Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A Victory for Election Integrity against Race-baiting Ballot Box Stuffers




A Victory for Election Integrity

Posted By Matthew Vadum On June 26, 2013

In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down part of the Voting Rights Act that gave the race-baiting ballot box stuffers of the Left a distinct advantage in federal elections.

The court opinion in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, is essentially an official finding from the highest court in the land that America is not the racist swamp of leftist myth.

The court finally recognized that the anti-discrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act, which gave the federal government a veto over changes in state election laws, may have been needed when the law was enacted in 1965, but no longer.

Catherine Engelbrecht, president of Houston-based True the Vote, a good government group, praised the decision:

For decades, voters in various states, counties and boroughs have been punished for the sins others committed in a bygone era. Washington has treated whole segments of this nation as guilty until proven innocent. Ideological bureaucrats have used this law to exact a form of racial justice on their presumed enemies while ignoring the country's demands for basic election integrity measures. Thankfully, the Court stripped Washington of a power that was only being used as a weapon today.

J. Christian Adams described the court opinion, which clears the way for enforcement of much-needed state-level voter ID laws, as "one of the most important decisions in decades."

In terms of how the game of politics is played in this country, he's right.

The Voting Rights Act is what unscrupulous Attorney General Eric Holder used to block states from implementing voter ID laws aimed at combating election fraud. The Left relies on fraud to win closely contested elections.

Section 5 of the statute relegated states and localities to second-class status by presuming they were too corrupt and racist to administer elections fairly. The section requires state and local governments in certain parts of the nation to get approval from the Justice Department or a federal court – called pre-clearance – before making changes in their voting procedures. Changes can include anything from moving a polling place to changing district lines in a county. The way the law is interpreted even lowly bond referendums in affected areas require pre-clearance.

The section requires a state, county, or local government entity to demonstrate to federal authorities that the voting change in question does not have a racially discriminatory purpose and is not "retrogressive," which means that it will not make minority voters worse off than they were prior to the change.

Before the high court ruling, elections in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia were subject to pre-clearance. Section 5 also covered various counties across the nation: four in California; five in Florida; three in New York (all within New York City); 40 in North Carolina; and two in South Dakota. It covered two townships in Michigan and 10 townships in New Hampshire.

Congress approved the statute months after the nation witnessed Alabama state troopers attacking civil rights marchers in Selma in March 1965. Lawmakers reasoned it was needed because many state and local officials routinely discriminated against black Americans in the voting process, making it difficult for them to cast their ballots.

Echoing the language of the Fifteenth Amendment, the Act forbade states from enacting any "voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color." Congress gained the power to abolish the imposition of poll taxes in federal elections when the Twenty-Fourth Amendment was ratified in January 1964.

Section 4 of the Act laid down the criteria under which offending states and political subdivisions were covered by the statute. Initially, the section covered jurisdictions that had maintained "a test or device" as a prerequisite to voting as of Nov. 1, 1964, and had under 50 percent voter registration or turnout in the 1964 presidential election. "Such tests or devices included literacy and knowledge tests, good moral character requirements, the need for vouchers from registered voters, and the like," according to the court opinion.

Congress reauthorized the law in 1970 and 1975, tinkering with the criteria used in Section 4. By 1975 the formula was ensnaring jurisdictions that had a voting test and under 50 percent voter registration or turnout as of 1972. That was the last time Congress updated the formula. In 2006, more than 40 years after voting tests were banned, Congress reauthorized the legislation for 25 years — with its outdated formula intact.

But Section 4 outgrew its usefulness in the eyes of the court. According to the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision, the court took action because in 2006 Congress "reenacted a formula based on 40-year-old facts having no logical relation to the present day."

Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.

The ruling recognizes that widespread systematic voting discrimination is a distant memory. Today black Americans fully participate in the democratic process by voting, running for, and winning elective office at every level of government up to and including the highest office in the land.

But this is bad news for the race industry which thrives on making mountains out of molehills.

Predictably, leftist demagogues and community organizers across the fruited plain are howling now that a key tool they used to frustrate electoral integrity efforts has been taken away.

Racial arsonist and MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton spoke of the court ruling as if the Jim Crow laws of the Old South were still in effect. The decision is "a devastating blow to Americans, particularly African-Americans, who are now at the mercy of state governments." He angrily promised to mobilize his supporters to counteract the ruling.

Of course Congress may revisit the legislation and establish a new formula under Section 4. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) has reportedly vowed to lead the charge to "fix" the legislation.

Adams, bestselling author of Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department, said it's unlikely Section 4 will get fixed:

[T]he Supreme Court left almost no room to "fix" anything. Only in "exceptional circumstances" may the federal government have power to preclear state-election law changes. "Exceptional circumstances" is a term pulled from the jurisprudence to describe conditions blacks faced in 1964. Anyone with any sense knows those days are gone. Congressional Republicans should ignore the inevitable slurs from the racialist Left and find better things to do besides "fix" a law that the Supreme Court has found to be mostly unfixable and which has upset the constitutional order for the last couple of decades.

In the polarized current Congress, odds are much will be said about "fixing" the antiquated Voting Rights Act but not much will actually get done. Gridlock, in this case, may help to save the Republic.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.


Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com

URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2013/matthew-vadum/a-victory-for-election-integrity/

 



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FBI yanks ‘Faces of Global Terrorism’ bus ads because of Muslim outrage!





BareNakedIslam posted: "FBI removes advertisements featuring Muslim terrorists from buses in Seattle after Muslims and Leftists complained that they stereotyped Muslims. KING5 News (h/t Sharon D)  The ads, which began running this month in connection with a State Department pro"

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

FBI yanks 'Faces of Global Terrorism' bus ads because of Muslim outrage!

by BareNakedIslam

FBI removes advertisements featuring Muslim terrorists from buses in Seattle after Muslims and Leftists complained that they stereotyped Muslims. KING5 News (h/t Sharon D)  The ads, which began running this month in connection with a State Department program, features pictures of 16 men wanted around the globe for terrorist activities below the words: "Faces of Global Terrorism." […]

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BareNakedIslam | June 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Categories: EnemyWithin-American | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-V5I

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Well, well, looks like Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi WAS directly involved with the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans





BareNakedIslam posted: " According to a Libyan intelligence document, the Muslim Brotherhood, including Egyptian President Morsi, were involved in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, where several Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Lib"

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

Well, well, looks like Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi WAS directly involved with the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans

by BareNakedIslam

According to a Libyan intelligence document, the Muslim Brotherhood, including Egyptian President Morsi, were involved in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, where several Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, were killed.  Maybe this is why Barack Hussein Obama has been trying so hard to sweep this […]

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BareNakedIslam | June 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Categories: ISLAMOBAMA | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-V7h

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Mullah Obama sending troops to Egypt to protect Mohamed Morsi’s Islamofascists from the people





BareNakedIslam posted: "In yet another remarkable display of Obama's determination to secure the Middle East for Islamofascists, 400 U.S. troops will reportedly be deployed to Egypt to augment the police force of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. Frontpage Magazine  They will b"

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Mullah Obama sending troops to Egypt to protect Mohamed Morsi's Islamofascists from the people

by BareNakedIslam

In yet another remarkable display of Obama's determination to secure the Middle East for Islamofascists, 400 U.S. troops will reportedly be deployed to Egypt to augment the police force of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. Frontpage Magazine  They will be part of a 13-country force stationed in Egypt in anticipation of anti-Morsi protests, scheduled for June 30th, calling […]

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BareNakedIslam | June 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Categories: ISLAMOBAMA, Military stories | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-V7E

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Obama and Civil Liberties: The Prospect of Four More Years


Obama and Civil Liberties: The Prospect of Four More Years
By Anthony Gregory 
Tuesday October 30, 2012

Most voters prioritize the economy and far behind that comes foreign policy, where both major presidential candidates offer more of the same. One can make arguments that on these important issues, one side is worse than the other. But another important set of issues, those of civil liberties, has gotten much less attention than jobs, health care, or war. This is unfortunate because precedents set today on questions of law enforcement, presidential power, detention policy, surveillance, and the relationship between national-security approaches and due process will forever affect the character of American political culture and its governing institutions. In the very long term, civil liberties issues are as important as any, and in the very short term, they often mean life or death, torture or humane treatment, imprisonment or freedom, for flesh-and-blood individuals.

Focusing on civil liberties issues, one could make a strong case that a second Obama term would be even worse than a Romney presidency. This prospect hinges on two basic factors: what Obama has done so far in the areas of civil liberties, and, just as important, what Obama has done to national discourse.

In practice, Obama has for the most part solidified Bush's extremist detention policies and in some respects gone further. He did officially repudiate torture, but with enough loopholes that the abuses have continued – the beatings and forced feedings at Guantánamo and limited use of renditioning and black sites. The ad hoc Bush policy of indefinite detention became formalized by Obama in May 2009 whe he unveiled his new doctrine of "prolonged detention," and was codified, even for American citizens, in the NDAA he signed this last New Year's eve.

Obama never closed Guantánamo, of course, and he is lying when he says he tried his best, and his followers are foolish or disingenuous to repeat this White House propaganda. Obama could have closed it by executive order, just as Bush created it through executive fiat. And no one forced Obama to block the release of prisoners his administration and the courts already cleared as non-threatening persons. The president's original plan, incidentally, to move the prisoners to the mid-West, was not actually an improvement, for it would have only implanted the Alice-in-Wonderland standards of Gitmo justice here within the United States. What's more, Obama rounded up thousands­even more than Bush ever put in Guantánamo­and put them in the prison facility at Bagram, where due process rights were even worse than at Guantánamo under Bush, and where a federal judge's attempt to extend habeas corpus rights was challenged by the administration. In his first military commission, Obama put a child soldier on trial for the "war crime" of fighting against an invading army­an international disgrace.

Warrantless wiretapping? It has been vastly expanded. The tyrannical state secrets doctrine? Obama has given Bush a run for his money. The war on whistleblowers? It has been stepped up.

Then of course there is Obama's " kill list"­a Bush-like legal theory that the Obama administration has frighteningly and explicitly articulated: the presumption that the president, on his say-so alone, can order the death of any person, even an American citizen, and this his deliberation over the decision alone constitutes "due process."

