The White Flag


Land of the Free and Indefinitely Detained
January 23, 2011, 5:37 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

Americans are inconsistent in what they believe; we help the people of Iraq and Haiti because of a humanitarian necessity, yet, when it comes to issues like genocide in Sudan, or homelessness/poverty here in the States we look the other way. We also turn our heads at the atrocities our own people are committing; the reckless behavior of Blackwater, the use of torture, and rendition of prisoners to countries that torture, mounting civilian casualties in the war on terror, indefinite detention and much more. The previous is not a list associated with the light of the world, a role America once had.

What does, ‘proud to be an American’ mean, if it does not mean to be honored to come from a nation that the rest of the world looks to for guidance? This nation is not losing its role because of decisions the people of America have made, but Americans are not innocent either, for it was their duty to stand in the way of their government’s destructive behavior, as it still is. This nation has lost its title and symbolic meaning due to the choices elected and non-elected officials have made.

To be proud of something, there must be something to be proud of. And, a country that loves freedom cannot be proud of a country that takes part in tyrannic acts. Americans that love freedom must be dissatisfied with their America. Dissatisfied citizens of a democracy have a duty to change the nation they live in. I refuse to idly watch the nation I love, and live in deteriorate into a place I fear, and find reprehensible.

Lovers of freedom, oppose tyranny.

-The White Flag

United States

Nine years to be proud of being an American.
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“Mr. Obama says he is still committed to closing the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, which remains — in his words — a marquee recruitment tool for terrorists.”

“Such sentiment is a far cry from 2008 when advocates were heartened by high-profile support from both sides of the aisle as Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Mr. Bush himself joined Mr. Obama in calls to close the prison.”

“Most recently, in one of its last acts before Republicans took control of the House, the Democrat-led Congress in December approved a defense authorization bill barring the use of Pentagon dollars for transferring detainees to the United States.”

“Earlier this month, Mr. Obama said he had no choice but to sign the authorization bill, which approved billions for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he issued a highly critical signing statement that decried the Guantanamo provisions as a ‘dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority’ and also vowing to push for a repeal of the restrictions, which expire in September.”

Everyone knows that big business and pollution are like spaghetti and meat balls, so who are American citizens to think their health and environment are more important than profits? These New Mexicans are infringing all over business’s right to do whatever they please. This is America and the first line of our Constitution reads, “Big business comes first.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that is how the Constitution starts.
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“The problem is, New Mexico’s newly elected conservative governor, Republican Susana Martinez – who has financial ties to oil and gas producers and individuals – has attempted to subvert her own state constitution in order to stop this plan to begin reducing her state’s carbon emissions.”

“Oil and gas producers and individuals in the industry contributed at least $220,000 to Martinez, according to an analysis of her fundraising report by The Associated Press. Devon Energy, an Oklahoma City-based company, gave her $50,000. Myco Industries, an Artesia oil company, contributed $30,000, while Yates Petroleum of Artesia gave $15,000.”

“Governor Martinez has nominated avid climate change denier Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt to head New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. While the rest of the world is progressing ahead with carbon-curbing emissions and the EU is aiming for 20 percent cuts by 2020, Nanasi said, ‘The Martinez administration has its head in the sand, pretending there isn’t a problem.’ “

Don’t be a dummy, know your rights just in case you’re ever wrongly stopped by the police, despite what you may think, that does happen. (VIDEO)
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The House votes to repeal Health Care legislation.
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“House Republicans passed a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by a vote of 245-189, mainly along party lines — only three Democrats joined with the Republicans. The vote prompted sharp reactions from all sides of Minnesota politics: Rep. Michele Bachmann called for the repeal of President Obama, while Rep. Keith Ellison said that Republicans voted dump 32 millions Americans’ health coverage.”

