In-justice


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Back in 2007 and 8, we saw a flurry of activity within the Dub’s administration, salting away lifelong conservatives in government positions — and it should be glaringly obvious that they’ve done their utmost to effectively obstruct Dem policy whenever they could (including some department heads that were/are simply defiant, refusing to do as directed and marking time to be replaced. That’s REAL obstruction, kids!)

One of the places Georgie did his level best (finally listening to advice from Poppy) was in loading the judiciary — and if you remember, although the Dems bucked and kicked, Roberts and Alito got their pass, as was expected from a civil Congress. Ahhhh! Those were the days!

Well, civil no more, of course — and it’s taken all five of these years to come back to square zero in terms of the balance of political appointees to the judiciary. But … and this is One Good Thing out of a gazillion worrisome ones … we’ve finally hit that mark. I’m putting that article last, a Think Progress piece appears first, as that one defines our issues and indicates our challenges of the day, as well as offering an activist opportunity.

After a slight lull in the fireworks, the filibuster is back and so obviously partisan, even breaking a record for obstruction set during the post-Civil War Reconstruction, and now wee Lindsey Graham — no doubt looking to make points with the South Carolina Baggers who disapprove his occasional realism, aligning himself with old pal and sometime-maverick John McCain — vows to block all nominee’s unless he gets more details about Benghazi. That’s not just judges and the like — that’s Homeland Security and Federal Reserve candidates as well.

This two man chorus of would-be warriors keep trying to stop the growing peace movement by keeping Terror going, but the public is about exhausted with the whole process and even the Pubs are tired of military drums. Of the deluded, you gotta wonder which of these two most often plays Sancho Panza, but I think it’s likely the wee one. John is, after all, the “war hero.”

Sign of the times — hopefully to be reflected in history books as something we finally overcame — when one little twit can stop government to chase phantoms and curry favor with radicals.

Here are three articles, worth a look to define our problem with judiciary. In terms of good news, I guess the fact that Obama still has a few years to nominate (and could-be Hillary after that.) The nation is moving left even as the right pulls its head around to keep looking back.

This post is both good news and bad — but at least there IS movement and that works for me!

Jude

Bush is Gone, But His Judges Are Here to Stay
Filibuster Wars Return
CAP Action War Room, ThinkProgress
on November 1, 2013

Following a brief detente over executive branch nominations over the past few months, Republicans yesterday went back to their same old obstructionist ways.

First, Republicans used the filibuster to block an up-or-down vote on Rep. Mel Watt, who has been nominated to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, an important agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is the first time since the Reconstruction Era that a sitting Member of Congress has been denied confirmation. Watt is also the first African-American FHFA nominee.

Republicans then filibustered the nomination of Patricia Millett for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, despite her sterling credentials as one of the most well-respected members of the Supreme Court bar, previous experience in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and the support of conservative legal luminaries like Ken Starr and Ted Olson.

The D.C. Circuit is second only to the Supreme Court in importance. It hears cases involving key national security issues and federal regulations like environmental and labor rules. During the Bush administration, all 11 seats on the court were happily filled by Republicans. But now that three vacancies have opened up, they are refusing to allow votes on President Obama’s nominees.
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Fouled


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So what’s worse? Being lied to or simply being ignored? In North Dakota they decided to go with that second one, fracking companies and pipeline owners keeping mum about how MANY leaks and spills occur. They do not, they say, want to alarm anyone [!!!!]

When we read these articles about environment irreversibly fouled, we think back to the Horizon event in the Gulf and wonder, “… another one?” But it isn’t really about another ONE, is it? It’s more like another dozen, day after day, here, there and everywhere because the Koch brothers influence is everywhere, the push for fuel is endless, and, with safety standards nil, dangerous from start to finish.

At least once a week, I see a teevee commercial from BP insisting that their commitment to the Gulf continues today, major money and time spent to bring it back as it once was. HA! Liars, every one of them — just plain liars.

I haven’t eaten seafood since the Gulf spill, even though that’s one of the big deals in these parts — Friday night, boiled spiced shrimp — and what with being a SF Bay Area girl, one of my grandfathers a Yacht Club owner and abalone diver, I really miss it. But the risk isn’t worth it now. Which body of water is safe anymore? Which one WON’T give us eyeless, tumorous shrimp? And if so, for how long?

