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Civil Rights / Liberties
By Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia loves to brag about it’s ‘Firsts,’ citing such notable things as the nation’s first capital (1774), America’s first zoo (1874) and the birthplace of the world’s first digital computer ENIAC (1946).
There is one ‘First’ that will never appear in slick tourist handouts from the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau though, and that’s the city’s first air raid on May 13, 1985, when the city deliberately bombed an occupied house containing children, sparking a deadly firestorm.
A bomb dropped on an American city by that city’s own police force?
Yes, a bomb made with hi-explosive military C-4 and powerful Tovex dropped by Philadelphia police from a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter onto the roof of 6221 Osage Ave., located in West Philadelphia just blocks from the University of Pennsylvania – considered America’s ‘First’ university.
Michael Munk commented on the article below:
With Obama's escalating pandering to the Right, it's clear that the "Progressive" wing of the Dems has no influence on him. I suggest his political reasoning is impeccable: most of the "progressive caucus" has gone along with: his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the health "reform" giveaway to the insurance industry, his war on civil liberties, and now this Supreme Court nomination that everyone agrees shifts the Court ever further to the Right. So why should he pay any attention to those of his supporters who have demonstrated they have no where else to go?
If President Obama has his way, Elena Kagan will replace John Paul Stevens -- and the Supreme Court will move rightward. The nomination is very disturbing, especially because it's part of a pattern.
The White House is in the grip of conventional centrist wisdom. Grim results stretch from Afghanistan to the Gulf of Mexico to communities across the USA.
"It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills," President Obama said in support of offshore oil drilling, less than three weeks before the April 20 blowout in the Gulf. "They are technologically very advanced."
On numerous policy fronts, such conformity to a centrist baseline has smothered hopes for moving this country in a progressive direction. Now, the president has taken a step that jeopardizes civil liberties and other basic constitutional principles.
"During the course of her Senate confirmation hearings as Solicitor General, Kagan explicitly endorsed the Bush administration's bogus category of 'enemy combatant,' whose implementation has been a war crime in its own right," University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle noted last month. "Now, in her current job as U.S. Solicitor General, Kagan is quarterbacking the continuation of the Bush administration's illegal and unconstitutional positions in U.S. federal court litigation around the country, including in the U.S. Supreme Court."
Boyle added: "Kagan has said 'I love the Federalist Society.' This is a right-wing group; almost all of the Bush administration lawyers responsible for its war and torture memos are members of the Federalist Society."
The departing Justice Stevens was a defender of civil liberties. Unless the Senate refuses to approve Kagan for the Supreme Court, the nation's top court is very likely to become more hostile to civil liberties and less inclined to put limits on presidential power.
Here is yet another clear indication that progressives must mobilize to challenge the White House on matters of principle. Otherwise, history will judge us harshly -- and it should. Read more.
Do the 'Torture Lawyers' Have Guilty Minds?: A Response to Jens Ohlin
By John T. Parry, Lewis & Clark Law School | Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 51, pp. 23-34, 2010
Abstract: In this paper, written for the Harvard International Law Journal Online, I respond to Jens Ohlin's important article, "The Torture Lawyers," which provides a forceful argument for the accomplice liability of Office of Legal Counsel attorneys who wrote legal opinions that facilitated coercive interrogation, including torture. The thrust of my response is to question the version of accomplice liability that Ohlin uses and to suggest that federal government lawyers who wrote opinions on the legality of coercive interrogation may have a viable mens rea failure of proof defense to criminal charges that are based on being accomplices to torture. I also suggest that the availability of such a defense is a direct consequence of the U.S. Senate's decision to require specific intent for the crime of torture, and I propose amending federal law to lower the mens rea to knowledge or general intent.
Read article in attached PDF, below right.
The public safety exception lets law enforcement officers question suspects on potential threats before giving a “Miranda warning” advising them of their rights to remain silent and to have legal counsel.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the White House is working with Congress on giving federal officials more flexibility in questioning terror suspects, calling it a “new priority” for President Barack Obama.
“We want the public safety exception to be consistent with the public safety concerns that we now have,” Holder said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. The top U.S. law enforcement official earlier said on ABC’s “This Week” that Congress needs to give “serious consideration” to revising the guidelines. Read more of the Bloomsberg Business Week article.. Click "Read more" below right to read excerpted portion of ABC This Week transcript.