“ ‘Repealing the Affordable Care Act will eliminate consumer protections, put insurance companies between you and your doctors, raise taxes on small businesses, and explode the deficit,’ said Walz. ‘It will be bad for our economy and jobs in places like southern Minnesota that have a robust health care industry.’ ”

“He offered a story of constituents who have already been helped by the new law. ‘[J]ust a few weeks ago, I received a letter from a dad in southern Minnesota named Paul. Paul’s son Joe is 21 years old, works part time and has Type II diabetes,’ Walz wrote. ‘Joe couldn’t get the insurance he needed to pay for the expensive equipment and treatment he needs. But because of the new law we passed, Joe was able to get back on his parent’s insurance and his new insurance card came a couple of weeks ago in the mail.’”

Need to find out what is going in the world? Don’t bother watching your mainstream media.
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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

“Some of the most undercovered stories of 2010 were actions taken by ordinary people standing up for a more just and equitable society. People are taking to the streets on a regular basis across the country, but unlike the corporate-sponsored Tea Party — whose spokespeople can’t answer basic questions about the deficit they claim to be so worried about — those who believe in health care, affordable housing, economic justice, education, a living wage, and a better life for all rarely, if ever, get the attention they deserve. Instead, the media, even the alternative media, spent the better part of last year obsessing over the Tea Party and manufactured personalities like Sarah Palin, while ignoring people like 85-year-old Julia Botello.”

“Last month, Botello was among 22 people arrested for blocking the doors of a Chase Bank branch in downtown Los Angeles. Over 200 people, many of them homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction, took part in the action organized by Home Defenders League and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.”

“– On December 9, thousands of inmates in Georgia state prisons began a six-day strike to call attention to their treatment and to demand basic human rights: a living wage for work, educational opportunities, decent living conditions and health care, and an end to cruel and unusual punishment. It was largest prison strike in U.S. history, but the New York Times was one of the few mainstream outlets to cover it.”

“– On December 11, a few local media outlets in Waterville, Maine reported on an action organized by the Maine Fair Trade Campaign to call attention to President Obama’s decision to bring the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement to Congress for a vote. The group, which opposes NAFTA and CAFTA, rang a bell 31 times in honor of the more than 31,000 Maine-based jobs that have been outsourced since 2000. ‘People all over the state have suffered because of this,’ said campaign board member Sarah Bigney in an interview with The Morning Sentinel. ‘We know what the impact of NAFTA has been. We must say no to this madness. We know it will continue to worsen the job crisis.’ According to the Economic Policy Institute, the deal will increase the deficit with Korea by $16.7 billion, and cost 159,000 U.S. jobs within the first seven years after it takes effect.”

“– On December 15, workers, union activists, and community supporters took part in more than 40 actions at Rite Aid stores in 11 states to raise awareness about low wages and health insurance cost increases. In These Times, one of the only outlets to report on the National Day of Action, ran a piece by AFL-CIO campaign coordinator Rand Wilson. He writes that the actions were ‘sparked by a rash of poor decisions by Rite Aid officials across the country.’ ”

“– On December 16, 131 veterans and their supporters were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House fence during a snowstorm to demand an end to the ongoing occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Veterans for Peace, it was the largest veteran-led demonstration in recent years, but just like Winter Soldier, the action was completely ignored by the corporate media. Dave Lindorff reports that it was blacked out of the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.”

“– On December 20, six people were arrested for trespassing after they locked arms and climbed the steps to the Bank of America entrance in Clayton, St. Louis. According to organizers, some 80 people gathered in front of the bank to raise awareness about a pending foreclosure facing Mary and Mike Boehm. Mary Boehm says after her husband lost his job in 2009, she applied for the mortgage modification program designed to keep people in their homes. On November 8, 2009, Bank of America told her she qualified, but she needed to turn in additional paperwork in order to be officially approved. Even though the Boehms never missed a payment, they received a notice in November 2010 saying they were in default. The foreclosure proceedings began on December 26. The action was organized by the grassroots group Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment.”

State-secrets privilege, one tool all law abiding democracies should grant their presidents, with no oversight, or else how is the president going to hide his secret activities?
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“The US Supreme Court on Tuesday takes up a case examining whether the government properly invoked the state-secrets privilege to dismiss a civil lawsuit in a multibillion dollar defense contract dispute.”

