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Health Care & Environment
11.20 Dead fish to power cruise ships [using dead fish to ultimately kill more fish, animals and plants but at a slower rate]
11.20 Indonesia: dead whale had 1,000 pieces of plastic in stomach [We have to stop killing everything!!!]
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.20 New York City subway and bus services have entered 'death spiral', experts say [death spirals are the end-thing nowadays]
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.20 'He may not rewrite immigration laws': Trump's asylum ban blocked by federal judge [Has anyone thought about putting razor-wire around the White House?]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
The Republic Needs Bush's Prosecution
27 January 2009
Bob Parry's editorial comment: Washington’s pundit class and many politicians are eager to turn the page on the Bush Years, and some – like the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen – are even excusing the Bush administration’s post-9/11 use of torture. However, in this guest essay, the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland argues that only the prosecution of President George W. Bush and other senior officials responsible for torture and other serious crimes can protect the American Republic:
The Obama administration is reluctant to turn over too many rocks in the Bush administration’s conduct in the “war on terror.”
Obama has pledged to reach a post-partisan nirvana, and Republicans could condemn any investigation of Bush administration abuse of the Republic as a partisan witch-hunt.
Also, the Obama administration has a conflict of interest in pursuing investigations and prosecutions against Bush administration officials because now that Obama is President, he may not want to entirely discredit Bush's precedents, which significantly expanded executive powers.
Yet in the expanse of human history, the existence of republican government has been rare and short-lived by comparison. Even in recent years, when republicanism has spread the farthest, we forget how fragile the experiment is.
The stakes are high, and the Obama administration needs to beat down the autocratic prece___dents left by the previous administration. The only way it can do so is by bringing criminal cases against the high-level perpetrators.
This action will not be bipartisan, and the Republicans will rally and claim that Bush and his advisers had good intentions and were just attempting to protect the country in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
But the rule of law and constitutional protections are needed most to protect citizens when the government is wielding power to respond to a security crisis.
Furthermore, even if you rob a bank and give the proceeds to charity (and the Bush administration's intentions weren't even that charitable), you are still guilty of robbing the bank.
Dick Cheney still maintains that the Bush administration didn't torture anyone. But the Vice President's definition of that term is narrow and, well, tortured.
Now that even Susan J. Crawford, the senior Bush administration official in charge of that administration's kangaroo military commissions, used the “t” word to describe what the administration did to one prisoner, the administration admitted to committing a war crime under international law.
Therefore, a criminal investigation must be launched because the same techniques used on that prisoner-isolation, sleep deprivation, threats by attack dogs, exposure to prolonged cold, and sexual and other humiliations-were used on many other detainees in U.S. custody.
And the investigation must involve all relevant officials, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Astonishingly, Bush recently admitted that he had approved all “extraordinary” techniques used on detainees.
The United States has committed illegal acts of torture before-for example, during the Philippine counterinsurgency at the beginning of the last century and by the CIA during the Vietnam era-but this episode is unique and dangerous because the President has admitted that his approval was given.
So not only has an administration official admitted a war crime but so has the President.
Waterboarding-simulated drowning-was not mentioned by Crawford in the case of that specific prisoner, but the administration has used it on at least three high-profile detainees, and it has been considered a war crime for centuries. The interrogation techniques that President Bush admitted approving included waterboarding.
Bush made this admission to boldly defend his record on the subject and probably felt secure in doing so because he feels immune from prosecution.
After Gerald Ford's horrible and unconstitutional precedent of pardoning Richard Nixon even before he could be indicted for his Watergate crimes (the Constitution says that you must be convicted of a crime before getting a pardon), presidents and former presidents couldn't be blamed for feeling that they were immune from prosecution.
This demonstrates the pernicious effects of a bad prior precedent.
And what about investigating and possibly prosecuting Bush for intentionally violating another statute with criminal penalties-the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The act said that all spying on people living in the United States will be done with a warrant obtained from the secret FISA court.
President Bush deliberately flouted the law and Constitution (the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights implies that warrants are needed for all searches, with no exception mentioned for cases of national security) by not seeking warrants and continuing to ignore the need to do this even after being publicly exposed.
Bush perpetrated this crime and then defended it by reference to an expansive theory of presidential power called the unitary executive theory.
Bush believes that in wartime (the legality of this designation is also suspect because, after 9/11, no declaration of war on any party was ever approved by Congress), a President can ignore laws passed by Congress.
If the President is allowed to do so without prosecution, it implicitly throws constitutional checks and balances out the window and effectively puts the country on the road to dictatorship.
Of course, violating the Constitution is more serious than violating a law with criminal penalties, but curiously, in America, presidents can get into more severe trouble for violating the law.
Thus, although seemingly radical, the only way we can prevent future presidents, including Obama, from capitalizing on Bush's illegal and unconstitutional precedents to expand executive authority towards dictatorship is to investigate, prosecute and discredit these abuses of executive power.
The Obama administration, with the complicity of Congress, will probably try to establish a truth commission that will expose, but not prosecute, such crimes. But this is not enough to discredit these vile precedents.
Investigation and prosecution are needed, and are now harder for these parties to avoid with Ms. Crawford's and Bush's public admissions.
Ivan Eland is Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. Dr. Eland has spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. His books include The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, and Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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This story was published on January 27, 2009.