The White Flag


There is no such thing as a free lunch
January 9, 2011, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

There is no such thing as a free lunch. We want health insurance; we want consumer protection; we want wages to live without debit; and we want someone to assure our security of all this for us, while we have no responsibility. Our public schools are not going to employ better teachers, have larger class rooms, and be able to afford the proper materials to teach students adequately if people are not prepared to object to the contrary. It only requires one person to read what is happening, and tell their Representatives where they stand.

The bottom line is we can watch our nation become a poster child of torture and indefinite detention–qualities usually attributed to despotism–because of our apathetic nature and our need for simplicity and expediency; or we can take the slightly more taxing route of speaking out.

The government will continue to pursue its own volition so long as the people are subordinate to its rule. America will not fix itself, and will not change through a small group of people who care without the help of every other dissatisfied American. Groups like the BORDC are working everyday with the goal of improving the rule of law in the United States, however, even more powerful forces, with the drive to earn an extra dollar as their primary fuel, are out their paying people to work harder.

American want to believe that their fellow citizens would only do that which will be in everybody’s interest, yet Goldman Sachs’ CEO is not being paid by the American people, he is being paid by Goldman Sachs. A company’s prima facie is to make profits, even if that means using questionable packaging materials, or investment practices. Our Representatives are employed at our will, and are paid by us–the American people. If Americans want to be safe, and have access to the highest quality of life, then it is their duty to seek it, and it is what we employ government officials for.

If you seek a better life, or a better future, then be the first to work for it.
-The White Flag

United States

A good solider is like a good person: Christian.
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“An experimental, Army mental-health, fitness initiative designed by the same psychologist whose work heavily influenced the psychological aspects of the Bush administration’s torture program is under fire by civil rights groups and hundreds of active-duty soldiers. They say it unconstitutionally requires enlistees to believe in God or a ‘higher power’ in order to be deemed ‘spiritually fit’ to serve in the Army.”

“But for the thousands of ‘Foxhole Atheists’ like 27-year-old Sgt. Justin Griffith, the spiritual component of the test contains questions written predominantly for soldiers who believe in God or another deity, meaning nonbelievers are guaranteed to score poorly and will be forced to participate in exercises that use religious imagery to “train” soldiers up to a satisfactory level of spirituality.”

” ’It measures a person’s core values and beliefs concerning their meaning and purpose in life,’ she said. ‘It’s not religious, although a person’s religion can still affect those things. Spiritual training is entirely optional, unlike the other domains. Every time you say the S-P-I-R word you’re going to get sued. So that part is not mandatory. The assessment is mandatory though and junior soldiers will be required to take exercises to strengthen their other four domains.’ ”

” ’It measures a person’s core values and beliefs concerning their meaning and purpose in life,’ she said. ‘It’s not religious, although a person’s religion can still affect those things. Spiritual training is entirely optional, unlike the other domains. Every time you say the S-P-I-R word you’re going to get sued. So that part is not mandatory. The assessment is mandatory though and junior soldiers will be required to take exercises to strengthen their other four domains.’ “

Another politician another lie to keep track of:
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“Moreover, in 2006, an analysis of the Pentagon’s own allegations against 517 prisoners (compiled after 200 men and boys had already been released), and conducted by researchers at the Seton Hall Law School in New Jersey, found that 86% were captured by the Northern Alliance or Pakistani forces, 55% were not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the US or its allies, and only 8% were alleged to have had any kind of affiliation with al-Qaida.”

Presidential signing statements are always done with veracity.
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“Before he acts, the administration is discussing whether to issue a signing statement that would allow him to ignore the restrictions.”

“President Obama could issue a signing statement that minimally declares his objections to the law as an intrusion on his executive power to prosecute terrorism suspects. It would not be unreasonable for President Obama to voice those objections.”

“However, as some of his predecessors have done, President Obama could go further in stating his intention to disregard the restrictions as improper limits on his power as commander in chief.”

War, the economy, and education will have to take a seat because Republican house majority is concerned about real issues that Americans deal with on a daily basis; repealing the health care bill.
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“Rather than replacing Obama’s health care legislation, the Republicans’ bill tasks four committees with crafting a replacement health care bill. The repeal bill requires the replacement legislation to include certain provisions, including lowering insurance premiums, ensuring that people with preexisting conditions receive access to affordable coverage, eliminating wasteful spending and fostering economic growth. The provisions would also prohibit taxpayer coverage of abortions and provide ‘conscience protections’ for doctors.”

Nobody is above the law…except for those who are.
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“Over five years ago, Pakistani businessman Masood Janjua and his friend, Faisal Faraz, headed on an out-of-town trip from Rawalpindi, never to be heard from again. Though no charges were filed against them, and police and government officials said nothing on their whereabouts, others released from government detention centers reported seeing them in captivity.”

