Archive for category Civil liberties Infringement
Being brave in the “home of the brave”, is a tiny bit less of a crime today as Obama pardons Chelsea Manning for doing what was right and informing the American people of grave failures in some very bad military mission procedures of the recent past. This will probably not clean up Obama’s poor stewardship of the concept of whistle blower protections, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
I couldn’t find the most recent list of pardons, but another I would like to see is of former governor Don Siegelman. A documentary will shortly be released about this American political prisoner, entitled “Atticus v. The Architect”. The Architect, in this instance, being poster boy of a justice and election system gone mad, Karl Rove. Architect is much to kind of a word to describe this destructive animal.
Another pardon I’d like to see would be Edward Snowden, but that one is very unlikely despite reports that no security threats to America came as a result of his acknowledged vital disclosures of the dramatic overreaching of Americas vast and dangerous surveillance complex.
Martin Longman’s take at Washington Monthly is apt:
Officer Darren Wilson should have been given the opportunity to defend his actions in a court of law. He could well have won an acquittal. But what’s clear is that the moment after he ended Michael Brown’s life, the system went into overdrive to protect him and to justify what he had done. They made sure that killing Michael Brown was not a crime. It wasn’t even maybe a crime. It was just what police officers do in America without having to worry that they might have to answer for it in court.
I don’t know if he got a note from his mother or not, but Grover Norquist was scheduled to be on the “Diane Rehm Show” on Thursday to defend ALEC. If he chickened out, it looks bad because the panel would have been stacked by 2.5 in his favor – two and a half because the American journalist for the Washington Post is only allowed to give lies and truth equal consideration.
It was a hard order for Norquist, because Google had announced it was not going to give funds to ALEC, a week earlier on the Rehm peogram, after an online petition promted the mega-corporation to reconsider it’s association with that organization. Thanks Google!
I’m not so sure it was a bad thing the panel was stacked in favor of ALEC. It would have looked bad to finish off a wounded animal on a forum devoted to friendly, but incisive, discussion.
You have to hand it to the new chief executive officer of ALEC; She didn’t call in sick and proceeded to praise ALEC for passing tons of legislation. All of the legislation that ALEC has passed is pro-business/anti-worker-voter, but heck!
And thanks to NPR and KUER for giving us information instead of just football. There is a place for everything though, and every Wedensday they feature a great sports commentator in the morning who always makes me laugh.
Listen or read the program here. Two important callers involved in this story near the end of the show.
Posted by Firmage Ed in 9/11, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, Biological Weapons, Bush Administration, Bush Failures, CIA, Civil liberties Infringement, Conservative, Crimes, Democracy, Democrats, Dick Cheney, Drone Strikes, George W. Bush, Guantanamo, Hezbollah, Human Rights, Iran, Iraq, Israel, John McCain, Liberal, Libertarianism, Mahdi Army, Mormon LDS, National Politics, nazis, Neocons, NSA Surveillance, Nuclear Weapons, Oliver North, Pakistan, Proof Bush Lied, Rumsfeld, Syria, Syria, Terrorism, This Blog, War Crimes on June 5, 2014
I’m so sorry to write this missive as a lead article (for 15 minutes) but I don’t remember how to find the comments and respond to them. The lonely little side-bar response to my article I’ve not seen, except for half a sentence. It seemed to be saying that the old days are gone now, and so we need NATO and the JN. I agree. With NATO, it is the trip-wire provision that we go to war, automatically if any NATO nation is attacked, regardless of who the attacker is. This takes not only the United States Congress, but the president, as Commander in Chief, from the decision to go to war. I support both the UN and, if handled correctly, NATO. But President J. Reuben Clark and I oppose the automatic going to war. Just like the fools, the ancient general staffs of all sides in WW I. No one wanted that war. There was no Adolph Hitler in that war that destroyed the entire 20th century. Better to have shot the general staffs, who came to deserve exactly that. What President Clark called for, and I, are what the United States has always done, before NATO. That is, to have treaties of peace and friendship with our allies and then, should hostilities commence, such treaties would call for all parties to go to war, or not, as their constitutions provide. In this way, we don’t declare war against a nation, and surely all the people, have not yet been born. How, pray tell, do we justify going to war against, and for, people not, or no longer, live on earth. With a few caveats, ditto for the UN. No provision of law allows the UN to overreach Congress in the decision for war or peace. For anyone interested, read my book with the late Francis Wormuth, To Cain the Dog of War. It is by odds the best book ever written on the way we go to war. Every single war we’ve ever fought, including our wars against the Indian tribes, is there analyzed. Francis did not live to see this book in print. I worked two years after his death to finish it. And I updated it 4 or 5 times, alone. I still put my dear friend’s name first, because I am honored to be linked, now, forever. Something like Mormon marriage through time and eternity. ed firmage xoxo
This amazing dash cam video and subsequent video of court proceedings well confirms the long tradition of utter lawlessness in the state of Texas.
