DaniMartExtras, Too

ALTERNATIVE NEWS NETWORK

REAL NEWS Dec. 29

Posted by Xaniel777 on December 28, 2011

TODAY IS : December 29, 2011

” Alternative News Stories gathered from all over the world and placed here for your awareness ! “

TODAY’S NEWS :

Michele Bachmann’s Iowa Chairman Kent Sorenson Abandons Her For Ron Paul


From Huffington Post

Bachmann

First Posted: 12/28/11 09:26 PM ET Updated: 12/28/11 11:08 PM ET 

DES MOINES, Iowa — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) accused her former Iowa campaign chairman of accepting money to jump ship to support Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on Wednesday, issuing a terse statement within two hours of his announcement.

Kent Sorenson, the Iowa state senator who served in the Bachmann campaign, denied the allegations and said he accepted no money for his endorsement. Sorenson is “leaving his post as Iowa chairman for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign here,” according to a statement from the Paul campaign. “The resignation and endorsement take effect immediately.”

Sorenson said he did not tell the Bachmann campaign before he announced his endorsement of Paul, and appeared at one of her events earlieron Wednesday. He told HuffPost late Wednesday that his decision was made only 10 minutes before he took the stage at a Paul rally in Des Moines to say he would support Paul instead of Bachmann.

He said he probably would not have supported Bachmann in the first place had Paul been in the race when she first announced her candidacy.

Bachmann’s campaign fired back after the announcement, saying it was an attempt to “throw cold water on our growing momentum.”

“Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign,” Bachmann said in a statement. “Kent campaigned with us earlier this afternoon and went immediately afterward to a Ron Paul event and announced he is changing teams. Kent said to me yesterday that ‘everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I,’ then he told me he would stay with our campaign. The Ron Paul campaign has to answer for its actions.”

Sorenson said he had only one conversation with Bachmann on Wednesday. She said “Hi, Kent,” and he replied “Hi, Michele,” he recounted.

“If they want to resort to these type of desperate attacks, that’s fine,” Sorenson said. “I believe that my character stands for itself.”

He declined to say whether Bachmann’s campaign is in trouble, saying she would have to answer for that. But he said she has no chance of winning in Iowa. He had referred earlier in his statement to the need for conservatives to defeat fellow Republican candidates Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

“There is a clear top tier in the race for the Republican nomination for President, both here in Iowa and nationally. Ron Paul is easily the most conservative of this group,” Sorenson said in his statement.

He later told HuffPost Wednesday, “She is not in the top tier.”

“She is not in a position to beat Mitt Romney. We are. … She is not a direct threat to the Ron Paul campaign, so I have no idea why she would say that.”

But he later added, “Bachmann can’t win Iowa.”

The loss of the Iowa legislator deals a significant blow to Bachmann’s campaign. Sorenson is a Tea Party firebrand who was elected to the Iowa state senate in January after only one term in the state legislature. He owns a cleaning company and is father to six children. His decision to support Bachmann earlier this year was a big pickup for the congresswoman from Minnesota.

But Bachmann has steadily fallen in the polls every since winning the Ames Straw Poll in August. Her slide began when Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race and she has never recovered. Sorenson made clear that this was why he was abandoning her for Paul. For Bachmann, it is a damaging blow as she attempts to make her way from the rear of the pack back into contention, with precious little time to do so before Iowa’s Jan. 3 caucuses.

Sorenson acknowledged that his jumping ship from Bachmann’s campaign might reflect badly on him, but attempted to put the blame for that on others.

“With the entire Republican establishment intent on smearing Ron Paul and his dedicated supporters, I understand this decision could impact the way people see me and my entire political career. But this is the right decision, and one in which I proudly stand behind,” Sorenson said.

He called his choice to leave Bachmann “one of the most difficult I have made in my life.”

“But given what’s at stake for our country, I have decided I must take this action,” Sorenson said.

The Bachmann campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

This story has been updated to reflect comments from Kent Sorenson and Rep. Michele Bachmann’s response to his endorsement of Rep. Ron Paul.

END

A military base ‘on the brink’

From The Los Angeles Times – Nation

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times

The toll of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is catching up with the Washington state communities near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the form of suicides, slayings and more.

Reporting from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.—

Mary Coghill Kirkland said she asked her son, 21-year-old Army Spc. Derrick Kirkland, what was wrong as soon as he came back from his first deployment to Iraq in 2008.

He had a ready answer: “Mom, I’m a murderer.”

He told her how his team had kicked in the door of an Iraqi house and quickly shot a man inside. With the man lying wounded on the floor, “my son got ordered by his sergeant to stand on his chest to make him bleed out faster,” Kirkland said. “He said, ‘We’ve got to move, and he’s got to die before we move.'”

Not long after, Derrick told her, he had fallen asleep on guard duty, awakening as a car was driving through his checkpoint. He yelled for it to stop, but the family in the car spoke no English. “So my son shot up the car,” she said.

Summing up her son’s mental state after that deployment, Kirkland said: “What’s a nice word for saying that he was completely [messed] up?”

Kirkland relates the remaining years of her son’s life as if reading a script: He was depressed by his wife’s request for a divorce. On a second deployment in Iraq, he was caught putting a gun in his mouth and evacuated on suicide watch to Germany. There, he tried to overdose on pills. He was flown back to his home base here in Washington state. After a brief psychiatric evaluation, he was left alone in his room. He hanged himself with a cord in his closet.

Apparently worried that no one would notice, Spc. Kirkland left a note on the door of the locker in his room. “In the closet, dead,” it said.

Wars have always sent many of their practitioners home with lingering emotional scars, but the growing toll of the Iraq andAfghanistan conflicts is catching up not only with the U.S. military, but with communities like this.

“It’s very much a local issue,” said Democratic state Rep. Tina Orwall, who led a hearing in December on how state and local officials can help returning soldiers land on their feet.

