Tag Archives: Watergate

Government Terror Alert: City-Authorized Secret Prosecutions coming in New Orleans? A dangerous new ordinance….the Potential to Cover up Illegal Surveillance?

Charles Edward Lincoln III 1215 Prytania Street, #333 New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

June 22, 2017

Re:     Calendar Number 31,899
            Proposed Ordinance to amend City Code

“to clarify that certain records of the New Orleans Police Department are exempt from disclosure to the public if being utilized in an ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution”

To the Honorable Members of the New Orleans City Council:

            I strenuously object to the proposed ordinance on the grounds both that it appears to allow a discretionary exemption from the requirements of Article 12, Section 3, of the Louisiana Constitution far broader than currently allowed under La. R.S. 44:1 et seq..  

3 Page Excerpt from In Re Matter Under Investigation 15 So.3d 972 (Supreme Court of Louisiana 1 July 2009)

I submit that even the exemption allowed under current Louisiana Law is too broad, and note that it exceeds the breadth of the Federal Exemption to Disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, Title 5 U.S.C. §552(b)(7), a copy of which I am attaching for the Council’s convenience.

Exemptions to FOIA—5 USC Section 552(b)(7) FOIA–Public information agency rules opinions orders records and proceedings

At best, the proposed ordinance is vague and imprecise and allows malicious and improper investigations to be hidden forever. At worst, we are creating an atmosphere favorable to secret prosecutions and secret systems of injustice for political gain and private aggression.  

It is a sham to say that secret investigations protect the innocent. Secret investigations only permit the Police to maximize their power to engage in improper surveillance and illegally terrorize the people who can never know where they stand.   In America, people SHOULD have a right to know immediately when they are suspected or accused of any crime.   We don’t need to perpetuate the heritage of “secret dossiers” inherited from J. Edgar Hoover or the KGB/NKVD.

            The United States of America suffers today from too much governmental secrecy, too many privileges and too much immunity for government officials. I was a teenager during the Watergate Era and its aftermath, and I learned to abhor all aspects of government secrecy, at home and abroad. When I was turning thirty, I spent the year of 1989-1990 in the Federal Republic of Germany and not only watched the Berlin wall come down but helped tear it down with my own hands.   I ask the members of this City Council to remember the secret investigations of the East German STASI and whether we really need secret police investigations in the United States at all.

            If criminal conduct is suspected, both the public and the people who might be accused have a right to know. Maybe the best way to prevent crime is to expose it during the planning stage, did you ever think of that? Don’t let the prosecutor who knows of a possible murder for hire allow the crime to get organized and take place before he makes it public and makes headlines with a big arrest.

Either scare or shame potential defendants who’re out “casing joints” for potential burglaries by letting them know they’re being watched or maybe LET THEM EXPLAIN that they had some innocent purpose in mind.   Why should we ever have to wait until crimes are complete to expose the possibility that crimes will be committed to the public?

            I submit that secret investigations are anathema to the genuine pursuit of truth, justice and the American Way of Life. Public investigations offer the potential to stop inchoate crimes from being completed, for potential “criminals” to mend their ways and walk the straight-and-narrow.   Or again, if people are wrongfully accused or suspected of an inchoate or incomplete crime, the cost of correcting an inaccurate suspicion is much less devastating to the individual than trying to defend against a false and malicious prosecution. And don’t tell me we don’t have any of those in our system, because we do.

            Furthermore, the proposed Ordinance is too broad and too easily misapplied to protect the guilty INSIDE the system who use surveillance for completely illegal and illegitimate purposes. I submit that the proposed ordinance is illegal, unconstitutional, and I for one plan on filing a complaint for declaratory judgment against it if it is enacted. New Orleans deserves better than this. The visitors whose tourism dollars are this cities’ lifeblood do not need to feel like they’re entering a police state where they are constantly under secret police surveillance.   The residents of this city need to know exactly where they stand with their government, and if the Police legitimately think something is wrong, the potential suspects have a right to know.

            It is simply reprehensible that this City Council would even consider an ordinance that would allow records to remain sealed, effectively, FOREVER, on thze grounds that a completely groundless and frivolous murder investigation was opened…. And never brought to trial…. But it might be since there’s no statute of limitations on murder… when the REAL purpose of such an investigation was to compile politically useful blackmail material on one or more targets.

            Are we so naïve to think that such abuses do not happen? I certainly hope not…

            The proposed ordinance’s phrase “until after such original records have been used in open court or the criminal charge or investigation has been finally disposed of” is simply TOO vague and indefinite and clearly invites abuse.

            I propose and submit that there should be NO special New Orleans Ordinance for secrecy from public information disclosure requests in any police work—NONE WHATSOEVER, but if there must be secrecy, it should be no broader than that authorized by Federal FOIA, Title 5 U.S.C. §552(b)(7).

50 Years of Executive Orders 1962-2012—the IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY’s usurpation of Legislative power began long before Obama

The background to Executive Order 13603 apparently stretches back a full 60 years to President Harry S. Truman’s attempt to take over the U.S. Steel Industry—back then Presidents were not allowed to seize private property without due process of law, and there was no Secretary of Homeland Security at all….

Well, Jerry Hodge of Claremont, California set me right and I have to temper what I wrote earlier: many of the executive orders which seem most oppressive are actually almost as old as I am, which is to say a suitable subject for archaeological research….  Turns out that the list of Legislative Decrees promulgated as Executive Orders that I published just a few hours ago does not belong exclusively to OBAMA at all, the oldest listed goes back to John F. Kennedy…

This brings up a very important point—just ten years earlier than the earliest executive order listed here, in Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer, decided June 2, 1952: 06-02-1952 Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co v Sawyer 343 US 579 72 SCt 363 SCOTUS May-June 1952, see also 05-03-1952 Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company by John W Davis et al

Anyhow, in 1952, the Supreme Court say that Legislation was still the province of Congress….what happened?  Well, first Earl Warren and then Warren Burger spent the next twenty years bolstering the power of the Executive Branch AND the Judicial Branch OVER the legislative, for one thing…

More from “The Mad Jewess” (rapidly becoming one of my favorite fellow, or I suppose I should say “sister” bloggers in the world):

Obama Has Signed Dictatorial & Tyrannical Executive Orders. He MUST Be Stopped.

De : Jerry Hodge
À : ‘Charles Lincoln’
Envoyé le : Dimanche 30 septembre 2012 14h48
Objet : RE: The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, by Barack Hussein Obama

Weren’t these orders issued by Kennedy or other Presidents?

Jerry:
How’d you know that?  By the NUMBER?  I’m very impressed and will correct my own post shortly—-thank you very much!  How have you been recently?  It’s STILL government by decree or dictatorship, no matter WHO entered the orders, but, Thank you for setting the record straight….  Anyhow—I appreciate the feedback…. And am always happy to acknowledge I was wrong and leaped to a conclusion without looking first….
Exec. Order No. 10990, 27 FR 1065
Executive Order 10990
REESTABLISHING THE FEDERAL SAFETY COUNCIL
February 2, 1962
WHEREAS section 33(c) of the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 784), declared it to be the purpose of the Congress to reduce the number of accidents and injuries among Government officers and employees, encourage safe practices, eliminate work hazards and health risks, and reduce compensable injuries; and
WHEREAS section 35 of that Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 785), further disclosed the interest of the Congress in the promotion of safety in Federal agencies and establishments; and
WHEREAS the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, as amended and as modified by Reorganization Plan No. 19 of 1950 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), directs the heads of Government departments and agencies to develop, support, and foster organized safety promotion, and to keep such records of injuries and accidents to persons covered by the Act, and to make such statistical and other reports upon such forms as the Secretary of Labor may prescribe; and
WHEREAS the preponderance of accidents involving employees in the Federal service occur in field operations, the heads of executive departments and agencies, and through them, their supervisory staffs, including regional and field staffs, must exert leadership in the establishment of a sound accident prevention program at both the national and regional level; and
WHEREAS representatives of Federal employees should share a similar concern for the establishment of such programs; and
WHEREAS the President is authorized by the Act to establish by Executive order a safety council composed of representatives of Government departments and agencies to serve as an advisory body to the Secretary of Labor in furtherance of the safety program carried out by the Secretary pursuant to section 33 of the Act and to undertake such other measures as he deems proper to prevent injuries and accidents to persons covered by the Act:
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by section 33(c) of the Act and as President of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:
SECTION 1. Establishment of Council. There is hereby established in the Department of Labor the Federal Safety Council, hereinafter referred to as the Council. The Council shall be composed of a Chairman, to be designated by the Secretary of Labor, and one qualified representative of each of the several executive departments and agencies and of the municipal government of the District of Columbia (hereinafter referred to as members). The heads of the departments and agencies and the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia shall designate the members representing them, respectively, and may also designate suitable alternate members. The Secretary of Labor may, as he deems appropriate, appoint representatives of national or international unions, having Federal employees as members, to serve as consultants to the various committees established by the Council. The Chairman, members, alternate members, and consultants shall serve, as such, without compensation from the United States.
SEC. 2. Purpose and functions of Council. The Council shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Secretary of Labor in matters relating to the safety of civilian employees of the Federal government and the municipal government of the District of Columbia and the furtherance of the safety program carried out by the Secretary pursuant to section 33 of the Act. It shall advise the Secretary of Labor with respect to the development and maintenance of adequate and effective safety organizations and programs in the several departments and agencies of the Federal government and the municipal government of the District of Columbia and with respect to criteria, standards, and procedures designed to eliminate work hazards and health risks and to prevent injuries and accidents in Federal employment.
SEC. 3. Council affiliates, committees, and officers. The Council shall include as an integral part of its organizational structure and operations such affiliates, hereafter established by the Council or now existing, in such manner and to such extent as it deems necessary properly and efficiently to perform its functions. The Council shall establish such committees, and may choose such officers (other than its chairman), as it finds necessary for carrying out its functions.
SEC. 4. Regulations. The Secretary of Labor shall prescribe appropriate regulations governing the activities and functions of the Council.
SEC. 5. Administrative and budgetary arrangements. The Secretary of Labor shall make available necessary office space and furnish the Council necessary equipment, supplies, and staff services.
SEC. 6. Continuity. The Federal Safety Council established by this order shall be deemed to constitute a continuation of the Federal Safety Council heretofore existing under the provisions of Executive Order No. 10194 of December 19, 1950.
SEC. 7. RevocationExecutive Order No. 10194 of December 19, 1950, is hereby superseded.
JOHN F. KENNEDY

