Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
Jury in favor of homeless woman in excessive force case
Now Playing: police hurt homeless Lady - now she gets 80,ooo dollars
Update: Jury finds for homeless woman in excessive force case against Gresham officer
April 30, 2008 21:00PM
"The Swamp" is a swath of land along Springwater Corridor in Gresham that's frequented by homeless campers. It reeks of human waste. People there sometimes have knives and drug paraphernalia.On the morning of April 7, 2006, Gresham police Officers Jeffrey Durbin and Ted Van Beek went to work early to remove people illegally camped there. By the time they left, Mary Catherine MacQuire had been arrested, punched in the gut, thrown to the ground by the hair and shocked four times with a Taser.Durbin, a 15-year Gresham veteran once named officer of the year, said he used a justifiable level of force because MacQuire was uncooperative. But MacQuire said he used excessive force and violated her civil rights.
Today, at the end of a two-day trial in U.S. District Court, jurors sided with MacQuire and awarded her $80,000 in damages -- $10,000 more than sought. MacQuire said she hoped to inspire others who think they've been wronged but are scared to come forward. "I am one girl. I'm homeless. I don't have a job," said MacQuire, 24, represented by the Oregon Law Center. "And these are police officers."
According to testimony, the incident unfolded like this:About 7 a.m., Durbin and Van Beek went to a campsite with several tents. They announced their presence and told campers to come out. Greg Schultz, a friend of MacQuire's, approached Durbin and began yelling.Durbin and his partner are certified drug recognition experts. Both said MacQuire and Schultz looked and acted as if they were high on methamphetamine. But the two denied using drugs.
MacQuire, upset with how Schultz was being treated, eventually ran toward Durbin, who grabbed her left arm. But she resisted being handcuffed, he said, and she kicked him. Durbin said he made three to four "focused blows" to her stomach. Then he grabbed her hair and pushed her to the ground.Durbin, who in uniform weighs between 260 and 280 pounds, said he used his knee and part of his weight to keep MacQuire on the ground. He said she tucked her right arm underneath her body and continued to resist.
But MacQuire said Durbin did more than hold her down -- he repeatedly jammed his knee into her back. She said he placed so much weight on her that she could not move her right arm.Durbin warned MacQuire he would use his Taser if she didn't cooperate. "She dared me to," he testified.Fifty thousand volts spread through her body each time she was shocked.
At one point, Durbin said, he could feel electricity transmitted from her left hand through his left hand.MacQuire's right arm came out after the fourth shock, and she was arrested. MacQuire said Durbin put his hands on her neck and choked her."I thought he was going to kill me," MacQuire testified. Durbin vehemently denied choking her.Police backup arrived soon after.
Prosecutors charged her with resisting arrest and obstructing an officer, but she was found not guilty in a criminal trial in November 2006.
Durbin left the courtroom quickly today. "We told the truth," he said.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 7:47 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 May 2008 7:54 PM PDT
Sunday, 18 May 2008
A minister discovers institutionalized child abuse
Now Playing: child abuse video tells story from Canada minister
Topic: NATIVE AMERICANS
A minister discovers
Unrepenetent: Canada's genocide
I love Canada. Love the land. Love the people.
But I have no illusions about the government there, especially the government/church alliance.
Interestingly, the book "Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil" traces the roots of the US "residential" school system for Native children to a Rockefeller family initiative.
After being pushed to remote areas, it was discovered that Native people were sitting on massive mineral and oil deposits.
Thus began the US program of removing Native children from their families, punishing them for speaking their native languages, and subjecting them to all forms of abuse.
Apparently, the idea migrated to Canada.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:53 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 May 2008 5:09 PM PDT
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Word Games used on Homeless in Portland Oregon
Now Playing: Word Cames & trumped Up Charges For The Poor And Homeless
BULLSHIT CHARGES used on Camping Homeless in Portland
There is lots of double meaning word games going on in regards to the police harassment on the protesters the charges that I have seen that allot are getting "ARE NOT FOR SITTING OR SLEEPING" <??????>
They get ticketed for interfering with a police officer's business<?>
I feel there is a sneaky court-padding way to charge these homeless protesters and in doing so they overt the "bullshit" sit-lie law that they (police/city) claim they are enforcing.
I say if they are going to <sic>arrest for the Sit Lie No Camping then do so ....But as Wesley Flowers points out on Indy Media they charge them with other types of charges..... there is some legal shifty bull shit going on... this is fuck you latter in court type of organizing by the police that is going on....
Legal Scholars should look into all these BULLSHIT charges
I wouldn't doubt "great minds in the legal department of City Hall have concocted a way to fuck these people with evasive jargon and trumped up charges" which they will see when their day in court comes...If they violated the "<sic> Sitting-Camping" laws ...then why doesnt ’the tickets that those protesting are getting... show that as their <sic>crime" ???
.......... I cry "BULLSHIT"
Look at all these arrest and see the charges that are mounting ..... something suspicious is going on! Not all are interfering with police business...that I am quite sure of!
More on this subject being discussed here on
Portland Indy Media
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 2:54 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 May 2008 5:15 PM PDT
Friday, 9 May 2008
Scott Ritter talks about the Military -Excellent Article-
Now Playing: EXCELLENT ARTICLE
The Pentagon vs. America
Posted on May 5, 2008
By Scott Ritter
I recently heard from an anti-war student I met while I was speaking at a college in northern Vermont. The e-mail included the following query:
“I told you about how I wanted to build a career around social activism and making a difference. You told me that one of the most important things was to make myself reputable and give people a reason to listen to you. I think this is some of the best advice I’ve received. My issue however is that you mentioned joining the military as a way to do this and mentioned how that is how you fell into it. ... We talked extensively about all of our criticisms of the military currently and our foreign policy. ... What I don’t understand is, how can you [advise] someone who wants to make a difference with the flawed system, to join that flawed system?”
