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Corporatism and Fascism
Corporatism and Fascism
Aided by a bleak job market, the U.S. military met all of its recruitment goals in the past year for the first time since it became an all-volunteer force in 1973, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
Military services have been stretched thin by conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, giving added weight to recruitment efforts as President Barack Obama considers sending another 40,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year.
The United States already has 67,000 troops in Afghanistan and about 119,000 in Iraq.
Pentagon officials said recruitment gains were fueled by the deepest U.S. recession since the Great Depression and an unemployment rate nearing 10 percent.
"For the first time since the advent of the all-volunteer force, all of the military components, active and reserve, met their number as well as their quality goals," said Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy.
The U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force sent a total of about 169,000 active duty recruits to training in the 2009 fiscal year that ended on September 30, beating their 164,000-member goal, the Pentagon said.
National guard and reserve forces sent about 128,000 recruits to training, beating their goal. Read more.
“Compensation continues to generate controversy and anger,” Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, said last month. “And, in many respects, much of it is understandable and appropriate.”
On Thursday, Mr. Blankfein and his colleagues will likely be subject to some of that anger when Goldman reports its third-quarter results — and discloses the latest tally of just how much its employees will probably take home for their work this year. By most analyst estimates, the annual bonus pool will swell to more than $23 billion. In its second quarter, Goldman disclosed it had put aside $11.4 billion for the first half of the year.
“The absolute size of compensation payouts will rise significantly,” Keith Horowitz, an analyst at Citigroup, wrote in a note to clients two weeks ago.
To put that $23 billion bonus pool number in perspective, it is the most Goldman Sachs has accumulated for bonuses in its history — twice as much as in 2008. And it is doing so while memories are still fresh that just a year ago taxpayers had to step in when Wall Street, and even Goldman, were facing a run on the bank.
So should we be upset about the bonuses? Is this a problem? Viscerally, it can be infuriating to watch Goldman executives gobble up piles of money, especially when the government — an overused euphemism for taxpayers — had helped support the firm. It hasn’t been forgotten that the government gave Goldman $10 billion in bailout cash — which it has since returned and said it never needed. And don’t forget the cheap financing it now gets as a bank holding company. Read more.
Regarding the sit-ins at CIGNA, Aetna, et al...
By John Jonik
This is in hope that the topic of for-profit insurers' huge investments in health-damaging industries is raised prominently, especially during any actions at For-Profit Headquarters.
Those investments create utterly unacceptable conflicts of interest that prompt or virtually require those insurers to do As Little As Possible to expose or warn about health harms caused by their investment properties.
An incentive is also created to ignore or mis-diagnose industrial causes of illnesses. This system virtually institutionalizes malpractice.
This system perpetuates what we have now---a preponderance of "health concerns" about anything BUT industrial-caused health harms. We hear little else except highly arbitrary "concerns" ("truthy" though they may be) for peoples' behavior (smoking, drinking, over-eating, sexual activity, etc.), or about natural causes...tobacco plants, viruses, germs, insects, bacteria, pollen, the sun, "faulty genes", etc., and that old standby, "unknown factors".
Often they say "environmental factors" are or may be to blame...but without mentioning that that means industrial pollutants of our vital natural environment. To just say the causes are or may be "environmental factors" would have some think that it's nature on the attack. Use of that term also hints that environmentalists are somehow associated with the Bad Side. Who's going to join with the environmentalists if they are associated with cancer etc? Generally speaking, no word or phrase is used by the commercial media accidentally.
"Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise." -- Christopher Columbus, 1503 letter to the king and queen of Spain.
"Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished through perseverance and faith." -- George H.W. Bush, 1989 speech
If you fly over the country of Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, the island on which Columbus landed, it looks like somebody took a blowtorch and burned away anything green. Even the ocean around the port capital of Port au Prince is choked for miles with the brown of human sewage and eroded topsoil. From the air, it looks like a lava flow spilling out into the sea.
The history of this small island is, in many ways, a microcosm for what's happening in the whole world. Read more.
Beneath the hype Pt.5: Ray McGovern and Greg Thielmann on the potential causes of armed conflict in Iran.