New Analysis Of 40-Year-Old Recording Of Kent State Shootings Reveals That Ohio Guard Was Given An Order To Prepare To Fire
The Ohio National Guardsmen who fired on students and antiwar protesters at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 were given an order to prepare to shoot, according to a new analysis of a 40-year-old audio tape of the event.
"Guard!" says a male voice on the recording, which two forensic audio experts enhanced and evaluated at the request of The Plain Dealer. Several seconds pass. Then, "All right, prepare to fire!"
"Get down!" someone shouts urgently, presumably in the crowd. Finally, "Guard! . . . " followed two seconds later by a long, booming volley of gunshots. The entire spoken sequence lasts 17 seconds.
The previously undetected command could begin to explain the central mystery of the Kent State tragedy - why 28 Guardsmen pivoted in unison atop Blanket Hill, raised their rifles and pistols and fired 67 times, killing four students and wounding nine others in an act that galvanized sentiment against the Vietnam War.
The order indicates that the gunshots were not spontaneous, or in response to sniper fire, as some have suggested over the years.
"I think this is a major development," said Alan Canfora, one of the wounded, who located a copy of the tape in a library archive in 2007 and has urged that it be professionally reviewed. "There's been a grave injustice for 40 years because we lacked sufficient evidence to prove what we've known all along - that the Ohio National Guard was commanded to kill at Kent State on May 4, 1970." Read more.
The CIA - Murdering the Truth: A Terrible Mistake – The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments
The CIA - Murdering the Truth
“A Terrible Mistake – The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments”
By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
They did experiments on children in orphanages. Some never recovered. Most would be impacted all of their lives, haunted by fear and subject to the physical effects of what they endured. The same government agency drugged unsuspecting adults prepared only for a casual social evening,invited there expecting friendship. They ignored all standards of decent personal behavior, endangering and killing as it suited them. They cloaked themselves in the authority of government. Entrusted to spend billions with no accounting of the funds they showed no sign of conscience, no remorse.
The echo of voices filled with terror, now long dead and silenced, reverberate through the pages of, “A Terrible Mistake – The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments,” as the dispassionate voice of author Hank Albarelli lifts the long hidden history of CIA experiments on unsuspecting Americans into the light of day.
The book, 900 pages, which hefts and reads like a Stephen King novel, leaves the reader uncomfortably aware they have been living a fantasy, now ending.
This is a book you need to read.
The story is framed around the death of Frank Olson, a bacteriologist who had been working for ten years at Camp Detrick at the time of his death. Explained as a suicide after he plunged ten stories from his room at the Statler Hotel in New York City on November 28, 1953 to die horribly, broken but still trying to speak, you learn through the meticulous detailing of events Olson was actually murdered by paid assassins working for the CIA because of remarks made about his work.
Olson wanted to leave his job. He wanted to become a dentist. The CIA made sure that could not happen.
Olson himself probably witnessed the drugging with LSD of an entire town in France. Pont-Saint-Esprit and it was likely his comments on the incident which eventually motivated the CIA to silence him.
Albarelli's search for the truth takes you on a tour through the horror house being built by the CIA in its search for weapons intended to provide seemingly limitless options for death, control, and destruction. In this pursuit a burgeoning proliferation of weapons which, in common, were used covertly in acts of war carried out in times of peace, were originated. These included biological weapons crafted to impact specific categories of individuals and may well have included the AIDS virus. Read Albarelli's article on the likely source of AIDS.
NEW YORK – Four reporters have been banned from future military commissions proceedings for reporting the name of a military interrogator who was set to testify in the pre-trial hearings of Guantánamo detainee Omar Khadr. Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald, Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Sun, Paul Koring of the Globe and Mail and Steven Edwards of the National Post included the name of the interrogator in coverage of the Khadr trial. The identity of the interrogator had already been disclosed in previous news reports, including an on-the-record interview the interrogator gave to Shephard in 2008.
Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director:
And of course, we have George W. Bush, a big-government conservative, who curiously wins, as Bovard notes, a 57 percent approval rating from the “small government” Tea Partiers. Yet in parallel with his war on terror, domestic spending increased more than any president since Lyndon Johnson, and he dramatically increased executive power to near tyrannical proportions by illegally using torture, wiretapping, and indefinite detentions without trial.
As Bovard notes, Tea Partiers are right-wing Obama-haters rather than liberty-lovers. And like their icon Sarah Palin, they seem proudly ignorant of history.
