Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How the Rest of the World Sees Us: the "Glass House of Hypocrisy"

[Edited 12/14/11]
Listening to the American media, like NPR and Fox News, or to Presidential candidates, and the like, who constantly berate the rest of the world, like Russia, or any country that defends their sovereignty from the parasitic demands of western capitalists, or who seriously defend the rights of Palestinians against the illegal murderous acts of the Zionist Israeli state, as Iran, Syria, Libya or pre-war Iraq have done, for example, you get the idea that we, the US, are the "Pillar of International Law" and "Democratic Freedoms" -- the ultimate arbiters of "moral authority."

We are God. We decide for the world what is moral or immoral, right or wrong. We don't subscribe to the International Court--we just tell them who to try for war crimes before or after we and NATO bomb target countries and their civilians into submission. You can hear our righteous role promoted in the media, some churches, and from Congress every day--we make the rules by virtue of our power and not to be questioned so-called moral authority--governed of course by who has the most money to influence elections and our most moral Congressional legislation. The fact that our government now consistently violates and trashes our Constitution, civil liberties, and traditional American democratic values is not worthy of notice, and in fact, many Americans realize that they dare not speak of it for fear of retribution.

We get government by the well off, imperial empire, drone killing of citizens without trial, indefinite detention, war without end, extreme inequality, increasing poverty, medical care we can't afford, foreclosures and homelessness, crumbling schools and infrastructure, and tear gas when we protest, but despite the reality of our lives, our government and media lecture us and the rest of the world on the virtues of American democracy.

Well, much of the world disagrees with the hypocrisy represented by the policies, wars and other actions of the US government, but you won't hear that from most of the American media or Congress.

Here are two infinitesimally small, but recent, examples of what much of the world really thinks:

Heavy-Handed Police Weigh In To Tackle Thousands "Occupying" US


December 05, 2011
Thousands March at U.N. Climate Summit in Durban to Demand Climate Justice

NNIMMO BASSEY: The U.S. delegation should understand that the citizens of the United States are not living on a separate planet. We have only one planet. And it’s important that the delegation from the U.S. should stop stopping global action against global warming. They have done this from 1997. They can’t keep on bullying the world. If they don’t want to act, they should get out of the convention. Simple message: we can’t allow this any further.


Which nations are really responsible for climate change - interactive map
The Guardian, UK
There are many ways to view the world's carbon emissions: by national totals or emissions per person; by current carbon output or historical emissions; by production of greenhouse gases or consumption of goods and services; by absolute emissions or economic carbon intensity.

Our interactive map allows you to browse all of these different measurements, each of which provides a different insight. Together they highlight the complexity of divvying up responsibility for climate change and some of the tensions at the heart of the global climate negotiations.

Our interactive map allows you to browse all of these different measurements, each of which provides a different insight. Together they highlight the complexity of divvying up responsibility for climate change and some of the tensions at the heart of the global climate negotiations.
See link above for interactive map.

There are no magic answers

"There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education, organization, action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for institutional change -- and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future." -- Noam Chomsky

Monday, December 12, 2011

Taibbi on Indefinite Detention of American Citizens: Several Days Late & Many Dollars Short?

Matt Taibbi penned an excellent article about the indefinite detention of American citizens in "Rolling Stone" on December 9th, but given the quickness with which the legislation was produced and passed by our corrupt Congress in the midst of the Christmas season (isn't that what all the government scoundrels do?), it is doubtful that many have had the time to understand it and react to it, if in fact there are even any Americans who pay attention and respond anymore. While this blog has posted other articles about the issue in the last week or so, I didn't even know of his article until tonight, so this is a bit late, but please give it a read anyway, if for no other reason than to understand how bad things have gotten, and to contact your representatives and others if you are so inclined. (Info below attempts to clarify Obama's position on indefinite detention of American citizens.)

Indefinite Detention of American Citizens: Coming Soon to Battlefield U.S.A.
(Original post here)

By Matt Taibbi

December 12, 2011 "Rolling Stone" -- There’s some disturbing rhetoric flying around in the debate over the National Defense Authorization Act, which among other things contains passages that a) officially codify the already-accepted practice of indefinite detention of "terrorist" suspects, and b) transfer the responsibility for such detentions exclusively to the military.