Here’s three reads — one on the multitude of oil spills in North Dakota, the next on a Koch leak in Texas and the last a piece on the Gulf and its continuing problems.

The guys that do this … harm our environment and us … do it for money. Thing is, NO amount of money can reclaim it as it was. Some things are for all the marbles.

Jude

Hundreds of oil spills kept secret by North Dakota
John Upton, Grist
http://grist.org/news/hundreds-of-oil-spills-kept-secret-by-north-dakota/

Shhh … oil spills are unpopular.

North Dakota’s fracking frenzy is leaking like a sieve. And you haven’t heard about it because fracking companies, oil pipeline owners, and state officials have been keeping information about hundreds of oil spills secret for years.

After a huge spill of more than 20,000 barrels on a wheat farm was hushed up for 11 days, the Associated Press discovered the extent of the years-long cover-up:

    Records obtained by the AP show that so far this year, North Dakota has recorded 139 pipeline leaks that spilled a total of 735 barrels of oil. In 2012, there were 153 pipeline leaks that spilled 495 barrels of oil, data show. A little more than half of the spills companies reported to North Dakota occurred “on-site,” where a well is connected to a pipeline, and most were fewer than 10 barrels. The remainder of the spills occurred along the state’s labyrinth of pipelines.

    “The public really should know about these,” [said Don Morrison, director of the Dakota Resource Council, an environmental-minded landowner group with more than 700 members in North Dakota]. “If there is a spill, sometimes a landowner may not even know about it. And if they do, people think it’s an isolated incident that’s only happening to them.”
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The 60′s, revisited: a cold case and a big chill


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There are political echoes ringing in the Universe these days — louder than usual, seems to me, especially under an eclipsed Moon — and as those still ringing from the 60s reflect my own personal déjà vu, as well as spark an earlier version of the revolutionary energy we’re feeling these days, you’ll find a couple of interesting reads on that topic here.

The first is self-explanatory, 50 years later let’s agree on the fact that JFK was taken down, not by one disenchanted little guy with a rifle but by a conspiracy of murderers. The topic should no longer be hallowed ground. Like grown ups talking about sex, can’t we finally have a candid conversation? Do we still have to whisper? Besides, we’ve all seen the Zapruder footage and now — after over a decade of televised forensics — most of us can see how Jack’s head was repositioned by the impacts. We’re not disbelieving innocents any more.

The next is an interview with Robert Reich about why he won’t give up on populism, why he’s made his new movie and why events long behind him drive him forward. Do watch the YouTube to get a sense of the big chill that turned him toward activism, a reminder that nothing happens in a vacuum and we never know how our life … or death … will impact others.

The farther we get from the past, the more it intrudes and maybe that’s a good thing, the Cosmos giving us another chance to get the point of what happened long ago, in order to inform a more productive present and future.

Jude

Surgeon in ER insists 2 gunmen shot JFK
Doctor first to see Kennedy’s wound

by Michael A. Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
October 18, 2013
http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/surgeon-in-er-insists-2-gunmen-shot-jfk-708042/#ixzz2i7oqfZFw

A surgeon who half a century ago was among the doctors who tried to save President John F. Kennedy’s life said Thursday that the Warren Commission got it wrong in determining a lone gunman assassinated JFK in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Speaking via teleconference to a Duquesne University symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination, Robert N. McClelland said he was the first doctor in Parkland Hospital’s Trauma Room One to notice the massive wound in the back of Kennedy’s skull and that a trauma of that size had to be an exit wound.

“The whole right side of his skull was gone. I could look inside his skull cavity. Obviously, it was a mortal wound,” he told a spellbound audience of legal, medical, forensic and investigative experts and the public who packed the university’s Power Ballroom.

Dr. McClelland, now 83 and professor emeritus at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said that because it was an exit wound, it logically followed that it had been fired from in front of the president’s limousine. And, in turn, that meant a second gunman was involved in the assassination, contradicting the Warren Commission’s finding that there was but one assassin.