In an astute op-ed piece in the Christian Science Monitor, James Bovard points out that the love of liberty by the Tea Party crowd usually takes a backseat to a hatred of President Obama and the Left. After attending a tax day Tea Party event in Rockville, Md., a suburb of the nation’s capital, Bovard reported that the Tea Partiers oppose big government from the Left but not from the Right. Big government from the Right usually involves warfare and its accompanying enhanced police powers at home, which usually severely erode the liberty Tea Partiers claim to stand for. For example, the tea sippers extended their pinkies in a salute to torture, harsh policies toward Iran, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They didn’t seem to mind the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping and vacuuming up of ordinary Americans’ phone calls either, according to Bovard.
Yet of all the causes of big government in human history, warfare is the most important. The nation-state originally came into being because wars had become too expensive for mere kingdoms to handle.
And then the welfare state followed the warfare state. In fact, a militaristic conservative, Otto von Bismarck, created the first modern welfare state in Germany in the latter part of the 19th century.
In American history too, welfare has followed warfare. The roots of the Social Security system were planted with pensions for Civil War veterans. The progressive movement—with its counterproductive regulations on business that hurt the consumers it was trying to help—followed the Spanish-American colonial war. Read more.
In a 74 to 37 vote, House lawmakers narrowly overrode Gov. Mark Sanford's veto of the warrant-less search bill Wednesday.
That means law enforcement will soon be able to search those on probation and parole without a warrant.
Earlier this month, the Senate overrode the veto, meaning the bill can now become law. The bill applies to the bodies and vehicles of those on probation and parole but not their homes.
Velvet Revolution's Stop the Chamber Announces Launch of "Protect Our Elections" Campaign | Press Release | April 30, 2010
Watchdog Groups Applaud The DISCLOSE Act As An Important Step To Mitigate The Corrosive Influence Of Corporations On Our Elections
Yesterday, a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives, led by Charles Schumer and Chris Van Hollen, introduced legislation to mitigate the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which overturned 100 years of precedent by ruling that corporations can spend unlimited funds to influence elections.
The DISCLOSE Act (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections), when passed, will help ensure that the candidates who win American elections are those who receive the most votes from citizens rather than those who receive the most money from Big Business.
“Every American has seen this year that corporations cannot be trusted to serve the best interests of the people, with Wall Street ripoffs, worker deaths, bank failures and massive executive salaries,” said StopTheChamber.com spokesman and attorney Kevin Zeese. “Corporate robber barons, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have said that they will spend more than $100 million to elect Congress Members this year who will do their bidding. This corruption of elections is opposed by the vast majority of Americans. The DISCLOSE Act will require disclosure about corporate advertising, create stand-by-your ad requirements for CEOs, and bar foreign corporations with domestic subsidiaries, federal contractors and TARP recipients from spending their money on elections. This is a much needed first step toward returning honesty to our democracy.”
StopTheChamber.com will be launching a new campaign in the coming days called Protect Our Elections that will not only bring massive grassroots support to pass the DISCLOSE Act, but also to pass a whole host of pending election protection legislation, including anti-caging, anti-purging, provisional ballot counting, anti-deceptive practices, and felon enfranchisement. Passage of these bills will protect millions of existing voters and allow millions of new voters to participate in our elections.
“After more than a decade of assaults on our elections, we are fighting back with demands for transparency, honesty, and fairness,” said Zeese. “We will no longer allow corporations or partisans to run our elections with secret money or secret software that counts the votes. These are direct threats to our democracy that we are confronting, once and for all.”
Dear Election Integrity Colleagues,
You may have been hearing about some of our changes.
- We have reorganized. We are re-energized.
- Our work in the field has continued, with our ongoing projects and with some new ones as well.
- We are poised to undertake additional projects as new elections approach.
- We look forward to collaborating with many of you again, and working with many of you we haven’t worked with yet.
- EDA has reorganized. We have a new Executive Director, Jonathan Simon, and new Co-Director Sally Castleman, both co-founders of EDA. Their commitment to this work began more than six years ago. Dan Ashby is no longer with EDA. We thank him for his many contributions to this work.
Several new leaders have joined our efforts, including Ramon Sevilla, a long-time leader in the Latin-American community, and Professor Harold Lecar of UCBerkeley, who has contributed some outstanding analyses of election data.
