The analysis in the following paper was written by Stewart Rhodes while at Yale Law School and was the winner of Yale’s Judge William E. Miller Prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. Rhodes is the founder of Oath Keepers which on Christmas Day announced its participation in a bi-partisan drive to recall all three of Montana's congressional delegation for "violation of the oath of office," by voting for the blatantly unconstitutional NDAA National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial. Violation of the oath is one of the five narrow and specific grounds on which a recall in MT may be initiated.
You are hereMedia
By Charles M. Young
On Thursday, January 5, I was waiting for the elevator in the lobby of my building when I was joined by a woman who lives up the hall from me. She was carrying a grocery bag with The New York Times poking out the top. “Why did you buy it?” I asked. “They just raised the price to $2.50. Who can afford that for a daily newspaper?”
“I have a very large birdcage,” she said. “It’s the only newspaper that fits the bottom of my birdcage.”
My neighbor is a classical musician who makes a living at it. She pays attention to politics and votes. She buys things. She’s a little older than the actors playing obedient yuppies in the NYT commercials that beg for subscriptions, but is otherwise their ideal reader.
Who knew rats were new to DC? I could have sworn I'd seen them around for years. I could have sworn the piles of trash following inaugurations, fourths of july, and tastes of dc left swarms of rats behind. I could have sworn that every time I've been in Freedom Plaza since October 6th it's been cleaner than 15th Street. Do you have any serious reason to believe your new found awareness of rats, like some people's new found awareness of the homeless people who have been there for decades, doesn't come more from the observing than from what is being observed? Did you know that the occupation of Freedom Plaza is campaigning for the investment in public services that would begin at long last to address this longstanding problem? Did you know that detailed reports, proposals, analyses, and yes demands can be found at http://occupywashingtondc.org ? Were you aware of the rat explosion and disease explosion in cities our military has bombed - which I'm sure the Post will be getting around to covering very very soon? Can you prove the DC rat population isn't expanding city-wide because so many people have found it appropriate to discard their copies of the Washington Post, thus providing lots of nesting material?
To Charlottesville Daily Progress:
On New Year's Eve the President signed a bill giving himself and future presidents the power to imprison anyone, including US citizens, forever with no trial, whether through the military or otherwise. President Obama stretched these outrageous powers even further in an unconstitutional law-altering signing statement. Congressman Robert Hurt voted against the Defense Authorization Act because it tosses out our Constitutional rights.
While this issue had been a major controversy for months, and the Daily Progress has never yet mentioned it in a news story, you addressed it in an editorial on January 9th, but your editorial simply argued for the flexibility of not always using the military because the legitimate justice system can reduce terrorism.
Nowhere do you mention that the final version of the bill gave the president that flexibility and more, that he now claims the power to imprison anyone forever without any formal process whatsoever. Nowhere do you mention that a week after the President signed the bill, Afghan President Karzai demanded that all Afghan prisoners be turned over within a month. And nowhere do you even touch on the question of the right to habeas corpus, the right not to be punished for treason unless convicted in open court on the testimony of two witnesses, the right to be secure in your person, or the right to a speedy and public trial and a jury trial.
Are all civil rights of simply negligible importance in comparison with fear of terrorism? Among the many many things that kill more of us than terrorism are dogs, and they're our "best friend." Take a deep breath please.
Note to Self:
Knock it off. They can't hear you.
Public Editor: 'I think the readers are correct on this'
New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane has responded to concerns raised in a FAIR action alert last week (1/6/12), agreeing that the paper wrongly suggested that the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.
In a post at his Times blog (1/10/12), Brisbane agrees that the paper was incorrect in referring to "a recent assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran's nuclear program has a military objective." As FAIR pointed out, the IAEA report does not make such a firm conclusion, and many critics question the evidence that Agency has collected.
While not mentioning FAIR, Brisbane wrote: "Some readers, mindful of the faulty intelligence and reporting about Saddam Hussein's weapons program, are watching the Iran nuclear coverage very closely."
He is correct. FAIR thanks all the activists who wrote to the New York Times.
