Friday, July 17, 2015

Pro Se, “For one's own behalf; in person. Appearing for oneself

TBR-Leighton Bradford, Editor-in-Chief
Pro Se, “For one's own behalf; in person. As in the case of one who does not retain a lawyer and appears for himself or herself in court”.

Allowing attorneys to advertise on television undermines jurisprudence. As a result; justice goes towards the highest bidder? And if the plaintiff does not have the means? The cold weal of market forces should not dictate who receives justice. In college a professor once asked me what is just? My retort-apparently not the merits of my study within his class?  Not the current judicial process-fairness must come into play. The bottom-line or a profit margin must not influence due process. Our court system seems to reward association and alumni legal status. You rarely see a barrister accepting pro bono work? Honestly! Do you think an attorney is going to give weight to someone who is financially challenged?  The diminishing of this professions integrity is obvious. The routine of the lesser courts judicial system trumps substantive or procedural due process. “So and so, for the people”!
Substantive Due Process:

The substantive limitations placed on the content or subject matter of state and federal laws by the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

In general, substantive due process prohibits the government from infringing on fundamental constitutional liberties. By contrast, procedural due process refers to the procedural limitations placed on the manner in which a law is administered, applied, or enforced. Thus, procedural due process prohibits the government from arbitrarily depriving individuals of legally protected interests without first giving them notice and the opportunity to be heard.

The Due Process Clause provides that no person shall be "deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." When courts face questions concerning procedural due process, the controlling word in this clause is process. Courts must determine how much process is due in a particular hearing to satisfy the fairness requirements of the Constitution. When courts face questions concerning substantive due process, the controlling issue is liberty. Courts must determine the nature and the scope of the liberty protected by the Constitution before affording litigants a particular freedom. (

Procedural Due Process:

noun due process of law, legal fairness, legal safeguards, protection against deprivations, protection guarantees, protection of deprivation of accepted legal principles Generally: fundamental fairness Specifically: Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment
Associated concepts: 
procedural due process, right to confront accuser.(legal dictionary)


To that claim, Judge Hillman wrote: "To require the town to provide any greater level of procedural due process at the pre-discipline stage would unnecessarily intrude on the town's interest in temporarily removing an unsatisfactory employee and in efficiently administering its personnel system”.

The aforementioned text offers insight into the basic concept or meaning of due process. The blind fold has been lifted off of the face of justice within Desoto, Shelby County and courts throughout our nation. The good ole boy system includes people of color as well.  A receding culture holds on to the last vestige of social stance, in lieu of social change. The Thwarting of Black males is the presumed understanding. Meaning; male individuals of African descent have an unsaid prison social contract.  The privatizing of prisons requires Black souls! The various state legal bars lack the oversight as it relates to its wayward offspring. Routine or manufactured precedent prevails. A first responder remarks “When the judge etc...” becomes an obvious flag of a manufactured predent. This person or entity knows the outcome?  The incident has an identified result. The almighty dollar seems to dictate jurisprudence. Lawyers will seek fortune and will not embrace the constitution or serve the needs of the ongoing public with due diligence. Money or paper, should not dictate whether or not justice is served!  The body politic is not best served with the hold host of barristers! The modern day paper chase is an embarrassment towards the profession. Individuals of African descent continue to be wronged within our justice system, but our Whitehouse leadership concentrates on foreign or alternative lifestyles? The Whitehouse seems to scoff at the fundamental needs of individuals of African descent, moreover; forgoing public opinion. The working man needs to rebuke a system that cultivates an exclusive lawyer stance.  The poor continue to suffer from the lack of due process. The recent Supreme Court decisions do not integrate the constitutionality of a given subject, but offer biased political remedy. County, State, and Municipal provinces make their own rules, and scoff at constitutional attributes.  If an individual wants to embrace a pro se stance, what say the body politic? Is it a guaranteed loss? Do lawyers feel insecure about an individual representing themselves? It’s all about the paper “G”! The legal profession is diminished when justice is associated with the bottom-line. The constitution becomes a mere parchment adopted by old white dudes unless it’s given defined meaning. The United States will become a tier below a third world country if finances influence the outcome of court decisions.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rahm Emanuel: A Symbol of Much of What Is Wrong with America

TBR-special to-
By Paul Bucheit,
Nearly 60 percent of his 103 donors received "contracts, zoning changes, business permits or some other tangible benefit"

 April 06, 2015 "ICH" -   America's is a sickness of the mind, the unwavering belief by people in power that free-market capitalism will somehow work for everyone.

As with a virus that refuses to die, the effects are insidious, because the very rich have convinced themselves that they made it on their own, and that others have only themselves to blame if they are poor.

Rahm Emanuel is Mayor 1%. He speaks a politician's words to entice many Chicagoans to vote for him, but his actions are on behalf of his friends and colleagues in the business world.

Snubbing the Needs of Average People 

The author of Mayor 1%, Kari Lydersen, tells the story of Helen Morley, a resident of the southwest side of Chicago and a regular patient at one of the mental health clinics closed by Mayor Emanuel. At Chicago's 175th birthday party in 2012, Morley pleaded, "Mayor Emanuel, please don�t close our clinics! We�re going to die...There�s nowhere else to go." Emanuel ignored her. According to Lydersen, Morley and others believed that the mayor "didn�t understand the role these specific clinics played in their lives and the difficulty they would have traveling to other locations."

The same can be said for Chicago's shuttered public schools, once the vital centers of their communities. The state of Illinois cut education spending by a greater percentage than any other state in fiscal 2012, and for 2013 it was third-worst in percentage cuts per student. Privatizers rushed in and blamed the public system. As a result, 50 neighborhood schools were closed in Chicago, opening the way for charter schools, which take taxpayer money but have little accountability to the public and an obligation only to their investors. In the end, 2,000 public school employees were fired by Emanuel, including over 1,000 teachers.

Parent Ronald Brooks, whose daughter's school Lafayette was shut down, spoke in the aftermath of the mayor's action: "Lafayette was more than a school. It was an institution....the heart and soul of our community."

Lafayette, which was reportedly underutilized, was replaced by a selective publicly-funded contract arts school with approximately the same enrollment as before the closing.