- EDA’s work in the field has continued. Our leaders continue important work in Arizona, New York, California, Texas and New Hampshire. We have also begun to focus on the electoral situation in Massachusetts, where the recent Special Election for US Senate was beset with anomalies and demonstrably among the most “faith-based” election in US history.
- We are in the midst of planning and undertaking new projects as well. We are also updating our website to be simpler and more user-friendly. Please bear with us through the transition. If any of you would like to work with us, updating the front–page news or other web features, please write to Nancy Tobi at email@example.com. If you wish to work with us in other ways, please contact Marj Creech at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We are open to hearing about your work and how we may support you or collaborate in any way. There is more than enough work for all of us, but working together, sharing experiences and sharing resources can be to the benefit of all.
We welcome your ideas, comments, support – indeed your input of all kinds. If you wish to comment, please write to Sally at email@example.com. Achieving open and transparent vote-counting is of vital importance to all of us and to the survival of our democracy. The resistance, as we have seen, is astonishing. So must be our effort and our determination.
The EDA National Leadership Team:
Good News! Due to the success of an action taken by hundreds of activists in solidarity with Richmond May Day 2010 through a 24 hour letter writing campaign, with over 350 signatures, targeting Police Chief Bryan T. Norwood (Richmond City Chief of Police) and Mayor Dwight C. Jones (Richmond City Mayor) we were granted a permit allowing the use of the street to march.
The letter was concerning their requirement that organizers be responsible for the hiring of off duty police officers, an infringement on our First Amendment Right to free speech and freedom of assembly. Without all of your diligent solidarity and action including the experience and advising efforts of the Virginia ACLU and Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, we have avoided a potentially dangerous situation. The city has granted two police vehicles at no cost to the organizers as an escort to Richmond May Day Parade 2010.
We still plan to work closely with the ACLU from this point forward to insure that anyone else who wishes to exercise their First Amendment Rights may do so without the deterrent of any government ordinance requiring payment to do so.
Richmond May Day Organizing Committee 2010
BROOKLYN HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS ENERGIZE THE GRANDMOTHERS AGAINST THE WAR VIGIL AT ROCKEFELLER CENTER
By Joan Wile
Don't despair, folks. All our young people are not indifferent to the fact that the United States is still engaged in reprehensible occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. We anti-war grandmothers had heartening proof of this yesterday, April 27, when 20 African-American and Latino Brooklyn high school seniors joined our Grandmothers Against the War vigil at Rockefeller Center.
These teens from the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, every single one college-bound, were led on a field trip to our protest by their outstanding teacher, Stephen Simons, and his co-teacher, Jacques Hoffman. The class is entitled Social Economics -- they had been studying the economics of warfare, and came to us for a little enlightenment and, we hope, inspiration. To say we were knocked out by the fact that such a class is in a high school curriculum is an understatement, and the teachers are to be highly commended.
In our six and a half years conducting the vigil, we had often bemoaned the fact that American youths, unlike those during the Vietnam War, seemed oblivious to a crisis we believe is of the utmost urgency to them. After intermingling with these wonderful young people, however, we feel a little more hopeful.
We are well aware that the draft is largely what drew our youth to the anti-Vietnam war movement in the 60's and 70's. They felt threatened, of course, as well they should have. Without a draft in the current combustible circumstances, however, somehow young people feel immune to the dangers confronting them, not only the potential for their someday having to fight in the military, but the effects the wars have on their lives in very immediate terms. They are largely unaware of the relationship between the huge costs of war and the lack of funds for education, health care, and, so important for their eventual lives after school, jobs.
But, not these kids. Mr. Simons and Mr. Hoffman have educated them well in the economics of war. The underlying emphasis of the class is to consider the old dilemma -- guns or butter. To help them draw conclusions in that regard, they've been made aware of the enormous part of the budget delegated for the wars, and they know the impact of military spending on their own Brooklyn community. They've learned that according to the National Priorities Project, $88,000 of Brooklyn taxpayer money goes to the war in Afghanistan every hour.
JURIST Contributing Editor Marjorie Cohn of Thomas Jefferson School of Law says that Arizona's new immigration legislation - requiring law enforcement officers to stop everyone whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is an undocumented immigrant and arrest them if they fail to produce their papers - demeans us all by effectively legalizing racial profiling...