THE WHITE HOUSE,February 2, 1962.

Obama Has Signed Dictatorial & Tyrannical Executive Orders. He MUST Be Stopped

30SundaySep 2012

I received this list in my email last night.  What is it going to take to stop the madness?  This is anti-American.  A President is not supposed to rule by executive orders.  He is supposed to protect us from enemies; foreign and domestic.  But, he is the enemy that is foreign and also a domestic enemy.  

We never hear about this massive abuse of power on Faux News, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, etc.  

Why were executive orders that GWB signed not ok and this is OK? Where are the ‘classical’ Libertarians?  Seems they are missing in action. Ditto fake Conservatives who think that God is ‘blessing’ America. 

LOOK at the list, dammit.  STOP arguing with me and look at your freedoms diminishing, daily.  A poster that used to come here saw ‘nothing nefarious’ with this abuse of power, below.. She had to be insane.  And worse:  she was a Jew. Imagine a psycho-moonbat Jew being FOR executive orders…

LIST:

  • Executive Order 10990 allows the Government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
  • Executive Order 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
  • Executive Order 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels, and minerals.
  • Executive Order 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
  • Executive Order 11001 allows the government to take over all health education and welfare functions.
  • Executive Order 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.
  • Executive Order 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
  • Executive Order 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate and establish new locations for populations.
  • Executive Order 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways, and public storage facilities.
  • Executive Order 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issues over a fifteen-year period.
  • Executive Order 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
  • Executive Order 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute Industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.
  • Executive Order 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit, and the flow of money in U.S. financial institutions in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when the president declares a state of emergency, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

PLEASE STOP THE DICTATOR.

Please Feel Free To LINK

Curbing (Abolishing) Official Immunity for Federal and State Officers: Executive, Judicial, and Legislative, following where Senators Sam Ervin & Strom Thurmond of North & South Carolina led the way

The “law” of absolute judicial immunity not only cannot be found in the Constitution nor in any statute, but in fact offends the Constitution and common sense, when articulated as follows:

     Judges enjoy absolute immunity from liability for damages for acts performed in their judicial capacities.  Immunity exists for “judicial” actions; those relating to a function normally performed by a judge and where the parties understood they were dealing with the judge in his official capacity. 
      The policy behind this principle is that judges must be free to act in a manner they view proper without fear of subsequent personal liability.  This rule is deemed essential to preserve judicial independence.  
       A judge’s errors may be corrected on appeal, but he should not have to fear that dissatisfied litigants may hound him with litigation charging malice or corruption. Imposing such a burden on judges would contribute not to principled and fearless decision-making but to intimidation.
      The immunity afforded judges is quite broad and applies to all acts performed in the exercise of judicial functions. Judges are immune from liability even for corrupt or malicious acts. Liability exists only where a judge acted in the “clear absence” of all jurisdiction or performed an administrative task not embraced within the judge’s judicial duties.
Olney v. Sacramento Bar Association, 212 Cal.App.3d 807, 260 Cal.Rptr. 842 (July 28, 1989)(citations omitted).

Obviously, being a judge by these standards rights right up there with the Divine Right of Kings or even divinity itself!  Nice work if you can get it, I guess, but can we tolerate such immunity for judges, prosecutors, and even (effectively) for the police and other officers of executive and judicial function if we are to remain in any sense a free society?  “Jurisdiction” limits judicial power, as do doctrines of “judicial discretion”—but if immunity remains absolute, regardless, and only clumsy, indirect, highly technical, and cumbersome appellate remedies exist, do judges not in fact rise higher in the real power hierarchy of earth than all the gods of the Ancient Nile, Greek Olympus and Norse Valhalla combined, inferior only to the One Creator of the Universe, who for unknown reasons rarely intervenes directly in human affairs?

I oppose all sorts of official immunity: executive, legislative, and judicial, but I especially deplore and oppose absolute immunity for judges to take actions without jurisdiction which infringe upon or violate constitutional rights.  If elected to the United States Senate, I promise to fight vigorously to construe all civil rights laws to apply to judicial and prosecutorial misconduct, as well as to executive “police actions” and legislatively authorized derogations from the Bill of Rights and other fundamental constitutional protections.  I will work to strengthen and ensure the colorblind, race neutral, application and construction of 42 U.S.C. §§1983, 1985, 1986, and 1988, which the Courts currently only apply and construe in favor of African-Americans (and occasionally but atypically Hispanics or Asians) against Whites.   White Caucasian Americans must have equal rights to assert violations of their Civil Rights, even when the civil rights involve commercial,  contractual, or proprietary violations rather than race-based violations, but as I have often stated on this blog, I do contend that the judicial constructions of 28 U.S.C. §1443 and 42 U.S.C. §1981-1982 actually DO constitute race-based infringements upon the equal rights of White Caucasian Americans to invoke the provisions of these statutes in their own defense in cases of non-race-based discrimination and oppression under color of law.  But now on to the general concept of immunity, and the roles of Senators Sam Ervin and Strom Thurmond in fighting these concepts.

“POLITICAL PROCESS” labels the mechanism by which societies allocate decision-making authority.  “AUTHORITY” means “POWER”.  “POWER without CONSEQUENCES FOR ABUSE” defines “ABSOLUTE POWER”, and “ABSOLUTE POWER” equates (in societies possessing relatively well-developed judicial systems) with “ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY” from civil suit or criminal prosecution for official derogations, deviations, excessive use or application, infringement, or violations of any stated limits on power or action, especially when these result in the derogation, infringement, or violation of the rights or powers of others.   English Political language contains an ancient aphorism that “Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely.”  In my opinion, that aphorism needs to be expanded as a constitutional norm that “Absolute Immunity corrupts Absolutely.”  And the simple truth is that in modern America, both Federal and State Officers, Executive, Judicial, and Legislative, possess something very close to absolutely immunity for all crimes, torts, and violations of the constitution which they may choose to commit in their “official capacity.”  

This problem stands as a central focus of my life and career since at least 1995 when I first perceived that Family Court Judges in Texas possessed unreasonable power and discretion to infringe on the Constitutional rights of litigants in family court actions, and that the law itself, through such hopelessly vague concepts as the statutory power of Family Court Judges to rule “in the best interests of the child” when a marriage is “irretrievably broken” constituted a wild derogation from the constitutional norms of due process of law applicable in every other field.  “Best interests of the child”, and/or “irretrievably broken” as formally enacted statutory norms, constitute extreme legislative breaches and violation of constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, in my humble opinion.