Bush's other obnoxious and ludicrous invasions of person and property in the name of stopping terror, like the TSA, have only gotten worse, as have the FBI crackdowns of peaceful political dissidents. On the Patriot Act and the claimed authority of the president to start wars completely unilaterally, the Obama administration has proven at least as bad as the Republicans.

Then we can consider the more mundane civil liberties issues that are not as directly connected to the war on terrorism. The militarization of police and the use of drones domestically have accelerated. As it concerns immigration, Obama has deported undocumented workers at a far faster rate than Bush­over a thousand per day­and the percentage who have no criminal record has actually risen on his watch. On the drug war, Obama violated an easy campaign promise, one that even most Republicans could get behind­ceasing the federal raids of medical marijuana dispensaries where states allow them to legally operate. Under Obama, the raids have escalated by a factor of eight.

All the while, Obama's defenders claim that these injustices occur despite Obama's best of intentions, not because of his direct action. He's just the president; he can't make law on his own, we are told.

This is all a bunch of hogwash. The president is supposedly limited by the Constitution, but this has never stopped Obama or past presidents from acting unilaterally on a whole host of issues. If Obama can slightly reform immigration by executive order, as he did several months ago, he could easily go further. He could order that the marijuana raids stop. He could pardon medical marijuana patients convicted of federal crimes. He could close Guantánamo­ instead he issues orders that make conditions worse for the detainees there. At a minimum, Obama could refrain from blocking the release of innocent people.

The craven apologia we get from Obama's partisans speak to the second reason the Democrat might be worse than the Republican on these issues­Obama has marginalized civil libertarians in this country, and made the mainstream left stop prioritizing these issues. We saw this with the progressive bloggers who stopped prioritizing the war on terrorism and started focusing on health care in 2009. We saw this with the Democratic National Convention, which abandoned civil liberties issues from its platform this year.

The overall climate has gotten much worse on these issues. When the current president took office, the American people were tired of Bush's fearmongering. The calls to close Guantánamo sounded on both sides of the mainstream spectrum. In 2009, polls indicated that 68% of Americans opposed indefinite detention. Similar polls revealed widespread opposition to torture.

Under Obama, who has signed off on so many Bush-era violations of civil liberties, public opinion has shifted for the worse. Americans favor torture by far higher margins than throughout the Bush years. Then there was the Washington Post poll released early this year:

The survey shows that 70 percent of respondents approve of Obama's decision to keep open the prison at Guantanamo Bay. . . . The poll shows that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats ­ and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats ­ support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed.

Left-liberals who have decided that innocent people locked in Obama's dungeons don't count as much as beating the Republicans deserve some of the blame, but so do the conservatives who disingenuously or perhaps just ignorantly attack Obama for doing the opposite of what he's actually done. They say he's coddling terrorists with due process and being weak on illegal immigrants. None of this is true at all, and the conservatives' ideological support for the police state will be a problem no matter who is president.

But the left-liberals have dropped the ball totally, and many have become apologists for the worst Bush-era excesses. When populist anger about the TSA rose, far too many progressives saw it as Tea Party opportunism and so sided with the administration. When Obama suggested a show trial for Khalid-Sheikh Muhammed in New York, too many progressives defended this as though it would be substantially more just than the show trials at Guantánamo. When Obama blamed the out-of-power right or his comrades in Congress for keeping Guantánamo open, too many lefties have gone along with this obviously dishonest excuse.

All modern presidents have been terrible on civil liberties. But Obama has done as much to build on his predecessor's awful record as Bush did to build upon Clinton's. Meanwhile, these issues of human rights have become non-issues, because left-liberals would rather defend Obama's presumably great domestic economic policies than criticize him for his kill list, kangaroo courts, and dungeons.

Mitt "double Guantánamo" Romney has no apparent philosophical objection to the Bush-Obama police state, to militarized law enforcement, to a president with truly despotic authority. Neither does Obama. Romney could very well prove to be worse in practice, but at least he'd run the risk of people noticing. At least the debate over civil liberties would return. At least half the country would no longer see the arrest of sick marijuana patients, the mass deportation of poor migrants, the targeted summary execution of American citizens, and the torture of whistleblowers as unfortunate but necessary evils for which the president only deserves some blame. Instead, the blame would fall directly where it belongs: on the man sitting in the Oval Office.

I could never recommend supporting Romney, who I think would take this country further down the path of deficit spending, corporatism, fiscal insanity, militarism, and Big Brotherism. But I think anyone concerned about civil liberties in particular should refuse to support the continuation of the current regime. Progressives concerned about the future of their party should be especially cautious. The Democrats will permanently be the party of the kill list and indefinite detention if Obama wins this referendum.

http://blog.independent.org/2012/10/30/obama-and-civil-liberties-the-prospect-of-four-more-years/#sthash.HIwn5gbP.dpuf

A Lead Trial Balloon: “John Bolton for President!”


A Lead Trial Balloon: "John Bolton for President!"
Written by Gary North on June 25, 2013

John who?

John Bolton is famous mainly for his moustache.

