The Joe Blow Report 2

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Archive for January 2010

The End

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This will bring down the Obama Government:


DOJ official reportedly clears torture architects John Yoo and Jay Bybee.

Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay Bybee were two of the main architects of the Bush administration’s torture program. As Bybee’s deputy, Yoo “was the author of much of the legal rationale for using waterboarding and other severe interrogation techniques.” He argued that interrogators who harm a prisoner would be protected “national and international version of the right to self-defense,” and illegal conduct must “shock the conscience.” Bybee headed the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel and signed off on the infamous 2002 torture memo. Newsweek now reports that a senior DOJ official has essentially cleared the two men of misconduct in an upcoming office of Professional Responsibility report:

While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors — Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor — violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action — which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

A DOJ official said that Margolis “acted without input” from Attorney General Eric Holder. Emptywheel has more.

Death By Accusation

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After you read this report ask yourself what is to stop the local police authorities from adopting the same legal justification for enforcing the same summary judgment – point, accuse and shoot?


The following is only an excerpt of his complete article. Click the link to read everything he reports. It’s worth your time and consideration. There is absolutely NOTHING to stop this from happening to you.


Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010 06:28 EST

Presidential assassinations of U.S. citizens

By Glenn Greenwald
*****

Just think about this for a minute.  Barack Obama, like George Bush before him, has claimed the authority to order American citizens murdered based solely on the unverified, uncharged, unchecked claim that they are associated with Terrorism and pose “a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests.”  They’re entitled to no charges, no trial, no ability to contest the accusations.  Amazingly, the Bush administration’s policy of merely imprisoning foreign nationals (along with a couple of American citizens) without charges — based solely on the President’s claim that they were Terrorists — produced intense controversy for years.  That, one will recall, was a grave assault on the Constitution.  Shouldn’t Obama’s policy of ordering American citizens assassinated without any due process or checks of any kind — not imprisoned, but killed — produce at least as much controversy?

Obviously, if U.S. forces are fighting on an actual battlefield, then they (like everyone else) have the right to kill combatants actively fighting against them, including American citizens. That’s just the essence of war. That’s why it’s permissible to kill a combatant engaged on a real battlefield in a war zone but not, say, torture them once they’re captured and helplessly detained. But combat is not what we’re talking about here. The people on this “hit list” are likely to be killed while at home, sleeping in their bed, driving in a car with friends or family, or engaged in a whole array of other activities. More critically still, the Obama administration — like the Bush administration before it — defines the “battlefield” as the entire world. So the President claims the power to order U.S. citizens killed anywhere in the world, while engaged even in the most benign activities carried out far away from any actual battlefield, based solely on his say-so and with no judicial oversight or other checks. That’s quite a power for an American President to claim for himself.

*****

A 1981 Executive Order signed by Ronald Reagan provides: “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”  Before the Geneva Conventions were first enacted, Abraham Lincoln — in the middle of the Civil War — directed Francis Lieber to articulate rules of conduct for war, and those were then incorporated into General Order 100, signed by Lincoln in April, 1863.  Here is part of what it provided, in Section IX, entitled “Assassinations”:

The law of war does not allow proclaiming either an individual belonging to the hostile army, or a citizen, or a subject of the hostile government, an outlaw, who may be slain without trial by any captor, any more than the modern law of peace allows such intentional outlawry; on the contrary, it abhors such outrage. The sternest retaliation should follow the murder committed in consequence of such proclamation, made by whatever authority. Civilized nations look with horror upon offers of rewards for the assassination of enemies as relapses into barbarism.

Can anyone remotely reconcile that righteous proclamation with what the Obama administration is doing?  And more generally, what legal basis exists for the President to unilaterally compile hit lists of American citizens he wants to be killed?

*****

“There is a constitutional problem here. A person is innocent unless proven guilty,” he said. “If you go off to kill or capture them, how do you prove that they are really guilty in terms of legal process?” . . .

So we’re in Afghanistan to teach them about democracy, the rule of law, and basic precepts of Western justice.  Meanwhile, Afghan officials vehemently object to the lawless, due-process-free assassination “hit list” of their citizens based on the unchecked say-so of the U.S. Government, and have to lecture us on the rule of law and Constitutional constraints.  By stark contrast, our own Government, our media and our citizenry appear to find nothing wrong whatsoever with lawless assassinations aimed at our own citizens.  And the most glaring question for those who criticized Bush/Cheney detention policies but want to defend this:  how could anyone possibly object to imprisoning foreign nationals without charges or due process at Guantanamo while approving of the assassination of U.S. citizens without any charges or due process?

–Joe

Power To The People — RIGHT!