Around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a major staging base for the wars, the working-class suburbs are almost indistinguishable from the base itself. Towns like Lakewood, DuPont, Spanaway and Parkland are home not only to military families, but to thousands of veterans who over the years have stayed on after their enlistments.

Among them are many with mental health issues.

More than 13% of the Army, which has borne the brunt of the fighting, now meets the criteria forpost-traumatic stress disorder.

Senior officers point out that today’s soldiers are under unique stresses.

“At 24 years of age, a soldier, on average, has moved from home, family and friends and has resided in two other states; has traveled the world (deployed); been promoted four times; bought a car and wrecked it; married and had children; has had relationship and financial problems; seen death; is responsible for dozens of soldiers; maintains millions of dollars worth of equipment; and gets paid less than $40,000 a year,” Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli said in a report last year.

**

At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, described by the independent military newspaper Stars and Stripes last year as “the most troubled base in the military,” all of these factors have crystallized into what some see as a community-wide crisis. A local veterans group calls it a “base on the brink.”

In a recent series of community meetings, the group warned that the trauma of multiple deployments had begun to show up in troubling numbers outside the base. The recent reports of suicides — seven confirmed and five under investigation, with a total of 62 since 2002 — parallel those of murders, fights, robberies, domestic violence, drunk driving and drug overdoses.

The local crime wave became apparent as early as 2004, when three elite Army Rangers were among a group of five men who stormed into a Bank of America in Tacoma armed with AK-47s, took over the branch and walked out with $54,011.

Over the last two years, an Iraq veteran pleaded guilty to assault after being accused of waterboarding his 7-year-old foster son in the bathtub. Another was accused of pouring lighter fluid over his wife and setting her on fire; one was charged with torturing his 4-year-old daughter for refusing to say her ABCs. A Stryker Brigade soldier was convicted of the kidnap, torture and rape or attempted rape of two women, one of whom he shocked with cables attached to a car battery; and anIraq war sergeant was convicted of strangling his wife and hiding her body in a storage bin.

In April, 38-year-old combat medic David Stewart, who had been under treatment for depression, paranoia and sleeplessness, led police on a high-speed chase down Interstate 5 before crashing into a barrier. As officers watched, he shot himself in the head. His wife, a nurse, was found in the car with him, also shot to death. Police later found the body of their 5-year-old son in the family home.

“My daughter played with the little boy, and even now when they’re playing outside, the kids are screaming, ‘Jordan lived in there. Jordan died in there.’ So it affects everybody, even the kids,” said Jackie Baleto, who lives nearby.

“I can tell you that in the last two years, we have had 24 instances in which we contacted soldiers who were armed with weapons,” said Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar. “We’ve had intimidation, stalking with a weapon, aggravated assault, domestic violence, drive-bys.”

The military is redoubling efforts to provide suicide hotlines and counseling.

The flagship effort is the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, designed to make troops healthy and resilient before they go to war.

“We teach them about patience, about maturity, about how it’s OK to have issues, because everybody has issues,” said Col. Michael Brobeck, who commands the 555th Engineer Brigade at Lewis-McChord, about a fourth of whom are currently in Afghanistan.

The local Madigan Army Medical Center this year opened a $52-million “warrior transition” barracks for 408 wounded or stressed soldiers and their families. The center has seen a big increase in behavioral health visits — more than 118,000 this year. Brobeck thinks all this is helping.

Over the last two years, he said, the number of his soldiers exhibiting an extremely high risk of mental health problems has declined. “Out of 4,000 [troops] when I started doing it about two years ago, we were in the 70s. Now I’m down in the 50s or low 60s,” he said.

**

Yet in the tough warrior culture of Lewis-McChord, some say soldiers who go to counseling or say they aren’t emotionally prepared to go back to war can be humiliated or ignored.

Kirkland, when he returned to Lewis-McChord after his first two suicide attempts, was set upon by the unit’s acting first sergeant, said Kevin Baker, who served with Kirkland in Iraq and was in the office that day.

“As soon as he walked in the door, [one of the sergeants] called him a coward” and worse, recalled Baker, who recently left the Army.

Ashley Joppa-Hagemann of Yelm, Wash., a mother of two young children, said her husband, 25-year-old Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann, begged Army commanders this year not to have to return for what she said would be a ninth deployment overseas. She said she went herself to the base commander, all to no avail.

“He was always drinking, and he became very violent and aggressive. There was just hatred in his eyes,” she said.

Joppa-Hagemann went to court on June 27 to get a restraining order to keep her husband away from her and the children, telling the court that her husband had threatened to kill himself “and take as many folks down with him as possible.”

The order couldn’t be served, as it turned out. Hagemann’s body was found the next day in a training field at Lewis-McChord, shot through the head.

“We told them. We told everybody there was something wrong,” she said. “Nobody would listen.”

kim.murphy@latimes.com

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

END

Israel shells northern Gaza

From Ma’an News

                      (MaanImages/File)

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — An Israeli tank fired on northern Gaza on Wednesday, without causing damage or injuries.

Forces launched an artillery shell which landed in an open area in the north of the coastal strip, a Ma’an reporter said.

An Israeli army spokesman said he was not familiar with the incident.

The blast followed two Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening, which killed one man and wounded ten others, as the coastal enclave marked the third anniversary of the Gaza war.

Israel launched a three week war on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, 2008.

Nearly 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the military assault, including over 300 children. The majority of those killed were civilians. 

Israel preparing for another Gaza war

From PressTV

       Israeli army chief-of-staff Benny Gantz

Israel has threatened to launch another all-out war on the Gaza Strip, saying attacking the Palestinian territory is not a matter of choice, but a war of necessity for Tel Aviv.

Marking the third anniversary of Israel’s deadly attack on Gaza, the chief of staff of the Israeli military, Lt. General Benny Gantz, said on Tuesday that Tel Aviv will ”sooner or later” need to launch a large-scale operation against Hamas, the democratically-elected ruler of Gaza because Tel Aviv is losing its grip on the coastal strip. 

