Archive for the ‘U.S. Constitution’ tag
Conservative columnist and former Reagan official Paul Craig Roberts welcomed 2012 with a sober warning of "Tyranny in the Forecast — The Outlook for the New Year." Veterans Today columnist and Progressive Radio host Stephen Lendman tore into "Obama's America: Tyranny and Permanent War," in his Jan. 2 blog post, following on his Jan. 1 attack on "Obama's New Year Resolution: More Middle East War."
Both, from their differing ideological standpoints, cry out against the horror of domestic tyranny, unnecessary foreign wars, and the acquiesence of an American people who permit this to occur. While useful, these voices, like others, themselves cry out for confidence in the power of the principles of the American System to secure victory against our British enemy which American statesman Lyndon LaRouche and the LaRouche slate of six candidates are uniquely bringing to the American people.
"The outlook for liberty is dismal," Roberts writes. "Those writers who are critical of Washington's illegal wars and overthrow of the U.S. Constitution could find themselves in indefinite detainment… The Bush/Obama regimes have put the foundation in place for imprisoning critics of the government without due process of law." The hypocrisy of bombing and threatening to bomb other countries for human rights abuses, while Obama signs a "Bill of Tyranny"!
"None of this was done behind closed doors. The murder of the US Constitution was a public crime witnessed by all. But like Kitty Genovese, who was stabbed to death in New York in 1964 in front of onlookers who failed to come to her aid, the media, Congress, bar associations, law schools, and the American public failed to come to the defense of the Constitution.
"In my lifetime the collapse in respect for, and authority of, the Constitution has been an horrific event. Compare the ho-hum response to the Obama regime's police state announcements with the public anger at President Richard Nixon over his enemies list. Try to imagine President Ronald Reagan announcing that he had a list of Americans marked for assassination without impeachment proceedings beginning forthwith," Roberts writes.
For his part, Lendman writes that "December 31, 2011 will be remembered as a day of infamy," the day "tyranny arrived in America" with Obama's signing of the NDAA — itself a follow-on to Oct. 17, 2006, when George W. Bush signed his Military Commissions Act, institutionalizing an "extremism" against liberty which Obama has exceeded. "As of December 31, anyone anywhere, including U.S. citizens, can be called national security threats and judged guilty by accusation…. The original Senate bill excluded US citizens. Obama demanded their inclusion… It's official. Tyranny arrived in America. The nation's unsafe to live in. There's no place to hide. They're coming for anyone challenging injustice."
This lawlessness at home, is matched by lawlessness abroad, Lendman warns. Libya was turned into a "charnel house… Syria's been ruthlessly targeted…. Iran's next…. At issue is regime change. Reasons are invented as pretext. As a result, anything ahead is possible, including potentially devastating general war with nuclear weapons targeting underground Iranian facilities. No matter the risk, Obama seems headed for the unthinkable."
Former CIA officer and historian Phil Giraldi warns in a Dec. 29 column for antiwar.com that Obama goes further than Bush and Cheney, and like Bush-Cheney, Obama has destroyed the U.S. Constitution in a way that parallels what Hitler and Carl Schmitt did against the Weimar Constitution.
“Sadly, on the verge of a new year, it is hard to argue that Washington in 2011 is much different from Weimar and Berlin in 1933,” Giraldi says. “[T]he power coupled with lack of accountability that has been assumed by the [Obama] White House should be regarded as a deadly serious matter by every American citizen. If you think Weimar Republic Germany is a long time ago and far away so it can’t happen here, you are wrong. It can happen here, and unless something is done to stop it, it almost surely will happen here. It is happening already.” (emphasis added).
Giraldi notes that there are frequent analogies being made between the U.S. and empires. The neo-cons have delusions about the Roman imperial system being a perpetual American empire, while others says that a U.S. empire will destroy itself eventually as did Rome and London.
But for Giraldi, the parallel is Weimar. Like Weimar after the Reichstag Fire, the U.S. has destroyed the Constitution and replaced it with a “lawless Fuehrer state,” like that provided for Hitler by Carl Schmitt and other leading jurists. Giving a brief summary of some of the crisis powers given to Hitler after the Reichstag Fire, which “was almost certainly carried out by the Nazis themselves,” Giraldi emphasizes the importance of the “Enabling Act, which gave [Hitler] the authority to ignore parliament and pass laws by decree.” The full name of the Enabling Act was, “in English, the Act for the Removal of Distress from People and Reich,” and it said that “a powerful executive could ignore restraints imposed by bureaucrats and constitutions when required to cope with a crisis.”
Today, America is far down a similar path, Giraldi warns.
