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Talk Nation Radio: Cindy Sheehan on the Venezuelan Constitution as a Model for the United States

Cindy Sheehan discusses the new Venezuelan Constitution as a model for reforming the U.S. Constitution in the direction of greater democratic and economic rights, as well as the politics of Hugo Chavez, and her new book, Revolution: A Love Story.  Cindy Sheehan is a leading U.S. peace actvist, a gold star mother, an author, blogger, and radio host.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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The Nakba: Before and After

  The Nakba: Before and After

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

May 15 marks Israel's 64th independence day. This year's Jewish calendar commemorated it on April 25. 

 

For Palestinians, May 15 represents 64 years of Nakba suffering. Survivor testimonies bare witness. No words adequately explain their catastrophe. An unnamed Jew said:

Hunger Strike Aftermath

  Hunger Strike Aftermath

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

As they say, it's not over 'till it's over. Palestinian prisoners have been mass hunger striking since April 17. Others began earlier. Some hadn't eaten for two months or longer.

 

US/Israeli Special Relationship

  US/Israeli Special Relationship

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Strategic interests largely benefitting Israel, not shared values, are at issue. Washington doesn't provide the Jewish state more aid than all other nations combined because of historic binding ties.

 

Hunger Strike Ends

  Hunger Strike Deal

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestinian hunger strikers redefined courage. Mass willingness to die for justice is unprecedented. 

 

On May 13, they reiterated their dignity or death steadfastness. More on that below.

 

Warmonger and Fearmonger Dianne Feinstein Lives to Spout Another Day

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein is a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. She voted for the Patriot Act and has voted for it again every time its reauthorization has come up. Likewise, she has consistently voted against requiring FISA court warrants before the government wiretaps Americans at home or abroad.

So it should come as no surprise that she favors TSA procedures.

FBI Wants Greater Surveillance Powers

  FBI Wants Greater Surveillance Powers

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

FBI Director Robert Mueller wants Congress to enact greater surveillance powers following the false flag underwear bomb plot blamed on Al Qaeda.

 

Israeli and Palestinian Protests

  Israeli and Palestinian Protests

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Mass Palestinian prisoner hunger strikes continue. Freedom, dignity, and respect for their rights are at issue. Strikers want horrific Israeli prison abuses ended. More on that below.

 

White House & Dems Back Banks over Protests: Newly Discovered Homeland Security Files Show Feds Central to Occupy Crackdown

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.

 

Iran War Weekly - May 13, 2012

IranWar Weekly

May 13, 2012

Hello All – With talks between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) and Iran scheduled to resume on May 23, the media blackout on the negotiating strategies and changes (if any) in the positions of the several parties to the negotiations has been nearly complete.  As indicated in a statement by the P5+1 chief negotiator Catherine Ashton, “the West” still approaches the issue as one of eliminating an already existing Iran nuclear weapons program, while Iran maintains that its program is for peaceful purposes, and that it has the right to enrich uranium to accomplish this.

Fabricating Lies to Wage War on Iran

  Fabricating Lies to Wage War on Iran

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Turning Iran into a reliable pro-Western puppet state is a long-sought US goal. All options are considered, including war.

 

Waging Total War on Islam

  Waging Total War on Islam

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton said that's where the money is. Washington targets the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia because it's where most proved oil and gas reserves are.

 

Gory Glory at Fordham Commencement (Be There, If You Can)

Honoring a ‘Terror War’ Architect

May 12, 2012

Editor Note: In this season of graduations – and the rush to bestow honorary degrees on the “great and powerful” – one ironic moment will play out at Fordham University, where Jesuits are giving top billing among its honorees to White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan, notes Fordham grad (and ex-CIA analyst) Ray McGovern.

 

By Ray McGovern

Even Star Spangled War Is Hell

Originally published in the Indypendent Reader

In this bicentennial year of the War of 1812, the StarSpangledBaltimore.com website tells us:
Star-Spangled Banner Sheet Music
"The War of 1812 represents what many see as the definitive end of the American Revolution. A new nation, widely regarded as an upstart, successfully defended itself against the largest, most powerful navy in the world during the maritime assault on Baltimore and Maryland. America's victory over Great Britain confirmed the legitimacy of the Revolution."
 
But the revolution had ended three decades before 1812, and the choice to launch a new war was made by the U.S. government in Washington, D.C.
 
In the lead-up to the War of 1812, the British and Americans exchanged attacks along the Canadian border and in the open seas. Native Americans also exchanged attacks with U.S. settlers, although who was invading whom is a question we've never wanted to face.  But the choice to launch a full-scale war was not made by the "largest, most powerful navy in the world"; it was made by the national government that we now depict as fighting defensively in Baltimore.
 