On February 15, 2012, an opinion came down from a Florida District Court of Appeal which reversed a final decision rendered 19 days after my fiftieth birthday in 2010, on the grounds that “the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to render a final order disposing of the case.”  “A trial court lacks jurisdiciton to render a final order while an appeal from a non-final order in the same case is pending and, if the trial court does so, the final order is a nullity.”  “A trial court may proceed in a cause pending a non-final appeal and dispose of any matter not in form or effect interfering with the power and authority of the appellate court to make its jurisdiction effective, but the trial court may do so only short of final disposition.”  “This may all sound like legal gobbledegook to some…but jurisdiction is not a question a court can take or leave, and a judgment entered without jurisdiction is void.”  Many other aspects of this case offer promise and possess extreme interest to all who care deeply about the Constitution as a guiding light for the life of the United States of America, but those aspects must await the briefing of a Motion for Rehearing and, eventually, remand to the Circuit Court from whence this particular appeal arose.

In citing and quoting this very recent decision of an intermediate appellate court in Florida, I mean only to ask the question: should a judge so described by his immediate court of appeals not be held personally liable for acting in the complete absence of jurisdiction?  If his actions caused harm, why should any immunity at all attach to “judicial conduct” undertaken without jurisdiction, since “jurisdiction is not a question a court can take or leave, and a judgment entered without jurisdiction is void.”  

Only the bravest and most eccentric and idiosyncratic of all recent politicians have ever dared to confront the question of immunity head on.  Among these are Sam Ervin and Strom Thurmond.

The Senatorial career of North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin began and ended with questions of legislative and executive immunity, respectively, which rocked the nation between 1954 and 1974, respectively, namely the investigations into the conduct of Wisconsin Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy (1908-1957) and President Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994).  

Ervin’s 1954 role in leading to the censure of Senator McCarthy for making irresponsible allegations constitutes a curious (and effectively unique) abrogation of or exception to the most basic and fundamental concepts of “legislative immunity” in that McCarthy’s conduct which Ervin’s inquiry deemed “censurable” occurred almost entirely in the context of Senate Debate’s and proceedings, and consisted entirely of verbal conduct.  In that sense, McCarthy’s censure differed from all but one of the other nine censures rendered by the Senate in United States history, which mostly commonly have concerned non-debate related issues such as financial irregularities (Hiram Bingham 1929, Thomas J. Todd 1967, Herman Talmadge 1979, and David Durenberger 1990), physically fighting on the Senate Floor (Benjamin R. Tillman and John L. McLaurin 1902) and breaches of secrecy (Timothy Pickering 1811 and Benjamin Tappan 1844).  Of these eight, only Pickering’s conduct, a breach of secrecy during 1811, actually occurred on the Senate floor during Senate debates, and even so was only very vaguely comparable to the censure against McCarthy.  Senator Sam Ervin’s role in leading the censure of McCarthy is notable as the most severe censure ever for conduct almost clearly within the meaning of the Constitution’s Article I “debates” clause (protecting members of the U.S. House and Senate as “be[ing] privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”  In this connexion I consider Ervin’s role in prosecuting McCarthy historymaking: it shows (or at least suggests) that members of Congress must be held responsible for their role in obstructing or interfering with justice (and other constitutional rights) even while participating in senate proceedings.

As important and historical as Ervin’s early work with the investigation of Joseph McCarthy may have been), Ervin achieved immortality by his monumental and most memorable role on the world stage as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Watergate, 1973-1974. Richard Milhous Nixon’s extremely ambiguous place in United States and World history began as a communist-baiter (in the House, largely contemporaneous with McCarthy’s in the Senate), but ended as a communist-appeaser (seeking “Detente” with the Soviet Union and beginning the “sellout” of America to Maoist China), whom the Senate (including Republicans such as Barry Goldwater) forced to resign because of a twisted and bizarre serial episode of abuses of Presidential power in connexion with the Watergate Scandal.  Senator Sam Ervin earned worldwide reverence as  advocate for the nation’s conscience while this writer was in High School in Hollywood, California.  Senator Sam Ervin’s final year in the Senate oversaw the collapse of the Nixon Presidency, in large part due to Sam Ervin’s commitment AGAINST Executive Privilege (as Nixon referred to his claim of immunity from prosecution or even inquiry regarding his domestic actions taken as President against American citizens in the name of National Security).  

As an aside, I pledge that if I should achieve election to the United States Senate—Senator Sam Ervin would serve as my role-model on almost every issue.  I would fight both legislative and executive immunity and simultaneously uphold the Bill of Rights against all legislative infractions including the “no knock” laws which Ervin fought, which have now become routine nationwide.  Ervin, like his South Carolina cohort Strom Thurmond, feared the advent of the Police State in America long before it became fashionable or even acceptable to do so among most of the Southern and Western U.S. Middle Class—who have a terrible habit of confusing and conflating their perfectly reasonable political opposition to cultural social change with a need for legal repression and suspension of the Constitution.   All constitutionalists must deplore such confusion and conflation, for without the Constitutional protections for our freedom, no hope remains for our traditional cultural or social norms whatsoever.

Now, ironically enough, everything that Nixon did (and covered up) during Watergate is now not only legal, in the aftermath of Federal “National Security” legislation passed in 1996-2011), but Nixon’s (and his White House staff’s) conduct and career of constitutional infringements and violations pales and seems of little consequence or importance compared with what President’s now have “statutory authority” to do.  The recent National Defense Authorization Act, in particular, provides legislative statutory authority for the president to order “indefinite detention” of “terrorists” which (as a pair of connected concepts subject to wildly abusive application) is exactly analogous to the vaguest provisions of family law mentioned above regarding judicial authority to rule and render in the “best interests of the child” whenever a marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

I have in any event focused on the career of North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin because he was one of my first “media heroes” and I first dreamed of studying and applying myself to the resuscitation of American Constitutional Law while watching him preside over the Watergate hearings.

Less known and less famous (and much less politically correct in the modern context) to celebrate is Senator Sam Ervin’s role as the co-author of the “Southern Manifesto” with Senators Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Richard Russell of Georgia.   The “politically correct” way to look at this document requires calling it a reactionary racist response to Brown v. Board of Education and the subsequent orders of the Supreme Court of the United States requiring school desegregation.  But forced desegregation and integration caused social chaos, first in the South, and only slightly later in the North, causing murderous race-riots even in such “liberal” citadels as Boston, Massachusetts through the mid-1970s.   Just as I have often observed that Brazil never experienced anything approaching the level of racial hatred or tensions known in the United States, precisely because emancipation took place gradually and without force there in the Brazilian Empire (and in fact in every nation of the Americas EXCEPT first Haiti and then the United States), the use of force to accelerate the implementation of social change is almost always destructive.

The authors of the Southern Manifesto saw this destructive waive being unleashed by the Supreme Court in America, and they also perceived, correctly, that pitting black against white constituted a means of destabilizing society and increasing the power of the Federal government (in particular) over the people, and of accelerating the empowerment of the police state.  

The authors of the Southern Manifesto against forced school-integration rightly focused their criticisms on Chief Justice Earl Warren.  

As I like to point out, Earl Warren’s life-long commitment to civil rights manifested itself early on in his career as Attorney General and Governor of California when he supervised the hateful and purposeless, in fact counterproductive, internment of hundreds of thousands of (as the newsreels of the time and even early “Batman” movies recited over and over again) “shifty-eyed Japs”, the Second Generation or “Nisei” as they called themselves during World War II.  

In any event, Senators Sam Ervin and Strom Thurmond led the ultimately failing Southern Resistance against Earl Warren’s Court and what became, effectively, America’s Second “War Between the States”, although this time more ink spilled in the Courtrooms than blood on the streets.

For purposes of this present topic of immunity, I will end with my repeated hymn of praise to Senator Strom Thurmond for his crafty drafting of the 1996 Amendments to the Civil Rights Action, 42 U.S.C. §§1983, 1988(a).   The United States had handed down its most dramatic and emphatic “anti-Judicial Immunity” opinion in 1984, in the decision of Pulliam v. Allen, which has been my personal favorite Supreme Court decision for more than a quarter of a century now.  Pulliam v Allen 466 US 522 104 SCt 1970 80 LEd2d 565 (May 14 1984).  In 1996, Strom Thurmond proposed a relatively minor amendment to 42 U.S.C. §§1983 & 1988 to clarify the application of this provision to judicial officers.  Under Thurmond’s leadership, Congress amended the Civil Rights Statute to clarify that judges would only be liable for judicial actions taken “clearly in excess of jurisdiction” in the statute, and this language exactly tracks Justice Blackmun’s language in his opinion in Pulliam v. Allen (footnote 12) which reviews the tradition of limiting judicial immunity to matters “clearly within their cognizance” or “clearly within their jurisdiction”, in full (Blackmun here was in fact quoting Blackstone!).  Writing of the Judges of England, Blackstone in Volume 3 of his commentaries at pages 112-113 stated that if these Judges,

in handling of matters clearly within their cognizance, they transgress the bounds prescribed to them by the laws of England; as where they require two witnesses to prove the payment of a legacy, a release of tithes, or the like; in such cases also a prohibition will be awarded. For, as the fact of signing a release, or of actual payment, is not properly a spiritual question, but only allowed to be decided in those courts, because incident or accessory to some original question clearly within their jurisdiction; it ought therefore, where the two laws differ, to be decided not according to the spiritual, but the temporal law; else the same question might be determined different ways, according to the court in which the suit is depending: an impropriety, which no wise government can or ought to endure, and which is therefore a ground of prohibition. And if either the judge or the party shall proceed after such prohibition, an attachment may be had against them, to punish them for the contempt, at the discretion of the court that awarded it; and an action will lie against them, to repair the party injured in damages.