The fact that there’s been only some muted public uproar about this provision (which, disturbingly enough, is the creature of Wall Street anti-corruption good guy Carl Levin, along with John McCain) is mildly surprising, given what’s been going on with the Occupy movement. Protesters in fact should be keenly interested in the potential applications of this provision, which essentially gives the executive branch unlimited powers to indefinitely detain terror suspects without trial.

The really galling thing is that this act specifically envisions American citizens falling under the authority of the bill. One of its supporters, the dependably-unlikeable Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, bragged that the law "basically says … for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield" and that people can be jailed without trial, be they "American citizen or not." New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte reiterated that "America is part of the battlefield."
. . . .
As soon as December 13, the President will sign NDAA Section 1031 into law, permitting citizen imprisonment without evidence or trial. The bill that passed Congress absolutely DOES NOT exempt citizens. The text of Section 1031 reads, "A covered person under this section" includes "any person who has committed a belligerent act". We only have to be ACCUSED, because we don't get a trial.

- Confusingly, Obama threatened a veto for 1032, but NOT 1031. 1032 is UNRELATED to imprisoning citizens without a trial. He has never suggested using a veto to stop Section 1031 citizen imprisonment -- in fact, it was requested by the Obama administration. Watch the video for proof.

- The Feinstein Amendment 1031(e) is dangerously misleading. Don't be fooled: In the text of 1031(e), "Nothing in this section shall be construed...", the only word that matters is "construed" because the Supreme Court are the only ones with the power to construe the law. The Feinstein Amendment 1031(e) permits citizens to be imprisoned without evidence or a trial forever, if the Supreme Court does not EXPLICITLY repeal 1031.

- Any time you hear the words, "requirement for military custody" this refers to 1032 NOT 1031. We MUST not confuse these two sections. In its statements, the Obama administration has actually contributed to the confusion about 1032's "requirement for military custody", which is COMPLETEY UNRELATED to Section 1031 citizen imprisonment without trial. These tricky, misleading words appear even in major news stories. Don't fall for it!

If we act urgently to tell our friends, family, and colleagues, we may still be able to prevent this. Here is what we can do:
See article for links

Associated Video:

Starship Troopers Scene Citizens vs Civilians

OK, Here's what you can do:
1) Americans must know about this to stop it. Urgently pass this petiton as widely as possible: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-ndaa-section-1031-citizen-imprisonment-law-before-dec-13

2) To spread this C-SPAN video evidence, Thumbs Up and comment on this video. People deserve to watch this before he signs it.
Proof Obama will sign NDAA 1031 Citizen Imprisonment Law in a few days

3) Congress can still block the law before December 13. Write and call your Representative and Senator telling them to stop NDAA Section 1031 and the dangerously misleading Feinstein Amendment 1031(e).
Contact your Representative: http://writerep.house.gov/writerep/
Contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

4) Write and call the White House to tell the President you won't sit by and watch NDAA Section 1031 and the dangerously misleading Feinstein Amendment 1031(e) become law: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

Thursday, December 8, 2011

American Civil Liberties Under Attack: National Defense Authorization Act bill Update; Hernandez: Bloggers Not Media

Two Quick Items in This Edition:

- National Defense Authorization Act Bill Update

- Hernandez: Bloggers Aren't Media?

[Edited 12/9/11]

National Defense Authorization Act Bill Update

Jon Stewart Pokes Congress and the National Defense Authorization Act on the Daily Show
December 07, 2011
The Senate passes a bill that jeopardizes Americans' civil rights, the CIA loses a stealth drone in Iran, and Ralph Fiennes enjoys Shakespeare.


MONDAY, DEC 5, 2011 6:27 AM PST
PolitiFact and the scam of neutral expertise

PolitiFact rated as “mostly false” Paul’s argument that the new explicit standards in Levin/McCain defining the scope of the War on Terror are so vague and broad that they allow virtually anyone to be targeted by the President with force or detention; to support his claim, Paul cited the fact that, under this new language, the President is explicitly authorized to use force not only against members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban (as the original 2001 AUMF provided), but also against anyone who “substantially supports” those groups or “associated forces.” As Paul put it in his supposedly false statement: “It’s (now) anybody associated with (those) organizations, which means almost anybody can be loosely associated — so that makes all Americans vulnerable.”

Paul is far from the only person making this argument. The ACLU . . . . (see link for rest)


Who needs a trial?

