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Excerpt: Below is the video of my full speech, in which I discussed the serious crisis we now face as our corporate mainstream media hit full fail mode. That point, as I argued, is exemplified by 1) the massive failures of the old "dead tree" media to meet their constitutional responsibilities to help protect the public from bad guys (as illustrated by the NYTime's months of damaging and flagrant misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for months), and 2) the full, rightwing take-over of nearly every inch of the public's broadcast spectrum by a handful of corporations that do not meet their FCC license obligations to manage those airwaves in the public's interest (as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for years).
I also discussed your responsibility in doing something about both of those serious problems! Read more.
Peter Collins' New Podcast Explores Warrantless Wiretapping With Defnedants' Lawyer, CIA Frank Olson On Assassination and Drugs
Peter B. Collins wrote:
A federal judge in San Francisco this week ruled that Bush's domestic wiretap program was clearly illegal. Judge Vaughn Walker, a Republican appointee of Bush I, deftly sidestepped the efforts of the Obama Justice Department to block him from hearing the case, and found the plaintiffs had been illegally surveilled.
Jon Eisenberg is the lawyer for the plaintiffs, and in our interview he compliments Walker for his legal finesse and for finding that his clients--an Islamic charity and its lawyers--were wiretapped in violation of the FISA law. Eisenberg talks about possible appeals and the contradictions of the Obama/Holder policies, and how he and Judge Walker both challenged the government to produce a FISA warrant for the proven wiretapping.
This is the first, and possibly last, legal case on the illegal wiretapping that continues to be euphemistically referred to in the media as "warrentless wiretapping."
You can listen to the podcast and comment here.
The second segment of the podcast is my follow-up interview with journalist H.P. Albarelli, Jr. about his book A Terrible Mistake, which reveals the truth about the murder of CIA scientist Frank Olson and the CIA's use of assassination and drugs, including LSD, going back to the 1950's and '60's.
Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a constitutional bill of rights, states:
"Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association."
Article 7 assures "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and the right not to be deprived thereof in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."
By Dave Lindorff
Back in 2005-06, I wrote a book, The Case for Impeachment, in which I made the argument that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as other key figures in the Bush/Cheney administration--Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales--should be impeached for war crimes, as well as crimes against the Constitution of the United States.
These days, when I mention the book’s title, people sometimes ask, half in jest, whether I’m referring to the current president, Barack Obama.
Sadly, it is time to say, just 14 months into the current term of this new president, that yes, this president, and some of his subordinates, are also guilty of impeachable crimes--including many of the same ones committed by Bush and Cheney.
-I: The Ongoing Theft of Trillions
——-II: Off-the-Books, Off-the-Record
——-III: Osama bin Bank of America
——-IV: New Mafia World Order
——-V: The Goldman Sachs Obama Illusion
——-VI: American Heroes Speak Out on the Financial Reform Ruse
——-VII: Economic Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMDs)
——-VIII: Hank “Pentagon Sachs” Paulson
——-IX: $5.4 Trillion a Year Bullion Market Ponzi Scheme
——-X: Ponzi Nation: Welcome to America, Sucker
——-XI: Economic Shock and Awe
——-XII: Time for a Second American Revolution - The 99% Movement
——-XIII: How You Can Get Involved
Exclusive: FEC commissioner helped RNC conceal role in 2004 vote suppression
Judge found sworn testimony 'belied' the facts
By Brad Jacobson | Raw Story
Caroline Hunter, a Bush-appointed Federal Election Commissioner who remains in office, provided misleading statements under oath in an effort to conceal Republican National Committee involvement in vote suppression activities during the 2004 presidential election, a Raw Story investigation has found.
Legal experts say Hunter's submission of such statements under oath is a serious ethical and professional breach which could warrant a bar review and potential disbarment. At the time, Hunter was serving as deputy counsel to the Republican National Committee.
How a young Republican lawyer became a central witness
In the final days of the 2004 presidential election, the Democratic National Committee files an injunction against the Republican National Committee in New Jersey federal court, alleging its involvement in using lists of returned mail to challenge 35,000 newly registered Ohio voters. This tactic, also known as voter caging, is historically employed to suppress votes from minority and low-income citizens who tend to vote Democratic. Read more.