The Southern Manifesto co-authored by Sam Ervin & Strom Thurmond (and Richard Russell?) did not expressly cite Blackstone but began:

The unwarranted decision of the Supreme Court in the public school cases is now bearing the fruit always produced when men substitute naked power for established law.  The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution of checks and balances because they realized the inescapable lesson of history that no man or group of men can be safely entrusted with unlimited power. They framed this Constitution with its provisions for change by amendment in order to secure the fundamentals of government against the dangers of temporary popular passion or the personal predilections of public officeholders.”

The consequences of this language include the assertion that public officeholders (including judges) must be liable for the consequences and injuries caused by their derogations from and violations of “established law.”  Just as in the recent Florida case decided above, where a judge enters a decision in violation of well-and-long established law relating to jurisdiction and scope of authority, that Judge renders nothing but a personal statement with personal consequences, for which that Judge should be personally liable.
I ask here: should any Judge enjoy immunity from prosecution for civil rights violations and/or suit for civil rights violations when that judge violates the letter of the Constitution, especially when a litigant points out that violation to the Court and no excuse (such as a Constitutionally declared war or surprise invasion) exists to suspend the Constitution temporarily…. and temporarily only… I have often had occasion to refer to 1996 USCCAN 4216-4217 which affirms that these amendments do not establish absolute immunity for judges.  I submit that Strom Thurmond authored the 1996 Amendments to the Civil Rights Action to ensure that Judges (like Chief Justice Earl Warren) could and would be held liable for their actions taken “clearly in excess of jurisdiction.”  Unfortunately, to date, neither the State nor Federal Courts have recognized the importance of these amendments, and continue to enforce Absolute Judicial Immunity.
The doctrine of “qualified immunity” also arose out of Watergate, particularly in the case of Mitchell v. Forsythe, 472 U.S. 511 (June 19, 1985) in which the Supreme Court limited former Attorney General John Mitchell to merely “qualified immunity” rather than “absolute immunity.”  Oddly enough, the standard the Supreme Court applied to the Attorney General of the United States involved a determination of what a “reasonable person” would know about the law (reasonably or unreasonably, most people in the United States today know almost nothing about the law, which explains why lawyers run amok and control the country).  Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the Attorney General of the United States would enjoy qualified immunity, “so long as his actions do not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”
         Rather unsurprisingly, in practice, interlocutory appeal of any and every trial court determinations of qualified immunity plus a very pro-defense, anti-plaintiff judiciary means that even for prosecutors and police officers, “qualified immunity” is difficult to distinguish from “absolute immunity.” 

I know that my critics often accuse me of writing overly long-and-windy commentaries on my blog, and I suppose this will constitute one of my more offensive pieces.  I submit that the American public have become too used to short sound bytes and non-analytical thinking, and I hope I can encourage a more “in depth” and historically-based approach here.

Regarding legislative immunity, I recently discovered a very interesting and historically based article by a journalist name Chuck Murphy (Colorado Constitution and History of Legislative Immunity):

Murphy: Colorado’s legislative immunity rooted in 17th century England

Blame it on King Charles I.

He dissolved Parliament, made Oliver Cromwell famous and is as responsible as anyone for the get-out-of-jail-free card Rep. Laura Bradford of Mesa County used last week.

Bradford, R-Collbran, was pulled over Wednesday night on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after a Denver officer saw her make an improper lane change. But after failing a roadside sobriety test, Bradford mentioned that she was on her way home after a legislative function at a Colfax Avenue bar.

Those were the magic words.

Article V, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution says:

“The members of the general assembly shall, in all cases except treason or felony, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of their respective houses, or any committees thereof, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house, or any committees thereof, they shall not be questioned in any other place.”

That’s where Charles comes in.

By the time he took the crown in 1625, England had a robust Parliament and Charles was determined to put them in their place. He declared the divine right of the king to rule as he chose, and, after a series of confrontations, dissolved Parliament. Four years later, he did it again — and this time, he put much of the body’s leadership in prison. He was eventually defeated by Cromwell and lost his head — literally.

Say this for Brits — they have long memories.

It was 60 years later when Charles’ second son, James II (Dismal Jimmy), ascended to the throne. He wanted to impose Catholic rule on a deeply skeptical nation, and it did not go well. Within four years, he was deposed by his daughter Mary, and her husband, William of Orange. They are better known today as William and Mary.

Parliament had invited them to take over, but with certain conditions, partly based on the naughty behavior of Charles I. One of those was the 1688 Bill of Rights, which said in part:

“That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;

“That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;”

And…

“That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.”

A couple hundred years went by before 1876, when Colorado was working on its latest version of a state constitution designed to get us admitted to the union. By then, we had the U.S. Constitution and the work of several other states to crib from, including an 1859 effort from Kansas:

“For any speech or debate in either house, the members shall not be questioned elsewhere. No member of the Legislature shall be subject to arrest — except for felony or breach of the peace — in going to or returning from the place of meeting, or during the continuance of the session; neither shall be he subject to the service of any civil process during the session, nor for fifteen days previous to its commencement.”

Look familiar? It all leaps right out of 17th-century England.

Now, say what you will about Gov. John Hickenlooper — he is impetuous, and he does on occasion show signs of a temper — but he is not about to lock up members of the legislature, not even the House, if he doesn’t get his way. I’m certain of it.

These immunity clauses exist in a majority of state constitutions today (legislators know a good thing when they see it). Arizona has discussed getting rid of theirs after their former Senate majority leader avoided arrest on a domestic-violence charge by invoking legislative immunity. His girlfriend was arrested while he went home, provoking well-placed outrage.

Legislators have no right to any protections not enjoyed by every other citizen, period, and most don’t avail themselves of this constitutional provision anyway. Even Bradford denies that she intended to avoid arrest by mentioning where she was coming from.

So who in Colorado’s legislature will take up the charge to rid our constitution of this anachronism? We amend the document all the time, with mixed results, but this seems like a no-brainer in an election year.

All it takes is a proposal to get it on the ballot. A majority of Coloradans just might go along.

Chuck Murphy: 303-954-1829, cmurphy@denverpost.comortwitter.com/cmurphydenpost

Read more:Murphy: Colorado’s legislative immunity rooted in 17th century England – The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/murphy/ci_19849376#ixzz1mpThOiJt
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What do these labels or statements really tell you about a person? S/he’s a “Convict” and a “Felon?” S/he’s “Disbarred?” S/he’s been “Sanctioned” or S/he’s a “Conservative?” or “Democrat?” or “Republican?” or “Libertarian” or “Liberal?” or “Constitutionalist?” or [OH NO!] “Birther?” In my case, I suggest they all add up to “Conflict-Tried and Litigation-Proven American Patriot!” or “Realist who knows just how rotten the system really is and knows it from the inside.”

I am, as many readers of this blog will know, a convicted felon and a disbarred attorney who has been severely sanctioned for spearheading a crusade to have the Texas Family Code declared unconstitutional.  But just start with “Felon” and “disbarred”: Isn’t that a frightening pair of labels?  I must really be a seriously bad guy, don’t you think?  Or is it worse to think that between 1-3% of the United States population either is or has been incarcerated, or on probation or on parole or otherwise severely constrained in the exercise of their personal liberty?  And many of them stigmatized FOR LIFE as “convicted felons?” I only care because I know these labels will be used against me.  A “Felon” in the usual sense of the word, is someone found guilty of a crime which COULD have carried more than a year sentence.  Of course, as the reader of this blog knows, my favorite “Felon” is and remains a lady named Nancy Jo Grant from Arcadia, Florida, sentenced to 15 years probation (and actually held for six months in County Jail in 2008), who is a “convict” because she was “convicted” of the unauthorized practice of law—for maintaining a prison ministry passing out information to inmates telling them about the Florida and Federal guarantees of “Speedy Trial” and how they were entitled to immediate release if they had not been tried within a certain statutory time frame.  Oh, she was really terrifying, Nancy Jo Grant at the height of her activity—she threatened positively dozens of prison guard jobs if she had succeeded in getting all of the prisoners released to whom she passed out truthful and undeniably accurate information.