The conservative “states’ rights” mantra sweeping our country has led to one of the most egregious wrongs in recent U.S. history. New legislation in Arizona requires law enforcement officers to stop everyone whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is an undocumented immigrant and arrest them if they fail to produce their papers. What constitutes “reasonable suspicion”? When asked what an undocumented person looks like, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed SB 1070 into law last week, said, “I don’t know what an undocumented person looks like.” The bill does not prohibit police from relying on race or ethnicity in deciding who to stop. It is unlikely that officers will detain Irish or German immigrants to check their documents. This law unconstitutionally criminalizes “walking while brown” in Arizona.
Former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods explained to Brewer that SB 1070 would vest too much discretion in the state police and lead to racial profiling and expensive legal fees for the state. But the governor evidently succumbed to racist pressure as she faces a reelection campaign. Woods said, “[Brewer] really felt that the majority of Arizonans fall on the side of, ‘Let’s solve the problem and not worry about the Constitution.’” The polls Brewer apparently relied on, however, employed questionable methodology and were conducted before heavy media coverage of the controversial legislation. No Democrats and all but one Republican Arizona legislator voted for SB 1070.
Undocumented immigrants in Arizona now face six months in jail and a $500 fine for the first offense – misdemeanor trespass – and an additional $1,000 fine for the second offense, which becomes a felony. Read more.
On April 20, Reuters headlined, "Arizona passes tough illegal immigration law," saying:
State lawmakers "passed a controversial immigration bill on Monday (April 19) requiring police in the state (to) determine if people are in the United States illegally, a measure critics say is open to racial profiling."
Called "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act," the Arizona House and Senate passed it, sending it to Governor Jan Brewer who signed it on April 23 to make it Arizona law.
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) works for "a just immigration and refugee policy in the United States (for) all immigrants, regardless of immigration status....advocating for their full labor, environmental, civil and human rights."
"We are ALL Arizona," it said before the bill became law. "Stop the Criminalization of Immigrants, End Racial Profiling! Tell AZ Governor to Veto (this) Anti-Immigrant Bill," saying:
"The Arizona State Legislature just passed a law (SB 1070) that legalizes unchecked racial profiling by police of anyone they 'suspect' is undocumented. It would criminalize all undocumented immigrants as 'trespassers' and subject them to misdemeanor or, in some cases, felony charges for a new 'trespass' crime."
In a letter to Governor Brewer urging her veto, NNIIR said:
"If you sign SB 1070 into law, you will make Arizona a police state unprecedented in modern US history.
UW Campus Antiwar Network: Antiwar panel scheduled for Monday at 7:00 at Memorial Union featuring activist Cindy Sheehan cancelled by union staff due to "security concerns" | Wis Politics | Press Release
Note to Attendees: Event attendees are set to meet at the front steps of the Union at 6:45 PM, and from there, the panel will either be held there, in the Union lobby, or in Lakefront on Langdon in the Union.
To Members of the Press:
An antiwar panel sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Havens Center, Campus Antiwar Network, Middle East Interest Group, and the Wisconsin Union Directorate's Society and Politics Committee and scheduled for Monday, April 26 at 7:00 PM in Memorial Union has been cancelled by the Union Building/Event Management Director, Roger Vogts, due to a last-minute expression of "security concerns" that would accompany antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan's visit. Vogts said that he could not contact security over the weekend because, apparently, phones don't work over the weekend.
On top of that, those organizing the event would have to foot the bill for the security, even though Sheehan never requested security to begin with, and even though no organizations involved with this event had enough money to foot the expensive bill this late in the game, either.
The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear, in its Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (505 U.S. 123, 1992) decision, that "Speech cannot be financially burdened, any more than it can be punished or banned, simply because it might offend a hostile mob" (emphasis mine). Since the Union's Central Reservations presides over a viewpoint-neutral limited public forum at the Union and other facilities, the Union is necessarily bound by the same constitutional demands as the local government in Forsyth County. In other words, it is unconstitutional for any viewpoint-neutral limited public forum to deny any organization their free speech rights on the grounds that they are unable to provide for extra security costs related to the exercise of that free speech.