Gantz said Operation Cast Lead, which Israel launched against Gaza on December 27, 2008 and lasted for three week, had a deterrent effect on Israeli security, in which cracks were starting to show over time, forcing Israel to launch another war. 

Gantz also said that Tel Aviv is looking for the right time to launch a military offensive against the Gaza Strip and that the new war ”must be initiated by Israel and must be swift and painful”. 

The Israeli regime waged a 22-day Christmas war on the densely populated coastal sliver in 2008 left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead including at least 300 children. 

The offensive also destroyed 4,000 houses and devastated a large portion of infrastructures in the blockaded strip. Israeli military forces also targeted UN-run schools and centers. 

More than 50,000 people were also displaced as a result of the three-week war. 

Tel Aviv also used internationally-banned weapons, including white phosphorus bombs, against the Gazans during the three-week war.

HM/HGH/IS

RELATED :

Rockets fired at Israel from Gaza causing no damage

TRANSLATION :  They were fired by Israeli agents-provocateurs to justify CAST LEAD II.~~ Mike Rivero / WRH.com

END

Oath Keepers Launches National Effort to Recall and/or Remove Members of Congress Who Voted for NDAA Military Detention. Merry Christmas, U.S. Congress!

From OATH KEEPERS

There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights.”– Marine General Smedley Butler.

Oath Keepers has launched a national effort to recall (or removeby any other lawful means) all of the oath breaking members of Congress, in both the House and Senate, who voted for theNational Defense Appropriations Act of 2012 (NDAA), whichcontains provisions that authorize indefinite military detention and trial by military commission of “any person” – including U.S. citizens and lawful residents – upon the mere say-so of the President or one of his subordinates in the Executive Branch, such as within the Department of Defense or CIA.

Number three on the Oath Keepers list of Orders We Will Not Obey states:

3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.

That is near the top of our list for very good reason – this claimed power will kill our Bill of Rights unless it is stopped.  To be blunt, we consider the NDAA of 2012 to be a declaration of war on the American people, and an act of treason.   But even if you disagree with that view, and merely consider those who voted for it to be oath breakers, please work hard to remove them all from office.  Oath Keepers members across the nation will lead or assist efforts in their states to remove any member of Congress, regardless of party, who voted for this monstrosity.

We encourage all Americans of whatever political party to set aside their differences and come together in defense of our Bill of Rights by rooting out this den of vipers in Washington D.C. who are either knowingly killing our Bill of Rights, were too concerned with their careers to take a principled stand by voting against the NDAA, or are useful idiots who don’t understand what they swore an oath to defend.  Whatever their excuse, they have violated their oaths to defend the Constitution and must be sent packing.  This is not about politics.  This is about defending the Constitution.  As Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes put it:

These politicians from both parties betrayed our trust, and violated the oath they took to defend the Constitution.  It’s not about the left or right, it’s about our Bill of Rights. Without the Bill of Rights, there is no America.  It is the Crown Jewel of our Constitution, and the high-water mark of Western Civilization.

As two time Medal of Honor winner Marine General Smedley Butler once said “There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights.”   Time to fight.

This is a bi-partisan assault on the Bill of Rights that will require a bi-partisan defense.  We the People must adopt a scorched-earth policy against all who voted for the NDAA of 2012, regardless of party, using any and all lawful means available to remove them from office.  If you can remove them by means of recall, then do so.  If that option is not available in your state, consider working to make it an option in your state.  If attempts to recall are stopped by the courts, then root the oath breakers out in the next primary of whatever party they are in, making this issue the litmus test and supporting a challenger who will pledge to repeal this dangerous law.   Make this desecration of our Bill of Rights campaign issue number one.

And if you don’t manage to root them out in the primary, then defeat them in the general election, again supporting a challenger who pledges to repeal the detention provisions of the NDAA.   Use whatever lawful means or combination of strategies available to get the job done.   And even when any particular method “fails,” it still succeeds in keeping the focus on this act of betrayal, and it serves to educate the American people, waking them up to the ongoing bipartisan assault on our Bill of Rights.  Even if we lose a battle we can still win the war.

We must keep this issue in the public eye, and keep the pressure on.  Just as Jefferson and Madison were successful in rallying opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which clearly violated the Constitution, and used that opposition to sweep the Federalists from Congress in what was known as “the revolution of 1800,” we must rally opposition to this clearly unconstitutional act and use it to sweep all of the Bill of Rights killing career politicians, of both major parties, out of Congress.   Clean them all out!

To kick off this national campaign, Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes, along with Montana artist William Crain, will be personally spear-heading a recall effort in Montana, aimed at all three of Montana’s federal delegation –  Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus, and Representative Denny Rehberg – since they all voted for the NDAA.  Stewart said:

Here in Montana, while we will go after all three violators of the Bill of Rights, I will place special emphasis and “focus of effort” on Denny Rehberg, since he is so fond of wrapping himself in the flag and claiming to be defending the Constitution while his votes do the exact opposite.   In that sense, Rehberg is much like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, two Republicans who, right along with Carl Levin and Joseph Lieberman, are leading a sustained and relentless assault on our Bill of Rights,  transforming America in to the Fourth Reich in the name of “national security” while claiming to be defenders of the Constitution.   There is surely a special place in Hell reserved for such hypocrites.  The blood of America’s war dead cries out for the Bill of Rights to be defended against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and we will answer that call.

My only question for Denny Rehberg is if he is a knowing traitor to our Constitution, like John McCain and Lindsey Graham (both of whom served in the military and clearly know exactly what they are doing), or is Rehberg just a useful idiot?   Regardless of the answer, he is unfit to be dog-catcher and I will make it my mission in Montana to ensure that this oath breaker never serves in public office again.