“I verbally objected to an unconstitutional search of my vehicle in Electra, Texas. Police officers Matt Wood and Gary Ellis maliciously responded by issuing me two false citations. I got a copy of the dashboard-camera video at the pretrial hearing. It showed all. City attorney Todd Greenwood demanded I give my copy of the evidence back, and tried to have me arrested when I refused.
Todd Greenwood then compared rural Texas to the movie Deliverance, and warned me “What’s written down in the Constitution is one thing, and the real practice is another.”
You can help:
We petition the Obama administration to: Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government. Sign it!
The news stories coming out of Russia are depressing and heart-breaking.
John Aravosis at Americablog has been all over it. First, Russia adopted a draconian anti-gay law.
It is now literally illegal in Russia to say that you are gay. It is illegal to kiss your partner in public – say, after you win a gold medal. It is illegal for a gay athlete to wear the rainbow flag. Or even to acknowledge during an interview that they are gay – or for the foreign press to acknowledge it – unless they mention that gay sexual orientation in a negative way . . .
Then there’s the seemingly officially-sanctioned violence against gay, bisexual and trans people in Russia. It’s been made clear for years now that Russian government will turn a blind eye towards anti-gay violence, and many have alleged that the Russian government is actually behind such violence. Will gay Olympic athletes and gay Olympic fans be targeted for violence while in Russia? No one knows.
In recent weeks, the situation in Russia has taken a turn for the horrific. Buzzfeed published a series of photos of anti-gay violence in Russia. Then the story broke about Russian neo-nazi skinheads arranging dates with gay teens then beating, abusing, and torturing them.
Oddly enough their idea of fighting pedophiles targets exclusively male teenagers who respond to the same-sex personal ads and show up for a date. Captured victims are bullied and often tortured while being recorded on video. These self-proclaimed “crime fighters” perform their actions under the broad day light, often outside and clearly visible to general public that indifferently passes by or even commend them. Video recordings of bullying and tortures are freely distributed on the Internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends. Many victims were driven to suicides, the rest are deeply traumatized.
In an interview with the NY Times, Harvey Fierstein said:
Mr. Putin’s campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook. Can we allow this war against human rights to go unanswered? Although Mr. Putin may think he can control his creation, history proves he cannot: his condemnations are permission to commit violence against gays and lesbians. In May a young gay man was murdered in the city of Volgograd. He was beaten, his body violated with beer bottles, his clothing set on fire, his head crushed with a rock. This is most likely just the beginning….
The Winter Olympics will be in Russia next year. The IOC’s response has been pathetic. They claim they’ve received assurances that glbt athletes and tourists visiting the games will be safe. I’m sure the skinhead thugs are going to check who’s Russian and who’s not before they fag-bash.
Russia seems to be sliding backwards into the Dark Ages. I don’t think this is going to end well.
I love the fact that Alan Grayson was able to get back into congress along with Elizabeth Warren. NOW when I get the old, “they’re all the same” refrain, I can say, “well not exactly”.
Alan names his amendment to H.R. 1960 the, “The Mind Your Own Business Act”. When was the last time you heard somebody in congress come up with a plan that didn’t have an Orwellian name? Republicans are always so proud of people on their side who just come right out and say what they think. It’s usually crazy as hell, but they say it anyway. Alan shoots from the hip too, but it sparks something in your brain that says: this really makes sense. Also, for years, Republicans were prohibited from disagreeing with anything a Republican in the hierarchy said. Grayson can say he disagrees with Obama’s stance, because he’s a Democrat. That’s my hope.