CCR Challenges Experimental Prison Units that Restrict Communication and Forbid Physical Contact with Family Without Due Process
CCR Challenges Experimental Prison Units that Restrict Communication and Forbid Physical Contact with Family Without Due Process | Press Release
Segregated Federal Units Target Muslims, Activists
March 30, 2010, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit challenging violations of fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to due process, at two experimental federal prison units called “Communications Management Units” (CMUs). The units are being used overwhelmingly to hold Muslim prisoners and prisoners with unpopular political beliefs.
CCR filed Aref v. Holder in the D.C. District Court on behalf of five current and former prisoners of the units in Terre Haute, IN and Marion, IL; two other plaintiffs are the spouses of prisoners. The CMUs were secretly opened under the Bush administration in 2006 and 2007 respectively and were designed to monitor and control the communications of certain prisoners and to isolate them from other prisoners and the outside world.
Transfers to the CMU are not explained; nor are prisoners told how release into less restrictive confinement may be earned as there is no review process. Lawyers say that because these transfers are not based on facts or discipline for infractions, a pattern of religious and political discrimination and retaliation for prisoners’ lawful advocacy has emerged. The five plaintiffs in Aref were designated to the two CMUs despite having relatively or totally clean disciplinary histories, and none of the plaintiffs have received any communications-related disciplinary infractions in the last decade. Several of the plaintiffs expect to serve the entire remaining duration of their sentences at the CMU.
"The gentleman from Ohio — the last man standing on health care, as he put it in this conversation with Esquire.com just before Sunday's vote — reveals the personal moments behind his decision, and how the fate of a nation, if not a presidency, could have turned out a lot differently had he said 'no'".
In all of this work, you’ve helped people in crisis and in need. And, as you have stood by your clients, you have also stood up for, and honored, a basic principle that defines who we are as a nation of laws. As you all know, advancing the cause of justice sometimes means working for the sake of the fairness and integrity of our system of justice. This is why lawyers who accept our professional responsibility to protect the rule of law, the right to counsel, and access to our courts – even when this requires defending unpopular positions or clients – deserve the praise and gratitude of all Americans. They also deserve respect. Those who reaffirm our nation’s most essential and enduring values do not deserve to have their own values questioned. Let me be clear about this: Lawyers who provide counsel for the unpopular are, and should be treated as what they are: patriots.
The principle of equal justice under law inspires this service. And it guides the work of today’s Justice Department. In fact, the Department recently made an historic and permanent commitment to expanding and ensuring access to legal services. As many of you know, on March 1, we launched a landmark Access to Justice Initiative, led by the eminent Harvard Law Professor, Larry Tribe. The idea for this office was simple. Just as you have pro bono initiatives at your firms and corporations, I wanted to be sure that in our house, too, there is a permanent effort to provide access to justice and to continuously enhance the fairness and integrity of our legal system.
President Obama meets with the Congressional Black Caucus under the painting of President Abraham Lincoln.
And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons. (Excerpt from the Emancipation Proclamation.)
We decided that a good place to begin with unified action was to oppose the recent Supreme Court decision allowing corporations unlimited contributions to political candidates.
MICHAEL MOORE: A LOVE STORY
By Joan Wile
If you know the Upper West Side of Manhattan, you know there are probably more progressives per square inch here than in all the 50 states. So, it's no surprise that a big bunch of people showed up this evening at my small one-bedroom apartment in this highly liberal neighborhood to see Michael Moore's masterpiece, "Capitalism: A Love Story."
My event was one of MoveOn's 700 parties nationwide tonight to show the film in an effort to generate grass roots action against some of the evil excesses of capitalism rampant in the United States. These evils are powerfully exposed in Moore's movie -- the foreclosures on people's homes; the cancellation of jobs in order to make way for profits; the practice of taking out insurance on employees unbeknownst to them and then collecting large payments when they die (of which not one cent is shared with the family survivors), and all manner of other immoral practices so harmful to decent working Americans.
