Congressional Tyranny, White House Surrender

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/15-0

by Ralph Nader
Published on Thursday, December 15, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Paraphrasing Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of Capitol Hill. A majority of Congress is just about to put the finishing touches on an amendment to the military budget authorization legislation that will finish off some critical American rights under our Constitution.

Here is how two retired 4 star marine generals, Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, described in the New York Times the stripmining of your freedom to resist tyranny in urging a veto by President Obama:

“One provision would authorize the military to indefinitely detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including United States citizens apprehended on American soil. Due process would be a thing of the past….

“A second provision would mandate military custody for most terrorism suspects. It would force on the military responsibilities it hasn’t sought”…. “for domestic law enforcement….”

“A third provision would further extend a ban on transfers from Guantanamo, ensuring that this morally and financially expensive symbol of detainee abuse will remain open well into the future.”

All of Obama’s leading military and security officials oppose this codification of the ultimate Big Brother power. Imagine allowing the government to deny people accused of involvement with terrorism (undefined), including U.S. citizens arrested within the United States, the right to a trial by jury. Imagine allowing indefinite imprisonment for those accused without even proffering charges against them. Goodbye 5th and 6th Amendments.

Continue reading at:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/15-0

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights, Fascism, Human Rights. Comments Off on Congressional Tyranny, White House Surrender

There Goes the Republic

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/there_goes_the_republic_20111214/

By Robert Scheer
Posted on Dec 15, 2011

Once again the gods of war have united our Congress like nothing else. Unable to agree on the minimal spending necessary to save our economy, schools, medical system or infrastructure, the cowards who mislead us have retreated to the irrationalities of what George Washington in his farewell address condemned as “pretended patriotism.”

The defense authorization bill that Congress passed and President Obama had threatened to veto will soon become law, a fact that should be met with public outrage. Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, responding to Obama’s craven collapse on the bill’s most controversial provision, said, “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law.” On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed “the most recent changes give the president additional discretion in determining how the law will be implemented, consistent with our values and the rule of law, which are at the heart of our country’s strength.”

What rubbish, coming from a president who taught constitutional law. The point is not to hock our civil liberty to the discretion of the president, but rather to guarantee our freedoms even if a Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich should attain the highest office.

Sadly, this flagrant subversion of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law was opposed in the Senate by only seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul and progressive Independent Bernie Sanders.

That onerous provision of the defense budget bill, much discussed on the Internet but far less so in the mass media, assumes a permanent war against terrorism that extends the battlefield to our homeland. It reeks of a militarized state that threatens the foundations of our republican form of government.

Continue reading at:   http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/there_goes_the_republic_20111214/

Woman Jailed, Ostracized After Resorting to Self-Administered Abortion: What Is This, Puritan America?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/153433/woman_jailed%2C_ostracized_after_resorting_to_self-administered_abortion%3A_what_is_this%2C_puritan_america/

When we deprive women of access to abortion, shun them, and even throw them in jail, we as a society become weaker.

By Amanda Marcotte 
December 14, 2011

Jennie McCormack, a resident of Idaho and a mother of three, has spent the past few months of her life in a legal and social situation that calls to mind the trials of Hester Pyrnne, the heroine of The Scarlet LetterAs reported by Nancy Hass of Newsweek, McCormack’s ordeal started when she learned she was pregnant by a man who was doing time for robbery.

Realizing that she couldn’t afford another baby, nor the $500 fee and two trips to get an abortion (because Idaho requires women to wait 24 hours after their first visit to the doctor to “think it over”), McCormack resorted to buying RU-486 from a vendor online. The police eventually arrested McCormack and charged her with an illegal abortion, claiming that she was over Idaho’s legal limit of 20 weeks for an abortion. Since the exact gestational age can’t be determined, charges have been dropped for now, but prosecutors are retaining the right to re-charge McCormack. In the meantime, she’s become a pariah in her community, been fired from her job, and even had to face social workers who are basically denying her aid to care for her children.

Even in super-liberal New York City, a woman is being prosecuted (albeit in a less drastic way) for a self-abortion after the legal limit. The desperate woman, accused of aborting after six months, threw the fetus in a trash can, presumably because she was not aware of her other options for disposing of it.