And as for Senator Jon Tester, Stewart Rhodes had this to say, directly addressed to the Senator:

Senator Tester, my friend Jim Manley introduced us back in 2006, at Doug Wold’s place in Polson during the Montana Trial Lawyers Convention, when you were running for U.S. Senate against Conrad Burns.  Jim assured me that you would fight against the neocons who were assaulting the Bill of Rights, and when I met you, I looked you in the eye and asked if you would fight to stop them, and you answered “yes.”  And so I was very happy to see you defeat the oath breaking Conrad Burns.  I am a one issue voter –and that issue is the Bill of Rights.  Conrad Burns, who voted for the PATRIOT Act, was a Bill of Rights wrecking machine who had to go.  Good riddance! But now you have gone down the same path by voting for the NDAA of 2012, betraying the trust that Montanans placed in you to stand up for the Bill of Rights.  You blew it when it counted most.  You violated your oath.  I sincerely hope Montana Democrats select someone better in the upcoming Montana Democratic primary.   We cannot afford more of the same.

No More Pernicious Doctrine

The NDAA of 2012 is the single most dangerous and destructive anti-constitutional piece of legislation to ever pass through Congress since it strikes at the very heart of our Constitution and especially at our Bill of Rights, stripping away not just the ancient right of habeas corpus, but also directly violating the right to jury trial guaranteed by both Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution and by the Sixth Amendment, and also directly violating the Treason Clause of Article III, Section 3, which defines the crime of treason, stating:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Thus Article III clearly establishes what must be done with any Americans accused of making war against the United States or aiding the enemy – those Americans must be tried in an Article III civilian court, before a jury of their peers, and there must be two witnesses to the overt act or a confession in open court (extra evidentiary hurdles) before their lives or liberty can be taken from them, as Justices Scalia and Stevens aptly pointed out in their dissent in Hamdi.

Despite that clear constitutional trial remedy for the only crime defined by the Constitution itself, with its extra due process protections for accused Americans, the NDAA purports to instead subject Americans to indefinite military detention without trial for the duration of the war on terrorism – which may last forever – or trial before a military commission, rather than before a civilian jury as Article III plainly demands whenever any American is accused of being a traitor.

The NDAA detention provisions also directly violate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.  There is no more unreasonable seizure of a U.S. citizen or lawful resident than having them black-bagged and “disappeared” by the U.S. military on the mere say so of the President or some subordinate within the Executive Branch, without a showing of probable cause in support of arrest before a neutral judge, and without an indictment by a Grand Jury as is required by the Fifth Amendment.   And as already noted, the right to jury trial clearly mandated by Article III and by the Sixth Amendment is grossly violated.   Such arbitrary indefinite military detention and military trial of civilians are the hallmarks of repressive dictatorships throughout history.

This act by Congress is but the latest in a long train of abuses begun by the Bush Administration and carried forward by the Obama Administration.  The Bush Administration began the assault on the Bill of Rights by using arbitrary military detention on two American citizens, Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, with Padilla “captured” at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport and detained at a military brig in the United States for three and a half years.  The Bush Administration based those detentions on a flawed World War II decision, Ex Parte Quirin (1942), wherein the same Supreme Court that gave us the horrendous Korematsu decision ruled, for the first time in U.S. history, upheld as “constitutional” the military detention and trial of American citizens as “unlawful combatants” under the laws of war rather than a trial for treason, in a civilian court, before a jury of their peers, as our Constitution demands whenever any American is accused of making war against the United States or aiding the enemy in wartime.

Before that one incident in World War II, the only other time a President had applied the laws of war to the American people was when Lincoln detained approximately 15,000 Northern civilians and tried nearly 5,000 of them by military tribunal.  That detention and trial under the laws of war was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Milligan (1866).   Prior to that unconstitutional practice by Lincoln, all who were accused of making war against their own nation, or aiding the enemy, recieved a trial for treason, before a jury of their peers.  And after Lincoln, such an attempt to use the laws of war on the American people was not attempted again until FDR did it during World War II.    Nor was it attempted again until after 9/11.

It was then, in 2001,  that the Bush Administration used that nearly forgotten World War IIQuirin decision to support a claim of power to treat America like a battlefield and to apply the laws of war to the American people, treating U.S. citizens and lawful residents the same as the people of conquered enemy nations, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where anyone merely accused of being an “enemy” can be detained indefinitely by the military, or tried by tribunal and executed.  And the modern federal courts have given their rubber stamp of approval, most significantly in the Hamdi and Padilla cases.  And so, the flawedQuirin decision that laid around like a loaded gun for sixty years has been picked up, dusted off, and used to bring the laws of war home to America, shoving aside our Bill of Rights, and transforming America, step-by-step, into the equivalent of occupied Iraq.  Again, read Scalia’s dissent in Hamdi  an in-depth analysis of the history and cases, seethe paper on this topic that Stewart Rhodes wrote in 2004 while a student at Yale Law School, which won Yale’s Judge William E. Miller Prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights.  Stewart also wrote a shorter article in 2005 for The Warrior, the journal of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, which summarized his findings.   And you can listen to arecent radio interview Stewart did on this topic, where he lays out exactly how dangerous this law will be, and provides a summary of the relevant caselaw.   As Stewart stated in his November, 2010 interview with The Daily Bell:

The modern resurrection of these dangerous doctrines, which apply the international laws of war to the American people and treat them the same as foreign enemies on foreign battlefields, is one of the principle reasons I founded Oath Keepers.

In Stewart’s above noted writings of 2004 and 2005, he warned that the logical conclusion of this application of the laws of war to the American people is not just detention and trial, but also simply killing Americans on sight, since that is what can be done to a military enemy in wartime.  And that is exactly what has begun to happen.

Obama, instead of rolling back such absurd claims of Executive Power like he promised during his campaign, has doubled down and has taken this claimed power to use the laws of war on Americans to its absurd logical conclusion by asserting that he has the power to order the killing of any American he determines is an “unlawful combatant” during the war on terrorism – just as he does with foreign enemies on a foreign battlefield.   And Obama has done just that.  He has had U.S. citizens killed.   When the “leader” of a nation can put any citizen’s name on his secret list of people to be snuffed out –  a list he concocts based on “secret evidence” he refuses to show anyone – and, without a trial, without a chance for the victims to defend themselves, and without even knowing they are on the list, those kill-on-sight orders are carried out, you are living in a dictatorship.  The U.S. routinely condemns such extra-judicial killings in other countries as gross human rights violations, and rightly so.  But now our own government claims the power to do that to any of us and has begun to do it.