The question is a valid one. Throughout my travels in the United States, where I interact with people from progressive anti-war groups, I am often confronted with the seeming contradiction of my position. I rail against the war in Iraq (and the potential of war with Iran) and yet embrace, at times enthusiastically, the notion of military service. It gets even more difficult to absorb, at least on the surface, when I simultaneously advocate counter-recruitment as well as support for those who seek to join the armed services.
The notion that the military and citizens of conscience should be at odds is a critical problem for our nation. That confrontation only exacerbates the problems of the soldier and the citizen, and must be properly understood if it is to be defeated. Let us start by constructing a framework in which my positions can be better assessed.
First and foremost, I do not view military service as an obligation of citizenship. I do view military service as an act of good citizenship, but it can under no circumstance be used as a litmus test for patriotism. There are many ways in which one can serve his or her nation; the military is but one. I am a big believer in the all-volunteer military. For one thing, the professional fighting force is far more effective and efficient than any conscript force could ever be.
There are those who argue that a draft would level the playing field, spreading the burdens and responsibilities associated with a standing military force more evenly among the population. Those citizens whose lives would be impacted through war (namely those of draft age and their immediate relatives) would presumably be less inclined to support war.
Conversely, the argument goes, with an all-volunteer professional force, the burden of sacrifice is limited to that segment of society which is engaged in the fighting, real or potential. Two points emerge: First, the majority of society not immediately impacted by the sacrifices of conflict will remain distant from the reality of war. Second, even when the costs of conflict become discernable to the withdrawn population, the fact that the sacrifice is being absorbed by those who willingly volunteered somehow lessens any moral outcry.
I will submit that these are valid observations, and indeed have been borne out in America’s response to the Iraq war tragedy. However, simply because something exists doesn’t make it right. The collective response to the Iraq war on the part of the American people is not a result of there not being a draft, but rather poor citizenship. An engaged citizenry would not only find sufficient qualified volunteers to fill the ranks of our military, but would also personally identify with all those who served so that the loss of one was felt by all. The fact that many Americans today view the all-volunteer force not so much as an extension of themselves, but more along the lines of a “legion” of professionals removed from society, illustrates the yawning gap that exists between we the people and those we ask to defend us.
Narrowing this gap is not something that can be accomplished simply through legislation. Reinstating the draft is illusory in this regard. There is a more fundamental obstacle to the reunion of our society and those who take an oath in the military to uphold and defend the Constitution. Void of this bond, the inherent differences of civilian and military life will serve to drive a wedge between the two, regardless of whether the military force is drafted or volunteer.
Lacking a common understanding of the foundational principles upon which the nation was built, a citizenry will grow to view military service as an imposition, as opposed to an obligation. Simply put, one cannot willingly defend that which one does not know and understand. The fundamental ignorance that exists in America today about the Constitution creates the conditions which foster the divide between citizen and soldier that permeates society today. America must take ownership of its military, not simply by footing the bill, but by assuming a moral responsibility for every aspect of military service. The vehicle for doing this has been well established through the Constitution: the legislative branch of government, the Congress, which serves to represent the will of the people.
Congress, especially the House of Representatives, was never conceived of as separate and distinct from the people, but rather as one with the people, directly derived from their collective will via the electoral process. Unfortunately today, few Americans identify with Congress. An “us versus them” mentality pervades. This mentality creates the crack in the moral and social contract which exists regarding a citizenry and its military. Congress is responsible for maintaining the military. Congress is the branch of government mandated with the responsibility for declaring war. When the bond is strained between the people and Congress, the bond between citizen and soldier is broken. Congress, left to its own devices, will begin to view the military not as an extension of its constituents, but rather as a commodity to be traded and used in a highly politicized fashion.
This is the reality we find ourselves in today (and indeed which has existed for some time). The 2006 midterm elections highlight this reality, where a strong anti-war sentiment upon the part of the voters resulted in a Democratic majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Having assumed the mantle of legislative power, however, those who were elected on the coattails of anti-war sentiment were able to shun their anti-war constituents. They did so by taking full advantage of the reality that the anti-war movement was in fact not a movement at all, but rather a concept pushed forward by a disparate mass without much political viability.
Where anti-war sentiment did in fact cross over from the ranks of the progressive left and into the mainstream of American society, it was quickly quashed through the dishonest logic that if one truly supported the troops (as most red-blooded Americans swear they do), then one must by extension support the mission. This flawed connectivity empowered Congress to sidestep the issue of withdrawing American forces from Iraq, and enabled it to continue rubber-stamping funding for a war which long ago lost any connection, perceived or otherwise, to the general security of the American people.
And so U.S. service members continue to fight and die in Iraq, a conflict which grows more unpopular with the American people each passing day. The question thus emerges: What is the appropriate response on the part of the American citizenry? While we insulate ourselves from political duplicity, the soldiers ultimately pay the price for the cowardice of those whom we elect to represent us in higher office. This seems to be the path taken by most Americans, who have grown numbly indifferent to the incessant stream of disappointment over the continued failure of Congress to truly represent the will of the people. We have therefore built a wall which separates we the people from the one aspect of republican governance which is, by design, supposed to give us voice.