Similarly—“Disbarred” means that you were once a licensed attorney but your fellow attorneys and judges found you rocked the boat just once or twice (or in my case about forty thousand times) too often and so they had to get rid of you “for the integrity of the system”—because anyone who advocates change and seeks to break down barriers and build up individual freedom cannot possibly be a “man of integrity” with “due respect for the legal system.”  I thought being “disbarred” was significantly worse than being a “convicted felon” until I met former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore this past week in Atlanta—here was a man who, because of his own spiritual devotion and dedication to freedom of religion protected by the First Amendment was forcibly removed by judicial action from his very high office as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama—not for any JUDICIAL action he took, mind you, but for daring to advocate a central place for the Ten Commandments—recognized jointly, severally, and equally by each of the leading monotheistic religions in the world (Judaism, Christianity and Islam)—as the foundation of all law.  If I suffered some mild indignities by being disbarred, Chief Justice Moore suffered worse by being dis-benched (the word “debenched” looks and sounds too much like “debauched” and the only “debauchery” in Justice Moore’s story is the intellectual and moral debauchery of those who removed him from office, and while “dethroned” is probably a historically more accurate term for the removal of judges from their large chairs perched atop daises above the heads of their “subjects”—I think much too highly of Chief Justice Moore to put him in the same category with most of the judges I know—those I have personally worked for and/or studied under all excepted from this general characterization, criticism….or damnation.  I do feel that the general damnation, criticism, or characterization of judges as monarchical petty-tyrants is warranted for most of the modern judiciary….especially but not limited to Texas Judges Federal and States James R. Nowlin, Sam Sparks, Michael Jergins, James R. Clawson, Jeanne Meurer, Lynn N. Hughes, Janis Graham Jack.

And no, I don’t have any respect for judges who hide behind the shield of “absolute judicial immunity” and lawyers who hide their gross incompetence and/or corrupt character and policy purposes behind the shield of the most illegitimate state-sponsored monopoly in the world: the state sponsored monopoly on free speech and advocacy in the courts, the one context where speech might actually have a PROFOUND AND DIRECT IMPACT on individual people’s lives and the future course of history at the same time, simultaneously.  Let people speak freely EVERYWHERE, but not in Court: oh “heaven forfend” that we should enjoy the blessings of liberty to speak freely in court.  You see, no matter how unjust a prosecution is, no matter how unconstitutional or unwarranted a criminal statute might be, no matter how utterly devoid of due process of law a judicial process in a civil or criminal case might be, the judges and prosecutors all have absolute judicial (or prosecutorial) immunity—or at least they claim they do.  Of course, I have repeatedly argued and continue to argue that the 1996 Amendments to 42 U.S.C. Sections 1983 and 1988 actually codified the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Pulliam v. Allen which they purported to overrule, and reduced the threshold for piercing judicial immunity from “actions taken in the complete absence of jurisdiction” (a nearly impossible standard to overcome—in that any lawfully seated judge obviously has SOME jurisdiction to do SOMETHING, even if it’s just issue reprimands….) to “actions taken clearly in excess of jurisdiction” which might be a relative or objective standard, which at least theoretically, in front of SOME judges and juries COULD be breached….or crossed, or whatever it is you need to do to get past a threshold of judicial (or prosecutorial) immunity….

Pulliam v. Allen, 466 U.S. 522, 104 S.Ct. 1970, 80 L.Ed.2d 565 (1984) and the 1996 amendments to 42 U.S.C. §§1983/1988.  The common body of language consists in (1) the use of the phrase “conduct clearly in excess of jurisdiction” with regard to attorneys’ fees and damages and (2) the principle that judicial immunity is not a bar to prospective declaratory or injunctive relief against a judicial officer acting in his or her judicial capacity:

Our own experience is fully consistent with the common law’s rejection of a rule of judicial immunity from prospective relief.  We have never had a rule of absolute judicial immunity from prospective relief, and there is no evidence that the absence of that immunity has had a chilling effect on judicial independence.

Pulliam v. Allen, 466 U.S. at 537, 104 S.Ct. at 1978.

Congress enacted §1983 and its predecessor….to provide an independent avenue for protection of federal constitutional rights.  The remedy was considered necessary because “state courts were being used to harass and injure individuals, either because the state courts were powerless to stop deprivations or were in league with those who were bent upon abrogation of federally protected rights…..(every member of Congress who spoke to the issue assumed that judges would be liable under §1983).

Id.,  466 U.S. at 541, 104 S.Ct. 1980.

As it happens, I didn’t do a single second in jail or even handcuffs for my felony.  It was just a Federal Judge’s way of ruining my life—or trying to—because on August 31, 2000, the day I gave up my law license in Texas, I can tell you that I HAD NOT EVEN BEGUN TO FIGHT.  It was only meeting a State Court Judge, Michael Jergins of Williamson County, and all his corrupt cronies, that really turned me into a man who would dedicate the rest of his life to fighting for (I don’t care HOW corny it sounds): TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE AMERICAN WAY.  As a matter of fact, I consider these labels (“Felon” and “Disbarred” and “Sanctioned”) as “Red badges of courage” which I earned by hard work in the fight against a corrupt judiciary and an even more corrupt and unconstitutionally monopolized legal profession.  I have learned a lot of hard lessons, in particular, and if I have gained knowledge of anything that I think is important or special, it’s what I learned about the United States’ Heart of Darkness during those 54 days December 8, 2007-February 2, 2008: we do NOT live in a good country, or a free country, or a just country.

I consider these labels proof that I mattered enough to pose a danger to someone, although not necessarily for the “crimes” I was alleged to have convicted.   My “felony” was the misstatement of two digits in my social security number in an application for a non-interest-bearing checking account at Wells Fargo Bank in an otherwise complete and correct application to open a non-interest bearing checking account in November 1996.  “BRANDED”!  “LABELLED FOR LIFE AS A DANGEROUS UNDESIRABLE IN SOCIETY.”  Oh, by the way, Wells Fargo Bank never noticed the problem, nor did anyone else since the accounts were non-interest bearing, and although the account application was filled out in my own hand, the original was lost, so tampering with the numbers on the original by erasure or white out or whatever was never excluded as a possibility.  Try as my Texas persecutors and their emulators elsewhere might (while trying to impose “reciprocal discipline”, they cannot make this more than it is.  Recently some on-line critics of mine has dug all this up and tried to make something of it, but they couldn’t even settle for the reality that only two numbers of my social security number were misstated, they had to exaggerate it to three, and thereby illegally and improperly published my social security number—except that they published it INCORRECTLY so as to try to make the charges against me worse than they were, BY ONE DIGIT!  Idiots and pathetic fools at that.  I forgive them for they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing or saying or (probably) even why.

A United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas (James R. Nowlin) got me in his gunsights over the civil rights cases and in essence hired my former housekeeper in open court to testify against me (my housekeeper Marcelina was seemingly a very sweet, kind, and good North-Mexican-born lady with very poor linguistic skills in English who did not even sign the original complaint proffered against me under her name).  Either she or someone in her family made up some gibberish or the Lago Vista police officers who wanted to get rid of my seven suits against them in 1997-1998 made up some gibberish and Judge James R. Nowlin officially ordered an investigation of me by the U.S. Attorney, the FBI, and the “Admissions Committee” of the Western District of Texas—which was entirely Judicially appointed).  To say that Judge Nowlin ordered them to crucify me would of course be an exaggeration—he merely ordered them to try to find some, in fact ANY colorable grounds to disbar me—and so they did.

So, since I was indicted on December 7, 1999, I have developed a very new and comprehensive perspective on what this label “FELON” means.  Because in my case I say it means almost NOTHING, except that my wife Elena did not want me to risk going to trial in Federal Court after, during my judicial clerkships and externships, I had told her that roughly one person per year walks out of any Judge’s Federal Court free after receiving a Federal indictment—and that’s only if the government has such a weak case that congress has to amend the law to make it possible to indict more people.

I never “did any time” on my felony indictment, but as readers of this blog also know, I did do first one week and then 54 days in 2006-2008 for various bogus judicial orders approximating charges of “contempt for failure to appear”—both in cases wherein I had and continue to severely (and I think very accurately) question and challenge the personal and subject matter jurisdiction of the court.  But still, some ignorant folks think that just the fact that you’ve done time in jail means you’re a dangerous person.

