Local Stories, Events
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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn
07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]
06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]
07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]
07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]
07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]
07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]
07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]
07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]
07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]
Obama Signals 'Bush-Lite' on Liberties
24 February 2009
Bob Parry's Editorial Note: Barack Obama ran on a platform rejecting many of George W. Bush’s imperial notions about the presidency, and initially President Obama showed signs of living up to his word.
Barack Obama entered the presidency as one of the most rhetorically pro-civil liberties politicians in recent memory.
And shortly after taking office, he drew applause from friends of liberty for promulgating executive orders closing Guantanamo and CIA secret prisons, ending CIA torture, suspending kangaroo proceedings at military tribunals, and pledging more openness than the secretive Bush administration.
Unfortunately, instead of prosecuting Bush administration officials, including George W. Bush, for violating criminal statutes against torture, illegal wiretapping of Americans, and other misdeeds — thus avoiding the bad precedent of giving a President a free pass on illegal acts — Obama appears ready to vindicate the prior administration’s anti-terrorism program by adopting Bush Lite.
Warning signs that Obama was softer on civil liberties than advertised came even before he took office, when as a senator, he voted for blatantly unconstitutional legislation that allowed federal snooping into some e-mail messages and phone calls without a warrant.
The Constitution implies that all government searches and seizures of private property require a judicially-approved warrant based on probable cause that a crime has been committed — with no exceptions mentioned, including for national security.
Politicians love symbolic acts and Obama’s rapid pledge to shutter the high profile prison at Guantanamo and secret CIA prisons was widely praised. But if civil liberties continue to be violated elsewhere, have we made much progress?
Obama’s nominees have said the administration will continue the CIA’s policy of “extraordinary rendition” of terrorism suspects — a euphemism for secret kidnapping without the legal nicety of extradition or any other procedural due process rights.
Prior to the Bush administration, such government-sanctioned kidnapping was authorized only to return the suspects to their home countries. The Bush administration began using such renditions to abduct suspects and send them to third-party nations that practiced harsh torture — presumably to keep U.S. hands (relatively) clean.
Leon Panetta, Obama’s CIA director, has said that the new administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of rendition to third-party countries and relying on those countries’ suspect diplomatic promises not to torture.
Also, Obama supposedly banned CIA torture by executive order, but such orders are not laws and can be reversed with the stroke of a pen.
What’s worse, although CIA director Panetta has admitted that waterboarding (simulated drowning) is torture, he has also asserted publicly that if regular interrogation techniques did not produce information from a prisoner suspected of being involved in an imminent attack, he would request the authority to use harsher methods.
In perhaps the most important of the civil liberties waffling, Elena Kagan, the administration’s nominee for solicitor general at the Justice Department, pledged to continue detaining indefinitely prisoners without trial, even if they were noncombatant terrorist financiers arrested far from a combat zone.
Ominously, the Obama administration is stalling on taking a position on the even more important Bush-era policy of perpetually incarcerating “enemy combatants” without trial on U.S. territory.
To stay within the U.S. Constitution, such vital habeas corpus rights, one of the pillars of the rule of law, should only be suspended by Congress in areas where combat has rendered the civilian courts inoperable — hardly the case in the United States during the never-ending “war on terror.”
Although Obama’s executive order suspended the Bush administration’s kangaroo military tribunals, which have insufficient legal procedural safeguards, it has kept its options open on their resumption.
Finally, the new administration has mimicked the Bush administration’s use of the “state secrets” doctrine to try to nix lawsuits by former CIA detainees and, for the same reason, pressured another country’s court not to release information about U.S. torture of a prisoner.
Traditionally, the doctrine was usually used to withhold specific evidence in a legal proceeding, not to nix entire cases against the government for malfeasance. So much for a more open government.
The Obama administration is new and should be given a chance to do the right thing. Although certainly better than the lawless Bush administration, the new boss unsurprisingly resembles the old boss.
Historically, party label has been a less good indicator about actual presidential policies than the era in which the chief executive served. For example, in terms of actual programs, Richard Nixon was the last liberal president, a chief executive who largely continued Lyndon Johnson’s government penetration into American society and even further expanded it.
Similarly, Jimmy Carter started the move back to the right and Ronald Reagan continued it (but in practice he really wasn’t all that conservative). Civil liberties follow the general trend.
After the first Word Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the Oklahoma City and Tokyo subway attacks in 1995, Bill Clinton signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which augmented the government’s powers of surveillance on Americans and paved the way for the further vast expansion of such authority (and other aforementioned dramatic civil liberties violations of the Bush administration) after 9/11.
Typically in American history, any crisis — such as 9/11 — causes an expansion of government power. After the crisis recedes, a public reaction to government excesses usually ensues — as now exists with Bush policies. Yet government power never quite recedes to its pre-crisis level.
Unfortunately, what we are likely to see from a post-9/11 Obama presidency is that same historical phenomenon playing out.
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 February 24, 2009.