White House and State Department are in No Position to Issue Credible Denials Regarding Spying Charges
By Dave Lindorff
I wouldn’t want to be Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the 28-year-old former US Marine just recently sentenced to death by a court in Iran after being convicted of being an American spy.
Hekmati, who was born in Arizona to Iranian exile parents, and who grew up in Michigan, is being defended by President Obama, whose White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, declared, “Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for, or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false.” The White House, not content with that denial, went on to trash the Iranian government and legal system, with Vietor adding, “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”
by WALTER BRASCH
One of the fun things sports writers do is try to predict the winners and scores of upcoming games, from high school through the pros. For special “look-at-us-we’re important” bonus points, they create lists of “Top” teams and rank them, both pre-season and weekly.
Sports writers have some kind of genetic mutation that leads them to believe they know more about sports than the average schlump who spends almost $200 a year for a newspaper subscription and as much as $500 a year for all-access all-games everywhere cable coverage. However, the reality is that even the best prognosticators—sports writers love big words when they can pronounce them—have a record about as accurate as the horoscope on the comics page.
By Dave Lindorff
According to news reports, 15-year-old eighth-grader Jaime Gonzalez, who was shot and killed yesterday by police in his middle school in Brownsville, TX, was hit three times: twice in the chest and once “from the back of the head.”
Police say they were called by school authorities because Gonzalez was carrying a gun, which turned out to be a realistic-looking pellet gun, a weapon that uses compressed air to fire a metal pellet which, while perhaps a threat to the eye, does not pose a serious threat to life.
DHL Express Signs on as Sponsor of the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Plantation, Fla., January 5, 2012 –DHL Express, the world’s leading international express shipping provider, announces its national sponsorship of the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the nation’s premier high school football game that serves as the launching pad for America’s future college and NFL stars. The annual game, being played on Saturday, January 7 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, features the nation’s top 90 high school football players.
By Peter Hart, FAIR
The new issue of Time magazine promises on its cover "Essential Info for the Year Ahead." One apparently essential report: U.S. drones are awesome.
The report--written by Mark Thompson, available to subscribers only explains that a "hot military trend" this way:
Today's generals and admirals want weapons that are smaller, remote-controlled and bristling with intelligence. In short, more drones that can tightly target terrorists, deliver larger payloads and are some of the best spies the U.S. has ever produced, even if they occasionally get captured in Iran or crash on landing at secret bases.
There's no time to dwell on that, because there are too many good things to say about our remote-control war. "Drones had a big year in 2011," Thompson writes, and 2012 will be even bigger. As Time readers learn, "Unlike humans, these weapons don't need sleep."
And best of all, apparently, the military aren't the only ones doing the killing:
America's arsenal has become so small and lethal, you don't need the U.S. Army--or any military service at all, in fact--to field and wield them. The CIA, which used to be limited to derringers and exploding cigars, is now not very secretly flying drones. With little public acknowledgment and minimal congressional oversight, these clandestine warriors have killed some 2,000 people identified as terrorists lurking in shadows around the globe since 9/11.
The British Bureau of Investigative Journalism's investigation of the CIA drone program in Pakistan (8/10/11) stressed less of the gee-whiz and more the real-life consequences of the attacks. Estimates of civilian deaths range from 390 to 780-- including almost 200 children. U.S. officials, for the record, were once making absurd claims that no innocents were killed.
As for the apparent enthusiasm for waging a war where "you don't need the U.S. Army" at all--that is precisely one of the criticisms of the drone program; some legal experts argue that non-military personnel are not legal combatants, and therefore killing every one of those 2,000 "people identified as terrorists" was a war crime. Others point out that employing drones outside an active combat zone could also violate international law. But none of that is "Essential Info" for 2012.
36 Journalists Have Been Arrested at Nonviolent Occupy Protests in the Land of the Free the Home of the Predator Drone
From Josh Stearns:
I have been tracking, confirming and verifying reports of journalist arrests at Occupy protests all over the country since September. Help me by sending tips and tweets to @jcstearns.
- So far 36 journalists have been arrested in 10 cities around the United States since Occupy Wall Street began. Scroll to the bottom for the most recent updates.
