Wednesday, February 20, 2013

13-02-20 New Senator Elizabeth Warren and banking regulators

The expectations from Warren should be lowered.  I corresponded with her and two other members of the TARP Board, including the Inspector General.  I provided them with mountaneous evidence of racketeering by the highest officers of Bank of America, which should have excluded the Bank from benefiting from TARP bailout programs.  TAPR Board and its Inspector General had no interest in investigating such matters.  JZ
Senator Elizabeth Warren Grills Financial Regulators
By Justin O'Brien
It was an artful if devastating performance. In just seven minutes, Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts signaled the arrival of what appears destined to be a powerful force on Capitol Hill.

13-02-20 Misc News of the Abuse - gun/drug traficking, kidnapping, torture, detentions

Whoever thought that abuse of human rights by the US government abroad would not spill over to the United States, must have been delusional. jz
Public hanging, part of the Mexican narcowars

The Latin American Exception
How a Washington Global Torture Gulag Was Turned Into the Only Gulag-Free Zone on Earth
By Greg Grandin
In one part of the world, in this century at least, the sun never rose on US-choreographed torture.
US Border Patrol Selling Weapons to Mexican Drug Cartel
By Project Censored
US Border Patrol providing the Sinaloa Cartel with guns has led to the Sinaloa Cartel taking the turf of Mexico's west desert while simultaneously building up their drug territory all the way to the United States border.
US Training of Mexican Troops Has Escalated in Step With Mexico's Murder Rate
By Bill Conroy
Foreign Assistance Act records reveal that US military training was provided to Mexican soldiers in fiscal 2010 and 2011 by the US Department of Defense's Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). The Institute was formerly the School of the Americas.
The Unholy Trinity
Death Squads, Disappearances, and Torture -- from Latin America to Iraq
By Greg Grandin
Pundits, like the Atlantic Monthly's Robert Kaplan, rewrite history, claiming that operations like the Phoenix Program in Vietnam or the death squads in El Salvador were effective, morally acceptable tactics and should be emulated in fighting today's "War on Terror."
Why Did You Murder Me?
The Slaughter of the Children Drones On & On & On & On
By Michael Hall
When the drones are slaughtering innocent children in your name do you bother to get concerned even when on your knees on Sunday?

13-02-20 Civil Unrest in the United States - bearing arms to the tinder box..

With ongoing discussion on left right and center, of government v people armed confrontation, the below should be considered a tinder box. The quoted paper is from the left this time. jz


Resistance is Futile!

By  (about the author) 
A different kind of protest is being planned in cities around the US next Saturday by a different group of activists.  These folks don't seek environmental protection as much as the right to carry military assault rifles on the streets of their home towns and "stand their ground" with lethal force if they feel the slightest threatened. 
Compare and contrast these socially conscious and environmentally-responsible demonstrators with the NRA Rifles-n-Rapture loonies who want to carry Big Loaded Weapons into churches, kindergartens, sports bars, credit unions, hospitals, and any other place that might benefit from a good shoot-out. 
This is from the "Day of Resistance" website:
"On January 16, 2013, President Barack Obama issued 23 executive actions against your 2nd amendment Constitutional right to bear arms. He did this without the consent of Congress which in itself, violates the foundation of the Constitution and the co-equal branches of government. In response to these unconstitutional actions by the President, on .223, February 23, 2013 the American people will stand together in defiance to protect the right that protects ALL of our rights, the 2nd Amendment!"
Sorry to say the main Teabagger website is reporting that there is just not enough money for their little national bang-bang show. Perhaps fundraising was hampered by the scores of gun-related injuries at the last pro-gun rally?  Maybe the protesters are starting to realize their pet cause might just kill them, y'think?  
According to  Daily Kos...
", a well-known conservative group, reached out to supporters to say that it is 'deeply embarrassed' to have failed to raise enough money in the last several weeks to fund a nationwide series of pro-gun rallies scheduled for Feb. 23. Last week we announced that we needed to raise $100,000 to market the Day of Resistance to make sure that there are HUGE crowds at all of these rallies,' read the Wednesday email from outreach director Dustin Stockman. 'Unfortunately we remain well short of our goal. As of writing we have only raised $26,125.72 towards the $100,000 goal.'"
Did you ever notice that Progressive activists seek to protect things, like human lives and the environment, while their Neocon counterparts just want to cut a wide swath of death and destruction?
Kathy never expected a career in radio as a talk show producer. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Kathy was completing her nursing degree when in 2001 - in an emergency - she was asked to fill in as the producer of Mike's program. Within a few (more...)