In doing so, we likewise create a buffer between citizen and soldier, as those who are constitutionally mandated to fund the care, equipping and utilization of the military now operate in ambiguity created by the vacuum of citizen apathy. Thus liberated from the moral compass provided by the people, Congress has lost its ability to defend its own role in governance, and over time has demeaned its constitutional mandate by transferring powers inherent to the legislative branch to an executive branch which has assumed the role of caretaker of the military. By vesting absolute power in the hands of the executive, Congress has all but assured that America has become a nation no longer governed by the rule of law, but rather the rule of man. This sort of tyranny is what Americans fought a revolution to free themselves from 233 years ago.
An executive that operates in accordance with a unitary theory of governance is one that views the capacity to defend the state as being in fact the capacity to defend the realm. As such, one sees a gravitation of emphasis: Rather than focusing on external threats to the collective, the realm becomes obsessed with internal threats to its ability to retain power. The Patriot Act is a clear-cut example of how a unitary executive has undermined and corrupted the legitimate law enforcement mechanisms of the land by vesting the executive with powers normally associated solely with the legislative branch. In this regard, we see the armed forces similarly abused, with the creation of military command structures (namely U.S. Northern Command) which exist not to protect the people, but rather protect the realm from the people. This is not a stated objective, but rather one inferred from the fact that, for the first time since the imposition of posse comitatus in 1876, the United States has positioned its armed forces so that they can participate in normal state law enforcement. In short, instead of serving as a force of protection for the American people from external threats, the military views the American people as the threat, “targets” which need to be investigated as potential threats to the military.
An example of just how far off track the executive branch, facilitated by an all too complicit legislative branch, has strayed when it comes to the common defense is the Pentagon’s controversial Counterintelligence Field Activity, ostensibly created in a post-9/11 world to “… protect the [Defense] department by supporting the detection and neutralization of foreign espionage.” The CFA operates under the umbrella of U.S. Northern Command, created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to ostensibly safeguard the American homeland. A major aspect of the CFA’s work is something known as the Joint Protection Enterprise Network, or JPEN.
The JPEN network enables the Defense Department to share unverified information with civilian police departments, the FBI and other government agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA). Originally dubbed Project Protect America, the JPEN system came into being in July 2003 with the full support of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The heart and soul of the JPEN system is the “Threat and Local Observation Notice,” or TALON report, the brainchild of then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. In the conduct of its work, the CFA created and distributed thousands of TALON reports via the JPEN system on the activities of private U.S. citizens, with a particular focus of those engaged in anti-war protests.
The CFA is slated in the near future to be morphed into a larger Defense Intelligence Agency-run Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence activity. Far from limiting the scope and scale of the activities currently undertaken by the CFA, this new organization will simply increase the level of illegal and unconstitutional activities currently undertaken by the CFA against the American “target.” The fact that the U.S. military now views the American citizenry as its target, as opposed to the object of its defense, shows just how broken the circle of trust is between citizen and soldier. Additional TALON reports are being assembled on anyone deemed to be a potential threat to the U.S. military, including all who are involved in “counter-recruitment” activities designed to provide alternatives to military service for today’s youths. This myopic approach toward installation and facility security undertaken by the Pentagon is not only intellectually weak but constitutionally prohibited. The legislative branch, operating amid constituent apathy, continues to fail in its mission of upholding the rule of law.
In similarly deplorable fashion, the Pentagon has allowed itself to be hijacked by the radical right wing of the Republican Party. The fact that Fox News has become the channel of choice for the U.S. military speaks volumes about the mind-set which has gripped those who lead it. The military has always been a conservative institution. Yet when wearing the uniform of the United States serves more as a front for defending a political ideology (a rabid one at that) rather than upholding and defending the Constitution, the military does itself a disservice. The disconnect between those who serve in the military and those whom they are sworn to protect can be fatal when one realizes the recruiting pool no longer identifies with the military as a legitimate expression of patriotism and citizenship.
The scope of this ideological hijacking is broad, yet barely recognized. One can glimpse just how deep and nefarious this ideological shift is when one considers the extent to which evangelical Christians have infiltrated the U.S. Air Force Academy, proselytizing their heavily politicized religion to the future officers and leaders of that service. The past comments of Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a decorated Army Special Operations veteran who described America’s post-9/11 “war on terror” as a conflict between “Christian” America and “radical Islam,” are widely embraced within the U.S. military. President Bush has echoed Boykin in his speeches and statements, and the military’s favorite presidential candidate, Republican Sen. John McCain, has become the embodiment of Boykin’s philosophy. The Constitution prohibits the notion that America be defined as a Christian nation. To allow the military, sworn as it is to uphold and defend that document, to posture itself as Christian, becoming in effect the “sword of God,” is unthinkable and unforgivable.
The implications of such posturing are far-reaching, especially from the military recruitment standpoint. The all-volunteer military succeeds when it attracts to its ranks those who have a sincere desire to serve their nation. It succeeds greatly when those it attracts come from the broadest possible cross section of the American demographic. There has always been an economic aspect to the all-volunteer force; service is not slavery, and the military has always promised the security of a middle-class lifestyle to those who choose to enlist. But military service, properly motivated, has never been solely about the money. It is about defending a greater good, the people of the United States of America and their values and ideals as defined by the Constitution.