From A Kinder Gentler Gitmo:
The more humane conditions at Guantánamo reflect the path the Obama administration has chosen to take on national security -- embracing Bush-era policies with minor substantive changes and a dramatic change in tone. This is Bush with a smile. Unsurprisingly, many of the underlying problems remain. The commissions are still operating without a manual providing guidelines on the new military commissions statute, because the Department of Defense has yet to provide one. Guantánamo Bay has not ceased to be the national-security liability and terrorist recruitment bonanza that had everyone from George W. Bush to Gen. David Petraeus arguing that it should be closed. While torture and inhumane treatment at Guantánamo have been banned by Obama's executive order, the defining injustice of Gitmo -- the indefinite imprisonment of individuals without trial or charge -- remains. Communal living and art classes won't change that.
Jan. 21, 2010, will go down as a dark day in the history of U.S. democracy, and its decline.
On that day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government may not ban corporations from political spending on elections—a decision that profoundly affects government policy, both domestic and international.
The decision heralds even further corporate takeover of the U.S. political system.
To the editors of The New York Times, the ruling “strikes at the heart of democracy” by having “paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding.”
The court was split, 5-4, with the four reactionary judges (misleadingly called “conservative”) joined by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. selected a case that could easily have been settled on narrow grounds and maneuvered the court into using it to push through a far-reaching decision that overturns a century of precedents restricting corporate contributions to federal campaigns. Read more.
ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2010) — As airport security employees scan luggage for a large variety of banned items, they may miss a deadly box cutter if they find a water bottle first.
According to new research at Duke University, identifying an easy-to-spot prohibited item such as a water bottle may hinder the discovery of other, harder-to-spot items in the same scan.
Missing items in a complex visual search is not a new idea: in the medical field, it has been known since the 1960s that radiologists tend to miss a second abnormality on an X-ray if they've found one already. The concept -- dubbed "satisfaction of search" -- is that radiologists would find the first target, think they were finished, and move on to the next patient's X-ray.
Go Ahead and Kill Americans, But Don't Dare Search the Pockets on the Corpses Unless You've Got a Warrant
As a matter of U.S. law, had the administration wanted merely to listen to Awlaki's cellphone conversations or read his e-mails, it would have needed to check with another branch of government — the judiciary. But to target him for death, the executive branch appears to have acted alone.
It adds up to this: Awlaki's right to privacy exceeds his right to life.
Since when has the fate of an American citizen — his privacy, his liberty, his life — rested solely within the hands of the executive branch of government?
By David Swanson
Franz Kafka's book "The Trial" begins "Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning." There follow many thousands of words describing the ordeal of someone denied the right to know the charges against him, to face his accusers, to be given a fair and speedy trial by a jury of his peers, and so forth. We have read thousands of stories of such "Kafkan" experiences since the advent of the Global War of Terror. But we need a different kind of story now.
Stock deals are rigged for insiders. Big money runs Congress. And we've gone to war based on a series of calculated lies.
Are you willing to accept the fact that our elections are subject to the same type of corruption?
If you are, then Proving Election Fraud by Richard Charnin pulls back the curtain and exposes the pattern of election fraud over the past four decades. It's not a mystery when your look at the numbers and check them against multiple public sources. The information is all there - if the experts care to look.
Charnin is the widely known internet poster using the name TruthIsAll. He was the first to discover the glaring discrepancies in the 2004 election results shortly after the polls closed. His internet posts on the mathematical impossibility of a Bush victory were critical in fueling the doubts about that election and those that followed.
His many posts are the basis for a consistent narrative and argument using a clearly outlined and heavily quantified analysis. The result is a wealth of information about how elections really work and a methodology (the True Vote Model) that allows the interested reader to check the official results of any national or state election.
Charnin's straightforward style fits his subject matter. For example, early on he makes a powerful point, one of many that appear throughout the book:
"Simple mathematics proves that the 1968, 1988, 2004 and 2008 elections were fraudulent. The returning voter mix required for the Final Exit Poll to match the recorded vote was not just implausible -- it was impossible. In each election, more voters from the prior election returned to vote than were alive. The fact that they were returning Nixon, Bush 1 and Bush 2 voters cannot just be a coincidence. The statistical anomaly has no rational explanation other than election fraud." (p.52)
When the official victory margin includes dead voters and excludes uncounted votes, it's more than reasonable to assume election fraud. Read more.
Westchester County residents who were arrested at West Point in 2004 for protesting the Iraq War are today filing an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit seeking to overturn a jury verdict in July 2009 that supported the Garrison Commander and Facilities Manager who expelled them from Hollender Center, had them arrested and then barred them from West Point for five years.