And now Congress has given its overwhelming vote of approval for this insane application of the laws of war to Americans.   By passing the NDAA with these detention and trial provisions, Congress is piling on, and giving its overt support to that claimed power. What was once a power implied, ‘interpreted” and inferred by two administrations, and in various court cases has now been given overt approval by Congress, to “make it legal” while defenders of the act do the long-winded equivalent of “move along citizens, nothing to see here.” As Law Professor Jonathan Turley put it:

At least Senator Lindsey Graham was honest when he said on the Senate floor that “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

I am not sure which is worse: the loss of core civil liberties or the almost mocking post hoc rationalization for abandoning principle.The Congress and the President have now completed a law that would have horrified the Framers. Indefinite detention of citizens is something that the Framers were intimately familiar with and expressly sought to bar in the Bill of Rights.

See also the analysis at the Law Prof Blog and by Glenn Greenwald, here.

As Rep. Tom McClintock, speaking in opposition, aptly put it:

I rise in opposition to Section 1021 of the underlying Conference Report (H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act).

This section specifically affirms that the President has the authority to deny due process to any American it charges with “substantially supporting al Qaeda, the Taliban or any ‘associated forces’” – whatever that means.

Would “substantial support” of an “associated force,” mean linking a web-site to a web-site that links to a web-site affiliated with al-Qaeda?  We don’t know.  The question is, “do we really want to find out?”

We’re told not to worry – that the bill explicitly states that nothing in it shall alter existing law.

But wait.

There is no existing law that gives the President the power to ignore the Bill of Rights and detain Americans without due process.  There is only an assertion by the last two presidents that this power is inherent in an open-ended and ill-defined war on terrorism.  But it is a power not granted by any act of Congress.  At least, not until now.

What this bill says is, “What Presidents have only asserted, Congress now affirms in statute.”

We’re told that this merely pushes the question to the Supreme Court to decide if indefinite detainment is compatible with any remaining vestige of the Bill of Rights.

That’s a good point, IF the Court were the sole guardian of the Constitution.  But it is not.  If it were, there would be no reason to require every member of Congress to swear to preserve, protect, and defend that Constitution.

We are also its guardians.

And today, we who have sworn fealty to that Constitution sit to consider a bill that affirms a power contained in no law and that has the full potential to crack the very foundation of American liberty.

And Senator Bernie Sanders declared:

”This bill also contains misguided provisions that in the name of fighting terrorism essentially authorize the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens without charges.”

And Senator Rand Paul warned:

If you allow the government the unlimited power to detain citizens without a jury trial, you are exposing yourself to the whim of those in power. That is a dangerous game.

Across the political spectrum, Americans are waking up to what has been done, and are  indeed standing up to defend our Bill of Rights against all comers.   The apolitical nature of this alarm and resistance is well demonstrated by the fact that two retired four-star Marine Corps generals, Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, wrote a scathing condemnation in the N.Y Times, demanding that Obama veto the bill.  Sadly, Obama himself is an oath breaker.

While Congress does have both the power and the duty to remove oath breakers and traitors from office, with a House vote of 283 to 136 (with 14 members not voting), and a vote in the Senate of 87-13 in favor of this abomination, impeachment is a sick joke since they will not impeach themselves.  Impeachment only works when a majority in Congress take their oaths seriously, have the requisite knowledge of our Constitution to know when it is being violated, an the courage and integrity to defend it.  We are now faced with a super-majority in Congress who have amply demonstrated that they have either utter contempt for our Bill of Rights, are so ignorant that they don’t know when they are destroying the heart and soul of our Constitution, or are so cowardly that they will not take a principled stand.  In any case, they will not correct themselves, by resigning or impeaching each other, and it thus falls to We the People to step in and correct them, by removing the oath breakers from office before they complete the destruction of our Bill of Rights.

One thing that must be made clear to the oath breakers in Congress who voted for the NDAA is that there would be no Constitution if not for the promise of a Bill of Rights.   So, by destroying our Bill of Rights, they are destroying the Constitution that created the three branches of the federal government.   By destroying the Constitution, Congress is destroying itself.

We must, and we will, exhaust all peaceful means we have left of defending our Bill of Rights.   But make no mistake, we, the American people, and especially we, the American veterans, will defend our Bill of Rights at all hazards, up to and including by giving our lives in its defense.   We are duty bound to do no less.  We will not leave our children to a world without the Bill of Rights.   Our fathers and grandfathers fought, bled, and died to defeat fascism over there. We will not abide it here at home.   They honored their oaths, and we shall do the same.  And we will set aside all other differences to take this stand.  For without the Bill of Rights, America ceases to exist.

For the Republic,

Oath Keepers 

END

What every state needs to do: Montanans launch recalls of Senators who voted for NDAA

From END the LIE

By Madison Ruppert

Editor of End the Lie

(Photo credit: campaign to recall Congressman who voted for the NDAA via Facebook)

In response to the traitorous actions of 86 senators who voted to pass the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, commonly referred to as the NDAA, Montanans have announced a recall campaign against Senators Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester.

As I have previously outlined, the fact that the NDAA allows for the indefinite detention without charge or trial of American citizens is simply irrefutable.

Therefore, every single one of our so-called representatives who voted for this atrocious legislation is in direct violation of their oath to uphold the Constitution and thus are actively working against us – the American people.

Thankfully, some people are already taking action, as we see in the cases of the Montana recall effort and Representative Jeff Landry who introduced an amendment (after voting for the NDAA with detention provisions intact) which would protect Americans’ right to due process.

