Friday, April 10, 2009

We Are Fast Approaching The Point Where Our Government Is Above Every Law That Citizens Are Obligated To Obey. This Is Intolerable!

We Are Fast Approaching The Point Where Our Government Is Above Every Law That Citizens Are Obligated To Obey. This Is Intolerable!


Acquiescence in and acceptance of a sham resistance  knowing that those in the Halls of Power merely smile condescendingly, ignoring every word and plea, is the political theater of pretend patriots.  It is a folly of supreme hypocrites and cowards, the wordsmith who would agitate waiting for other to spill their blood for their words. 

There is no greater danger in the political world than that of unfulfilled expectations.  The expectations of this nation’s citizens are not being met; they are being ignored; they are being denied. This is a dangerous moment. I will be party to neither sham nor charade!


Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

~ U.S. Declaration of Independence-







Is It the Dawn We Are Seeing on the Horizon?

By Siv O'Neall. Axis of Logic

Thursday, Apr 9, 2009


Finishing lines of Jean Giraudoux' wonderful play 'Electre' – reference to the Trojan war, returning from which Electra's father Agamemnon was killed.


La femme Narsès:  Comment cela s'appelle-t-il, quand le jour se lève, comme aujourd'hui, et que tout est gâché, que tout est saccagé, et que l'air pourtant se respire, et qu'on a tout perdu, que la ville brûle, que les innocents s'entre-tuent, mais que les coupables agonisent, dans un coin du jour qui se lève ?

Electre : Demande au mendiant. Il le sait.

Le mendiant : Cela a un très beau nom, femme Narsès. Cela s'appelle l'aurore. 

English translation:

The woman Narsès: “What is it called, when a day begins, like today, when everything is ruined, everything is plundered, but one still breathes the air, when everything is lost, when the city burns, when the innocents kill each other, but when the guilty agonize, in a corner of a day that is beginning?”

Electra: “Ask the beggar, he knows”.

The beggar: “It has a very beautiful name, woman Narsès. It is called the dawn.”


The Inward-Looking United States 'Patriots'


Patriotism, the military and the economy have morphed into the present-day trinity of a religious faith that has taken over the United States and steeped its citizens in the deep belief of the unconditional superiority of their country. Mammon is God, Greed is the Son and Expansionism is the Holy Ghost. Modesty is the devil and Compassion is an unknown entity. Arrogance, Selfishness and Greed are among the major saints that lead the way for the rulers in this once so mighty empire. 

In one way you can see it as a trend that began with the deregulatory policies of Ronald Reagan, when money got to be the fruit of speculations. The production deriving from the working people took a backseat and was increasingly outsourced to the economically least-demanding countries. Wall Street turned into a casino where the money holders invariably won and the workers always lost. 

However, seen from a different angle, it has been going on ever since the Puritans grabbed the land away from the native Americans. With ups and downs, the citizens of what became the United States, the immigrants of those days, have experienced its growing from a grabbing and growing nation into a military powerhouse and an economic giant. They have learned to cultivate the faith that whatever is done in the name of the greatness of their country is for the good of the world. If you don't subscribe to this unwritten law you are not a patriot, which is the first of the deadly sins. The countries outside the U.S. borders, if they ever got the attention of this great empire, would be helpless without the United States to show them the way to civilization and to allow them to share a piece of the comfortable greatness of this superior country. 

And of course all this power grabbing was disguised as spreading democracy and freedom. In the view of United States citizens only their hallowed country was truly a free country. Europeans were socialists (which to their minds equals communists), so clearly they could not be free countries. Socialism bad, capitalism good. Capitalism equals democracy and no democracy is possible without capitalism. The two go hand-in-hand. Thus goes the propagandized gospel of the United States. The truth is of course just the opposite, but propaganda wins the day. Until the day darkens. 

This blatant lie is what is hammered into the brains of children by parents and teachers, and only very recently has it begun to dawn on some United-States citizens that maybe their so much touted greatness is not there to last for generations to come. For centuries there hasn't even been any serious questioning of whether this perceived moral and economic greatness was founded in reality or if it was merely a mirage fostered by the astronomically wealthy so as to leave them a freeway to increased wealth and power, unhampered by the common sense of educated and well-informed citizens. 

The World Is Not Static

 But the world is changing and increasingly powerful nations are emerging all over the planet. The wealth of the superior U.S. of A., which had been taken for granted at least since the era of American economic strength began after World War II, is now crumbling. 

Ever since the Marshall plan helped Europe get back on its feet and the seemingly forever-lasting Cold War confirmed the United States as the leader of the 'free world', U.S. citizens have been firmly convinced that their country was generously helping the broken post-war countries and that the world should be eternally thankful to them. Whenever we are threatened once again by some external danger to our freedom, then we Europeans will come crawling to the feet of Uncle Sam and ask for his magnanimous assistance. It is unknown to the average U.S. citizen that the Marshall plan was forged not as an altruistic way of rebuilding Europe, but was rather a means of enabling the Western world, including the United States, to get back to normal trade conditions, to enrich themselves and, ultimately, for their country to lead the planet to a situation where they would be the self-evident masters. The United States would be the magnanimous lord who condescendingly gives a piece of the booty to his underlings. 

The world was theirs to lead and to profit from – forever. Or so they thought. But reality has turned out otherwise. 

Obstacles Arise To U.S. World Leadership

It wasn't as easy as the predators had believed to gain an unquestioned superpower status over the planet. They overplayed their hand and they are now on  what seems to be a sure path to self-destruction.   