13-02-20 Civil Disobedience: The Only "Weapon" We Have Remaining[!-jz]

The original OpEd piece, true to form, ended with a question mark.  I took the liberty of changing it to an exclamation mark. jz

13-02-17 Jerusalem Purim Spiel - Enlightened Disobedience meets Loving Disobedience.

Elena models the "Loving Disobedience" design, black print on fuschia base, with John and Yoko in the nude, while Joseph dons the "Enlightened Disobedience  sweatshirt, white print on black base, with Gandhi on the back.  All designs, Hebrew and English, are posted on the sidebar of this blog.

Civil Disobedience: The Only "Weapon" We Have Remaining?

By  (about the author)
Is the situation in this nation so dire that civil disobedience is the only recourse remaining, the final option? Can we expect civil disobedience to accomplish what voting, demonstrating, etc., could not? Most importantly, perhaps, should civil disobedience prove ineffective as well, must activists admit that further struggle for justice is futile and the prospect of non violent change unlikely? To answer these questions, it will be necessary to consider in some detail the nature of civil disobedience and the conditions required for it to be effective.Mario Cuomo, commenting on the politicalprocess, once observed, "You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose." Though candidates for public office frequently campaign on a platform of change, when elected, promises remain unfulfilled and what they inevitably deliver is more of the same. Beholden to the special interests and the Super PACS,they govern solely in the interest of the wealthy and the privileged, and remain blatantly unresponsive to the general will, the needs of the majority of the people, and to the dictates of law and morality.   
Consequently, respected social commentators such as Chris Hedges ,Noam Chomsky Daniel Ellsberg Cornell Westand others have argued that our system of government is broken. Perhaps as a perceptive and realistic appraisal of the current political situation in this nation or as an expression of frustration with the lack of progress achieved after many years of activism they have concluded that if change is to occur, if justice and morality are to prevail, activists can no longer be content supporting one political party or another or with picking up a sign and participating in a demonstration. Rather activists must ratchet up the frequency and scope of nonviolent direct action -- civil disobedience. Chris Hedges proclaims, "Civil disobedience is the only weapon we have left to save not only the ecosystem that sustains life but the nation itself. Corporate forces, unregulated, unfettered corporate forces exploit everything; human beings, the natural world, until exhaustion or collapse."
Civil Disobedience (CD)
Though not all acts of refusal and noncooperation will fit nicely into one of the following categories, for purposes of explication I will identify two types of civil disobedience, and then focus upon the one most relevant to social activism. What I term "Private CD " are acts ofpersonal, non public, non compliance with law or policy one determines to be unjust and/or immoral. Acts of Private CD may be motivated by a perceived legal and/or moral obligation to act rightly, to live in accordance with one's principles and the dictates of one's conscience.Henry Thoreau writes, " The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right." Dr. Martin Luther King sees civil disobedience not as a choice, but an obligation. He writes, ". . . non cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good." Though indicative, perhaps, of one's moral character and integrity, since Private CD are acts of personal defiance known only to the civil disobedient, it has little, if any, social value as a means to implement change in the state.
Civil disobedience as social activism, what I will term "Public CD," are acts of publicnon compliance with a law or policy intended to focus attention and raise awareness regarding a social/political injustice for the purpose of creating "tension," perhaps even outrage, and a public outcry and demand for change. Dr. King explains, Non-violent direct action (Public CD) seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. (Italics mine) [1]
The Necessary Criteria for Effective Public CD
Unjust/immoral law or policy can be the consequence of either a willful criminal act or of a yet unnoticed mistake, oversight, or misinterpretation of law by legislators and/or policy makers. For Public CD to be an effective tool for remedying injustice, several necessary criteria must be satisfied. First, effective Public CD requires that both the occurrence of the act and the civil disobedient's legal and moral reason/justification for her actions are made public. This requires, of course, an independent, competent, responsible, and in this day and age, courageous media/press that will accurately report the event, rigorously investigate, and make public whether the civil disobedient's allegations regarding the injustice/immorality of the law/policy have merit. Second, effective Public CD requires a citizenry concerned with issues of justice and morality. That once made aware, they would likewise be outraged and motivated to speak out and demand that the crime, misinterpretation, mistake, or oversight be rectified. Third, effective Public CD requires that principled political leaders put justice and morality before personal, corporate, and national interest, recognize and take responsibility for their oversight or mistake, and initiate appropriate changes in law and/or policy. For those unprincipled political leaders whose actions are criminal, effective Public CD requires that they yield to the public outcry and to the demands for justice by those they represent.
