Sunday, June 28, 2015

Small Business, Workers, Industry, and the Public Lose Again

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Malcolm Nance Comments on the Iraq-ISIS Crisis


Who is Malcolm Nance?  He's a retired combat veteran and U.S. Counter-Terrorism Officer who was in Iraq as far back as 1987.  He's Arabic-speaking and a recognized expert on Jihadist tactics, the Iraq insurgency, and Al Qaida's worldwide structure.

He had a good deal to say about the Iraq quagmire today on DemocracyNow.org, Democracy Now!, the War and Peace Report, with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales.  To me, his most cogent statement was this:  "Invading Iraq after 9-11 made about as much sense as if we would have invaded Mexico after Pearl Harbor...the Intelligence just wasn't there [meaning, Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11].".  Amen to that.

Going way back to the 1950s, a U.S. Government Strategy Report (can't recall the exact title) stated that one of the U.S. Government's primary strategic goals was to secure access to Mid-East oil.  As recently as a few years ago, in an interview with Henry Kissinger, he stated, "Although it's not politically correct to say so, the Iraq invasion was about the oil.".  Most people recognize that today, and yet even now, the highest levels of our Gov't still say we're there for another reason or reasons---now it's the Boogie Man, ISIS.  When the White House spokesmen or Pentagon spokesmen claim that ISIS is a threat to our National Security, what they mean is:  we can't let them control that OIL.

Our President is now in Desperation Mode relative to all the above.  Our recent "support" of the Iraqi Army started out with about 300 "trainers and advisors"; presently, that number has jumped to about 3,000.  Obama today is considering moving the number up by another 500 or so.  It seems logical that the number will continue to rise.  He knows that the public here will not stand for sending in 100,000 troops (or some such number) all at once, so he's doing it incrementally.  He knows full well that an air war and "training" the Iraqi Army will not "defeat ISIS" (which is his stated objective).  In order to secure access to that oil, he must utilize U.S. combat ground forces.  That, of course, is beyond stupid...because we would have to occupy that country forever.  ISIS always can fade back into the population and reappear whenever it wishes.  So, once again the highest levels of our Gov't have stuck their noses into another civil war for reasons they refuse to acknowledge.   And the propaganda rolls on.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  Keep in mind that all our military adventurism overseas is paid for by borrowing more & more money from foreign countries.  That's the only way we can afford it.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Last Bastion


The last bastion against an errant government (not counting armed revolt) is jury nullification. Very early in our country's history, the role of jury nullification as a defense against oppression by the State was unquestioned. It remained so until the 1850s, a time during which many juries began not convicting in prosecutions under the Fugitive Slave Act. Judges, seeing a mighty demonstration of the power of juries, began to change the rules of the Court. The primary and most devastating change was that juries would no longer be permitted (by judges) to judge the law; they would be confined to judging only the facts of the case.

The new rules were (and still are) a blatant infringement on the rights of juries. That's not just my view...

"The jury has a right to judge both the law and the facts in controversy."
~ John Jay, First
Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1789
"The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts."
~ Samuel Chase, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1796
"The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided."
~ Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1941

Juries routinely are told by judges that jury members cannot judge the law, only the facts of the case. Not true. Numerous case decisions have upheld the right of any juror to nullify a "bad" law and vote to acquit. Example: "The jury has an unreviewable and unreversible power...to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge."
U.S. v. Dougherty, 473 F 2nd 1113, 1139 (1972). Example: "...it is presumed that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision. You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine law as well as the fact in controversy." [Emphasis added.] State of Georgia v. Brailsford, et.al. 3 U.S. 1 Dall. (1794).

So, why do jurors not know these things? The reason is simple: in
Sparf v. United States (1895), the Court decided that courts need not inform jurors of their de facto right of jury nullification even though the jurors' inherent right to judge the law remains unchallenged. All judges are aware of this. Rather than inform juries of all their rights, judges tend to intimidate jurors by telling them that they cannot judge the law.

All of this is crucial to individual sovereignty and freedom because governments practice Legislative Absolutism (a term coined by Justice Harlan in 1901), passing laws without any regard for constitutions (Federal and State). Other than bringing suit in a court of law, the aggrieved citizen has no legal and peaceful recourse except to rely on jury nullification. Bringing suit usually is very expensive and time-consuming. Unfortunately, relying on jury nullification depends upon having a fully informed citizenry, and jurors with courage and integrity...therefore, spread the word! We need fully informed juries.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Here's How They Do It -OR- The Biggest Flaw in the Constitution


"They" are the Neoliberals who over decades and by sheer, disorganized, dumb luck have brought about a coup in our Government.  For years I wondered how so many unconstitutional laws could come into being in this Land with barely a peep of protest from anyone.  I think perhaps finally I've figured it out.  Over the years, now and again, I heard this-or-that politician mention the "necessary and proper" clause of the Constitution; but I never paid much attention to it until recently.