Europe was going to play the lackey to U.S. leadership by being given token signs of partnership. The European Union was essential to keep all the financially and philosophically very different countries on a firm leash. 

Washington minimized the importance of huge countries like China and India, which could not actually be incorporated into a union with the Western nations. Nor could they be totally ignored. However, India at least could be bought up. The free market would take care of that job. Sell the world on globalization, and corporatism would rule the planet. Even China got sold on harsh western-style capitalism and it seemed for some time that the Chinese market would help in boosting world trade in a most profitable way and that monolith would present no problem to U.S. superiority. Nor, by the way, would it improve the inhuman conditions of the millions of poor farmers and workers. 

As for Africa, Washington clearly believed that those poverty-stricken countries would easily become obedient and fully dependent slaves, ready to be robbed of their immensely valuable resources and offering very little resistance, if any. After all, this was simply the second chapter of colonialism, a state of things African countries were well used to. The same for Latin America, which the International Monetary Fund and other monetary institutions were doing a superb job on 'restructuring', that is to say, plundering and fully intending to take over financially. Until those countries started to wake up. 

The Wind Is Turning

Progressive movements are now spreading throughout Latin America after the colossal economic fiascos created by the neoliberal predators, in particular the Chicago boys under Milton Friedman, in the final decades of the last century. This is of course a major thorn in the commanding finger of Washington, a problem that they have more or less had to set aside to deal with another center of insurgence in a very different part of the world. 

Central Asia, The Middle East And The Big Game Hunters.

How Washington could be so naïve as to believe that they could simply take over Iraq, bomb it to ruins and rebuild it as a client state under the sign of American-style democracy, without any serious resistance from the people, is today a source of wonder among most of the people of the world. Iraq is at the present time hobbling along, insurgence emerging now and then but by and large as calm as it has been since the U.S. invasion in 2003. But still Iraq and Western-style democracy are light-years apart. 

But Iraq is just one piece of the puzzle. The plan was not really to invade and conquer Iraq alone. No, the hubris of Washington knew of no common-sense limits. They are now first of all trying to propagandize the world into believing that the war in Iraq is won, something the Iraqis would certainly be the first to deny. It is true for the moment though, that the murders and the bombing, civilians always making up the majority of the victims of course, have essentially moved to another stage. 

In the wishy-washy way of U.S. warfare, the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area is now the major stage in Central Asia where bombs are falling from U.S. unmanned drones. So the state of things is utterly unclear. Is Pakistan an ally or an enemy? Confusion reigns. 

The Bush/Cheney administration had a vision, born and nursed by the Neocons, that the whole Middle East/Central Asia region would be under Washington’s domination when the several easy wars were over. Afghanistan was more or less rendered helpless in the brief pre-Iraq war, and a puppet regime was installed in Kabul. Pakistan was bought up as a faithful ally, but is now disintegrating with corrupt leaders and anti-USA insurgents popping up not just in the border areas. Religious enmity is a factor but also the millennia-old tribal set-up of these artificially created nations. But what has most effectively poured fuel on the fire is of course the anti-American feelings that are nursed by the fact that the United States is practically running the governments in both countries.

A Look Back On History

In fact, nobody had managed to conquer Afghanistan since Genghis Khan and his wild Mongol hordes devastated the land in 1219. Much later these invaders made Kabul the capital of the Mughal Empire, which at its peak in 1700 included most of the Indian subcontinent. 

During the 19th century, Afghanistan served as a buffer state between the British and Russian empires, both having serious expansionist ambitions. The British failed miserably in their attempt to include Afghanistan into the British Indian Empire in three Anglo-Afghan wars. The first war began in 1838 and during long periods of the latter part of the 19th century, British forces occupied large areas of Afghanistan and had even taken over the handling of its foreign politics. Finally in 1919, after the third Anglo-Afghan war, king Amanullah Khan declared  Afghanistan an independent country and the same year established diplomatic relations with the new government in the very young Soviet Union.

The war against the Soviet invasion in 1979, at the request of the Marxist government in Kabul in their fight against the mujahedeen rebels, was at first fought locally by regional warlords. The mujahedeen gradually gained increasing power as the main fighters against the Soviet occupiers and the Soviet-friendly government in Kabul. However, in spite of extensive support from the United States and various  other countries, they were too divided into multiple factions and the country descended into civil war.[1] After the Russians were forced to withdraw in 1989, the mujahedeen were defeated by the Taliban. This armed movement organized by a village mullah and supported by Pakistan developed as an increasingly powerful politico-religious force. At the time of the U.S invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban had largely defeated the militias and controlled most of the country.  

The United States military was not much more successful after their invasion in October 2001, largely due to the fractured nature of the country. The war lords in the north and the Taliban in the south had never been used to bowing down to presumed authority from Kabul and this spirit of independence made the war pretty much unwinnable. Also, from the very beginning, the neocons had their minds set on Iraq and did not take the war in Afghanistan very seriously. 

Another Country With An Unruly History.

Pakistan was founded in 1947 at the end of the British rule overIndia. The partition from India might not actually have taken place if it had not been for the stubborn insistence by the Muslim leader, the lawyer Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The lawyer had quite wide support from the Muslim people but he was also opposed by some other Muslim leaders.

The short history of Pakistan is filled with examples of flagrantly corrupt leaders, a violent history of assassinations and coups d'état. 

General Pervez Musharraf came to power through a military coup in 1999 when he ousted the elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He immediately assumed dictatorial powers and in 2001 declared himself President. In 2007 he instated military emergency rule and ousted his bitter enemy, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and several other judges whom he saw as a barrier to his continued place in power. Later facing impeachment and seeing that he had lost all support from home and abroad he chose to bow out. His successor Asif Ali Zardari, the equally corrupt husband of the former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, assassinated in December 2007, also refused to reinstate Chaudhry. 