Cozying Up to Cronies 

According to the Chicago Tribune, "The mayor regularly courts his benefactors behind closed doors.." Nearly 60 percent of his 103 donors received "contracts, zoning changes, business permits, pension work, board appointments, regulatory help or some other tangible benefit."

Democracy Now cites a report by the International Business Times which found that Emanuel uses no-bid, no-contract voucher payments to quietly pass along money to his contributors. It was also reported by the Chicago Tribune that the lawyers for Chicago's infamous parking meter deal contributed over $100,000 to Emanuel's campaign chest. City attorneys touted the 'benefits' of the deal.

In another egregious episode, Mayor Emanuel appointed Deborah Quazzo, a managing partner at GSV Advisors, to the Chicago Board of Education. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Quazzo's business affiliates subsequently tripled their business with the public schools. Tellingly, GSV founder Michael Moe related his goal for the future: "An education revolution in which public schools outsource to private vendors such critical tasks as teaching math, educating disabled students, even writing report cards."

Making Deals that Send Our Tax Dollars to Wall Street

Rahm Emanuel has made Chicago look good for tourists, sprucing up the downtown (Loop) business district, adding retail stores and office space. But the funding comes at the expense of average citizens. The mayor's plan for a South Loop hotel and basketball arena is using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds (our tax money, meant for blighted neighborhoods), and stands to enrich a hedge fund that contributed to Rahm's campaign fund and then invested in the hotel as the deal was being finalized.

According to Crain's Chicago Business, Emanuel has borrowed high-interest money that won't come due until he's out of office. For example, instead of paying $120.8 million in bonds owed now, he refinanced, thus adding another $228.8 million in interest over 30 years. Like Mayor Daley before him, Rahm hides the costs until someone else is around to take the blame.

Even the vital area of pre-K education is set up to benefit big business, with progressive-sounding social impact bondslikely to double the profits of Goldman Sachs and other investors in the next few years. Said Chicago reporter Rick Perlstein: "[The mayor] struck a deal with a bunch of investment banks to use the preschoolers of Chicago as collateral.." The deal was arranged with little debate, and with little understanding of the long-term risk.

And what about Chicago's (and Illinois') massive deficit? In recent years the state's largest corporations have been payingonly about a third of their required state taxes. Threats to leave the city seem empty in one of the nation's busiest trading centers. Yet Mayor Emanuel opposes even a tiny tax on the quadrillion dollar business of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, whose profit margin in recent years has been higher than any of the top 100 companies in the nation.

His Legacy

The mayor claimed credit for a minimum wage increase, even though he didn't act until the State of Illinois began putting the plan in place. He took credit for a longer school day for the kids, but he didn't provide the necessary funding. He took credit for coal-burning power plant closings that resulted largely from neighborhood activism.

Like its mayor, Chicago has two faces. The rest of the nation sees the glitz and glamour of Chicago's magnificent downtown, but the city's south and west sides, according to urban analyst Daniel Hertz, are more dangerous than in the 1990s. This is part of the sickness: a persistent inequality, moreso of wealth than of income, that plagues America and manifests itself in the questionable dealings of a man like Rahm Emanuel. He may best be remembered as the privatizerof Chicago and, as Perlstein suggested, "a strikingly corrupt mayor." 

 Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, a member of US Uncut Chicago, and the editor and main author of American Wars: Illusions and Realities (Clarity Press). He can be reached at

#content afforded via UFAA Alain Larreau

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Orion Test Lab Mockup for Next Flight Finished


LM mockupThe construction of an Orion crew module and crew module adapter full-scale mockup has been completed at the Littleton, Colorado facility of Lockheed Martin, NASA’s prime contractor for Orion. This mockup was transferred to the company’s Orion Test Lab on May 13, where engineers will configure it with the exact harnessing, electrical power, sensors, avionics and flight software needed to support Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the first flight of Orion atop NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. Orion’s team of engineers will use the mockup to verify the configuration of these vehicle components for EM-1, which ultimately saves assembly time and reduces risk. The mockup will then be connected to hardware emulations of the full EM-1 stack (Orion crew module, European Service Module, second stage booster and the Space Launch System) as well as ground support equipment. Once it’s connected, the team will simulate and test every aspect of the EM-1 mission from launch to splashdown. Orion will enable astronauts to explore new destinations in the solar system, including an asteroid and on toward Mars.

Rachel Kraft, NASA public affairs officer, left, Frank Culbertson, Executive Vice President

Sunday, April 5, 2015

One-Year Mission to Station Advances NASA's Journey to Mars

TBR-NASA,  NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden

 NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden

Today we launch an American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut to live and work in space for an entire year. It’s the first time an American astronaut will have been in space for that length of time. It’s an important stepping-stone on our journey to Mars and will give us detailed medical data recorded throughout the one-year expedition. President Obama recognized this significant American space exploration milestone in his State of the Union address this year, noting: “[We’re] pushing out into the solar system not just to visit, but to stay…as part of a reenergized space program.”

This mission is part of the critical roadmap we’ve been undertaking with bipartisan support since the President challenged us five years ago to plan for a human mission to an asteroid and later to Mars.
When American astronaut Scott Kelly is in space, he’ll not only carry out the research and technology demonstrations that our astronauts have been helping us develop during the past 14 years of continuous human habitation aboard the International Space Station (ISS), he’ll also participate in a unique experiment.
Scott has an identical twin brother, Mark – also an astronaut – who will be here on Earth. We’ll compare the brothers’ vital signs and learn how space affects the human body on orbit. Throughout Scott’s mission we’ll gain new, detailed insights on ways long-duration spaceflight can affect things like bone density, muscle mass, strength, vision and other aspects of human physiology. We’ll also look at mental changes and challenges astronauts may face when they embark on longer-duration missions.