It has become increasingly difficult to motivate enough of today’s youths to serve in the armed services based upon the call of duty alone. One of the primary reasons for this shortfall is the unfortunate perception, not improperly derived, that military service is not in keeping with the concept of “doing the right thing.” This perception, born of an unpopular war and the dishonest foreign policies of successive administrations, is further exaggerated by the reality that the military not only operates as a separate and distinct part of American society (this has always been the case) but, due in large part to post-9/11 hysteria, has been positioned to view the American people as a threat. The inherent problems of the military trying to recruit from a population base which is under attack from the military are self-evident. Genuine patriotism was once a viable recruitment pitch. Now, economic incentives, false promises and pseudo-patriotism are used as the bait to lure the youths of today into America’s legions. Like the legions of the past, these new warriors march not on behalf of the citizens they are sworn to protect, but rather the emperor who commands them. This may be viewed as an overly harsh statement, but there is no other way to describe the abuses of a unitary executive who positions himself above the Constitution and Congress in a time of war.
Having described the current state of the military and military service in this manner, why would I ever encourage a citizen of military age to consider service in the armed forces? First and foremost, one needs to understand that the entire military system has not been corrupted. There are still men and women of honor who serve with dedication and pride. They are, in fact, in the majority. It takes only a few bad apples to spoil the lot, however, and our military today, thanks to a nebulous mission and lower recruiting standards, is full of bad apples. Likewise, to quote a Russian general, “a fish stinks from its head,” and nothing smells worse today than the “head” of the United States. Our commander in chief has disgraced the office he was entrusted with, and in doing so has severely damaged the foundation of American civil society as well as the institutions sworn to uphold and defend it.
The solution, however, cannot be “cut and run.” Simply identifying the problem and pointing a finger at the perpetrators will do nothing to resolve these critical issues. Our military cannot change unless we the people re-establish the link between ourselves and the legislative branch of government and rebuild the bond of trust between citizen and soldier. This cannot happen in stages, but rather must occur simultaneously. While the vast majority of America struggles to regain its moral and ethical compass through the re-establishment of the rule of law as set forth by the Constitution, we need to continue to maintain a military which is capable of defending us.
This requires good people to serve, even if the conditions of their service are not ideal. Do I want to have an intelligent, morally grounded soldier on the front line in Iraq, making the decisions about the use of force in the framework of an illegal and unjust occupation, or do I want to relinquish that job to a former felon lacking even a high school diploma? Do I want the troops of today led by Bible-wielding zealots or Constitution-wielding patriots? While we struggle to re-establish the bond between citizen and soldier, we have an absolute requirement to ensure we continue to field a military composed of citizen soldiers. The only way to prevent our military from becoming the new Roman Legion is to staff it with citizens of principle who reject such an abominable label. We are a nation at war, not just abroad, but with ourselves. Now, more than ever, we need citizens of standing to answer the call to service, not in the name of a criminal president or an illegal war, but rather in defense of the Constitution and all that it stands for, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 9:42 AM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2008 2:58 PM PDT
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Slow Down - Food .... Business.... Life... and enjoy the quality
Now Playing: The fast pace world and some good logic on why to "slow down"
Topic: ANYBODY * ANYDAY
Are Your Ready for 'Slow Business'?
You might have heard the inklings about the 'Slow Food Movement', pioneered by Carlo Patrini of Italy, whereby the cultivation of appreciation, mindfulness, and awareness is suggested as an antidote to the poison of our frenzied, 'fast food' (and fast everything) culture.
In other words, with the Slow Food Movement, you replace 'fast food' and 'eating on the go' with an attention to eating fresh, local food that is prepared at a gentle pace at home and enjoyed, perhaps, in the company of loved ones. Or, you simply allow the time to cook yourself a fresh, lovely meal and eat it as if it was a meditation.
The more I read and learned about the Slow Food Movement, the more I realized that it mirrored the principles that I have endeavored to explore and share through Ivy Sea, and that I researched and wrote about in Big Vision, Small Business.
The primary difference is that, where Carlos Petrini is talking about 'slow food' and mindful agriculture and eating, I've been talking about 'slow business'.
What would Slow Business look like? When we hear such a thing, we might immediately associate 'slow' with something negative. This would be an automatic response that comes from an indoctrination in the 'fast is better, bigger is better' culture. Yet when we think about it, mindfully and heartfully, we know that our frenzied, urgency-worshipping, fast-everything culture is not optimal; in fact, we have plenty of evidence -- perhaps even in our own experience and life -- that 'fast' and 'urgent' are often unnecessary and harmful.
With 'Slow Business', as with Slow Food, we simply become more mindful, more aware, more skillful.
We have a greater sense of why we're doing what we're doing, and that 'why' is linked with heart-centered intuitive guidance about our own purpose, deep values, and 'right livelihood' than the old way of externally defined 'should do, or I won't be successful' thinking.
With 'Slow Business', we emphasize connection, in our actions as well as our vision or mission statements. We embody and demonstrate a true respect or valuing of the opportunity we have to share our gifts, skills, and 'pearls of experience', and to express our vision and purpose through our livelihood.
We extend this respect to all beings: in our way of relating to other people within and outside of our business or organization; in our decision-making, where we reflect on the ripple-effect and consequences of our actions, intending that they be positive and life-affirming.
We seek to explore, embody, and express deep values and the principles of 'holographic business'
(read the article in the Transcendent Leadership Portal, linked below).
We approach our work as a master-craftsperson approaches his or her art; we're artisans of business (or livelihood), creating a work of art in and through our organization or business, whether we're a larger group or a one-person enterprise. In 'Slow Business', we weave a tapestry of positive connection and collaboration, seeing plenty and potential in the opportunities to co-creative with others on behalf of, and for the benefit of, others as well.