“The dispute dates to 1991 when the US Navy terminated a defense contract to develop a carrier-based stealth jet fighter. The Navy claimed the contractors were behind schedule and had thus defaulted.”

“Fighting back, the contractors argued that the government itself had caused the contract delays in part by failing to share highly-classified stealth technology.”

“Both the Bush and Obama administrations have invoked the privilege to dismiss litigation that the government claimed would threaten national security. In one case the US government was accused of kidnapping and torturing terror suspects; another involved charges of unlawful electronic surveillance of individuals inside the US.”

Would torture and indefinite detention be policies you would support if it was you, or one of your family members being tortured and detained?
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“In the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s failed attempt to convert the world to Communism, the United States found a new global threat against which to focus its efforts. In our war against the tactic of terrorism, we use color charts to represent threat levels, duct tape and plastic to ward off danger, and colorful scenarios derived from enhanced interrogation to justify draconian action.”

“All this ultimately leads to ‘indefinite detention,’ the notion that the same people who brought you such reliable information in the past should now be trusted to determine certain individuals must be presumed guilty and confined for the rest of their lives without trial. It is, in no uncertain terms, a complete deprivation of liberty without due process–and a complete departure from essential, time-tested American values. Nonetheless, ‘indefinite detention’ gathers widespread support through the fear-driven notions of protecting ‘national security’ and fighting the ‘war on terror.’ ”

“But make no mistake. If government is permitted to disregard the rule of law in the name of ‘national security,’ such unbridled action is unlikely to be applied only against foreign nationals. As a result, if only to protect our own freedom, every American citizen must demand that, before condemning any human being to confinement for life, a government must prove some actual criminal offense, beyond a reasonable doubt, in a fair, open, and transparent court proceeding, at a minimum.”

Civil Liberties

Everyone is equal, men just have more opportunities than women, and that is not really a debate about equality, but for some reason all these feminists keep saying it is.
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“The United States currently restricts women from direct combat roles in infantry positions or in the Special Forces. A 1994 Department of Defense directive banned women from units that primarily engage in direct combat. “

Republican Bobby Schilling says being locked in a cell the rest of your life for a crime you did not commit really is not that bad if your captors treat you nicely. I thought I was concerned about humanity by wanting to close Guantanamo, however, if we really cared about these guys we would allow them to stay at the free ideal get away so long as they live.
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“The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Republican Buck McKeon has vowed to keep the U.S. naval prison at Guantanamo Bay open after paying a visit to the camp on the leased Caribbean estate.”

“Meanwhile, Republican Bobby Schilling of Illinois opined that Guantanamo was ‘nothing compared to what it tends to get painted here,’ adding that the indefinitely-held detainees ‘are being treated pretty darned well.’”

“McKeon and others succeeded during the lame-duck congressional session last month in adding a provision to the defense authorization bill that would ban the transfer of detainees from the prison in Cuba to the United States.”

“European Union members and the Organization of American States, as well as non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have protested the legal status and physical condition of the detainees at Guantanamo.”

I do not need some judge to tell me the people at Gitmo are not dangerous! I need another judge to tell me the opposite; besides, my President, George W. Bush, already told me every prisoner there is the worst of the worst.
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“The judge added: ‘While it is tempting to be swayed by the fact that [Adahi] readily acknowledged having met [Osama] Bin Laden on two occasions and admitted that perhaps his relatives were bodyguards and enthusiastic followers of Bin Laden, such evidence – sensational and compelling as it may appear – does not constitute actual, reliable evidence that would justify the Government’s detention of this man.’ ”

War

Iranians plan to acquire a new energy source, a nuclear bomb.
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“Aftenposten said that according to the cables, obtained by WikiLeaks, more than 350 Iranian companies and organizations were involved in the pursuit of nuclear and missile technology between 2006 and 2010.”

“It cited sources as saying Iran is racing to develop nuclear weapons before its already crippled economy succumbs to the sanctions. “A race exists between the bomb and financial collapse,’ the daily cited a cable quoting a French nuclear expert.”

