Skip to main content


if one can take a break from the personality driven politics in the US

in a country where 36% of the "citizens" cannot name the current VP

and consider that in this country which was the first republic for 2,000 years after the Roman republic

From the first article, the bold is a section heading

Abdicating the Judicial Function to Corporate Lawyers

James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers:

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. . . . “Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. . . .”
and the author of the article "The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic" continues
And that, from what we now know of the TPP’s secret provisions, will be its dire effect.

The most controversial provision of the TPP is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) section, which strengthens existing ISDS  procedures. ISDS first appeared in a bilateral trade agreement in 1959. According to The Economist, ISDS gives foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever the government passes a law to do things that hurt corporate profits — such things as discouraging smoking, protecting the environment or preventing a nuclear catastrophe.

Have you heard the latest poll numbers of Hillary? Have the crazy Republicans and their billionaire owners gone so far over the top yet to be rejected by the voters? Even if they are rejected, can the power of the corporations and the military be checked by the legislative branch through the political parties?

Politics in the US is for the most part defined by what happens between the two parties. What did the founders think about factions and parties?

I added the bold to the quotation from the second president of the US

“There is nothing I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This in my humble apprehension is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under the constitution. John Adams
The diary continues after the squiggle
Continue Reading

There were probably few of the daily kos regulars who watched the Oscars awards last evening.

I had a live feed from the NY Times that I looked at occasionally.

Here is an article by Juan Cole, the Middle East history professor from Univ of Michigan on the Oscars

In New Gilded Age, Social Protest dominates Academy Awards Ceremony

If social and economic inequality were a mine, and if America were deep in this mine with a canary in tow, the canary would long since have expired. Some 400 billionaires have more wealth than the bottom half of Americans. We lived through a year of dramatic incidents underscoring the continued second-class citizenship of African-Americans. Women still don’t make as much for the same work as their male counterparts and their right to choice and control over their own bodies has been de facto curtailed by theocratic state legislatures. Gay people still face prejudice and resistance to same sex marriage rights.

The committed artists honored at the 87th Academy Awards took advantage of their bully pulpits to make an amazing series of eloquent statements on behalf of minorities and the discriminated-against. Referring to the controversy over the all-white nominees in acting categories, host Neil Patrick Hayden quipped at the opening, ““Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest — I mean brightest.” For all this hoopla about the overwhelmingly white, elderly and male character of the Academy voting members, however, the stage they provided to honorees was the scene of many poignant pleas for equality and decency.

Do you have any thoughts about the awards?

Continued below the Orange Squiggle

Continue Reading

The only company in the US constitution is the press.

Here is how important Thomas Jefferson thought the press was to government

"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57
"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823. ME 15:491
Circumstantial evidence was used to convict Jeffrey Sterling for leaking evidence to James Risen at NYT.

It is OK to torture in the US and go on book tours, but if you tell the press, you go to jail for 30 months and have your life destroyed.

It is OK to leak stories that are favorable to the government, but raise the issues to congressional committees, and have the stories printed in a book first, then finally the NY times lets its journalist publish the stories, and you are a criminal. And the journalist, James Risen, was on the edge of a charge of espionage for 7 years, including all of Obama's term in office, for his journalism. Recall that Risen's story about surveillance of Americans was ready to print before the 2004 presidential election, which could have influenced the outcome of the election, and the NY Times submitted to the pressure of Condeleezza Rice to bury the story.

The founders were fundamentally concerned with power and how to control it. The oligarchs, corporations, military, security complex, etc. have the power and the people can't even know what chemicals are put into the ground through fracking. And the recent push to fast track the TPP and other "trade agreements", written by corporations, and secret to even most legislators, are giving away sovereignty. That means a Canadian mining company, for example, can do what ever they want in my community and I can't take them to court, or I have to pay they off if they are blocked from their extractivism.

Our political dialogue is about personalities and media flaps with almost no discussion of power.