We will also get an opportunity to see how microgravity affects the human genome. This information might affect every one of us on Earth as we get a unique insight into genomic changes.
Unfortunately, Scott won’t launch on this important mission from the United States on an American spacecraft. However, that’s not for a lack of trying on the part of the Obama Administration.
Five years ago, the President laid out a plan to ensure we had an American system to transport our astronauts to the International Space Station once the Bush Administration’s plan to retire the Space Shuttle went into effect. That plan looked to the ingenuity of U.S. industry to develop private space transportation systems to get crews to the ISS. Regrettably, Congress did not fully fund this plan and delayed its implementation until 2017. It is my hope that the plan is fully funded this year, as full funding this year is critical to ending our sole dependence on the Russians as soon as possible.
Kelly’s launch is one key aspect of NASA’s efforts to meet the President’s goal of a human mission to Mars, but much work is underway throughout the agency to meet this vision. Technology drives exploration and NASA has integrated its work to focus on developing the technologies to reach deeper into space. Our Space Launch System rocket, which will be the most powerful ever built, has moved from being a concept into development. Just this month we’ve tested the booster and the rocket engines for this powerful vehicle. The Orion spacecraft, in which astronauts will travel to farther destinations in deep space, performed flawlessly on its first flight test in December. We have completed the first round of detailed reviews and are now looking even closer at the heat shield through destructive evaluation. This data review will help us improve Orion’s safety and performance as we prepare for a crewed flight.

We’re also working on the advanced technologies for propulsion, landing and radiation shielding, among many others, that humans will need to travel farther than we ever have before. While that work is rapidly advancing, our commercial partners’ innovation will make it possible for the next generation of astronauts to travel once again to space on American systems. We couldn’t be more proud of our astronaut corps, our innovative engineers and scientists and the industrial gumption of our partners. Together, they’re helping to create a whole new segment of the economy that is driving the inspiration and competitiveness of the future.
Scott Kelly’s launch is more than simply one person’s journey to the International Space Station. At the end of his mission, he will become the record holder for longest stay in space by an American. But as he works off the Earth, for the Earth, he stands on the shoulders of the great NASA achievements that made the Space Station possible. He is helping us reach higher and take those next great leaps in exploration. His historic mission is one more sign that our nation’s space program is thriving and continues to lead the world.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Netanyahu: He Came, He Saw, He Conquered. The Power of Israel over the United States

TBR-Op-Ed, By Prof. James Petras,
"There is only one reason that Netanyahu is received as a Viceroy overseeing and dictating strategic policy to what clearly is a servile colonial legislature," By Prof. James Petras

"There have been times when history has played tricks with man and..has magnified the features of essentially small persons into a parody of greatness". Rabindranath Tagore (on Benito Mussolini)

How is it that the ruler (Benjamin Netanyahu) of a puny country (Israel) of 8.2 million (6.2 million Jews) with the 37th biggest economy (GDP in current prices) in the world dictates war policy and secures the willing submission of the legislature of the largest economy and most powerful military empire in the world?
What significance does Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress have, beyond the fact that he uses it as a platform to attack the elected President of the US, to denounce US peace negotiations and to demand that Congress adopt policies designed to precipitate a war with Iran?

