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January 2012, Week 2

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Reader Responses and Tidbits - January 9, 2012

* Once again, problems with Earthlink 

*"Can the Labor Movement and Occupy Wall
Street March down the Same Road?"

*Subject: Ron Paul

* Re: NDAA -
response to Will Shortell - Tidbits - Jan. 7, 2012
(Chris Lowe) 

* Re: Obama's Ominous Arming of Despots in
the Gulf -- response to John Case - Tidbits - January
7, 2012 (Will Colwell) 

* Colombia: Former Leftist
Fighter Becomes Bogota Mayor

==========

* Once again, problems with Earthlink

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Moderator

===

*"Can the Labor Movement and Occupy Wall
Street March down the Same Road?"

From: [log in to unmask]

Dear Friend of the Institute:

The Murphy Institute is very pleased to invite you to a
labor breakfast forum exploring a question with broad
implications: "Can the Labor Movement and Occupy Wall
Street March down the Same Road?" The forum,
cosponsored with The Labor Outreach Committee of Occupy
Wall Street, will be held on Friday, January 27, 2012,
from 8:30 to 10:30 AM at the Murphy Institute, CUNY, 25
W.   43rd St.  18th Floor, New York 10036.

Occupy Wall Street's singular achievement has been to
inject the issue of concentrated wealth and inequality
into the heart of the national debate, something the
labor movement has tried but largely failed to do for
many years.  While unions were one of its earliest
supporters, and share some of its ideals, the two
movements are also markedly different.  For one, Occupy
Wall Street is inherently anti-capitalist. And, unlike
unions, it makes a point of not having a set of demands
or a defined leadership.  So how do these two movements
view each other? What has been their working
relationship so far?  Are their strategies and tactics
compatible, especially related to organizing?

===

*Subject: Ron Paul
From: Pastor Britt
Date:  	Mon, 9 Jan 2012 

You forgot to mention his religion (Ayn Randism [he
even named his son for her]) is the firing point for
all you have said but her followers detest Christian
and Jewish teaching on altruism and mercy and the
teachings of Jesus in general.  Ironic the evangelicals
love her and he so much as does the whiTEA Party.
Pastor Britt 

GREAT WORK!!!

===


* Re: NDAA - response to Will Shortell - Tidbits - Jan.
7, 2012

Re: Bill Shortell on NDAA 
Bill Shortell's comment on Katha Pollitt's
piece about Ron Paul is puzzling.  Shortell says there
is nothing in the recently-signed NDAA about indefinite
detention at all.  He refers us first to an erroneous
section of the law (Section 1031) which before final
amendments dealt with indefinite detentions.  Following
amendments, the relevant materials now fall in Section
1021.  They are still in the law.

Moreover, it would seem Shortell should know this,
since he also refers us to the analysis by writers for
the blog Lawfare <
http://www.lawfareblog.com/2011/12/ndaa-faq-a-guide-for
-the- perplexed/ > .  When one reads it, one finds them
explicitly discussing the NDAA's provisions regarding
indefinite detention in Section 1021.  They clearly
believe there is something in the law about it.

The Lawfare perspective is not impressive.  It is
useful for thinking and helps define some issues, but
is overly sanguine about a number of important matters.
 Considering their arguments in conjunction with those
of Glenn Greenwald among others is illuminating.

For instance, in a different blog post they
characterize some issues involving U.S. citizens and
the potential undermining of posse comitatus laws
against use of the military for law enforcement inside
the U.S. as "moot" as long as Barack Obama is president
because the administration as a policy choice chooses
not to exercise the liberty- threatening powers the law
purports to afford the president. Putting aside the
obvious issue that Obama may not be in office a year
and a dozen days from now, even Obama may change his
policy, and Lawfare appears to agree that this is a
matter of presidential policy choice, not fundamental
civil rights and liberties, and to think that's okay. 
The fact that this problem is not exclusive to the NDAA
does not mean it is not a problem in the NDAA or that
the NDAA does not make it worse -- and it does.

There are other similar issues of Lawfare doing a lot
of hand-waving to obscure what is permitted that is
destructive of human rights and civil liberties by
focusing either on the fact that it is not required or
on other more generous choices that are permitted.  So
for instance they focus on the fact that foreign
detainees might be afforded full U.S. court trials as a
"disposition under the law of war," yet quote but do
not comment on the provisions for extraordinary
rendition of detainees as another permitted
disposition: "Transfer to the custody or control of the
person's country of origin, any other foreign country,
or any other foreign entity."  Foreign entity = secret
police agency, competing armed faction, who knows what
else?

But even Lawfare's analysis does not support Bill
Shortell's claim.  They say this, among other things:

"The final bill is, indeed, far less consequential than
earlier versions would have been. Much of the fuss is
overblown. That said, the bill has several important
elements:

The codification of detention authority in statute is a
significant development, not because it enables
anything that Congress had previously forbidden but
because it puts the legislature squarely behind a set
of policies on which it had always retained a kind of
strategic ambiguity - a tolerance for detention without
a clear endorsement of it of the sort that would make
members accountable. Congress has now given that
endorsement, and that is no small thing. .... The rump
mandatory detention provision remains a bit of a wild
card that could have mischievous effects in practice.
Though it ends up requiring very little, it does impose
- as we have described - a default option of military
detention for certain categories of cases. And this
option might prove politically difficult to jettison."

Shortell is right up to a point:  we should resist and
reject Chicken Little rhetoric suggesting that the NDAA
has created a full blown police state or completely
eviscerated the Bill of Rights, neither of which is
true.