'Slow Business' simply means slowing down, and visioning and acting from our center of being, our hearts, our 'Divine Essence' (whatever you might choose to call it), and making choices from this center, rather than 'fast business' where you're simply reacting and making hasty choices regardless of their ripple effects or consequences.
With 'Slow Business', you're experiencing joy and plenty and creativity right NOW, even as you 'create forward', versus the frenzied 'always trying to catch up' that marks 'fast business' and 'fast life.'
And oddly, though we've been conditioned to fear being 'left behind', we all remember the story of the race between the turtle and the hare, where the turtle's deliberate, steady, mindful pace outruns and outdistances the fast-hopping hare every time.
Slowing down can seem frightening, but that's just old conditioning talking. In reality, a greater mindfulness and awareness yields better choices and far-better outcomes. And you get to enjoy your life and livelihood along the way, instead of constantly placing that enjoyment 'out there' somewhere in the distant future, where it never arrives but you keep on running. Take a breath; explore slow. There's no need to catch up, since you're always here, now.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:59 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 30 April 2008 1:03 PM PDT
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Restore the Rule of Law
Now Playing: IMPEACH
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
PLEASE HELP BUILD A NATIONAL GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT FOR CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS – FORWARD THIS WEBSITE TO BLOGS, WEB SITES, AND EMAIL ADDRESSES OF ALL FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND ASSOCIATES.
Please add your name to the letter below, indicating to Congressman Conyers, other members of the House Judiciary Committee, and Congress as a whole that you support efforts to investigate and disclose any illegal acts and abuses of power by the President and others in his administration. Declare to the world, and to our posterity, that, as a US citizen:
- You proudly support our long-held constitutional principles.
- You are speaking out to reaffirm our democracy.
- You demand accountability for those in our government who have disregarded our Constitution, violated statutory law, or engaged in immoral human-rights abuses.
Thank you for your commitment, your willingness to take a firm stand, and for your authentic patriotism.
Sign The Letter
Click link below to add your information:
* * *
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Chair, Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives
2426 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515
Dear Congressman Conyers:
We are writing out of deep concern for our nation. The President and members of his administration have violated, and continue to violate, our Constitution, significant and numerous treaty obligations, customary international law, and laws passed by Congress. However, the federal courts and Congress (even with a Democratic majority) have utterly failed to hold the President and his administration accountable and to put an end to the egregious violations of law and abuses of power.
When the President abuses and exceeds the powers vested in the executive branch, the people of our nation have reason to expect, and our Constitution contemplates, that the other co-equal branches of government – the courts and Congress – will rein in the President, not only holding him to account, but also making it clear that such abuses and excesses will not be tolerated, now or in the future, in our constitutional democracy. When the courts and Congress fail in their duties to challenge and repair abuses of executive power, they condone the abuses and are thereby complicit in undermining our Constitution, our international standing, and our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.
Our nation and our constitutional form of government are at a crucial crossroads. Either we condone and thereby encourage unlawful misconduct by our President and his administration, or we hold them to account and put an end to the illegalities. We can make it clear to the world, including all U.S. citizens, present and future, that we are a nation of laws, that we will support and uphold our Constitution, and that we will not tolerate the undermining of the carefully structured system of checks and balances among three co-equal branches of government. To challenge, disclose and censure the abuses of power by the Bush administration would also serve to uphold our nation’s proud history of support for fundamental human rights, which has distinguished our nation, until now, from those totalitarian, human-rights abusing nations that have kidnapped, disappeared, and tortured people, and deprived them of any semblance of due process.
In a constitutional form of government, which is committed to the rule of law, the courts are a safeguard against unlawful conduct by government officials, including the President. The courts are intended to be a safeguard against tyranny and dictatorship, both procedurally and substantively. Alarmingly, that is no longer the case in the United States.
Recently, a federal court has ruled that the invocation of the “state secrets” doctrine by the Bush administration is sufficient to deny citizens the right to obtain information about whether their communications have been subjected to warrantless governmental surveillance, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and federal statutory law (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Without the ability to obtain that information, the parties challenging the unlawful governmental surveillance have been held to lack standing to pursue their claims in court. Contrary to earlier false representations by President Bush that warrants were being obtained by his administration before electronic surveillance of communications was being conducted, the federal government is known to have continually and blatantly violated a criminal law passed by Congress and one of the most cherished rights protected by our Constitution. However, astoundingly, there is now no recourse in the federal courts.
The federal courts have even denied recourse to those who, pursuant to the “extraordinary rendition” program, have been illegally kidnapped, disappeared, and tortured by US agents and assignees in other countries. That dangerous lack of accountability has resulted from the indiscriminate acceptance by the courts of the assertion by the Bush administration of the “state secrets” doctrine. The Bush administration has invoked the “state secrets” doctrine 39 times, compared to a total of only six times by other presidents from 1953 to 1976, during the height of the Cold War.
Without action by Congress, these recent court decisions significantly undermine any notion that the rule of law prevails in the United States in instances of presidential abuse of power – and make it clear that no remnant of justice remains in relation to claims that such abuses have caused severe harm to innocent people. These decisions also call into question whether the truth about these abuses will ever be brought to light. All of this is leading our nation toward an unbounded and unaccountable tyranny, completely foreign to what many of us value most about our beloved country.
Because the courts are not providing a means of disclosing, or holding the Bush administration accountable for, serious violations of the law, it is particularly essential that Congress vigorously assume its constitutional prerogative and duty to thoroughly investigate and disclose the truth about the abuses of power and excesses of President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and others in the administration, all of which have caused extreme damage to our country.