Did a White Sheriff and District Attorney Orchestrate a Race-Based Coup in a Northern Louisiana Town?
In the small northeast Louisiana town of Waterproof, the African-American mayor and police chief assert that they have been forced from office and arrested as part of an illegal coup carried out by the region's white political power structure. In a lawsuit filed last week, Police Chief Miles Jenkins describes a wide-ranging conspiracy led by the area’s district attorney and parish sheriff. These charges come at a time of widespread and high-profile racist attacks against the US President and Black members of Congress nationwide, and in a state where white political corruption and violence have been and continue to be used as tools to suppress Black political representation.
About 800 people live in Waterproof, a rural community in Tensas Parish that is 88% African American. Tensas has just over 6,000 residents, making it both the smallest parish in the state, and the parish with the state’s fastest declining population. The area schools remain mostly segregated, with nearly all the Black students attending public schools, and nearly all the white students attending private schools. With a median household income of $10,250, Waterproof is also one of the poorest communities in the US. The only jobs for Black people in town involve working for white farmers, according to Chief Jenkins. “Unless you go out of town to work,” he says, “You’re going to ride the white man’s tractor. That's it.”
Bobby Higginbotham was elected mayor of Waterproof in September of 2006. The next year, he appointed Miles Jenkins as chief of police. Jenkins, who served in the US military for 30 years and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Troy University in Alabama, immediately began the work of professionalizing a small town police department that had previously been mostly inactive. “You called the Waterproof police for help before,” says Chief Jenkins, “He would say, wait ‘til tomorrow, it’s too hot to come out today.” The new mayor also sought to reform the town’s financial practices, which Chief Jenkins says were in disorder and consumed by debt. Read more.
The F Word: Step Toward Justice for Jamie Leigh Jones
By Laura Flanders | Smirking Chimp
Score one for Senator Al Franken.
Thanks to him, Jamie Leigh Jones, a former KBR employee who alleges she was gang raped by her coworkers will get her day in court.
I think we call that equal protection.
In Jones' case, it took an amendment to the 2010 defense appropriations bill. That's right, freshman Franken had to get up and suggest that government shouldn't be in the business of giving rewards -- or government contracts -- to companies that strip their workers of basic Constitutional rights, like the right to a jury trial.
Jones, lest we forget, has testified that she was raped and battered so badly by a group of her co-workers in Iraq that she required reconstructive surgery. Her assailants locked her in a shipping container for 24 hours without food, water, and she has testified before Congress that the company “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job." Read more.
By David Swanson
If you haven't read "A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments," by H.P. Albarelli Jr., I recommend doing so right away. Read every word, cover to cover. You will initially conclude that I, and Albarelli, are crazy. This is the story of one simple murder that asks who done it and doesn't answer the question for over 700 pages, because every time a new character enters the story the author introduces him with background that includes how his grandparents were conceived and where his field of work originated. But there is method to the madness, trust me. Bear with it.
To see the world through Greg Taylor's eyes, imagine being stuck in a time machine for 16 years and delivered to 2010.
Facebook, flat screens and DVDs are all new to him. Relationships that used to come with natural ease seem awkward.
Since 1993, Taylor, now 47, had been locked away in North Carolina's prison system for the murder of a prostitute. Last month, he was exonerated and freed....
Taylor is the first man to be exonerated by a state innocence commission, which makes his case stand out from those of the more than 500 people across the country who have been exonerated by the work of private attorneys, according to the Life After Exoneration program.
The group that freed Taylor, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, was created in 2006 after a succession of wrongful convictions were revealed. It's a one-of-a-kind program with a state-mandated panel that re-examines questionable cases, including those that don't involve DNA evidence like Taylor's.
Other jurisdictions are following North Carolina's lead, looking at creating government agencies to prevent and reverse wrongful convictions. Read more.
Question: Professor, Yoo, I’m going to give you an opportunity to weigh in on some other attorneys’ work.
Yoo: Oh boy.