Netanyahu’s Dominant Presence in the US
There is only one reason that Netanyahu is received as a Viceroy overseeing and dictating strategic policy to what clearly is a servile colonial legislature: over the past quarter of a century, Israel’s proxy in the US , an entire panoply of Zionist political organizations, government officials, propaganda mills, media moguls, billionaires and millionaires, have deeply penetrated the legislature, executive and administrative centers of decision making. Netanyahu’s arrogance and “brazen” presumption (Financial Times, 3/4/15, p. 6) to dictate policy to the US Congress is rooted in the pre-existing power base created by the proxy Zionist power configuration.
Netanyahu can sneer, with a crooked smile, at the US President, because, after several decades of Zionist permeation of the US state, he knows that he comes not as an outside power but as a leader and spokesperson of an inside power.
His presence was hailed by all the mass media as a major event, as international news, for over a month in advance. With Napoleonic presumption he dared to announce in advance that he would advance a war thesis in the fashion of any head of state. He can act as an unelected dictator because the elected officials have been converted into docile and complicit subjects by his proxy power structure. Netanyahu follows the political precept of his predecessor Ariel Sharon, who faced with Israeli worry- wards criticizing his obstreperous intervention in US politics , once stated “Don’t worry.We lead the US by the nose”.
The crucial theoretical point is that the conditions that enabled Netanyahu to come, to see and to conquer, were not of his doing. His presence in the US Congress and his message is derivied from the power of his supporters, deeply embedded in the structure of political power in the US.
Otherwise, who would take serious his delusional military fantasies, his clinically paranoid vision of peaceful adversaries, conspiring to “nuke Israel” and then the world, without a single nuclear bomb!
Prominent among Netanyahu’s financial backers are a group of prominent Zionist lumpen bourgeoisie,billionaires who lent to millions of borrowers at extortionate rates(between 1400 and 4000% ) and played a leading role in the fraudulent mortgage induced crises of 2009-forward.They include Al Goldstein co-founder of AvantCredit and CashNetUSA;Sasha Orloff and Jacob Rosenberg founders of Lendup;Daniel Gilbert founder of QuickenLoans- a predator subprime lender;Ronald Arnall owner of Ameriquest….. .They used part of their ill-gotten gains to ease their consciences by donating millions to Israeli and US jewish causes.Being generous to Israel provides a sort of perverse “forgiveness” for screwing millions of Americans ..
One does not need much imagination to envision them cheering Netanyahu’s AIPAC and Congressional diatribes. It is not surprising that the lumpen bourgeoisie backs a lumpen prime minister.
The best and the brightest of the Zionist phalanx of pundits, professors, lawyers, economists and financiers have created an aura of gravity and profundity, around this vulgar beerhall brawler.
This raises a basic question: Why do upwardly mobile, prosperous and elite educated Zionist majorities, enthusiastically pledge unconditional loyalty to an authoritarian foreign ruler who humiliates their country of birth?
Why did ten thousand American born Zionist professionals, stand and cheer, as they did the day before his congressional speech, as Netanyahu dictated his rabid bellicose political line to them, at the AIPAC conference?
Is it because they believe he is their Chosen Leader of their Chosen Fatherland?
Netanyahu, with all his vulgarity and mediocrity, strikes a deep and abiding chord in the soul of his Zionist followers. They believe they are the collective geniuses of a superior species, who need not abide by the protocols of non-Zionist states and international laws which hinder his colonial rule over millions of Palestinians.
What else but that identity of superiority allows the educated and prosperous, the humane and the cruel, to bond and welcome Netanyahu, as a modern secular Moses crossing the Potomac, delivering “the Jews” (for the messianic Netanyahu claims to speak for “all Jews”) from the mortal threats (Iran) cultivated by gentile politicians. The great majority of Zionist activists are deaf, dumb and blind to those who criticize and refute his infantile and grotesque lies, the scrofulous screeds about non-existing “existential threats” which infest his speeches.Worse they will terrorize and cow any critic,demand that their employers fire them,as they have done over the past two decades. They believe that the Palestinians, who Israel bombed into the Stone Age, are threats to Israel. They believe that nuclear weaponless Iranians, facing hundreds of Israeli nuclear bombs, are a threat to Israel. They believe there is one “truth”: that all measures, speeches and actions which enhance the power and glory of Israel are virtuous. It is this “truth” that motivates hundreds of thousands of “virtuous” Zionists to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to buy and/or intimidate Presidents and Congresspeople,
Governors and Mayors, University Presidents and faculty, police informers and academic thugs. It is this Zionist power configuration which allows a political low-life like Netanyahu to enter and dominate the legislative chamber and tell US citizens where and when their next war should take place. It is for this power configuration that Congress “performs”; applauding and doing jumping jacks on cue for each and every one of Netanyahu’s emotional ejaculations.
Broad sectors of the Israeli public was immensely impressed by Netanyahu’s capacity to humiliate the President; by his willingness to dictate policy to the US: by the hyperkinetic docility and submissiveness of US Congress people. But this is not surprising. After all Israelis are used to dominating Palestinians and torturing them into submission and colonizing a whole people. Why shouldn’t they gloat, or be proud, if Netanyahu speaks and acts as a viceroy to the US? After all their leader is dominating a so-called ‘world power’!
No doubt the Israeli empire loyalists will overwhelmingly vote for Netanyahu, even if the “opposition” claims they also denounce the US-Iranian peace negotiations. Opposition leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni don’t have Netanyahu’s gangster look, that crooked smile that says to the US leaders, “we lead you by the nose and you love it”.What the rest of the world thinks of a braying burro led by the nose is not hard to imagine:world leadership certainly is not foremost in their minds…
There is much idle chatter from liberals, leftists and progressives, claiming that Netanyahu’s ‘brazen intervention’ would backfire; that it would damage relations with the US; that it would weaken, undermine US-Iranian relations and allow Iran to secure nuclear weapons. Liberal zionists claim that Netanyahu’s speech would weaken support for Israel among Democratic congress people; that it would undermine US-Iranian relations and allow Iran to secure nuclear weapons. Liberal Zionists claim that Netanyahu’s speech would weaken US support for Israel (God forbid!).
These lamentations have no substance; they are mendacious concoctions of minds which lack any capacity to understand power especially the permanent power of the Zionist power configuration.
Even a cursory reading of the political facts which preceded accompanied and followed Netanyahu’s Congressional dictates, demonstrates the exact opposite.
Immediately after Netanyahu’s intervention, Congressional leaders moved ahead to fast track legislation to heighten Iranian sanctions, to veto any Executive agreement. The Republication majority and over half of the Democrats chose to back the “foreign Viceroy” on policies of war and peace.
Far from “prejudicing” relations with the Obama regime, the Administration in the person of Secretary of State John Kerry vetoed a measure passed by the UN Human Right Commission condemning Israel’s savage war crimes against Palestinians… Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power did the usual belly crawl for Israel at the AIPAC conference following Netanyahu’s rousing diatribe. US-Iranian “negotiations” in Switzerland increasingly turned on exactly the issues Netanyahu demanded.. US Secretary of State Kerry insisted on on-going intrusive inspections of Iran’s entire nuclear and military installations; retaining most sanctions for a decade; eliminating most enriched uranium …In a word disarming Iran, increasing its military vulnerability to an Israeli nuclear attack, without any deterrence or retaliatory capacity! Iran is formally negotiating with Kerry on behalf of the 5 plus 1, but the agenda and demands are set by the raucous over-voice of Netanyahu, who is the most influential invisible presence.
In other words there is ample evidence that Netanyahu’s intervention far from ‘damaging’ US-Israeli relations, further reinforced Israel’s power over the US. By securing the Administration’s declarations of unconditional loyalty while humiliating the President and seizing executive prerogatives, Israel demonstrates to the world that it can and will dictate US strategic policy and denounce its President with total impunity.
Netanyahu is far from being ostracized. He has a global platform from which to spew his rabid chauvinist diatribes against peace and negotiations. His speech, its content and style, received front page and extended prime time coverage. His war-mongering resonated with the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and US News and World Report.
Netanyahu’s political line inspired AIPAC’s ten thousand ultra-Zionists, who stormed Capital Hall and demanded Congress people and Congressional staff to act on His message. Not a single dissenting voice emanated from the Presidents of the 52 Major American (sic) Jewish organizations whose first loyalty continued to be toward Israeli interests as defined by their Prime Minister.
The voices of dissent among the few dozen Jews on Capitol Hill, and outside the AIPAC conference hall, did not register in Congress or among the vast majority of Jewish community leaders or in the mass media.
Contrary to the lamentations and claims that Netanyahu has “weakened” Israel, the facts on the ground demonstrate that he has strengthened his “leadership” among the billionaires who buy US Congressional leaders. He has demonstrated that US officials, even ones who he insults and attacks, will continue to support Israeli war crimes in international forums; regale Israel with $3 billion a year in military aid to enhance its military supremacy in the Middle East; and incorporate its demands in any strategic negotiations with ‘Islamic’ countries like Iran, even if it undermines the bases of any negotiated agreement.