Of course, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives is best suited to conduct any inquiry into abuses of power by the President and others in his administration, particularly when violations of domestic statutory law, the Constitution, and treaty obligations have occurred. As Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, you have an historic opportunity and solemn responsibility, through the holding of hearings, to discover and disclose, and to bring the President and others to account for, the astounding abuses of power and violations of the law arising from the following misconduct, all of which have been severely injurious to our great nation:
• Authorizing, permitting, and condoning the kidnapping, disappearance, imprisonment and torture of people throughout the world, in violation of the US Constitution, domestic statutory law, treaty obligations, and customary international law. (In connection with the investigation of the illegal “extraordinary rendition” program, the Judiciary Committee should consider recommending passage of a compensation bill for Khaled el-Masri, Maher Arar, and others who have been kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured by U.S. agents and who have been denied any recourse to justice in US federal courts.)
• Authorizing and permitting the arrest of US citizens without charges, and causing them to be held, indefinitely and incommunicado, without access to an attorney, without the right to challenge the lawfulness of their confinement through the great writ of habeas corpus, without a trial, and under inhumane circumstances.
• Authorizing, permitting, and condoning the electronic surveillance of US citizens’ communications, including emails and telephone conversations, without a warrant, in violation of the US Constitution and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
• Engaging in an illegal war of aggression against Iraq, in violation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Nuremberg Covenant, and the United Nations Charter (all international treaty obligations, which, under the Constitution, comprise the supreme law of the land), following a public campaign comprised largely of fictitious and fraudulent representations intended to persuade the people of the United States that the war was justified by self-defense. The fraud was comprised of outright misstatements of material fact and by withholding material information known to President Bush and members of his administration that was directly contrary to the representations of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and others in the administration to Congress and the American people.
• Abusing and exceeding the executive power, and undermining the constitutional principle of separation of power, through the issuance of a record number of signing statements following the enactment of legislation by Congress. These signing statements have led to an unprecedented disregard by the executive branch, including administrative agencies, of federal statutory laws, and to the assertion of an unbounded dictatorial “unitary executive” presidential power, during the so-called “war on terror,” an undeclared “war” that is geographically and temporally unlimited.
In addition to inquiries into the above grave criminal misconduct and other gross abuses of power, we urge that Judiciary Committee hearings include an inquiry into the use of false propaganda by members of the Bush administration, which has served as the source for articles in the news media that misled many of the people in the United States and elsewhere concerning the supposed “threat” posed by Saddam Hussein and the execution of the war. When our government lies to the people, with the aid of an inept and credulous news media, our democracy is at grave risk.
Hearings on the matters described above could be held for the purposes of (1) disclosing serious criminal misconduct and egregious abuses of power, (2) accountability, and (3) deterrence. Crucial to our constitutional democracy and a commitment to the rule of law is a determination of the facts of abuse and illegal misconduct, then conveying that the outrages of the Bush administration are not reflective of American values, and that our proud nation will not condone the subversion of our values, our laws, or our Constitution by any president or members of his or her administration. Such a result would also vindicate Congress’s vital role as a co-equal branch of our government that will zealously protect its role, rights, and responsibilities under the Constitution.
We urge you, as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to commence hearings without further delay in connection with the above described violations of law and abuses of power by President Bush and members of his administration. To embrace the opportunity to discover and disclose the truth, and to provide for the sort of accountability, transparency, and openness due to any democratic people, will be an important step toward a national recommitment to the rule of law, a renewal of international respect, and a return to the national values we Americans have always cherished for ourselves and our posterity.
George McGovern, Ralph Nader, Robert A. Feuer, Rocky Anderson, Blase Bonpane, Theresa Bonpane, Ramsey Clark, Mimi Kennedy, Andy Jacobs, Jr., James Abourezk, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Paul Findley, Kevin Zeese, John Nichols, Tim Carpenter, Marcus Raskin, Jonathan Kozol, Harry Belafonte
Add your name as a signatory by filling in the information at the top of the letter. http://restoreruleoflaw.com
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:38 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 27 April 2008 6:41 PM PDT
Food For Thought - Did You Know This ?
Now Playing: Truth in Media - Who is this man ?
Food for thought:
In 1961, a young African-American man, inspired after hearing President John F.
Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you
can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in
Virginia, and voluntarily joined the Marines.
In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines,
volunteered, again, to become a Navy hospital corpsman. (Corpsmen are the
"doctors in the field to Marines" and provide medical assistance to all Navy
This man did so well in Corps School he graduated valedictorian and became a
cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's
premier medical facility in the world, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of
the Commander-in-Chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B.
Johnson during and after his 1966 surgery.
For his service on the President's health care team, which he left in 1967, the
White House awarded this man three letters of commendation.
What may seem to some even more remarkable is that this man voluntarily entered
the Marines and Navy very shortly after the two branches became integrated, and
serviced during a time of a growing war in Vietnam with no thought to his
(PLEASE NOTE: During the same period that this young man was serving six years
on active duty with the Marines and Navy during the Vietnam War, Vice President
Dick Cheney -- who was born the same year as the Marine/Navy Corpsman, received
five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one
for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both
five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student
deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then a voided going on active duty
military service, or service in Vietnam, through family and political
Who is the real patriot; who is this young African-American youth so devoted to
his country? Who is this young Black man who interrupted his studies to serve
his nation for six years while the other three political leaders "beat the
system" to stay out of harms way and from serving in the active military? Are
patriots the people who actually sacrifice something of value, or are they those
who merely talk about serving their nation and their love of the country?