This refusal of President Zardari to reinstate Chaudry to his former post as Chief Justice led to such violent protests and marches onIslamabad from all over the country that Zardari was finally forced to reinstate Chaudhry to his former post on March 16, 2009. 

This was greeted by the Pakistanis and by much of the world as an opening towards democracy, but we haven't seen the end of the game. It is clear that President Zardari has been severely weakened by the political turmoil caused by his refusal to reinstate Chaudhry and the dubious reasons he gave the world to account for this refusal. Also the democratically elected former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, ousted by Musharraf, joined the opposition movement to reinstate Chaudhry. He is now the leader of the opposition against Zardari.

The country is at this time involved in internal political fights that noone can foresee the outcome of. During the period of the British intervention in Afghanistan, ethnic Pashtun territories were divided by the Durand Line, an arbitrarily drawn border between the two countries, in the midst of a mountainous and inaccessible region. This artificial border line has never had any real significance for the people inhabiting the region. The two countries have never ceased to dispute territorial rights and relations between the them have for ever been strained.

The new regime, more of the same.  

The Obama administration seems to believe that Afghanistan and Pakistancan be treated as one entity, the AfPak problem. The terrorists, call them jihadists, call them the Taliban, call them the Pashtun rebels, are spread mainly around the border territory between the two countries. Thus, or so they think, it's all one problem. 

Add to the enormously fragile situation in these two countries, the precarious relations between the United States and Iran, the rock solid and dangerous alliance between the U.S. and Israel, which is becoming an international pariah, and it should be easy to see that Washington will have a hard time getting itself out from this part of the world, which it once thought it would be a cakewalk to invade and dominate. 

Washington has, ever since its overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh and the installation of the Shah in 1953, thus getting rid of a regime they feared was too Soviet friendly, had a fixation on asserting domination over this part of the world, the major center of oil production in the world. Thus the unwavering support of Israel and all its horrendous internationally condemned actions against the Palestinians, their eternal victims. 

I find it pretty amazing that President Obama is still trying to convince us that the present world order can go on essentially in the same way, just with more cooperation between nations. BUT with the United States as the continued world leader. How long is the rest of the world going to buy this lunacy? More troops to Afghanistan? Why? How? With what money? For what reason? Will 17,000 American advisors, as they are obviously going to be called, save and unite a fractured country that has never been really held together by any government??? 

This is the end game – the future will be very different 

An era is over, the neocons have been playing monopoly with the world in the last rays of light of the world that is now crumbling. The empire they dreamed up was altogether dependent on the abundant resources of oil and coal that are now drying up as well as contributing in a major way to the destruction of the environment. They most likely knew this all along but they went on playing their game until darkness fell. 

Well, the light is going out but we now have to look around us and light another lamp that will show us the path to survival. President Obama has to give up on his goal of dominating the world. It is much too late for any such ambitions. This new era that is just beginning has no room for an empire, no room for a superpower. 

Bare-knuckled capitalism has proven that it only leads to disaster, to poverty and misery for the masses and the good life for another couple of seconds for the tiny handful of hardboiled capitalists, the multi-billionaires who are playing this game till the very last drops of honey are squeezed out of the flower. 

What the future will be like, nobody knows. There are not enough people who seriously try to build a world founded on true democracy, not the kind touted by U.S. and other world leaders, which is rather more what should be called corporatism than a form of government where people have the least significance. However, the one thing that is certain is that today's world will not last much longer in the state it's in. 

It's clear that even without the economic meltdown and global warming occurring simultaneously for not unrelated reasons, the world the way it is today does not stand a chance of surviving for generations to come. The killing, the torturing, the unending aggressive wars, mainly fought by the United States over the past few decades and the horrendous economic inequality throughout the world could not go on without finally leading to a massive uprising by the people of the world. With today's means of communication, unimaginable just a few decades ago, the world would not sit still and watch the poor getting poorer, the rich getting richer, the innocent being tortured and the environment getting ruined for the profit of the big corporations. The wealthy presumed leaders of the world have dug their own grave by ignoring basic human rights and nature's incredibly delicate balancing act to protect and to make all species survive. 

It's curtain fall for the present world order. Will we be able to continue this century with such totally different priorities that the human race and the planet can be saved? 


Finishing lines of Jean Giraudoux' wonderful play 'Electre' – reference to the Trojan war, returning from which Electra's father Agamemnon was killed. 

La femme Narsès:  Comment cela s'appelle-t-il, quand le jour se lève, comme aujourd'hui, et que tout est gâché, que tout est saccagé, et que l'air pourtant se respire, et qu'on a tout perdu, que la ville brûle, que les innocents s'entre-tuent, mais que les coupables agonisent, dans un coin du jour qui se lève ?

Electre : Demande au mendiant. Il le sait.

Le mendiant : Cela a un très beau nom, femme Narsès. Cela s'appelle l'aurore. 

English translation:

The woman Narsès: “What is it called, when a day begins, like today, when everything is ruined, everything is plundered, but one still breathes the air, when everything is lost, when the city burns, when the innocents kill each other, but when the guilty agonize, in a corner of a day that is beginning?”

Electra: “Ask the beggar, he knows”.

The beggar: “It has a very beautiful name, woman Narsès. It is called the dawn.”


