David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

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Set Your Doomsday Clock to 11:51

By David Swanson


The National Defense Authorization Act is not a leap from democracy to tyranny, but it is another major step on a steady and accelerating decade-long march toward a police state.

The doomsday clock of our republic just got noticeably closer to midnight, and the fact that almost nobody knows it, simply moves that fatal minute-hand a bit further still.

I’m not referring to the “doomsday” predicted by Leon Panetta should military spending be scaled back to the obscenely inflated levels of 2007.

I’m talking about the complete failure to keep the republic that Benjamin Franklin warned we might not. Practices that were avoided, outsourced, or kept secret when Bill Clinton was president were directly engaged in on such a scale under president George W. Bush that they became common knowledge.

Under President Obama they are becoming formal law and acceptable policy.

No Change on Presidential Interpreting of Law

Obama has claimed the power to imprison people without a trial since his earliest months in office.

He spoke in front of the Constitution in the National Archives while gutting our founding document in 2009.

So why not pick the 220th anniversary of the Bill of Rights to further codify its elimination?

President Obama has claimed the power to torture “if needed,” issued an executive order claiming the power of imprisonment without trial, exercised that power on a massive scale at Bagram, and claimed and exercised the power to assassinate U.S. citizens. Obama routinely kills people with unmanned drones.

As Obama’s Justice Department has broken new ground in the construction of state secrecy and immunity, the Bush era advancers of imperial presidential power have gone on book tours bragging about their misdeeds. One can expect the next step to involve serious abuse of those who question and resist the current bipartisan trajectory.

So what does the latest bill do, other than dumping another $660 billion into wars and war preparation? Well, it says this:

Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

In other words, Congress is giving its stamp of approval to the unconstitutional outrages already claimed by the president. But then, why create a new law at all? Well, because some outrages are more equal than others, and Congress has chosen to specify some of those and in fact to expand some of them. For example:

“Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.”

And this:

“The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following: (1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

Jon Stewart explained when those detained without trial under the law might be released: “So when the war on terror ends, and terror surrenders and is no longer available as a human emotion, you are free to go.”

An exception for U.S. citizens was kept out of the bill at President Obama’s request.

So why did Obama threaten to veto the bill initially and again after it passed the Senate? Well, one change made by the conference committee was this:

“The Secretary of Defense President may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary President submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.”

The reference here is to military tribunals. The President – that is, the current one and future ones – need not hand someone over even to a military tribunal if . . . well, if he (or she) chooses not to.

Change? - Will Our Defense Establishment End up Destroying America in a Final Irony

President Obama wanted a bill that limited him in no way, and he is likely to issue a law-altering signing-statement that further removes any offensive limits on absolute tyrannical power.

This type of signing statement is another example of something done secretly by Bush, exposed, turned into a temporary scandal, denounced by candidate Obama, then utilized by President Obama, formally established by executive order, and now more or less accepted by everyone as the norm.

That is what will happen with trial-free imprisonment and assassination as well. And the presidents who engage in these practices will be from both major political parties.

So readers should weigh the acceptable crimes and abuses of the good tyrants on their team against the risk of presidents from the other team doing the same.

Of course, this team loyalty is the main reason the streets of Washington are not filled with protesters. The corporate media believes that outrages agreed to by both parties are not news.

Many Democrats believe any power a Democratic president wants he should have, even though all of his successors will have it too. And many Republicans back whatever comes out of a Republican House of Representatives.

A large majority of Republicans in the House voted to eviscerate our Bill of Rights, and the Democrats split 93 to 93. In the Senate both parties overwhelmingly voted “Aye.”

Now 46% of American judge Congress to be a Corrupt Institution

If ever there was a time to build an independent, principled movement based in activism rather than elections and to put a few more minutes back on the doomsday clock, this is it.

While Obama’s decision not to veto this bill has discouraged many, at RootsAction we’ve continued demanding a veto because we think the Constitution should be upheld and improved, not dismantled.

If signed into law, we will demand that this elimination of our rights be repealed by Congress or overturned in court, and we will use that campaign to educate the public about what just happened.

David Swanson is a campaigner for http://rootsaction.org and the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.”

Public Services Enterprise Group Foundation and Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education Unveil Winners of Grant Program go to website princeton regional schools

Manufacturing Close-Up August 2, 2011 The Public Services Enterprise Group Foundation and the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education have announced the recipients of their new Public Services Enterprise Group-Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education Learners in Sustainability grant program.

