We Won—For Now

Chris Hedges, the man who sued Obama over the NDAA and won, writes an article about it.  Obama has already filed an appeal

“We Won—For Now

Showdown between the president and the judiciary

By Chris Hedges

September 17, 2012 “Information Clearing House” –  In January I sued President Barack Obama over Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorized the military to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, strip them of due process and hold them in military facilities, including offshore penal colonies. Last week, round one in the battle to strike down the onerous provision, one that saw me joined by six other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, ended in an unqualified victory for the public. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who accepted every one of our challenges to the law, made her temporary injunction of the section permanent. In short, she declared the law unconstitutional.

Almost immediately after Judge Forrest ruled, the Obama administration challenged the decision. Government prosecutors called the opinion “unprecedented” and said that “the government has compelling arguments that it should be reversed.” The government added that it was an “extraordinary injunction of worldwide scope.” Government lawyers asked late Friday for an immediate stay of Forrest’s ban on the use of the military in domestic policing and on the empowering of the government to strip U.S. citizens of due process. The request for a stay was an attempt by the government to get the judge, pending appeal to a higher court, to grant it the right to continue to use the law. Forrest swiftly rejected the stay, setting in motion a fast-paced appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and possibly, if her ruling is upheld there, to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Justice Department sent a letter to Forrest and the 2nd Circuit late Friday night informing them that at 9 a.m. Monday the Obama administration would ask the 2nd Circuit for an emergency stay that would lift Forrest’s injunction. This would allow Obama to continue to operate with indefinite detention authority until a formal appeal was heard. The government’s decision has triggered a constitutional showdown between the president and the judiciary. 

“This may be the most significant constitutional standoff since the Pentagon Papers case,” said Carl Mayer, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

“The administration of President Obama within the last 48 hours has decided to engage in an all-out campaign to block and overturn an order of a federal judge,” said co-lead counsel Bruce Afran. “As Judge Forrest noted in her opinion, nothing is more fundamental in American law than the possibility that journalists, activists and citizens could lose their liberty, potentially forever, and the Obama administration has now lined up squarely with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party to undermine Americans’ civil liberties.”

The request by the government to keep the law on the books during the appeal process raises a disturbing question. If the administration is this anxious to restore this section of the NDAA, is it because the Obama government has already used it? Or does it have plans to use the section in the immediate future?

“A Department of Homeland Security bulletin was issued Friday claiming that the riots [in the Middle East] are likely to come to the U.S. and saying that DHS is looking for the Islamic leaders of these likely riots,” Afran said. “It is my view that this is why the government wants to reopen the NDAA—so it has a tool to round up would-be Islamic protesters before they can launch any protest, violent or otherwise. Right now there are no legal tools to arrest would-be protesters. The NDAA would give the government such power. Since the request to vacate the injunction only comes about on the day of the riots, and following the DHS bulletin, it seems to me that the two are connected. The government wants to reopen the NDAA injunction so that they can use it to block protests.”

The decision to vigorously fight Forrest’s ruling is a further example of the Obama White House’s steady and relentless assault against civil liberties, an assault that is more severe than that carried out by George W. Bush. Obama has refused to restore habeas corpus. He supports the FISA Amendment Act, which retroactively makes legal what under our Constitution has traditionally been illegal—warrantless wire tapping, eavesdropping and monitoring directed against U.S. citizens. He has used the Espionage Act six times against whistle-blowers who have exposed government crimes, including war crimes, to the public. He interprets the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving him the authority to assassinate U.S. citizens, as he did the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. And now he wants the right to use the armed forces to throw U.S. citizens into military prisons, where they will have no right to a trial and no defined length of detention.

Liberal apologists for Barack Obama should read Judge Forrest’s 112-page ruling. It is a chilling explication and denunciation of the massive erosion of the separation of powers. It courageously challenges the overreach of Congress and the executive branch in stripping Americans of some of our most cherished constitutional rights.

In the last 220 years there have been only about 135 judicial rulings that have struck down an act of Congress. Most of the cases involved abortion or pornography. Very few dealt with wartime powers and the separation of powers, or what Forrest in her opinion called “a question of defining an individual’s core liberties.”