As one commenter pointed out, this very well might be an attempt to protect himself from the inevitable backlash that will ensue once more Americans wake up to the fact that our so-called government is actively working against us and turning us into the enemy.

Montana is one of just nine states that have a provision which protects the right to recall members of their federal congressional delegations on the grounds of physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of certain felony offenses.

This campaign is being led by Stewart Rhodes, a Yale-educated attorney, president of the Oath Keepers, and veteran along with William Crain, both Montana residents.

For those not familiar, the Oath Keepers are a commendable organization retired and active duty military and law enforcement personnel who pledge to uphold their Oath to the Constitution and thus refuse to follow any unlawful orders, which every order issued under Section 1021 of the NDAA would be.

Unsurprisingly, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has targeted the patriots within the Oath Keepers as “anti-government,” even though they are vowing to do exactly what our government was founded to do: protect the American people and uphold the rights self-evident rights protected by the Constitution.

The ADL claims that Oath Keepers have an “extreme conspiratorial mindset,” which is patently absurd given that the issues they have been bringing into the sphere of public debate have now been codified under the NDAA.

Montana’s law is Montana Code 2-16-603, Section 2 of which reads, “A public officer holding an elective office may be recalled by the qualified electors entitled to vote for the elective officer’s successor.”

The other eight states which have such provisions in place are: Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

I find it a bit disconcerting that every state does not have such a law in place, especially after seeing the overwhelming support the NDAA received in both the House and Senate, despite having the wholly un-American detention provisions in place.

Oddly enough, a New Jersey state judge struck down the state’s federal recall law on the grounds that “the federal Constitution does not allow states the power to recall U.S. senators.”

This is yet another direct affront to the Tenth Amendment which states, “The powers not … prohibited … are reserved to the States … or to the people,” and given that recalling federal delegations is not prohibited in the Constitution, it is only logical that the Tenth Amendment would protect this.

Then again, it is not all that surprising given that our judicial system and federal government have been making a concerted effort to undermine states’ rights in order to centralize power and make it even harder for “We the People” to affect change.

As of yet, the issue of recalling federal officials has not reached the federal court system, although I would not be too surprised if that happened if the recall campaign turned out to be a success.

Stewart Rhodes quite aptly summarizes the ludicrously un-American actions of our so-called representatives in passing the NDAA by saying, “These politicians from both parties betrayed our trust, and violated the oath they took to defend the Constitution. It’s not about the left or right, it’s about our Bill of Rights. Without the Bill of Rights, there is no America. It is the CrownJewel of our Constitution, and the high-water mark of Western Civilization.”

Representative Tom McClintock, a Republican representing California’s 4th District, also made a strong statement on the floor before voting against the NDAA in saying, “today, we who have sworn fealty to that Constitution sit to consider a bill that affirms a power contained in no law and that has the full potential to crack the very foundation of American liberty.”

Indeed the NDAA has the full and grave potential to crack – if not outright destroy – the foundation of American liberty which we hold so dear to our hearts.

Currently, 18 states across the United States have recall laws, but unfortunately most do not apply to officials at the federal level.

For these states, and the 32 others without such laws, to recall federal officials for their treasonous actions, they would first be required to either amend the previously passed laws in the case of the 18 states with laws in place or in the case of the others, pass new laws.

Hopefully state legislatures will realize the immense danger posed by the NDAA and quickly act to recall the traitors who voted for it, although I’m not all too sure that will happen, to be brutally honest.

I truly hope that I am wrong and that this Montana campaign will prove a success, spurring similar efforts across America and bring the rule of law back to its rightful place in our nation, otherwise, we will see our once-free United States descend into tyranny the likes of which most could never imagine.

Related posts:

  1. Last hope: Rep. Landry introduces amendment to NDAA to protect Americans from indefinite detention without due process

  2. Don’t be fooled: President Obama will not veto the NDAA

  3. The end of America: House and Senate pass final version of NDAA

  4. Crushing the disinformation surrounding indefinite detention of Americans under the NDAA

  5. Americans will be transferred to foreign prisons under NDAA

END

Confronting intimidation, working for justice in Palestine

From The Electronic Intifada

By Ilan Pappe

Demonstration in commemoration of the killing of Mustafa Tamimi, Nabi Salih, West Bank (16 December 2011). 

If we had a wish list for 2012 as Palestinians and friends of Palestine, one of the top items ought to be our hope that we can translate the dramatic shift in recent years in world public opinion into political action against Israeli policies on the ground.

We know why this has not yet materialized: the political, intellectual and cultural elites of the West cower whenever they even contemplate acting according to their own consciences as well as the wishes of their societies.

This last year was particularly illuminating for me in that respect. I encountered that timidity at every station in the many trips I took for the cause I believe in. And these personal experiences were accentuated by the more general examples of how governments and institutions caved in under intimidation from Israel and pro-Zionist Jewish organizations.

A catalogue of complicity

Of course there were US President Barack Obamas pandering appearances in front of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, and his administration’s continued silence and inaction in face of Israel’s colonization of the West Bank, siege and killings in Gaza, ethnic cleansing of the Bedouins in the Naqab and new legislation discriminating against Palestinians in Israel.

The complicity continued with the shameful retreat of Judge Richard Goldstone from his rather tame report on the Gaza massacre — which began three years ago today. And then there was the decision of European governments, especially Greece, to disallow campaigns of human aid and solidarity from reaching Gaza by sea.

On the margins of all of this were prosecutions in France against activists calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and a few u-turns by some groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Europe caving in under pressure and retracting an earlier decision to cede connections with Israel.

Learning firsthand how pro-Israel intimidation works

In recent years, I have learned firsthand how intimidation of this kind works. In November 2009 the mayor of Munich was scared to death by a Zionist lobby group and cancelled my lecture there. More recently, the Austrian foreign ministry withdrew its funding for an event in which I participated, and finally it was my own university, the University of Exeter, once a haven of security in my eyes, becoming frigid when a bunch of Zionist hooligans claimed I was a fabricator and a self-hating Jew.