[1] Afghanistan's resistance movement was born in chaos and, at first, virtually all of its war was waged locally by regional warlords. As warfare became more sophisticated, outside support and regional coordination grew. Even so, the basic units of mujahideen organization and action continued to reflect the highly segmented nature of Afghan society. [… ] Under Reagan, U.S. support for the mujahideen evolved into an official U.S. foreign policy, known as the Reagan Doctrine, which included U.S. support for anti-Soviet resistance movements in Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua, and elsewhere.

Siv O'Neall is an Axis of Logic columnist, based in France. She can be reached at 

Read the Biography and Additional Articles by Axis Columnist, Siv O'Neall.


It was decided in the quiet peace of the mountain night, that no matter the cost to themselves that silence was no longer possible, acceptance of the apathetic no longer tolerable and listening to voices begging for changes that will never come now without the force of revolutionary arms too costly. Yet another generation prepares to  take up arms, come from the shadows and do battle for that which has been bequeathed to them by our forbearers.

“The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

-Sam Adams-



Book Review

Susan Jacoby on William Goetzmann’s ‘Beyond the Revolution’

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 

By Susan Jacoby

During the past half-century, American scholars have tended to place more emphasis on the anti-intellectual and anti-rational strains in our national character and history than on the vibrant, cosmopolitan intellectualism that played such a critical role in the founding of the new republic and has continued to exert a strong influence even during periods of popular reaction against what the cultural right has now dubbed “the elites.” Since the publication of Richard Hofstadter’s “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” in 1963, cultural analysts of widely varying political persuasions have mulled over, in voices ranging from sorrow to apocalyptic fury, a seemingly endless set of new examples of hostility to reason and an excess of knowledge (or what ideologues on either the right or the left consider the wrong kind of knowledge).

As Hofstadter pointed out, many of these forces—from religious fundamentalism to suspicion of alien, “un-American” philosophies—are endemic to American culture, but they have mutated more expansively at a time when 24/7 video and digital infotainment mounts a continuous assault on the public’s attention span and memory. The eight years of George W. Bush’s administration, with its clear preference for the faith-based over the “reality-based” world, was the last straw, not the first, for those of us who envy Hofstadter because he was able to write about anti-intellectualism without having to study the content of cable “all-the-news-that-reinforces-your-views” shows, blogger rantings or the oxymoronically titled “reality TV.”


Beyond the Revolution 

By William H. Goetzmann 

In “Beyond the Revolution: A History of American Thought From Paine to Pragmatism,” Pulitzer Prize-winning historian William H. Goetzmann provides a timely reminder that the undeniable anti-intellectual currents in American culture have always been opposed, with varying degrees of success, by a strong intellectual tradition, rooted not in the idea of American exceptionalism but in world culture.  Although Goetzmann focuses on American intellectual history from the Revolution to the Civil War, his narrative seems freshly relevant at a time when the most anti-intellectual administration in American history has been succeeded by a president who campaigned on a promise to restore science and evidence to American policymaking.

In his 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Exploration and Empire: The Explorer and Scientist in the Winning of the American West,”  Goetzmann—professor emeritus in history and American studies at the University of Texas at Austin—challenged Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis that America owed its unique civilization almost entirely to the presence of a vast western frontier offering infinite possibilities for economic exploitation. Goetzmann’s narrative was both persuasive and exciting, and it began with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s intellectual and physical daring in accepting President Thomas Jefferson’s commission to explore and provide extensive information about the new territory acquired in the Louisiana Purchase.

To see long excerpts from “Beyond the Revolution,” click here.

Unfortunately, the intellectual history in “Beyond the Revolution” does not lend itself to a unifying narrative. Tracing the connections that link Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Fenimore CooperMargaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Victoria Woodhull and John C. Calhoun is very much akin to an attempt to herd butterflies.

Some of these people have a good deal to do with one another, in a historical as well as intellectual sense, but others can be connected only by straining to define each of them as intellectuals. If Woodhull, who started her public life as a spiritualist and ended it as a half-baked Marxist (with time out for exposing the adulterous adventures of Henry Ward Beecher, the most prominent American cleric of the late 19th century) was a serious intellectual, then I am the newest sensation on “American Idol.” 

Goetzmann’s strongest chapters are his early ones, in which he examines the intellectually gifted men who made the American Revolution. The author consistently emphasizes that the early republic was designed and run, for the most part, not by fools who saw themselves as independent of European thought and their own country as an unsullied Eden but by thinkers who understood and acknowledged their debt to the European, Scottish and English Enlightenment.

Intellectualism and rationalism are not, of course, identical, but the United States was supremely fortunate that its most eminent Founders were not only intellectuals (a term not used until the 19th century) but had ideals that were rooted in Enlightenment reason. True to their Enlightenment values, they perceived no contradiction between the life of the mind and an active role in the world; they would have seen the aphorism “those who can’t do, teach” as utterly false.

Yet in his eagerness to give American intellectuals their proper due, the author frequently fails to give sufficient weight to the anti-rational, anti-intellectual forces arrayed against those whose highest values were learning and reason. The book properly begins with Thomas Paine and his famous statement, “We have it our power to begin the world anew.” Paine, born in England in 1737, is the perfect example of the internationalist Enlightenment influence on the founders. He did not immigrate to colonial America until 1774, and he arrived in Philadelphia with just two assets—his writing ability and a note of recommendation from Benjamin Franklin, who was serving as colonial Pennsylvania’s representative in London when he met Paine.

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Expert Consensus: Obama Mimics Bush On State Secrets

By Zachary Roth - April 9, 2009, 6:20PM


Is the Obama administration mimicking its predecessor on issues of secrecy and the war on terror?

