Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
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Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
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...]
Fear Trumps Reason on Guantanamo
28 May 2009
Bob Parry's Editorial Note: The bipartisan congressional hysteria about moving Guantanamo Bay inmates to U.S. prisons – compounded by a flawed New York Times article about one in seven released detainees “returning” to terrorism (the actual evidence indicates less than one in 100) – has spurred a retreat by President Barack Obama.
Unfortunately, politicians claim they don’t read opinion polls, while scrutinizing them even more closely than options for their next junket. This has been most evident recently in the civil liberties arena.
On the same day he was inaugurated, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that would close Guantanamo prison in Cuba — a largely symbolic and overrated act to show his break with flagrant Bush administration abuses of civil liberties.
But Obama is not the only person in the Washington public relations circus who is perpetrating demagoguery on the issue.
The Republicans, and now the Democrats, in Congress are fear mongering over the possibility that some of the Guantanamo inmates may come to the United States. In both cases, the politicians read the opinion polls and acted accordingly.
One might say that this is laudable behavior in a democracy and that the politicians are just reflecting what the people want. However, in the United States, we have never had direct democracy.
We have a system of indirect democracy in which periodic elections are held to elect governmental representatives who are supposed to lead. One of the strengths of representative government is the realization that each citizen doesn’t have the time, energy, or knowledge to be an expert on every issue.
Of course, over time, if politicians get far off the track in too many instances on what the people regard as important and correct, they can be voted out in those elections. But in general, the public will give politicians some leeway on such matters.
For example, Ronald Reagan was and Barack Obama has been more popular with the public than their stands on the issues. The same is true with popular congressional leaders who take principled stands — for example, Ron Paul.
After the travesty of the Bush abuses of civil liberties, we need bipartisan courage to reverse the damage instead of empty symbolism or the stoking of irrational public fears.
First, although Obama has pledged to close Guantanamo, the act would be only symbolic if he retains all of the abuses that have gone on there.
Torture and mistreatment happened at other U.S. prisons around the world, and Leon Panetta, Obama’s CIA director, has not ruled out allowing the CIA to use torture in extraordinary circumstances.
In addition, Obama has refused to release photos of past prisoner abuse because he deemed them to be devoid of new illuminative value and claimed, without hard evidence, that U.S. troops overseas would be endangered by their release.
But in a republic, should the government deny citizens the right to see what it has done — even if it is grisly or shameful?
Obama is retaining military commissions, which he vehemently criticized during the presidential campaign for their lack of due legal process. Despite his pledge to limit hearsay evidence and ban evidence obtained through torture, the tribunals are still kangaroo courts that do not meet constitutional standards of due process.
Also, before he became president, Obama was one of many congressional Democrats in Congress to wail about warrantless wiretapping on people in the United States, only to eventually strengthen the law that allows such unconstitutional spying.
Despite all of the hubbub about the possibility of bringing Guantanamo prisoners to the United States, most scary are Obama’s recent musings about changing laws to allow preventive detention.
When a president can yank people off the streets merely because he alleges that they are “dangerous,” throw them in jail, and hold them indefinitely without charge, we are on the road to dictatorship.
Although Bush violated such habeas corpus rights, which have been one of the cornerstones of the rule of law in both Britain and the United States for centuries, Obama is talking about enshrining the violations into permanency.
All of this shows that Obama is not restoring the republic, but has adopted a policy of Bush Lite, which retains some of the unneeded and un-American Bush policies. (I do not accuse people of “un-American” activities lightly, but this erosion of unique American freedoms does seem to fit the bill.)
And what of Congress? Democrats now control it and should be keeping Obama honest in rolling back the horrendous Bush practices. Instead, Republicans are squealing about having Guantanamo’s terrorists in our midst and the scared Democrats are caving in to them.
Yet American prisons seem to have been able to hold the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 without being attacked or having them escape. The same has been true for domestic terrorists, such as snipers John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo and Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols of Oklahoma City bombing fame.
The town of Hardin, Montana, with a vacant correctional facility, didn’t think it that dangerous to hold Gitmo detainees and has offered to take them. Moreover, if U.S. prisons are off limits to terrorists, where will any of those convicted be held?
Members of Congress also point to the 14 percent of released Guantanamo inmates who have allegedly gone back to terrorism. Most of the U.S. government’s allegations of the released prisoners’ supposed transgressions are either secret or vague — such as associating or training with terrorists.
[The actual evidence in the Pentagon report, which was prepared a month before the Bush administration ended, identifies only five released detainees (out of 534) who “have engaged in verifiable terrorist activity or have threatened terrorist acts,” the New York Times reported. In other words, less than one in 100 of the freed prisoners, not one in seven.]
Moreover, if the U.S. prison system had a recidivism rate of only 14 percent, correctional and law enforcement officials would be jumping for joy. Recidivism in this system can be as much as 68 percent three years after release.
Undoubtedly, this low rate is not because Guantanamo has had fabulous rehabilitation programs for terrorists, but probably indicates that people who weren’t guilty of anything were swept off the battlefield in Afghanistan because of the rewards offered to snitches in a dirt-poor country.
The likelihood that innocent people were jailed indefinitely also illustrates why preventive detention is bad and genuine legal due process is so vital.
Finally, the arrogance of the U.S. Congress is unbelievable. It expects foreign countries to bail the United States out from its self-made civil liberties quagmire.
The U.S. preventively detained people indefinitely without legal due process, proposed to try them in kangaroo military tribunals, and tortured them. Now the United States wants other nations to take released Guantanamo prisoners or ones who need to remain incarcerated.
Instead, let me suggest a “radical” solution to the entire civil liberties quagmire. Why don’t we treat alleged terrorists as criminals rather than warriors (as they should have been handled from the start), charge them if possible with a punishable offense, and try them in U.S. civilian courts.
If the evidence is not good enough to do so or it was obtained by torture, then we need to bite the bullet as a society and free them.
In the worst case, if they commit another terrorist act, it would be bad, but not more horrible than trashing the constitutional freedoms that are the bedrock of the American republic.
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 May 29, 2009.