Slatis (sp?) 44:45
Councilmember Dede Smith 48:00
Councilmember Dave Norris 49:30
Vice Mayor Kristin Szakos 50:20
Councilmember Kathy Galvin 55:15
Mayor Satyendra Huja 56:35
Council discussion (15 minutes) 1:02:30
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Those intent on tormenting now ex-death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal have done it again, this time perhaps even exceeding their past efforts to painfully harass this man widely perceived as a political prisoner.
The New Normal: Economic Weakness and Decline - by Stephen Lendman
On Friday, S & P cut credit ratings for nine EU countries, including France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia and Cyprus. It was old news but not good.
France was downgraded from AAA to AA+.
So was Austria.
Israel Plans Major Gaza War - by Stephen Lendman
Israel already threatens war on Iran. It's also involved with Washington, Turkey, Jordan, and other rogue Arab states behind Syria's externally generated insurgency.
Martin Luther King Jr. stood up and opposed the war in Vietnam for the last three years of his life. He did not believe that by doing so he was failing to do something that goes by the name "supporting the troops." In fact his interest was in the well being of those men and women when he said:
"A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: 'This way of settling differences is not just.' This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
Let us not hide acceptance of the mass murder of which war consists behind the patriotism of troops and flags. Howard Zinn spoke the truth when he said "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable."
Let us not suppose that self-governance does not involve us, that using our money to kill in our name is none of our affair.
51 years ago today President Eisenhower warned of the danger posed by the Military Industrial Complex. He said "The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government."
Well, let us say this: not in our city.
Our City Council opposed attacking Iraq, and that stand was part of an effort that has educated the country. There are more ears prepared to hear warnings of war today. And the push for war is almost identical. Iran is not allowing inspections. The inspections that are not happening have found a weapons program. Never mind that the Secretary of Defense says it isn't true. Never mind that the New York Times has already had to apologize, several years ahead of schedule. Never mind that if all the claims were true there would still be no moral or legal ground for war.
The UN Charter forbids war, the Kellogg Briand Pact forbids war, the Hague Convention of 1899 requires that we take this dispute to arbitration.
We face the danger of a war with a nation three times the size and with many times the armaments of Iraq, a nation that has not attacked another in centuries, a nation which ours has almost completely surrounded, economically sanctioned, flown drones over, and funded terrorism within its borders, a nation we continue to threaten. Yes, we. You and I, unless we say otherwise.
Our lives begin to end, said Martin Luther King Jr, the day we become silent about things that matter. Let's not begin to end our lives tonight. Let's begin to end the institution of war instead.
Mitt Romney's Hard-Right Agenda - by Stephen Lendman
Currently, five Republican presidential aspirants remain. Weak support caused others to suspend campaigns or drop out.
In November, voters have unpalatable options between a lawless/crime boss/militarist/pro-war/anti-populist/morally corrupt president, and a rogue's gallery of alternatives looking more like a police lineup than legitimate candidates.
Abusing East Jerusalem Children - by Stephen Lendman
Last July, B'Tselem published a report titled, "No Minor Matter: Violation of the Rights of Palestinian Minors by Israel on Suspicion of Stone-Throwing." It discussed their abusive treatment.
Cruel and Unusual Punishment - by Stephen Lendman
The Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment." The legal dictionary defines it as:
"any cruel and degrading punishment not known to the Common Law, or any fine, penalty, confinement, or treatment that is so disproportionate to the offense as to shock the moral sense of the community."
Sinai Torture Camps - by Stephen Lendman
A November 30 Physicians for Human Rights/Israel (PHR-I) report explains "chilling evidence" of atrocities committed against sub-Saharan African refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.
There are many schemes now for undoing the doctrines under which corporations claim constitutional rights and bribery is deemed constitutionally protected "speech." Every single one of these schemes depends on a massive movement of public pressure all across the homeland formerly known as the United States of America. With such a movement, few of the schemes can fail. Without it, we're just building castles in the air. Nonetheless, the best scheme can best facilitate the organizing of the movement.