Clearly Netanyahu alienated a minority of US Congressional Democrat but mostly on procedural issues of protocol rather than on the more substantive issues of mongering for war and sanctions against Iran. Netanyahu’s messianic claim to speak for “all Jews” did arouse over 2,000 American Jews and non-Jews to sign a paid advertisement denying his status as the Second Coming of Moses.
But as the rousing welcome and conclusion to his speech by the Congressional majority and the unanimity of AIPAC’s thousands demonstrate, Israel’s formidable Zionist power configuration still dominates US policy in the Middle East.
The ‘debate’ over Netanyahu’s episodic presence in the US Congress and humiliation of the US President, is misplaced.What really needs to be debated is the more fundamental question of the permanent presence, power and prerogatives of the Zionist power configuration in the making of US Middle East policy.
No other visiting Prime Minister or President can be recieved with so much media attention and political fanfare, as Netanyahu because none possess the formidable, organized, well financed and disciplined political apparatus which Israel possess. An apparatus which defends and promotes US wars on behalf of Israel, Israel’s war crimes, land seizures and torture of Palestinians. That they support Netanyahu’s gross humiliation of Obama is not surprising – it merely confirms the “Law of the Return”: that for American Zionists there is only one true state of the Jews –and that is Israel; and that their only “true” leaders, are Israelis… As it happens today he is called Benjamin Netanyahu. And that any US policy, negotiations or agreements in the Middle East have to be in accord with their leader.
Congress knows that.
The “52” know that.
Only the majority of the American electorate, who still believe they live in a free and independent country are not privy to that. Even as Netanyahu’s intervention tells them otherwise.
But then we live in a peculiar sui generis ‘meritocracy in which the opinions of 2% of the chosen people counts more than that of 98% of our citizens.
The critics, Jews and non-Jews ,must realize that their problem with Netanyahu requires them to delve deeper; and that their opposition needs to become more systematic and more directly confrontational with the Zionist power configuration. Otherwise there is no basis for believing that the US can end national humiliations and regain its status as a free and democratic republic.
James Petras is the author of four volume study of US – Israeli relations. The most recent is The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle East (Atlanta: Clarity Press 2014). Contributor-Alain/UFAA          

Friday, February 13, 2015

Revolution's Matchstick: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

Above: Rivera Sun, an Auburn native now living in Taos, N.M., performs her one-woman act, “The Education of Lala Girl,” on Sunday at the Olin Arts Center at Bates College in Lewiston. Sun Cook performs the story of Lala, an African-American girl growing up in the small town of Lovely, Kan., chronicling her spunky, indomitable spirit. The Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal.
Rolling down the corporate-political assembly line is a trade deal so treasonous to the peoples of the world that it should serve as revolution’s matchstick. The treaty is secret, but one fact is well known: the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is being negotiated by transnational corporations without a single US legislator present.
Each time I hear this, my eyes blink in disbelief. Without a single legislator present . . . without their presence at negotiations, without so much as seeing a draft of the deal, and most treacherously, without objection or outcry at their exclusion!
The President has requested our legislators to “fast track the TPP”, which would allow him to sign the deal prior to sending it to Congress for approval or disapproval. If they agree to this, then Congress eschews its right – and its responsibility – to reject parts of the trade deal and reopen negotiations.
This complicity of the part of our legislators sinks an iron weight in my gut.
It smacks not of exclusion, but of willing collusion with transnational corporations that have a proven track record of criminality, destruction, and abuse. In my short lifetime, large corporations have been responsible for poisoning two major gulfs with oil spills, blowing up more than five hundred mountains, destroying numerous watersheds, wrecking the food system with toxins, and causing one in six Americans to be evicted from their homes. They have used the media apparatus to deny the existence of climate change, fomented wars, and obstructed truth and justice so often that it is practically “industry standard”. The list of grievances can be only partial here, but these abuses alone must sound the alarm bells of our conscience.
The largest trade deal since NAFTA is being written in secret by entities that have consistently abused the global population for the sake of profit.
A single thought rings bell-like in my mind.
We must revolt.
It is a quiet statement. Pragmatic.
Revolution is not a stirring thought. It evokes a great sadness in me, as if a member of my family had sunk so far into alcoholism that I must declare my separation and call on the collective strength of society to rein in his behavior so he does not cause death and destruction to us all. I am old enough to have cut through romantic idealizations of revolution, but smart enough to understand that this collusion of government and pathological corporations must be stopped.
I regret that it has come to this. Even as I steel my heart for the work ahead, I look to the seats of power and wish they would turn their self-involved gazes from their profits and see the suffering they are causing.
Wishes alone will not change anything. Action is required. So, with pragmatic determination, I look out across the unlikely landscape of my nation. Violence seethes just under the surface. Ignorance abounds. Despair, helplessness, and apathy afflict us, along with addiction and ill health. Police brutality is on the rise. Authoritarian power is replacing democracy and civil liberties. The pervasiveness of the surveillance state is so widespread that honesty is our only option.
We must, despite these odds, prepare for struggle with great determination.
And since the government knows our secrets, let me tell you one of theirs. They are hoping for violent insurrection. Armed uprisings can be thoroughly and violently suppressed and quell the rest of us into fearful submission. Those who work toward change know that violence is not only strategically unwise, it is exactly what our opponents want.
Our politicians control the largest, most well funded military in the world. The corporations employ private mercenaries. And, while there are many noble reasons to advocate that the people use nonviolent struggle, the most strategic one is this: by using violent means, we will have chosen the very type of struggle in which our opponents excel. Their superiority is unquestionable at this time.
Realistic alternatives exist. Strategic nonviolent action has been used around the world to dismantle regimes far more repressive and overtly controlling than our own . . . but these nonviolent struggles require that the populace rouse itself from stupor, apply their minds to understanding how such strategic nonviolent action succeeds, and set their hearts firmly on the effort towards a truly democratic society.
Striving for revolutionary change is never easy, but the haystack of tyranny and injustice has been piled high by the abuses of the government and the corporations. Every citizen will find a different matchstick for revolution; the Trans-Pacific Partnership is mine.
Author/Actress Rivera Sun sings the anthem of our times and rallies us to meet adversity with gusto. In addition to her most recent novel, The Dandelion Insurrection, she is the author of nine plays, a book of poetry, and her debut novel, Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, which celebrates everyday heroes who meet the challenges of climate change with compassion, spirit, and strength.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Note From Sheila Bair, Americans for Financial Reform

TBR-Washington D.C., contributor Sheila Bair, Americans For Financial Reform Lisa Donner
In 2008, we learned the hard way what happens when banks take on too much risk. There has been some progress since then in limiting risk in the system, but there is still much more to do. Sheila Bair – who served as Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and witnessed the financial crisis up close – is fighting with Americans for Financial Reform to decrease risk-taking on Wall Street by making sure big banks are subject to stronger capital rules. As she explains below, she has written a petition calling on the regulators to limit excessive risk-taking by the biggest Wall Street banks.