“In a report to Congress in November, the U.S. State Department urged Pakistan to address claims that thousands of people, including civilians, separatist guerrillas and Taliban insurgents, are among those held without charges, tortured or killed. A cable, obtained through WikiLeaks and written by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in 2007, said, ‘ ‘Disappeared’ Pakistanis – innocent and guilty alike – have fallen into a legal black hole.’ But the Amnesty International chapter in Ames, which has taken up the Janjuas’ cause, suggests the men are being detained at the behest of the CIA in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

“After the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States pressured Pakistan to crack down on extremists linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida. But human rights groups allege security forces used that as an excuse to go after political enemies, including separatists from the province of Baluchistan, at odds with the government.”

Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the START treaty lowering both country’s nuclear arsenal to 1,550. They also hope to pass another treaty lowering the nuclear arms even further to 1,000. This is after he decided he wanted to spend $185 billion improving the way nukes would be launched at other countries.
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“Perhaps the most promising area for disarmament progress doesn’t involve treaty negotiations or ratification, but simply blocking nuclear ‘modernization.’ After all, Senator Kyl and most Republicans didn’t accept the “bribe” offered them, but continued to oppose the New START treaty. Why, then, should the Obama administration follow through on providing $185 billion for refurbishing the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, especially when such a program so clearly flies in the face of his pledge to work for a nuclear weapons-free world?”

“Even if the administration sticks to its ‘modernization’ line, however, there is no reason for other forces, inside and outside Congress, to do so. Over the coming years, in the midst of a huge debate on budgetary priorities, there will be a fierce battle over scarce government resources. Are angry seniors (concerned about cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare), parents, students, and teachers (concerned about cutbacks in education), the hungry, homeless, and unemployed (concerned about the collapse of the social safety net), and other groups (facing serious attacks on their living standards) going to welcome spending $185 billion for new nuclear weapons facilities? Certainly groups with domestic spending priorities, plus peace and disarmament groups, are going to press congress to move the money from funding wars and weapons to meeting social needs. Perhaps they will succeed.”

If data stored on a cell phone was private then the founding fathers would have said so in the constitution!
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“[…]according to the California Supreme Court, police don’t need a warrant to start digging through your phone’s contents.”

“In its review of the case, the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment didn’t apply to the text messages on Diaz’s cell phone at the time of arrest. The court cited a number of previous cases wherein defendants were arrested with all manner of incriminating objects—heroin tablets hidden in a cigarette case, paint chips hidden in clothing, marijuana in the trunk of a car—which did not require a warrant to obtain. The court said that the phone was ‘immediately associated’ with Diaz’s person, and therefore the warrantless search was valid. ”

“In 2010, however, the US Supreme Court said that government employers have the right to read transcripts of employees’ e-mails, IMs, texts, and other communications, and that the Fourth Amendment wouldn’t protect them from a government search.”

“Gershowtiz suggested a number of possibilities for how courts could distinguish between an appropriate cell phone search and an inappropriate one, but no such rules exist yet.”

The World

Israel has determined the best way to make peace with the Palestinians is to block off trade to the area and keep their people on the verge of economic collapse, sounds bad but the Israelis say it beats the Hell out of a concentration camp.(They didn’t really say that)
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“ ‘As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge,’ one of the cables read.”

“Israel wanted the coastal territory’s economy ‘functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis’, according to the Nov. 3, 2008 cable.”

“Palestinians say impoverished Gaza remains effectively a ‘prison’ sealed off by Israel, and have called for an opening to allow normal trade and other links with the world.“

War

More troops in Afghanistan.
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“The United States plans to send more than 1,000 Marines to Afghanistan soon, a U.S. military official told CNN on Thursday.”

Our allies continue to assist our enemies.
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“Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, the raw material harvested from poppies to make heroin, as well as alkaloids like codeine and morphine. According to two cables released this month by WikiLeaks, Afghanistan’s supply of opium exceeds the world’s demand for heroin, with its unsold stock currently totaling 12,400 tons. Taliban-linked drug cartels emerging along the southern border of the country, where 99 percent of production takes place, influence the majority of poppy cultivation by coercing farmers into growing the crops for a strong and well-supplied insurgency.”

“Further complicating the drug trade in Afghanistan are the actions of the country’s neighbors, particularly Pakistan, according to Afghan Minister of Defense Abdul Rahim Wardak. Wardak told Afghanistan Ambassador Karl Eikenberry during a December 2009 briefing that the Pakistani army was helping the Afghan Taliban find sanctuary in areas ‘deeper into Pakistan.’ “

Civil Liberties

Spain may be beginning to pursue a law suit against American lawyers, like John Yoo, who built the frame work for the Bush torture program.
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“Chief Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza reassures the US that while ‘in all likelihood he would have no option but to open a case,’ he does not ‘envision indictments or arrest warrants in the near future’, and will ‘argue against the case being assigned to Garzon’ (a notoriously tough judge, who has since been removed from the case).”

If you were waiting for the government to target its own citizens with no concern for human rights, it seems that day has come.
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“The teenager, Gulet Mohamed, a Somali-American who turned 19 during his captivity, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday from a Kuwaiti detention cell that he was beaten with sticks, forced to stand for hours, threatened with electric shocks and warned that his mother would be imprisoned if he did not give truthful answers about his travels in Yemen and Somalia in 2009.”