What I found out in jail, frankly, was that most people incarcerated don’t belong there.  I have said of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles that the “convicted felons” with whom I shared most of December 2007 and early January 2008 were a more distinguished group of people than I’ve met anywhere outside of the Harvard Faculty Club, Boston’s Tavern Club, or the Washington D.C. Cosmos Club (and in fact there’re some overlapping members in all FOUR groups….and I was NOT the only one….but we won’t go into that too much).  I still deeply regret the horrible fate of my fellow detainees Moshe Leichner and Vance Fecteau, who will remain in my mind among the finest people I have ever met in my life, intellectually, emotionally, ethically, and spiritually.  Those who can hold their heads high while serving not only time but their fellow inmates in prison are noble men indeed.  Moshe Leicher was one of those people who remind us that Jesus Christ and all his Apostles were Jews, and Jesus himself and several apostles also socially condemned and “convicted felons,” whose real offenses were to challenge the powers that be and perhaps succeed a little too much in doing so.   I only wish that I could achieve the moral stature of some of those wrongfully and purposelessly incarcerated people I have known in jail, deprived of life, liberty, and property by this sadly perverted but still dream-filled country in which we live.  Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of hardworking Mexican and other Latin American born nationals rot in American prisons.  If similar numbers of unemployed American tourists were arrested for their drunken pecadillos in Cancun, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, or Mazatlan, I daresay that the United States would demand an invasion of Mexico to free them.  And yet Mexico sits by silently and does nothing for its unjustly imprisoned masses in U.S. Custody.

So I am a convicted felon and a disbarred attorney, and at age 50 I am trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life, and I look at two other labels: Democrat and Republican.  Now mind you, there are plenty of prominent Democrats and Republicans who have also become convicted felons and worn the same orange pajamas or jumpsuits that I wore for 54 days at MDC Los Angeles, the Oklahoma City Transfer Center (one of the bleakest spots on earth) and other places.   But what is a Democrat and what is a Republican?

So much could be written about that question—so much always is.  “Democrat” usually implies “Liberal” and “Republican” usually implies “conservative,” but I recently found this wonderful website: http://www.democraticreformparty.com on which I find Barack Obama criticized as a socialist with slightly dictatorial leanings who likes to be called a “leader.”  I remember Democratic Senator Samuel James Ervin of North Carolina and Republican Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee, both veterans of the Senate Watergate Committee of 1973-1974, and how they and Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona ended up on the same side of many issues, among them that Richard Nixon should resign.  (I always had a soft-spot for Howard Baker because, like my Dad, he was a navy man in World War II, and like me, he was a graduate of the undergraduate College of Arts & Sciences at Tulane University in New Orleans; much more imposing and inspiring, Senator Sam Ervin, who as I did later, spent his graduate years at Harvard, was constantly quoting Shakespeare and the Bible, and in his manner of doing so seemed to me, when I was ages 13-14, to be the most eloquent and well-educated man alive).

There are not many senators of the calibre of those three (Ervin, Baker, & Goldwater) around today.  As a matter of fact, aside from another Democrat, Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, I cannot think of any.  Goldwater’s great claim to political success, of course, was that in losing the 1964 Presidential Election, he nevertheless cracked open the “Solid South” and opened the door to Republicans taking over large parts of the “Southern White” element of the Southern White-Northern Labor Coalition which together elected every Democratic President from Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt through John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson (despite Johnson’s loss of the “Deepest South” to Goldwater in Fact).  (At the Tenth Amendment Summit in Atlanta February 25-26, 2010, I did have the pleasure of meeting yet another large group of conservative democrats who have organized under the label “Liberty-Democrats” at http://www.newlibertydemocrats.com, who recognize that the most repressive terms in American politics, aside from “liberal” and “welfare” is “progressive”—my son Charlie says that he and I are both “Victorian Liberals”, really fairly extreme….).

The issue that has troubled America the most from approximately 1619 onwards is the issue of race.  The Democratic Party was once “Solid” in the South because it supported first the maintenance of slavery and then of segregation, and to atone for its sins became the party that elected the First Half-Black Man (formal racial label “Mulatto”) President, Barack Obama, who also happens to be the First President Elected who, by all traditional standards of evidence, is probably NOT an American citizen, and is therefore a fraud and a usurper and generally a disgrace to this country, quite apart from the fact that he’s a raving socialist who wants this country to turn into something that can only be described as “distinctly unAmerican.”  (OH, because I believe this little scandalous scenario, I must also bear to suffer another insulting label: I am also called a “Birther”, and all the “Pro-Obama, anti-Birthers” and some of the “Birthers” rejoice in criticizing me because of those other “labels” I bear, which may or may not really mean anything, but sure can hurt a guy’s employment prospects sometimes….I mean really).  But you see, by contrast with the Democrats, the Republican Party was created to free the slaves, it’s first President won power while advocating that slaves should all be returned to Africa but achieved at least their nominal freedom but only to the effect of enslaving or at least impoverishing the Southern Whites, and now the Republican Party is the best haven for scared White Suburbanites and blacks who wish they were White Suburbanites or at least wouldn’t mind if their son or daughter married one….except that most of the scared White Suburbanites are really quite comfortable with the idea of millions of blacks in chains—so long as they’re called CONVICTED FELONS AND KEPT SAFELY AWAY FROM SOCIETY).

If I had any political power or influence I would instigate a reform of the United States Criminal Code.  There are just too many crimes on the books.  Everyone is a criminal RIGHT NOW whether they know it or not.  How many of you can be sure that you never wrote down your social security number incorrectly? How many of you can be sure that you never made any of hundreds if not thousands of indictable errors in filling out your tax returns or other government forms?  As Ayn Rand wrote many years ago that the proliferation of crimes in the criminal codes of the Western nations meant that all of us would eventually be subject to arrest at any time at the whim of the government.  That is basically how I became a convicted felon, you see: United States District Judge James R. Nowlin did not like or appreciate the fact that I was bringing civil rights lawsuits on behalf of white suburbanites who did not wish to be subject to unlawful arrest in the white suburbs, and this is just not what the civil rights laws or movement was supposed to be about.  Civil Rights Reforms in the 1950s and 1960s were just meant and supposed to be a meaningless and temporary concession or series of temporary concessions to keep African-Americans from turning Communist during the Cold War, and once the Cold War was over, all pretenses concerning the Federal Government’s interest in Civil Rights or Equality or any of that garbage could be pretty much summarily dropped, and the Government never wanted those laws to apply to White People anyhow, or so the U.S. Judges so often tell us.

Another thing I would do if I were ever elected to public office is I would reinvigorate the Civil Rights Laws and make them truly Colorblind, even as I would also allow all ethic groups in this country their own rights to separate development and self-determination to the degree that this were feasible after all the “shake and bake” years of enforced “diversity” in the schools and neighborhoods and workplaces.  We have a “shake and bake” globalist President and he’s not the least little bit interested in helping black men and women stay in their homes or get houses or avoid foreclosure or be economically independent so that they can avoid spending their lives in prison.  NO, Barack Obama shows no sign of caring that African Americans are many times more likely to end up in jail than they are to end up owning their own homes.   Nor does he show any sign of wanting to curtail the abuses, infringements, and abridgements of civil rights effected by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, and every other vile product of his miserable predecessors the totally Globalist, Freed0m Suppressing, Bush-Clinton-and-Bush Administrations (Democrats and Republicans merged into one during those years, if they hadn’t already under Reagan, the great conservative hope who not only saved Roosevelt’s New Deal but also Johnson’s Great Society—and expanded them both while utilizing all the worst elements of the Military-Industrial Complex about which Dwight Eisenhower had warned us).

If I had elective office or any political power, I would try to emphasize that the greatest difference is not between what the parties stand for today, but what they stand for today and stood for at various and sundry times in the past.  As a Democrat, I would try to resuscitate the honor of Samuel James Ervin and Howard Baker in the tradition of James W. Davis and Alfred Emanuel Smith.   As a Republican, I would say that Senator Barry Goldwater and Governor Ronald W. Reagan represent the best of the modern party tradition of individual freedom, individual responsibility, and limited government, but that President Ronald W. Reagan was nothing less than a catastrophe for the country.

PROSECUTIONS (OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION) THAT SHOULD ALREADY HAVE HAPPENED: OBAMA HAS ABANDONNED CIVIL LIBERTIES BUT MCCAIN WAS ALWAYS AGAINST THEM….

 http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/07/23/new_churchcomm/print.html


Exposing Bush’s historic abuse of power

Salon has uncovered new evidence of post-9/11 spying on Americans. Obtained documents point to a potential investigation of the White House that could rival Watergate.