Step into the Way Back Machine... and come with me to last May:
Oh yeah, another thing. I'm sure many of you are wondering what ever happened to the whole, "we're not gonna do supplementals for the war anymore" thing. The wheels turn slowly in Washington. This is a supplemental for fiscal year 2009 (FY09), the regular appropriations bills for which were passed last year in the 110th Congress and under George W. Bush. The FY10 Defense Appropriations (and others which might include other bits of war-related funding) haven't been passed yet. So technically, we're still kind of operating under Bush budgeting until October 1, 2009, when the new fiscal year begins.
You can't go wrong doing the opposite of almost anything Sen. Saxby "Toy Soldier" Chambliss, the man who specializes in smearing real soldiers like Max Cleland, proposes. And Dianne Feinstein, the woman who's never met a war or black-box op she didn't like? Rep. Jim McGovern, on the other hand, is a rare voice of reason:
A roundtable discussion on Afghanistan strategy from This Week with George Stephanopoulous:
STEPHANOPOULOS:There's a report in Newsweek this morning -- it's actually on the cover of Newsweek, where the vice president is pointing out that this year we're going to spend about $65 billion in Afghanistan, about $2.25 billion in Pakistan. And according to the report in Newsweek, this is what the vice president went on to say in the National Security Council meeting: "By my calculations, that's a 30-to-1 ratio in favor of Afghanistan. So I have a question: Al Qaida is almost all in Pakistan, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And yet for every dollar we're spending in Pakistan, we're spending $30 in Afghanistan. Does that make strategic sense?" Read more.
So let them have their weapons and wars. With all due respect to those brave enough to protest, it’s time for people simply to walk away and set up their own economic and monetary systems as a prelude to a rebirth of humanity as ethical beings in sustainable communities of choice.
The keys, says Greco, are simple: “Promote the establishment of private complementary exchange systems—and use them. Buy from your friends and neighbors wherever possible. Contribute your time, energy, and money to whatever moves things in the right direction.”...
The irony is that what may appear on the surface to be technical changes in how the exchange of goods and services takes place can have such profound effects. The answer is that systems of exchange reflect entirely different perceptions of the world. Bank-money exchange reflects and creates a system of elite control and human slavery. Reciprocal credit exchange reflects and creates a democratic system on a level monetary playing field.
It’s too late for anyone to pretend that the U.S. government, whether under President Barack Obama or anyone else, can divert our nation from long-term economic decline. The U.S. is increasingly in a state of political, economic, and moral paralysis, caught as it were between the “rock” of protracted recession and the “hard place” of terminal government debt.
Even if the stock market can be shored up by more government borrowing for “stimulus” spending, it’s a temporary reprieve, because nothing can bring back the consumer purchasing power that was lost when the banks stopped pumping money into the economy through out-of-control mortgage lending. We simply no longer have the job base for people to earn the income they need to live.
The underlying cause of the crisis is in fact the debt-based monetary system, whereby the U.S. ruling class long ago sold out our nation and its people to the international banking cartel of which the Rockefeller and Morgan interests have been the chief representatives for over a century. It was lending on a previously unheard of scale for overpriced assets to people and businesses unable to repay that created the bubbles that burst in 2008, not only in the housing market but also in such areas as commercial real estate, equities, commodities, and derivatives. It was an explosion that reverberated throughout the world. Read more.
The health care debate and general political climate compound absurdity upon absurdity.
First we're told that our health care is only worth the time and effort if the remedy has no negative impact on the budget. No deficits allowed. The deficit risk defines your chances for health and longevity.
At the same time, we see that Wall Street failures and the overseas war effort are not held to the same standard on deficits spending.
The federal government has committed $23 trillion dollars to prop up Wall Street's failed financial institutions. That's a fantasy figure and clearly deficit-friendly since it's twice the 2008 Gross Domestic Product of the United States.
On Tuesday of this week a smaller amount was offered up for the 2010 expenditures on the Iraq war and the expanded efforts in Afghanistan. The $128 billion was approved without a Congressional Budget Office analysis (note the absence of a link for "CBO Cost Estimates"). Since we're already over budget for 2010, this is also in the deficit column.
It's all right to run huge deficits to bailout Wall Street crooks and to wage deadly wars but it's not all right to even think about a deficit when it comes to preserving the health and lives of citizens.
The second absurdity concerns priorities. A rational approach to national policy would place citizen health care well above both Wall Street welfare and endless wars on any list of priorities. But that wouldn't do much good with the current legislative approach.
A political victory amounts to a loss for the public. Why?
The current legislation delays help for the uninsured for years. It limits the "public option" to those without health insurance. It does little or nothing to contain rising health care costs for in the near term. And it ignores prescription medication -- a major factor in out-of-control costs. Read more.
The Bush administration is no more. But his legacy lives on in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, massive joblessness, the trashed economy, the transfer of power to the Executive Branch. During Bush's tenure, the Justice Department also became politicized to an unprecedented degree.
One of the most visible among the hundreds of political prosecutions was former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. A Democrat and the only Alabamian to have served in all four of the top state elected positions, he was a choice target of Karl Rove. After several unsuccessful attempts, Gov. Siegelman was convicted of corruption and sentenced to prison. He is presently out as he awaits his appeal. Ninety-one former US Attorneys of both parties have asked President Obama, AG Holder and DOJ to reexamine Siegelman's case. Andrew Kreig, Roger Shuler, Scott Horton, and Glynn Wilson have done a stellar job covering the Siegelman case. [For more background information, a sampler of their articles can be found at the end of the second part of this interview.]
Tamarah Grimes was a paralegal working with the prosecution in the case against Don Siegelman. She contacted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Conyers and the DOJ about the prosecutorial misconduct of Alabama US Attorney Leura Canary and her team. For her pains, Grimes was chastised, intimidated, and ultimately fired, her reputation trashed. To add insult to injury, she was denied health insurance and they're trying to rescind her unemployment benefits.
This is particularly grievous for Grimes because she was the sole breadwinner in her household and her health insurance policy covered her disabled son. Grimes was terminated just eight days after sending a letter to AG Holder, laying out her concerns about the Siegelman case. Her firing will surely have a stifling effect on any other DOJ employees contemplating similar actions.
Unemployed and uninsured, she is on the brink of financial ruin. Tamarah may be bloodied but she is also unbowed. She seeks no one's pity. This is her story. Read more.
Veterans for Peace | PRESS RELEASE
What: PRESS CONFERENCE and Action for Rape in the Military Awareness Week
When: 10:30am, Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Where: In front of the Armed Forces Recruiting Station, Times Square, Broadway and 42nd, New York City, NY
For further information call:
- Ann Wright, Colonel, 29 year veteran of the US Army and US Army Reserves
- Leah Bolger, retired US Navy Commander and National Vice President of Veterans for Peace
- Sandra Lee, US Army soldier survivor of sexually assault while in the military
- Eve Ensler, author and playwright of the Vagina Monologues and V-Day
Due to the incredible epidemic of rape in the military in which 1 in 3 women in the military have been raped or sexually assaulted, Veterans for Peace, a national veterans organization has designated October 12-16 as “Military Rape Awareness Week.” .
Here's the thing: This may be our next "Vietnam moment," but Afghanistan is no Vietnam: there are no major enemy powers like the Soviet Union and China lurking in the background; no organized enemy state with a powerful army like North Vietnam supporting the insurgents; no well organized, unified national liberation movement like the Vietcong, and that's just a beginning. Almost everywhere, in fact, the Vietnam analogy breaks down -- almost everywhere, that is, except when it comes to us. Because we never managed to leave Vietnam behind, even when we were proclaiming that we had kicked that "syndrome," it turns out that we're still there. Our military leaders, for instance, only recently dusted off the old Vietnam-era counterinsurgency doctrine that once ended in catastrophe, shined it up, and are now presenting it as an ingenious new solution to war-fighting. Let's face it: everything about American thinking still stinks of the Vietnamese debacle, including the inability of our leaders to listen to a genuinely wide range of options.
Now, according to Peter Baker of the Wall Street Journal, a "battle" of two Vietnam histories is underway at the White House and the Pentagon. Think of them as dueling books. The president and a number of his advisors have just finished reading Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam about a White House "being marched into an escalating war by a military viewing the conflict too narrowly to see the perils ahead" and backed by a hawkish national security adviser. The other, a Pentagon favorite, A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam, focuses on a military that by the early 1970s was supposedly winning its counterinsurgency struggle only to be "rejected by political leaders who bow[ed] to popular opinion and end[ed] the fight."
If it's a battle of Vietnam histories that Washington wants, should the contest really be limited to these two books? After all, one is about a White House advisor who, like so many of "the best and the brightest," was decades behind the curve in discovering that he had made a mistake pushing for war; the other, a smiley-faced look at the years 1968-1973 in Vietnam that champions an eerily familiar "stab in the back" thesis in which pusillanimous civilian leaders lead a proud military to defeat.
If it's a Vietnam syllabus you're looking for, President Obama, why not start with The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam's brilliant dissection of the Vietnam disaster? Having covered Vietnam as a New York Times reporter, he knew a bankrupt war when he saw one. Or why not consider what an American "counterinsurgency" war really meant on the ground? Nothing will give you a more visceral sense of the destruction visited on Vietnam and the Vietnamese in those grim years than Jonathan Schell's double-barreled classic The Real War. (Why doesn't anyone in your administration ask Schell, who saw the worst of that war close up, for advice on our new "Vietnam moment"?)
Or you might check out William Gibson's devastating, sardonically entitled post-war book, The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam. It's a history of what the war managers did and, believe me, it gives the World War II acronym snafu new punch. Or you could pick up Patriots, Christian Appy's unique oral history of the war as seen from all sides. It provides a perfect way to explore why, faced with overwhelming American firepower, the other side so often refuses to quit.
Not long ago, your special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, picked up a phone in Kabul and called Stanley Karnow, who got a Pulitzer Prize for his 1983 middle-of-the-road, one-volume history of the war. We don't know how that consultation -- in the presence of Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal -- went, but Karnow did offer this comment to an AP reporter later: "What did we learn from Vietnam? We learned that we shouldn't have been there in the first place. Obama and everybody else seem to want to be in Afghanistan, but not I."
My own suggestion to you and your staff for a single-volume history is Marilyn Young's cautionary tale, The Vietnam Wars: 1945-1990. And then give her a buzz, too, and see what she thinks about the present moment. (Notice, by the way, that "s" on "wars" in her title, since she includes the U.S.-backed French war. When a good history of the conflict in Afghanistan is written, its title, too, will undoubtedly have the plural "wars" in it. After all, we've been fighting there on and off for three decades now.)
Finally, there's a classic from 1967 that should be front and center when discussing the future of the Afghan War. Its title still says it all, even if the topic has yet to make it into your White House when it comes to Afghanistan. I'm talking about Howard Zinn's Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal -- which leads me to retired Lieutenant Colonel William Astore's latest TomDispatch post, focusing on why, then and now, administrations find themselves trapped within such a narrow ambit of opinion. Tom
Obama at the Precipice: Tough Guys Don't Need to Dance in Afghanistan
By William J. Astore
It's early in 1965, and President Lyndon B. Johnson faces a critical decision. Should he escalate in Vietnam? Should he say "yes" to the request from U.S. commanders for more troops? Or should he change strategy, downsize the American commitment, even withdraw completely, a decision that would help him focus on his top domestic priority, "The Great Society" he hopes to build?
We all know what happened. LBJ listened to the generals and foreign policy experts and escalated, with tragic consequences for the United States and calamitous results for the Vietnamese people on the receiving end of American firepower. Drawn deeper and deeper into Vietnam, LBJ would soon lose his way and eventually his will, refusing to run for reelection in 1968.
President Obama now stands at the edge of a similar precipice. Should he acquiesce to General Stanley A. McChrystal's call for 40,000 to 60,000 or more U.S. troops for Afghanistan? Or should he pursue a new strategy, downsizing our commitment, even withdrawing completely, a decision that would help him focus on national health care, among his other top domestic priorities?
The die, I fear, is cast. In his "war of necessity," Obama has evidently already ruled out even considering a "reduction" option, no less a withdrawal one, and will likely settle on an "escalate lite" program involving more troops (though not as many as McChrystal has urged), more American trainers for the Afghan army, and even a further escalation of the drone war over the Pakistani borderlands and new special operations actions. Read more.
Still, by the industry throwing its weight around with threats of higher premiums, it may be risking a backlash from Congress, which could still turn to the public option as the only feasible method for constraining ever-rising health insurance costs.
Though looking forward to millions of new customers who would be compelled by the U.S. government to buy health insurance, the insurance industry is threatening to raise premiums across the board if more of its demands are not met.
Industry representatives put Congress and the Obama administration on notice that if health-reform legislation doesn’t send even more new customers the industry’s way or if a windfall profits tax is included, the industry would hit businesses, individuals and the government with higher premiums, effectively defeating one of the initiative’s top goals, reining in ever-rising costs.
The industry’s chief complaint, which was raised in connection with an already-industry-friendly bill cobbled together by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, is that the legislation would push 29 million more Americans into the insurance market, but that they might be the sickest and thus costliest people.
The industry wants more of the estimated 25 million still uninsured – especially healthy, young people – to be compelled to buy policies, too. Without more healthy customers added to the mix, the industry says it will have no choice but to raise rates. Read more.
Pay-as-you-go budget restrictions have been rules in the House and in the Senate but aren't laws. Some conservative Democrats-- always eager to prove their conservatism to constituents who don't care all that much about arcane budgetary laws, only about racism, homophobia and xenophobia-- have been pushing to chuck the rules-- which are, after all, easily gotten-around guidelines that Bush certainly ignored to the tune of at least a trillion dollars-- and make them laws.
On Wednesday, after being alerted by Rep. Barbara Lee, we looked at how Steny Hoyer introduced a bill, subsequently passed by the House on July 22, that does just that-- codifies pay-as-you-go. There are a lot of exemptions, however-- one being war spending. Yesterday I spoke with at least a dozen members of the House and Senate and not a single one had a real understanding of the bill that was passed in the House and is up for a vote in the Senate! I spoke to both Democrats and Republicans and every single one of them explained the bill differently to such an extent that it was clear (at least to me) that they had all voted on what they thought were different bills.
What's important here-- at least from one perspective-- is that Hoyer seemed to be offering Obama, probably at Rahm Emanuel's behest, an opportunity to keep Supplemental Budget war-funding going without calling it that. Why? Because they can spend whatever they want without the unpleasant tasks of either raising taxes or cutting social programs. It just means they'll add on to the bankrupting of America that the Bush Regime brought so far down the road. Read more.
“All they need to do is enforce the regulations already on the books,” one top banker told me recently. (Like all top bankers these days, he would speak only anonymously, fearing the wrath of the Treasury.)
What’s more — and this is the part that is really unbelievable — they insist that bankers weren’t the cause of the financial crisis. The entities that were peddling all those awful subprime mortgages were the nonbanks — the mortgage originators and mortgage brokers — who were almost entirely unregulated. “We have no objection to them regulating the nonregulated firms,” said Camden R. Fine, the president of the Independent Community Bankers of America.
Well, of course, he doesn’t. If the bankers can persuade Congress to change this agency’s mission so that it only regulates the nonbanks — something they are trying to do, and which Mr. Frank insists will not be successful — they will have succeeded in putting sand in the engine of their nonbank competitors.
A few months ago, I asked Simon Johnson, the former International Monetary Fund economist, now a prominent critic of the banking industry, what he thought the banks owed the country after all the government bailouts.
“They can’t pay what they owe!” he began angrily. Then he paused, collected his thoughts and started over: “Tim Geithner saved them on terms extremely favorable to the banks. They should support all of his proposed reforms.”
Mr. Johnson continued, “What gets me is that the banks have continued to oppose consumer protection. How can they be opposed to consumer protection as defined by a man who is the most favorable Treasury secretary they have had in a generation? If he has decided that this is what they need, what moral right do they have to oppose it? It is unconscionable.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Read more.
Former 6-term Member of the House of Representatives Cynthia McKinney wrote:
There were people there from all over Europe. A healthy contingent even took the bus or train from London. Many US ex pats came and heard Annie Machon tell of why she became a whistleblower at MI-5 (the British equivalent of our FBI); I spoke, and then after me, Giulietto Chiesa, former Member of Parliament, Italy, made a movie entitle "Zero," which was played. Then Dr. Nils (I can't remember his last name) [Note: last name is Harrit] who found the nanothermite material in the Ground Zero dust spoke about his research and that was totally fascinating. We are definitely hooked up with the right people in Europe and as a result, our coalition will be strong, diverse, and global.
Here are my remarks made tonight/this afternoon U.S. time:
Vers La Verité, Paris, October 10, 2009
President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize was not the only news yesterday. And in my opinion, it’s not even the biggest news. It’s not even the saddest news. But it does provide us with some critical information as we move forward. The three-part question for us, tonight however, is “What are we moving forward TO; is that the place we want to go; and if not, what do we do about it?
In other words, “What is our vision for the future and how do we define success?”
Like a vampire rising from it's grave each night to feed on the privacy rights of Americans, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is moving forward with programs that drain the life blood from our constitutional liberties.
From the wholesale use of informants and provocateurs to stifle political dissent, to Wi-Fi hacking and viral computer spyware to follow our every move, the FBI has turned massive data-mining of personal information into a growth industry. In the process they are building the surveillance state long been dreamed of by American securocrats.
A chilling new report by investigative journalist Ryan Singel provides startling details of how the FBI's National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) is quietly morphing into the Total Information Awareness (TIA) system of convicted Iran-Contra felon, Admiral John M. Poindexter. According to documents obtained by Wired:
A fast-growing FBI data-mining system billed as a tool for hunting terrorists is being used in hacker and domestic criminal investigations, and now contains tens of thousands of records from private corporate databases, including car-rental companies, large hotel chains and at least one national department store. (Ryan Singel, "FBI's Data-Mining System Sifts Airline, Hotel, Car-Rental Records," Wired, September 23, 2009)
Among the latest revelations of out-of-control secret state spookery, Wired disclosed that personal details on customers have been provided to the Bureau by the Wyndham Worldwide hotel chain "which includes Ramada Inn, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson and Hawthorn Suites." Additional records were obtained from the Avis rental car company and Sears department stores.
Singel reports that the Bureau is planning a massive expansion of NSAC, one that would enlarge the scope, and mission, of the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF) and the file-crunching, privacy-killing Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW).
"Among the items on its wish list," Singel writes, "is the database of the Airlines Reporting Corporation--a company that runs a backend system for travel agencies and airlines." If federal snoops should obtain ARC's data-sets, the FBI would have unlimited access to "billions of American's itineraries, as well as the information they give to travel agencies, such as date of birth, credit card numbers, names of friends and family, e-mail addresses, meal preferences and health information." Read more.
by Linda Milazzo
Our great buddy Mike is angry. For the past twenty years, Michael Moore, our everyday hero, has worked hard for us. He's documented sadistic acts against us by industry and government. He's exposed case after case of devious schemes that robbed us of our homes and our jobs, sent our children to war, and sacrificed our health. He's given us irrefutable proof that our leaders lied us to war, our insurers denied us care, and our lenders deceived us into hopelessness and destitution.
Mike's been our teacher, our ally and our devoted friend. Few people in recent memory have worked harder to inform us - ALL OF US - of the inhumanity and greed that are decaying our nation, which we perpetuate through apathy and inertia.
Anti-War Protestors Prosecuted By Government | Press Release
Three nonviolent anti-war activists go on trial Tuesday, October 13 for an action in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 21 of this year.
Ellen Barfield of Baltimore, Eve Tetaz of Washington, DC, and Pete Perry of Fairfax, Virginia will argue their case before a jury of their peers. The three are charged with Disruption of Congress. The trial will be presided over by Judge Lynn Leibovitz in courtroom 310 of the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse.
“We were expressing our dissent to the costly and tragic war in Afghanistan,” Perry said. “This is a war based on revenge that has now clearly lost the support of a majority of Americans.”
Barfield is a military veteran, Tetaz is a retired DC public schoolteacher, and Perry was instrumental in organizing last week's protest against the Afghanistan War in Washington.
Contact: Ellen Barfield, 410-243-5876; Pete Perry, 202-631-0974.
Telephone Company Is Arm of Government, Feds Admit in Spy Suit
By Ryan Singel | Wired
The Department of Justice has finally admitted it in court papers: The nation’s telecom companies are an arm of the government — at least when it comes to secret spying.
Fortunately, a judge says that relationship isn’t enough to squash a rights group’s open records request for communications between the nation’s telecoms and the feds.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation wanted to see what role telecom lobbying of Justice Department played when the government began its year-long, and ultimately successful, push to win retroactive immunity for AT&T and others being sued for unlawfully spying on American citizens.
The feds argued that the documents showing consultation over the controversial telecom immunity proposal weren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act since they were protected as “intra-agency” records:
"The communications between the agencies and telecommunications companies regarding the immunity provisions of the proposed legislation have been regarded as intra-agency because the government and the companies have a common interest in the defense of the pending litigation and the communications regarding the immunity provisions concerned that common interest."
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffery White disagreed and ruled on September 24 that the feds had to release the names of the telecom employees that contacted the Justice Department and the White House to lobby for a get-out-of-court-free card. Read more.
On Tuesday, a group of Florida Republicans went to the shooting range -- and used pictures of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as target practice. Among the attendees, her 2010 Republican opponent, Robert Lowry.