MSNBC is supposed to be “the liberal channel”, so why is the host of this segment trying to “get something” on Grayson for insinuating the Nazi’s would have loved to have a “Total Information Awareness” type of system that is going in to full gear, very soon. Grayson answers a question with a question, but it’s a good one, which the host, basically, answers by saying, ‘I’m the one asking the questions here’.
The question Grayson asks is,
How do you feel about the fact that the Government is keeping a record of every single phone call that you make?
I’m totally perplexed at the media coverage Edward Snowden is getting at this late date. He’s not the only whistle-blower on this matter. We have known for many years the government had planned to collect, and has been collecting as much information about every one of us as they could. Now that they are close to having the ability to get EVERYTHING, we get polls that tell us Americans WANT to have all their private information collected to…
AND I’M REALLY GETTING TIRED OF HEARING THIS…
Keep us safe.
If the government is serious about keeping me safe, they’d stop spending so much money on secret surveillance, prisons and war. What I really need to keep me “safe” is single payer healthcare and “food security”.
I think Grayson’s best quote in the video is this:
Martin, you are completely missing the point. The point is that we’re taking measures that are not correlated in any sense with our safety, and even if they were it would be beneath our dignity as human beings. That’s what this is all about. All right, listen. You could always make people safer by taking extreme measures. If, for instance, we lowered the speed limit to 10 miles per hour, people would be safer. If we outlawed knives and forks, people would be safer. If we made everybody fly on the airlines naked, people would be safer. None of those things corresponds to my sense of human dignity, and I think I’m not the only one who feels that way….
If you’d like to support congressman Grayson’s amendment, you can sign up here.
Glenn Greenwald posted an interview with Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history.
Q: Why did you decide to become a whistleblower?
A: “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
Q: What do the leaked documents reveal?
A: “That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinized most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”
Q: What about the Obama administration’s protests about hacking by China?
A: “We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world. We are not at war with these countries.”
Q: Is it possible to put security in place to protect against state surveillance?
A: “You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying. We can plant bugs in machines. Once you go on the network, I can identify your machine. You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place.”
Thanks to this courageous man, we are now getting some official acknowledgement and confirmation of the continuous, widespread warrantless surveillance of Americans (not to mention the rest of the world) by the National Security Agency (NSA). To be continued.
UPDATE: ‘I DID ANSWER YOUR QUESTION!’ Mika Brzezinski plays dumb to defend White House talking points.
Thanks to our partisan right-wing Supreme Court, Arizona’s un-American “Papers Please” law is now going to take effect despite being ruled unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton signed the formal order this afternoon dissolving the injunction she issued more than two years ago blocking the state from enforcing key provisions of the 2010 law.
Police can now demand to see proof of citizenship or legal residence. You will be arrested and taken to jail if your “papers” are not in order. If you visit Arizona, bring a passport. Or better yet, don’t visit Arizona!
The Family Research Council (a group the SPLC identified as a hate group for its ongoing use of lies, distortions and untruths about glbt persons) and Liberty Institute, another right wing organization, recently released a study which they claim documents more than 600 instances of hostility toward religious liberty:
Liberty Institute attorney Justin Butterfield tells OneNewsNow what his group hopes to accomplish with the study’s findings.
“We want to raise awareness of the issue. A lot of people think that hostility because of people’s religious beliefs and attacks on religious liberty are things that happen elsewhere in the world, not in the United States,” he notes. “We just want to show that it actually happens with increasing and alarming regularity here in the United States.”
Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford and FRC President Tony Perkins are presenting the study before the Republican Party Convention platform committee to raise that awareness.
I’ve been very skeptical about claims made by the religious right concerning discrimination against and bigotry towards Christians. However, this report is based on an audacious claim – 600+ incidents of hostility towards religion? Documented and published? As a matter of due diligence I figured I owed it to myself to check out the report. I downloaded the report. It’s 135 breezy pages long consisting of short summaries of instances the authors identify as hostility to religion and citations (either the case information or links to online news reports). The report is helpfully broken down in sections based on what type of hostility the authors deemed to have occurred (i.e. public expressions of faith, in schools, workplaces, about monuments and public displays, etc.)
I picked a few cases at random. Read the rest of this entry »