Published today, MLK Day 2012: The Military Industrial Complex at 50 is the most comprehensive collection available explaining what the military industrial complex (MIC) is, where it comes from, what damage it does, what further destruction it threatens, and what can be done and is being done to chart a different course.
Get your copy: http://MIC50.org
The authors (from within and without the MIC) include: Ellen Brown - Paul Chappell - Helena Cobban - Ben Davis - Jeff Fogel - Bunny Greenhouse - Bruce Gagnon - Clare Hanrahan - John Heuer - Steve Horn - Robert Jensen - Karen Kwiatkowski - Judith Le Blanc - Bruce Levine - Ray McGovern - Wally Myers - Robert Naiman - Gareth Porter - Chris Rodda - Allen Ruff - Mia Austin Scoggins - Tony Russell - Lisa Savage - Mary Beth Sullivan - Coleman Smith - Dave Shreve - David Swanson - Pat Elder - Jonathan Williams - Ann Wright.
Short bios of the authors are available here http://davidswanson.org/node/3511
The book is available at MIC50.org in paperback, bulk discount, audio, PDF, kindle, Epub, and iPad/iPhone.
The MIC, this book expertly argues, kills large numbers of people, endangers us, hollows out our economy, transfers our wealth to a tiny elite, devastates the natural environment, and threatens civil liberties, the rule of law, and representative government.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower found the nerve in his farewell speech in 1961 to articulate one of the most prescient, potentially valuable, and tragically as yet unheeded warnings of human history:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous ris e of misplaced power exists and will persist.
"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
This collection shows that the "total influence" of the MIC has increased, the disastrous rise of misplaced power is no longer merely a potential event, our liberties and democratic processes are in a state of collapse, and that Ike himself disastrously misinformed the citizenry when he claimed that the very monster he warned of had been "compelled" by the need for "defense."
Get your copy: http://MIC50.org
By Linn Washington, Jr.
As the racist rhetoric oozes from Republican presidential candidates, why are comments contained in Ron Paul newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s being widely considered more offensive than current bigoted banter uttered by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum?
One answer to that question is a politics where partisan criticisms are directed at crippling certain candidates feared as rising stars.
Thus when Congressman Paul began percolating up in the Iowa Caucus polls late last year, news of his caustic comments in those decades-old newsletters became headline news coverage.
Criminalizing Dissent in America - by Stephen Lendman
America has a sordid repressive history. Among others, First Amendment rights are violated.
It guarantees freedom of religion, expression, to petition government for redress of grievances, and right to peacefully assemble.
Planned Regime Change in Iran and Syria - by Stephen Lendman
Plans are longstanding. Timing alone isn’t known. Signs suggest 2012. If sanctions, subversion, cyberwar, and targeted assassinations fail, expect hot conflict to follow.
By John Grant
Hugo Chavez is at it again, sticking his thumb into the eye of the overbearing United States of America. And, true to imperial historical form, the US is playing the outraged hemispherical nanny and blustering back.
Chavez is currently playing a round of the game my-enemy’s-enemy-is-my-friend and is hosting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Caracas. The Iranian president is on a tour of friendly leftist regimes in Latin America, while the leaders of our great nation whistle and look at the ceiling when Israeli agents murder Iranian scientists in broad daylight.
By Michael Collins
"After issuing just eight pardons in his first seven years, Barbour pardoned 208 convicts, 41 of them murderers, sex offenders or child molesters, during his last 48 hours in office." Time Jan 13
It's a big day for murderers in Mississippi, sex offenders and child molesters too! Just before leaving office, Republican Governor Haley Barbour pardoned 208 convicts in a stunning act of candor and honesty in behalf of the party and system he has served so well. (Image)
Tired of the same old script featuring religious values and law and order year in and year out by politicians you just know are lying? Your search for honesty is over. Haley Barbour is the poster boy for the culture of death that pervades the political leadership.
Why would Barbour do such a thing? In his own words, he told us: "I have no question in my mind that these men have repented, have been redeemed, have come back hard working to prepare themselves to go out into the world…" CNN Jan 13
Go out in the world and do what? Murder, maim, commit sexual assaults against children and adults?