Who Got to the NY Times? Yesterday it Posted a Tool for Cutting Military Spending. Today it Posted This Op-Ed on the People We Kill in Our Wars
The Forgotten Wages of War
By JOHN TIRMAN
THE end of the Iraq war occasioned few reflections on the scale of destruction we have wrought there. As is our habit, the discussion focused on the costs to America in blood and treasure, the false premises of the war and the continuing challenges of instability in the region. What happened to Iraqis was largely ignored. And in Libya, the recent investigation of civilian casualties during NATO’s bombing campaign was the first such accounting of what many believed was a largely victimless war.
We rarely question that wars cause extensive damage, but our view of America’s wars has been blind to one specific aspect of destruction: the human toll of those who live in war zones.
We tune out the voices of the victims and belittle their complaints about the midnight raids, the house-to-house searches, the checkpoints, the drone attacks, the bombs that fall on weddings instead of Al Qaeda.
Gen. Tommy R. Franks famously said during the early days of the war in Afghanistan, “We don’t do body counts.” But someone should. What we learn from body counts tells us much about war and those who wage it.
More than 10 years after the war in Afghanistan began, we have only the sketchiest notion of how many people have died as a consequence of the conflict. The United Nations office in Kabul assembles some figures from morgues and other sources, but they are incomplete. The same has been true for Iraq, although a number of independent efforts have been made there to account for the dead.
By John Grant
Ever since George W. Bush lost the popular vote by 500,000 souls and was selected President by a right-leaning Supreme Court, the United States has seemed to me devoted to a twisted fate of slow-motion Armageddon.
What seems to guarantee this is one of our most characteristic American traits: We don’t learn from the past; instead, we choose to officially forget embarrassing history so we can move on from our debacles without losing an ounce of glory. We all know how it goes: Sure, mistakes were made, but we need to keep our eye on the ball and move forward. The costs are paid in slow motion and out of sight.
Proposed FCC Media Consolidation Rules- by Stephen Lendman
In October 2007, then FCC chairman Kevin Martin proposed lifting the 1975 media cross-ownership rule. It forbid owning a newspaper and television or radio station in the same city even though conglomerates like Rupert Murdock's News Corp. and the (Chicago) Tribune Company already did.
From Eric Tisdale:
“All anyone could say is that there had been a U.S. drone attack. The girls were likely hurt in the strike.”
“All anyone could say is that there had been a U.S. drone attack, though it’s not known how the three girls were injured.”
“All anyone could say is that there had been a U.S. drone attack, though U.S. officials say that drones have never struck targets in Swat.”
By Dave Lindorff
It’s fascinating to watch the long knives coming out for Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, now that according to some mainstream polls he has become the front-running candidate in the Jan. 3 GOP caucus race in Iowa, and perhaps also in the first primary campaign in New Hampshire.
By John Grant
Ft. Meade -- Saturday, December 17th was Bradley Manning’s 24th birthday, and at least 300 supporters gathered outside Fort Meade, Maryland, where the military was in its second day of a preliminary hearing process that’s expected to take about a week. Manning worked in military intelligence and is alleged to have released military secrets to WikiLeaks, which released the material publicly.
Friends: Monday morning from 7 to 8 is the last day for our winter fund drive. On CONNECT THE DOT we will offer
David Swanson’s new book WHEN THE WORLD OUTLAWED WAR for a $95 contribution,
Eric Mann’s PLAYBOOK FOR PROGRESSIVES
(16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer) for your $50 pledge, and other goodies. Both Swanson and Mann will be guests. Both do a great job of political analysis as you know. Tune in and pledge if you can. Make this the best mini fund drive possible. Now that our Constitution is virtually shredded by the incomprehensible passage of the Nat’l Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by both houses of Congress with overwhelming “AYE” votes from both Democrats and Republicans, we need KPFK’s voice of reason more than ever.