"The Congress shall have Power ... To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."
~ Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, United States Constitution

The Powers mentioned in that clause, "...the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers...", are those delegated by We the People to our Federal Government.  They are the Enumerated Powers that we have given to the Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch.  The Government has only those Powers.  Unfortunately, going all the way back to our Founding Fathers, some have claimed that Article I Section 8 Clause 18 gives other, implied Powers to the Government.  Hamilton and Jefferson debated that very point.

Alexander Hamilton was the Founder who proposed that our Gov't should be that of a Monarchy; he wanted a King as our leader.  Luckily, that idea quickly was scrapped.  Nonetheless, Hamilton kept fighting for a central government bordering on dictatorial.  He wanted a central bank, and he claimed that Article I Section 8 Clause 18 gave the Gov't implied Powers.  Hamilton argued that the sovereign duties of a government implied the right to use means adequate to its ends, regardless of specific Enumerated Powers.  Jefferson opposed him at every turn until Hamilton was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel, July, 1804.  Nevertheless, the seed had been planted.  Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall and others promoted the idea that the Government had implied powers.  At times, the "necessary and proper" clause was referred to as the "elastic clause".

The idea eventually lost favor in the late 1800s up until the 1930s.  With the Roosevelt Administration, the "elastic clause" was back in favor... and as the Fed Gov't expanded, the idea became more and more the flavor of the day.  As that happened, "Legislative Absolutism" took hold more and more.  In 1901, Supreme Court Justice Harlan coined that term, warning of a time when unconstitutional laws would be passed as a matter of course.

Any examination of the "necessary and proper" clause with a view toward common sense tells us that no additional Powers are implied by it.  Furthermore, it makes ZERO sense that so-called "implied" powers would be able to result in a law which would essentially nullify any specific written clause in the Supreme Law of the Land.  Finally, the use of "implied" powers apparently is virtually without limits.  It's whatever an indoctrinated, propagandized public will tolerate.

EXAMPLE---  The so-called PATRIOT Act essentially nullifies the Fourth Amendment.  Gathering of bulk data is permitted... without the people being intruded upon having to be suspects of any kind.  In addition, FBI Agents can write their own Search Warrants... the Fourth Amendment makes it clear that judges must issue those.  Finally, other portions of the Act violate the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.  [So do portions of the National Defense Authorization Act, the NDAA.]

All the "necessary and proper" clause is saying is this:  Congress can pass Laws in order to implement the specific Enumerated Powers that were delegated to them by We the People.  Nowhere does it say or imply that Laws contravening the Constitution may also be passed.  Only an attorney with no common sense would infer such a thing from that clause.  Both Hamilton and Marshall were attorneys.  [My admittedly limited experience with attorneys tells me that very few of them have any common sense whatsoever.  They appear to live in a very esoteric world; as with everything, I'm sure there are exceptions.]

My conclusion is that certain people in our political history wanted a way around the constraints of the Constitution.  It appears they desired a central government so strong that it bordered on dictatorial.  To achieve that objective, they inferred from primarily the "necessary and proper" clause, but also from the "commerce" and "general welfare" clauses, so-called implied powers.  I see that as pure BS.  I sincerely doubt that it was the intention of almost all our Founders to give the Government unknown, virtually unlimited Powers that could, in fact, contravene the listed or Enumerated Powers delegated by We the People.  That makes no sense... and more importantly, it makes the Constitution worthless.  The primary purpose of the Constitution is to restrain/constrain government; that's not possible if we accept the concept of "implied powers"... which can be almost anything.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  Special thanks to my good friend in Sacramento, Bob, for triggering the theme of this piece.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

P.S. to "The Consummate Liar..."


About two minutes ago, I watched (on DemocracyNow.org) a replay of Obama on a News commentary show roundtable discussion---on Hardball on MSNBC---in which the President stated, "Everything I do has been focused on how do we make sure the Middle Class is getting a fair deal.  I would not be doing this Trade deal [the TPP] if I didn't think it was good for the Middle Class...".  Maybe he actually believes his own Propaganda; either that or he's lying again.  Obama's economic, monetary, fiscal, war, and Trade policies work largely against both the Middle Class and Industry.  He protects Wall Street at the expense of the Middle Class and Industry.  He's a big believer in Globalization and Financialization, both of which are destroying the Middle Class AND American Industry.

