NDAA Amendments To Punish Palestine-Obama threatens to Veto bc It Trespasses on His Power

NDAA signSo there’s a few things going on around the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that folks need to pay attention to.. First we had a vote in the Senate that went down yesterday.. The Senate voted to pass amendments that would curb military detentions of US citizens. Here’s a run down of what occurred as reported in here in The Hill newsletter

Senators who have battled for more than a year over military detention of U.S. citizens nearly all supported an amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Thursday, but the two sides had very different interpretations of what the provision accomplished.

Feinstein’s amendment, which states that U.S. citizens or permanent residents shall not be detained without charge or trial, passed the Senate 67-29, with 19 Republicans joining with most Democrats to pass the bill.

Feinstein said her amendment with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) would prevent the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents captured on U.S. soil.

The amendment clarified that the law “does not permit an American citizen or legal resident to be picked up and be held without end, without charge or trial,” Feinstein said Thursday.

Feinstein’s push to change the detention laws was backed by liberal Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans such as Lee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Feinstein was trying to ease fears that NDAA would lead to American citizens being picked up and kept indefinitely without being charged or having the right to see a lawyer..However, some of her fellow Senators like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on record to say that while they support Feinstein’s amendment, it would only be if the understanding is that Congress would have the ability to authorize indefinite detentions.

Basically Graham and Democratic senator Carl Levin (D-Mich)who played a key role in pushing through NDAA the first go round, want it made crystal clear that if you are a US citizen and they can attach you as being down with Al Qaeda, then all bets are off and you are off the books and they can do whatever they deem necessary to ‘win the war’.  Yep you read that right..

Senator Graham backed Levin by stating that we as a country should be able to interrogate a person in a way that will help us win a war.. From that I gather they mean something akin to torture, although that specific language is not being used.

Senator Chuck Schumer

Senator Chuck Schumer

A new wrinkle has been added to this bill earlier today. In response to the historic UN Vote where over 130 countries voted to recognize Palestine as a state vs the 9 who opposed which include the US, Israel and Canada, an amendment was introduced by NY Democrat Chuck Schumer on behalf of AIPAC to punish Palestine if anyone attempts to back them or supports their interests especially as it relates to cases brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).  This includes forcing them to close their offices here in the US and cutting off any and all aid. This is on top of the fact that there is already blockade in Gaza via Israel. Yep folks this is getting ugly. You can read about that HERE

Lastly if things couldn’t get more tricky. This morning the White House threatened to Veto this new NDAA legislation, not because they take issue with penalties issued toward Palestine, but because the new additions prevents President Obama ‘from pursuing his defense strategy and trespasses on his power’..He is also upset that it screws with some of his budgetary perogatives. In others words it would prevent him from making certain cuts to the military. You can read about that HERE

Palestine map

Jimmy Kimmel’s Starbucks Taste Test for $7 dollar coffee shows how easily the masses are fooled

Jimmy Kimmel Starbucks Taste test..The other night late night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel conducted a taste test to see how folks would react to the new $7 cup of coffee, Starbucks was introducing. The only hitch to the test was each person filmed was given a cup of regular coffee for each sample. Time and time again we saw folks talk about how one cup was better than the other. It was funny seeing how people would go into elaborate explanations about how one cup of coffee had a richer, more creamier feel than the next.

Because all of us watching were in on the joke we got a good laugh. We all applauded when the crazy looking biker cat at the end who looked like he would be the one most easily fooled wound up being the most perceptive, brutally honest and on point. Without hesitation, he said that both cups of coffee tasted the same. Homeboy was not about to be taken in.


While the Jimmy Kimmel Starbucks taste test was fun and games, it was hard not to wonder how often and how many of us are taken in by sophisticated, highly scripted scenarios where folks are sitting in a room watching us react and  getting a good laugh as we literally ‘buy’ into’ whatever BS they’re selling…

Say what you will, but there was a cadre of people including; TV news anchors, big box retailers, baby kissing politicians who are all in on the joke of us being mass manipulated.. So yeah, many of us won’t buy that $7 dollar cup of coffee, but that’s only because they got us for so much more..It could be the War on DrugsWar on Immigrants, Weapons of Mass DestructionBlack Friday sales of 60″ HDTVs for $100 if you camp out for 3 days in the freezing rain,tax breaks for billionaires  will lead to the creation of more jobs, Reverse Racism, George Bush being a compassionate conservative, Barack Obama being a masterful political chess playing progressive, Donald Trump having real hair, Drake being the first major artist torap and sing, the Dallas Cowboys being America’s team.

HKR: Are Drones Coming to Oakland? Local Activists including Medea Benjamin Speak Out

Drones police A few weeks ago the city of Oakland along with Bay Area residents in general were shocked to learn that Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern was moving in the direction of getting an unmanned drone. Now according to the sheriff the drones would be used  to find marijuana plants, for search and rescue missions, and other tasks.

It’s those ‘other tasks that have alarmed folks. It’s just a short leap from drones being used to do something non intrusive like search and rescue to doing something that is considerably more militaristic…Many feel that drones are the latest tools being used by the military and now police that push society in the direction of being a police state.  Linda Lye, staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California wrote this in response to Sheriff Ahern’s proposed actions

Shortly before next week’s one-year anniversary of the Oakland Police Department’s brutal crackdown on Occupy Oakland, Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern announced that he was seeking funds to purchase a drone to engage in unspecified unmanned aerial surveillance. One of the many unfortunate lessons of OPD’s Occupy crackdown is that when law enforcement has powerful and dangerous tools in its arsenal, it will use them. Drones raise enormous privacy concerns and can easily be abused.

Before any drone acquisition proceeds, we need to ask a threshold question – are drones really necessary in our community? – and have a transparent and democratic process for debating that question. In addition, if the decision is made to acquire a drone, do we have rigid safeguards and accountability mechanisms in place, so that law enforcement does not use drones to engage in warrantless mass surveillance? The ACLU of Northern California has sent the Sheriff a Public Records Act request, demanding answers to these crucial questions.

You can read the rest of Linda Lye’s article HERE

Drone signsLye along with a number of other folks from a variety of social justice organizations like Critical Resistance to Electronic Frontier Foundation held a press conference in front of Oakland City Hall to speak about the situation at hand. Speakers addressed a variety of issues including the growing influence of the drone lobby and now a drone caucus that sits in Congress. There is concern that in a couple of years private corporations will be allowed to own drones, which raises concerns about the types of rights they will have or won’t have vs law enforcement.

From the looks of things whatever restrictions are levied on law enforcement will be able to be gotten around by outsourcing drone work to private companies.  There is also concern about new technology that allows drones to see through walls, listen to private conversation and intercept emails, text messages and cell phone signals.

Click the link below to listen to the press conference and the interviews we did around Drones Over Oakland

Medea Benjamin

Medea Benjamin

The above interview focuses on the pitfalls of drones being used domestically. A couple of months before the Alameda County sheriff made his drone announcement we sit down w Code Pink co-founder  Medea Benjamin to talk to her about her new book ‘Drone Warfare Killing By Remote Control’ In her book and in our interview Benjamin talks about how our foreign policy and standing in the world is being twisted because of our military’s overuse of drones. She explains that the US has killed scores of innocent people via drones and that such atrocities may one day boomer rang back on us. Benjamin talks about the types of people recruited to man these drones and how they are set up to be operated like a video game..  She goes in on this interview and breaks a lot of stuff down..Click the link below to listen