During the presidential campaign, Obama criticized Bush for being too quick to invoke the state secrets claim. But last Friday, his Justice Department filed a motion in a warrantless wiretapping lawsuit, brought by the digital-rights group EFF. And the Obama-ites took a page out of the Bush DOJ's playbook by demanding that the suit, Jewel v. NSA, be dismissed entirely under the state secrets privilege, arguing that allowing it go forward would jeopardize national security.

Coming on the heels of the two other recent cases in which the new administration has asserted the state secrets privilege, the motion sparked outrage among civil libertarians and many progressive commentators. Salon's Glenn Greenwald wrote that the move "demonstrates that the Obama DOJ plans to invoke the exact radical doctrines of executive secrecy which Bush used." MSNBC's Keith Olbermann called it "deja vu all over again". An online petition -- "Tell Obama: Stop blocking court review of illegal wiretapping" -- soon appeared.

Not having Greenwald's training in constitutional law (and perhaps lacking Olbermann's all-conquering self-confidence), we wanted to get a sense from a few independent experts as to how to assess the administration's position on the case. Does it represent a continuation of the Bushies' obsession with putting secrecy and executive power above basic constitutional rights? Is it a sweeping power grab by the executive branch, that sets set a broad and dangerous precedent for future cases by asserting that the government has the right to get lawsuits dismissed merely by claiming that state secrets are at stake, without giving judges any discretion whatsoever?

In a word, yes.

Ken Gude, an expert in national security law at the Center for American Progress,supported the administration's invocation of the state secrets claim when it was made earlier this year in an extraordinary rendition case. But its position in Jewel is "disappointing," Gude told TPMmuckraker, calling himself "frustrated."

Gude confirmed that the Obama-ites were taking the same position as the Bushies on state secrets questions. "They've taken the maximalist view that the judge has hardly any role in determining whether national security" would be compromised by the release of classified information," he said. "There's going to be people who are very unhappy, and justifiably so."

He added: "I'm very uncomfortable with the notion that the people who get to decide [whether national security would be jeopardized] is the government."

Gude's general view was echoed by Amanda Frost, an associate professor at Washington College of Law who has written extensively about issues of government transparency. Frost made clear that she hadn't followed the Jewelcase, but called the Obama administration's assertion of the state secrets privilege in a similar high-profile wiretapping case involving an Oregon-based Arabic charity "indefensible." The NSA, she said, has already acknowledged the existence of the wiretapping program, and some of its details are publicly known, so the claim that national security would be jeopardized merely by allowing the trial to proceed doesn't hold water. The government is making that argument in both the Oregon case and Jewel.

Not everyone agrees. Stewart Baker, a former top lawyer with the Bush Department of Homeland Security, told TPMmuckraker that there can be an inherent conflict between protecting national security and allowing lawsuits to go forward. "It isn't possible to litigate these cases and still have classified programs," said Baker, who worked in the Carter administration and was chief counsel to the National Security Counsel under Presidents Geirge H. W. Bush and Clinton. He added of the Obama team: "I think they made the right call."

But that seems to be the minority view. In an email to the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin -- who himself calls the Obama administation's position "utterly un-American" -- Louis Fisher, a specialist in constitutional law at the Library of Congress, writes:

"1. The administration defends the state secrets privilege on the ground that it would jeopardize national security if classified documents were made available to the public. No one argues for public disclosure of sensitive materials. The issue is whether federal judges should have access to those documents to be read in their chambers.

"2. If an administration is at liberty to invoke the state secrets privilege to prevent litigation from moving forward, thus eliminating independent judicial review, could not the administration use the privilege to conceal violations of statutes, treaties, and the Constitution? What check would exist for illegal actions by the executive branch?"

And writing on Slate, the noted conservative constitutional scholar Bruce Feinnotes:

President Obama pledged to restore the rule of law. But the state-secrets-privilege wars with that promise.

That looks like a pretty broad consensus in opposition to the Obama administration's position. And it's the opposite of change we can believe in.


Marie Cocco on Bagram Air Base
"The Father of Guantanamo" -- Indefinite and secret detention at the U.S. air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, was a fundamental breach of justice and morality when the Bush administration did it. It is made worse by the stench of hypocrisy when the Obama administration does it.


Obama: The Extremists’ Nightmare

By Joe Conason

In America’s struggle against the extremists and terrorists epitomized by al-Qaida, the strategic imperatives are to divide the enemy and neutralize their base. Fortunately for the United States and its allies, the new American president understands how to do that—and is uniquely suited to accomplish the mission.

If in the aftermath of 9/11 Western intelligence agencies had tried to conceive of a leader whose background would enable him to engage the world’s Muslims, they might have imagined someone like Barack Hussein Obama. Most analysts would naturally assume that such a person could never become president of the United States, but if they allowed themselves to imagine an ideal spokesman for American values, he might well have looked like the man elected last November.

Touring the ancient Ottoman capital of Istanbul, Obama stood as a living refutation of extremist propaganda before he spoke a single word. Son and grandson of African Muslims, he symbolizes what is often called “American exceptionalism”—the durable belief that the United States is the world’s hope to escape the old and bloody divisions that have been so ruinous for humanity over the centuries.

He rose through an open and democratic process, despite the legacy of racism and the vicious smears that denigrated his Christian faith while depicting him as a secret adherent of radical Islam. His middle name, uttered with a sneer by bigots during the campaign, is now an important asset (especially among the Shiites in Iran, Iraq and elsewhere). He personally embodies the message that America bears no ill intentions toward Muslims or their nations.