Continue Reading

Dick Cheney says that even if innocent people die in captivity, that is OK because US must be protected. The disappearance of victims continues so that Americans don't have to confront who we are.

Ever since the torture report was released last week, U.S. television outlets have endlessly featured American torturers and torture proponents. But there was one group that was almost never heard from: the victims of their torture, not even the ones recognized by the U.S. Government itself as innocent, not even the family members of the ones they tortured to death. Whether by design (most likely) or effect, this inexcusable omission radically distorts coverage.
Going to a bigger picture of what we did to the country and people of Iraq, the US does not get any idea of who we are and what we do in the world. The empire is celebrated. Was the torture report released just before XMAS when people are distracted by the season?

Here is the Shoe Tosser, the one who threw the shoe at W Bush. He spend 9 months in jail but here in the USA with our military policing, he probably would have been filled with bullets. And if Edward Snowden had been captured, he would have been disapeared as well.

I added the bold to remind people how we destroyed even more people by our wars than by our torture.

I am free. But my country is still a prisoner of war. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act. But, simply, I answer: what compelled me to act is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.

Over recent years, more than a million martyrs have fallen by the bullets of the occupation and Iraq is now filled with more than five million orphans, a million widows and hundreds of thousands of maimed. Many millions are homeless inside and outside the country.

We used to be a nation in which the Arab would share with the Turkman and the Kurd and the Assyrian and the Sabean and the Yazid his daily bread. And the Shia would pray with the Sunni in one line. And the Muslim would celebrate with the Christian the birthday of Christ. This despite the fact that we shared hunger under sanctions for more than a decade.

Why I threw the shoe I am no hero. I just acted as an Iraqi who witnessed the pain and bloodshed of too many innocents
Continue Reading

Jesselyn doesn't post much here these days but she continues to do good work.

Here she is on about a 15 minute interview with Larry King.

What do you think about Larry's demeanor during the interview?

He gives her set up questions and she gives crisp and well informed answers.

My sense is that Larry is witness to the end of the America he knew

And his role is to let it be told

https://www.youtube.com/...

I follow on twitter two people who used to post here quite a bit. Jesselyn and her client Thomas Drake

Her is a one hour interview with Thomas Drake. He knows that 9/11 could have been stopped because he did the NSA retrospective. He gave information to both senate and house committees on this and other topics which has never been declassified.

For telling the truth he was charged as a traitor with the potential of 35 years in prison. Yet those who destroy our democracy hide behind National Security.

The interview was on http://www.awakeradio.us/ but I can't find the link.

There is lots about him on the web.

Discuss

This is from the interview below.

And this is what makes the fact that there’s even something called “the torture debate” so ridiculous. This debate, quote-unquote, has been settled not for decades but centuries. Everything that we did as part of the war on terror, in terms of how we treated detainees, has [long] been viewed as morally vile and inexcusable and criminal, pretty much across cultural and social lines. (And the United States has prosecuted people as war criminalsfor doing things we did.)

So it’s not even a debate. There’s no debate. [The program's] defilement [of the United States] is self-evident and indisputable.

But first, lets connect today's news with the political theorist, Hannah Arendt
“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”
Hannah Arendt
“The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.”
Hannah Arendt
From wikipedia
In her reporting of the 1961 Adolf Eichmann trial for The New Yorker, which evolved into Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963), she coined the phrase "the banality of evil" to describe the phenomenon of Eichmann. She raised the question of whether evil is radical or simply a function of thoughtlessness, a tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without a critical evaluation of the consequences of their actions and inaction.
Our government, politicians and military, and the media used the hysteria of terrorism to follow Richard Bruce Cheney to "the dark side" continue below the squiggle on the Torture report released yesterday
Continue Reading

The Founding Fathers knew about torture.

Two types of torture were common during the lifetimes of the Founding Fathers. In France, the judiciary typically had arrestees tortured to make them confess their crime. This way of proceeding rather tilted the scales in the direction of conviction, but against justice. Pre-trial torture was abolished in France in 1780. But torture was still used after the conviction of the accused to make him identify his accomplices
This is what was done by Cheney and Bush and their loyal helpers.