Among neo-cons, he is famous as a war hawk.

On the National Review site, there is a brief article explaining that Bolton is being encouraged by unnamed conservatives to run for President in 2016. The article reports this as if it were anything but a variation of " Stassen for President." This indicates just how far removed from reality National Review is.

The unnamed conservatives at least are smart enough not to get identified with this Don Quixote-like crusade.

The last time a man was elected President who had not been a governor, a senator, a Vice President, or a four-star general was in 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected. That did not work out well for Republicans.

John Bolton has no political experience, no power base, no name recognition, and no political action committee. Other than this, he is a bright hope at National Review.

Bolton would have to raise a million dollars just to become a dark horse.

If Bolton is neo-conservatism's great white hope for keeping the conservatives amused through the expansion of empire, then things are not as bad as we might think.

John Bolton makes Lindsey Graham look like a shoe-in.

Continue Reading on www.nationalreview.com

http://teapartyeconomist.com/2013/06/25/a-lead-trial-balloon-john-bolton-for-president/#ixzz2XEW6huJo

What We Have Learned From Afghanistan


What We Have Learned From Afghanistan
by Rep. Ron Paul, June 24, 2013

Last week the Taliban opened an office in Doha, Qatar with the US government's blessing. They raised the Taliban flag at the opening ceremony and referred to Afghanistan as the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" – the name they used when they were in charge before the US attack in 2001.

The US had meant for the Taliban office in Doha to be only a venue for a new round of talks on an end to the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban opening looked very much like a government in exile. The Karzai government was annoyed that the US and the Taliban had scheduled talks without even notifying Kabul. Karzai's government felt as irrelevant to negotiations on post-war Afghanistan as they soon will be on the ground. It seemed strangely like Paris in 1968, where the US met with North Vietnamese representatives to negotiate a way out of that war, which claimed nearly 60,000 Americans and many times that number of Vietnamese lives.

For years many of us had argued the need to get out of Afghanistan. To end the fighting, the dying, the destruction, the nation-building. To end the foolish fantasy that we were building a Western-style democracy there. We cannot leave, we were told for all those years. If we leave Afghanistan now, the Taliban will come back! Well guess what, after 12 years, trillions of dollars, more than 2,200 Americans killed, and perhaps more than 50,000 dead Afghan civilians and fighters, the Taliban is coming back anyway!

The long US war in Afghanistan never made any sense in the first place. The Taliban did not attack the US on 9/11. The Authorization for the use of force that we passed after the attacks of 9/11 said nothing about a decade-long occupation of Afghanistan. But unfortunately two US presidents have taken it to mean that they could make war anywhere at any time they please. Congress, as usual, did nothing to rein in the president, although several Members tried to repeal the authorization.

Afghanistan brought the Soviet Union to its knees. We learned nothing from it.

We left Iraq after a decade of fighting and the country is in far worse shape than when we attacked in 2003. After trillions of dollars wasted and tens of thousands of lives lost, Iraq is a devastated, desperate, and violent place with a presence of al Qaeda. No one in his right mind speaks of a US victory in Iraq these days. We learned nothing from it.

We are leaving Afghanistan after 12 years with nothing to show for it but trillions of dollars wasted and thousands of lives lost. Afghanistan is a devastated country with a weak, puppet government – and now we negotiate with those very people we fought for those 12 years, who are preparing to return to power! Still we learn nothing.

Instead of learning from these disasters brought about by the interventionists and their failed foreign policy, the president is now telling us that we have to go into Syria!

US Army Col. Harry Summers told a story about a meeting he had with a North Vietnamese colonel named Tu while he visiting Hanoi in 1975. At the meeting, Col. Summers told Tu, "You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield." Tu paused for a moment, then replied, "That may be so. But it is also irrelevant."

Sadly, that is the story of our foreign policy. We have attacked at least five countries since 9/11. We have launched drones against many more. We have deposed several dictators and destroyed several foreign armies. But, looking around at what has been achieved, it is clear: it is all irrelevant.

http://original.antiwar.com/paul/2013/06/23/what-we-have-learned-from-afghanistan/

Global Warming Propaganda’s Last-Ditch Effort Week


Global Warming Propaganda's Last-Ditch Effort Week
Written by Gary North on June 24, 2013

This week, President Obama is planning a speech on global warming, which ceased 17 years ago. He plans to revive the obviously comatose movement, just as he planned to ram gun control legislation down Congress's unwilling throat earlier this year.

As part of this campaign, he sent John Kerry to India, where Kerry scolded India for not doing more to impose restrictions on its economy. He assured Indian officials that what the world's economy needs to get economic growth by means of a massive international government program to raise the cost of energy. Indian officials, being polite, ignored him.

Kerry then mentioned the recent devastating flooding in India, claiming that Mother Nature is trying to tell us ­ meaning India ­ something. The region has experienced such flooding for thousands of years, but Kerry thought he would score political points as an outsider by blaming the flooding on the Indian government's unwillingness to pass the global warmers' agenda of cutting economic growth in order to save the planet from a problem ­ global warming ­ when this warming ceased 17 years ago.