Here is my opening for CONNECT THE DOTS, MONDAY 7 TO 8AM
Good Monday morning. Welcome to Connect the Dots. I’m your host Lila Garrett beginning to understand our Congress and our President a little better. When is the best time to ram the most punishing bills through the Congress? Not when everybody’s paying attention. Not when groups like the Occupiers are at the height of visibility. Not when we’re watching presidential debates and wondering what asylum they emptied to find these candidates. No. The best time to hit us where it hurts is when we’re feeling merry. Yes Christmas is upon us and our government is filling our stocking with all kinds of goodies. They’re reducing unemployment insurance from 99 weeks to 55, extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy for one year, cutting benefits to the elderly, disabled, and poor. They’re guaranteeing that there is only one job for every 4 unemployed….and best of all, with the Defense Authroization Act they have just given absolute power to the President.
So if you are having trouble believing that this year Santa is a tea partier, don’t hesitate to open those gifts early. Then get on the phone fast, call your Senator and your Congressperson and tell them to get rid of that Defense Authorization bill NOW!
The "Defense Authorization" bill puts $600 billion more into the military, impedes nuclear disarmament, builds more nuclear plants despite the fact that they all leak, funds huge production of robotic weapons…known as drones, and not only prevents transfers out of Guantanamo. It re activates the hell hole. But wait, there's more. You might say HR 1540 is the worst bill that passed Congress because of Section 1034. This section gives presidents limitless power to make wars and to lock people in prison-- the worst change ever made to our federal government. It undoes the War Powers Act, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. It gives Presidents the power to declare anyone a terrorist, including citizens, and imprison them…even have them killed without formal charge. For the moment it’s Heil Obama. But by January 2012 it could be Heil Gingrich. And who do we have to thank for this giant step toward fascism. That cuddly looking Democratic Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin. You remember Carl Levin, the Senator who wears his glasses at the end of his nose like granny used to do. Well he and his buddy Republican Senator John McCain, whose bitterness over not winning the presidency becomes more lethal every day, came up with the Defense Authorization Act. In a fit of unbridled paranoia the United States Congress passed it. In one fell swoop they did what the nightmare Bush-Cheney were unable to do in 8 years. The Senate, with a Democratic majority, let’s not forget that, and the Democratic President committed the Constitution to the trash.
You think perhaps I am exaggerating?
With us now is a man who spends his life researching these things, writing great books about them….one of which we’re offering as a premium today…..He’ll give us details on the
this War Authorization Act. And he’ll tell us something most of us never knew; there was a time, not so long ago when war was outlawed. The United States was a signatory to that law and it has never been repealed. The book is WHEN THE WORLD OUTLAWED WAR. The guest is David Swanson. And the subject of the moment is what does the Defense Authorization Act, passed in the Congress on Dec 14th 2011 with half of the Democrats in the Congress voting for it, mean for our Democracy?
David Swanson, welcome to Connect the Dots.
By Gar Smith
I've been dismayed by the recent slew of movie posters advertising the new Sherlock Holmes sequel. Popping up on billboards and buses around the Bay Area, they show a smirking Sherlock and a blank-faced Watson brandishing handguns.
Now call me old-fashioned, but I don't recall watching any of the original Holmes films in which Basil Rathbone walked around waving a pistol. Just when did Holmes decide to swap his meerschaum for a Mauser?
A. Conan Doyle's Holmes used to rely on introspection, intelligence and dazzling powers of observation to solve crimes. Does anyone else find it disturbing that Doyle's "battle of wits" has been replaced by a Hollywood gun-battle of twits? Instead of "Elementary, Dr. Watson," Holmes' modern catchphrase would seem to be: "Hand me a new clip, Watson!"
Instead of "Elementary, Dr. Watson," Holmes' modern catchphrase would seem to be: "Hand me a new clip, Watson!"
Now I'm gracious enough to forgive the filmmakers for the wardrobe decision to drop the deerstalker cap -- but Holmes (as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.) in drag? That's really lip-sticking it to us purists.
In response to the encroaching pistolry and pyrotechnics in what passes for "modern cinema," my first thought was to call for a national campaign to ban weapons from our movie screens.
If Hollywood directors can change their ways and show A-list actors to eschew on-screen smoking and start buckling their seatbelts before a car-chase, why not exercise a little restraint when it comes to the overbearing bearing of arms -- at least for the week of the High Holy Holidays?
But since a Holiday Hollywood Handgun Ban looks unlikely, I've decided to take a different approach. Now that Doyle's dudes have been dolled up in Edwardian body armor, maybe it's time for the rest of us to join the trend and up-arm some other movie classics.
Here are a few titles that occurred to me.
Perhaps you can come up with others:
Gun-Slinging in the Rain
To Blast a Mockingbird
Machinegun Muppets Take Manhattan
Hercule Poirot Goes Ballistic
Dora the Explorer: Locked and Loaded
E.T.: The Exterminating Terrestrial
A Gunfight at the Opera (starring the Marksmen Brothers)
Emeryville's Pixar Studios would be expected to join the fray with a holiday feature where Woody, Buzz and the gang return as a team of grenade-tossing mercenaries in Destroy Story.
And, of course, Pixar's next Cars sequel would be called Tanks!
“The Izzy is presented to journalists and independent media that, like Izzy Stone, shine light into the darkness and give voice to the voiceless,” said PCIM director Jeff Cohen. “Our winners demonstrate the importance of independent media organizations in an era when large corporate media are in crisis.”
The inaugural Izzy Award for 2008 was shared by blogger Glenn Greenwald and “Democracy Now!” host/executive producer Amy Goodman. The 2009 award went to investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill and the 2010 award was shared by New York City investigative outlet “City Limits” and author/columnist/“Truthdig” cofounder Robert Scheer.
For more information on the Izzy Award, visit http://www.ithaca.edu/indy/izzy.
In 1953, during the depths of the anti-communist witch hunts, Stone launched “I. F. Stone’s Weekly,” through which he challenged official deception, McCarthyism and racial bigotry. In 1999, a poll of prominent journalists ranked the publication as number 16 among the “Top 100 Works of Journalism in the United States in the 20th Century.” Ithaca College houses a unique collection of mementos from Stone, who died in 1989.
Izzy Award winners are chosen by a panel of judges who have expertise in independent media. Joining Cohen on the panel for the fourth year in a row are communications professor and author Robert W. McChesney and Linda Jue, executive director and editor at the G. W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism.
This year’s Izzy Award will be given for work published, broadcast or posted in 2011 by an independent media outlet, journalist or producer. The award may relate to a single piece or a body of work. Journalists, academics and the public at large — as well as the judges — may submit nominations by the January 12, 2012, deadline. The winner will be announced early next spring, with an award ceremony to follow.
Nominations should be submitted via a brief e-mail that includes supporting Web links and/or attached materials to Brandy Hawley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Only if e-mail is not possible, nominations may be mailed to Brandy Hawley, Ithaca College, Park Center for Independent Media, 953 Danby Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.
Launched in 2008 and located within Ithaca College’s Roy H. Park School of Communications, the Park Center for Independent Media is a national center for the study of media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate systems and news organizations.
Want to See How Pearl Harbor Is Used to Sell Weapons, Start Wars, and Destroy the Economy? Open a Newspaper.
Start with this one.
Pearl Harbor and World War II brought us together as a nation. We believed we could not be beaten. And we prevailed. But why is Congress now so intent on destroying our feelings of patriotism and decimating our national defense? Many Congress members want to cut our national defense spending in an effort to compensate for their ineptness, for not fulfilling their responsibilities as our representatives and for catering to other groups and politicians for the sake of their pet (pork) projects and the next election. They forget (or don’t know) that their No. 1 priority is the defense of our country, and related to that, the protection of our veterans’ benefits. . . .
Could the fact that America forgot about what happened at Pearl Harbor and let down its guard have helped allow the attacks of 9/11 to happen? And will this forgetfulness and ignorance stoke terrorists’ ambitions to expand their attacks? Because Congress’ “supercommittee” failed to meet its deadline last month to identify $1.2 trillion in savings, spending cut triggers are now set to take effect in 2013, including $600 billion for defense. If Congress is allowed to cut the military budget, another attack becomes more likely.
We must call the president, our congressional leaders, our two state senators and our representatives in the House to tell them to stop their foolishness, renew the military and Veterans Affairs budgets, and even increase them so that we may both strengthen our programs for research and development in order to remain the largest and best-equipped military in the world and to respect and honor our past veteran heroes.
If we allow them to make defense cuts all in the name of getting out of Iraq, and eventually Afghanistan (which is probably a mistake, but that discussion will be for another day), there will be no more research funds to remain No. 1, no upgrades, no new tanks, planes, ships and drones, neither more nor better body armor and vehicles.
Regardless of whether you believe the legend of Pearl Harbor, it is very difficult to deny that this is a different world. The United States does not just have the most expensive military in the world, but one the size of the rest of the world's put together. The United States has bases in most of the world's other countries. The United States dominates the oceans and outerspace. The United States has sliced the planet up into command zones. We're dumping 65% of discretionary spending into the military. While we've roughly doubled this spending, both in real dollars and as a percentage of the federal budget since 9-11, the fact is that the nuclear arsenal and the empire of bases and all the endless spending had nothing to do with 9-11 other than serving to provoke it. Your newspaper is asking you to live in a dream world, and to destroy this one in the process.
No new tanks? No new planes? $600 billion sounds big, but over 10 years it's $60 billion out of an annual "security" budget of well over a trillion, or well under 6%. All that's required to turn that into an increase instead of a cut is to take it out of a "projected" budget that increases by more than 6%. If any actual cutting happens, you can rest assured our misrepresentatives will do everything in their power to take the money out of non-military areas, or at least to cut troop benefits rather than the sacred and profitable tanks and planes etc., almost none of which has anything to do with "defense."
Marking Pearl Harbor Day by re-legalizing the internment of Japanese Americans is bad enough.
The madness of militarism is worse.
Russia Bashing - by Stephen Lendman
On December 4, parliamentary elections were held to fill 450 State Duma seats, Russia's Federal Assembly lower house.
With nearly all votes counted, RIA Novosti said Medvedev/Putin's United Russia party won 238 seats, falling slightly below a majority with 49.67% of the vote.
Full-page ad on 99% Proposal to Create Jobs, Control Spending Will Be in San Francisco Chronicle on December 6
Grassroots group in East Bay uses 'crowdfunding' to raise $8500 for ad that is first of its kind
The effort this week by a group of 99 percenters in the San Francisco East Bay to raise funds for a full-page newspaper ad featuring solutions for jobs and the deficit, which originated with Occupy Washington DC, has succeeded.
The group raised $8500 by the Friday, December 2 deadline using the San Francisco campaign ‘crowdfunding’ firm LoudSauce.com to collect donations from 99 generous fellow 99 percenters.
Their informative and striking ad will be published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, December 6. It summarizes many Occupy Washington DC proposals, refers readers of the ad to the Occupy site to read the full proposal, and a petition to sign in support of it.
This appears to be the first ad of its kind – under the 99% umbrella, offering solutions, developed by a grassroots group of citizens, and placed in a major US newspaper.
Marti Roach of Moraga, founding member of the group that has come to call itself 99 Percent SOLUTION, on November 22 put out the call on a listserv to which she belongs for likeminded colleagues and friends to join her.
She, along with those who did enthusiastically join, believes that the Occupy Movement offers important and legitimate ideas and solutions to economic issues facing the United States. She found particular solutions of substance in a piece published on the website for Occupy Washington DC (http://bit.ly/tMsahp).
Marti and five others formed a core group that conferenced by telephone and email to develop the content for the ad, worked quickly with a local graphic designer and publicist, and enlisted LoudSauce.com to handle fund collection to buy the ad. A Facebook page (99PercentSOLUTION) was launched to tell the story of how the ad came about and who came forward to support it.
The ad draft is at http://bit.ly/sdlIYt. The final version will be sent to the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, December 5. ####
By Lori Spencer
Oklahoma City – In the early morning hours of Black Friday, 10 members of Occupy OKC discovered that chanting “Buy local!” in a crowded Walmart is an arrestable offense in the United States of America.
By John Grant