 

By Tim Shorrock

Jul. 23, 2008 | The last several years have brought a parade of dark revelations about the George W. Bush administration, from the manipulation of intelligence to torture to extrajudicial spying inside the United States. But there are growing indications that these known abuses of power may only be the tip of the iceberg. Now, in the twilight of the Bush presidency, a movement is stirring in Washington for a sweeping new inquiry into White House malfeasance that would be modeled after the famous Church Committee congressional investigation of the 1970s.
While reporting on domestic surveillance under Bush, Salon obtained a detailed memo proposing such an inquiry, and spoke with several sources involved in recent discussions around it on Capitol Hill. The memo was written by a former senior member of the original Church Committee; the discussions have included aides to top House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers, and until now have not been disclosed publicly.

Salon has also uncovered further indications of far-reaching and possibly illegal surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency inside the United States under President Bush. That includes the alleged use of a top-secret, sophisticated database system for monitoring people considered to be a threat to national security. It also includes signs of the NSA’s working closely with other U.S. government agencies to track financial transactions domestically as well as globally.

The proposal for a Church Committee-style investigation emerged from talks between civil liberties advocates and aides to Democratic leaders in Congress, according to sources involved. (Pelosi’s and Conyers’ offices both declined to comment.) Looking forward to 2009, when both Congress and the White House may well be controlled by Democrats, the idea is to have Congress appoint an investigative body to discover the full extent of what the Bush White House did in the war on terror to undermine the Constitution and U.S. and international laws. The goal would be to implement government reforms aimed at preventing future abuses — and perhaps to bring accountability for wrongdoing by Bush officials.

“If we know this much about torture, rendition, secret prisons and warrantless wiretapping despite the administration’s attempts to stonewall, then imagine what we don’t know,” says a senior Democratic congressional aide who is familiar with the proposal and has been involved in several high-profile congressional investigations.

“You have to go back to the McCarthy era to find this level of abuse,” says Barry Steinhardt, the director of the Program on Technology and Liberty for the American Civil Liberties Union. “Because the Bush administration has been so opaque, we don’t know [the extent of] what laws have been violated.”

The parameters for an investigation were outlined in a seven-page memo, written after the former member of the Church Committee met for discussions with the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Common Cause and other watchdog groups. Key issues to investigate, those involved say, would include the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance activities; the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of extraordinary rendition and torture against terrorist suspects; and the U.S. government’s extensive use of military assets — including satellites, Pentagon intelligence agencies and U2 surveillance planes — for a vast spying apparatus that could be used against the American people.

Specifically, the ACLU and other groups want to know how the NSA’s use of databases and data mining may have meshed with other domestic intelligence activities, such as the U.S. government’s extensive use of no-fly lists and the Treasury Department’s list of “specially designated global terrorists” to identify potential suspects. As of mid-July, says Steinhardt, the no-fly list includes more than 1 million records corresponding to more than 400,000 names. If those people really represent terrorist threats, he says, “our cities would be ablaze.” A deeper investigation into intelligence abuses should focus on how these lists feed on each other, Steinhardt says, as well as the government’s “inexorable trend towards treating everyone as a suspect.”

“It’s not just the ‘Terrorist Surveillance Program,'” agrees Gregory T. Nojeim from the Center for Democracy and Technology, referring to the Bush administration’s misleading name for the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. “We need a broad investigation on the way all the moving parts fit together. It seems like we’re always looking at little chunks and missing the big picture.”

A prime area of inquiry for a sweeping new investigation would be the Bush administration’s alleged use of a top-secret database to guide its domestic surveillance. Dating back to the 1980s and known to government insiders as “Main Core,” the database reportedly collects and stores — without warrants or court orders — the names and detailed data of Americans considered to be threats to national security.

According to several former U.S. government officials with extensive knowledge of intelligence operations, Main Core in its current incarnation apparently contains a vast amount of personal data on Americans, including NSA intercepts of bank and credit card transactions and the results of surveillance efforts by the FBI, the CIA and other agencies. One former intelligence official described Main Core as “an emergency internal security database system” designed for use by the military in the event of a national catastrophe, a suspension of the Constitution or the imposition of martial law. Its name, he says, is derived from the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”

Some of the former U.S. officials interviewed, although they have no direct knowledge of the issue, said they believe that Main Core may have been used by the NSA to determine who to spy on in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Moreover, the NSA’s use of the database, they say, may have triggered the now-famous March 2004 confrontation between the White House and the Justice Department that nearly led Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI director William Mueller and other top Justice officials to resign en masse.

The Justice Department officials who objected to the legal basis for the surveillance program — former Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey and Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel — testified before Congress last year about the 2004 showdown with the White House. Although they refused to discuss the highly classified details behind their concerns, the New York Times later reported that they were objecting to a program that “involved computer searches through massive electronic databases” containing “records of the phone calls and e-mail messages of millions of Americans.”

According to William Hamilton, a former NSA intelligence officer who left the agency in the 1970s, that description sounded a lot like Main Core, which he first heard about in detail in 1992. Hamilton, who is the president of Inslaw Inc., a computer services firm with many clients in government and the private sector, says there are strong indications that the Bush administration’s domestic surveillance operations use Main Core.

Hamilton’s company Inslaw is widely respected in the law enforcement community for creating a program called the Prosecutors’ Management Information System, or PROMIS. It keeps track of criminal investigations through a powerful search engine that can quickly access all stored data components of a case, from the name of the initial investigators to the telephone numbers of key suspects. PROMIS, also widely used in the insurance industry, can also sort through other databases fast, with results showing up almost instantly. “It operates just like Google,” Hamilton told me in an interview in his Washington office in May.

Since the late 1980s, Inslaw has been involved in a legal dispute over its claim that Justice Department officials in the Reagan administration appropriated the PROMIS software. Hamilton claims that Reagan officials gave PROMIS to the NSA and the CIA, which then adapted the software — and its outstanding ability to search other databases — to manage intelligence operations and track financial transactions. Over the years, Hamilton has employed prominent lawyers to pursue the case, including Elliot Richardson, the former attorney general and secretary of defense who died in 1999, and C. Boyden Gray, the former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush. The dispute has never been settled. But based on the long-running case, Hamilton says he believes U.S. intelligence uses PROMIS as the primary software for searching the Main Core database.

Hamilton was first told about the connection between PROMIS and Main Core in the spring of 1992 by a U.S. intelligence official, and again in 1995 by a former NSA official. In July 2001, Hamilton says, he discussed his case with retired Adm. Dan Murphy, a former military advisor to Elliot Richardson who later served under President George H.W. Bush as deputy director of the CIA. Murphy, who died shortly after his meeting with Hamilton, did not specifically mention Main Core. But he informed Hamilton that the NSA’s use of PROMIS involved something “so seriously wrong that money alone cannot cure the problem,” Hamilton told me. He added, “I believe in retrospect that Murphy was alluding to Main Core.” Hamilton also provided copies of letters that Richardson and Gray sent to U.S. intelligence officials and the Justice Department on Inslaw’s behalf alleging that the NSA and the CIA had appropriated PROMIS for intelligence use.

Hamilton says James B. Comey’s congressional testimony in May 2007, in which he described a hospitalized John Ashcroft’s dramatic standoff with senior Bush officials Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card, was another illuminating moment. “It was then that we [at Inslaw] started hearing again about the Main Core derivative of PROMIS for spying on Americans,” he told me.

Through a former senior Justice Department official with more than 25 years of government experience, Salon has learned of a high-level former national security official who reportedly has firsthand knowledge of the U.S. government’s use of Main Core. The official worked as a senior intelligence analyst for a large domestic law enforcement agency inside the Bush White House. He would not agree to an interview. But according to the former Justice Department official, the former intelligence analyst told her that while stationed at the White House after the 9/11 attacks, one day he accidentally walked into a restricted room and came across a computer system that was logged on to what he recognized to be the Main Core database. When she mentioned the specific name of the top-secret system during their conversation, she recalled, “he turned white as a sheet.”

An article in Radar magazine in May, citing three unnamed former government officials, reported that “8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect” and, in the event of a national emergency, “could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and even detention.”

The alleged use of Main Core by the Bush administration for surveillance, if confirmed to be true, would indicate a much deeper level of secretive government intrusion into Americans’ lives than has been previously known. With respect to civil liberties, says the ACLU’s Steinhardt, it would be “pretty frightening stuff.”

The Inslaw case also points to what may be an extensive role played by the NSA in financial spying inside the United States. According to reports over the years in the U.S. and foreign press, Inslaw’s PROMIS software was embedded surreptitiously in systems sold to foreign and global banks as a way to give the NSA secret “backdoor” access to the electronic flow of money around the world.

In May, I interviewed Norman Bailey, a private financial consultant with years of government intelligence experience dating from the George W. Bush administration back to the Reagan administration. According to Bailey — who from 2006 to 2007 headed a special unit within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence focused on financial intelligence on Cuba and Venezuela — the NSA has been using its vast powers with signals intelligence to track financial transactions around the world since the early 1980s.