“He said that after being taken into custody, he had been visited once by an American Embassy official in Kuwait, and that F.B.I. agents visited a week later to tell him that he could not return to the United States until he gave truthful answers about his travels.”

Protests break out in Pakistan denouncing the actions of the U.S.
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“A UK lawyer claimed earlier in 2007 that Musharraf had allowed a large number of his compatriots to be held at the Guantanamo prison.”

” ’Musharraf sold innocent people of his country as prisoners to the US Guantanamo Bay detention center in exchange for millions of dollars,’ British lawyer Zachary Katznelson said.”

“The protesters also called for an immediate end to the ongoing non-UN-sanctioned drone attacks in northwestern Pakistan, asking the Islamabad government to quit its alliance with the US in the so-called war on terror. “

The long, but hopefully not forgotten, War on Terror:
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“In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that non-American Guantanamo detainees have the constitutional right to file habeas corpus petitions challenging the validity of their detention before federal courts. Of 57 applications, the government has been found to lack sufficient evidence to detain in 38 cases. Intense public scrutiny of Guantanamo has led to increased use of the detention centre at Bagramair base in Afghanistan, which is holding around 645 detainees. The Obama administration has successfully blocked these individuals from filing habeas corpus petitions by arguing that the prison is in a conflict zone. However,many detainees were captured elsewhere and transferred to that theatre of war. This seriously undermines the express commitment to ‘no law-free zones.”

“Around 35 Guantanamo detainees are being prosecuted but at least 50 are considered beyond due process owing to an inability to use evidence obtained through torture and a fear of compromising intelligence sources. Further, despite Obama’s campaign pledge to reject the Military Commissions Act, his administration has continued to try some non-US detainees before discredited special military commissions lacking full criminal trial safeguards.”

“As Obama recognised in a presidential memorandum, ‘[a] democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency.’ The early release of four infamous Bush-era memos documenting the authorisation of torture suggested commitment to this promise. However, the administration has since shrouded itself in secrecy. There has been no attempt to investigate or prosecute those who authorised torture, only those CIA interrogators alleged to have exceeded authority even under the Bush memos. Not wanting to appear soft on counter-terrorism, Obama has declared a need to ‘look forward, not back’. This approach conflicts with the very notion of accountability and contrasts with the planned UK public inquiry into high-level complicity.”

Progress

More anti-American policies still to come in regard to Guantanamo Bay.
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“[P]arts of the Constitution are excluded from military commissions. In any case, Gibbs continued, ‘Some, regrettably, will have to be indefinitely detained.’ If for life, then very regrettably.”

“Dafna Linzer on ProPublica cited the planned periodic reviews but added the crucial point that establishing ’indefinite detention as a long-term Obama administration policy makes clear that the White House alone [emphasis added] will manage a review process for those it chooses to hold without charge of trial.’”

“If the precedent for this Obama executive order is set in law, it could be extended – especially after a series here of terrorist attacks like the unsuccessful Times Square bombing – to those American citizens suspected of ‘material support’ to terrorists. Obama already has one American citizen, jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki, on a targeted killing list in Yemen.”

Petition: Say ‘No’ to indefinite detention
The United States constitution covers every single human being on this planet that comes into contact with the U.S. Government, allowing the foundation for indefinite detention without trail for foreigners is also the foundation to detain Americans in the same fashion. Protect the freedom we hold so dear in America by telling officials that you believe in rule of law.
Take Action!

Two week protest planned in front of the White House in an effort to close Guantanamo Bay.
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“[O]ne group of participants will demand a meeting with DoJ officials, while others will engage in non-violent civil disobedience. By blocking the lawsuits of former detainees, appealing the decisions of federal judges ordering the release of prisoners, and refusing to prosecute Bush administration officials for torture, the Justice Department has failed to fulfill President Obama’s promise of accountability and respect for the rule of law.”

“Bagram and other detention centers remain beyond the reach of the law. This violates the U.S. Constitution, as well as international law. When our government’s policies violate the law and our nation’s ideals, it’s up to the people to challenge the government directly.”
-Bob Cooke

Doctors have started a petition to show support from the medical community for the recently enacted health care legislation, which has been targeted by Republicans for repeal. The government channeled the medical expanses from many government programs, funded by tax dollars, to private health insurance companies to save money; repealing this legislation will take health care away from many people, including thousands of children, and add to our already mounting deficit.
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“A doctor from Seattle, WA writes that ‘Health reform has already improved access to basic care services for many of my patients and their young adult family members. Instead of huge ED [emergency department] bills for minor injuries, they are cared for in our clinic for pennies on the dollar compared to having not access and paying emergency room costs.’ ”

“Cost is one area that the GOP hasn’t addressed in their proposed repeal. Since they haven’t come up with a replacement, that also means they haven’t taken into account the $124 billion that the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would cut from the federal deficit.”

If you ever feel the urge to contact you’re Representative about anything:
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This website will help you find out who represents you in your state and congressional district and help you get in contact with your Representative, such as links to most if not all Representatives websites:

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