Every year since I moved there, Zionist organizations in the UK and the US have asked the university to investigate my work and were brushed aside. This year a similar appeal was taken, momentarily one should say, seriously. One hopes this was just a temporary lapse; but you never know with an academic institution (bravery is not one of their hallmarks).

Standing up to pressure

But there were examples of courage — local and global — as well: the student union of the University of Surrey under heavy pressure to cancel my talk did not give in and allowed the event to take place.

The Episcopal Bishops Committee on Israel/Palestine in Seattle faced the wrath of many of the city’s synagogues and the Israeli Consul General in San Francisco, Akiva Tor, for arranging an event with me in September 2011 in Seattle’s Town Hall, but bravely brushed aside this campaign of intimidation. The usual charges of “anti-Semitism” did not work there — they never do where people refuse to be intimidated.

The outgoing year was also the one in which Turkey imposed military and diplomatic sanctions on Israel in response to the latter’s refusal to take responsibility for the attack on the Mavi Marmara. Turkey’s action was in marked contrast to the European and international habit of sufficing with toothless statements at best, and never imposing a real price on Israel for its actions.

Do not cave in to intimidation

I do not wish to underestimate the task ahead of us. Only recently did we learn how much money is channeled to this machinery of intimidation whose sole purpose is to silence criticism on Israel. Last year, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs — leading pro-Israel lobby groups — allocated $6 million to be spent over three years to fight BDS campaigns and smear the Palestine solidarity movement. This is not the only such initiative under way.

But are these forces as powerful as they seem to be in the eyes of very respectable institutions such as universities, community centers, churches, media outlets and, of course, politicians?

What you learn is that once you cower, you become prey to continued and relentless bashing until you sing the Israeli national anthem. If once you do not cave in, you discover that as time goes by, the ability of Zionist lobbies of intimidation around the world to affect you gradually diminishes.

Reducing the influence of the United States

Undoubtedly the centers of power that fuel this culture of intimidation lie to a great extent in the United States, which brings me to the second item on my 2012 wish list: an end to the American dominance in the affairs of Israelis and Palestinians. I know this influence cannot be easily curbed.

But the issue of timidity and intimidation belong to an American sphere of activity where things can, and should be, different. There will be no peace process or even Pax Americana in Palestine if the Palestinians, under whatever leadership, would agree to allow Washington to play such a central role. It is not as if US policy-makers can threaten the Palestinians that without their involvement there will be no peace process.

In fact history has proved that there was no peace process — in the sense of a genuine movement toward the restoration of Palestinian rights — precisely because of American involvement. Outside mediation may be necessary for the cause of reconciliation in Palestine. But does it have to be American?

If elite politics are needed — along with other forces and movements — to facilitate a change on the ground, such a role should come from other places in the world and not just from the United States.

One would hope that the recent rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah — and the new attempt to base the issue of Palestinian representation on a wider and more just basis — will lead to a clear Palestinian position that would expose the fallacy that peace can only be achieved with the Americans as its brokers.

Dwarfing the US role will disarm American Zionist bodies and those who emulate them in Europe and Israel of their power of intimidation.

Letting the other America play a role

This will also enable the other America, that of the civil society, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the progressive campuses, the courageous churches, African-Americans marginalized by mainstream politics, Native Americans and millions of other decent Americans who never fell captive to elite propaganda about Israel and Palestine, to take a far more central role in “American involvement” in Palestine.

That would benefit America as much as it will benefit justice and peace in Palestine. But this long road to redeeming all of us who want to see justice begins by asking academics, journalists and politicians in the West to show a modicum of steadfastness and courage in the face of those who want to intimidate us. Their bark is far fiercer than their bite.

The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

END

“There Will Be Violence, Mark My Words”

From RSN ( Reader supported News )

By Michael Thomas, Newsweek

28 December 11

Chief executive officers from eight of the largest US banks receiving government aid testify at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, DC, 02/11/09 (photo: Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg)
Chief executive officers from eight of the largest US banks receiving government aid testify at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, DC, 02/11/09

(photo: Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg)

magine a vast field on which a terrible battle has recently been fought, the bare ground cratered by fusillade after fusillade of heavy artillery, trees reduced to blackened stumps, wisps of toxic gas hanging in the gray, and corpses everywhere.

A terrible scene, made worse by the sound of distant laughter, because somehow, on the heights commanding the dead zone, the officers’ club has made it through intact. From its balconies flutter bunting, and across the blasted landscape there comes a chorus of hearty male voices in counterpoint to the wheedling of cadres of wheel-greasers, the click of betting chips, the orotund declamations of a visiting congressional delegation: in sum, the celebratory hullabaloo of a class of people that has sent entire nations off to perish but whose only concern right now is whether the ’11 is ready to drink and who’ll see to tipping the servants. The notion that there might be someone or some force out there getting ready to slouch toward the buttonwood tree to exact retribution scarcely ruffles the celebrants’ joy.

Ah, Wall Street. As it was in the beginning, is now, and hopes to God it ever will be, world without end. Amen.

Or so it seems to me. It was in May 1961 that a series of circumstances took me from the hushed precincts of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I was working as a curatorial assistant in the European Paintings Department, to Lehman Brothers, to begin what for the next 30 years would be an involvement – I hesitate to call it “a career” – in investment banking. I would promote and execute deals, sit on boards, kiss ass, and lie through my teeth: the whole megillah. In consequence of which, I would wear Savile Row and carry a Hermès briefcase. I had Mme. Claude’s home number in Paris and I frequented the best clubs in a half-dozen cities. But I had a problem: I was unable to develop the anticommunitarian moral opacity that is the key to real success on Wall Street.

I had my doubts from the beginning. A few months after I started to work downtown, I ran into an old friend from college and before, a man later to become one of New York’s most esteemed writers and editors.

“So,” he asked, “how do you like what you’re doing now?”