Section 1021(b)(2) authorizes the military to detain any U.S. citizen who “substantially supported” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces” and then hold them in military compounds until “the end of hostilities.” The vagueness of the language, and the refusal to exempt journalists, means that those of us who as part of our reporting have direct contact with individuals or groups deemed to be part of a terrorist network can find ourselves seized and detained under the provision.

“The Government was unable to offer definitions for the phrases ‘substantially support’ or ‘directly support,’ ” the judge wrote. “In particular, when the Court asked for one example of what ‘substantially support’ means, the Government stated, ‘I’m not in a position to give one specific example.’ When asked about the phrase ‘directly support,’ the Government stated, ‘I have not thought through exactly and we have not come to a position on ‘direct support’ and what that means.’ In its pre-trial memoranda, the Government also did not provide any definitional examples for those terms.”

The judge’s ruling asked whether a news article deemed by authorities as favorable to the Taliban could be interpreted as having “substantially supported” the Taliban.

“How about a YouTube video?” she went on. “Where is the line between what the government would consider ‘journalistic reporting’ and ‘propaganda?’ Who will make such determinations? Will there be an office established to read articles, watch videos, and evaluate speeches in order to make judgments along a spectrum of where the support is ‘modest’ or ‘substantial?’ ”

Forrest concurred with the plaintiffs that the statute violated our free speech rights and due-process guarantees. She noted that “the Court repeatedly asked the Government whether those particular past activities could subject plaintiffs to indefinite detention; the Government refused to answer.” The judge went on to criticize the nebulous language of the law, chastising the government because it “did not provide particular definitions.” She wrote that “the statute’s vagueness falls far short of what due process requires.” 

Although government lawyers argued during the trial that the law represented no change from prior legislation, they now assert that blocking it imperils the nation’s security. It is one of numerous contradictions in the government’s case, many of which were illuminated in Forrest’s opinion. The government, she wrote, “argues that no future administration could interpret § 1021(b)(2) or the AUMF differently because the two are so clearly the same. That frankly makes no sense, particularly in light of the Government’s inability at the March and August hearings to define certain terms in—or the scope of—§ 1021(b)(2).” The judge said that “Section 1021 appears to be a legislative attempt at an ex post facto ‘fix’: to provide the President (in 2012) with broader detention authority than was provided in the AUMF [Authorization to Use Military Force Act] in 2001 and to try and ratify past detentions which may have occurred under an overly-broad interpretation of the AUMF.”

The government, in effect, is attempting to push though a law similar to the legislation that permitted the government to intern 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. This law, if it comes back into force, would facilitate the mass internment of Muslim Americans as well as those deemed to “support” groups or activities defined as terrorist by the state. Calling the 1944 ruling “an embarrassment,” Forrest referred to Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the government’s internment of Japanese-Americans. 

The judge said in her opinion that the government “did not submit any evidence in support of its positions. It did not call a single witness, submit a single declaration, or offer a single document at any point during these proceedings.” She went on to write that she found “the testimony of each plaintiff credible.”

“At the March hearing, the Court asked whether Hedges’ activities could subject him to detention under § 1021; the Government stated that it was not prepared to address that question. When asked a similar question at the August hearing, five months later, the Government remained unwilling to state whether any of plaintiffs’ (including Hedges’s) protected First Amendment future activities could subject him or her to detention under § 1021. This Court finds that Hedges has a reasonable fear of detention pursuant to § 1021(b)(2).”

The government has now lost four times in a litigation that has gone on almost nine months. It lost the preliminary injunction in May. It lost a motion for reconsideration shortly thereafter. It lost the permanent injunction. It lost its request last week for a stay. We won’t stop fighting this, but it is deeply disturbing that the Obama administration, rather than protecting our civil liberties and democracy, insists on further eroding them by expanding the power of the military to seize U.S. citizens and control our streets.

Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years

This this article was first published at Truth Dig

© 2012 TruthDig.com”

‘Paleo’ Nutrition Blogger Will Go to Jail if He Does Not Recant

As Seen on lewrockwell.com

by Gary North
Tea Party Economist

Recently by Gary North: Bernanke’s Race Against Time

 

Freedom of speech? Surely, you jest.