The appeal challenges US District Judge Stephen Robinson's March 31,2010 rejection of an appeal by the protesters to either overturn the verdict or order a new trial.
Diversity dead-end: Inclusiveness without accountability
By Robert Jensen
After a recent talk on racism and other illegitimate hierarchies at a diversity conference in Dallas, I received a letter from one of the people who had attended that asked “why you feel it necessary to perpetuate and even exacerbate the divisiveness of language when addressing a group of people assembled to learn how to live better together and be more accepting of differences?” He suggested that by being so sharply critical, I was part of the problem not the solution.
Calls for diversity and inclusiveness from people with privilege (such as a white man with a professional job living in the United States) are meaningful only when we are willing to address the systems and structures of power in which inequality and discrimination are rooted. But because such a critique strikes many people as too radical, crafting a response to those who want to avoid that analysis is crucial to the struggle for progressive social change. Below is my letter to him.
Dear ____: Thanks for the note and the challenge to my presentation. It’s clear we disagree, and getting clearer about where we differ is important.
First, I disagree with your suggestion that we should not assess blame for existing patterns of racial inequality and injustice, though I would substitute the word “accountability” for “blame.” I can’t imagine how we could move forward on any question of injustice without holding those responsible for the injustice accountable, which means holding ourselves accountable. This reflects a basic moral principle -- those who inflict injuries, or turn away when they see others inflicting injuries, must be accountable for their behavior.
To recognize the injustice, as you do, but then demand that we ignore the patterns at the root of the injustice in order to reach a state of inclusiveness is counterproductive. That simply allows people in positions of power and privilege to escape accountability, which inevitably places the political and psychological burdens on those with less power and privilege. That’s simply not fair.
Supreme Court Overturns Law Banning Depictions of Animal Cruelty
Justices Vote 8 to 1 in Dogfighting Video Case, Call Law 'Substantially Overbroad'
By Ariane de Vogue | ABC News
The Supreme Court today invalidated a federal law that had criminalized the sale of certain depictions of animal cruelty, including violent dogfighting videos.
An 8-1 majority on the Court said that the law was "substantially overbroad, and therefore invalid under the First Amendment," affirming the right of free speech in the face of some government-imposed restrictions.
The government had argued that showing animals being mutilated, tortured or killed was so explicit that it should be banned. But today Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said "We disagree."
"The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs," Roberts said. Read more.
Dorothy Height was born on the same day as my father (March 24). I'm not sure if that means anything, but it sure feels significant to me. Like my father, Height has had a dramatic influence on how I see the world, and what it means to have courage. She was accepted to Barnard College (the sister school for Columbia University), but not allowed to attend the school because they'd already accepted their two black students for the year. When my goddaughter takes it for granted that she attends Barnard today, I remind her of the struggles of Dorothy Height.
Barnard eventually apologized to Height for not admitting her to the university, but some apologies come entirely too late. By the age of 68, Dorothy had reached retirement age: too old to attend Barnard, but still young and restless in her tireless quest for social justice. Her journey for justice would continue another 30 years after the 1980 apology by the university. This reminds us that it's never too late for us to start changing the world, and the best time to start that process is now.
Representing the beauty of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc, Height served as president of the organization for over a decade. She also advised kings and queens in America, standing next to Dr. Martin Luther King in addition to Eleanor Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson. She reminded Eisenhower that black kids should be allowed to attend the same schools as whites, and helped President Johnson understand that black women deserve to serve at the highest levels of government. Read more.
Hundreds of times in the next two weeks, the filing says, the program did its job each time it was turned on: A tiny camera atop the laptop snapped a photo, software inside copied the laptop screen image, and a locating device recorded the Internet address - something that could help district technicians pinpoint where the machine was.
The system was designed to take a new picture every 15 minutes until it was turned off.
The system that Lower Merion school officials used to track lost and stolen laptops wound up secretly capturing thousands of images, including photographs of students in their homes, Web sites they visited, and excerpts of their online chats, says a new motion filed in a suit against the district.
More than once, the motion asserts, the camera on Robbins' school-issued laptop took photos of Robbins as he slept in his bed. Each time, it fired the images off to network servers at the school district.
Back at district offices, the Robbins motion says, employees with access to the images marveled at the tracking software. It was like a window into "a little LMSD soap opera," a staffer is quoted as saying in an e-mail to Carol Cafiero, the administrator running the program.
"I know, I love it," she is quoted as having replied. Read more.