According to a release, a total of nearly $45,000 will be provided to three partnerships that were selected through an application process. Each of the partnerships is a collaborative effort between non-formal environmental education providers and K-5 pre-service or practicing teachers.

“One of Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education’s and Public Services Enterprise Group’s major goals for the PALS grant program is to create unique partnerships between formal and non- formal environmental educators the kind that will result in environmental education of the highest quality,” said Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education President Dale Rosselet. “The response to our Request for Proposals made it clear that many schools and organizations in New Jersey share that very same goal.” Officials noted that New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for science will be integrated into the projects. Lead partners from each organization or school district will participate in professional development provided by Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education. Topics will include program evaluation and authentic assessment the assessment of student learning using a real- world situation or task to allow students to demonstrate what they have learned and the skills they have acquired. Grantees will also attend the annual Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education Environmental Education Conference in 2012, and present the results of their projects at the 2013 conference.

The recipients include Tenafly Public Schools, Princeton Regional Schools, and Educational Information & Resource Center.

In partnership with the Tenafly Nature Center, Tenafly Public Schools will train teams of teachers from its four elementary schools in specific science content, with each team representing grades one, two and five. Working closely with the District Science Supervisor, Elementary Staff Developer and Assistant Superintendent, TNC will provide instruction within the school district and at the nature center. The participating teachers’ classrooms will become “living labs” that model effective science instruction, and curricular units will be implemented by grade levels: Animal Adaptations (First Grade), Plant Ecology and Diversity (Second Grade) and Environmental Sustainability (Fifth Grade). The teachers selected for this project will share their knowledge. this web site princeton regional schools

The Princeton Sustainable Schools Project will focus on energy conservation and sustainable energy practices to help elementary schools reduce energy usage. Workshops and lessons will be provided for elementary science specialists, classroom teachers and other school staff. A new partnership will be developed with Global Learning Inc., a nonprofit organization that engages the education community in solutions to real-world environmental challenges. In cooperation with Global Learning, participating teachers will develop new curricular materials on sustainable energy practices that illustrate the relevance of science and math. A second project partner, Sustainable Princeton, is a community-wide effort that dedicates itself to sustainable development. They will expand their current relationship with Princeton Regional Schools by disseminating information on efficient energy use and energy reduction practices beyond the school community.

The Educational Information and Resource Center will recruit teams of teachers from grades K-5 at various locations throughout the state to participate in one of three geographically-based Green Schools Leadership Institutes and Green Education Fairs. The Green Schools Leadership Institute is a weeklong face-to-face program that helps teachers create ways to green their schools.

The Public Service Enterprise Group is an integrated energy company based in New Jersey.

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2 Responses to "Set Your Doomsday Clock to 11:51"

  1. LOB2065  December 29, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    While we all sat back and siped egg nog over the last week a deal has quietly gone through that will have a negative effect on the US dollar.

    China and Japan are about to trade with each other using their own currencies instead of the US dollar – trade is around 340 billion a year.

    Of course, China and Japan are the second and third largest economies on Earth. And their governments are the two largest foreign holders of U.S. government debt. So the deal has huge implications — at least in the long term.

    “The run on the dollar that could sink its value and bring surprise hyperinflation to the U.S. has just become a lot more likely,” observed Alfidi Capital CEO Anthony Alfidi, who said the bilateral move would eventually mean higher U.S. interest rates.

    “The change does signal to other nations that America’s main trading partners will favor the illiquidity risk of less-traded currencies over the valuation risk of holding dollars tied to unsustainable spending,” Alfidi added, pointing out that demand for dollars would take a hit. “The U.S. financial elite should take a breather from its construction of swap lines for the eurozone to pay attention to this news.”

    Japan has just done a currency deal with India as well.

    Japan, China and India all buy their oil from Iran. So we now have a bunch of very important countries buying their oil in a currency other than the US dollar.

    Doing this deal at Christmas time had to be a plan.

  2. LOB2065  December 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    America once stood for everything worth believing in. If anything was ever worth fighting for Habeas Corpus certainly is.

    Habeas Corpus is worth fighting and dying for.

    Given the laws that American has passed, I am now hoping that America goes into fast decline because I do not want a country with it’s lack of values, real values, influencing the world that I live in.

    I feel very sorry for the American people.

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