The issue of torture leads to the bigger issue, namely, taking back the constitution and the founding fathers from the right wing.

Reading and studying the founding fathers can put one back into an authentic political dialogue so needed in our age of propaganda.

The linked article is by the noted Middle East Historian, Juan Cole.

I have argued on many occasions that the language of patriotism and appeal to the Founding Fathers and the constitution must not be allowed to be appropriated by the political right wing in contemporary America, since for the most part right wing principles (privileging religion, exaltation of ‘whiteness’ over universal humanity, and preference for property rights over human rights) are diametrically opposed to the Enlightenment and Deist values of most of the framers of the Unites States.
Over and over we see the contradiction between what politicians and other powerful factions say - what they say and what they do. They are experts at propaganda which includes using our basic values to justify what they are doing.

An important part in the recovery of the USA it to reframe the dialogue.

We will likely hear these false appeals to an imaginary history a great deal with the release of the Senate report on CIA torture. It seems to me self-evident that most of the members of the Constitutional Convention would have voted to release the report and also would have been completely appalled at its contents.
Do you recall that violations of habeas corpus, not presenting charges before a judge, reset American justice back many, many centuries. If we had truly been committed to the principles of a republic, the American public would have been up in arms about holding prisoners without charges. We continue to do this by holding people in Guantanamo for over a decade without charge. That means that all of us are part of the denial of this great writ.

But closer to home, in the bill of rights .... I added the bold.

The Bill of Rights of the US Constitution is full of prohibitions on torture, as part of a general 18th century Enlightenment turn against the practice. The French Encyclopedia and its authors had agitated in this direction.
Why the Founding Fathers thought banning Torture Foundational to the US Constitution
Discuss

I live in Ohio so I won't be able to make it

here is the schdeule

UPDATE: This screening series has been relocated to the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center Auditorium (1st Floor) at 53 Washington Square South.

Presented by the NYU Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies

Free and open to the public. RSVP to kevorkian.center@nyu.edu.

Co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.

Friday, September 5, 5PM

Tears of Gaza

(2010, 81 mins) Disturbing, powerful, and emotionally devastating, Tears of Gaza is less a conventional documentary than a record–presented with minimal gloss–of the 2008 to 2009 bombing of Gaza by the Israeli military. Photographed by several Palestinian cameramen both during and after the offensive, this powerful film by director Vibeke Løkkeberg focuses on the impact of the attacks on the civilian population.

Friday, September 5, 6:30PM

Flying Paper

(2013, 71 mins) Directed by Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill, Flying Paper is the uplifting story of Palestinian children in Gaza. The film follows Musa, a charismatic teenaged kite-maker in the village of Seifa, and Abeer, an aspiring young journalist in the Jabalya refugee camp. They join a remarkable quest, along with thousands of other children, to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown.

Saturday, September 6, 1PM

Strawberry Fields
(2006, 60 mins) Director Ayelet Heller focuses on the economic aspect of the Israeli occupation. This film portrays the challenges and crises faced by Palestinian strawberry farmers at Beit Lahiya in Gaza and demonstrates the loss suffered by Palestinian farmers due to the border closure resulting from the Israeli-Hamas conflict of May 2005-April 2006.

Saturday, September 6, 3PM

Gaza: Another Kind of Tears

(2006, 55 mins) Director Abdel Salam Shehada tells the story of Abu Maher who lives with part of his family in the enclave area of the Al-Mawasi inside a Jewish settlement block. Hussein and Maher, his two sons live in Khan-Younes, 3 Km away, but a wall has separated them for the last 4 years. The film covers the events in Gaza and Al Mawasi area before, during, and after the Israeli disengagement from Gaza through the story of one family.