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Problem Oriented Policing

The following Editorial, however well intentioned, is really an condemnatory indictment of the Eureka Police Department. The fact that the EPD had to institute the Problem Oriented Policing program speaks for itself. It’s purpose, apparently defined below, was to get the people calling on the police to respond. Apparently the general public “did NOT have a sense of buy-in.” They’d call in and get the run-around. My personal experience was, not only did I get the run-around, their failure to do their job made the matter worse. That would make me a prime candidate for some new empowering police program, right?

 “This is effective policing”? If we didn’t have “effective policing” BEFORE, why do we need a new “empowering program” now when all the police need to do is the job they are paid to do?

So, what’s the real message this program is sending? Unless the police get the powers they want, we the people, the one’s that they are here to supposedly protect and serve, divest us of everything, including our tax dollars, until they get their way. You can read how this all works here.

While the POP program in and of itself may be a useful tool and even an asset to the community, it’s very existance, as justified in the following Editorial, definitely “sends” the wrong message.


This is the Sunday, January 17, 2010 Times-Standard Editorial copied here verbatim:

Empowering the people

The Times-Standard
Posted: 01/17/2010 01:30:15 AM PST

Law enforcement in this and any community works best when residents have a sense of buy-in. If Eurekans feel like their concerns and observations are noted by police, and that action is taken when crimes are committed and reported, then they are much more likely to take umbrage at crimes committed on their doorstep, and report them.

In two recent cases at least, the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing program has yielded investigations and arrests. These were allegedly problem properties that had attracted the attention of neighbors, and their efforts to see these problems addressed led to concrete action on the part of law enforcement officials.

This success only serves to reinforce the program — as more and more residents realize that their calls actually result in action and enforcement, you can bet more and more calls will be made. This is effective policing. [Emphasis mine.]

Neither of the two recent busts led to major arrests. But that is not the point. The program is working quickly to give Eureka residents confidence that its police department is working to address the problems that affect their lives.

At the same time, it’s sending signals to criminals within city limits that their actions will have consequences. Their activity will not be tolerated, and their neighbors, for so long simply passive witnesses to crime that went on all around them, are suddenly empowered. When people are invested, and feel like they can make a difference by policing their own communities, that’s when positive change can really occur.

A good explanation of Problem Oriented Policing — POP — is here.

–Joe

Tell Me Words Don’t Matter!

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A longstanding argument of this Report is that “words are important,” that “words mean what they say.” That is how the intentions of the speaker or writer are communicated or expressed. Today we hear that it is unacceptable to use the word “negro” in normal day-to-day language. Use the evil “N” word and you commit suicide. Reason? It offends some “…” people. Well, the use of the term “African-American” offended me! That term means “African” first, “American” second. As an American “white,” with roots that go back to the beginning of this country, I find such usage and it’s overt acceptance is a direct implication of my second-class status.

Keeping and protecting their African heritage at the cost of their American reality has dominated their movement toward individuality and their maturity as a race within the American context is self-evident. Simple-minded, knee jerk reactions, however well intended, because someone’s sensitivities are tweaked, can lead to some rather undesirable and unintended consequences. But then, that’s usually the undisclosed plan, especially one with an ulterior motive, isn’t it?

Today we see an effort to actually recognize the value and meaning of words expressed in law. In the state of Washington –

Decades ago, poor children became known as “disadvantaged” to soften the stigma of poverty. Then they were “at-risk.” Now, a Washington lawmaker wants to replace those euphemisms with a new one, “at hope.”

Lovely word “euphemisms.” It means: “the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.”

Democratic State Sen. Rosa Franklin says negative labels are hurting kids’ chances for success and she’s not a bit concerned that people will be confused by her proposed rewrite of the 54 places in state law where words like “at risk” and “disadvantaged” are used.

You can read the rest of the story here:

Wash. lawmaker wants to banish negative language

Of course there’s the expected standard simple-minded Republican response:

“It’s not the label, it’s the people who show up to help (children) that make the difference,” he says. “What helps is a smart, well structured program, that has funding and credibility.”

You can read Robert Preidt report on HealthDay News published at MedicineNet.com, “Negative Words Register Faster” and see why I say “simple-minded.” Class stigmatisms are subliminally contained in the attitude expressed by the words used to tag, classify and identify people. It is a “truth” nearly impossible to overcome.

This is nowhere expressed more succinctly than in this statement by a Federal Judge at the Sentencing Hearing of Richard Reid: “And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

Yes, words matter. Words of truth do not make anyone a bigot, a racist, or a monster. But then, Jesus Christ spoke words of truth defending and empowering the “disadvantaged” and “at risk” and look what happened to him!

[Picture source]

–Joe

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