This man got diabetes. He started a blog on treating diabetes. He broke the law by doing this. He is not licensed to promote such opinions.

He promotes the so-called “paleo” diet: low carbohydrates. (The diet is not “paleo.” It’s capitalist. I have explained this here.)

He promotes the so-called “paleo” diet: low carbohydrates. (The diet is not “paleo.” It’s capitalist. I have explained this here.)

He criticizes the establishment’s “carbs are OK” Party Line. That called down the wrath of the government on him.

Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition” without a license. According to the law, “practicing” nutrition includes “assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups” and “providing nutrition counseling.”

If he does not rewrite 3 years of posts, he must take down his site. If he refuses, and if he is convicted (after an expensive legal fight), he will go to jail.

When he was hospitalized with diabetes in February 2009, he decided to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who eventually died of the disease. He embraced the low-carb, high-protein Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet. The diet, he said, made him drug- and insulin-free within 30 days. By May of that year, he had lost 45 pounds and decided to start a blog about his success.

But this past January the state diatetics and nutrition board decided Cooksey’s blog – Diabetes-Warrior.net – violated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do.

Unless Cooksey completely rewrites his 3-year-old blog, he could be sued by the licensing board. If he loses the lawsuit and refuses to take down the blog, he could face up to 120 days in jail.

The board’s director says Cooksey has a First Amendment right to blog about his diet, but he can’t encourage others to adopt it unless the state has certified him as a dietitian or nutritionist.

Bloggers should understand this. They can offer self-testimony. They can link to other articles that report on health. But if they promote the information as recommendations, they are at risk. The establishment has passed laws against this.

Charla Burill, the board’s director, told Carolina Journal she could not discuss the details of Cooksey’s case because his website is still under investigation, but agreed to talk about the law in the hypothetical.

It’s not necessarily against the law to give your sister or your friend nutritional advice, she said. And it’s not necessarily against the law to use a blog to tell people what they should eat.

Where it crosses the line, Burill said, is when a blogger “advertises himself as an expert” and “takes information from someone such that he’s performing some sort of assessment and then giving it back with some sort of plan or diet.”

Did he advertise himself as an expert? I went to his site. Here is what I found.

Disclaimer

1) I am not a doctor, dietitian nor nutritionist. I have ZERO medical training and NO formal nutritional training. However, I am a diabetic who follows his own “diabetic diet” (backed by scientific research) and has normal Blood Glucose while taking -0- drugs and -0- insulin.

2) Personal advice will not be given on this site. This site is ONLY intended for educational purposes ONLY. Providing people with the information on a “real” diabetes diet is my goal. Creating other Diabetes Warriors…is my desire!

3) Please consult your physician regarding any health guidelines seen in this site. IF YOUR doctor does NOT support information provided on this site, I urge you to find a “low carb friendly” doctor as soon as possible.

Please contact me if you are unable to locate one. Click HERE

What I Have Done

1) I have learned from top PhDs, MDs and Fitness experts … through their writings and opinions regarding legitimate mainstream medical studies.

2) I have confirmed many of their findings through my own personal experiences. I am a former obese diabetic who was taking 4 drugs and 4 insulin shots per day!… now… I’ve lost 75 lbs and I am DRUG AND INSULIN FREE!!! All this with normal Blood Sugar….not normal for diabetics….NORMAL Blood Sugar for non-diabetics.

This did not protect him.

Read the whole story. Click the link.

He must now either shut down his site or re-write the articles or be sued by the state of North Carolina.

Continue Reading on www.carolinajournal.com

April 26, 2012

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com. He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

Copyright © 2012 Gary North

The Best of Gary North

39-1, Virginia Senate Overwhelmingly Passes NDAA Nullification Bill!

Virginia state officials will obstruct any federal agents attempting to arrest and indefinitely detain any Virginian without charges, due process, or a trial.

These actions by states are putting pressure on the federal government to explicitly renounce the powers they have overreached in claiming to have.

Will other states follow suit? Will power be returned to the people?

We’ll see.

SWAT Team Raids Wrong House, Endangers Family, Fires Shots, Receives Medals

I believe the free citizens of the United States of America should reclaim their right to defend their homes from all unlawful invaders.