The Warren Commission determined that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he fired three times with a high-powered rifle on the president’s motorcade in Dealey Plaza from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. The commission said that one bullet missed, another went through the president’s neck and also wounded Texas Gov. John Connolly — the so-called “single bullet theory” — and the third caused the fatal head wound.
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Bradley Edward Manning, improbable hero


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The prosecution has rested in the sentencing case against Brad Manning, who will probably sit out the rest of his life in prison. Gratefully, the worst of the charges — aiding the enemy — was tossed by the judge but he still faces 90 years or more for leaking classified information.

And despite all the testimony about how the leaks put the rest of the worlds nose out of joint with the good old US of A, there is no evidence that anyone perished due to the material. The US got a black eye — it deserved one.

History shows us what happens to those who offer up information being kept from us, information that we are reluctant to accept. It ain’t always pretty. It’s an ethical failing on the part of humans, this business of “killing the messenger,” but there it is. We don’t want to look in the mirror and see warts — and those who “handle” us, manipulating to serve their own purposes, do everything they can to keep those warts covered and that reflection “doctored.”

It wasn’t Brad Manning’s brain that told him it would be a great idea to let fly with so much truth — he followed his heart and, I believe, his soul path. He’s a hero, and one that will undoubtedly pay a scapegoats price.

Uncomfortable truths, lest we forget them, below, and a link to Jimmy Carter’s comments on Eric Snowden, soundly ignored by MSM.

Jude

Top 10 Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World
Juan Cole, Informed Comment
02 August 13

Bradley Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that his leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what he revealed and that his revelations changed the world are undeniable.

Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.
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Institutional capitalism is done, put a fork in it


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No “pure” -ism ever worked indefinitely: communism, socialism, and certainly not capitalism which is based on the impossibility of continual growth of both resource and markets. Only those nations that have created a blend of -ism’s succeed for long. As the system fails, with or without dramatic pause, we need a new vision for economic sustainability.

Quoting from Capitalism in Crisis: Our Opportunity for a New System:

    As Buckminster Fuller says, “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” There is a simple truth: that every system does what it is designed to do. If a different outcome is desired, then the system must be changed. This is true with the current economic system, which is rooted in capitalism and which has been expanded globally through neoliberal economic policies.

So, from the ‘extraction economy’ to the ‘restoration economy’ — here are weekend reads to lift you, intrigue you, inform you, encourage you.

The first piece grabs the imagination and activates the heart, pure pleasure to read. Read it twice.

The next gives us some homework for activism in favor of (my two favorite) ethical economic candidates for the Fed. Then a link to look at money differently, and after that, you’ll find links to excellent articles, YouTube’s and resources for changing our experience of the world.

It’s time. Happy reading.

Jude

Bhutan’s model of Gross National Happiness
a glorious goal for modern society
Sister Joan Chittister, From Where I Stand – NCR
7/25/13

The first road sign I saw in Bhutan read: Start early/Drive slowly/Arrive safely. I knew instantly this place and this trip was going to be different.

Bhutan is a country so small — fewer than 1 million people live there — that, tucked between China to the north and India to the south, it is very easy to miss. But this little country is having more and more impact on the rest of the world every day.

There’s something about being confronted by the obvious in the midst of the unquestionable, however, that makes a person rethink all of life in the process. I know that’s true because it just happened to me. In Bhutan I saw what obviously could be start to eclipse what is now unquestionable in society as we know it.

What has become obvious and unquestionable in a world of superpowers and global systems is that small nations have little weight to add to the scales of more modern and powerful nations. And yet what is astounding is the fact that one of the smallest countries on the planet — the tiny monarchical democracy of Bhutan — may very well be developing a great deal of international influence.

In June, the Global Peace Initiative of Women convened a body of religious leaders and professional scholars to study a recent declaration of the king and government of Bhutan. In Bhutan, the Parliament has declared, the GNP — the Gross National Product by which the wealth of a nation is measured — has been abandoned. In its place, the government has defined the achievement of Gross National Happiness as their new standard of success. They have, in other words, chosen a spiritual rather an economic metric of achievement.
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