Maritime offenses, skirmishes, and trade disagreements can be resolved diplomatically, continued at the same low level, or expanded into much more massive killing and destruction.  These are options our government still faces today.  In 1812, the choice of war resulted in the burning of our national capital, the death in action of some 3,800 U.S. and British fighters, and the death of 20,000 U.S. and British from all causes, including disease.  About 76 were killed in the Battle of Baltimore, plus another 450 wounded.  Nowadays an incident in Baltimore that resulted in that kind of carnage would be described with words other than "exciting," "glorious," and "successful."
 
And what was gained that could balance out the damage done?  Absolutely nothing.

Letter to JetBlue about baby “terrorist suspect” by Deborah Newell Tornello

To: corpcomm@jetblue.com

. . . I do not accept the phrase “computer glitch,” which is “the dog ate my homework” of our age . . . .

READ THE WHOLE LETTER HERE.

Brookings: A Reliable Imperial Tool

  Brookings: A Reliable Imperial Tool

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Brookings calls itself a Washington-based NGO "conducting high-quality, independent research" to advance three goals: democracy, economic and social welfare for all, and a "more safe, prosperous and cooperative international system."

 

Hunger Strikes Highlight Israeli Injustice

  Hunger Strikes Highlight Israeli Injustice

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel treats Palestinian prisoners horrifically. Cruel and unusual punishment is policy. Detention conditions include torture, intimidation, and other abusive practices. 

 

Judge Deliberates on Whether to Save Earth's Atmosphere

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins heard the arguments on Friday in Washington, D.C., and is deliberating now on the question of whether young people can sue to compel their government to take serious measures to stop global warming. 

Judge Robert Wilkins is familiar with discrimination, having been the plaintiff in a well-known driving-while-black case of racial profiling in Maryland.  But few of us are familiar with the concept of discrimination against future generations.  We grow easily indignant when living people are unfairly treated.  We grow confused when considering the injustice of depriving our grandchildren of a habitable planet so that we can drive our SUVs and fight our wars.  There's no living person or group of persons we can point to as being wronged, unless perhaps it is the young.

Judge Wilkins is familiar with, and appreciative of, the role federal courts played in the U.S. civil rights movement.  But a case had been made that certain people's Constitutional rights were being violated.  Whose Constitutional rights are violated by condemning young people to grow old on a damaged planet turning to desert and barren rock? 

There may be an answer to that.  The Constitution's purpose is to "insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."  Surely there is a violation of the Constitution in making the earth uninhabitable for our Posterity.  But no court has ever arrived at that conclusion. 

"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person," says the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which under Article VI of the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.  "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family."  How can we protect those rights for everyone, including the young and the not-yet-born, without putting everything we have into trying to preserve a climate in which humans can prosper?  How can the U.S. government fulfill its obligations to Native American nations while finally completing the destruction of their land along with everyone else's?

Courageous young people filed suit a year ago against the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of the Interior, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Commerce, the United States Department of Energy, and the United States Department of Defense.  One would think being sued for ruining the earth's atmosphere with greenhouse gases was not terribly desirable, but there was a mad rush by other parties to be added to the list of defendants.  These additional defendants succeeded in getting themselves added: Delta Construction Company Inc., Dalton Trucking Inc., Southern California Contractors Association Inc., California Dump Truck Owners Association, Engineering & Utility Contractors Association, and The National Association Of Manufacturers.

The National Association of Manufacturers openly claims selfish interests for being involved:

"NAM moved to intervene in this litigation, because the law suit, if successful, would have a dramatic effect on manufacturing processes and investments, increasing production and transportation costs, decreasing global competitiveness and driving jobs and businesses abroad. The litigation, which seeks a minimum 6% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions every year, would be devastating to the entire U.S. economy."

NAM also says:

"The NAM's members include many of the major oil, coal and natural gas producers, petroleum refiners, and petrochemical producers, as well as manufacturing companies that make the tools and components critical to such industries.  Id.  Obviously, immediate reductions—and eventual elimination—of conventional fuel use is a central business concern for these members of the NAM."

So, this was the argument for joining the case: our profits would suffer.  Well, of course, they would.  The government would have to stop giving $11 billion a year or more to fossil fuel companies.  Arguably, the government would have to stop putting over $1 trillion a year into preparation for wars fought largely to secure fossil fuels.  Taxes would have to be imposed on carbon emissions.  But there would also have to be massive public investment in green energy, investment that could help companies become profitable in new ways.  Or it could not.  What's guaranteed is that the current profit-making plans of these companies would suffer, while humanity would benefit.  We're trained to think such conflicts don't exist, that what's good for Exxon-Mobil is good for all of us.  It isn't true.  The oil companies are arguing for the right to ruin the atmosphere.