Saturday, September 6, 5PM

Where Should the Birds Fly

(2012, 58 mins) Directed by Fida Qishta, Where Should The Birds Fly is the first film about Gaza made by Palestinians living the reality of Israel’s siege and blockade. This is the story of two young women, survivors of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead. Mona Samouni, now 12 years old and the filmmaker, Fida Qishta, now 27, represent the spirit and future of Palestinians. Few films document so powerfully and personally the impact of modern warfare and sanctions on a civilian population.

Continue Reading

It was long ago, in a far off place, that brave soles fought for freedom and liberty.

One of the concerns they had was that the state should not be able to enter their homes without a warrant, arrest them without charges, violate communications between attorney and client, and make one of the few roles in the constitution journalism.

Looking back on the violations of justice that characterized British rule in pre-Constitutional America, it is easy to see the founders' intent in creating the Fifth Amendment. A government's ability to inflict harm on its people, whether by taking their lives, imprisoning them or confiscating their property, was to be checked by due process.

Due process is the only requirement of government that is stated twice in the Constitution, signaling its importance. The Fifth Amendment imposed the due process requirement on the federal government, while the Fourteenth Amendment did the same for the states. Both offer a crucial promise to the people that fair procedures will remain available to challenge government actions. The broader concept of due process goes all the way back to the thirteenth-century Magna Carta.

Do you recall that during the W Bush administration we complained about the roll back of the rule of law in some areas to before the thirteenth century?

I strongly recommend the article and here is a link.

How One Piece of Paper Destroyed Your Right to a Trial

This diary is about the attack on journalists and attorneys which is covered below the orange squiggle.

 

Continue Reading

This diary is based on two excellent pieces on NPR on the NSA.

They interviewed Thomas Drake who is a member of DK and a client of Jesselyn Radack. The links for the articles came from her twitter feed.

unR̶A̶D̶A̶C̶K̶ted ‏@JesselynRadack 7m
Re: Hiding truth f/ #overseers, the running joke at #NSA was: "Who are we at war with, the terrorists or Congress?"
http://n.pr/...
 View summary     Reply  Retweet  Favorite   More

 unR̶A̶D̶A̶C̶K̶ted ‏@JesselynRadack  12m
#NSA #whistleblower '@Thomas_Drake1 on @npr Morning Edition yesterday, http://n.pr/... , & today http://n.pr/...
#surveillance

I will link each article directly in the text below the squiggle.
Continue Reading

Juan Cole, Univ of Michigan mideast history professor has been writing about the wars in the middle east since 9/11. Rather than being a specialist that was only known in a small circle, he has become an international go to commentator. His blog is the first thing I read in the morning.

Some may recall how he was hounded by Bush administration and his chair position at Yale was undermined with the help of the Israel lobby.

During the pitched battles of the Iraq war the joke was that the CIA could just use his blog for information. Juan read the newspapers in the original each night when the morning papers came out at about 10 PM EST and then publish in the morning typically before 6 AM EST.

A couple of years ago he wrote a book about Napoleon's adventure of invading Egypt which was a cake walk, then occupation, then a guerrilla war struck back and he lost his army and almost his life.

History repeats itself in our disastrous war in Iraq and Afghanistan (recall that it is called the death of empires for a good reason)

Here is an update of the latest fighting and a short history lesson of the powers dividing up Middle East after WW I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The Fall of Mosul and the False Promises of Modern History

Continue Reading

Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:24 AM PDT

Leaving USS Liberty crew behind

by Don midwest

Israel attacked a US navy ship 47 years ago and killed 34 sailors and wounding another 170 out of a crew of 294. They were going to sink the ship and kill everyone on board. A communications sailor got out an SOS message to the sixth fleet and the Israels withdrew.

The planes were in the air to repel the attack and President Johnston pulled them back. They didn't want to create an incident with Israel.

Israel proved that they can kill Americans with no consequences.

They did it again when the American citizen was on the ship from Turkey to Palestine to break a blockade  a few years ago and was killed when Israel entered the ship in international waters.

Continue Reading
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.

RSS

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site