In the United States, abortion is technically a legal right, but as these cases show, it’s not functionally a right. If abortion were actually a right, women wouldn’t have such a difficult time getting a legal abortion that they resort to drastic measures that land them in jail. These cases demonstrate why abortion needs to be more than a right for those who have the means to jump through all the hoops put in place to keep them from obtaining legal abortions. Making sure women who want abortions can get them in a timely and safe fashion helps more than the women in question. We all do better if women can get the abortions that are supposedly their right.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/153433/woman_jailed%2C_ostracized_after_resorting_to_self-administered_abortion%3A_what_is_this%2C_puritan_america/

Posted in Abortion, Christo-Fascism, Civil Rights, Health Care, Human Rights, Legal Issues, Misogyny, Reproductive Rights. Tags: , . Comments Off on Woman Jailed, Ostracized After Resorting to Self-Administered Abortion: What Is This, Puritan America?

Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

It is a shame that the first thing one thinks when someone proclaims themselves to be a “Christian” is, “There stands a delusional person who is a bigot and a compulsive liar.”

Particularly when they describe themselves as born again, or “religious”.  Get ready for the bigoted lies and bullshit to start flowing.

I’m tired of Christo-Fascist bullying of business that try to be fair and respect the rights and dignity of minorities.

See first the original story:  Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  http://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2011/12/mat-staver-liberty-counsel-doubles-down.html

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel doubles down on implausible story against Macy’s

By Alvin McEwen
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reposted with permission

As Mat Staver and the Liberty Counsel continue milk the case of the former Macy’s employee who was fired for harassing a transgender customer, one has to wonder are they reading their own press.

Yesterday, I pointed out how Staver and the employee, Natalie Johnson, conducted several interviews in which they tried to whitewash the fact that Johnson’s actions violated Macy’s policy and that concerns about “religious liberty” and “men in women’s changing rooms” were a pitiful dodges.

I even hinted that the Liberty Counsel was “conjuring up” a story of an “anonymous” Macy’s employee troubled by the policy.

But in an interview with the phony news service One News Now today, Staver seems to be sticking to that story and making up new ones:

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, now tells OneNewsNow that an employee of another store has told him she has persistent problems keeping men out of the women’s fitting room.

However, that’s not exactly what the Liberty Counsel said yesterday on its blog:

The employee said she constantly has to ask men to leave the women’s fitting rooms.

It may seem like an insignificant jump from “asking men to leave women’s fitting rooms” to “having persistent problems keeping men out of women’s fitting rooms,” but this jump only elucidates the questions I asked yesterday.

Those questions were:

Were these transgender women, rather than men accompanying their loved ones? These are two totally different situations.

And if these were transgender women, what are the odds of this employee having the ability to violate company policy without losing her job? If this woman had been truly asking transgender women to leave the fitting rooms, we would be hearing about this before now.

If this anonymous employee has had  “persistent problems” with transgender customers, then that would mean there was in fact conflict between her and those customers. And if this is the case, I refuse to believe that several transgender women in different cases would allow themselves to be disrespected and not complain, especially when the store policy is in their favor.

How is this woman continuing to keep her job in light of this possibility? Or does this woman even exist?

Then Staver tries to make it seem that there is a groundswell of negative reactions to Macy’s policy:

According to Liberty Counsel, the public is reacting.

“Consistently the people of America are saying that they will not shop at Macy’s,” explains Staver. “They’re tearing up their Macy’s credit cards, they’re sending back their Macy’s gift cards, they say that they will not shop at Macy’s — and this is a consistent response that we’re seeing from the public around the country.”

The Liberty Counsel founder says customers are “literally outraged and shocked” at Macy’s policy.

Staver conveniently doesn’t provide proof of this claim, just like neither he nor the Liberty Counsel has provided proof of the existence of the anonymous Macy’s employee.

To reiterate, I smell a rat.

Email Macy’s and send the company your support for standing up for our rights and dignity. And most of all, tell Macy’s to not back down. 

Apparently, Beating Your Child Now Is All The Rage

From The New Civil rights Movement:    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/apparently-beating-your-child-now-is-all-the-rage/discrimination/2011/12/14/31826

by David Badash
December 14, 2011

While I didn’t have a glorious and candy-​coated childhood, I did have it pretty good. And I’ll confess to being pretty lucky — lucky enough to have two parents who never beat me. Beating your child is morally wrong, but sadly, corporal punishment — “the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable” — is apparently legal in America, at least when done by a parent in their home.

(Note: We’re not legal experts, and are not delivering legal advice. All the more reason to never beat your children. If it’s not illegal, it should be.)

Despite that, a 2006 American Psylogical Association study found “adolescents who were more likely to engage in fighting, bullying, and victimization of others reported that their parents engaged in corporal punishment as a disciplining method.”

In other words, parents who are beating their children are raising children who are more likely to be violent. Good job, parents!

And let’s be honest, spanking is beating. And it’s unacceptable.

That said, regular readers of The New Civil Rights Movement remember all too well Evangelical Christian pastor Michael Pearl and his wife Debi.

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/apparently-beating-your-child-now-is-all-the-rage/discrimination/2011/12/14/31826

Posted in Abuse, Christo-Fascism, Civil Rights, Human Rights. Tags: . Comments Off on Apparently, Beating Your Child Now Is All The Rage

How Credit Collectors Have Reinvented the Debtors’ Prison

From New Deal 2.0:  http://www.newdeal20.org/2011/12/14/how-credit-collectors-have-reinvented-the-debtors-prison-67301/

by Mike Konczal
Wednesday, 12/14/2011

ew tactics have an old ring to them and low-income debtors are falling prey.

NPR just ran a story called “Unpaid Bills Land Some Debtors Behind Bars.” As they report, ”Here’s how it happens: A company will often sell off its debt to a collection agency, generally called a creditor. That creditor files a lawsuit against the debtor requiring a court appearance. A notice to appear in court is supposed to be given to the debtor. If they fail to show up, a warrant is issued for their arrest.” Marie Diamond has more.

This is increasingly common across the country. My colleagues Matt Stoller and Bryce Covert have both written about debtors being jailed for failure to appear in court. Debtors’ prisons are illegal, and some point out that this is really jail for a summons problem, not a payment. But I haven’t had a full vision of the practice until I read this excellent working paper by Lea Shepherd of Loyola Chicago law school, “Creditors Contempt” (h/t creditslips). Beyond laying out the problems with the current system, which gives a disproportionate amount of the coercive powers of the state to creditors, this paper also has implications for another topic I’m interested in — the class bias of the submerged state.

The key here is something called in personam debt collection remedies. In an agrarian economy, it was relatively straight forward for creditors to order a sheriff to seize the property of a debtor. In rem actions, where a sheriff would go and seize property, would work just fine. But this became harder to do as time went on.

The debt collection market evolved in personam debt collection remedies. This in personam action has two goals: discovery and collection. The court orders the debtor to disclose information about his property, location of his assets, etc. to help creditors track down those assets. Then the court orders certain payments to be made, which allows for collection. This court order is enforced through the court’s authority to hold debtors in contempt, which in turn is enforced through threats of imprisonment. Depending on the jurisdiction, contempt charges can be made against either the failure to show up for the discovery process or the failure to stick to the collection ordered.

Continue reading at:   http://www.newdeal20.org/2011/12/14/how-credit-collectors-have-reinvented-the-debtors-prison-67301/

The Super-Rich Get Richer, and Everyone Else Is Going Down the Drain

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/148294/the_super-rich_get_richer%2C_and_everyone_else_is_going_down_the_drain/

By Robert B. Reich

Only twice before in American history has so much been held by so few, yet they’re going to keep their fat tax cuts.

September 24, 2010

The super-rich got even wealthier this year, and yet most of them are paying even fewer taxes to support the eduction, job training, and job creation of the rest of us. According to Forbes magazine’s annual survey, just released, the combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans climbed 8% this year, to $1.37 trillion. Wealth rose for 217 members of the list, while 85 saw a decline.

For example, Charles and David Koch, the energy magnates who are pouring vast sums of money into Republican coffers and sponsoring tea partiers all over America, each gained $5.5 billion of wealth over the past year. Each is now worth $21.5 billion.

Wall Street continued to dominate the list; 109 of the richest 400 are in finance or investments.

From another survey we learn that the 25 top hedge-fund managers got an average of $1 billion each, but paid an average of 17 percent in taxes (because so much of their income is considered capital gains, taxed at 15 percent thanks to the Bush tax cuts).

The rest of America got poorer, of course. The number in poverty rose to a post-war high. The median wage continues to deteriorate. And some 20 million Americans don’t have work.

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/economy/148294/the_super-rich_get_richer%2C_and_everyone_else_is_going_down_the_drain/

Posted in Class War, Economic Issues, Employment, Human Rights, Labor, Social Justice. Comments Off on The Super-Rich Get Richer, and Everyone Else Is Going Down the Drain