Barack Obama Begins An Aggressive Remake Of The Nation's Federal Courts

Edward Lee Pitts

WASHINGTON, D.C.—When Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar complained that "there was no one to tango with" during a recent congressional meeting, the Democrat from Minnesota was not confusing the Senate's inaugural judicial confirmation hearing in the Obama era to an episode of Dancing with the Stars.

Rather, in saying "half the people" didn't come to her party on April 1, Klobuchar lamented the fact that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee had boycotted the question-and-answer session of President Barack Obama's first judicial nominee. They said Democrats had not given them enough time to examine the lengthy record of controversial appeals-court nominee David Hamilton.

In the GOP's absence, Democrats lobbed easy questions to Hamilton, while a packed hearing room mostly nodded in approval.

A good time was had by all—except the Republicans—who in going AWOL may have silenced any tough questions concerning Hamilton's judicial philosophy but spoke volumes about the GOP's strategy in combating what many expect to be an aggressive move by Obama's team to remake the courts in a more liberal image. Republicans may have fired the first shot in the inevitable nomination war, but the question remains: Will any GOP tactic when it comes to judges be enough in the face of a near Democratic chokehold on the Senate?

Obama created a firestorm among conservative legal observers when, during the campaign, he said he wanted to pick judges with the "heart" and "empathy" needed to walk in someone else's shoes. Conservative legal experts sounded the alarm that this meant Obama wants judges to legislate from the bench. They warned this would lead to activist judges who, believing in a changing Constitution, would use the power of the courts to legislate based on personal beliefs and not the rule of law.

This could remake the courts into a "ruling oligarchy of unelected judges who view themselves as smarter than everyone else" and who indulge in their own policy preferences to force sweeping changes in accepted laws just because they think it is good for us, argues Jordan Lorence, a senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund.

Conservatives say Obama missed an opportunity to usher in a more conciliatory start to the often contentious judicial nominating process by naming Hamilton. A current U.S. district judge in Indiana, Hamilton struck down an informed-consent law that provided women with medical counseling information about abortion's risks and alternatives. Hamilton also ruled against the use of prayer in the Indiana legislature, citing that the daily prayer's frequent invoking of Jesus Christ and other Christian themes violated the Constitution by showing preference for a particular religion.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed both decisions. Hamilton would take a seat on that same appeals court if confirmed by the Senate.

In nominating Hamilton, Obama ignored a letter from all 42 Republican senators, asking the president to get the process off to a bipartisan start by renominating several of President George W. Bush's blocked nominees. Bush renominated two of President Bill Clinton's stalled choices soon after taking office. 

But Tom Fitton with Judicial Watch predicts more Hamilton-like nominees will come down the judicial pike.

In response, Senate Republicans are expected to be aggressive in the judicial hearings that they actually attend, making sure to slow down the process long enough so that voters hear adequate debate about each potential judge's background. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said holding the Hamilton hearing just two weeks after Obama named him did not give Republicans enough time to examine Hamilton's more than 1,000 opinions and rulings that, as Specter pointed out, could be stacked four feet high. Republicans hope their boycott will prompt Democrats to allow more prep time for future nominees.

GOP senators had also hoped to use the "blue slip" tradition, which holds that no judicial nominee can come before the Senate without agreement (in the form of a blue slip) from both senators representing that nominee's state. Republicans have at least one senator in 27 states. But the two GOP senators from Texas are already losing a battle to hold onto this privilege as the White House recently signaled its intention to include that state's 12 House Democrats in the screening process. 

Whatever battle plan Republicans employ, most agree that the nation's courts are headed toward an inevitable tilt to the left. It is a matter of simple math as Democrats can boast a strong majority in the Senate—holding at least 58 seats and needing just two Republican votes to overcome any filibuster. With Hamilton's nomination, Democrats already have one Republi-can on board—fellow Hoosier GOP Sen. Richard Lugar, who disappointed many conservatives by endorsing Hamilton. (The Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the nomination again after the Easter recess.)

The ultimate hope among conservative lawmakers is that if Obama overreaches in his judicial picks, then Democrats may face a backlash in the polls during the 2010 Senate races. Such political costs could force Obama to make marginally more moderate picks in future openings, says Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The stakes are undoubtedly high. As the often used phrase "let the courts decide" makes clear, the judicial branch is usually the final arbiter on such issues as religious liberties, abortion, gay marriage, gun laws, pornography, and the fate of suspected terrorists in the ongoing war on terror. Liberal-minded courts could trump state laws like amendments defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman and parental consent laws on abortion. Judges in the activist mold could also jeopardize the ability of Christian organizations to worship in schools on the weekends or to gather at state and university campuses.

"You can win a lot of things in the courtroom that you can't win at the ballot box," says conservative court blogger William Smith.

Furthermore, as Obama continues to peddle big-government answers to everything from education to health care, he will simultaneously be stacking the court with judges more inclined to share his worldview and uphold any expanded government measures when the new policies are challenged in court.

With Justice John Paul Stevens turning 89 this month and with three other justices older than 70 (including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was hospitalized this year for cancer treatments), Obama could appoint as many as three new members to the Supreme Court, predicts Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice.

But Obama, who may face retribution from his former Republican colleagues in the Senate for opposing both of Bush's two Supreme Court picks, could dramatically shift the high court if elected to a second term, adds Levey. That is when conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and crucial moderate swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy may retire.