The campaign is visibly dead. It has been dead ever since late 2009. The global warming propaganda machine suffered a major defeat in November of 2009, when hackers stole thousands of emails and documents from Great Britain's #1 global warming propaganda center. These documents showed that the people running the Climate Research Unit had pressured professional journals to get out their message and suppress rival views.

Then the hackers released the documents. That torpedoed the Great Leap Forward meeting in Copenhagen three weeks later. National leaders canceled their scheduled appearances at Copenhagen.

It was all over but the shouting. Global warming propaganda cooled. The movement stalled. The world shrugged, and nothing has gotten the machine back on track.

President Obama will find that Congress will do nothing to implement his plans. India will do the same: nothing.

The global warmers thought they could cover up their lack of evidence of any global warming by shifting the movement's name to "climate change." It hasn't worked.

Nothing has worked. The Kyoto Treaty of 1992 has no teeth. The world's political leaders are still dragging their feet on implementing it. The Copenhagen meeting was supposed to put teeth in Kyoto. What few teeth it had got knocked out by the hackers.

The USA never ratified the treaty. Canada did, but it pulled out in 2011. There is no enforcement mechanism.

Interest has cooled. John Kerry's speech will not change this fact. Neither will Obama's.

Continue Reading on www.globalpost.com

http://teapartyeconomist.com/2013/06/24/global-warning-propagandas-last-ditch-effort-week/#ixzz2XEWh5GZG

On the Espionage Act charges against Edward Snowden


On the Espionage Act charges against Edward Snowden
Who is actually bringing 'injury to America': those who are secretly building a massive surveillance system or those who inform citizens that it's being done?
Glenn Greenwald
Saturday 22 June 2013

The US government has charged Edward Snowden with three felonies, including two under the Espionage Act, the 1917 statute enacted to criminalize dissent against World War I. My priority at the moment is working on our next set of stories, so I just want to briefly note a few points about this.

Prior to Barack Obama's inauguration, there were a grand total of three prosecutions of leakers under the Espionage Act (including the prosecution of Dan Ellsberg by the Nixon DOJ). That's because the statute is so broad that even the US government has largely refrained from using it. But during the Obama presidency, there are now seven such prosecutions: more than double the number under all prior US presidents combined. How can anyone justify that?

For a politician who tried to convince Americans to elect him based on repeated pledges of unprecedented transparency and specific vows to protect "noble" and "patriotic" whistleblowers, is this unparalleled assault on those who enable investigative journalism remotely defensible? Recall that the New Yorker's Jane Mayer said recently that this oppressive climate created by the Obama presidency has brought investigative journalism to a "standstill", while James Goodale, the General Counsel for the New York Times during its battles with the Nixon administration, wrote last month in that paper that "President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom." Read what Mayer and Goodale wrote and ask yourself: is the Obama administration's threat to the news-gathering process not a serious crisis at this point?

Few people - likely including Snowden himself - would contest that his actions constitute some sort of breach of the law. He made his choice based on basic theories of civil disobedience: that those who control the law have become corrupt, that the law in this case (by concealing the actions of government officials in building this massive spying apparatus in secret) is a tool of injustice, and that he felt compelled to act in violation of it in order to expose these official bad acts and enable debate and reform.

But that's a far cry from charging Snowden, who just turned 30 yesterday, with multiple felonies under the Espionage Act that will send him to prison for decades if not life upon conviction. In what conceivable sense are Snowden's actions "espionage"? He could have - but chose not - sold the information he had to a foreign intelligence service for vast sums of money, or covertly passed it to one of America's enemies, or worked at the direction of a foreign government. That is espionage. He did none of those things.

What he did instead was give up his life of career stability and economic prosperity, living with his long-time girlfriend in Hawaii, in order to inform his fellow citizens (both in America and around the world) of what the US government and its allies are doing to them and their privacy. He did that by very carefully selecting which documents he thought should be disclosed and concealed, then gave them to a newspaper with a team of editors and journalists and repeatedly insisted that journalistic judgments be exercised about which of those documents should be published in the public interest and which should be withheld.

That's what every single whistleblower and source for investigative journalism, in every case, does - by definition. In what conceivable sense does that merit felony charges under the Espionage Act?

The essence of that extremely broad, century-old law is that one is guilty if one discloses classified information "with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation". Please read this rather good summary in this morning's New York Times of the worldwide debate Snowden has enabled - how these disclosures have "set off a national debate over the proper limits of government surveillance" and "opened an unprecedented window on the details of surveillance by the NSA, including its compilation of logs of virtually all telephone calls in the United States and its collection of e-mails of foreigners from the major American Internet companies, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and Skype" - and ask yourself: has Snowden actually does anything to bring "injury to the United States", or has he performed an immense public service?

The irony is obvious: the same people who are building a ubiquitous surveillance system to spy on everyone in the world, including their own citizens, are now accusing the person who exposed it of "espionage". It seems clear that the people who are actually bringing "injury to the United States" are those who are waging war on basic tenets of transparency and secretly constructing a mass and often illegal and unconstitutional surveillance apparatus aimed at American citizens - and those who are lying to the American people and its Congress about what they're doing - rather than those who are devoted to informing the American people that this is being done.