This is a short video by FRONTLINE, which is the predecessor to a video they will release come Fall, and the surveillance-state America has been slowly transforming into since 9/11.
Click for Video

Obama’s newest strategy for winning the war in Afghanistan is to increase ground troops while simultaneously Funding the Pakistani Military, which also supports the Afghan Taliban.
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“Secret diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks show that the Obama administration increased the United States’ military presence in Afghanistan despite warnings that the surge could make 2010 the most difficult and bloody since the 2001 invasion.”

“As Eikenberry predicted, 2010 was the deadliest and most expensive year of the Afghanistan war, with at least 711 coalition casualties and $171 billion spent, according to the Congressional Research Service.”

“In his recent trip to Kabul to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Vice President Joseph Biden said the US does not intend to ‘govern or nation build’ and reiterated the 2014 deadline for the Afghan government to lead and secure its own country, but he also made it clear the US would be available for more hand-holding.”

” ’The United States, if the Afghan people want it, are prepared, and we are not leaving in 2014 … we are not leaving, if you don’t want us to leave,’ Biden said.”

“The Obama administration’s decision to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in 2010 was successful in weakening the Taliban’s influence in parts of the Afghanistan, but the surge also pushed more enemy fighters to tribal areas across Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, forcing the US to continue spending billions of dollars on improving its shaky relations with Pakistan’s unstable government.”

“The US has already given billions to Pakistan, and last week Biden touted a US commitment to provide $7.5 million in military and civilian aid over the next five years. The US is expected to give the country at least $3 billion in 2011.”

“In December 2009, Karzai told US diplomats that he was skeptical of Pakistan and expected the Taliban to retreat to the tribal borderlands of Pakistan to ’lay low until 2011,’ a prediction that would prove to be accurate. Eikenberry said the US shared the concern that the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban could join forces, and a top Afghan general reported that he had received ‘contrary reports’ that the Pakistani Army was helping the Afghan Taliban retreat and hide in Pakistani cities.”

“The 92,000 classified US military documents from Afghanistan released by WikiLeaks in mid 2010 revealed that US and Afghan officials long suspected that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence spy agency was secretly aiding the Taliban even as the US continued to give billions of dollars to Pakistan.”

“The Obama administration has attempted to change this sentiment and win Pakistani loyalty with billions of dollars in aid, and now Pakistan can expect at least $7.5 billion more despite a clear warning from US diplomats made in 2009:
Money alone will not/not solve the problem of al-Qaeda or the Taliban operating in Pakistan … Afghan instability by definition leads the Pakistani establishment to increase support for the Taliban and thereby, unintentionally, create space for al-Qaeda. No amount of money will sever that link.”

Progress

Protesters against Guantanamo.
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“While the nation plays politics with Guantánamo, men ‘cleared for release’ by the U.S. government or who have won their habeas cases remain in detention. ‘This is unacceptable,’ says Jerica Arents, a Chicago resident and one of over 100 people taking part in an 11-day fast against torture. ‘The Justice Department has a direct hand in this horror. It has appealed successful habeas cases and failed to develop a mechanism by which such rulings secure freedom for innocent men.’ ”

Many of the people held at Guantanamo are not guilty of committing any crimes, yet, it is likely they will spend a large portion of their lives imprisoned. They have as little hope as the rest of us do for their freedom, and it is Americans who are responsible for their imprisonment, and only Americans are able to release them. This article is about the men at Guantanamo, and offers a link that will show you how to write the prisoners a letter to give them support and show that there are Americans who are concerned with their safety and liberation.
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Are you not quite sure why your governor and representative keeps voting to place those high voltage power lines by your public school? Mark Udall has an idea:
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“He next talked at depth about transparency so any donation was up on the web within 24 hours. So we would know who was pouring money into what. I asked if that included 3rd parties and he said yes 3rd party groups too. He also said ads funded by corporations should require the CEO at the end of the ad to say they approved the message (I love this idea!).”

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