Please join Sheila Bair and other AFR members and supporters in signing this important appeal.
Thank you,
Lisa Donner
Americans for Financial Reform

A Note from Sheila Bair
As Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 2006 to 2011, I have front line experience with the problems and havoc that can ensue when large, interconnected financial institutions take excessive risks.  I am committed to protecting American taxpayers from any future bailout of these so-called “too big to fail” institutions.  The best way to do that is to ensure these institutions have adequate private investment to absorb the losses when they fail. That allows markets to work as they should – with private investors accepting the risks and taking the losses, rather than the "heads I win, tails the public loses" practices we saw during the financial crisis where some large banks and other “systemic” institutions were allowed to reap the profits of their risk taking, but turn to taxpayers for help when those risks turned sour.   

Big financial institutions profit by relying primarily on borrowed money – instead of shareholder equity – to fund their loans and investments. Because the market views them as implicitly backed by the government, it is cheaper for them to fund themselves with debt instead of equity. Through high levels of leverage, executives are able to increase their returns on equity - and their bonuses which are frequently tied to shareholder returns. Prior to the financial crisis, some of our biggest Wall Street banks were borrowing an incredible $30 to $40 for every dollar of hard cash they had from shareholders.

Big financial organizations have strong financial incentives to increase leverage. This is why it is essential for global and U.S. regulators to take a firm line on the amount of borrowing they are allowed to do.  U.S. banking regulators have already moved to limit big bank borrowing to less than $20 for each dollar of shareholder capital, and just last month proposed further borrowing limits for the largest U.S. banks that exceed the minimums set by international regulators. But behind the scenes, they’re facing intense resistance from many Wall Street banks, who are lobbying them to roll back and weaken their rules.

In the long run, better capitalized banks are in the interests of shareholders, creditors, and the public at large.  Though tougher capital rules may impact returns on equity in the short-term, in the long-term, thick cushions of capital protect investors against unforeseen risks and position the bank to continue lending during downturns. Numerous studies have shown that well capitalized banks do a better job of lending through cycles. This helps guarantee sustainable profits for shareholders, and reduces the risk of default for creditors. Most importantly, well-capitalized banks are in a stronger position to lend during times of economic distress when the economy needs them the most.
Can you join Americans for Financial Reform and me in calling on the Federal Reserve and other banking regulators to boost capital requirements for large, “systemic” financial institutions? Let’s show that the public wants and deserves a stable financial system that meets the needs of the real economy.

Sheila Bair

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Sent by Americans for Financial Reform
1629 K Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20006 - (202) 466-1885

Monday, January 12, 2015

Attorney General Holder Delivers Remarks at the Portrait Unveiling for Congressman John Conyers

DC/Office of the Attorney General
Congressman John Conyers Korean Veteran Honored By DOJ
Good afternoon and thank you all for being here.  It’s a pleasure to be with you today.  And it’s a tremendous privilege to join so many distinguished guests, colleagues, friends, and Members of Congress as we recognize Congressman [John] Conyers, the Dean of the House of Representatives, for his lifetime of dedicated service; as we celebrate his leadership and his many invaluable contributions; and as we unveil the portrait that will adorn the walls of the great institution he has so faithfully served for over four decades – and that he will no doubt continue to serve with honor and integrity for years to come.
From the moment John Conyers began his patriotic service – in the Michigan National Guard and the United States Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War – to his presence in Selma, Alabama, on Freedom Day in 1963; from his election to the United States House of Representatives in 1964, to his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, to his current status as Dean of the House and longest-serving Member of the United States Congress – this extraordinary leader’s life has been defined by a singular drive to serve.  His actions have been guided by a deep and abiding love of country and community.  And his service has been animated by an unwavering commitment to the cause of justice.
As one of the 13 founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Conyers helped bring together other trailblazers and pioneers in order to empower – and give voice to – people of color throughout the nation.
Years ago, he led the fight to secure appropriate recognition for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by introducing legislation to establish a national holiday in his honor.  And at every stage of his distinguished career – through times of trial and great consequence – he has dedicated himself to advancing the principles of universal human dignity, tolerance, and respect.
As a major proponent of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, he joined with then-Senator Joe Biden and other Congressional leaders to bring help and hope to millions of Americans who had too long suffered in silence – fighting to end the poisonous notion that violence in a person’s home was a private affair.
As a champion of legislative efforts like the Motor Voter Bill of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002, he has consistently worked to ensure that every eligible American will always have fair and free access to the ballot box – no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they live.  He continued that work in the 113th Congress with Representative Sensenbrenner, another strong leader and former Chairman of this Committee, in crafting legislation to address the void that was left by the Supreme Court’s unfortunate decision to invalidate one of the core provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
Representative Conyers has also been a key leader and partner on fairness in sentencing, from his work in passing the law that reduced the unjust disparity in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine to his recent partnership with other Members of Congress of both parties – like Bobby Scott and Raul Labrador of the Judiciary Committee – who realize that we must make common-sense changes to our federal sentencing scheme, not just for fundamental fairness but also for the sustainability of our budget.  
Throughout his tenure as a member, and especially as Chairman, of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, he has been a key national leader – and a vital partner – in the Justice Department’s ongoing effort to secure our nation, to protect the American people from crime, and to ensure the full rights and protections of our Constitution for everyone in this country.
Time and again, I – and numerous Attorneys General before me – have relied on Congressman Conyers’ sound judgment, extensive expertise, fierce advocacy, and honest counsel to strengthen the rule of law while advancing our most sacred principles and most cherished freedoms.
I have always appreciated the unique insight, the remarkable wisdom, and the consistent devotion to service that he has brought to every challenge that has come before him.
And on a personal level, over the years, I have also come to regard Congressman Conyers not only as an important partner, and a valued friend, but also as a man who made it possible for me and Barack Obama to attain the positions we now hold.  We stand on Congressman Conyers’ broad shoulders.
Congressman, I want to thank you – once again – for your outstanding service, and for the innumerable contributions that you have made to the nation, and on behalf of the citizens we are honored to serve.  Your unique place in the history of this great institution is more than assured.  And today, with the formal dedication of this portrait, we pay fitting tribute to a legacy, and a shining example, that will continue to guide and inspire generations of lawmakers, in this new Congress and long into the future – just as it has inspired countless leaders and Attorneys General over the last four decades, including me.
At this time, it is my distinct honor to introduce another of these leaders – who knows firsthand the challenges of chairing a Judiciary Committee.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming a longtime friend of the man we’ve gathered to honor; a lifelong champion of the cause of justice; and a singular advocate for equal rights and equal opportunity – the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Universal Black