The Obama administration leaks classified information continuously. They do it to glorify the President, or manipulate public opinion, or even to help produce a pre-election propaganda film about the Osama bin Laden raid. The Obama administration does not hate unauthorized leaks of classified information. They are more responsible for such leaks than anyone.

What they hate are leaks that embarrass them or expose their wrongdoing. Those are the only kinds of leaks that are prosecuted. It's a completely one-sided and manipulative abuse of secrecy laws. It's all designed to ensure that the only information we as citizens can learn is what they want us to learn because it makes them look good. The only leaks they're interested in severely punishing are those that undermine them politically. The "enemy" they're seeking to keep ignorant with selective and excessive leak prosecutions are not The Terrorists or The Chinese Communists. It's the American people.

The Terrorists already knew, and have long known, that the US government is doing everything possible to surveil their telephonic and internet communications. The Chinese have long known, and have repeatedly said, that the US is hacking into both their governmental and civilian systems (just as the Chinese are doing to the US). The Russians have long known that the US and UK try to intercept the conversations of their leaders just as the Russians do to the US and the UK.

They haven't learned anything from these disclosures that they didn't already well know. The people who have learned things they didn't already know are American citizens who have no connection to terrorism or foreign intelligence, as well as hundreds of millions of citizens around the world about whom the same is true. What they have learned is that the vast bulk of this surveillance apparatus is directed not at the Chinese or Russian governments or the Terrorists, but at them.

And that is precisely why the US government is so furious and will bring its full weight to bear against these disclosures. What has been "harmed" is not the national security of the US but the ability of its political leaders to work against their own citizens and citizens around the world in the dark, with zero transparency or real accountability. If anything is a crime, it's that secret, unaccountable and deceitful behavior: not the shining of light on it.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/22/snowden-espionage-charges

Edward Snowden, A Modern Paul Revere


Edward Snowden, A Modern Paul Revere
The authoritarians are coming! Indeed, they are already here…
by Justin Raimondo, June 24, 2013

Edward Snowden's hegira – from the beaches of Hawaii to the teeming metropolis of Hong Kong, and then on to Russia and ultimately Ecuador ( as of this writing) – dramatizes the decline and fall of the American republic in ways historians will look back on as emblematic of our era. As a lone individual makes fools out of bumbling US government officials, outmaneuvering them at every turn, defenders of the regime– let's call them Regimists – are frantic. While Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian newspaper are pulling back the curtain on the Surveillance State, the Regimists are rallying around some very revealing talking points, one of which is that the countries Snowden has sought refuge in are hardly bastions of civil liberties. Hong Kong, an autonomous region of Not-so-Red China, Russia (every good neocon and neoliberal knows Putin = Stalin), and now – eeek! – Ecuador, which is being cast as another Venezuela. In response to these developments, Ken Roth, head of "Human Rights Watch," tweeted:

"Snowden's # Ecuador is limiting asylum rights http://trib.al/goW5gcS and criminalizing journalists who harm security."

No sooner had Snowden's plane touched down on Russian soil then Roth retweeted this pearl of wisdom from one of his "human rights" buddies:

"Edward Snowden, martyr for online freedom and privacy, now passing thru Moscow? Say hi to Alexei Navalny while you're there."

As one Twitter wit quipped:

"Seems @KenRoth is following Snowden around the world, blasting HR in every country his plane is landing."

Your check is in the mail, Ken.

I hope that check isn't over two figures, however, since this particular talking point only underscores the arguments Snowden, and civil libertarians in the US, have been making: that the creation of a secret police state apparatus represents a fork in the road for the United States. Snowden said his motive was to make it possible for the American people to decide whether the Surveillance State is what they want – and that they couldn't do this unless they knew what was going on behind their backs.

Aside from the absurdity of criticizing someone who is merely passing through a country that isn't exactly a libertarian utopia, fleeing a threat to his freedom and possibly his life, the fact of the matter is that there aren't any free countries left in the world – not with the US falling rapidly (and secretly) into authoritarianism.

It is a "soft" version, to be sure, at least for the moment. But the baring of authoritarian teeth was visible this [Sunday] morning, when the journalist who broke the Snowden story, Glenn Greenwald, appeared on "Meet the Press." Host David Gregory assumed the tone of a Justice Department prosecutor when he sternly asked:

"To the extent that you have aided and abetted Edward Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"

To this onscreen transformation of a supposed "journalist" into the Grand Inquisitor, Greenwald responded:

"I think it's pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies."

Well, yes, it is extraordinary, but I think we should all be getting used to it pretty soon. And it's not like there's no precedent: I recall the Weekly Standard demanding the prosecution of the New York Times for revealing the Bush administration's hand in pioneering the eavesdropping system the Obamaites have perfected, with other conservative "journalists" joining the chorus. But this used to be the kind of thing only neocons would say out loud – now the " liberals" have appropriated the neocons' rhetorical style as well as their intelligence-gathering methods.

It was clear what Gregory was doing: letting the journalistic mask slip for a moment, and assuming his real role as the Voice of the Powers That Be, he was issuing a direct threat on behalf of his government sources – We're gonna get you, punk!