From 1982 to 1984, Bailey ran a top-secret program for President Reagan’s National Security Council, called “Follow the Money,” that used NSA signals intelligence to track loans from Western banks to the Soviet Union and its allies. PROMIS, he told me, was “the principal software element” used by the NSA and the Treasury Department then in their electronic surveillance programs tracking financial flows to the Soviet bloc, organized crime and terrorist groups. His admission is the first public acknowledgement by a former U.S. intelligence official that the NSA used the PROMIS software.

According to Bailey, the Reagan program marked a significant shift in resources from human spying to electronic surveillance, as a way to track money flows to suspected criminals and American enemies. “That was the beginning of the whole process,” he said.

After 9/11, this capability was instantly seen within the U.S. government as a critical tool in the war on terror — and apparently was deployed by the Bush administration inside the United States, in cases involving alleged terrorist supporters. One such case was that of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation in Oregon, which was accused of having terrorist ties after the NSA, at the request of the Treasury Department, eavesdropped on the phone calls of Al-Haramain officials and their American lawyers. The charges against Al-Haramain were based primarily on secret evidence that the Bush administration refused to disclose in legal proceedings; Al-Haramain’s lawyers argued in a lawsuit that was a violation of the defendants’ due process rights.

According to Bailey, the NSA also likely would have used its technological capabilities to track the charity’s financial activity. “The vast majority of financial movements of any significance take place electronically, so intercepts have become an extremely important element” in intelligence, he explained. “If the government suspects that a particular Muslim charitable organization is engaged in collecting funds to funnel to terrorists, the NSA would be asked to follow the money going into and out of the bank accounts of that charity.” (The now-defunct Al-Haramain Foundation, although affiliated with a Saudi Arabian-based global charity, was founded and based in Ashland, Ore.)

The use of a powerful database and extensive watch lists, Bailey said, would make the NSA’s job much easier. “The biggest problems with intercepts, quite frankly, is that the volumes of data, daily or even by the hour, are gigantic,” he said. “Unless you have a very precise idea of what it is you’re looking for, the NSA people or their counterparts [overseas] will just throw up their hands and say ‘forget it.'” Regarding domestic surveillance, Bailey said there’s a “whole gray area where the initiation of the transaction was in the United States and the final destination was outside, or vice versa. That’s something for the lawyers to figure out.”

Bailey’s information on the evolution of the Reagan intelligence program appears to corroborate and clarify an article published in March in the Wall Street Journal, which reported that the NSA was conducting domestic surveillance using “an ad-hoc collection of so-called ‘black programs’ whose existence is undisclosed.” Some of these programs began “years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach.” Among them, the article said, are a joint NSA-Treasury database on financial transactions that dates back “about 15 years” to 1993. That’s not quite right, Bailey clarified: “It started in the early ’80s, at least 10 years before.”

Main Core may be the contemporary incarnation of a government watch list system that was part of a highly classified “Continuity of Government” program created by the Reagan administration to keep the U.S. government functioning in the event of a nuclear attack. Under a 1982 presidential directive, the outbreak of war could trigger the proclamation of martial law nationwide, giving the military the authority to use its domestic database to round up citizens and residents considered to be threats to national security. The emergency measures for domestic security were to be carried out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army.

In the late 1980s, reports about a domestic database linked to FEMA and the Continuity of Government program began to appear in the press. For example, in 1986 the Austin American-Statesman uncovered evidence of a large database that authorities were proposing to use to intern Latino dissidents and refugees during a national emergency that might follow a potential U.S. invasion of Nicaragua. During the Iran-Contra congressional hearings in 1987, questions to Reagan aide Oliver North about the database were ruled out of order by the committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye, because of the “highly sensitive and classified” nature of FEMA’s domestic security operations.

In September 2001, according to “The Rise of the Vulcans,” a 2004 book on Bush’s war cabinet by James Mann, a contemporary version of the Continuity of Government program was put into play in the hours after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when Vice President Cheney and senior members of Congress were dispersed to “undisclosed locations” to maintain government functions. It was during this emergency period, Hamilton and other former government officials believe, that President Bush may have authorized the NSA to begin actively using the Main Core database for domestic surveillance. One indicator they cite is a statement by Bush in December 2005, after the New York Times had revealed the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping, in which he made a rare reference to the emergency program: The Justice Department’s legal reviews of the NSA activity, Bush said, were based on “fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government.”

It is noteworthy that two key players on Bush’s national security team, Cheney and his chief of staff, David Addington, have been involved in the Continuity of Government program since its inception. Along with Donald Rumsfeld, Bush’s first secretary of defense, both men took part in simulated drills for the program during the 1980s and early 1990s. Addington’s role was disclosed in “The Dark Side,” a book published this month about the Bush administration’s war on terror by New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer. In the book, Mayer calls Addington “the father of the [NSA] eavesdropping program,” and reports that he was the key figure involved in the 2004 dispute between the White House and the Justice Department over the legality of the program. That would seem to make him a prime witness for a broader investigation.

Getting a full picture on Bush’s intelligence programs, however, will almost certainly require any sweeping new investigation to have a scope that would inoculate it against charges of partisanship. During one recent discussion on Capitol Hill, according to a participant, a senior aide to Speaker Pelosi was asked for Pelosi’s views on a proposal to expand the investigation to past administrations, including those of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. “The question was, how far back in time would we have to go to make this credible?” the participant in the meeting recalled.

That question was answered in the seven-page memo. “The rise of the ‘surveillance state’ driven by new technologies and the demands of counter-terrorism did not begin with this Administration,” the author wrote. Even though he acknowledged in interviews with Salon that the scope of abuse under George W. Bush would likely be an order of magnitude greater than under preceding presidents, he recommended in the memo that any new investigation follow the precedent of the Church Committee and investigate the origins of Bush’s programs, going as far back as the Reagan administration.

The proposal has emerged in a political climate reminiscent of the Watergate era. The Church Committee was formed in 1975 in the wake of media reports about illegal spying against American antiwar activists and civil rights leaders, CIA assassination squads, and other dubious activities under Nixon and his predecessors. Chaired by Sen. Frank Church of Idaho, the committee interviewed more than 800 officials and held 21 public hearings. As a result of its work, Congress in 1978 passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which required warrants and court supervision for domestic wiretaps, and created intelligence oversight committees in the House and Senate.

So far, no lawmaker has openly endorsed a proposal for a new Church Committee-style investigation. A spokesman for Pelosi declined to say whether Pelosi herself would be in favor of a broader probe into U.S. intelligence. On the Senate side, the most logical supporters for a broader probe would be Democratic senators such as Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who led the failed fight against the recent Bush-backed changes to FISA. (Both Feingold and Leahy’s offices declined to comment on a broader intelligence inquiry.)

The Democrats’ reticence on such action ultimately may be rooted in congressional complicity with the Bush administration’s intelligence policies. Many of the war on terror programs, including the NSA’s warrantless surveillance and the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” were cleared with key congressional Democrats, including Pelosi, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Rockefeller, and former House Intelligence chairwoman Jane Harman, among others.

The discussions about a broad investigation were jump-started among civil liberties advocates this spring, when it became clear that the Democrats didn’t have the votes to oppose the Bush-backed bill updating FISA. The new legislation could prevent the full story of the NSA surveillance programs from ever being uncovered; it included retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that may have violated FISA by collaborating with the NSA on warrantless wiretapping. Opponents of Bush’s policies were further angered when Democratic leaders stripped from their competing FISA bill a provision that would have established a national commission to investigate post-9/11 surveillance programs.

The next president obviously would play a key role in any decision to investigate intelligence abuses. Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate, is running as a champion of Bush’s national security policies and would be unlikely to embrace an investigation that would, foremost, embarrass his own party. (Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s spokesman on national security, declined to comment.)

Some see a brighter prospect in Barack Obama, should he be elected. The plus with Obama, says the former Church Committee staffer, is that as a proponent of open government, he could order the executive branch to be more cooperative with Congress, rolling back the obsessive secrecy and stonewalling of the Bush White House. That could open the door to greater congressional scrutiny and oversight of the intelligence community, since the legislative branch lacked any real teeth under Bush. (Obama’s spokesman on national security, Ben Rhodes, did not reply to telephone calls and e-mails seeking comment.)

But even that may be a lofty hope. “It may be the last thing a new president would want to do,” said a participant in the ongoing discussions. Unfortunately, he said, “some people see the Church Committee ideas as a substitute for prosecutions that should already have happened.”

 

 

 

— By Tim Shorrock