“The first anti-terror legislation to pass was the USA PATRIOT Act, the full title of which is the The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, a euphemism oddly reminiscent of Hitler’s Enabling Act,” Giraldi says. It was followed by the PATRIOT Act II of 2006, and “the two laws diminished constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of association, freedom from illegal search, habeas corpus, prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and freedom from the illegal seizure of private property. The First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments in the Bill of Rights were all discarded or abridged….
“The Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) followed, creating military tribunals for the trying of unlawful enemy combatants, including American citizens. Unlike in a civil or criminal court, the accused needs only a two-thirds vote by the commission members present to be convicted…. The act suspends habeas corpus and Geneva Convention protections and permits the indefinite jailing of suspects in a military prison without charges or access to a lawyer….”
Obama “has expanded the Bush portfolio, repeatedly citing state-secrets privileges to prevent any legal challenges while authorizing the assassination of U.S. citizens overseas based on suspicion, carrying out acts of war against countries with which Washington is not at war, and now, finally, signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which provides for indefinite military detention of anyone anywhere for any reason, including U.S. citizens in the United States, because the whole world is the battlefield. Did Hitler behave similarly in contravention of the Weimar constitution? He sure did….”
Giraldi doesn’t make the obvious point that Lyndon LaRouche is warning about, but the point is clear. Remove Obama from office under the Constitution while there is still time.
July 26, 2011
Lyndon LaRouche today called for the immediate jailing of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and President Barack Obama for their role in a massive theft of taxpayers money, in the 2008 bailout of Wall Street and London, and the ongoing pledge to continue the bailout of the hopelessly bankrupt European Monetary Union and Wall Street.
LaRouche made the demand after reviewing the July 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of the Federal Reserve, which is the first installment of a larger audit to be completed by October of this year. The preliminary audit revealed a trail of criminal action on the part of Bernanke and Geithner. In March 2008, Fed Chairman Bernanke fraudulently invoked an emergency clause in the Federal Reserve Act, claiming that on the basis of “unusual and exigent circumstances,” the Fed could issue emergency loans to nondepository institutions for the first time since the Great Depression. As the result, the Fed issued more than $16 trillion in emergency loans to Wall Street and foreign banks. Furthermore, most of the fraudulent “emergency lending” was outsourced to private contractors, led by JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, in no-bid contracts that totalled $660 million in fees. Numerous officials of the Fed and the outside contractors were given blanket waivers, allowing them to act despite clear conflicts of interest. The Fed audit cited the case of William Dudley, a former chief economist of Goldman Sachs, who is now the Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, who was given a conflict-of-interest waiver to retain his stocks in AIG and General Electric at a time when he was authorizing hundreds of billions of dollars in fraudulent “emergency” loans to these firms. In another example of the rampant conflict of interest, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase was allowed to remain on the board of directors of the New York Federal Reserve Bank while his firm received $390 billion in loans, and functioned as a major clearinghouse for the entire Federal Reserve emergency loan program.
The GAO audit was conducted under an amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill that was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), over strenuous objections.
Lyndon LaRouche today demanded that Bernanke, Geithner and President Obama be immediately sent to prison for their role in this fraudulent theft of taxpayer’s money. “There never was an emergency warranting $16 trillion in bailout to Wall Street and foreign banks,” LaRouche declared. “There was always an alternative, which I spelled out clearly in my 2007 Homeowners and Bank Protection Act (HBPA), an alternative thoroughly in keeping with the U.S. Constitution. I called for the immediate reinstatement of the Glass Steagall Act and a freeze on all home foreclosures for the duration of the bankruptcy reorganization of the entire Federal Reserve System. It was a high crime to bail out Wall Street and London’s gambling debts, and Bernanke’s declaration of emergency, unleashing $16 trillion in Fed funds to bailout gambling debts that can never be paid, was a criminal fraud. President Obama has furthered that criminal fraud, by pledging that the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury would be the lenders of last resort for the European Monetary Union. The President made that illegal promise as recently as last week, during a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.”
LaRouche concluded: “There is only one appropriate course of action. Send Bernanke, Geithner and Obama to prison right now. The idea that the American people should be held responsible for bailing out tens of trillions of dollars in fraudulent, worthless, unpayable debt, is unforgivable, and must be punished by criminal prosecution and hard jail time. Public officials elected or appointed to high office in our Federal government must be held accountable for their crimes, or else our entire Constitutional system is worthless. I know the American people are with me, and that there can be no delay. The GAO is the official investigative arm of the U.S. Congress. They have provided their findings in a 239 page audit report. The facts speak for themselves.”
These communities are adopting laws that, taken together, are forming an alternative structure to the global corporate economy. The principles behind these laws can be applied broadly to any area where corporate rights override local self-government or the well-being of the local ecology.
Mt. Shasta, a small northern California town of 3,500 residents nestled in the foothills of magnificent Mount Shasta, is taking on corporate power through an unusual process—democracy.