I wouldn't be at all surprised if they tried: Gregory, with his sources in officialdom, may have been alerted to the possibility. As Glenn pointed out, the Obama administration has proffered the "legal" theory that a Fox News journalist who worked with a source inside the government is a "co-conspirator" and therefore a felon: even David Axelrod, the President's own chief political advisor, confessed he found this "disturbing."

Let's be clear about what the stakes are in this fight: the US government has been busy setting up a comprehensive database that contains vital information on everyone in the country: they can call up your phone calls, your online activities, your movements – anything and everything about you.

Oh, but we aren't looking at any of this "content," they cry: it's just "meta-data" we're collecting. Anyone who believes that vast treasure trove of potentially incriminating information isn't going to be used to the political advantage of whatever faction has access to it at the moment is living in world of illusion. This is the kind of thing the old KGB would've loved to get their hands on: the idea of tracking the " social networks" that might sow the seeds of subversion is an authoritarian's dream come true. The belief that this could never happen here is what the myth of "American exceptionalism" is all about: we are somehow inherently inoculated against the toxic totalitarianism that poisons civil society in much of the rest of the world. History, however, refutes that conceit.

As McClatchy News reports, the Obama administration – already surpassing all previous administrations combined in their relentless prosecution of whistle-blowers – is cracking down hard within the government to make information of all kinds unavailable to the public, including the press. Tyranny percolates best in the dark, especially when the transition from a constitutional republic to democratic despotism is still in process. And we are right at that conjuncture when it's still possible to stop it – which is why we're getting a virtually united bipartisan Establishment pushing back hard against Snowden, Greenwald, and those who support them.

They have revoked Snowden's passport – a typically totalitarian tactic against political dissidents, long practiced by the Soviet Union and the US during the cold war era – and my guess is that they will stop at nothing to discredit him, using methods straight out of the old KGB playbook. Consider what Snowden has told us about the ability of NSA "analysts" to penetrate the lives of anyone they choose to target, " even the President if I had a personal email." Snowden is no exception to this rule: they have a dossier on him, you can be sure, and there is nothing preventing them from handing out the juicy details (if there are any) to their favored "journalists."

In readying the population for quasi-authoritarian rule, our rulers have constructed an elaborate technological and "legal" machinery that implements and rationalizes what is in effect a "legal" coup d'etat. Snowden, however, has upended their plans by impeding the most vitally important element of the coup: getting Americans to go along with the program. The Bush administration thought they could do it by stealth and fear, and the Obamaites are pursuing that path with even greater determination than Dick Cheney ever showed. Just as they were on the brink of achieving their goal, however, one man – a modern day Paul Revere – sounded the alarm and wakened the American people to the danger they face.

In doing so, Snowden has made himself into a sacrificial offering on the altar of the Leviathan, bearing the entire burden on his own shoulders and suffering so that we might be free. Was there ever a nobler act performed in defense of our old republic? If so, I haven't heard of it.

On January 11, 2011, Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian fruit vendor, set himself on fire in front of the city hall in his village in protest against harassment he'd endured at the hands of authorities, who were preventing him from selling at the marketplace without a government license. His self-immolation set off a firestorm of protest that soon spread to much of the Arab world, toppling US-backed tyrants such as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak: the seismic power of the "Arab Spring" is still shaking the region. My question is this: could Edward Snowden be our Mohamed Bouazizi, setting off a popular protest against the consolidation of a police state in America?

While inside Mordor Washington Snowden is being vilified, out here in the cornfields he's a hero – and his deft maneuvering to get away from the long arm of the Leviathan has ordinary people cheering, just as it has the Washington sycophants at the Court of King Obama enraged beyond all measure. There is a powerful movement afoot in the country that resents and even hates these arrogant and very well-heeled parasites, and that anger is just looking for a catalyst to give it full expression. The Snowden revelations, coupled with the threat of yet another – this time, bigger – economic meltdown, could be the sparks that ignite a prairie fire.

Most of our incredibly slow-witted and cowardly politicians don't know what is happening, but I have to hand it to Sen. Rand Paul, the only Washington politician to stand up for Snowden, who gave us a little historical perspective on the big news of the day:

"I do think that when history looks at this, they are going to contrast the behavior of James Clapper, our national intelligence director, with Edward Snowden. Mr. Clapper lied in Congress, in defiance of the law, in the name of security. Mr. Snowden told the truth in the name of privacy. So I think there will be a judgment, because both of them broke the law."

Let history judge, as Soviet dissident Roy Medvedev put it – but be aware that we are writing that history, even as I am writing these words. And if the historians of a future Sovietized – or, rather, Obama-ized – America are assigned this task, you can bet their judgment will be very different from Sen. Paul's. If we lose this battle, future students of history will learn how Edward Snowden, the evil Chinese-Russian agent of influence, "betrayed" his country and made us all less safe from omnipresent terrorists. Indeed, I have little doubt that the next successful terrorist attack in the US will be blamed on Snowden's revelations: officials will argue that the exposure caused the Bad Guys to somehow change their tactics and elude detection. Of course, the Boston Marathon bombing occurred while the Surveillance State was operating in the dark full throttle, but never mind: no prominent figure, except for the saints among them, will dare bring up this point for fear the contents of their government-held dossiers will be "leaked." And you can bet those are the kinds of leaks our wise rulers will be quite relaxed about.