TBR-Leighton Bradford, Editor-in-Chief

In my own discernment of man or humankind, there remains oppression. Oppression becomes an ever present fact within our society, looming throughout our human existence. Without a fundamental basis of power, most who are oppressed, lack the ability to fend off this oldest of evils. The subsequent tenements of social adversity allow for nothing short of submission. This state of consciousness envelopes ethnicity’s and cultures. Ignorance of either your oppressed state or the nature of who is oppressing, confounds any attempt at liberation. The leadership associated with this ill, must allow for a semblance of the scientific method, that is to say, an empirical inquiry as you analyze what seems to be degradation.

Within this inquiry must reside an exact measurement of suffering or what could be described as a leading misery indicator, comprising the following: Unemployment (proportionality and the lack thereof), Land or home ownership, financial or economic stability, cultural bonds (i.e. education, faith, family), and incarceration rate. Any leader must focus on what hinders the oppressed and devise solutions logically. Many will fail to address the most basic aspects of meeting the down troddens physiological needs. Individuals of African descent should embrace the collective ideals of Pan-Africanism; and/or as it relates to global trade.

Within the framework of liberation, exists inspiration coupled with substantive progress.  Just give the people what they want, Freedom. Freedom at a quicken pace, and not mired down with the dictated pace of the status quo. The highest human endeavor is but trite, unless the social status of man is elevated. My hope is for the discontinue of “Technological Masturbation” Speech.  Release the stored warehouses of grain and feed those who need to be fed.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Artículo de Fidel: Triunfarán las ideas justas o triunfará el desastre