In Friday's hearing, however, other arguments were advanced.  Three men spoke for the defense, one from the government, one from NAM, and one from the California interveners.  They did not dispute the reality and seriousness of global warming, which James Hansen called "apocalyptic" in Thursday's New York Times.  They did not claim ownership of the sky.  Instead they argued for democracy, the Constitution, the separation of powers, the right of the legislative branch to legislate, and the existence of the EPA as sufficient to answer the plaintiff's claims whether or not the EPA was doing any good. 

It was curious to hear the government's defense of the rights of the legislative branch for a number of reasons.  First, the executive branch in recent years has been rapidly eroding Congress's powers.  Second, the Constitution has been discarded when it comes to Congressional war powers, or habeas corpus, or much of the Bill of Rights.  Third, Congress almost never represents majority opinion in the country on any important issue, but is instead openly working for the legal bribes authorized by the Supreme Court as election spending -- for which the Supreme Court has argued to protect the human rights of corporations.  To pretend that the legislative branch envisioned by the Constitution still exists is bizarre.  Fourth, immediately after the government's lawyer rhetorically asked, "In a democracy whose job is it to take public actions of the first order?" he turned the floor over to the lawyer from NAM.  Where in the Constitution does it assign corporate lobbyists the duty to defend the government against popular petitions for redress of grievances? 

The NAM lawyer said not one word about his clients' profits.  Instead he proposed, among other things, that "national security" might require current levels of C02 emissions.  He was, of course, using a narrow conception of national security.  How secure is a nation that is losing its farmland and coastlines?  But, if the argument was to be made on behalf of the Pentagon, why not let the Pentagon do it?  Why allow the oil barons' hired hand to substitute? 

Julia Olson argued ably for the plaintiffs, citing numerous precedents for her claim that the atmosphere is a public trust and that public trusts must be protected.  As in the on-going struggle over the Supreme Court's pro-bribery Citizens United ruling, the state of Montana is featured in this debate, as the Supreme Court once ruled that Montana had a right to protect its rivers as a public trust, a ruling based on a long legal tradition, but later reversed.

Judge Wilkins asked Olson numerous detailed questions in a lengthy exchange that reviewed many precedents and hypothetical arguments.  Olson pointed to a case that had established a three-judge panel to direct the state of California to reduce its prison population.  The judges had not handled the details of the changes made to California's penal system, but had enforced a level of reduction by a deadline, just as these plaintiffs want CO2 levels in the atmosphere reduced to 350 ppm by a set date.

Olson's co-counsel Philip Gregory brought to Friday's hearing something that was otherwise missing in hours of technical debate: honest passion.  Gregory made a moral as much as a legal case on behalf of the rights of the plaintiffs, a row of several teenagers seated in the front row of the courtroom.

Judge Wilkins argued to Gregory that either he was being asked to tell six government agencies that they were not doing their jobs as required by statute -- in which case, the judge said, such matters could be handled one-at-a-time outside of this lawsuit, or he was being asked to instruct six agencies to act outside of their Congressional mandate.  Gregory's response focused, rightly, on the magnitude and urgency of the crisis we face.

Trying to get courts to do Congress's job may, in fact, not be ideal.  Trying to get state or foreign prosecutors to indict Bush for torture is not ideal.  Pinochet's indictment in Spain was not ideal.  Federal desegregation of Southern states was not ideal.  Protecting voting rights state-by-state is not ideal.  But in an emergency, shouldn't one try the tools that are available? And shouldn't one drop counterproductive pretenses, such as the pretense that a functioning Congress still exists? 

What if the mythical humanized frogs in the pot of gradually warming water -- thousands and thousands of such frogs in a giant pot on a giant stove -- had a frog government?  And what if the frog Congress had been bought off with piles of flies by a frog whose business it was to sell tiny, cold, bottled water to the frogs as they warmed?  If the frog courts decided to leave the decision to hop out of the pot to the frog Congress, they would make the correct decision that would best allow representative frog government in the future.  But would that do anything to guarantee that there would be any future for those frogs?

In case it isn't blatantly obvious, the above and everything else written here is my opinion, not the plaintiffs' legal arguments.  The hearing ran for about three hours, and was all very formal and polite.  Judge Wilkins generously thanked both sides for their "sincerity, diligence, and earnestness." 