God help us if we don't stop them.

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/06/23/edward-snowden-a-modern-paul-revere/

National-Security State Toadies are Guilty of Hypocrisy on Snowden


National-Security State Toadies are Guilty of Hypocrisy on Snowden
by Jacob G. Hornberger June 21, 2013

One of the most amusing aspects of the NSA scandal has been watching national-security state toadies berate Edward Snowden, the man who blew the whistle on the NSA's longtime secret surveillance system, for being a "coward."

Their rationale?

They say that Snowden should have stayed here in the United States instead of fleeing to Hong Kong. They say that if he were a genuine hero, as his supporters say he is, he would have remained in the United States, where the national-security state would have incarcerated him, tortured him, and executed him.

Oh?

Well, pray tell, national-security state toadies: Where were you all when those CIA agents skedaddled out of Italy after committing felonious offenses in that country?

Well, I don't know where you all were but I can tell you what you were doing. You toadies were keeping your lips sealed. Unlike what you're saying about Snowden, you all have never issued a peep of protest about the refusal of those CIA agents to face the music in Italy, stand before the accusers, and defend themselves against the charges.

Let's review that case. CIA agents go into Italy and ensconce themselves in luxurious hotels at U.S. taxpayer expense. Then they proceed to kidnap a man on the streets of Milan and forcibly transport him out of the country. They  take him to Egypt­yes, the same Egypt that was then headed by military strongman and brutal pro-U.S. dictator Hosni Mubarak. Why Egypt? Because Egypt's military dictatorship was great at torturing people. And the U.S. national-security state wanted the man to be tortured.

What's the problem with kidnapping and torture? Well, only that they're criminal offenses under Italian law, which is precisely why those CIA agents got criminally indicted and later convicted and sentenced to serve time by an Italian court.

By the time charges were brought, however, the CIA agents had fled the country, determined never to return to Italy to face justice.

Why not?

Equally important, why didn't the national-security state toadies who are now calling Edward Snowden a coward say the same thing about those CIA felons?

After all, couldn't those CIA agents have returned to Italy and proudly puffed out their heroic chests and proclaimed,

We are here in Italy to defend ourselves. We are proud members of the U.S. national-security state, the most powerful branch of the U.S. government. In our country, national-security state agents are immune from prosecution for murder, assassination, torture, kidnapping, perjury, or any other felony so long as we are operating to protect "national security." And we, not you or anyone else, decides what that term means. Therefore, you have to dismiss the charges against us or find us innocent because when we kidnapped, renditioned, and tortured that guy, we were doing so to protect "national security."

Alas, they didn't do that. They rushed back to the United States, never to return to Italy.

And the national-security state toadies don't dare say a word.

Moreover, let's not forget the unnamed CIA agents who participated in the execution of the young American journalist Charles Horman during the Pinochet military coup in Chile, which the U.S. national-security state helped to bring about. Those CIA killers of an innocent American citizen certainly have never returned to Chile to face justice. Long ago, they decided that discretion was the better part of valor.

What do the national-security state toadies say about those murderers? Nothing. Nothing at all. While they're screaming like banshees about how Snowden is a coward for refusing to voluntarily return to America to be brutalized, tortured, incarcerated, and executed, their lips are sealed with respect to the CIA agents who murdered American citizen Charles Horman in Chile.

On a related note, what about the Chilean criminal indictment of former national-security state official Navy Capt. Ray E. Davis for purportedly participating in Horman's murder.

Did Davis, who was indicted in 2011, rush back to Chile to face justice? Of course not.

Have the national-security state toadies criticized Davis for "cowardice." Of course not. Their lips have remained sealed about the matter.

What about CIA operative Jose Posada Carriles, who was indicted by the Venezuelan government for the bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner, a terrorist act that killed everyone on board, including the young members of Cuba's fencing team? We don't see him rushing back to Venezuela to face his accusers. Instead, this accused terrorist chooses to remain right here in the United States, where the national-security state continues to harbor and protect him, notwithstanding the existence of an extradition agreement between the United States and Venezuela.

And what about the national-security state toadies regarding Posada Carriles? You guessed it! Sealed lips and silence.

So, why the difference? Why do national-security state toadies call Snowden a coward while maintaining strict silence, or even support, for the national-security state agents who steadfastly refuse to face justice in Italy, Chile, and Venezuela?

The difference lies in the mindset that the toadies have toward the national-security state itself. The national-security state is their everything. It's their god. It's their idol. It's their daddy. It's their Big Brother. So, whatever happens to be the position of the national-security state, that's what the position of the national-security state toadies will be. Since the national-security state wants Snowden to return to the United States to be jailed, tortured, and executed, that's what the national-security state toadies want. Since the national-security state wants to harbor and protect its kidnappers, torturers, and murderers from crimes they've purportedly committed, that too is the position of the toadies.

http://fff.org/2013/06/21/national-security-state-toadies-are-guilty-of-hypocrisy-on-snowden/