TBR-Fidel Castro, President of Cuba
La sociedad mundial no conoce tregua en los últimos años, particularmente desde que la Comunidad Económica Europea, bajo la dirección férrea e incondicional de Estados Unidos, consideró que había llegado la hora de ajustar cuentas con lo que restaba de dos grandes naciones que, inspiradas en las ideas de Marx, habían llevado a cabo la proeza de poner fin al orden colonial e imperialista impuesto al mundo por Europa y Estados Unidos.
En la antigua Rusia estalló una revolución que conmovió al mundo.
Se esperaba, que la primera gran revolución socialista tendría lugar en los países más industrializados de Europa, como Inglaterra, Francia, Alemania y el Imperio Austrohúngaro. Ésta, sin embargo, tuvo lugar en Rusia, cuyo territorio se extendía por Asia, desde el norte de Europa hasta el Sur de Alaska, que había sido también territorio zarista, vendido por unos dólares al país que sería posteriormente el más interesado en atacar y destruir la revolución y al país que la engendró.
La mayor proeza del nuevo Estado fue crear una Unión capaz de agrupar sus recursos y compartir su tecnología con gran número de naciones débiles y menos desarrolladas, víctimas inevitables de la explotación colonial. ¿Sería o no conveniente en el mundo actual una verdadera sociedad de naciones que respetara los derechos, creencias, cultura, tecnologías y recursos de lugares asequibles del planeta que a tantos seres humanos les gusta visitar y conocer?¿Y no sería mucho más justo que todas las personas que hoy, en fracciones de segundo se comunican de un extremo a otro del planeta, vean en los demás un amigo o un hermano y no un enemigo dispuesto a exterminarlo con los medios que ha sido capaz de crear el conocimiento humano?
Por creer que los seres humanos podrían ser capaces de albergar tales objetivos, pienso que no hay derecho alguno a destruir ciudades, asesinar niños, pulverizar viviendas, a sembrar terror, hambre y muerte en todas partes. ¿En qué rincón del mundo se podrían justificar tales hechos? Si se recuerda que al final de la masacre de la última contienda mundial el mundo se ilusionó con la creación de las Naciones Unidas, es porque gran parte de la humanidad la imaginó con tales perspectivas, aunque no estuviesen cabalmente definidos sus objetivos. Un colosal engaño es lo que se percibe hoy cuando surgen problemas que insinúan el posible estallido de una guerra con el empleo de armas que podrían poner fin a la existencia humana.
Existen sujetos inescrupulosos, al parecer no pocos, que consideran un mérito su disposición a morir, pero sobre todo a matar para defender privilegios bochornosos.
Muchas personas se asombran al escuchar las declaraciones de algunos voceros europeos de la OTAN cuando se expresan con el estilo y el rostro de las SS nazis. En ocasiones hasta se visten con trajes oscuros en pleno verano.
Nosotros tenemos un adversario bastante poderoso como lo es nuestro vecino más próximo: Estados Unidos. Le advertimos que resistiríamos el bloqueo, aunque eso podía implicar un costo muy elevado para nuestro país. No hay peor precio que capitular frente al enemigo que sin razón ni derecho te agrede. Era el sentimiento de un pueblo pequeño y aislado. El resto de los gobiernos de este hemisferio, con raras excepciones, se habían sumado al poderoso e influyente imperio. No se trataba por nuestra parte de una actitud personal, era el sentimiento de una pequeña nación que desde inicios de siglo era una propiedad no solo política, sino también económica de Estados Unidos. España nos había cedido a ese país después de haber sufrido casi cinco siglos de coloniaje y de un incalculable número de muertos y pérdidas materiales en la lucha por la independencia.
El imperio se reservó el derecho de intervenir militarmente en Cuba en virtud de una pérfida enmienda constitucional que impuso a un Congreso impotente e incapaz de resistir. Aparte de ser los dueños de casi todo en Cuba: abundantes tierras, los mayores centrales azucareros, las minas, los bancos y hasta la prerrogativa de imprimir nuestro dinero, nos prohibía producir granos alimenticios suficientes para alimentar la población.
Cuando la URSS se desintegró y desapareció también el Campo Socialista, seguimos resistiendo, y juntos, el Estado y el pueblo revolucionarios, proseguimos nuestra marcha independiente.
No deseo, sin embargo, dramatizar esta modesta historia. Prefiero más bien recalcar que la política del imperio es tan dramáticamente ridícula que no tardará mucho en pasar al basurero de la historia. El imperio de Adolfo Hitler, inspirado en la codicia, pasó a la historia sin más gloria que el aliento aportado a los gobiernos burgueses y agresivos de la OTAN, que los convierte en el hazmerreír de Europa y el mundo, con su euro, que al igual que el dólar, no tardará en convertirse en papel mojado, llamado a depender del yuan y también de los rublos, ante la pujante economía china estrechamente unida al enorme potencial económico y técnico de Rusia.
Algo que se ha convertido en un símbolo de la política imperial es el cinismo.
Como se conoce, John McCain fue el candidato republicano a las elecciones de 2008. El personaje salió a la luz pública cuando en su condición de piloto fue derribado mientras su avión bombardeaba la populosa ciudad de Hanói. Un cohete vietnamita lo alcanzó en plena faena y nave y piloto cayeron en un lago ubicado en las inmediaciones de la capital, colindante con la ciudad.
Un antiguo soldado vietnamita ya retirado, que se ganaba la vida trabajando en las proximidades, al ver caer el avión y un piloto herido que trataba de salvarse se movió para auxiliarlo; mientras el viejo soldado prestaba esa ayuda, un grupo de la población de Hanói, que sufría los ataques de la aviación, corría para ajustar cuentas con aquel asesino. El mismo soldado persuadió a los vecinos que no lo hicieran, pues era ya un prisionero y su vida debía respetarse. Las propias autoridades yankis se comunicaron con el Gobierno rogando que no se actuara contra ese piloto.
Aparte de las normas del Gobierno vietnamita de respeto a los prisioneros, el piloto era hijo de un Almirante de la Armada de Estados Unidos que había desempeñado un papel destacado en la Segunda Guerra Mundial y estaba todavía ocupando un importante cargo.
Los vietnamitas habían capturado un pez gordo en aquel bombardeo y como es lógico, pensando en las conversaciones inevitables de paz que debían poner fin a la guerra injusta que le habían impuesto desarrollaron la amistad con él, que estaba muy feliz de sacar todo el provecho posible de aquella aventura. Esto, desde luego, no me lo contó ningún vietnamita, ni yo lo habría preguntado nunca. Lo he leído y se ajusta completamente a determinados detalles que conocí más tarde. También leí un día que Mister McCain había escrito que siendo prisionero en Vietnam, mientras era torturado, escuchó voces en español asesorando a los torturadores qué de­bían hacer y cómo hacerlo. Eran voces de cubanos, según McCain. Cuba nunca tuvo asesores en Vietnam. Sus militares conocen sobradamente cómo hacer su guerra.
El General Giap fue uno de los jefes más brillantes de nuestra época, que en Dien Bien Phu fue capaz de ubicar los cañones por selvas intrincadas y abruptas, algo que los militares yankis y europeos consideraban imposible. Con esos cañones disparaban desde un punto tan próximo que era imposible neutralizarlos sin que las bombas nucleares afectaran también a los invasores. Los demás pasos pertinentes, todos difíciles y complejos, fueron empleados para imponer a las cercadas fuerzas europeas una bochornosa rendición.
El zorro McCain sacó todo el provecho posible de las derrotas militares de los invasores yankis y europeos. Nixon no pudo persuadir a su consejero de Seguridad Nacional Henry Kissinger, de que aceptara la idea sugerida por el  propio Presidente cuando en momentos de relajamiento le decía ¿Por qué no le lanzamos una de esas bombitas Henry? La verdadera bombita llegó cuando los hombres del Presidente trataron de espiar a sus adversarios del partido opuesto ¡Eso sí que no podía tolerarse!
A pesar de eso lo más cínico del Sr. McCain ha sido su actuación en el Cercano Oriente. El senador McCain es el aliado más incondicional de Israel en las marañas del Mossad, algo que ni los peores adversarios habrían sido capaces de imaginar. McCain participó junto a ese servicio en la creación del Estado Islámico que se apoderó de una parte considerable y vital de Irak, así como según se afirma, de un tercio del territorio de Siria. Tal Estado cuenta ya con ingresos multimillonarios, y amenaza a Arabia Saudita y otros Estados de esa compleja región que suministra la parte más importante del combustible mundial.
¿No sería preferible, luchar por producir más alimentos y productos industriales, construir hospitales y escuelas para los miles de millones de seres humanos que los necesitan desesperadamente, promover el arte y la cultura, luchar contra enfermedades masivas que llevan a la muerte a más de la mitad de los enfermos, a trabajadores de la salud o tecnólogos que según se vislumbra, podrían finalmente eliminar enfermedades como el cáncer, el ébola, el paludismo, el dengue, la chikungunya, la diabetes y otras que afectan las funciones vitales de los seres humanos?
Si hoy resulta posible prolongar la vida, la salud y el tiempo útil de las personas, si es perfectamente posible planificar el desarrollo de la población en virtud de la productividad creciente, la cultura y desarrollo de los valores humanos ¿Qué esperan para hacerlo?

Triunfarán las ideas justas o triunfará el desastre.
Triunfarán las ideas justas o triunfará el desastre
Fidel Castro Ruz
Agosto 31 de 2014
10 y 25 p.m.