If police do not want to be shot at, they should get a warrant and present it at the door, especially when operating off a fucking anonymous tip! That is what a peace officer would do.  The Gestapo would kick the door in, shoot first ask questions later, and then worry more about their own safety than the people their positions exist solely to protect!  Not to mention their taxes pay their salaries… What happened to civil servants? Is this a case where the servant now owns the master?

What kind of society protects this kind of behavior, NAY- REWARDS IT, from their own peace officers?  There is a potential list of nations that have allowed government officials to enter any innocent person’s home without warrant or repercussion.  This list of nations is one you don’t want your country to be on.  I think we should face the facts, we are on it.

The bill is a good one and should pass.

The original article can be found at William Norman Grigg’s wonderful blog- Pro Libertate, and is copied and pasted below.

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Officer Safety Uber Alles: The Coercion Cartel’s Prime Directive

The Minnesota state legislature is debating a measure that would amplify that state’s “Castle Doctrine” by recognizing that innocent people have no “duty to retreat” in the face of criminal aggression.

This would expand existing legal protection for the defensive use of lethal force against home invaders — including, where appropriate, the government-employed variety. That prospect is causing the local tax eaters’ guild to irrigate their skivvies.

Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, complains that enactment of the measure “could result in dangerous situations for police officers, who regularly enter homes without permission,” reports Twin Cities ABC affiliate KSTP. “We’re fearful that people will react and shoot and our officers could be mistaken for someone that they believe is trying to jeopardize their safety,” simpers Flaherty. In encounters of the kind Flaherty describes, it would be more accurate to say that citizens would recognize police officers as people who “jeopardize their safety.”

In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Flaherty stated the matter even more candidly: “Officer safety is the primary concern that we have about this bill…. [E]very day in the state of Minnesota, we have peace officers that are entering on somebody’s property – often times by stealth so that we have the element of surprise. We are extremely fearful that with this shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality that this bill establishes, that we will have officers that will not only be in harm’s way, but in fact will be injured or perhaps killed.”

The tacit subtext of Flaherty’s complaint is the assumption that in every encounter between citizens and police, officer safety is the paramount concern, and citizen safety is of negligible importance. This is why, in the words of the Rochester Post-Bulletin, “prosecutors, police chiefs and sheriffs across the state are lining up” to oppose the measure.

When intruders seek to enter a home without permission, observed the Post-Bulletin, “those on the other side of the door don’t always know that it’s a police officer who is entering their residence. They might have been asleep, awakening only when they hear the sounds of a door being kicked in or footsteps on the stairs. Their judgment and awareness might be impaired by drugs, alcohol, mental illness or the belief that an abusive ex-boyfriend or rival gang members many have arrived with bad intentions.”

Minneapolis SWAT operator gets a medal for raiding the wrong house.

A likelier scenario involves the even deadlier possibility that the door has been forced open by state-licensed marauders who can kill anyone within the dwelling with impunity.

So the appropriate remedy would be to abolish paramilitary police raids, correct? Not according to the Post-Bulletin’s editorial collective: “We’re with the law enforcement officers on this one…. This [expanded Castle Act] would give people the impression that when their front doorknob is rattled in the middle of the night, they have free license to shoot first and ask questions later. That’s not a good thing.”

A license of that kind is “not a good thing” – for anyone other than fully accredited members of the state’s punitive priesthood, of course. Whenever one of the Regime’s costumed enforcers kills a mere Mundane, he can usually avoid criminal prosecution simply by claiming that he “felt threatened” by something – a furtive gesture, a momentary refusal to cooperate, a dirty look, or something else detectable only through the mystical mind-reading facility that comes with a “peace officer” license and a piece of government-issued costume jewelry.

Critics of the Castle Doctrine bill complain that it is unnecessary, since Minnesota state statutes already recognize that a homeowner defending his property against invaders – other than the government-employed variety – has no duty to retreat. The bill would expand legal recognition of that right to include any circumstance in which an individual’s life is threatened – and this, according to critics, would have disastrous consequences.

“There are just way too many situations that could potentially escalate to the point of using deadly force [in public] where if someone would just walk away, the deadly force could have been avoided,”complains Fergus Falls Police Chief Kile Bergen. “That’s our job; we’re supposed to go in and apprehend these people. You as a citizen, that’s not your responsibility. It might be to protect yourself, but it’s not your job to rid the world of dangerous people.”