After the news clip, Democracy Now! went back to Lori Wallach, the premier expert on TPP at Trade Watch and in my view, a genuine American hero.  Obama says Elizabeth Warren is "wrong" on the TPP.  In great detail, Ms. Wallach laid out precisely why it's Obama who is wrong...dead wrong.  See the Democracy Now newscast for Wednesday, May 13, 2015.  The Corporatist Obama again is trying to sell the American People a load of crap.

The MSNBC video clip wound up with Obama saying, "If you look at the facts, they [the TPP critics] are wrong.".  Fine, Mr. President... why don't you show us the facts?  We can depend only on WikiLeaks to see any of the TPP Agreement.  What are you trying to hide?  And don't give us the weak cop-out that releasing the content will compromise negotiations.  That's BS... besides, even if it's true, we don't care.  Furthermore, we don't want the TPP in any shape or form.

Fairly recent History has revealed that every single "Free Trade" Agreement since the early '90s (including the WTO abomination) has been a disaster for Industry and the Middle Class in this country.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well

The Consummate Liar Strikes Again


Obama's lies have become so blatant that even a person who is totally apathetic and ignorant of politics must be able to detect them... at least, I would think so.  Following are just a few of his latest attempts at deception.  Feel free to laugh, cry, or sigh... or cuss.

1.  Regarding the Obama-Osama story, the Administration claims there are too many assertions by Hersh to respond to any of them.  What a cop-out.  So much for accountability.  Obama, through spokesmen, claims the whole Hersh story is false; we are supposed to simply accept their word.  Personally, given the President's record, I would believe Sy Hersh over Barack Obama any day of the century.

2.  Regarding his support for the TPP---
Obama claims he fought hard for banking regulations after the 2008 Crisis, so "Why would I sign something that rolls back those protections?".  His implication is that parts of the TPP do not roll back protections against crooked mega bankers.  That's a bald-faced lie.  In addition, the regulations he supported back when were nothing but window-dressing.  Finally, he signed the fairly recent omnibus spending bill that included an Amendment written by Citi-Group lobbyists which did roll back the paltry protections of Dodd-Frank.  Obama must believe that we have the shortest memories in the history of Humanity... or, he simply doesn't give a damn about what we think... or???

3.  Obama continues to claim that NSA dragnet, bulk collection of our records (phone, email, other internet use, credit cards) is legal.  Just the other day, a Fed Appeals Court vigorously disagreed and called the bulk collection "unprecedented and unwarranted".  The Court went on to say that the Executive Branch doesn't even pretend that such collection is related to any "specific, defined inquiry".  All that makes the whole business a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment.  Given his Constitutional Law education, Obama must know that.

4.  Obama lies by omission.  Not long ago, he stated that "No one is listening to your phone calls.".  He left out this:  one of the Snowden documents revealed that calls are being recorded automatically, and that the NSA has the technology to enable a key-word search and then generate a transcript of the conversation.  All of this is done by high-speed computers because of the billions of calls involved.  So, the end result is the same as if someone were listening to your calls.  Even if there were no key-word searches or transcripts, simply recording the numbers of whom we call (without a specific reason or specific warrant to do so) is plainly unconstitutional.  Read the Fourth Amendment:  the word "effects" surely includes our records.  Obama must know that.
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Yes, other Presidents have lied and violated the Constitution.  That's no legitimate excuse for the current President to do the same.  Democrats and Republicans (at the highest levels) both appear to believe that the U.S. Constitution is a Menu... just pick out what you like and discard the rest.  These same Democrats and Republicans appear to believe in Legislative Absolutism, a term coined by a Supreme Court Justice, Harlan, in 1901.  The term means passing laws that violate the Supreme Law of the Land... such as the misnamed PATRIOT Act.  This will all continue until We the People peacefully put a stop to it.

Not just my opinion.  Happy Trails

Sunday, May 3, 2015

National Politics in the USA is Utterly Disgusting...and Harmful


Again, I emphasize that I'm not a Republican or a Democrat... thank "God".  With the world's greatest library (the internet) at our fingertips and a fairly good grasp of both History and Logic, it's beyond my comprehension how anyone could belong to a limited, specific political group.  To do so almost certainly would require one to be an idealogue, a blindly partisan advocate & adherent... not a good thing.