But it is easy to be too sanguine about those matters
too. Lawfare says, correctly, that "No federal statute
can repeal the Bill of Rights."  People who say that
NDAA has done so are just wrong.  We should abjure such
rhetoric and instead assert vigorously that any
statutes that purport to give the president
unconstitutional powers are illegitimate and beyond the
powers of Congress, just as we reject direct
presidential claims of unconstitutional powers.

But Lawfare goes on, "To the extent any provision of
the NDAA is found to conflict with any provision of the
Bill of Rights, it will not survive constitutional
scrutiny."  They don't say "to the extend it
conflicts," because they know that the legal issue is
whether it "is found to conflict" by the current highly
politicized, tendentious and prone-to- over-respect
imperial presidential "authority" Supreme Court.  The
NDAA thus exposes the Bill of Rights to politicized
misinterpretations that might take decades to reverse
(a la Plessey v. Ferguson) even if it doesn't lead by
gradual steps to the kind of police state that would
preclude such challenges.

Fighting those potentials needs political struggles
beyond the courts.

The NDAA is a bad law that caused serious harm and
points the way and opens the door to even greater harm.
 Even when it merely maintains the status quo, in many
cases that status quo is harmful, and extending it
deepens the harm by normalizing it.  The Lawfare
perspective likewise is harmful by contributing to such
normalization of the abnormal and illegitimate.

Chris Lowe Portland, Oregon

==========

* Re: Obama's Ominous Arming of Despots in the Gulf --
response to John Case - Tidbits - January 7, 2012

three things:

1. no where in the Arab world has the Arab democracy
movement succeeded. Tunisia and Egypt are only very
partial exceptions.  The west has nothing to fear from
Arab democracy as it has not happened yet.

2. I can't see much of a difference between Bush and
Obama. When I was in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt in 2009. 
Obama had made quite a positive impression on the Arab
world.  If i had a dollar for everyone that asked me of
my opinion of Obama, I could have financed my trip.
Finally I remember saying to someone not to get their
hopes to much about Obama.  I said flat out to someone
in Cairo: "Obama will be as loyal to Israel as Bush and
ignore the Palestinians. Do not be naive."  A friend
responded "we are not naive.  we just want a more
humane emperor of the world."

3. an article that is trying to explain the military
situation in the MENA region that does not mention
either Russia or Israel or the front-line resistance
movement is very strange.

Break Iran and/or Syria, the US dramatically weakens
Russia. The Russians have 2 navy bases in Syria.  It is
Russia's last entry into the Mediterranean. Iran has
been Armenia's life line. Isolate Armenia by hurting
the Islamic Republic weakens Russia considerably. 
Armenia has been the closet of the former Soviet
Republics in the Caucasus to Russia. Georgia and
Azerbaijan are in NATO's orbit.

The west may hate HAMAS and the rest of the Palestinian
rejection movements and Lebanon's Hizb Allah and its
allies in the March 8th Alliance.  As long as the
resistance is mobilized in Lebanon and Occupied
Palestine, Syria is partially safe from invasion.  To
this day, a few patriots are still fighting in Libya
against NATO and its local forces. If Syria is invaded
there would have to be an inter-regional civil war.  In
Syria, people believe that the resistance movements in
Iraq, Lebanon, and Occupied Palestine are the reason
they have not been invaded by Israel-USA-NATO. Yes
there are rumors of armies being raised in Turkey and
the Sheik-doms on behalf of the US- Israel-NATO
alliance against the Syrian Arab Republic, but the
militias already exist in Lebanon and Iraq to cross the
borders to defend Al Assad's regime and its ethnic
minorities.  At this point, most of the right wing
Christian Maronites of Lebanon would defend Assad and
the Ba'ath. (after all they know what happened the
Christians of Iraq) The Sheik-doms would fight on the
side of the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The arming of the Saudis and the rest of the GCC
sheik-doms is not just about weakening the democracy
movement in Yemen or Bahrain.  The arming of the Gulf
regimes is a part of the preparation for the final goal
of the Americans: total domination of the region for
the next American century. which includes the end of
independent government in Iran and its allies, Syria,
Armenia, March 8th Lebanon, the Palestinians, Iraq's
Shia parties, Yemen's Houthi and the southern
Independence movement.

For the time being, the Saudi Arabia and GCC have the
same class interests as the US. This is being expressed
militarily.

Will Colwell

==========

* Colombia: Former Leftist Fighter Becomes Bogota Mayor

Al Jazeera January 02, 2012

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/3383-former-leftist-fighter-becomes-bogota-mayor-

A former leftist fighter has been sworn in as the new
mayor of Bogota, the second most important political
position in Colombia after the president.

In his first speech on Sunday, Gustavo Petro, 51,
focused on security and new measures to protect
children.

He has implemented a ban on the carrying of guns by
civilians, with the exception of the police and the
army.

In 2011, police records showed at least 1,500 violent
deaths in Bogota.

Petro is an economist who in the past has won seats in
the House of Representatives and the Senate, but who
started his political career in the 1980s as part of
the M-19, or 19th of April Movement.

The leftist armed group was created in response to an
electoral fraud in April 1970, and by 1985 had become
the second largest such group after the FARC.

Petro started peace talks with the Colombian State in
1990 and the M-19 became a political party.

As a congressman and senator, he denounced the links
between paramilitaries and the political elite in
Colombia.

His constant accusations forced the Supreme Court to
open an investigation which ended in the jailing of
more than 60 politicians.

Petro arrives in office at a critical moment. His
predecessor Samuel Moreno, who is now in prison, left a
$1.2bn vacuum in the city's budget and is also accused
of extorting money from businessmen.

==========

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