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The Post-Constitutional Era

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear our challenge to the law that lets the military indefinitely imprison U.S. citizens is another example of the transformation of the judiciary into an enemy of the Constitution. 

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

postconstitution_590.jpgActivist Lauren DiGioia is arrested Jan. 3, 2012, during a demonstration in New York City’s Grand Central Station held to call attention to the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by President Barack Obama on the previous New Year’s Eve. (AP/Mary Altaffer) 

May 4, 2014 | The U.S. Supreme Court decision to refuse to hear our case concerning Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which permits the military to seize U.S. citizens and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers without due process, means that this provision will continue to be law. It means the nation has entered a post-constitutional era. It means that extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by our government is legal. It means that the courts, like the legislative and executive branches of government, exclusively serve corporate power—one of the core definitions of fascism. It means that the internal mechanisms of state are so corrupted and subservient to corporate power that there is no hope of reform or protection for citizens under our most basic constitutional rights. It means that the consent of the governed—a poll by OpenCongress.com showed that this provision had a 98 percent disapproval rating—is a cruel joke. And it means that if we do not rapidly build militant mass movements to overthrow corporate tyranny, including breaking the back of the two-party duopoly that is the mask of corporate power, we will lose our liberty. 

“In declining to hear the case Hedges v. Obama and declining to review the NDAA, the Supreme Court has turned its back on precedent dating back to the Civil War era that holds that the military cannot police the streets of America,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who along with Bruce Afran devoted countless unpaid hours to the suit. “This is a major blow to civil liberties. It gives the green light to the military to detain people without trial or counsel in military installations, including secret installations abroad. There is little left of judicial review of presidential action during wartime.”

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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Pro-Keystone XL consulting firm may have violated ethics laws.

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  • Records reveal Alberta government hired a public relations company to promote the pipeline last year
  • Another scandal has emerged in a Keystone XL saga that drips with corruption and collusion.

Lee Fang, Republic Report

keystone-460x307.jpg The Keystone Oil Pipeline is pictured under construction in North Dakota. (Credit: Reuters)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 | One of the many consulting firms retained to build support for the Keystone XL, a controversial pipeline to bring oil sands in Canada to gulf coast refineries, failed to disclose its activities as federal appears to have required. Through a records request, Republic Report has found that the Alberta government hired a public relations company called Feverpress to promote the pipeline last year.

Feverpress, run by Hilary Lefebvre and David Press, was retained for $65,000. In a memo to David Manning, Alberta’s lobbyist in Washington DC, Feverpress said they had reached out to “producers and reporters to gauge level of interest in the Keystone issue and to introduce the Premier as a spokesperson to speak on behalf of Canadian efforts to secure approval of the pipeline.” The invoice shows a payment titled “Public Relations Services Relating to Keystone Pipeline.”

Lee Fang, a freelance journalist, is the former Senior Investigator for United Republic and a former investigative blogger for ThinkProgress.org. He has broken stories that include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign funding, the attendance of U.S. Supreme Court justices at secretive political fundraisers and the stealth efforts by lobbyists to orchestrate and control the Tea Party. Lee’s work has resulted in multiple calls for hearings in Congress and the Federal Election Commission.

Full story … 

Related:

Troubling New Scandal Emerges in Keystone XL Saga, Beth Buczynski, care2.com

Another scandal has emerged in a Keystone XL saga that drips with corruption and collusion. Politico reports that, in addition to being on TransCanada’s payroll, “A contractor that worked on the State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline is a member of several energy industry groups that have urged the government to support the project.”

Cecily McMillan didn't get off easy. Her case is a threat to the future of protest.

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  • Three months in jail might seem like a light sentence. But the Occupy movement was suppressed by the heavy hand of police brutality – and a legal system that discouraged and ultimately dissolved dissent.
  • The U.K. 'Can't Tell Its Terrorists from Its Journalists'

Allison Kilkenny, The Guardian (UK) 

It's no surprise so many activists take plea deals as opposed to suffering for months in a tangled court system. Photograph: Surian Soosay / Flickr via Creative Commons

Monday 19 May 2014 | On Monday, Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan was sentenced to three months in jail and five years of probation, after she faced down a maximum sentence of seven years in prison for her conviction of assaulting a police officer. Her supporters, unsurprisingly, feel the sentencing is excessive – especially given her testimony that the officer in question first grabbed her breast – but it's also clearer than ever that McMillan's conviction will have a chilling effect on the future of serious activism.

A potential seven-year sentence, part of which likely would have been served on Riker's Island (with its notoriously dismal record on prisoner rights), serves as a message to would-be protesters: don't attempt to resist, or this could be you. It doesn't particularly matter that McMillan will now "only" be in Riker's for another 60 days (with time served). That prosecutors floated the idea of a seven-year term is enough to permanently terrify dissidents into avoiding confrontation with police – even if those "confrontations" come in the form of exercising your First Amendment rights.

Allison Kilkenny has reported for The Nation and has appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, Up With Chris, and Democracy Now. One time, G. Gordon Liddy told Allison that her writing "makes him want to vomit", which is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to her.

Full story … 

Related:

The U.K. 'Can't Tell Its Terrorists from Its Journalists', Alexander Reed Kelly, Truthdig

By following these policies, British authorities have made themselves every bit as dangerous to the British people as the real or imagined threat of terrorism.

The Triumph of Law over Justice

  • The law, sir, is an ass. --Bill Clinton, Charles Dickens, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Samuel Pepys
  • Ode To Florida Mothers: If you're tempted to leave your kid in the car / On a typical 90-degree day, / You're better off killing the kid instead. / You'll get less jail time that way. --Lawyer Unknown
  • Widespread Police Misconduct and an Expanding Prison Population

William Annett, The Oyster World

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/justice190v.jpgMarch 22, 2014 | As a Central Florida court finally, last summer, inched into its initial session with the George Zimmerman Murder Trial, one couldn't help recalling the Casey Anthony Follies that played out within a stone's throw of this venue just over three years ago. The Law in Florida is alive and well. Justice? You be the judge.

Instead of dispatching a bus to Arkansas or Kansas to collect an impartial group of yokels who knew nothing, of the case, two weeks were devoted to selecting six white womenjurors from some 40 screened candidates, all of whom had been saturated for two years with the case consistently headlined, but professed that they never heard of it. Trayvon Martin, the deceased teen-age victim, was black. Zimmerman, whose Daddy was a retired judge, looked pretty good in a different sartorial outfit each day, sitting there with his three attorneys.

William Annett has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.

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Related:

Widespread Police Misconduct and an Expanding Prison Population, Ed Griffith, New Progressive Alliance

  • Search  on the internet "police brutality" or "police excessive force."  If you search YouTube, there are many videos of cops acting WAY beyond their limits.
  • Jim Hightower | The Absurdly Dangerous Militarization of America's Police

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