Here's why national politics in the USA is both disgusting and harmful---

1.  Wall Street runs the show.  Anyone who still doubts that either is not paying attention, or is propagandized beyond the point of no return, or both.  Not only does the Financial Sector run the show, it is waging war on both workers and industry.  The USA rapidly is being reduced to a NeoFeudal State.

2.  With the help of politicians at the highest levels, Mega Banks continue to run amok.  Wealth continues to be transferred from the poor and middle classes to the upper crust at an unprecedented rate.  This is being accomplished largely by Financialization, which extracts income from the 99% and then does not use that money for the creation of jobs.  Instead, funds are invested in bizarre financial derivatives, or foreign currency speculation, or foreign capital investments in manufacturing overseas, or socked away offshore to avoid taxes, or in raiding existing domestic companies & then downsizing or dismantling them.

3.  There's a revolving door between private corporation, CEO (& lesser) positions and appointed, high-level U.S. Government positions.  Men such as Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Robert Gates, and others should have been disqualified from government service due to conflict of interest.  Especially Paulson, who previously was Goldman Sachs' CEO, and then essentially gave mega banks billions of taxpayer $$$.  [Ben Bernanke, a non-corporate appointee, topped Paulson:  he made $13.1 TRILLION available in loans to mega banks at POINT 25% (.25%) interest just before TARP.  That makes one wonder why the banks needed the "paltry" TARP funds.]

4.  Politicians at the highest levels (in general) are notorious liars.  They say anything to get elected.  Obama is a prime example.  The 2008 Obama-worshippers have to be the most disappointed people in American political history.  Obama, the corporatist and warmonger... posing as some sort of Leftist.  Obama, who (contrary to the Constitution) chooses which people (including Americans) are to be killed by drone attacks.  Obama, who is waging war on US workers and industry.  Obama, persecutor of Fed Whistleblowers.  Obama, who joins with McConnell to push for the TPP abomination.  Obama, who fines crooked mega banks billions & billions of dollars for FRAUD, but jails not one of their top execs.  And on & on.  The guy is the greatest flim-flam artist in the history of our politics.  Bar none.  He even beats out Bush-Cheney for that title... which I didn't think was possible.

5.  Politicians at the highest levels (in general) mostly ignore about half the U.S. Constitution, especially Article I Section 8, Article II Section 2, and the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth Amendments.  Each therefore is violating his/her Oath of Office.  Put bluntly, essentially they are Outlaws.  Where the hell is Law Enforcement?  Where is Justice?
.........................................................................................

So, what can we do?  Here's a start...just a start---

1.  Ignore the Edward Bernays style Propaganda.  Don't automatically believe anything a high-level politician says until you check it out using multiple, diverse sources.  Additionally, stop relying on one or two sources for your national news.  For one thing, the Corporate Media outlets (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc.) omit so much that you can't possibly have an accurate picture of what's going on if you rely only on them.

2.  This one seems counterintuitive, but don't vote in national elections.  A national election is a Rigged Game; don't play.  That's the best way to make the Oligarchy pay attention to We the People.  Everyone who is a "true believer" in some political ideology (& thus a "voter") is perpetuating the Rigged Game.  The Neoliberal Coup that has taken place here and throughout most of the world cannot be overturned by voting.  National candidates for office are selected from the top down, not the bottom up.  Even if, by some miracle, a "genuine Populist" or a "good person" gets elected, that person will be marginalized completely by the Rotten System.  That won't be true forever, but it certainly is now and for the near future.

3.  Educate yourself and others.  With the world's greatest library in front of you, you have no excuse not to.

4.  Be an Activist... organize around just causes.  Do something, something peaceful, even if it's anonymously and by yourself.  If group protests are not your bag, there's nothing wrong with that.  There are plenty of other things that can be done:  boycotting, writing, all types of Art, discussions, commercial ads, speeches, stickers (Street Art), flyers, business-type cards (of a political nature), videos, or ???  Be imaginative.

5.  The Neoliberals have won because basically they have distracted and divided us.  That has to end.  I'm guessing that most of us don't want pointless war, or jobs shipped overseas, or an ever-intrusive Surveillance State, or unsafe food, or a completely debased dollar, or stagnant wages, or economic bubbles, or de-industrialization, or never-ending debt, or ever-increasing price inflation, or the ridiculously high cost of higher education, or a war against workers, or inferior, meaningless jobs, or the rip-off, add-on fees imposed upon us by Big Business, or major rivers & rainwater owned by corporations.  If that's all true...that we don't want those things, then we have to stop being so fragmented when it comes to politics.  Democrats AND Republicans have brought us to the point where we are now.  They need a message sent to them...and quickly.

Not just my opinion.
Happy Trails