After leaving military service to his country, the young African-American
finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a
minister, and eventually became pastor of a small church in one of America's
biggest cities, Chicago, growing that ministry from a mere 87 persons to a
congregation of many thousands of persons active for Chr ist and the poor
This African-American man is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the recently retired
pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ on the south side of Chicago, and
Obama's former spiritual advisor, who brought Obama to Christ and eventually
baptized Barack Obama, married Obama and Michelle, and baptized their two
This man has been much maligned recently with snippets, tiny portions of video
taken out of entire sermons, from an entire career of devotion to Christ and the
poor of this nation. Before passing judgement on Rev. Wright, or on Barack Obama
for being a member of Rev. Wright's congregation, it would be wise for those
unfamiliar with "liberation theology" and who question Rev. Wright's patriotism
and spirituality to listen to the recent interview on:
Bill Moyer's JOURNAL
on PBS of April 25, 2008 at the following links:
Rev. Jeremiah Wright PBS interview Part I:
Rev. Jeremiah Wright PBS interview Part II:
Please forward to others who criticize Rev. Wright, and to others who may have questions about the Rev. Wright, his relationship with Christ and Barack Obama, and his patriotism to the United States of America.
Thank you for reading this far news from Indpenedent Media sources
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:15 PM PDT
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Human Right's in China or I Will be Protesting The Olympics !
Now Playing: Tibet and other activist make a stand aginst the abuse by China
THE FOLLOWING I RECIEVED BY EMAIL TODAY 4/16/08
Despite a dramatic last-minute diversion of the Olympic torch route in San Francisco last week, the spectacle of thousands of human rights protesters jamming city streets was truly an awesome sight! Hearing and seeing such impassioned support for the long-suffering people of Tibet and Darfur showed the power of peaceful protest - and strengthened my belief in the possibility of change.
Stand up for human rights in China by making a gift to Amnesty International today.
When China bid for the Olympics in 2001, it promised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that as host, Beijing would enhance "all social conditions, including education, health and human rights" and "give the media complete freedom" to report news in China in the lead-up to the Games.
But with less than four months to go, Amnesty has concluded in a new report that the current wave of repression by Chinese authorities is occurring not in spite of the Olympics, but because of the Olympics.
Beijing has hit back at Amnesty International with the charge that we've "politicized" the Olympics. To this we say, human rights are not political - arresting human rights activists and charging them with 'subversion' is.
Prominent and peaceful human rights activists are being rounded up and jailed. Tibetan protesters are met with intimidation, arbitrary detentions and in some cases lethal force. Web sites are being blocked. TV broadcasts are being censored and foreign journalists are denied access to Tibet altogether - as part of a massive pre-Olympics 'clean up.' We cannot let this insult to basic human dignity go unchallenged!
Your gift today will help Amnesty International to free those wrongly detained for acts of peaceful self-expression and intensify our campaign to push for progress on human rights in China in the critical months leading up to the Summer Olympics. In the coming weeks, our campaign will meet with corporate sponsor Coca-Cola and the U.S. Olympic Committee, and organize a global week of action on China and the Olympics.
You and I must hold China accountable for its abysmal record and make sure the Chinese authorities understand that there are consequences for a lack of progress on human rights - before the Games begin. Failure to speak out now is to miss a unique opportunity to push for progress on human rights in China.
Thank you for your continued commitment to defending human rights in China and around the world.
Amnesty International USA
P.S. To read more about China's human rights record in the lead-up to the Olympics, check out Amnesty's new report, The Olympics countdown: Crackdown on activists threatens Olympics legacy
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:59 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 16 April 2008 5:01 PM PDT
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
Terror and the Empire (reposting)
Now Playing: Bush sets up his "terror regime"
Terror and the Empire
By Jean Ziegler
[This article originally published in: Ossietzsky 2003 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,
The following is reposted on The Zebra 3 Report from here ___________________
The collapse of the Soviet Union in August 1991 and the disappearance of the bipolarity of the international community of states awakened realistic hopes everywhere in the civilized world. For the first time since 1945, a real chance existed for re-ordering the world according to the principles of the UN Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights.
The American empire decided differently. Instead of contributing to a system of collective security, the US refused to dismantle the gigantic military machine built during the Cold War. Against the principle of peaceful conflict resolution, the US chose the way of imperial dictation. Against arbitration and multilateral diplomacy, it opted for the autistic, unilateral world power policy. Instead of a normative economy and distribution of essential goods – above all for the third world – through multilateral conventions, it established the globalized world market totally ruled by American financial capital.
The American capital oligarchy which largely dominates the Bush administration functions according to a code called the “Washington Consensus”. Its four holy rules are¨total liberalization of capital-, goods, services- and patent-streams, privatization of the public sector, deregulation and flexibility of all relations, especially labor relations.
This “consensus” is enforced worldwide by the mercenary organizations of international finance capital which is mostly American finance capital: the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Thomas Friedman, former assistant of Secretary Madeleine Albright, writes: “So globalization functions, the United States may not hesitate acting as the invincible world superpower. The invisible hand of the market cannot function without the visible fist. McDonalds cannot prosper without McDonnell-Douglas, manufacturer of the F15 fighter jet. The visible fist assures the victory all over the world of technology products from Silicon Valley. This fist is the armed forces, the air force and the marine corps of the United States.”
On October 28, 2001, George W. Bush declared amid the congressional debate on the new “Trade Promotion Authority Act”): “The terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. We will defeat them by liberalizing world trade more forcefully.” Before the World Trade conference in Doha, November 2001, his foreign trade commissioner Robert Zoelinik said: “The deregulated capital streams are not only very efficient economically. These streams also promote the ethical values of freedom throughout the world.”
Globalization is daily terror. Every seven seconds a child under 10 dies of starvation. Every four minutes a person loses eyesight on account of Vitamin A deficiency. Over 100,000 persons die every day of hunger or its immediate consequences. 828 million men, women and children were permanently and gravely malnourished last year. The FAO calculates: World agriculture could feed twelve billion people today without problem. Every person could have 2700 calories of food every day. The earth’s present population amounts to 6.2 billion.
There is no fatalism here, only imperial destruction and arrogance. Whoever starves to death today is murdered. Whoever has money eats and lives. Whoever has no money dies of starvation, becomes an invalid and/or dies.
Over 2000 years ago Marcus Aurelius wrote: Imperium superat regnum. The empire subjugates all other powers. The oligarchy of American finance capital takes this lesson to heart most exquisitely.
The American president rejected the agreement on prohibiting the manufacture and sale of anti-personnel mines. The US rejects the Kyoto protocol on reducing air poisoning by CO2 emissions and the treaty to ban intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. The US refuses to sign the protocol against biological weapons. The US opposes the OECD-convention on combating criminal offshore markets. The US rejects the Inrternational Criminal Court (convention of Rome 1998). Every kind of military disarmament is horror to the US. The empire spent 42 percent of the world’s military spending in 2002.
Nothing and noone can explain – let alone justify – the dreadful attack on the New York civilian population on September 11, 2001. Over 3000 persons from 62 nations were killed within three hours. However even the worst crime may not annul the principles of a civilized community like the American community.
The terror bombardments of the American air force on Afghan cities and villages from October to December 2001, the humanly degrading treatment of war prisoners and the refusal to respect the Geneva convention in Afghanistan are trademarks of imperial humanly contemptuous arrogance.
Bush and his accolites from Texas autonomously define who is a terrorist and who is not a terrorist – beyond all principles of international law.
James H. Hatfield’s painstakingly researched book shows the direct influence of Texan oil billionaires on the Bush family. The worldwide war against terror has to do with the profit maximization of investments in the international oil business, especially in the Middle East and central Asia.
The ambiguity of the empire is also sinister to me. Bush claims for himself human civilization, its morality and its defense. At the same time he puts up with the horrific war crimes of the Sharon government in Palestine, particularly the massacre of hundreds of women, men and children in the refugee camp of Dschenin, in Ramallah and Nablus in April 2002. He gave Vladmir Putin a generous debt relief after Putin massacred the civilian population of Tchetchnya. He sends weapons and credits in the billions to the Turkish torturing henchmen.
The submissive lackey-mentality displayed by so many compatriots from the Socialist internationale toward the soul-destroying world ruler aspirants in Washington saddens me as a European and social democrat. Gerhard Schroder and Tony Blair are not the only ones.
On the afternoon of November 9, 2001, I presented my report on the right to food before the UN General Assembly in New York. In the morning I was invited by the editorial board of the New York Times for an exchange of ideas at the newspaper headquarters, 229 West 43rd St. I spoke and answered questions. At the end of the conversation, I asked: “How should a European understand the current strategy oif the Bush administration in central Asia?” Roger Normand from the Center for Social and Economic Rights who also sat at the round table replied: “It’s oil and the military.” All those present nodded in agreement.
I hardly know a more fascinating, diverse and creative people than the Americans. In Greenwich Village and at Columbia University, I learned more about people and the world during four years than during any other time of my life. American hospitality and warmheartedness are unforgettable to me.
The American grassroots democratic opposition against racial laws in the early sixties and the opposition against the murdeerous war in Vietnam in the early seventies are great turning points in the history of civilization. American students, unionists, priests, writers, journalists and simple citizens wrote glowing pages in the book of history. Michael Harrington, the friend of Willy Brandt, is unforgettable to me.
Hatfield and his marvelous book belong in the long line of this resistandcfe exemplary for all people of the world. He paid for this resistance with his life. We owe him admiration, gratitude and solidarity.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 1:15 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 April 2008 1:20 PM PDT
Monday, 14 April 2008
Listening To The Words
Now Playing: Ralph Nader represtents my views on corportatism
Topic: CORPORATE CRAP
Corporations versus the People
I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
- Thomas Jefferson
I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
- Abraham Lincoln
Big business is not dangerous because it is big, but because its bigness is an unwholesome inflation created by privileges and exemptions which it ought not to enjoy.
- Woodrow Wilson
The citizens of the United States must control the mighty commercial forces which they themselves called into being.
- Theodore Roosevelt
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
- Dwight Eisenhower
I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves - and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.
- Thomas Jefferson
The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Which of the following candidates for President of the United States best reflects values expressed above?
a) John McCain
b) Hillary Clinton
c) Barack Obama
d) Ralph Nader
d) Ralph Nader
As the Democrats bicker over the meaning of bitterness, Ralph Nader is traveling to all 50 states to challenge head-on the abusive, corrupting, corrosive corporate power that is undermining our democracy.
In this momentous election year, the Nader/Gonzalez campaign has launched an historic challenge to the corporate two-party duopoly.
The first phase is well under way - getting Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in states across the country.
Today, Ralph travels to the Land of Lincoln - Illinois.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 9:57 AM PDT
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