Yesterday, Wasserman Schultz released a statement reacting to those who pretended to shoot her:
There is nothing light or funny about pretending to shoot someone. At a time in our country when people are bringing guns to Town Hall Meetings and a preacher is calling for the death of our President, I find this type of action serious and disturbing. Tonight I am going to have to talk to my young children about why someone is pretending to shoot their mother. Trivializing violent behavior is the kind of extreme view that has no place in American politics.
Indeed. It's simply unbelievable.
We speak to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the longest-serving independent member of Congress in American history. Last week, in response to the Defund ACORN Act, he proposed an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that focuses on defense contractors who receive billions of taxpayer dollars every year. Sanders joins us to talk about ACORN, healthcare and the US occupation of Afghanistan. Read more.
As the embattled community group ACORN continues to come under fire, a group of lawmakers that voted against a recent measure to defund it have introduced legislation of their own. The Against Corporations Organizing to Rip-off the Nation Act of 2009 would prohibit federal funding to corporations guilty of felony convictions. We speak to independent journalist Jeremy Scahill. Read more.
A historian's account of Democrats and Bush-era war crimes
By Glenn Greenwald | Salon
(updated below - Update II - Update III)
The American Propsect's Adam Serwer notes that, yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman successfully inserted into the Homeland Security appropriations bill an amendment -- supported by the Obama White House -- to provide an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act's mandates by authorizing the Defense Secretary to suppress long-concealed photographs of detainee abuse. Two courts had ruled -- unanimously -- that the American people have the right to see these photographs under FOIA, a 40-year-old law championed by the Democrats in the LBJ era and long considered a crowning jewel in their legislative achievements. But this Lieberman amendment, which is now likely to pass, undermines all of that and -- as EBay founder Pierre Omidyar put it today -- its central purpose is to "legalize suppression" of evidence of American war crimes.
What made those detainee photographs so important from the start is that they depict brutal abuse well outside of the Abu Ghraib facility and thus reveal to Americans -- and the world -- that America's torture was not, as they've been constantly told, limited to rogue sadists at Abu Ghraib and the waterboarding of three bad guys. Instead, our torture regime was systematic, pervasive, brutal, fatal, and -- because it was the by-product of conscious policies set at the highest levels of government -- common across America's "War on Terror" detention regime. These photographs would have documented those vital facts; combated the false denials from torture apologists; fueled the momentum for accountability; and revealed, in graphic and unavoidable terms, what was truly done by America's government. But a Democrat-led Congress, at the urging of a Democratic President, is now taking extraordinary steps -- including a new law which has no purpose other than to suppress evidence of America's war crimes -- to ensure that this evidence never sees the light of day. Read more.
Sweatshop Conditions in US Cities
By Stephen Lendman
A new low-wage industry study by the Center for Urban Economic Development, the National Employment Law Project, and the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment exposes the dark side of workforce exploitation in America's three largest cities - New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
From January through August 2008, researchers conducted 90-minute interviews with 4,387 "front-line" workers, aged 18 or older, using "innovative, rigorous methodology" to reach vulnerable people "often missed in standard surveys, such as (undocumented) immigrants and those paid in cash." The goal was to be as statistically representative of workplace violations as possible for a population of about 1.64 million workers, or 15% of the total workforce studied.
FRONT: See a PENNY, pick it up and...That's YOUR GOV'T Bail Out!
BACK: As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - Purportedly in a letter to Colonel William F. Elkins (21 November 1864)
Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy About God, wrote:
I quit my leadership role in the far right religious movement when it began advocating violence against those who had a different political or moral view. Now I am speaking out, and have joined with Velvet Revolution to organize a movement to stop far right violence. We’re doing this because more and more of us see that if unchecked, the inflammatory garbage spewing from the Right’s hate machines will result in tragedy — in other words violence.
I started pondering the question of what we could do right after the assassination of Dr. Tiller by a religious extremist. I felt that it wasn’t enough to call for boycotts of right wing commentators who spew their hate, because that did not really address the core problems. In fact as a former right wing religious “pro-life” leader I felt compelled to publicly apologize for the “America-is-like-Nazi-Germany” rhetoric that my late Evangelical leader father and I helped create in the 1970s and 80s that inexorably led to justifying violence in the Tiller case.
Now I want to endorse a campaign to address these issues. It was launched last week at StopDomesticTerror.com by VR. On Tuesday, I posted this article in Huffington Post asking everyone to join this important campaign.