Written by Baker City Herald Editorial Board December 09, 2011 09:21 am

Imagine that a U.S. citizen is arrested as a suspected terrorist, on U.S. soil, and then placed in military custody for as long as officials deem necessary.

Oh, and this citizen doesn’t get a trial, so the mere suspicion of complicity in promoting terrorism is sufficient grounds for an open-ended detention.

. . . .

When it comes to our constitutional rights and the government’s protection of them, we consider the word “optional” inappropriate.


Hernandez: Bloggers Aren't Media?

Dec 7, 8:39 PM EST

Federal judge: Montana blogger is not journalist
Associated Press

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets. . . . .

"My advice to bloggers operating in the state of Oregon is lobby to get your shield law improved so bloggers are covered," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "But do not expect the shield law to provide you a defense in a libel case where you want to rely on an anonymous source for that information."


The Real Danger in That Bloggers-Aren't-Journalists Ruling
Dan KennedyAssistant Professor, School of Journalism at Northeastern University
HuffPosted: 12/ 8/11

You may have heard that a Montana blogger must pay a $2.5 million libel judgment because a federal judge ruled she was not a journalist, and was thus not entitled to protect her anonymous sources.

In fact, that's not quite what happened. The case actually had little to do with whether bloggers have the same right to protect their sources as traditional journalists. But U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez's opinion nevertheless threatens to weaken long-standing protections against libel suits, and to widen the already-gaping divide between the media and the rest of society. . . . .

But if Judge Hernandez's ruling on the shield law is nothing to be all that alarmed about, the same cannot be said for what he wrote elsewhere in his opinion. In a passage that I find astonishing, Hernandez found that Cox could not be considered a "media defendant," and that therefore Obsidian and Padrick would not have to prove she acted negligently. . . . .(See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-kennedy/the-real-danger-in-that-b_b_1136844.html)


The Meteoric Rise of Marco Hernandez
Nine years from law degree to judge: Affirmative action and the diversity decades had absolutely nothing to do with it!

Marco A. Hernandez
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marco Antonio Hernandez (born 1957) is an American attorney and judge in the state of Oregon. A native of Arizona, he served as a Circuit Court judge in Washington County from 1995 until 2011, including as presiding judge for three years. . . . .

Hernandez then moved on to a four-year school and received a B.A. degree from Western Oregon State College (now known as Western Oregon University) in 1983.[5][4] He then attended the University of Washington School of Law and earned his J.D. in 1986.[5] . . . .

After law school he returned to Oregon where he spent three years working for Legal Aid Services of Oregon where he often represented farm workers.[2][6] Hernandez himself had picked crops in the field in his youth.[2] Following his time with legal aid, Hernandez the[n] joined the Washington County District Attorney's office as a deputy prosecutor in 1989.[7]

Shortly before leaving office in January 1995, Governor Barbara Roberts appointed Hernandez to be a Circuit Court judge in Washington County, Oregon.

In January 2008, Hernandez was one of three candidates recommended by a six-member judicial selection committee to replace Garr King on the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.[11] President George W. Bush selected Hernandez to fill the vacancy on the District Court of Oregon and submitted his nomination on July 23, 2008.[2] Senators Gordon H. Smith and Ron Wyden supported the nomination, but it was made with less than six months remaining in the Bush Presidency.[2][12] The nomination was not acted upon by the 110th Congress and was thus returned.[13]

Republican Gordon Smith was defeated for re-election in 2008, and newly-elected President Barack Obama restarted the judicial selection process for the District of Oregon.[3] Democrat Ron Wyden recommended Hernandez in addition to five other candidates selected by a thirteen-member judicial selection committee.[12] On July 14, 2010, Obama renominated Hernandez to replace Garr King.[14] He is one of few people to be nominated to the federal bench by presidents from two different political parties.[7] The Senate failed to act on Obama's nomination, and President Obama nominated Hernandez again in January 2011.[4] On February 7, 2011, the Senate unanimously confirmed Hernandez as the newest judge for the District of Oregon,[4] and he received his commission on February 9.[10]


See Judge says blogger can be sued for defamation for photo.



Obsidian V. Cox - I was Denied the Right To Show Jury my Source Documents that I Provided Judge Marco Hernandez.

Judge Marco Hernandez Says that Oregon Retraction Statutes Do Not Apply To Blogs