Q: There was an Op-Ed in last Monday’s Wall St Journal entitled Gitmo’s Indefensible Lawyers co-authored by Debrah Burlingame who is the sister of the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77 which was crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. The op-ed details certain highly unusual behavior by several attorneys representing Gitmo detainees, and now I’ll get to my leading question: Do you believe that some of these defense attorneys rather than representing the finest tradition of the legal profession have crossed over the line from vigorous defense of an odious client, to willful or perhaps naive aiding and abetting of a movement bent on the destruction of Western Civilization?
I cannot claim to be an expert on Stewart Udall, the Arizona Congressman, conservationist, supporter of environmentalist casandra Rachel Carson, and interior secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson who died this week at the age of 90.
I can say, from personal experience, though, that he was a breed apart from the money-grubbing, corporate ass-kissing, Washington cocktail circuit, elitist pigs who have headed up federal government departments in the days and years since Richard Nixon, in 1969, inaugurated the "Imperial Presidency."
Here's a good blog at FireDogLake. But there are additional concerns here:
The executive order here becomes not just another way, like an OLC memo, to unconstitutionally make laws without the legislature, but also now a new form of signing statement, a way to get the legislature to make exactly the law the emperor wants even if the legislature won't do it.
Police in New Jersey arrested a teenager in connection with a public-address-system announcement telling "all blacks" to leave a Wal-Mart store, a police spokesman said.
The 16-year-old boy is from Atlantic County, New Jersey, said deputy police chief John Dalesandro of the Washington Township Police Department. The suspect was arrested Friday in Atlantic County on bias intimidation and harassment charges, police said in a statement Saturday. He is in custody of his parents, police said.
Gloucester County prosecutors say that shortly before 5 p.m. on March 14, an unidentified male accessed the public address system at the Turnersville, New Jersey, Wal-Mart Supercenter Store. "All blacks need to leave the store," the voice announced. Store management contacted the Washington Township Police Department, which opened an investigation in conjunction with the county prosecutor's office, Dalesandro said. Read more.
The American Political Tradition
By Ray McGovern
Text of Ray McGovern’s prepared remarks at rally before John Yoo speaks this afternoon at the University of Virginia:
This morning I was reading the 11th grade AP American History textbook used in my granddaughter here in Charlottesville.
The textbook is titled: "The American Political Tradition and the Men who Made It." The author is Richard Hofstadter; the book has been around since 1948....almost as long as I have been around. It discusses the basics--the assumptions behind American ideals and American politics. It is what I was taught.
What the author is most clear about is the influence of Mr. Jefferson on other distinguished statesmen....including those not privileged to be Virginians — like Abraham Lincoln, who was a real Republican.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the federal government Tuesday to learn the use of unmanned drones for targeted killings by the military and CIA.
“In particular, the lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties and other basic information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings,” the ACLU said in a statement, announcing its action.
The nonprofit civil liberties group filed initial Freedom of Information Act requests with the Defense, Justice and State departments and with the Central Intelligence Agency on Jan. 13. Only the CIA responded, and the ACLU is pursuing that request with an appeal to the agency.
The military and intelligence communities have increasingly relied on Predator and Reaper unmanned drones to capture video imagery and launch deadly missile strikes, particularly lately in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. The Pentagon, especially, continues to purchase more and more drones each year. Read more.
ScienceDaily (Mar. 18, 2010) — All clinical trials have guidelines that clearly state who can and cannot participate, but according to the National Institutes of Health these guidelines are typically based on age, gender, previous treatment history, the type and stage of a disease, and other medically relevant factors. However, researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center have gathered evidence indicating that some trials explicitly exclude individuals based on their sexual orientation. Their findings are published in a research letter appearing in the March 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Please click below to hear democratic consultant Bob Fertik discuss how American democracy is at stake due to the Supreme Court decision to allow unfettered corporate spending, including foreign corporate dollars, on U.S. elections: Listen to Bob Fertik on the Bill Press Show
1. Binding pledges from corporations not to buy or sell election ads
2. Strict laws against election spending by corporations with foreign owners, and by recipients of Federal contracts, bailouts, and subsidies. For other U.S. corporations, shareholders must approve election ads
3. Clean elections through publicly-funded Federal and state campaigns
4. A Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling so Congress and states can outlaw all corporate election spending
By David Swanson
Sunshine Week, according to its website, is "a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public's right to know."