The citizens of Mt. Shasta have developed an extraordinary ordinance, set to be voted on in the next special or general election, that would prohibit corporations such as Nestle and Coca-Cola from extracting water from the local aquifer. But this is only the beginning. The ordinance would also ban energy giant PG&E, and any other corporation, from regional cloud seeding, a process that disrupts weather patterns through the use of toxic chemicals such as silver iodide. More generally, it would refuse to recognize corporate personhood, explicitly place the rights of community and local government above the economic interests of multinational corporations, and recognize the rights of nature to exist, flourish, and evolve.
Mt. Shasta is not alone. Rather, it is part of a (so far) quiet municipal movement making its way across the United States in which communities are directly defying corporate rule and affirming the sovereignty of local government.
Since 1998, more than 125 municipalities have passed ordinances that explicitly put their citizens’ rights ahead of corporate interests, despite the existence of state and federal laws to the contrary. These communities have banned corporations from dumping toxic sludge, building factory farms, mining, and extracting water for bottling. Many have explicitly refused to recognize corporate personhood. Over a dozen townships in Pennsylvania, Maine, and New Hampshire have recognized the right of nature to exist and flourish (as Ecuador just did in its new national constitution). Four municipalities, including Halifax in Virginia, and Mahoney, Shrewsbury, and Packer in Pennsylvania, have passed laws imposing penalties on corporations for chemical trespass, the involuntary introduction of toxic chemicals into the human body.
These communities are beginning to band together. When the attorney general of Pennsylvania threatened to sue Packer Township this year for banning sewage sludge within its boundaries, six other Pennsylvania towns adopted similar ordinances and twenty-three others passed resolutions in support of their neighboring community. Many people were outraged when the attorney general proclaimed, “there is no inalienable right to local self-government.”
Bigger cities are joining the fray. In November, Pittsburgh’s city council voted to ban corporations in the city from drilling for natural gas as a result of local concern about an environmentally devastating practice known as “fracking.” As city councilman Doug Shields stated in a press release, “Many people think that this is only about gas drilling. It’s not—it’s about our authority as a municipal community to say ‘no’ to corporations that will cause damage to our community. It’s about our right to community, [to] local self-government.”
What has driven these communities to such radical action? The typical story involves a handful of local citizens deciding to oppose a corporate practice, such as toxic sludge dumping, which has taken a huge toll on the health, economy, and natural surroundings of their town. After years of fighting for regulatory change, these citizens discover a bitter truth: the U.S. environmental regulatory system consists of a set of interlocking state and federal laws designed by industry to serve corporate interests. With the deck utterly stacked against them, communities are powerless to prevent corporations from destroying the local environment for the sake of profit.
Enter the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit public interest law firm that champions a different approach. The firm helps communities draft local ordinances that place the rights of municipalities to govern themselves above corporate rights. Through its Democracy School, which offers seminars across the United States, it provides a detailed analysis of the history of corporate law and environmental regulation that shows a need for a complete overhaul of the system. Armed with this knowledge and with their well-crafted ordinances, citizens are able to return to their communities to begin organizing for the passage of laws such as Mt. Shasta’s proposed ordinance.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is collaborating with Global Exchange, an international environmental and workers’ rights organization, to help supporters of the Mt. Shasta ordinance organize. In an interview for this article, I asked Shannon Biggs, who directs Global Exchange’s Community Rights Program, if she expected ordinances of this type to be upheld in court. Biggs was dubious about judges “seeing the error of their ways” and reversing a centuries-old trend in which courts grant corporations increased power. Rather, she sees these ordinances as powerful educational and organizing tools that can lead to the major changes necessary to reduce corporate power, put decision-making back in the hands of real people rather than corporate “persons,” and open up whole new areas of rights, such as those of ecosystems and natural communities. Biggs connects the current municipal defiance of existing state and federal law to a long tradition of civil disobedience in the United States, harkening back to Susan B. Anthony illegally casting her ballot, the Underground Railroad flouting slave laws, and civil rights protesters purposely breaking segregation laws.
But the nascent municipal rights movement offers something new in the way of political action. These communities are adopting laws that, taken together, are forming an alternative structure to the global corporate economy. The principles behind these laws can be applied broadly to any area where corporate rights override local self-government or the well-being of the local ecology. The best place to start, I would suggest, is with banning corporations from making campaign contributions to local elections.
The municipal movement could provide one of the most effective routes to building nationwide support for an Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the movement is already expanding. In Pennsylvania, people are now organizing on the state level and similar stirrings have been reported in New Hampshire.
What about your community?
Allen D. Kanner, Ph.D., is a cofounder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, co-editor of Psychology and Consumer Culture and Ecopsychology, and a Berkeley, California child, family, and adult psychologist.