Chief Bergen is particularly offended by the fact that the bill would establish a “reasonable individual” test for the use of deadly force. Although Bergen whines that this would give citizens “more authority than a police officer has to use deadly force,” that provision would actually apply a standard similar to as the “reasonable officer” test. The measure also criminalizes the act of disarming citizens unless this is done pursuant to a lawful arrest — just as the state’s “resisting and obstructing” statute can be used to prosecute a citizen who disarms a police officer.

If Chief Bergen actually thinks his job has something to do with “rid[ding] the world of dangerous people,” he’s not only unqualified to be a peace officer, he’s a tragically deluded soul who should be kept away from sharp objects. More telling still is his perception that everyday life is cluttered with situations pregnant with potential gunplay.

That’s how police are trained to perceive the world: They see the public as an undifferentiated mass of menace, an all-encompassing threat to that most important of all human considerations, “officer safety.” This is why they are prepared to employ potentially lethal force at the first sign of non-cooperation, and escalate the encounter until the Mundane either submits or is killed. They are prepared to shoot first in the serene confidence that the questions asked later will be intended to exonerate the officer.

Bergen’s objections – which are quite representative of the police union’s opposition to  enhanced Castle Doctrine protections – assume that citizens who take responsibility for protecting themselves will start thinking and behaving like cops. No, this isn’t quite accurate: Even in the most extravagant worst-case scenario, the expanded Castle Law wouldn’t be taken as a general license for citizens to conduct home invasion raids, like the December 2007 police assault on the home of Minneapolis resident Vang Khang.

It was after midnight when Khang’s wife, Yee Moua, heard the sound of a window shattering, followed by the quiet murmur of male voices. She frantically dialed 911 to summon the police. When the intruders came upstairs, Vang fired a shotgun at them, provoking a brief burst of return fire. Thankfully, nobody was injured, although some of the officers reported trivial shrapnel damage to their body armor.

It was after the exchange of gunfire that the couple learned the invaders were the local SWAT team, which had been sent to the wrong address.

The City apologized for the unjustified raid – and then presented eight SWAT officers with commendations for “perform[ing] very bravely under gunfire.”

According to Police Chief Tim Dolan, “the officers didn’t make any mistakes.” This would mean that they intended to raid the wrong house and expose innocent children to gunfire.

Apparently, that’s the stuff of which contemporary heroism is made.

“The easy decision would have been to retreat under covering fire,” Dolan declared. “The team did not take the easy way out. This is a perfect example of a situation that could have gone horribly wrong, but did not because of the professionalism with which it was handled.”

 Note how Dolan conferred the commendations on the SWAT team forrefusing to retreat when the situation demanded that they do so. It was their refusal to “walk away” that Dolan considered a praiseworthy display of professionalism.How often do employees of privately owned businesses receive professional commendations after completely messing up? Are awards of that sort routinely handed out to private employees whose incompetence endangers innocent lives, and results in extensive damage to private property?More to the point: Would a private security company hand out bonuses and promotions to employees who terrorized an innocent family and perforated their home with automatic weapons fire? Of course not: Only employees of the State’s coercion cartel are permitted to behave that way.Chief Dolan, not surprisingly, opposes the “Castle Doctrine.” This is because “lessening the burden” on citizens who confront intruders would mean they might be “more willing to take shots at the people who are behind that door” – just as Vang Khang did the night Dolan’s stormtroopers invaded his home without a warrant or just cause.The Castle Doctrine “isn’t good for public safety,” insists Dolan, who – like most of those in his profession – appears to believe that the police are the only part of the population worth protecting. “

Sunday Silliness

I am going to try and post something that could, at least, possibly be taken for humour every Sunday.  Most likely it will be an image from the Dollar Vigilante, like this week, or something from the Reality Zone.  They do a good job of providing some humor with their reality.

Thanks Jeff Berwick for sending this little gem to your subscribers.

The Original post can be found here: http://www.dollarvigilante.com/blog/2012/2/17/governments-and-statists-are-an-anachronism.html

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