The University of Virginia here in Charlottesville is doing its part by hosting book tour stops for the chief author of the worst secret laws ever established. John Yoo will be speaking at the Miller Center and at an event hosted by the Federalist Society. Yoo will be speaking in support of unlimited presidential power, including the power to create secret laws.
One day after being sworn into office, President Barack Obama instructed federal agencies to ensure government transparency by complying with the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act law....
One year later, Obama's requests for transparency have apparently gone unheeded. In fact a provision in the Freedom of Information Act law that allows the government to hide records that detail its internal decision-making has been invoked by Obama agencies more often in the past year than during the final year of President George W. Bush.
Major agencies cited that exemption to refuse records at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, compared with 47,395 times during President George W. Bush's final full budget year, according to annual FOIA reports filed by federal agencies. Read more.
The Sunlight Foundation, and its Policy Counsel Daniel Schuman, today announced the introduction of POIA — the Public Online Information Act. The Act is proposed Federal legislation that would require government to provide meaningful access to its information online. In the words of its organizational sign-on letter:
The Public Online Information Act requires government information that is public to be made available in the broadest, most accessible manner — online. Our vital public information can enhance accountability, spur commerce, and empower citizenship, but only if we create and require meaningful digital access to it. POIA creates this meaningful access through two mechanisms.
First, POIA mandates that the Executive Branch make public records permanently available on the Internet, with a few exceptions. To coordinate this new mandate, POIA creates new authority within existing structures to strengthen responsibility for transparency.
Second, POIA creates an advisory body of government officials and private citizens to ensure that all three branches of government work together to establish best practices for making this information available online. This special federal advisory committee will coordinate the development of government-wide Internet disclosure policies. Read more.
20 March Peace Demonstrations still on Despite Pre-Protest Suppression of Dissent
By Robert L. Hanafin | Veterans Today
The government and national and local law enforcement agencies are now engaged in a nationally coordinated effort to stamp out the exercise of classic grassroots organizing and dissent against the continued occupation of Iraq and war for Defense Industry profits in Afghanistan.
Protest organizers such as those speaking out below vow to never surrender to this Police State campaign that aims to intimidate and bankrupt the progressive movement. They are fighting back. Most importantly, they continue to mobilize despite police harassment.
They ask for our support by coming to the March 20 demonstrations and by bringing our friends, families, co-workers and fellow students. The voice of dissent will not be silenced.
Last Sunday night, March 6, volunteers in LA were arrested for allegedly putting up three posters announcing the March 20th Peace demonstrations to be held on that area. Peace activists were charged with felony vandalism and kept in jail on $20,000 bail for each of them. Thanks to volunteers coming together, they were able to raise bail money....
In Washington, D.C., Peace activists have also been hit with another wave of fines for March 20th political posters. These thousands of dollars of new fines are on top of an unprecedented $70,000 fines from the two most recent Peace mobilizations....
Those in the federal government, local law enforcement or pro-war movements in general who deprive others of their constitutional and civil rights must be held accountable and liable for their constitutional wrongs. This is necessary so that our government and law enforcement figures, and others who might follow in their footsteps, are deterred from the constitutional violations that have grown far too frequent, during the Bush and Obama administrations, from ever recurring again. No remedy is comprehensive unless it works to prevent recurrence and protects the rights of all. Read more.
Lyndeborough, NH Passes Warrant Article Prohibiting Concealed Vote Counting By Computers Or Any Other Method
Any citizen in New Hampshire can bring a petition article to their Town Warrant by securing the signatures of at least 25 registered voters. The article is then added to the Town Warrant to be voted on in Town meeting. Today, the citizens of Lyndeborough resoundingly approved enacting into the town's laws the following warrant article regarding the counting of votes. I hope that NH citizens all around the state will enact the same law in their town at next year's Town Meetings.
Here is the petition citizens signed to add the article below regarding the counting of votes to the Town Warrant: