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The State of the U.S!! Why we need Dennis! September 26, 2007 11:14 AM

From time to time I like to post articles about what's been happening to the United States- to its government, to its people- how things are. These will not necessarily be articles written by Dennis Kucinich, but to me, every article I post here highlights just how much we need him as a sane President in these CRAZY times!

This post was modified from its original form on 26 Sep, 11:15  [ send green star]
 
Daniel Ellsberg: 'A Coup Has Occurred' September 26, 2007 11:16 AM

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/092607a.html consortiumnews.com 'A Coup Has Occurred' By Daniel Ellsberg September 26, 2007 (Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007) Editor’s Note: Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming war with Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at an American University symposium on Sept. 20. Below is an edited transcript of Ellsberg’s remarkable speech: I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state. If there’s another 9/11 under this regime … it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth. Will there be anything left for NSA to increase its surveillance of us? … They may be to the limit of their technical capability now, or they may not. But if they’re not now they will be after another 9/11. And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran, you will then see an increased attack on Iran – an escalation – which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country, including detention camps. It’s a little hard for me to distinguish the two contingencies; they could come together. Another 9/11 or an Iranian attack in which Iran’s reaction against Israel, against our shipping, against our troops in Iraq above all, possibly in this country, will justify the full panoply of measures that have been prepared now, legitimized, and to some extent written into law. … This is an unusual gang, even for Republicans. [But] I think that the successors to this regime are not likely to roll back the assault on the Constitution. They will take advantage of it, they will exploit it. Will Hillary Clinton as president decide to turn off NSA after the last five years of illegal surveillance? Will she deprive her administration her ability to protect United States citizens from possible terrorism by blinding herself and deafening herself to all that NSA can provide? I don’t think so. Unless this somehow, by a change in our political climate, of a radical change, unless this gets rolled back in the next year or two before a new administration comes in – and there’s no move to do this at this point – unless that happens I don’t see it happening under the next administration, whether Republican or Democratic. The Next Coup Let me simplify this and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It’s not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9/11. That’s the next coup, that completes the first. The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution, … what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world – in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment. There have been violations of these principles by many presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans. I could go through a list going back before this century to Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus in the Civil War, and before that the Alien and Sedition Acts in the 18th century. I think that none of those presidents were in fact what I would call quite precisely the current administration: domestic enemies of the Constitution. I think that none of these presidents with all their violations, which were impeachable had they been found out at the time and in nearly every case their violations were not found out until they were out of office so we didn’t have the exact challenge that we have today. That was true with the first term of Nixon and certainly of Johnson, Kennedy and others. They were impeachable, they weren’t found out in time, but I think it was not their intention to in the crisis situations that they felt justified their actions, to change our form of government. It is increasingly clear with each new book and each new leak that comes out, that Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff David Addington have had precisely that in mind since at least the early 70s. Not just since 1992, not since 2001, but have believed in Executive government, single-branch government under an Executive president – elected or not – with unrestrained powers. They did not believe in restraint. When I say this I’m not saying they are traitors. I don’t think they have in mind allegiance to some foreign power or have a desire to help a foreign power. I believe they have in their own minds a love of this country and what they think is best for this country – but what they think is best is directly and consciously at odds with what the Founders of this country and Constitution thought. (more)  [ send green star]
 
 September 26, 2007 11:17 AM

They believe we need a different kind of government now, an Executive government essentially, rule by decree, which is what we’re getting with signing statements. Signing statements are talked about as line-item vetoes which is one [way] of describing them which are unconstitutional in themselves, but in other ways are just saying the president says “I decide what I enforce. I decide what the law is. I legislate.” It’s [the same] with the military commissions, courts that are under the entire control of the Executive Branch, essentially of the president. A concentration of legislative, judicial, and executive powers in one branch, which is precisely what the Founders meant to avert, and tried to avert and did avert to the best of their ability in the Constitution. Founders Had It Right Now I’m appealing to that as a crisis right now not just because it is a break in tradition but because I believe in my heart and from my experience that on this point the Founders had it right. It’s not just “our way of doing things” – it was a crucial perception on the corruption of power to anybody including Americans. On procedures and institutions that might possibly keep that power under control because the alternative was what we have just seen, wars like Vietnam, wars like Iraq, wars like the one coming. That brings me to the second point. This Executive Branch, under specifically Bush and Cheney, despite opposition from most of the rest of the branch, even of the cabinet, clearly intends a war against Iran which even by imperialist standards, standards in other words which were accepted not only by nearly everyone in the Executive Branch but most of the leaders in Congress. The interests of the empire, the need for hegemony, our right to control and our need to control the oil of the Middle East and many other places. That is consensual in our establishment. … But even by those standards, an attack on Iran is insane. And I say that quietly, I don’t mean it to be heard as rhetoric. Of course it’s not only aggression and a violation of international law, a supreme international crime, but it is by imperial standards, insane in terms of the consequences. Does that make it impossible? No, it obviously doesn’t, it doesn’t even make it unlikely. That is because two things come together that with the acceptance for various reasons of the Congress – Democrats and Republicans – and the public and the media, we have freed the White House – the president and the vice president – from virtually any restraint by Congress, courts, media, public, whatever. And on the other hand, the people who have this unrestrained power are crazy. Not entirely, but they have crazy beliefs. And the question is what then, what can we do about this? We are heading towards an insane operation. It is not certain. It is likely. … I want to try to be realistic myself here, to encourage us to do what we must do, what is needed to be done with the full recognition of the reality. Nothing is impossible. What I’m talking about in the way of a police state, in the way of an attack on Iran is not certain. Nothing is certain, actually. However, I think it is probable, more likely than not, that in the next 15, 16 months of this administration we will see an attack on Iran. Probably. Whatever we do. And … we will not succeed in moving Congress probably, and Congress probably will not stop the president from doing this. And that’s where we’re heading. That’s a very ugly, ugly prospect. However, I think it’s up to us to work to increase that small perhaps – anyway not large – possibility and probability to avert this within the next 15 months, aside from the effort that we have to make for the rest of our lives. Restoring the Republic Getting back the constitutional government and improving it will take a long time. And I think if we don’t get started now, it won’t be started under the next administration. Getting out of Iraq will take a long time. Averting Iran and averting a further coup in the face of a 9/11, another attack, is for right now, it can’t be put off. It will take a kind of political and moral courage of which we have seen very little… We have a really unusual concentration here and in this audience, of people who have in fact changed their lives, changed their position, lost their friends to a large extent, risked and experienced being called terrible names, “traitor,” “weak on terrorism” – names that politicians will do anything to avoid being called. How do we get more people in the government and in the public at large to change their lives now in a crisis in a critical way? How do we get Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for example? What kinds of pressures, what kinds of influences can be brought to bear to get Congress to do their jobs? It isn’t just doing their jobs. Getting them to obey their oaths of office. I took an oath many times, an oath of office as a Marine lieutenant, as an official in the Defense Department, as an official in the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. A number of times I took an oath of office which is the same oath office taken by every member of Congress and every official in the United States and every officer in the United States armed services. And that oath is not to a Commander in Chief, which is not mentioned. It is not to a fuehrer. It is not even to superior officers. The oath is precisely to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States. Now that is an oath I violated every day for years in the Defense Department without realizing it when I kept my mouth shut when I knew the public was being lied into a war as they were lied into Iraq, as they are being lied into war in Iran. (more)  [ send green star]
 
 September 26, 2007 11:18 AM

I knew that I had the documents that proved it, and I did not put it out then. I was not obeying my oath which I eventually came to do. I’ve often said that Lt. Ehren Watada – who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war – is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously in upholding his oath. The president is clearly violating that oath, of course. Everybody under him who understands what is going on and there are myriad, are violating their oaths. And that’s the standard that I think we should be asking of people. Congressional Courage On the Democratic side, on the political side, I think we should be demanding of our Democratic leaders in the House and Senate – and frankly of the Republicans – that it is not their highest single absolute priority to be reelected or to maintain a Democratic majority so that Pelosi can still be Speaker of the House and Reid can be in the Senate, or to increase that majority. I’m not going to say that for politicians they should ignore that, or that they should do something else entirely, or that they should not worry about that. Of course that will be and should be a major concern of theirs, but they’re acting like it’s their sole concern. Which is business as usual. “We have a majority, let’s not lose it, let’s keep it. Let’s keep those chairmanships.” Exactly what have those chairmanships done for us to save the Constitution in the last couple of years? I am shocked by the Republicans today that I read in the Washington Post who yesterday threatened a filibuster if we … get back habeas corpus. The ruling out of habeas corpus with the help of the Democrats did not get us back to George the First it got us back to before King John 700 years ago in terms of counter-revolution. We need some way, and Ann Wright has one way, of sitting in, in Conyers office and getting arrested. Ray McGovern has been getting arrested, pushed out the other day for saying the simple words “swear him in” when it came to testimony. I think we’ve got to somehow get home to them [in Congress] that this is the time for them to uphold the oath, to preserve the Constitution, which is worth struggling for in part because it’s only with the power that the Constitution gives Congress responding to the public, only with that can we protect the world from mad men in power in the White House who intend an attack on Iran. And the current generation of American generals and others who realize that this will be a catastrophe have not shown themselves – they might be people who in their past lives risked their bodies and their lives in Vietnam or elsewhere, like [Colin] Powell, and would not risk their career or their relation with the president to the slightest degree. That has to change. And it’s the example of people like those up here who somehow brought home to our representatives that they as humans and as citizens have the power to do likewise and find in themselves the courage to protect this country and protect the world. Thank you. Daniel Ellsberg is author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Memoir-Vietnam-Pentagon-Papers/dp/0670030309 *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
anonymous  September 26, 2007 11:44 AM

Yep, I can't even see the top numbers of my "level of concern" counter any more they're so far up there. These are scary times, but interesting times too -- the demand for people of all races, ages, sex and walks of life to come together for the sake of democracy is mounting -- and in the end, we will (I'm still optimisitc). And then, it will even get more interesting. Thanks for the article.  [report anonymous abuse]
 
 September 26, 2007 11:55 AM

Amelia, yes, it certainly will get interesting! Definitely!  [ send green star]
 
 September 26, 2007 12:41 PM

We need some new serious leakage. Daniel Ellsberg is right - Americans need to f'ing wake the hell up and stop with the denials and the attacking those who are working so hard to edify them of the truth that is in their face if they just bothered to care. I think that lack of caring is our biggest hurdle. Americans have come to depend on a government to "take care of them" and they are just "OK" with whatever the government does to maintain it - no matter how many millions of people lose their lives so Americans can keep going along their merry way consuming, and polluting and making more garbage than ever. Our government's "way" has pissed-off so many people in the world that we now have "terrorists" attacking us. Why do Americans prefer to believe what the MORON and the reptiles controlling him are 'saying' instead of the evidences that are in their face? Why do so many Americans just not care? Those are the hurdles we are facing in the next election - the "it's not my problem" and the "it's always been this way" and the "what can one person do?" and the worst, "they hate our freedom! we must kill them!" mentalities, that is what is going to be a big problem still just like in 2004 - ESPECIALLY if we don't do something about the "programable" voting machines. If we don't figure this out we are going to have Clinton as our next president (or Goddess forbid, Giuliani ), who is merely a 'softer' image of the very thing we must rid our government of if we are to have any hope of saving the Constitution. Clinton is just as guilty as the next dem of having raped our Constitution and the people thru taxation and completely out of control - and unconstitutional - spending. Why are so many Americans so unconcerned about their civil liberties? Is it because we've dumbed down so many generations they don't even know what civil liberties are? Do they still teach the original Constitution and Bill of Rights in public school anymore or are they still worried about being able to "pray" in an academic class?
Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul are the ONLY candidates - exactly 'two' - telling us the truth - one is a democrat and one is a libertarian running on a republican ticket... Can anyone ever remember having a dem and a rep running at the same time and both running on basically the same platform, both concerned about the same things for the same reasons, and to have one of them (Paul) who has actually NEVER voted AGAINST the U.S. Constitution? I can't! We are very fortunate in this situation right now because if Kucinich and Paul both were nominated, it's a WIN WIN for the people. We can't lose either way. I personally believe we'd win bigger and better with Paul because he's a pure Constitutionalist and I'm not afraid of 'the people' being able to take care of themselves if they were allowed to keep the means to do it with: that money we illegally hand over to the feds every year called income tax, and a FAIR "free market" that we no longer have (you can thank the dems for that just as much as you can the reps - neither are innocent of attacking the people thru violating the Constitution - they both do it - they all love doing it - ALL the time - because it empowers them. There is no concern for us. Nada, zip, none).
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anonymous  September 26, 2007 1:01 PM

What do YOU think about a Kucinich-Paul ticket?  [report anonymous abuse]
 
 September 26, 2007 1:15 PM

Kucinich & Paul would be a mistake because they are polar opposites, except on the Iraq War & Constitutional Rights. I respect Ron Paul, but I couldn't vote for him.  [ send green star]
 
anonymous  September 26, 2007 1:26 PM

Paul on the ticket makes no sense at all. He's an extreme libertarian who would leave those most vulnerable in our society to fend for themselves. We need an honest government that works for all of us, especially the disadvantaged. Paul wants no government at all.

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 September 26, 2007 11:08 PM

Ameila, if Paul and Kucinich were on the same ticket I'd get down on my knees and thank the heavens for the most profound blessing we could ask for at this time in this nation's history, and I'd continue to pray for both mens' safety thru this campaign and their election/s. Because neither of them is an "enemy of the people" like most everyone in government is (either knowingly or because they are as ignorant and/or naive as the day is long), I do fear for their safety.
"He's an extreme libertarian who would leave those most vulnerable in our society to fend for themselves. We need an honest government that works for all of us, especially the disadvantaged. Paul wants no government at all." Greg, are you calling Ron Paul dishonest? I don't know where you get the idea that Ron Paul wants "no government at all" but that is patently wrong. That is not what Ron Paul has ever said, and it's not what his experience in Congress would back up. If he wanted "no government at all" it would be pretty silly for him to give up a medical practice to represent the people in government. Ron Paul believes in the federal government our founding fathers created for us. He fights for it every day of his life and has for decades. What exactly is it you don't like about him?
What Ron Paul wants is what all Americans want: A free and prosperous nation with a real and strong economy that isn't controlled by the wealthy elite who control the banks who control (and own, actually) the federal reserve. We mustn't make the same mistake so many Americans made in 2000 and in 2004 that cost us an idiot for a president - twice in a row - and a new war that's making everyone but the people fighting it and paying for it RICH because Americans believed what "the people on TV" said, but what all the people on TV "said" was wrong - it was lies, "garbage in garbage out." Someone who is really concerned about the politics in this nation, which is the sole cause of every single "problem" this country endures, would never say such a thing about Ron Paul because they'd have done their research and known that wasn't true. because they know they can't believe anything anything they "hear" - from any source - without first finding some evidence to verify it. That's great if Kucinich is your man - I admire and like him too - but it won't serve anyone to spread misinformation about one of the true American "patriots" alive AND is serving in congress AND is running for president volunteering his life to tell Americans what they need to know. Please do us all a favor and don't turn people off to at least listening to Dr. Paul's message - your founding fathers would back it up if they could.
Yvonne, in what ways are Paul and Kucinich polar opposites?
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Am moving the Kucinich / Paul discussion to a new thread September 26, 2007 11:18 PM

Because I'd like to keep this thread primarily for articles- but am glad a lively discussion is ensuing! Anyway, carry on in the new thread! And have fun!  [ send green star]
 
Torture Endorsed, Torture Denied October 09, 2007 10:57 PM

http://tinyurl.com/yrf47b JURIST Contributing Editor Marjorie Cohn of Thomas Jefferson School of Law says that the Bush administration's repeated insistence that it has not endorsed the torture of prisoners rings hollow in light of newly-disclosed US Department of Justice memos supporting the harshest techniques the CIA has ever used... The April 2004 publication of grotesque photographs of naked Iraqis piled on top of each other, forced to masturbate, and led around on leashes like dogs, sent shock waves around the world. George W. Bush declared, “I shared a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated.” Yet less than a year later, his Justice Department issued a secret opinion endorsing the harshest techniques the CIA has ever used, according to a report in the New York Times. These include head slapping, frigid temperatures, and water boarding, in which the subject is made to feel he is drowning. Water boarding is widely considered a torture technique. Once again, Bush is compelled to issue a denial. “This government does not torture people,” he insisted. This was not the first time the Bush administration had officially endorsed torture, however. John Yoo, writing for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, penned an August 2002 memorandum that rewrote the legal definition of torture to require the equivalent of organ failure. This memo violated the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a treaty the United States ratified, and therefore part of U.S. law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. In December 2002, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved interrogation methods that included the use of dogs, hooding, stress positions, isolation for up to 30 days, 20-hour interrogations, deprivation of light and sound, and water boarding. U.S. Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora told William Haynes, the Pentagon’s general counsel, that Rumsfeld’s “authorized interrogation techniques could rise to the level of torture.” As a result, Rumsfeld rescinded some methods but reserved the right to approve others, including water boarding, on a case-by-case basis. When Bush maintained last week that his government doesn’t torture prisoners, he stressed the necessity of interrogation to “protect the American people.” Notwithstanding the myth perpetuated by shows like “24,” however, torture doesn’t work. Experts agree that people who are tortured will say anything to make the torture stop. One of the first victims of the Bush administration’s 2002 torture policy was Abu Zubaydah, whom they called “chief of operations” for al Qaeda and bin Laden’s “number three man.” He was repeatedly tortured at the secret CIA “black sites.” They water boarded him, withheld his medication, threatened him with impending death, and bombarded him with continuous deafening noise and harsh lights. But Zubaydah wasn’t a top al Qaeda leader. Dan Coleman, one of the FBI's leading experts on al Qaeda, said of Zubaydah, "He knew very little about real operations, or strategy … He was expendable, you know, the greeter . . . Joe Louis in the lobby of Caeser's Palace, shaking hands." Moreover, Zubaydah was schizophrenic; according to Coleman, “This guy is insane, certifiable split personality.” Coleman's views were echoed at the top levels of the CIA and were communicated to Bush and Cheney. But Bush scolded CIA director George Tenet, saying, "I said [Zubaydah] was important. You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" Zubaydah's minor role in al Qaeda and his apparent insanity were kept secret. In response to the torture, Zubaydah told his interrogators about myriad terrorist targets al Qaeda had in its sights: the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statute of Liberty, shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, and apartment buildings. Al Qaeda was close to building a crude nuclear bomb, Zubaydah reported. None of this was corroborated but the Bush gang reacted to each report zealously. Moreover, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, considered the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was tortured so severely – including by water boarding – that the information he provided is virtually worthless. A potentially rich source of intelligence was lost as a result of the torture. Bush’s insistence that his administration doesn't torture rings hollow. He lied about weapons of mass destruction and a Saddam-al Qaeda connection in Iraq. He lied when he assured us his officials would not wiretap without warrants. As evidence of secret memos detailing harsh interrogation policies continues to emerge, we can't believe Bush's denials about torture. Democrats in Congress have demanded they be allowed to see the memos, but Bush said the interrogation methods have been "fully disclosed to appropriate members of Congress." Senator John D. Rockefeller IV was unmoved. "I'm tired of these games," he said. "They can't say that Congress has been fully briefed while refusing to turn over key documents used to justify the legality of the program." It is incumbent upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to vigorously interrogate Michael Mukasey during his attorney general confirmation hearing. As AG, Mukasey would oversee the department that writes interrogation policy. Mukasey should know that the Convention Against Torture prohibits torture in all circumstances, even in times of war. Torture is a war crime. Those who commit or order torture can be convicted under the U.S. War Crimes Statute. Techniques that don't rise to the level of torture but constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment also violate U.S. law. Congress should provide for the appointment of a special independent counsel to fully investigate and prosecute all who are complicit in the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. (more)  [ send green star]
 
Torture Endorsed, Torture Denied, continued October 09, 2007 10:58 PM

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. Her articles are archived at http://www.marjoriecohn.com/ October 08, 2007 *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
 October 10, 2007 11:08 AM

Don't forget, unlike Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, Obama would could and did vote to consent to incompetent and brutal Republican officials being members of the federal cabinet, such as Gonzales, Gates, and others were all sworn in on his vote.  If you have seen "Imagining Argentina", or the Church hearings on the CIA, or seen agent John Stockwell on CIA third world genocide, then you can imagine Mr. Obama playing with fire and starting a conflagration which is what he does with the irresponsibility of his voting in the Senate.  This is something Jackson and Sharpton, wouldn't couldn't and didn't do if they were Senator from Illinois, being men of integrity, conscience and, above all, sanity and reason.  This in an era of survivors of having been disappeared are now heads of state, Obama in contrast has consented to the disappearers themselves being federal government officials in his "capacity as a representative of constituents".  He claims the national and international right, duty etc to consent to a monster in government as easily as zipping over to the refrigerator at home and taking out some dead animal flesh.  This does not happen in a Kucinich household, nor does it happen when he votes in the Congress.

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Naomi Wolf- American Tears October 14, 2007 9:02 AM

http://tinyurl.com/2f8mw2 Posted October 11, 2007 I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days. I am traveling across the country at the moment -- Colorado to California -- speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the 10 steps now underway in America to a violently closed society. The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness -- but I am finding crowds of people who don't need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And they love their country. But I can't stand the stories I am hearing. I can't stand to open my email these days. And wherever I go, it seems, at least once a day, someone very strong starts to cry while they are speaking. In Boulder, two days ago, a rosy-cheeked thirtysomething mother of two small children, in soft yoga velours, started to tear up when she said to me: "I want to take action but I am so scared. I look at my kids and I am scared. How do you deal with fear? Is it safer for them if I act or stay quiet? I don't want to get on a list." In D.C., before that, a beefy, handsome civil servant, a government department head -- probably a Republican -- confides in a lowered voice that he is scared to sign the new ID requirement for all government employees, that exposes all his most personal information to the State -- but he is scared not to sign it: "If I don't, I lose my job, my house. It's like the German National ID card," he said quietly. This morning in Denver I talked for almost an hour to a brave, much-decorated high-level military man who is not only on the watch list for his criticism of the administration -- his family is now on the list. His elderly mother is on the list. His teenage son is on the list. He has flown many dangerous combat missions over the course of his military career, but his voice cracks when he talks about the possibility that he is exposing his children to harassment. Jim Spencer, a former columnist for the Denver Post who has been critical of the Bush administration, told me today that I could use his name: he is on the watch list. An attorney contacts me to say that she told her colleagues at the Justice Department not to torture a detainee; she says she then faced a criminal investigation, a professional referral, saw her emails deleted -- and now she is on the watch list. I was told last night that a leader of Code Pink, the anti-war women's action group, was refused entry to Canada. I hear from a tech guy who works for the airlines -- again, probably a Republican -- that once you are on the list you never get off. Someone else says that his friend opened his luggage to find a letter from the TSA saying that they did not appreciate his reading material. Before I go into the security lines, I find myself editing my possessions. In New York's LaGuardia, I reluctantly found myself putting a hardcover copy of Tara McKelvey's excellent Monstering, an expose of CIA interrogation practices, in a garbage can before I get in the security line; it is based on classified information. This morning at my hotel, before going to the sirport, I threw away a very nice black T-shirt that said "We Will Not be Silenced" -- with an Arabic translation -- that someone had given me, along with a copy of poems written by detainees at Guantanamo. In my America we are not scared to get in line at the airport. In my America, we will not be silenced. More times than I can count, courageous and confident men who are telling me about speaking up, but who are risking what they see as the possible loss of job, home or the ability to pay for grown kids' schooling, start to choke up. Yesterday a woman in one gathering started to cry simply while talking about the degradation of her beloved country. And always the questions: what do we do? It is clear from this inundation of personal stories of abuse and retribution against ordinary Americans that a network of criminal behavior and intention is catching up more and more mainstream citizens in its grasp. It is clear that this is not democracy as usual -- or even the corruption of democracy as usual. It is clear that we will need more drastic action than emails to Congress. The people I am hearing from are conservatives and independents as well as progressives. The cardinal rule of a closing or closed society is that your alignment with the regime offers no protection; in a true police state no one is safe. I read the news in a state of something like walking shock: seven soldiers wrote op-eds critical of the war -- in The New York Times; three are dead, one shot in the head. A female soldier who was about to become a whistleblower, possibly about abuses involving taxpayers' money: shot in the head. Pat Tillman, who was contemplating coming forward in a critique of the war: shot in the head. Donald Vance, a contractor himself, who blew the whistle on irregularities involving arms sales in Iraq -- taken hostage FROM the U.S. Embassy BY U.S. soldiers and kept without recourse to a lawyer in a U.S. held-prison, abused and terrified for weeks -- and scared to talk once he got home. Another whistleblower in Iraq, as reported in Vanity Fair: held in a trailer all night by armed contractors before being ejected from the country. Last week contractors, immune from the rule of law, butchered 17 Iraqi civilians in cold blood. Congress mildly objected -- and contractors today butcher two more innocent civilian Iraqi ladies -- in cold blood. (more)  [ send green star]
 
Naomi Wolf- American Tears, continued October 14, 2007 9:03 AM

It is clear yet that violent retribution, torture or maybe worse, seems to go right up this chain of command? Is it clear yet that these people are capable of anything? Is it obvious yet that criminals are at the helm of the nation and need to be not only ousted but held accountable for their crimes? Is it treason yet? This is an open invitation to honorable patriots on the Right and in the center to join this movement to restore the rule of law and confront this horror: this is not conservatism, it is a series of crimes against the nation and against the very essence of America. Join us, we need you. This movement must transcend partisan lines. The power of individual conscience is profound when people start to wake up. Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said No: he told colleague that they would be ashamed when the world learned about the Administration's warrantless wiretapping. A judge today ruled that the U.S. can't just ship prisoners out of Guantanamo to be tortured at will -- she said No. The Center for Constitutional Rights is about to file a civil lawsuit -- against Blackwater: they are saying No. In Germany, according to historian Richard Evans, in 1931-1932, if enough Germans of conscience had begun to say No -- history would have had an entirely diferent outcome. If we go any further down this road the tears will be those of conservatives as well as progressives. They will be American tears. The time for weeping has to stop; the time for confronting must begin. *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
In The Kingdom of Fear October 17, 2007 5:09 AM

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18569.htm By Sheila Samples "You're A Whole Different Person When You're Scared" ~~Warren Zevon, Hunter S. Thompson 10/16/07 "ICH " -- -- My friend Bernie says since Democrats won the Congress, George Bush reminds him of a cartoon where this destructive Texas jackrabbit was careening headlong down a path, his eyes riveted on a rabbit hole in the distance. A tortoise, sunning himself at the side of the path, looked behind the rabbit where a baying pack of dogs, in hot pursuit, was gaining on him. The tortoise smiled. The poor bunny was in a race for his life. As he shot by, the tortoise called out lazily, "Think you'll make it?" The rabbit, looking neither to the right nor left, shot back desperately -- "I gotta make it..." Bernie says Bush is running scared. So scared he's "pantin' like a lizard..." Pantin' like a lizard? Hah. Having been raised in New Mexico with me, Bernie should know that Bush is panting because, well, that's what lizards do...Especially the venomous gila monsters, who are fun to chase, but only a fool would try to catch one. That's why the few Democrats out there who appear to be chasing Bush are, in reality, just trotting along in his wake. I suspect they fear the holocaust he is capable of inflicting if they catch him. For six long years, Bush has "water-boarded" all who oppose him -- especially those in Congress -- with a steady stream of 9-11. Each speech is laced with visions of 9-11 -- 9-11 horror just over the horizon, 9-11 around each corner, 9-11 behind each tree. "Fear Itself" is the only option on the Bush-Cheney table, and they have used it relentlessly, not only to wage genocidal war in order to gain control of the world's resources, but to seize dictatorial power and to control the quivering masses. Constant and repetitive warnings and false-flag alerts, evidence of plotters and planners skulking among us, hateful ideologies swirling above us like mushroom clouds -- is it any wonder our elected representatives, once inside the Kingdom of Fear, lose all sense of direction, the ability to reason? In his new book, "The Assault on Reason," former vice president Al Gore shines the light of truth upon this Orwellian prison of fear in which we are held captive. In fact, Gore says more in his Introduction than most people can manage to get across in an entire book. He says there is a "connection between the withdrawal of reason from the public sphere and the resulting vacuum that is filled by fear, superstition, ideology, deception, intolerance, and obsessive secrecy as a means of tightening control over the information that a free society needs to govern itself according to reason-based democracy." Bernie says that sounds good, but as far as he's concerned, they're all just a bunch of spineless hypocritical weasels. "Something ain't right here," Bernie said. "These Democrats are different from the ones we sent up there. We elected them to do the two things they promised to do -- stop the massacre in Iraq and impeach the shallow, warmongering fool who lied us into his greedy war. They've been there nearly 11 months and they refuse to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their treasonous lies or the massive destruction that gets worse every day. Blood keeps gushing from the sands of Iraq. Bodies keep piling up." Bernie glared at me as he headed for the door. "Are they really scared, or are they just playing politics?" he asked. "Either way -- how do they sleep at night -- how in the hell do they sleep at night?" If I knew the answer to that question, I'd know why my hero, Sen. Russ Feingold, gave a speech on the floor of the Senate in early October wherein he urged his peers to take a stand and insist the $150 billion war-funding bill include a timeline for beginning to withdraw troops because, he said, "There have been more than 3,600 killed in Iraq..." I was aghast. Perhaps Feingold overslept that morning. Had he bothered to check, he would have discovered that, as he spoke, more than 3,800 of our soldiers and marines had been killed. He might even have mentioned the more than 37,000 injured and more than 21,000 suffering from disease and other medical problems. No matter how you stack them, that's a lot of bodies piling up... I'd know why another of my heroes, Rep. John Conyers, who had been out there hugging the peerless David Swanson and the courageous Cindy Sheehan -- holding meetings in basements, whipping up articles of impeachment -- suddenly shut up, backed off, and dove under his desk when the polls closed. Freaked out -- after 21 terms in Congress! I don't know if House droid Nancy Pelosi experiences fear; if she sleeps, or even blinks, but her strident insistence that she alone is the Decider on impeachment is a power grab indicating either her ignorance of, or contempt for, the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 4 leaves no wiggle room, but is a mandate -- "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." (more)  [ send green star]
 
In The Kingdom of Fear, continued October 17, 2007 5:10 AM

Pelosi's mantra that "impeachment is off the table" mirrors Bush's 9-11 broadside, and is clear evidence that she is far more concerned with politics than with the faceless, invisible bodies that keep piling up because of her inaction. In a recent interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Pelosi said she is determined that Bush will not escape his legacy. "This war is Bush's war and it's Cheney's war. And now," she said, smacking her lips in delight -- "this war is the Republican's war..." So there you have it. When Pelosi and other members of Congress were sworn in after the 2006 election, 2,761 American uniformed military had been slain. In the ensuing 11 months, while Democrats were caving in, kissing ass, and giving Bush everything he demanded to expand his war, an additional 1,072 of our young men and women have perished. With 13 months remaining for this administration, one must wonder how many more innocent Iraqi citizens and American military must die in order for Pelosi to write Bush's legacy with their blood... If Democrats in Congress actually read that document which they swore to "support and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic," they would know that any member of the House can start impeachment proceedings by (are you listening, Rep. Dennis Kucinich?) merely tossing a resolution in the hopper for referral to the appropriate committee. There is good reason for Americans to be scared, for as George Orwell said, "It does not matter if the war is not real, or when it is, victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continous...The war is waged by the ruling group against its subjects." It's them against us -- a greedy corporate cabal protected by a cruel and sinister Dick Cheney and Bush, a vicious, brainless jackass who endowed himself with "wonder-working" masturbatory power to torture and kill at will. I once read that the Constitution is our birth certificate. If we are to remain a legitimate republic and escape this Kingdom of Fear, we must impeach both of these illegitimate warmongers. We must resist being fatigued into compliance with murder and into relinquishing our freedoms. As Hunter S. Thompson wrote so succinctly just prior to the 2004 elections, "We are down to nut-cutting time," and, again, with Warren Zevron, Thompson admonished -- "If you can't run, walk...If you can't walk, crawl...But don't look down...It's a long, long fall." Let us begin. Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at rsamples@sirinet.net *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
 October 17, 2007 4:18 PM

Right on!  [ send green star]
 
We Can't Make It Here Anymore October 19, 2007 12:57 AM

This is a thread in my other group, Homeless Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which was inspired by a song/video by James Mcmurtry. Please see the video and read the entire thread (if, of course, you're interested, lol!). "We Can't Make it Here Anymore" http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc.html?gpp=780&pst=616050 To sum up the thread thus far: 1)Video Link 2)song lyrics to video 4)post: U.S. Unemployment Worsens October 07, 2007 3:42 AM http://blog.aflcio.org/2007/10/05/us-unemployment-worsens/ 5)post: U.S. factory orders plunge as businesses remain cautious October 07, 2007 3:51 AM http://tinyurl.com/2t3c2h 6)post: Boom, bust in area beset by foreclosures October 07, 2007 1:53 PM http://tinyurl.com/37auc3 9)post: IMF sees little hope of US revival October 09, 2007 1:33 PM http://tinyurl.com/2rhk3s 10)post: Tens of Millions of Low-Wage Workers Fall Into Gap Left by Employers and Government October 11, 2007 11:53 AM http://www.bridgingthegaps.org/nationalreport 11)post: Income-Inequality Gap Widens Saturday, 10:02 AM By Greg Ip The Wall Street Journal 12)post: Dollar plunges to fresh euro low Thursday, 11:51 PM http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7051141.stm 13)post: House Fails to Override Child Health Bill Veto Thursday, 11:57 PM By David Stout and Robert Pear The New York Times 14)post: Bush Quips He Might Stay in Power (Threat Level Plays Along) 12:03 AM http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/10/bush-quip-might.html By Kevin Poulsen October 17, 2007 | 2:47:58 PMCategories: Election '08 Song Lyrics to "We Can't Make It Here Anymore": Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign Sitting there by the left turn line Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze One leg missing, both hands free No one's paying much mind to him The V.A. budget's stretched so thin And there's more comin' home from the Mideast war We can't make it here anymore That big ol' building was the textile mill It fed our kids and it paid our bills But they turned us out and they closed the doors We can't make it here anymore See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock They're just gonna set there till they rot 'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack Just busted concrete and rusted tracks Empty storefronts around the square There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere You don't come down here 'less you're looking to score We can't make it here anymore The bar's still open but man it's slow The tip jar's light and the register's low The bartender don't have much to say The regular crowd gets thinner each day Some have maxed out all their credit cards Some are working two jobs and living in cars Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO See how far 5.15 an hour will go Take a part time job at one of your stores Bet you can't make it here anymore High school girl with a bourgeois dream Just like the pictures in the magazine She found on the floor of the laundromat A woman with kids can forget all that If she comes up pregnant what'll she do Forget the career, forget about school Can she live on faith? live on hope? High on Jesus or hooked on dope When it's way too late to just say no You can't make it here anymore Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store Just like the ones we made before 'Cept this one came from Singapore I guess we can't make it here anymore Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today No I hate the men sent the jobs away I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams All lily white and squeaky clean They've never known want, they'll never know need Their sh@# don't stink and their kids won't bleed Their kids won't bleed in the da$% little war And we can't make it here anymore Will work for food Will die for oil Will kill for power and to us the spoils The billionaires get to pay less tax The working poor get to fall through the cracks Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake Let 'em eat sh$%, whatever it takes They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps If they can't make it here anymore And that's how it is That's what we got If the president wants to admit it or not You can read it in the paper Read it on the wall Hear it on the wind If you're listening at all Get out of that limo Look us in the eye Call us on the cell phone Tell us all why In Dayton, Ohio Or Portland, Maine Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains That's done closed down along with the school And the hospital and the swimming pool Dust devils dance in the noonday heat There's rats in the alley And trash in the street Gang graffiti on a boxcar door We can't make it here anymore Music and lyrics © 2004 by James McMurtry http://www.jamesmcmurtry.com/we_cant_make_it_herelyrics.htm *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
Turning Tide of History #23: October 19, 2007 7:02 AM

http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2007/TurningTide23.htm  [ send green star]
 
 October 19, 2007 9:20 AM

Sorry to interrupt, Harmony, but where is the discussion thread you directed us to? I guess I'm having a moment - I can't find it...
 [ send green star]
 
Hi, Princess Katii October 19, 2007 9:29 AM

There was one discussion thread generated off this thread: Dennis Kucinich / Ron Paul discussion http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc.html?gpp=72&pst=809024&archival=&posts=4 I'll blue pin it. If you've read another article in here you'd like to discuss, please feel free to open a thread on it! I've love to discuss some of these.  [ send green star]
 
'No fly' on steroids October 20, 2007 9:45 PM

http://tinyurl.com/2fg367 'No fly' on steroids Under Homeland Security's 'Secure Flight,' your union card or reading preferences could help keep you off a plane. October 18, 2007 Don't look now -- by which, of course, I mean do look now. Look at all the ink and airtime lavished on the titillating stories about Southwest Airlines threatening to boot a couple of passengers off flights unless they tidied up their ensembles. A student/Hooters waitress had to tug her miniskirt down and pull up her neckline, and a man flying home to Florida had to turn his T-shirt inside out to hide its "Master Baiter" joke tackle-shop logo. While we were all getting some giggles out of that, the Department of Homeland Security and its Transportation Security Administration have been going ahead with something that could keep a lot of blameless people off planes, no matter what they're wearing, and might fill up dossiers with stuff they have no business knowing. Never mind cleavage top or bottom: Someone may be taking note of what we do in the sack, who we travel with, what we read and whether we belong to a union. "Secure Flight" is the latest remake of a TSA program that's undergone as many changes as Britney's hair. This time it would, among other things, make it the government's job -- not the airlines' -- to check passengers' names against watch lists and then clear them to check in and travel. Haven't heard of Secure Flight? That's the way they like it in D.C. But some of the people who do know about it are not pleased. Canadians are peeved: Some airline flights that merely fly over the United States, without so much as touching a wheel to U.S. soil, would have to fork over more information about passengers, and do it as much as three days before the flights take off. Canada already worked with the U.S. to craft its own no-fly list and security policies. "What's the point of this cooperative approach if our list isn't deemed to be good enough for the United States?" asked Air Transport Assn. of Canada Vice President Fred Gaspar. The AFL-CIO is peeved: A July 26 letter from Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff to the head of the Council of the European Union raised alarms. Detailing new air safety policies, Chertoff outlined privacy safeguards for any personal data about EU passengers that reveal "racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership and data concerning the health or sex life of the individual." Since when is union membership -- not to mention the sex lives of French, Dutch, British or Italian tourists -- a terrorist risk factor? Edward Wytkind, who heads the AFL-CIO's transportation trades department, is dumbfounded: "We don't think collecting data on union membership has anything to do with running homeland security or weeding out security risks . . . it really crosses over into a very dangerous place." Privacy advocates, already peeved by no-fly list mix-ups, are dismayed by Chertoff's letter and Secure Flight. They wonder: Could all that EU data collection apply to Americans too? Race, health, sex life, political opinions? We're mostly just flying to see our mothers, not applying for work at the CIA. Who's gathering that info, and how would they get it? Would they get it right? I'm happy to say some U.S. senators are peeved too: They ragged on a TSA official but good this week -- why is the agency not inspecting a jet's cargo as rigorously as it inspects its passengers and their toiletries? Why no security checks for foreigners repairing U.S. jets in places such as Egypt and Singapore? The sarcasm in Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's voice jumps off the page: "I hope you can be as righteously indignant about the foreign repair stations as you are about mascara." Finally, businesspeople and the travel industry don't seem thrilled, judging from Web discourse. The 72-hour government security check and requests for yet more passenger data will apply to more than just Canadian overflights. When someone says "government," the word expeditious doesn't come to mind. What will befall the last-minute traveler? With all this going on, the one thing we shouldn't do is put our tray tables up and bury our noses in any old bestseller. Bill Scannell is with the Identity Project, a privacy-rights group funded by IT rich guy and civil libertarian John Gilmore. He told me that customs and border records he's seen for five Identity Project sympathizers noted that one carried a book called "Drugs and Your Rights." Another file noted chattily that the passenger had been traveling for about a month, had gone to a computer conference, visited friends and is -- in quotes -- a computer software "entrepreneur." Which, when you put it that way, sounds more alarming than "union member." Oh, am I busted. On my recent home-to-mother flights, I read Susan Faludi's new book, "Terror Dream," about post-9/11 America; the New Yorker with a piece on Jenna Bush's first book; and a comic volume called "Unusually Stupid Politicians." TSA is accepting public comments on Secure Flight's latest plans; the deadline is Oct. 22. Be careful what you say, unless you don't mind getting home for Christmas . . . in January. patt.morrison@latimes.com *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
Terror watch list swells to more than 755,000 October 25, 2007 1:37 AM

http://tinyurl.com/2lphzm By Mimi Hall, USA TODAY WASHINGTON — The government's terrorist watch list has swelled to more than 755,000 names, according to a new government report that has raised worries about the list's effectiveness. The size of the list, typically used to check people entering the country through land border crossings, airports and sea ports, has been growing by 200,000 names a year since 2004. Some lawmakers, security experts and civil rights advocates warn that it will become useless if it includes too many people. "It undermines the authority of the list," says Lisa Graves of the Center for National Security Studies. "There's just no rational, reasonable estimate that there's anywhere close to that many suspected terrorists." The exact number of people on the list, compiled after 9/11 to help government agents keep terrorists out of the country, is unclear, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Some people may be on the list more than once because they are listed under multiple spellings. Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who plans a hearing on the report today, says "serious hurdles remain if (the list) is to be as effective as we need it to be. Some of the concerns stem from its rapid growth, which could call into question the quality of the list itself." FIND MORE STORIES IN: Senate | Government | Government Accounting Office | Joe Lieberman | Senate Homeland Security About 53,000 people on the list were questioned since 2004, according to the GAO, which says the Homeland Security Department doesn't keep records on how many were denied entry or allowed into the country after questioning. Most were apparently released and allowed to enter, the GAO says. Leonard Boyle, director of the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, which maintains the list, says in testimony to be given today that 269 foreigners were denied entry in fiscal 2006. The GAO report also says: •The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could not specify how many people on its no-fly list, which is a small subset of the watch list, might have slipped through screening and been allowed on domestic flights. •TSA data show "a number of individuals" on the no-fly list passed undetected through screening and boarded international flights bound for the United States. Several planes have been diverted once officials realized that people named on the watch lists were on board. •Homeland Security has not done enough to use the list more broadly in the private sector, where workers applying for jobs in sensitive places such as chemical factories could do harm. Boyle also urges that the list be used by for screening at businesses where workers could "carry out attacks on our critical infrastructure that could harm large numbers of persons or cause immense economic damage." But the sheer size of the watch list raised the most alarms. "They are quickly galloping towards the million mark — a mark of real distinction because the list is already cumbersome and is approaching absolutely useless," said Tim Sparapani of the American Civil Liberties Union. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, says "creating and maintaining a comprehensive terrorist watch list is an enormous endeavor fraught with technical and tactical challenges." The report, she says, "underscores the need to make the watch lists more accurate, to improve screening procedures at airports and the ports of entry, and to provide individuals with the ability to seek redress if they believe they have been wrongfully targeted." *fair use* Harmony- What do you want to bet that you and I, and every other peace-loving citzen who wants positive solutions are already on this list??? But I will not be silenced!!!  [ send green star]
 
Is a Presidential Coup Under Way? October 25, 2007 1:41 AM

http://www.alternet.org/rights/65450/ By Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown. Posted October 23, 2007. The Constitution is being trampled and nothing less than American democracy itself is endangered -- a presidential coup is taking place. Where is Congress? Posted on October 23, 2007, Printed on October 25, 2007 http://www.alternet.org/story/65450/ Where is Congress? It's way past time for members to stand up. Historic matters are at stake. The Constitution is being trampled, the very form of our government is being perverted, and nothing less than American democracy itself is endangered -- a presidential coup is taking place. I think of Barbara Jordan, the late congresswoman from Houston. On July 25, 1974, this powerful thinker and member of the House Judiciary Committee took her turn to speak during the Nixon impeachment inquiry. "My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total," she declared in her thundering voice. "And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution."Where are the likes of Barbara Jordan in today's Congress? While the BushCheney regime continues to establish a supreme, arrogant, autocratic presidency in flagrant violation of the Constitution, members of Congress largely sit there as idle spectators -- or worse, as abettors of Bush's usurpation of their own congressional authority. Why it matters Separation of powers. Rule of law. Checks and balances. These may seem to us moderns to be little more than a set of dry, legal precepts that we had to memorize in high-school history class but need not concern us now. After all, the founders (bless their wigged heads!) established these principles for us back in 17-something-or-other, so we don't really have to worry about them in 2007. Think again. These are not merely arcane phrases of constitutional law, but the very keystones of our democracy, essential to sustaining our ideal of being a self-governing people, free of tyrants who would govern us on their own whim. The founders knew about tyranny. The monarch of the time, King George III, routinely denied colonists basic liberties, spied on them and entered their homes at will, seized their property, jailed anyone he wanted without charges, rounded up and killed dissidents, and generally ruled with an iron fist. He was both the law and above the law, operating on the twin doctrines of "the divine rule of kings" and "the king can do no wrong." (Alert: Ready or not, the following is a high-school refresher course on American government. There will be a test.) At the front of the founders' minds was the necessity of breaking up the authority of their new government in order to avoid re-creating the autocracy they had just defeated. The genius of their structure was that legislating, administering, and judging were to be done by three separate but coequal branches, each with powers to check the other two, and none able to aggregate all three functions into its own hands (a result that James Madison called the very definition of tyranny). Just as important, to deter government by whim, all members of the three branches were to be subject to the laws of the land (starting with the Constitution and Bill of Rights), with no one above the law. As Thomas Paine said, "The law is king." These were not legal niceties but core restraints designed to protect citizens from power grabs by ambitious autocrats. Such restrictions also make our country stronger by vetting policies through three entities rather than one. This balanced authority helps avoid many serious policy mistakes (or at least offers a chance to correct them later), and it is intended to prevent the one mistake that's fatal to democracy -- allowing one branch to seize the power to rule unilaterally. Of course, sound schemes are oft screwed up by unsound leaders, and we've had some horrible hiccups over the years. John Adams went astray early in our democratic experiment by claiming the unilateral authority to imprison his political enemies; Abe Lincoln took it upon himself to suspend habeas corpus during the Civil War; Woodrow Wilson launched his notorious Palmer Raids; FDR rounded up and imprisoned Japanese-Americans; J. Edgar Hoover and the infamous COINTEL program spied on and arrested thousands in the Vietnam War years; and Ronnie Reagan ran his own illegal, secret war out of the White House basement. In all these cases of executive excess and abuse, however, outrage flowed from the public, courts stood up to the White House, congressional investigations ensued, and the American system regained its balance relatively quickly. As Jefferson put it when he succeeded Adams and repealed the Alien and Sedition Acts, "Should we wander [from the essential principles of our government] in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety." This time is different Now, however, come two arrogant autocrats like we've never seen in the White House. George W and his snarling enabler, Dick Cheney, are making a power grab so unprecedented, so audacious, so broad and deep, so secretive, so stupefying, and so un-American that it has not yet been comprehended by the media, Congress, or the public. The dictionary defines "coup" not just as an armed takeover in some Third World country, but as "a sudden and decisive action in politics, especially one affecting a change of government illegally or by force." (more)  [ send green star]
 
Is a Presidential Coup Under Way?, continued October 25, 2007 1:43 AM

Constantly waving the bloody flag of 9/11 and swaggering around in commander-in-chief garb, the BushCheney duo are usurping authority from Congress, the courts, and the people, while also asserting arbitrary power that does not belong to the presidency. Their coup is changing our form of government, rewriting the genius of the founders by imposing a supreme executive that functions in secret and insists that it is above the law, unaccountable either to congressional oversight or to judicial review. As Al Gore pointed out in a powerful speech he gave last year (read it here), the BushCheney push for imperial power is much more dangerous and far-reaching than other presidential excesses for a couple of big reasons. First, the Bushites make no pretension that they want these powers only temporarily, instead contending that a super-powerful presidency is necessary to cope with a terrorist threat that they say will last "for the rest of our lives." Second, they are not merely pushing executive supremacy as a response to an outside threat, but as an ideological, right-wing theory of what they allege the Constitution actually meant to say. Called the "unitary executive theory," this perverse, antidemocratic construct begs us to believe that the president has inherent executive powers that cannot be reviewed, questioned, or altered by the other branches. Bush himself has asserted that his executive power "must be unilateral and unchecked." Must? Extremist theorists aside, this effectively establishes an executive with arbitrary power over us. It creates the anti-America. The list of Bushite excesses is long...and growing: * Their sweeping, secret program of warrantless spying on Americans -- in direct violation of a long-standing federal law intended to forestall such flagrant intrusions into people's privacy. * The usurpation of legislative authority by attaching "signing statements" to laws passed by Congress, openly asserting Bush's intention to disobey or simply ignore the laws. He has used this artifice to challenge over 1,150laws, even though the Constitution and the founders never conceived of such a dodge (signing statements were concocted by Ed Meese, Reagan's attorney general, and were pushed at that time by a young Reaganite lawyer who is now ensconced for life on the Supreme Court, Sam Alito). * Suspension of habeas corpus for anyone whom Bush deems to be an "enemy combatant"-allowing innocent people to be detained indefinitely in prison without charges or civil trial, subjected to abuse and even torture, and denied access to judicial review of their incarceration (thus usurping the power of the courts). The routine and illegal assertion of "executive privilege" to stonewall Congress's legitimate efforts to perform its constitutional obligation of executive oversight and to prevent the questioning of top officials engaged in outright violations of American law. * The assertion of a "state secrets" doctrine to prevent citizens and judges from pursuing legitimate lawsuits on the spurious grounds that even to have the executive's actions brought before the court would endanger national security and infringe on executive authority. * An ever-expanding grab bag of autocratic actions, including using "national security letters" to sidestep the courts and spy on American political groups and individuals with no connection at all to terrorism; censoring executive-branch employees and government information for political purposes and using federal officials and tax dollars to push the regime's political agenda; and, of course, outright lying to Congress and the public, including lying for the most despicable purpose of all -- putting our troops, our public treasury, and our nation's good name into a war based on nothing but hubris, oil, and ideological fantasies (including Bush's latest blatant lie that "progress" in Iraq warrants the killing and maiming of additional thousands of American troops -- none of whom comes from his family). Democratic capitulation What we have is a lawless presidency. But our problem is not Bush. He is who he is -- a bonehead. He won't change, and why should he? He's getting away with his power grab! So he has no reason to step back, and every reason to keep pushing and to keep trying to institutionalize his coup. Rather, our problem is those weaselly, wimpy, feckless members of Congress who have failed to confront the runaway executive, who have sat silent or (astonishingly) cheered and assisted as their own constitutional powers have been taken and their once-proud, coequal branch has been made subservient to the executive. In the first six years of BushCheney, the Republican Congress operated as no more than a rubber stamp for the accretion of presidential power, shamelessly surrendering its own autonomy in a burst of mindless partisan zeal. Too many Democrats just went along, either buying the lies or being cowed by the unrelenting politics of fear and intimidation whipped up by Bush and Cheney. (The Bushites are still using these bullying tactics, as when they demanded this past summer that Congress legalize their illegal domestic spy program and CIA chief Mike McConnell warned publicly that "Americans are going to die" if Democrats failed to pass it.) (more)  [ send green star]
 
Is a Presidential Coup Under Way?, continued October 25, 2007 1:44 AM

Which brings us to the new Congress run by Democrats. Where are they? Yes, I know they have only slim majorities and that the GOP uses veto threats, filibusters, and demagogic lies to fight them -- but, come on, suck it up! At least stop voting for "the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution." For example, the party now in charge did indeed cave in to Bush's summer demand that it legalize his warrantless spying on Americans (a Lowdowner sent an email to me saying he hopes Bush gets caught smoking pot, because then the Democrats will immediately legalize it). The founders would be stunned that Congress has failed to assert itself. They saw checks and balances not as an option but as an obligation, a fundamental responsibility that goes to the very heart of each lawmaker's oath faithfully to support and defend the Constitution. It's important to note that Congress is not a weak institution. It has powerful muscles to flex, including control of the purse, which Congress used in 1973 to tell Nixon, "No, we will not provide money for you to extend the Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia." Nixon had to back off. Legislators also have clear constitutional mandates to oversee, probe, and expose presidential actions (remember the extensive Fulbright hearings in the '60s and the Church investigations of the '70s, for example). Members of Congress have wide-ranging subpoena power, as well as something called "inherent contempt" power to make their own charges against outlaw executive officials and to hold their own trials. And, of course, they have impeachment power -- which the founders saw not only as a way to remove an outlaw president (or veep or cabinet officer), but also as a means to compel a recidivist constitutional violator to come before the bar of Congress and to be held accountable. The process itself, even if it does not lead to conviction in the Senate, is educational and chastening, putting the executive branch back in its place. None of this is about making a partisan attack on BushCheney. It's really not about them at all. Rather, Congress must find its backbone because our democracy cannot function without a vigilant legislative branch. Outlaw presidents must finally leave office, but their precedents live beyond them if left unchecked. As historian Arthur Schlesinger wrote of the power-grabbing Nixon administration, "If the Nixon White House escaped the legal consequences of its illegal behavior, why would future presidents not suppose themselves entitled to do [the same]?" Bang pots and pans Sam Adams, the organizer of the Boston Tea Party, knew that it is the citizenry itself that ultimately has to do the heavy lifting of democracy building. "If ever a time should come when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats of government," he declared, "our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." That's us. And now is that time. What can we do? We can do what millions have been doing-only more of it, more insistently, more loudly, more creatively. Our friend Molly Ivins, just before she died this year, urged us to start "banging pots and pans" to make the bastards hear us. Raise a ruckus through street demonstrations, peace actions, visits (and/or confrontations) with lawmakers, political campaigns, alliances with military families, religious ceremonies, coalitions with constitutional conservatives, outreach to young people, and grassroots media action, including blogs, email blasts, call-in radio, letters to editors, op-eds, bumperstickers, and whatever you've got. Make a mighty noise. Don't forget our friends in office. Such Democrats as John Conyers, Henry Waxman, Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, Russ Feingold, Pat Leahy, and Dennis Kucinich are all over Bush and Cheney with investigations, subpoenas, censure motions, impeachment bills, and exposes -- not only on the war, but most emphatically on constitutional abuses. Thank them, find out what you can do to help them, demand that your own Congress critter join them. And here's a creative idea from Garret Keizer. I have no idea who he is, but he wrote a punchy piece in the October issue of Harper's Magazine (read it here) that I like and that Lowdowners might want to embrace. He's calling for a general strike. Not by unions, but by us-you and me. As a symbolically appropriate day, he suggests the first Tuesday of November, the traditional date for our elections -- this year, Nov. 6. He dubs it "The Feast of the Hanging Chads." A general strike means that We The People, as many of us as possible, would disobey the inept, corrupt, undemocratic (add your own adjective here) system by withholding our presence at for least one day. Don't go to work. Stay home. Better yet, take some political action. Also, don't go to the mall, the supermarket, or the bank; don't use your credit card or make any commercial transaction. This would be the ultimate affront to the corporate president who so pathetically told us after 9/11 that our highest patriotic response to the attack was to "go shopping." So don't fly, use your cell phone (hard, I know), watch TV, or otherwise participate. Sometimes, silence is the loudest sound of all. As Keizer says, "As long as we're willing to go on with our business, Bush and Cheney will feel free to go on with their coup." (more)  [ send green star]
 
Is a Presidential Coup Under Way?, continued October 25, 2007 1:45 AM

On one level, the strike is against the war, against Bush thumbing his nose at the American majority that has already emphatically said -- OUT! -- and against the Democratic leadership that can't seem to muster the will to rein in the Bush administration. On another level, however, this is a strike for the Constitution, a strike against the betrayal of the rule of law and our democratic ideals. It's a strike for the America we thought this was. It's an affirmation that the people are the only "larger force" that can stop the BushCheney coup and make America whole again. From "The Hightower Lowdown," edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer, October 2007. Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Thieves In High Places: They've Stolen Our Country and It's Time to Take It Back. © 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/65450/ *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
General Says Bush Personally Ordered Torture Tactics October 25, 2007 1:51 AM

http://www.alternet.org/rights/66035/ By Nick Juliano, Raw Story. Posted October 24, 2007. The U.S. uses tyrannical methods including terrorizing prisoners with dogs, holding them in freezing cold cells and depriving them of human contact for months. By Nick Juliano, Raw Story Posted on October 24, 2007, Printed on October 25, 2007 http://www.alternet.org/story/66035/ More than 100,000 pages of newly released government documents to demonstrate how US military interrogators "abused, tortured or killed" scores of prisoners rounded up since Sept. 11, 2001, including some who were not even expected of having terrorist ties, according to a just-published book. In Administration of Torture, two American Civil Liberties Union attorneys detail the findings of a years-long investigation and court battle with the administration that resulted in the release of massive amounts of data on prisoner treatment and the deaths of US-held prisoners. http://www.aclu.org/about/staff/administrationoftorture.html "[T]he documents show unambiguously that the administration has adopted some of the methods of the most tyrannical regimes," write Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh. "Documents from Guantanamo describe prisoners shackled in excruciating 'stress positions,' held in freezing-cold cells, forcibly stripped, hooded, terrorized with military dogs, and deprived of human contact for months." Most of the documents on which Administration of Torture is based were obtained as a result of ongoing legal fights over a Freedom of Information Act request filed in October 2003 by the ACLU and other human rights and anti-war groups, the ACLU said in a news release. The documents show that prisoner abuse like that found at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was hardly the isolated incident that the Bush administration or US military claimed it was. By the time the prisoner abuse story broke in mid-2004 the Army knew of at least 62 other allegations of abuse at different prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, the authors report. Drawing almost exclusively from the documents, the authors say there is a stark contrast between the public statements of President Bush and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the policies those and others in the administration were advocating behind the scenes. President Bush gave "marching orders" to Gen. Michael Dunlavey, who asked the Pentagon to approve harsher interrogation methods at Guantanamo, the general claims in documents reported in the book. © 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/66035/ *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
Why Those Who Love America Are Feeling Brokenhearted October 26, 2007 10:38 PM

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/24/4787/ Published on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 by the Chicago Sun-Times Why Those Who Love America Are Feeling Brokenhearted by Andrew Greeley I am ashamed for America. Note carefully that I do not say I am ashamed of America. Despite all its inherent flaws and all its tragic mistakes, the United States stands, however incompletely and with whatever imperfections, for the highest standards of freedom and democracy that the world has yet known. I am ashamed for America because all the evil done in the nation’s name in recent years is turning off the light on the mountaintop. 1. The president urges Congress in effect to accept the Turkish protest against the attribution of Armenian genocide because it might interfere with Turkish logistic cooperation in the ill-starred and foolish Iraq war. That’s like silencing all congressional action on the Holocaust because we need Germany on our side. If Turks expect to become part of Europe and the West, they must acknowledge what their ancestors did. They could pass a resolution of their own accusing us of genocide against Native Americans if it would make them happy. How humiliating that the president wants us to ignore what happened to the Armenians so we can be victorious in the “global war on terror” (the current replacement for “weapons of mass destruction”). That’s called appeasement, and it was appeasement when President Bill Clinton did the same thing. 2. The government kidnaps, tortures and murders the way the Gestapo did in Nazi Germany. The president blithely dismisses these charges. The United States, he says, does not torture. But that deception is based on a memo from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defining torture, which the White House won’t let anyone else look at. 3. The government pays large salaries to 148,000 “individual contractors” in Iraq — more than the total American military there. A third of these are toting guns. They are mercenaries — often, it would seem, with very quick trigger fingers. Ironically, the most recent victims were two Armenian Christian women. These contractors are a kind of American Foreign Legion, like the notorious French and Spanish foreign legions. They may well be very brave people who do very tough jobs. They also compensate for Mr. Rumsfeld’s criminal underestimate of the number of troops required. If, however, the country is going to have a Legion Etranger, it should make sure that it works under tight control. An unrestrained security force quickly becomes a mafia. Humphrey Bogart, where are you when we really need you? 4. At a remarkably frank meeting of middle-range officers (majors and colonels) at Fort Leavenworth, the soldiers debated not whether there should have been a war in Iraq, but who was to blame for losing it. Was it the senior officers or the joint chiefs or the civilian leaders? The war is not even over yet, and already the officers who fought it and will have to fight its continuation have already given up hope. Too bad for them, because the president has made up his mind that we are still going to win the war and the Democratic presidential candidates speak about a 10-year presence in Iraq. Whatever the political leadership is or will be in 2009, no candidate seems capable of saying, “We’re getting out now!” And the rest of the world laughs at us because both parties are led by fools. Anyone who cares about the United States and its legacies has to be brokenhearted at what has been done to our beloved country by the crazy people who are running it — people who have become so skilled at deception they don’t even realize anymore that they are deceiving. Just like the Democrats don’t realize they are again stealing defeat out of the jaws of victory. Andrew Greeley is a priest in good standing of the Archdiocese of Chicago. for 52 years, a columnist for 40 years, a sociologist for 45 years, a novelist for 28 years, distinguished lecturer at the University of Arizona for 28 , research associate at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago for 46 years. © 2007 The Chicago Sun Times *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
Rights groups file French torture case vs Rumsfeld October 26, 2007 10:42 PM

Rights groups file French torture case vs Rumsfeld http://tinyurl.com/36cjp8 Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:53am EDT PARIS (Reuters) - Human rights groups have filed a lawsuit in France alleging that former U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld allowed torture at U.S.-run detention centers in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The plaintiffs, which include the French-based International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) and the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), say Rumsfeld authorized interrogation techniques that led to rights abuses. The United States says it does not torture, though it has authorized several methods widely condemned by rights groups such as exposure to extreme temperatures and 'waterboarding', or simulated drowning. "We will only stop once the American authorities involved in the torture program are brought to justice," CCR chief Michael Ratner said in a statement posted on the FIDH Web site. "Donald Rumsfeld must understand that he has nowhere to hide. A torturer is an enemy of humanity," he added. The plaintiffs argue in their filing, which was also posted on the FIDH Web site, that French courts have universal jurisdiction -- allowing them to try foreigners in cases that occurred abroad -- under the 1984 Convention Against Torture. They said Rumsfeld was visiting France on Friday and called for him to be detained. "Rumsfeld's presence on French territory gives the French courts the authority to try him, in that he ordered and authorized torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment on detainees at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere," the FIDH said in its statement. The Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq hit the headlines in April 2004 when details of the physical abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers were made public, badly damaging the reputation of the U.S. military. Former prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are suing Rumsfeld and 10 military commanders for alleged torture and violations of their religious rights during their detention there. The CCR and FIDH have already filed suits in Germany in 2004 and 2006 in a bid to have Rumsfeld tried for rights abuses. Both were rejected by the courts, though an appeal is due to be heard in the second case next week, the groups said. The German-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights was also a party to the French case. *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
The End of America-The Police State is Right Here, Right Now November 03, 2007 4:09 PM

THE END OF AMERICA - THE POLICE STATE IS RIGHT HERE - RIGHT NOW http://tinyurl.com/2o44jk Carolyn Baker 09/20/07 As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such a twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air-however slight-lest we become unwilling victims of the darkness. ~Justice William O. Douglas~ In April, 2007 I was pleasantly surprised to find Naomi Wolf's article, "Fascist America, In 10 Easy Steps" posted in several places online. I have been a fan of Wolf for many years, greatly appreciating her works and especially her 1991 book, The Beauty Myth. I had been looking for a list-or more specifically, an encyclopedia of the losses of civil liberties in the United States that might clarify for my history students the extent to which America has become a fascist empire. Wolf's "10 Easy Steps" was perfect, but her just-published book, The End Of America: Letter Of Warning To A Young Patriot, from which the 10 easy steps was compiled, offers an even fuller picture-a succinct and engaging explanation of how our civil liberties have been hijacked in the past decade. It is the most poignant, powerful, genuinely patriotic piece of literature I have encountered since Thomas Paine's Common Sense. No wonder then, that the book's cover greatly resembles that 46-page tract by Paine written in 1775-as well it should. One of the most frightening realities of teaching college history is that most students rarely have a clue what fascism is. They know about Hitler and the extermination of Jews, but they see little connection with Nazi rule in the 1930s and 40s and the current political milieu in the United States. Overwhelmingly, they cannot define fascism, nor can they define socialism or democracy. After all, they were pre-occupied during grammar school with becoming standardized human beings by way of taking standardized "No Child's Behind Left" tests, five hours a day, four days a week. So why would they know the definitions of fascism, socialism or democracy? Refreshingly, Wolf is not shy about using the term fascism and lets the reader know why. "I have made a deliberate choice in using the terms fascist tactics and fascist shift when I describe some events in America now. I stand by my choice. I am not being heated or even rhetorical; I am being technical." (20) She explains that where Americans tend to see the various political "isms" as all-or-nothing, that perception is often inaccurate because of what she calls a "range of authoritarian regimes, dictatorships, and varieties of Fascist states...there are many shades of gray on the spectrum from an open to a closed society." (20) Wolf also emphasizes that America has flirted with fascism openly in the 1930s when numerous corporations and robber barons helped finance Hitler and when as Edwin Black notes in IBM And The Holocaust, some American corporations assisted the Nazi regime in carrying out its "final solution" to the "Jewish problem." In fact, several of these corporate tycoons attempted to stage a coup d' etat to overthrow Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 and restructure the American government under fascist control. A thorough investigation of American politics and society from the end of the Civil War until the present moment reveals, as I have carefully traced in my book U.S. History Uncensored: What Your High School Textbook Didn't Tell You, that much of recent American history is replete with a preference on the part of corporations and the politicians they own for an economic and political system on the far right end of the spectrum. In fact, resistance to fascism in the United States has been an arduous and daunting struggle for those who have been able to understand and oppose the appeal that fascism has to the corporatocracy, and in fact, take seriously Mussolini's fundamental definition of fascism: "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." As an historian who views American history as the complex unfolding of events that it is, I feel invigorated upon hearing someone like Wolf-especially the Wolf of feminist Beauty Myth fame-part company with the presentation of the Founders as "dead white men" inwardly tormented by various hypocrisies, such as the ownership of slaves and the subordination of women. Yes, Jefferson owned slaves and fathered six children by one of them, but what gets lost in that drama and other colorful stories of the Founders is that they were also thinking, speaking, and writing highly subversive thoughts. "You are not taught," says Wolf, that "these men and women were radicals for liberty; that they had a vision of equality that was a slap in the face of what the rest of their world understood to be the unchanging, God-given order of nations; and that they were wiling to die to make that desperate vision into a reality for people like us, whom they would never live to see." (27) I do not wish to romanticize the Founders and their generation living in a milieu replete with racism, misogyny, and classism, but neither will I throw their achievements out with the bathwater of political correctness, nor is Wolf willing to do so in her examination of them. (more)  [ send green star]
 
The End of America- continued November 03, 2007 4:10 PM

In the "10 easy steps" outlined by Wolf, countries move from open to closed and repressive societies by devolving past certain markers, and Wolf makes a powerful case for the way in which the United States is following a similar pattern without any significant deviation. In each instance she compares and contrasts how America's adherence to the pattern compares or contrasts with the pattern in pre-World War II Germany. The 10 steps are: Invoking an external and internal threat Establishing secret prisons Developing a paramilitary force Surveiling ordinary citizens Infiltrating citizens' groups Arbitrarily detaining and releasing citizens Targeting key individuals Restricting the press Casting criticism as "espionage" and dissent as "treason" Subverting the rule of law As noted in the quote from Justice Douglas above, the fascist shift is a protracted process; it never happens overnight, and in U.S. History Uncensored, I offer an historical narrative describing exactly how we have arrived where we are-at "the end of America". Some aspects of the process were generated before the U.S. Civil War, but our recent history is nothing less than the story of the acceleration of the fascist agenda and the death of the Republic. Frequently, books come into our lives with momentous timing. Several weeks ago a friend of mine was traveling through a small town in upstate New York looking for the location of a meeting he was scheduled to attend. Realizing that he was lost, he spotted a police officer in a marked car and waived to the officer to pull over. The officer pulled over, and my friend innocently got out of his car to walk back to the officer's car. Suddenly, the officer's voice came blasting across a loud speaker, "Get back in the car! Stop where you are! Get back in the car!" My friend returned to his vehicle and waited for the officer to approach his driver's side window. The officer, with a hand on his holstered firearm, angrily asked my friend what he wanted. When my friend asked him for directions, he replied with hostility that he didn't know the location of the place for which my friend was searching and once again repeated, "Never get out of your car when you're dealing with a police officer." So much for asking directions from a police officer these days. On another occasion, two friends of mine returning from Canada were detained at the U.S./Canadian border, and while one of them had a U.S. passport, the other had forgotten to bring his. He produced a variety of identification but was taken aside, questioned, shouted at, and harassed in an extremely hostile manner as if he were an enemy of the state. Fortunately, after over-the-top intimidation from a couple of surly customs officers, he was allowed to enter the U.S. About three weeks ago I was returning from a routine visit to the dentist in Mexico and had a U.S. passport with me, even though none will be required for returning from Mexico until January, 2008. I was told by a very aggressive female customs agent to pull over to the center where vehicles are detained. I was ordered in a very hostile manner to give her my driver's license and the keys to my vehicle and stay in my vehicle. When I asked what the problem was, I was told to be quiet and again, to stay in my vehicle. Having taught in Mexico for three years, returning to the U.S. every day and rarely having to show any identification whatsoever, I found this procedure to be astonishingly rigid and unnecessary. I have made many trips to Mexico in recent months and have never had any problem when the automatic photos that are taken of every license plate crossing the border appeared on U.S. Customs computer screens. After what seemed like an eternity the female officer returned and told me that it appeared that I had had an expired vehicle registration four years ago which I had not taken care of and that I needed to do so at once. She gave me the name of the court where the offense was allegedly registered. The very next day I contacted the court and discovered that indeed I had been stopped four years ago for an expired registration for which I was given a warning. Every year since, I have purchased my annual registration well before the deadline, but the offense was never brought to my attention, and I even acquired a new driver's license last year through the motor vehicles division and was not informed of the offense. Not wanting any further hassle regarding the "heinous crime" of having an expired registration four years ago, I agreed to pay the small fine imposed by the court. Some readers may assume that I was harassed because of who I am and my open delivery of alternative news and opinions on this website daily. I, on the other hand, do not believe that this was "all about me." Whether or not it was, it is blatantly obvious to me that the behavior of law enforcement in the United States has shifted dramatically in recent months. Whether or not I was targeted, which I sincerely doubt, this kind of treatment is becoming standard in law enforcement procedure throughout the United States. And now fast-forward to yesterday, September 18, 2007, at University of Florida and the tasering of a student questioning John Kerry regarding the 2004 elections and Kerry's membership in Skull and Bones-an incident which has been viewed by millions on the internet and on mainstream TV news broadcasts. Writing of this debacle, Wolf's article "A Shocking Moment For Society" appeared on various internet sites this morning, and in it she states: (more)  [ send green star]
 
The End of America- continued November 03, 2007 4:11 PM

There is a chapter in my new book, The End of America, entitled "Recast Criticism as ‘Espionage' and Dissent as ‘Treason,'" that conveys why this moment is the horrific harbinger it is. I argue that strategists using historical models to close down an open society start by using force on ‘undesirables,' ‘aliens,' ‘enemies of the state,' and those considered by mainstream civil society to be untouchable; in other times they were, of course, Jews, Gypsies, Communists, homosexuals. Then, once society has been acculturated to that use of force, the ‘blurring of the line' begins and the parameters of criminalized speech are extended - the definition of ‘terrorist' expanded - and the use of force begins to be deployed in HIGHLY VISIBLE, STRATEGIC and VISUALLY SHOCKING WAYS against people that others see and identify with as ordinary citizens. The first ‘torture cellars' used by the SA, in Germany between 1931 and 1933 - even before the National Socialists gained control of the state, during the years when Germany was still a parliamentary democracy - were informal and widely publicized in the mainstream media. Few German citizens objected because those abused there were seen as ‘other' - even though the abuse was technically illegal. But then, after this escalation of the use of force was accepted by the population, students, journalists, opposition leaders, and clergy were similarly abused during their own arrests. Within six months dissent was stilled in Germany. What is the lesson for us from this and from other closing societies, some of them democracies? You can have a working Congress or Parliament; newspapers; human rights groups; even elections; but when ordinary people start to be hurt by the state for speaking out, dissent closes quickly and the shock chills opposition very, very fast. Once that happens, democracy has been so weakened that major tactical and strategic incursions - greater violations of democratic process - are far more likely. If there is dissent about the vote in Florida in this next presidential election - and the police are tasering voters' rights groups - we will still have an election. What we will not have is liberty. We have to understand what time it is. When the state starts to hurt people for asking questions, we can no longer operate on the leisurely time of a strong democracy - the ‘Oh gosh how awful!' kind of time. It is time to take to the streets. It is time to confront those committing crimes against the Constitution. The window has now dropped several precipitous inches and once it is closed there is no opening it without great and sorrowful upheaval. As I read Wolf's latest article, I realized that despite my enormous admiration for her and The End Of America, there are a number of areas where I must disagree with her. First, the only thing shocking to me about the University of Florida incident is that so many Americans are shocked that it happened. Last night I posted a communication to her mailing list regarding the incident from former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney who says: No police officer should be in the business of denying Constitutional rights to anyone; I am particularly chagrined when it appears that a black police officer participated in this attack on an innocent student. What is happening to us???? How much more will the people accept?? I was outraged as early as 2000 when Florida was stolen and the Democrats said nothing!!!! Now, innocent students get tasered just for asking questions. What kind of US Senator do we have who can't or won't answer a question about his own election that affects all of us???. Wolf has given us a compendium of civil and Constitutional rights stolen from us during the past eight years of the Bush administration. If one understands this odyssey of oppression, then yesterday's tasering of a questioning student makes perfect sense. I appreciate why Wolf used the word "shocking" in her most recent article, but I'd be willing to bet that she isn't shocked at all-not after the extraordinary documentation she has given us in The End Of America. What I do believe she wishes to clarify is the intentionally traumatizing methodology of law enforcement to maintain social control. Secondly, I must take issue with Wolf regarding her statement that "...we on the left must snap out of our ‘it's-all-the-WTO-the-two-parties-are-the-same' torpor...We have to reengage in an old-fashioned commitment to democratic action and believe once again in an old-fashioned notion of the Republic. We need to help lead a democracy movement in America like the ones that have toppled repressive regimes overseas." (141) Again, let's fast forward not to yesterday, but today and the headline "Senate bars bill to restore detainee rights"-a decision which supports the Bush administration's denial of habeas corpus to Guantanamo prisoners who want to challenge their imprisonment in court. Need we reiterate one more time that since the 2006 elections, the Democrats have done virtually nothing to end the occupation of Iraq? Need we watch the video one more time of John Kerry standing mute and statue-like on the University of Florida auditorium stage-saying or doing nothing as a student was tasered for asking him why he handed the 2004 election to George W. Bush? Does anyone seriously believe that in a world where fellow students applaud as police remove and taser a questioning student and do nothing to speak up against such an outrage that we will see a viable, effective "democracy movement in America like the ones that have toppled repressive regimes overseas"? (more)  [ send green star]
 
The End of America- continued November 03, 2007 4:13 PM

As for Wolf's suggestion in today's article that we "take to the streets", the police state is preparing for that eventuality as well by letting us know that it has developed severely injuring electromagnetic crowd control technology that will dramatically limit how many and how often people can "take to the streets." Welcome to full-spectrum "1984". I repeat: the police state is right here, right now! Moreover, some pivotal factors that Wolf has not addressed are global energy depletion, climate change, and global economic meltdown which are exacerbating the fascist shift about which she so brilliantly writes and which will continue to embolden that shift as energy scarcity, climate chaos, and financial crises add fuel to the fires of terrorism that the ruling elite have so consciously and carefully incited and fanned throughout America. As American society continues to unravel, the fascist shift will escalate, and what is left of our civil liberties will further evaporate. As for political parties, I prefer the definition offered by Mike Ruppert in "America: From Freedom To Fascism" in which he explains that the two major parties are like two crime families-the Genoveses and the Gambinos. They function like players in a crap game that feign opposition to each other, but when the chips are down, they will always unite to serve their common interests. (If the Iraq occupation is not a case in point, then I don't know what is.) When we vote in presidential elections for corporately-owned candidates or "the lesser evil", we are merely choosing between the two crime families, and even if one candidate were not a crime family member, our votes in the past two presidential elections, as Bev Harris has so astutely demonstrated, have been hacked. In the throes of the current, and I might add, rapidly-accelerating fascist shift, what evidence do we have for assuming that if there is an election in 2008, anything will be different? Tell me again, what's the definition of insanity? At this moment another Naomi comes to mind-Naomi Klein whose book Shock Doctrine I shall soon review on this site. In that work Klein documents one of the key strategies of fascist empires: shocking their citizens into submission in a variety of ways from widespread societal terrorism to the administering of electroshock therapy to individuals. What we witnessed at the University of Florida yesterday, and what we are likely to see more frequently in America, are deliberate shock tactics applied by law enforcement to citizens for the purpose of achieving massive social control. Some of my students who are criminal justice majors tell me that the latest strategies now being taught to police officers are "shock doctrine" techniques which terrorize and intimidate civilians in order to control them. Law enforcement officers are no longer encouraged to "keep a cool head" but to "follow their own instincts" (which usually means their own internal, adrenaline-charged state of terror) and react with full force because it's easier to apologize (or encounter a lawsuit) than to ask permission or risk being killed. Terrified people should not be wearing a badge and carrying a gun, and when they are, a fully terrorized society is guaranteed. In spite of my disagreements with Naomi Wolf's suggested solutions, I cannot recommend The End Of America enthusiastically enough. It is now a permanent part of my U.S. history curriculum and is an ideal tool not only for educators, but for parents who want to teach their children where all those civil liberties we used to have actually came from as well as how and why they are disappearing in the present moment. ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ © 2007 Carolyn Baker *fair use, for the purpose of waking us UP*  [ send green star]
 
America’s Road to Tyranny November 03, 2007 4:36 PM

Vincent L. Guarisco http://tinyurl.com/2opev9 'John Adams wrote, 'Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.' We stand at a defining moment for America. If we do not act now, we risk the freedoms that sweat, blood, sacrifice, and loyalty to inalienable rights have earned us over the past two-hundred thirty-one years.' ~Naomi Wolf Author of ‘The end of America: letter of warning to a young patriot.’ (A citizen’s call to action) Dear die-hard Patriot, It's weird how old quotes like the one penned above still hold true even today. Indeed, yes it is, and that's why this article is written with you in mind. I guess we’re not all born into this world to be the brightest 'candle' at the alter of democracy, now are we? Nope, because not even hardly a 'flicker'of tenacity for truth seems to remain these days. In fact, most of the 'free' world rightfully sees America as an old melted heap-of-wax whose bright light burned out long ago when we morphed into a military state dictatorship. Pardon me for the metaphors, but our dark days are quite painful to most others living in distant foreign lands. They have felt the burning, scorching heat from our foreign policy for a very long time. As a result, It has left hundreds of thousands of dead, decaying bodies lying rampant across many landscapes with countless others left displaced and homeless. On a religious note -- maybe Bush’s casualties of war are kinda like God decorating the earth with daisies and nuts...except His handiwork looks, smells and tastes much better. So, Patriot, what are we to do? Are the 'born-again' Christians among us supposed to support what our government does -- in our name -- regardless of the death and destruction? Earth to George, are you hearing this? What is God going to tell you to destroy next? Will He whisper in our ears too and tell us how to stop you? God speed my Lord, we await with open ears... Actually, I am an average, honest, hard-working agnostic dude who loves his country as much as anyone, but in the same breath, I am being honest when I admit I’m ashamed and appalled at what our leaders are doing. In addition, I am a loving father, blessed to have two beautiful daughters (ages18 and 21). In placing high value on 'patriotism and country,' I have just finished placing an order for two copies of Naomi Wolf’s new book, 'The End of America,' which is a searing political call to arms to save democracy... As a Christmas gift, I am giving each of my lovely daughters a copy of this powerful book. Sadly, I wish I did not have to do so. But duty calls in the wake of duplicity, and that’s what separates a real parent from a dysfunctional wannabe. See, I am not afraid to tell my kids 'we screwed-up.' Printed by the socially conscious Chelsea Green Publishing House, 'The End of America' describes the 'ten classic steps dictators take when closing down an open society.' Wolf makes it abundantly clear that 'each of those ten steps is now underway in the United States today.' I want my children to read this book (along with other pertinent information) and develop a real evolving wisdom concerning false flag operations at home and abroad, the true meaning of war and hostile occupation carried out with lies, shrewd nation building geared to profit the military industrial complex, the human cost of holocaust politics, why government scandals continue unabated, how scorched earth policy is destroying the planet, and the effects of state-sponsored news propaganda that fills every crevice of the America blowhole. Yes, I have decided to give my children Wolf’s new book, disregarding my usual habit of giving inspirational gifts during the holiday season. And I highly recommend you do the same. So what, if the hair on our collective heads is standing at full attention just because we screwed everything up for them. Screw it, the little tots deserve to know how our generation is destroying both the free world and the planet. It’s better than sticking their innocent heads into sand with their butts high in the air for all to gleefully assault. Best scenario, they may actually become appalled enough to grow a real backbone (even from weak genes) to actually do something about it! At this late point in time it’s a little redundant for me to comprehensively attempt to explain how it is we came to be in this disheartening place. Surreal as it may be, my only concern now is that a small flicker of hope can be rekindled in order to fix this bloody mess, and the younger generation is our best bet. The truth is, those we entrusted to lead us have miserably failed us at every turn. Very few members of the House have their hearts in the right place in Washington today. I’m sure Paul Wellstone is rolling in his grave after watching our Democratic congress bathe in campaign squalor as they sold us down the Potomac river. After Wellstone's death, his staff released a transcript of his last 2002 midterm election campaign commercial, which had been slated for airing just before the November election: 'I don't represent the big oil companies,' Wellstone said. 'I don't represent the big pharmaceutical companies, I don't represent the Enrons of this world. But you know what, they already have great representation in Washington. It's the rest of the people that need it. I represent the people of Minnesota.' Five years ago we lost the man dubbed 'the soul of the Senate. A sad day indeed. May a new beacon for truth emerge... (more)  [ send green star]
 
America’s Road to Tyranny, continued November 03, 2007 4:38 PM

In the spirit of truthfulness, not every old fool sat on his rump doing little or nothing while believing every lie uttered from political hacks and pundit pie-holes! When I was a young boy, my father used to tell me, 'son, the truth is the hardest thing you’ll ever find.' Indeed, father was right, he truly was a wise man. Navy Veteran Anthony Guarisco paid his dues long ago and learned his lesson well when he served during WWII and Korea. With the ashes of Hiroshima caked on the bottom of his combat boots and the smell of genocidal nuclear death still lingering in his nose, he was surreptitiously used as a guinea pig in 'Operation Crossroads,' the largest atmospheric test ever conducted by the U.S. in the Marshall Islands, in 1946. After knowingly being exposed to radiation by the uncaring lunatics of his day, he went on and founded and directed The Alliance of Atomic Veterans (AAV), a national non-profit organization providing valuable resources and needy health guidance to sick veterans and their families, filing service-connected disability claims for medial treatment and financial compensation. My father devoted most of his life to this endeavor. He also fought hard for nuclear disarmament and worked tirelessly to end all atomic testing. In addition, he was a strong proponent for the peace movement and gave much effort on other important social issues. Most people (myself included) can only dream of doing all the things my father accomplished in his life experience (a very long bio indeed). I may attempt to write about news-worthy topics, but brave patriots like my father 'made the news.' And there are many other brave souls doing their part too. I also would like to take a moment to honor another true American patriot, her name is 'Sibel Edmonds.' She is the famed FBI whistleblower who went public after the attacks of September 11, 2001. And to date, she is the most gagged individual in the history of United States. After 9/11 Edmonds was gagged by the rarely-invoked 'States Secret Privilege,' compliments of the Bush administration and other higher-ups performing 'damage control.' Since 2002, her testimony has been banned from any and all investigations to date. She is forbidden to say anything about the criminal penetration of the FBI where she worked as a FBI translator. Silenced at the Departments of State and Defense; Edmonds cannot discuss everything she heard concerning the corruption and illegal activities of several well-known members of Congress; everything she's aware of concerning information omitted and/or covered up in relation to 9/11. All of the information gleaned from her time listening to and translating wire-taps made prior to 9/11 at the FBI are not allowed to escape her lips. But yet, this brave girl is prepared to risk everything, including her freedom or even her life to inform the public about everything she knows. Sibel exclaimed http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5163 'Here's my promise to the American Public: If anyone of the major networks --- ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX -- promise to air the entire segment, without editing, I promise to tell them everything that I know.' Edmonds recently said, 'I can tell the American public exactly what it is, and what it is that they are covering up. I'm not compromising ongoing investigations,' Edmonds explained, because 'they've all been shut down since.' The Supreme Court refused to hear her whistleblower lawsuit, even in light of the Department of Justice forcing the removal of both her and her own attorneys from the courtroom when they made their arguments concerning why it was that she still had to remain gagged under the 'States Secrets Privilege.' What a sham job! In fact, an interview 60 Minutes aired on CBS with her in 2004, was later retroactively classified by the Department of Justice under the same 'privilege.' But enough is enough. Edmonds is now ready to tell the public everything she knows. She’s willing to speak to any broadcast network that would have her. 'I have exhausted every channel.' she said. 'If they want to, they can bring criminal charges against someone who divulges criminal activity, and see how far they're going to get.' But will any of the corporate mainstream networks take her up on the offer? It would certainly be an explosive exclusive. 'I don't think any of the mainstream media are going to have the guts to do it,' she dared them. 'You put me on air live, or unedited. If I'm given the time, I will give the American people the exact reason of what I've been gagged from saying because of the States Secrets Privilege, and why it is that I'm the most gagged person in the history of the United States.' So whaddaya say 60 Minutes? Will you be smart enough to take this on? If Sibel Edmonds is lucky enough to find a major network to air her story on national TV, you can bet the farm my family and I will be there watching it! Bottom line -- America wants to feel proud once again, we want to be able to sing the National Anthem and truly feel the warmth of patriotism. We long for this. However, right now our hearts are filled with betrayal and rage. We’re dismayed at how under-educated and totally disconnected from reality a large portion of the public truly remains. We’re blown away at how quickly our fellow citizens roll over and believe the many lies that are told to us. And many of us feel cheapened by this same segment of people who have a very short memory span for the many important events that have transpired ...But most of all, we despise the talking heads who covertly sell and peddle the political propaganda and official control tactics that keeps everyone at bay -- docile and compliant for the ruling elite. Those who do this are the most ruthless enemy within our grasp, because they sold-us-out for far LESS than those individuals who make bank while manipulating the puppet strings at a safe distance. (more)  [ send green star]
 
America’s Road to Tyranny, continued November 03, 2007 4:41 PM

So, Patriot -- let's tell our children to save us from our miserable mistakes. America’s road to tyranny is no future worth living. Let the words of Paul Wellstone echo in the youth of tomorrow: 'If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.' -###- November 3, 2007 Vincent L Guarisco is a freelance writer from Bullhead City AZ., a contributing writer for many web sites, and a lifetime member of the Alliance of Atomic Veterans. Reprint permission is given as long as article content is not altered or changed and credit is given to the author. Replies welcomed at: vincespainting1@hotmail.com *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
Waterboarding Paramilitary Instruction Video set to upbeat music November 05, 2007 7:24 PM

There is something blood-chillingly creepy about seeing a guy with a faint half smile on his face giving detailed instructions on how to torture someone, all set to this background music that sounds more appropriate for an outdoor pool or cocktail party: I have not been able to see the whole thing. The thought that there are people in the highest positions in government who have ordered human beings to be treated this way sickens me, enrages me. And the thought that virtually all rights are being erased, and Habeas Corpus is gone- I want my country back!! http://tinyurl.com/yr96l9 Ok- I am going to watch this whole thing now and that way know for sure what's been going on in the name of "Freedom" and "Democracy" and "War on Terrorism"...  [ send green star]
 
A Story of Surveillance November 08, 2007 9:48 PM

A Story of Surveillance Former Technician 'Turning In' AT&T Over NSA Program http://tinyurl.com/26pnbm By Ellen Nakashima Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, November 7, 2007; D01 His first inkling that something was amiss came in summer 2002 when he opened the door to admit a visitor from the National Security Agency to an office of AT&T in San Francisco. "What the heck is the NSA doing here?" Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician, said he asked himself. A year or so later, he stumbled upon documents that, he said, nearly caused him to fall out of his chair. The documents, he said, show that the NSA gained access to massive amounts of e-mail and search and other Internet records of more than a dozen global and regional telecommunications providers. AT&T allowed the agency to hook into its network at a facility in San Francisco and, according to Klein, many of the other telecom companies probably knew nothing about it. Klein is in Washington this week to share his story in the hope that it will persuade lawmakers not to grant legal immunity to telecommunications firms that helped the government in its anti-terrorism efforts. The plain-spoken, bespectacled Klein, 62, said he may be the only person in the country in a position to discuss firsthand knowledge of an important aspect of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program. He is retired, so he isn't worried about losing his job. He did not have security clearance, and the documents in his possession were not classified, he said. He has no qualms about "turning in," as he put it, the company where he worked for 22 years until he retired in 2004. "If they've done something massively illegal and unconstitutional -- well, they should suffer the consequences," Klein said. "It's not my place to feel bad for them. They made their bed, they have to lie in it. The ones who did [anything wrong], you can be sure, are high up in the company. Not the average Joes, who I enjoyed working with." In an interview yesterday, he alleged that the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T . Contrary to the government's depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists, Klein said, much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic. Klein said he believes that the NSA was analyzing the records for usage patterns as well as for content. He said the NSA built a special room to receive data streamed through an AT&T Internet room containing "peering links," or major connections to other telecom providers. The largest of the links delivered 2.5 gigabits of data -- the equivalent of one-quarter of the Encyclopedia Britannica's text -- per second, said Klein, whose documents and eyewitness account form the basis of one of the first lawsuits filed against the telecom giants after the government's warrantless-surveillance program was reported in the New York Times in December 2005. Claudia Jones, an AT&T spokeswoman, said she had no comment on Klein's allegations. "AT&T is fully committed to protecting our customers' privacy. We do not comment on matters of national security," she said. The NSA and the White House also declined comment on Klein's allegations. Klein is urging Congress not to block Hepting v. AT&T, a class-action suit pending in federal court in San Francisco, as well as 37 other lawsuits charging carriers with illegally collaborating with the NSA. He was accompanied yesterday by lawyers for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed Hepting v. AT&T in 2006. Together, they are urging key U.S. senators to oppose a pending White House-endorsed immunity provision that would effectively wipe out the lawsuits. The Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the measure Thursday. In summer 2002, Klein was working in an office responsible for Internet equipment when an NSA representative arrived to interview a management-level technician for a special job whose details were secret. "That's when my antennas started to go up," he said. He knew that the NSA was supposed to work on overseas signals intelligence. The job entailed building a "secret room" in an AT&T office 10 blocks away, he said. By coincidence, in October 2003, Klein was transferred to that office and assigned to the Internet room. He asked a technician there about the secret room on the 6th floor, and the technician told him it was connected to the Internet room a floor above. The technician, who was about to retire, handed him some wiring diagrams. "That was my 'aha!' moment," Klein said. "They're sending the entire Internet to the secret room." The diagram showed splitters, glass prisms that split signals from each network into two identical copies. One fed into the secret room, the other proceeded to its destination, he said. "This splitter was sweeping up everything, vacuum-cleaner-style," he said. "The NSA is getting everything. These are major pipes that carry not just AT&T's customers but everybody's." One of Klein's documents listed links to 16 entities, including Global Crossing, a large provider of voice and data services in the United States and abroad; UUNet, a large Internet provider in Northern Virginia now owned by Verizon; Level 3 Communications, which provides local, long-distance and data transmission in the United States and overseas; and more familiar names such as Sprint and Qwest. It also included data exchanges MAE-West and PAIX, or Palo Alto Internet Exchange, facilities where telecom carriers hand off Internet traffic to each other. (more)  [ send green star]
 
A Story of Surveillance, continued November 08, 2007 9:50 PM

"I flipped out," he said. "They're copying the whole Internet. There's no selection going on here. Maybe they select out later, but at the point of handoff to the government, they get everything." Qwest has not been sued because of media reports last year that said the company declined to participate in an NSA program to build a database of domestic phone-call records out of concern about its legality. What the documents show, Klein contends, is that the NSA apparently was collecting several carriers' communications, probably without their consent. Another document showed that the NSA installed in the room a semantic traffic analyzer made by Narus, which Klein said indicated that the NSA was doing content analysis. Steve Bannerman, Narus's marketing vice president, said in an interview that the NarusInsight system is "the world's most powerful Internet traffic processing engine." He said it is used to detect worms, as well as to capture information to help authorities stop criminal activity. He said it can track a communication's origin and destination, as well as its content. He declined to comment on AT&T's use of the system. Klein said he decided to go public after President Bush defended the NSA's surveillance program as limited to collecting phone calls between suspected terrorists overseas and people in the United States. Klein said the documents show that the scope was much broader. Klein was last in Washington in 1969, to take part in an antiwar protest. Now, he said with a chuckle, he's here in a gray suit as a lobbyist. Staff researcher Richard Drezen contributed to this story. *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
Just ONE Reason of MANY January 05, 2008 6:46 AM


06:39 From: Kucinich2008
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Unconstitutional:The War on Our Civil Liberties January 10, 2008 9:56 AM

http://www.wanttoknow.info/unconstitutionalcivillibertiesloss Loss of Civil Liberties Graphically Portrayed In Powerful Video Unconstitutional Dear friends, The most excellent video documentary Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties clearly depicts the rapid erosion and loss of civil liberties and civil rights in the U.S. since 9/11. Available for free viewing at the links below, this empowering video presents interviews with ranking members of Congress, top legal experts, and even a former CIA chief, all of whom describe many insidious efforts to take away privacy and freedoms guaranteed under the constitution for over 200 years. Compelling video footage depicts U.S. citizens—from law-abiding store clerks to a U.S. Olympian—who have suffered serious injustices as the result of unconstitutional policies established under the Patriot Act. Even more astounding, members of Congress describe on camera the replacement of the previously agreed upon Patriot Act by another version quietly slipped into its place just hours before the final vote in Congress, leaving no one time to read the many devastating changes inserted at the last moment. Here is solid, verifiable evidence showing the serious, often-hidden erosion of the very foundation of the United States. Call your friends together to watch this engaging 60-minute video documentary and join in the growing movement to uphold democracy and the U.S. Constitution. Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties is available for purchase ($9.95/DVD, $14.95/video): http://publicinterestpictures.org/order_films/unconstitutional Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties is available for free viewing: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3105519703637733227 or http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13176.htm If you cannot find this highly educational video documentary by acclaimed producer Robert Greenwald at one of the above links, try a search using the term "Unconstitutional" or the full title "Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties" and look for the 68 minute version at Google Video or YouTube. Thanks for caring. Together, we can and will build a brighter future for us all. http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=unconstitutional http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=unconstitutional&search=Search With best wishes, Fred Burks for PEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team Former language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
email to Jean Hudon of the Earth Rainbow Network January 20, 2008 2:22 AM

From: Theresa Marie (tmarie@whidbey.net) Subject: America's Madness to Trust Honest Election Date: 17 Jan 2008 Howdy Jean, Could a meditation be called for with a focus on a diplomatic solution with Iran occurring during the January 20th to February 12th period that John Hogue refers to below? I was moved to write up the following because: I follow the news; just read Naomi Wolf's The End of America; have known since the 2004 election that we had seen the last honest national election in the US; because a probable false flag, martial law, expanded war with Bush as dictator is a plausible, probable reality likely to occur. I often don't get the details of how my knowing comes about and a number of people are also "seeing" what my "knowing" is telling a number of us. Naomi Wolf lays out how the 10 steps to a fascist state are now in place and a "paper coup" could achieve the same end result. (Posted on my blog titled "America's Madness to Expect Honest Election 2008 @ http://www.tmgandhi.blogspot.com) I just received John Hogue's prognostication on a coming war with Iran distilled from his 30 years of studying and writing about Nostradamus. http://www.hogueprophecy.com probably has the January 15, 2008 alert. (With attribution I'm posting his article, with the following clip from it pasted in at the front of the article, on my blog.) "Inside the White House and Pentagon heated debates are occurring to bomb Iran or forget it, jump or scrap the Iranian air strike plan are going on with unprecedented intensity. This is because Mars will retreat backwards over its natal position in the birth chart of the United States, which is 21 degrees Gemini, from 20 January to 12 February 2008. This is the period where it is possible our prayers and meditations for peace might sway the hearts of those within halls of power who might put their trust one last time on a last minute diplomatic solution with Iran." The plan will be ready for final approval in early February. The attack could come as soon as early March or as late as June 2008." From: http://tmgandhi.blogspot.com/2008/01/americas-madness-to-trust-honest_17.html America's Madness to Trust Honest Election Americans assume that the process of democracy will allow us to "throw the bums out" in the 2008 election. Pause and think about human nature. Do people really change when to do so they could lose unlimited power? It's like the illusion of a battered wife thinking a pattern of behavior will change, it doesn't. It is but common sense to assume that leaders who are willing to: Abuse signing statements making Congress advisory only, ignoring laws and; With the President making laws for others with himself above the law; Withhold information from Congress and ignoring subpoenas of White House staff; Make secret decisions and classify them above Top Secret; Conspiring to pass the PATRIOT Act late at night by a voice vote of just a few; Keeping major parts of PATRIOT Act I and II classified as Above Top Secret; Lie to the American people again and again and again; Ignore that fifteen of nineteen 9-11 terrorist were Saudi Arabians; Use fake evidence to justify pre-emptive wars; violating international treaties; Give advance weapons to known Islamic fundamentalist States since the 1980s; Torture prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention; Disappearing American citizens by calling them Terrorists without any proof; Tap people's phones, open their mail and e-mail with out warrant or notice; Breaks into homes, convicting computers, cash and records without probable cause; Married the Church and state in every Federal department especially the White House; Appointed loyal Republicans against regulatory agencies to be in charge of the agencies; Replaced US attorneys with loyal, dedicated Republicans blind to election fraud; Redacted the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and Habeas Corpus; Put legal infrastructures in place for a "paper coup d'etat" more likely to happen than not; Pushed through Defense Authorization Act of 2007 that gives a dictator legal status by canceling the Posse Comitates Act - National Guard units under Presidential command when Section 333 is invoked to declare martial law, take over Guards, invoking "Decider's" dictatorial power over all local, state and tribal governments when (not if) "Public order" has been lost, a national epidemic disaster, serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or "other conditions". Written about in: a New York Times Editorial: Beyond actual insurrection, the President may now: Use military troops or a private army as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease out-break, terrorist attach or any "other condition." I recorded Bush saying in 2002, "it would be easier to be a dictator with a dictatorship". Excessive absolute power is certain to corrupt. It always has. It not about partisanship now it's about power without checks and balances. Portions of this essay come from magazines; public radio, public television and clearly defined by Naomi Wolf in "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot" as a Citizen's Call to Action uniting via the American Freedom Campaign to restore the Constitution. Assembled to tell you there is but a narrow window of opportunity to stop the completed transition to a Fascist State run by a "paper" Dictator with absolute power! Respectfully submitted, Theresa M.K. Gandhi: http://www.tmgandhi.com/ -- http://www.tmgandhi.blogspot.com/ -- tm@tmgandhi.com A Radioactive Activist Poet, Herstorian and Current Affairs concerned citizen. Paraphrasing Margaret Mead, Eleanor Roosevelt or Emma Goldman: "A small group of focused individuals can bring about change; it is the only thing that ever has." Get to work! *fair use*  [ send green star]
 
Handful of Congressmen Could Rule America in Event of Catastrophe March 10, 2008 2:24 AM

‘DOOMSDAY’ LEGISLATION Handful of Congressmen Could Rule America in Event of Catastrophe By Greg Szymanski http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/doomsday.html No longer do Capitol Hill legislators need a quorum to do the people’s business. Now under a piece of hotly contested legislation passed without media attention on Jan. 5, only a few members of Congress are needed to do official business in the event of a catastrophe instead of the usual 218. Critics claim H. Res. 5 paves the way for tyranny, allowing “only a few to decide for so many.” The provision states: “If the House should be without a quorum due to catastrophic circumstances, then . . . until there appear in the House a sufficient number of representatives to constitute a quorum among the whole number of the House, a quorum in the House shall be determined based upon the provisional number of the House; and . . . the provisional number of the House, as of the close of the call of the House . . . shall be the number of representatives responding to that call of the House.” Supporters claim the bill, passed “under the cover of congressional darkness,” is intended to allow the government to “continue operating” in the event of a catastrophic emergency or terrorist attack. However, constitutional experts say the law is blatantly unconstitutional and ripe for challenge. Normally, 218 lawmakers out of the 435 members are needed to declare war, pass laws and validly conduct the people’s business. But under the new rule a majority is no longer needed when circumstances arise, including natural disaster, attack, contagion or terrorist attacks rendering representatives incapable of attending House proceedings. “It’s another measure brought up by lawmakers that shows their callous disregard for democracy,” said one California attorney who preferred to remain anonymous. GOP House leaders pushed the controversial “doomsday legislation” through for passage as a part of a hefty and voluminous rules package. It drew little attention and was probably not even discovered by many who voted on it since the rules package centered on recent ethics violations. “I think the new rule is disgusting, terrible and unconstitutional,” said Norm Ornstein, of an independent, bipartisan panel called the Continuity of Government Commission which is studying the issue. “The way it was passed was deceitful and the intent behind the legislation was very foolish.” Rep. Brian Baird, (D-Wash.) agrees, arguing that the rule change violates the Constitution, which specifically states: “a majority of each Chamber shall constitute a quorum to do business.” “Allowing for as few as 12 lawmakers to make vital decisions and to possibly declare war on another nation is not what this country is all about.” Not Copyrighted. Readers can reprint and are free to redistribute - as long as full credit is given to American Free Press - 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20003

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A hero has emerged to revive freedom of the press December 08, 2010 8:16 PM

I do hope that people here can see that the "villain" Julian Assange is in fact a hero and that his actions are condoned by your last great President and condemned by his successors.

People like Dennis Kucinich are so swamped by the jackals of your society it is difficult to see any one of them arising and if so (Obama being the most recent) that the now overwhelming power of the greedy, the corrupt, the powerful will do to such a person as it would appear to have been done to Mr Obama.

I do believe that Mr Kucinich is fully aware of all of this ... if only he was part of a majority in your government!

These are JFK's words, the night before his mouth was closed:-

"No official of my administration whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up mistakes or to withhold from the press or the public the facts they deserve to know."

 

In my humble view, you Americans are on a merry-go-round onto which you have been enticed like children not even wanting to get off as it spins faster and faster, cranked up by those who want to keep you there where more and more, reality is blurred around you, but nobody cares.

And as it spins faster and faster, many are just thrown off while others cling believing that the ride can only get better .... so very, very sad standing here watching your decline.

In so many areas, lifestyle you have enjoyed (as we do here) is simply unsustainable, simply unfair to ordinary people who believe that accumulation of material possession in ever increasing quantity is the dream, with no concept of the reality of unsustainability, that growth forever cannot be.

Your military intervention and it's very size will destroy you, not protect you, your financial system has failed but is being restored in a way intended to recover the very system that has brought you down.

To recover, a massive change must occur encompassing open transparent government, fairness to all citizens including equality in franchise, under the law, health, education and restoration of true value jobs for all who desire to work, including those displaced by a major reduction of military.

There is a way ... it is not likely to emerge until the people demand it ... by which time it may be too late .... as I suspect will be the case.

How I wish I could have the views of Mr Kucinich on these observations from afar, here in Perth Australia.

I wish you well my dear Americans - we have come a long way together, but until you change, I am advocating our leaders to see the USA as a role model NOT to emulate

In the meantime I will surfice with revisiting his words such as:-

"Peace is inevitable, if we are willing to explore the inherent truth of human unity-if we are willing to contemplate the undeniable fact that we are all one, that we are interdependent, and interconnected."

and admire the courage he has shown in the past.

You need a real leader ... we all thought you had found one ... he seems to have been tamed!

Teddy Bear Ron







This post was modified from its original form on 08 Dec, 20:19  [ send green star]
 
yes the world needs Dennis December 09, 2010 4:26 AM


You are wrong about one thing Teddy B.  There are people who care. I think a lot of people - In fact, very likely a majority of people. But as long as money rules, as long as corporations trump the votes of the common citizen, I can't see the changes happening.


Yes there are too many people here who still believe they can attain the 'American Dream' of being rich if they work hard. Some of these people still believe even though they are poor, or even jobless. There are people who think anyone who doesn't just applaud and wave the stars and stripes at every bit of hog wash our government dumps down our throats is not patriotic. There are people who don’t want to believe in global warming, or weirding or whatever you want to call it, because it’s just as Gore said ‘inconvenient’. Gore may have made a mistake with the Ethanol, but anyone paying attention can see the climate’s changing.

In effect there are a lot of brainwashed people here believing everything corporate US, including corporate churches, want them to.

Many years ago I read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged". The message I took away from this book was about people living in a world that had gone so far awry there was no way to fix it other than completely destroying it and starting over. It's not that I believe wholly in Ayn's politics, however, she made a good point.
People here are getting angry.

I see more and more negative comments being left on posts for no understandable reason, people taking out their frustrations on anyone who crosses their path, pushing and shoving to get ahead of others. People are snapping and I fear bad things are going to happen – more violence, more crime and just plain more meanness.

Yes we need Kucinich, and a lot more people like him. But the questions are first: Can a person with integrity get elected as president? Can they do it without taking lobby money resulting in debts owed? If so, and he/she’s allowed to live, can any president stop the games being played by Congress?

Somehow the mind-set has to change – which seems unlikely at this point seeing as the Corporations are the ones really telling us what to think, say, do, eat, wear, buy and believe – and too many people are willing to listen rather than think for themselves.

Yes I know this sounds pretty negative and I apologize for giving such a hopeless view point.

I’m a peaceful, normally positive person, but even I am getting frustrated and angry - angry at the stupidity, the ignorance, the selfishness, the greed, the apathy, the carelessness and wasteful destruction, of not all, but just too many people.

We have completely lost sight of what this country was founded for.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not giving up. I just want to be clear about the battle we have ahead of us.

Hey and if we’re not successful – Gaia will take care of it for us. 

In effect – Atlas will shrug.

 

 .    


 


 [ send green star]
 
 December 15, 2010 12:39 PM

just want to show some compassion for your suffering and understanding, hey..  all this shall pass, it is Earth Birth pains and has long been known we'd have to go through.. more than ever is important to hold that positive vision and even if you are doing the work of holding the light all by yourself wherever you are, is still vitally important. haha I am preaching to myself as well in saying this because i do have remind myself often to stay on the light path.   meditation, peace within is the best way for now, we can still do our petitions yes they do work and we can still speak with seekers, and be fearless for if you look around the change is evident. Pres O knows we wish to see a cleaner earth a brighter future and he also knows there are ways to work with all in achieving this. His main focus is getting the treaties passed to begin the end of nuclear weapons,  that is almost a reality, much to cheer about; he is doing a good job of stepping around all the mud puddles put in his path, and keep his sanity.. continue to pray for him please - 



This post was modified from its original form on 15 Dec, 12:41  [ send green star]
 
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