“I like it quite a lot,” I said. And this was true: these were new frontiers for me, the pace was lively, the money was good enough ($6,500 a year), and there was so much to learn. But there was one aspect of Wall Street that I found morally confusing if not distasteful: “There’s one thing that bothers me, though. It’s this: on the one hand the New York Stock Exchange has sent its president, the estimable G. Keith Funston, out into the countryside, supported by an expensive, extensive advertising campaign, to exhort the proletariat to Own your share of America! As if buying 50 shares of IBM or GM in 1961 is as much of a civic duty as buying a $100 war bond in 1943.”

I then added, “But here’s the thing. At the same time as Funston’s out there doing his thing, if you ask any veteran Wall Street pro how the Street works, the first thing he’ll tell you is: The public is always wrong. Always.” I paused to let that sink in, then confessed, “I have to tell you, I have trouble squaring that circle.”

And that was back when Wall Street was basically honest, brought into line thanks in part to Ferdinand Pecora’s 1933 humiliation of the great bankers of the Jazz Age and even more so because of the communitarian exigencies forced on the nation by war. From Pearl Harbor to V-J Day, greed was definitely not good, and that proscriptive spirit lingered on right up to 1970, when everything started to change, and the traders began their long march through our great houses of finance, with the inevitable consequence that the Street’s moral bookkeeping grew more and more contorted, its corruptions more elaborate, its self-interest less and less governable. What someone has called the “Greed Wars” began.

But now, I think, the game is at long last over.

As 2011 slithers to its end, none of the major problems that led to the crisis point three years ago have really been solved. Bank balance sheets still reek. Europe day by day becomes a financial black hole, with matter from the periphery being sucked toward the center until the vortex itself collapses. The Street and its ministries of propaganda have fallen back on a Big Lie as old as capitalism itself: that all that has gone wrong has been government’s fault. This time, however, I don’t think the argument that “Washington ate my homework” is going to work. This time, a firestorm is going to explode about the Street’s head – and about time, too.

It’s funny; the Big Lie has a long pedigree. A year or so ago, I was leafing through Ron Chernow’s indispensable history of the Morgan financial interests, and found this interesting exchange between FDR and Russell Leffingwell, a Morgan partner and Washington fixer, a sort of Robert Strauss of his day. It dates from the summer of 1932, with FDR not yet in office:

“You and I know,” wrote Leffingwell, “that we cannot cure the present deflation and depression by punishing the villains, real or imaginary, of the first post war decade, and that when it comes down to the day of reckoning nobody gets very far with all this prohibition and regulation stuff.” To which FDR replied: “I wish we could get from the bankers themselves an admission that in the 1927 to 1929 period there were grave abuses and that the bankers themselves now support wholeheartedly methods to prevent recurrence thereof. Can’t bankers see their own advantage in such a course?” And then Leffingwell again: “The bankers were not in fact responsible for 1927–29 and the politicians were. Why then should the bankers make a false confession?”

This time, I fear, the public anger will not be deflected. Confessions, not false, will be exacted. Occupy Wall Street has set the snowball rolling; you may not think much of OWS – I have my own reservations, although none are philosophical or moral – but it has made America aware of a sinister, usurious process by which wealth has systematically been funneled into fewer and fewer hands. A process in which Washington played a useful supporting role, but no more than that.

Over the next year, I expect the “what” will give way to the “how” in the broad electorate’s comprehension of the financial situation. The 99 percent must learn to differentiate the bloodsuckers and rent-extractors from those in the 1 percent who make the world a better, more just place to live. Once people realize how Wall Street made its pile, understand how financiers get rich, what it is that they actually do, the time will become ripe for someone to gather the spreading ripples of anger and perplexity into a focused tsunami of retribution. To make the bastards pay, properly, for the grief and woe they have caused. Perhaps not to the extent proposed by H. L. Mencken, who wrote that when a bank fails, the first order of business should be to hang its board of directors, but in a manner in which the pain is proportionate to the collateral damage. Possibly an excess-profits tax retroactive to 2007, or some form of “Tobin tax” on transactions, or a wealth tax. The era of money for nothing will be over.

But it won’t just end with taxes. When the great day comes, Wall Street will pray for another Pecora, because compared with the rough beast now beginning to strain at the leash, Pecora will look like Phil Gramm. Humiliation and ridicule, even financial penalties, will be the least of the Street’s tribulations. There will be prosecutions and show trials. There will be violence, mark my words. Houses burnt, property defaced. I just hope that this time the mob targets the right people in Wall Street and in Washington. (How does a right-thinking Christian go about asking Santa for Mitch McConnell’s head under the Christmas tree?) There will be kleptocrats who threaten to take themselves elsewhere if their demands on jurisdictions and tax breaks aren’t met, and I say let ’em go!

At the end of the day, the convulsion to come won’t really be about Wall Street’s derivatives malefactions, or its subprime fun and games, or rogue trading, or the folly of banks. It will be about this society’s final opportunity to rip away the paralyzing shackles of corruption or else dwell forever in a neofeudal social order. You might say that 1384 has replaced 1984 as our worst-case scenario. I have lived what now, at 75, is starting to feel like a long life. If anyone asks me what has been the great American story of my lifetime, I have a ready answer. It is the corruption, money-based, that has settled like some all-enveloping excremental mist on the landscape of our hopes, that has permeated every nook of any institution or being that has real influence on the way we live now. Sixty years ago, if you had asked me, on the basis of all that I had been taught, whether I thought this condition of general rot was possible in this country, I would have told you that you were nuts. And I would have been very wrong. What has happened in this country has made a lie of my boyhood.

There should be more to America, Gore Vidal has written, than who pays tax to whom. It has been in Wall Street’s interest to shrivel our sensibilities as a nation, to shove aside the verities of which General MacArthur spoke at West Point – duty, honor, country – in favor of grubby schemes and scams and “carried interest” calculations. Time, I think, to take the country back.

END

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