Monthly Archives: May 2014

Bearing the Pain of Affirmative Action: The Shame of Clarence Thomas

by John Grant, This Can’t Be Happening, 5/7/2014

    Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
    Everybody knows that the captain lied …
    Everybody knows the deal is rotten
    Old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton
    For your ribbons and bows
            - Leonard Cohen

In honor of our Supreme Court I’ve decided to start this piece with a prayer.

Great Spirit of our imagination, have mercy on us stupid, hypocritical bipeds, especially those exceptional examples in black robes who decide whether an armed police officer can strip-search us in public or whether a one-hundred dollar bill has a conscience. Do all you can, Mighty Great One, to allow at least a little light and compassion into the hidden, dark recesses of their august institution.

Amen.

Now we can get on with this humble, scribbled note from underground.

Considering his appointment history in conjunction with his opinions and voting record concerning affirmative action, if Clarence Thomas had any sense of human decency … No wait a minute. … Given the facts of his career, if Clarence Thomas had any honor, a backbone or a pair of independent-minded balls, he’d stop whining about affirmative action and resign.

Barbara and George Bush; Clarence and Virginia Thomas and Justice Byron WhiteThe scene of the crime: Barbara and George Bush; Clarence and Virginia Thomas and Justice Byron White

The Supreme Court’s recent banning of affirmative action in a case from Michigan should remind everyone how really offensive the Thomas appointment was and how it smells worse as time goes by. Thomas notoriously sits among his eight colleagues and does not ask questions, which suggests he lacks the intellectual confidence to swim with the big fish on the court. On top of that, he’s a virtual intellectual drone of Antonin Scalia. According to a recent study on Supreme Court justices and political bias, Thomas is the most conservative justice on the court — even more so than his master Scalia. In an insightful article called “The Last Confederate Is Clarence Thomas“, attorney Charles Pierce describes Thomas’ legal philosophy as a bizarre retrograde advocacy of States Rights over the US Constitution reminiscent of pre-Civil War times. Thomas is, he writes, a “staggering political and historical contradiction. He is the last, and the truest, descendant of John C. Calhoun.” …

continue reading at This Can’t Be Happening

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Filed under John Grant, Law, justice, Right Wing

“Koch Brothers Exposed” free online

Thanks to the support of thousands of our subscribers, we are now offering our new film KOCH BROTHERS EXPOSED: 2014 EDITION at no cost on our website.

If you would like to organize a screening of the film in your neighborhood or school please contact our Education Outreach Coordinator Laurie at educators@bravenewfilms.org.

Thanks for your ongoing support!

Robert Greenwald
Brave New Films
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Edward Snowden responds…

excerpt from “Edward Snowden responds to release of e-mail by U.S. officials,” Washington Post, 5/29/14

Q: How do you respond to today’s NSA statement and the release of your email with the Office of General Counsel?

The NSA’s new discovery of written contact between me and its lawyers – after more than a year of denying any such contact existed – raises serious concerns. It reveals as false the NSA’s claim to Barton Gellman of the Washington Post in December of last year, that “after extensive investigation, including interviews with his former NSA supervisors and co-workers, we have not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowden’s contention that he brought these matters to anyone’s attention.”

Today’s release is incomplete, and does not include my correspondence with the Signals Intelligence Directorate’s Office of Compliance, which believed that a classified executive order could take precedence over an act of Congress, contradicting what was just published. It also did not include concerns about how indefensible collection activities – such as breaking into the back-haul communications of major US internet companies – are sometimes concealed under E.O. 12333 to avoid Congressional reporting requirements and regulations.

If the White House is interested in the whole truth, rather than the NSA’s clearly tailored and incomplete leak today for a political advantage, it will require the NSA to ask my former colleagues, management, and the senior leadership team about whether I, at any time, raised concerns about the NSA’s improper and at times unconstitutional surveillance activities. It will not take long to receive an answer.

Ultimately, whether my disclosures were justified does not depend on whether I raised these concerns previously. That’s because the system is designed to ensure that even the most valid concerns are suppressed and ignored, not acted upon. The fact that two powerful Democratic Senators – Ron Wyden and Mark Udall – knew of mass surveillance that they believed was abusive and felt constrained to do anything about it underscores how futile such internal action is — and will remain — until these processes are reformed.

Still, the fact is that I did raise such concerns both verbally and in writing, and on multiple, continuing occasions – as I have always said, and as NSA has always denied. Just as when the NSA claimed it followed German laws in Germany just weeks before it was revealed that they did not, or when NSA said they did not engage in economic espionage a few short months before it was revealed they actually did so on a regular and recurring basis, or even when they claimed they had “no domestic spying program” before we learned they collected the phone records of every American they could, so too are today’s claims that “this is only evidence we have of him reporting concerns” false.

Now that they have finally begun producing emails, I am confident that truth will become clear rather sooner than later.

read the full article at Washington Post

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Filed under Peace, Security, Terrorism, War

Edward Snowden on terrorism and rights

Excerpt from Tom McCarthy, “Edward Snowden: breaking law was only option, says whistleblower,” The Guardian, 5/29/14:

“I take the threat of terrorism seriously. And I think we all do. And I think it’s really disingenuous for the government to invoke and sort of scandalize our memories, to sort of exploit the national trauma that we all suffered together and worked so hard to come through to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe, but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don’t need to give up and our constitution says we should not give up.”

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Filed under National govt & politics, Rights, Justice, Law