Before Recommending Civil Disobedience
The law is clear regarding the legality of policies such as indefinite detention without charge or trial in places like Guantanamo and Baghram, extraordinary rendition, warrantless wiretaps, torture, preventive war, occupation, Disposition Matrix (kill lists), targeted assassinations, drone attacks, etc. Consequently, these acts and policies are not misinterpretations of law, nor are they oversights or mistakes. Rather they are willful violations of treaties, Conventions, international, domestic, and moral law intended to enhance the profit, power, and interests of the ruling elite and their corporate benefactors. I know for some, civil disobedience, getting arrested, has become an activist's badge of honor, a rite of passage. However, we live in an era in which the President has claimed authority under the National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA) to imprison and assassinate without due process, with no transparency or accountability, even American citizens he deems a threat (however interpreted), in which a paramilitary police force is empowered to violently suppress protest and dissent, and in which acts of civil disobedience are designated as terrorism and civil disobedients as terrorists. [2]Consequently, before advising activists to place themselves at risk of long term incarceration, personal injury, even death, it would be prudent and responsible to determine whether Public CD's necessary criteria for effecting change can be met g iven the social and political environment in which we live.
The Press/Media Coverage Criterion: Tragically for our "democracy," responsible mainstream reporting and investigative journalism has compliantly succumbed to the pressure and influence of manipulative politicians and corporate power brokers. As was evident during the buildup to the Iraq War, the corporate-controlled media/press not only ignored questions of legality and failed to investigate the need and justification for war, but happily and enthusiastically embraced its role as cheerleader. By failing to credibly investigate and report the findings of those who adamantly disagreed with Bush/Cheney's claim regarding weapons of mass destruction [3] in Iraq, by cooperating with efforts to quiet, discredit, and even endanger the lives of activists and/or of those who spoke truth to power, and by under- and/or misreporting the occurrence and magnitude of demonstrations and acts of Public CD opposing the war, the mainstream media/press became a co-conspirator, part of the problem rather than of the solution. As illustrative of this unholy alliance, consider what has become known as the CIA Leak Case .
"Joseph Wilson is the husband of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative who was unmasked in July 2003 by columnist Robert D. Novak, after Wilson criticized President Bush for stating that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein bought nuclear weapons-grade uranium in the African nation of Niger."
To punish Wilson for exposing Bush Administration lies in its rush to war with Iraq and as a deterrent to others who may be contemplating similar truth telling, Novak utilized his status as journalist to commit treason by revealing the identity of a covert CIA agent. In doing so, he not only compromised Plame's mission, but recklessly endangered her life and the lives of other operatives and informants who may have worked with her.
There are journalists, however, mostly from alternative news agencies and the foreign press -- Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, Greg Palast, and Peter Arnett immediately come to mind -- who maintain their journalistic integrity and strive to report the news accurately and fairly. Such outliers however, are systematically denied access to public officials, barred from areas of protest or are themselves arrested as was the case during the eviction of the Occupy Wall Street activists from Zuccotti Park and elsewhere.
The Citizenry Must Have a Conscience Criterion: As evidenced by the public's support for or indifference to these criminal acts prosecuted in their names, their disinclination to hold policy/law makers responsible for their crimes -- to prosecute those who violate the law -- and their willingness to vote against their self interest and the interest of this nation by (re)electing them to public office, indicates that many, perhaps even a majority of citizens, are unaware, or apathetic, or untroubled by injustice/immorality, or preoccupied with their consumerism driven lives, and/or easily mislead by those in power. When the President declares proudly that he intends to or has successfully assassinated, without due process, an individual or group in some remote corner of the world while neglecting to mention that civilians were "collaterally" injured/killed as well, not only does his approval rating not suffer, but it significantly increases as Americans celebrate his "accomplishments." [4]