Despite this real potential of looming Supreme Court confirmation wars, the Heritage Foundation's Robert Alt warns that Obama could further alter the legal landscape through appointments to the influential lower courts. Alt says, since the Supreme Court maintains a small docket, the majority of cases have their final say and laws are approved or rejected in the nation's appeals courts. Currently there are 15 vacancies on the appellate courts. But congressional Democrats are pushing legislation to expand the federal judiciary—with 14 new appeals court judgeships and 50 district judges. A similar bill died in Congress last year. But Democrats, invigorated by larger congressional majorities and with ownership of the White House where these new judges are ultimately named, are expected to seek the expansion with renewed vigor.

A recent Brookings Institution study predicted that—with expected retirements and current vacancies—Obama will be able to nominate one-third of all appellate court judges during his first term, something it took Bush eight years to accomplish.

This prediction has Alt convinced that Obama's most lasting legacy will not be changes in health care or education reform or government bailouts—but a remaking of the nation's judiciary with new judges on benches eager to take a more active role in public policy: "Elections have consequences," says Alt, "and Obama could end up leaving an enormous mark in a very short period of time."

Before that happens, conservatives hope that Republicans will come to the next judicial nominating party, this time ready to tango.


CIA to close secret overseas prisons, end security contracts - Miami,FL,USA | See all stories on this topic


Lawsuit filed against 3 US companies for supplying chemical WMDs to Iraq 

 Alcolac pleaded guilty in 1989 to knowingly violating export laws by shipping a mustard-gas ingredient that ultimately went to Iran. 09 Apr 2009 Five survivors of the 1988 poison gas attacks of ethnic Kurds in Iraq have filed a class action lawsuit in Maryland claiming three American companies and the government of Iraq violated the Geneva Convention by using mustard and nerve gasses to kill tens of thousands of people. Filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, the lawsuit says the companies supplied the regime of former Iraqi dictator [CIA asset] Saddam Hussein with the chemical precursors and compounds needed to make the poison gases used in the six-month long "Operation Anfal."


Lawsuit Alleges Firms Sold Iraq Chemical Weapons 

09 Apr 2009 A federal lawsuit in Baltimore accuses three companies of unlawfully selling to the Saddam Hussein regime materials for making chemical weapons that were used against Iraqi Kurds in 1988. The complaint filed Tuesday by five Kurds in Tennessee and the Nashville-based Kurdish National Congress seeks unspecified damages from chemical makers Alcolac Inc., of Cumberland, Md., and VWR International LLC of West Chester, Pa.; and laboratory equipment supplier Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., of Waltham, Mass.


To Obama’s Inner Circle, End of ‘Free Fall’ in Sight

By Adriel Bettelheim, CQ Staff

The president’s top economic adviser predicted Thursday that the economic “free fall” will end in the next few months.

Lawrence H. Summers , director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, cautioned there are still serious strains in credit markets. But he noted anecdotal evidence over the past two months suggests that the economy could be out of negative territory by year’s end.

“I’m fairly confident the measures we’ve put in place and natural dynamics . . . mean the free fall will be arrested,” Summers told the Economic Club of Washington.

Reflecting on his past tenure in the Clinton administration, during which he served as Treasury secretary, Summers also said the current crisis will be remembered in years to come as a serious downturn but “not an important historic event.”

The one sober note in Summers’ assessment had to do with jobs. He noted that even a return to positive growth won’t immediately reduce the nation’s unemployment, because job creation lags behind positive economic activity.

That assessment was echoed in a new Wall Street Journal forecasting survey. This study found economists expect the recession to end in September, but think the national unemployment rate will on average hit 9.5 percent by December, up from 8.5 percent reported for March.

Summers’ assessment was more optimistic than the one he delivered in a speech at the Brookings Institution last month, during which he said it was too early to judge the impact of the stimulus law (PL 111-5) and said White House policies would have to overcome “an excess of fear” that had gripped the nation.

During Thursday’s remarks, Summers said the recovery is predicated on a comprehensive overhaul of the health care system, which he predicted would cut employers’ costs and give middle-class families more disposable income.

But he hedged when asked about prospects for another major component of Obama’s agenda — devising a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Summers said prompt legislative action would help companies make important investment decisions, but wouldn’t predict whether such a system will be enacted this year.

Summers added it’s unlikely Congress and the administration will collaborate on a comprehensive tax bill this year because of the already crowded legislative agenda.


A Weird Kind of Justice in the Indictment of an Anti-Castro Terrorist

By Jeff Stein | April 9, 2009 8:47 PM |


 The feds finally got their hombre.

This week's indictment of the famously elusive anti-Castro terroristLuis Carriles Posada, a onetime CIA agent and professional counterrevolutionary, is the legal equivalent of driving a wooden stake into his heart. 

But maybe it's wrong.

Posada, the darling of Florida Cubans and many a White House Republican, was indicted this week on 11 counts, including perjury and obstruction of a federal proceeding.

The stone-cold killer, who has bragged about setting off a bomb in Havana that fatally wounded an innocent tourist, and all but certainly put a bomb on a Cuban airliner that killed all 73 aboard, has wiggled out of many a legal scrape, including arrests for that, plotting the assassination of Fidel Castro in Panama and entering this country on a false passport.  

Posada's life of luxury in Miami made a mockery of the Global War on Terror. 

In 2006 a Texas judge ordered Posada deported "but agreed not to send him to Venezuela or Cuba, after somewhat ironically concluding that he might be tortured there," as Harper's magazine blogger Ken Silverstein put it. 

But at 81, now bloated and gray, Posada has finally met his Bay of Pigs.  

Normally, throwing Posada into a dark pit would be cause for joy - if the government's conduct didn't stink up the joint.