"But I would be remiss," he added, "if I did not say that it is a struggle for any judge to determine based on our Constitutional system how best to play the proper role in adjudicating a case like this one.  I don't take the Constitution lightly. . . ."

"That said, it behooves all of us, regardless of the resolution of this case, to really think about what we can do to resolve this very serious problem."

Of course, we aren't all in the same position to do the same amount of good.  By ruling that this case can proceed, Wilkins would open up a public forum on intergenerational justice and a ground-breaking earth-protecting suit that the plaintiffs would be very likely to win.  Future generations would, quite likely, revere the name Robert Wilkins.  His heroism would not be quickly forgotten.

NATO Heads for Chicago

  NATO Heads for Chicago

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A $100 million NATO invasion is coming. Low intensity conflict may follow. The "City of Broad Shoulders" may get more than it bargained for. 

 

Nelson Algren once called Chicago the "City on the Make." NATO's May 20/21 "on the make" invasion isn't welcome.

Activism for Justice

  Activism for Justice

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Activism has many forms. OWS protesters want long denied social change. Palestinians want to live free. So do Bahrainis.

 

Americans Love a Good Killer

 

 

By John Grant

 

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer.
- D.H. Lawrence

The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations … where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket … where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practicing.
- Raymond Chandler
 
 
American pop culture is certainly not unique in having a love affair with killers. Since the first cave man cracked his neighbor’s head open to control a water hole, eliminating others has been top on the list of problem-solving techniques.

Did TSA lie to Congress?

There are several reports out about the fact that the TSA may have deliberately hidden millions of dollars’ worth of unused equipment and lied about it to Congress. Such lying could make TSA officials subject to criminal prosecution.

READ THE REST HERE.

Stop the US Drone War Weekend - 5/18-20, 2012, NYC

Stop the Drone War Weekend @ Fordham & Radio City

 

 

 

  • Friday, May 18 – 5:15 pm. - Gather Main Entrance at 2853 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY.At 6:00 pm.   Archbishop Timothy Dolan will be presenting the Fordham Baccalaureate Mass for the Fordham University Commencement for the Class of 2012. Urge Archbishop Dolan to speak out against the drones controlled out of Hancock Air Base in Syracuse, NY, which is part of his eccelesiastical province.

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    Protest Obama's Commencement Address at Banard College, NYC, 5/14/2012

    Protest When Obama Gives Barnard Commencement Address.  Protest the ongoing, escalating and spreading wars!  The commencement starts at 12:30.    It will be held on the South Lawn of the Columbia campus. Meet outside the gates at 116th Street and Broadway.  Sponsored by War Criminals Watch, World Can't Wait and Occupy Harlem.  Contact warcriminalswatch@worldcantwait.org

    When: 5/14/2012

    Colin Powell's Tangled Web

    “I get mad when bloggers accuse me of lying -- of knowing the information was false. I didn’t.” -- Colin Powell.

    Can you imagine having an opportunity to address the United Nations Security Council about a matter of great global importance, with all the world's media watching, and using it to… well, to make shit up – to lie with a straight face, and with a CIA director propped up behind you, I mean to spew one world-class, for-the-record-books stream of bull, to utter nary a breath without a couple of whoppers in it, and to look like you really mean it all? What gall. What an insult to the entire world that would be.

    Colin Powell doesn't have to imagine such a thing. He has to live with it. He did it on February 5, 2003. It's on videotape.

    Guantanamo Show Trial Begins

      Guantanamo Show Trial Begins

     

    by Stephen Lendman

     

    At issue is prosecuting five 9/11 suspects: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM: the alleged mastermind), Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa al Hawsawi. 

     

    Israel: Profile of a Police State

      Israel: Profile of a Police State

     

    by Stephen Lendman

     

    Police states are defined by lawlessness, injustice, and contempt for democratic values.

     

    War Criminals to Meet in Chicago, But Somehow Protest Will be the Danger?

    The NATO International Security Force, which we all know is actually led by the U.S. military, killed a woman and her 5 children in an airstrike in southwestern Afghanistan Sunday, and then yesterday expressed “regret” for what they call their “mistake.”

    Military tribunals, the crowning achievement of a US system of indefinite detention and torture aided by all the NATO countries, and which defense attorneys assert are rigged by the U.S. to assure the execution of 5 men in Guantánamo, have begun, in the process of continuing the unending U.S. war on terror (Carol Rosenberg, Miami Herald May 7:  9/11 defense attorneys call Guantánamo detention, trial rules ‘unjust’).

    Speaking Events

    David Swanson at St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, October 5, 2016.

    David Swanson in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 22, 2016.

    Find Events Here.

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