Posada may be as guilty as former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, once was. But a guilty verdict can't wipe the stain off the foundation of the government's case, no matter how it ends.

To wit, the 2005 naturalization hearing where the governmentmaintains Posada committed perjury.  

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone was outraged by the government's conduct in the hearing.

"This Court finds that the Government engaged in fraud, deceit, and trickery," Cardone wrote in a blistering decision dismissing the indictment in May 2007.

Indeed, the transcripts of the government's interviews with Posada, conducted by a team of Justice Department and Homeland Security Department officials, shows that Cardone was on target.    

For starters, the Spanish language interpreter the government used at the hearing was incompetent, she found after appointing a court-certified interpreter to review the taped hearing.  Theexamples she cites are appalling.

"This Court has found numerous instances where words were incorrectly interpreted or not interpreted at all, where Defendant appeared to provide unresponsive answers as a result of his confusion over the questions, and where Defendant expressed difficulty understanding what was said to him," Cardone wrote

"While all of the tapes contained numerous deficiencies, some of [them were] egregious," Cardone said, citing dozens of examples.

"A hearing is of no value," the judge wrote, quoting a precedent that pointed out the obvious, "when the alien and the judge are not understood."

And then there was the way the government set up and conducted Posada's hearing -- normally a 30-minute exercise with just one examiner asking routine questions, which in Posada's case turned into eight hours with Justice Department attorneys present. 

Posada's lawyer was told that any objections could result in the hearing being aborted immediately and his client's deportation. 

It was an exercise a Soviet judge would have admired. 

What a weirdly ironic twist, considering that Justice departments going back to the Reagan administration were soft on Posada, looking the other way while he waged his violent vendetta against Castro, oblivious to collateral damage, protected by Florida's powerful Cuban Americans and their White House friends.

"In addition to engaging in fraud, deceit, and trickery, this Court finds the Government's tactics in this case are so grossly shocking and so outrageous as to violate the universal sense of justice," Judge Cardone wrote.

"This Court will not set aside such rights nor overlook Government misconduct because Defendant is a political hot potato. This Court's concern is not politics; it is the preservation of criminal justice."

Hear hear.

But higher courts disagreed, striking down Cardone's dismissal of the indictment - on a technicality, you might say. 

And now Posada faces a kind of justice that he, especially, can appreciate. 

Jeff Stein can be reached at


Obama's Strategic Defense Vision

By Madison Powers

Critics agree that Obama has taken the wrong focus -- that he's merely buying time until he can figure out what he really needs to concentrate on. The critics are missing the point.


A User’s Guide to Thoroughly Stupid Foreign Policy (Messin’ Where ...
By Fred Reed 
Print this page. Share/Save/Bookmark. More from Fred Reed · Trackback. Posted in: Analysis, Current Events, Drug Policy, Humor, International Politics, Latin America, North America, OP/ED, Vox Populi MND: Your Daily Dose of Counter-Theor... -


The 9.4% official unemployment rate is a lie, totally false, because it includes state, local and federal employers, plus hospitals, schools and universities. These categories have increased employment by more than 100,000 during the past twelve months because they are taxpayer funded, and looting the taxpayer is a growth industry, even during depressions.

If one excludes education, all levels of government and hospitals, then the actual, truthful, honest unemployment rate is almost 14%, yes fourteen percent in the private sector.

Got that, Right Brainless or Brainless Right?


Under the headline "No Taxation Without Representation!" The Fox Nation -- Fox News' new and allegedly bias-free website -- linked to an April 9 article about the Tax Day "tea parties" -- protests that Fox News itself has repeatedly characterized as a response to the Obama administration's fiscal policies. The Fox Nation also featured a graphic depicting a tea-party protest opposite an engraving of the 1773 Boston Tea Party with the accompanying text: "A Revolt Steeped In ... History." The Fox Nation headline and graphic are just the latest example of Fox News' aggressive promotion of the tea-party protests, despite the network's claims to fair and balanced reporting.

Notably, the article to which The Fox Nation linked quoted tea-party promoter Michael DePrimo of the American Family Association as saying: "It's not exactly taxation without representation. It's more taxation with inadequate representation."


Adios US - Now China Leads The World - Chavez

However Zha Daojiong, professor of international relations at Peking University, says China's power is "probably overblown". He said China was being asked to play in a global system compromised by American moral and strategic contradictions - noting America embracing India despite its failure to sign the non-proliferation treaty and yet listing Iran as a rogue state.

Iran Opens First Atom Fuel Production Plant 

 Sleepwalking Towards A World Currency 

 Colombian Coffee Prices Reach 11 Yr High (Good Thing I Prefer Indonesian Coffees) 

Struggling US Towns Print Own Currency 

New Car Prices Below Used Models 

Mass Graves Of More German Soldiers Found 

US 12 Yr Old Middle Schoolers Having Sex (You can’t pay teachers enough!) 

Is The US The Future Argentina? - Video 

1934 FDR Depression Era Cartoon - Look Familiar? 

The Global Coup d'Etat (Note: send link to Sarah Palin) 

 Soros Warns Shares Will Fall Further (Are You Listening?) (Note: don’t send to Sarah…too complicated) 

Goldman Chairman Admits Wall St Greed 

AIG Payments To Banks To Be Probed             

Why Are Army Recruiters Killing Themselves?    

US Electricity Grid In Penetrated By Foreign Spies 

Evangelicals Enter Hate Bill Fight!  (I knew they supported HATE!) 

Bankers Rage At G20 'Witch Hunt' Vs Bonuses


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