Do You Actually Own Anything: Or Does The U.S.Federal Government Own It/You?

(This article is courtesy of OPB TV and Radio of eastern Oregon)

News | Nation | Local | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

‘This Land Is Our Land’: The Movement Bigger Than The Bundys

The Pacific Patriots Network surrounded the Harney County Courthouse in January, where they met with Sheriff Dave Ward.

The Pacific Patriots Network surrounded the Harney County Courthouse in January, where they met with Sheriff Dave Ward.

Dave Blanchard/OPB

OPB’s Conrad Wilson and the Oregonian/OregonLive’s Maxine Bernstein update us on the last full week of the government’s case against the Malheur refuge occupiers.

Then, we take a look at the so-called Patriot Movement — a loosely connected network of organizations that are united in the belief the federal government has overstepped its authority.

Mark Potok is a senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center. His job is to monitor groups that are a part of what he calls the “extreme right.” That includes everything from racist groups like the KKK and to groups like the Bundys, whose concerns revolve around severe distrust of the federal government.

Potok says many people in the groups he tracks believe there is “a secret plan to impose draconian gun control on all Americans” and “those who resist the coming seizure will be thrown into concentration camps that have been secretly built by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

SPLC has identified nearly 1,000 groups across the country with these kinds of beliefs and connects the groups to the philosophies that motivated the Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho; the Waco, Texas, siege; and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Potok says there is a way to curb the movement.

“In the late ‘90s, the FBI made quite an effort … to meet with militiamen, to go out to have coffee to talk to these people about their concerns and fears, and in fact I think there’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest that was quite effective,” Potok said. “You realize the person you’re having coffee with is an actual human being just like you are.”uge

 

Joseph Rice is the head of the Josephine County chapter of the Oath Keepers — a group that Potok sees as central to so-called patriot groups. But Rice thinks SPLC is uninformed about his group.

“I’ve never spoken to those folks,” he said.

Rice was in Harney County when Ammon Bundy led a group to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but Rice and his group didn’t join the occupation. Instead, he and a group of like-minded organizations known as the “Pacific Patriots Network” stuck around to provide security in town. The group said it was there to prevent another Waco or Ruby Ridge-like incident.

Those incidents, he says, were “lessons in history.” The individuals involved in those incidents “were living their life as they chose to live freely, without impact to others. It was only when the federal government came in they had impact, and that resulted in loss of life.”

Though he didn’t endorse it, Rice insists that the takeover of the refuge was an act of civil disobedience. And while he disagrees with the charges against Ammon Bundy and the other defendants, he does think the incident has drawn attention to issues around the federal control of land, which could be good for the aims of his group.

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Jordan Constitution Concerning Tribal Justice System

(This article is courtesy of the Jordan Times of Amman)

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

By JT – Sep 01,2016 – Last updated at Sep 01,2016

AMMAN — The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft law amending the 2016 Crime Prevention Law, which targeted provisions governing controversial tribal customs like Jalwa (forced relocation), Diyeh (blood money) and administrative governors’ authorities related to these affairs.

The law will be sent to the next Lower House, which will convene after the September 20 elections, for endorsement as stipulated in the Constitution, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

“Jalwa”, a term first coined by tribes, entails the forced relocation of a clan if one of its members murders someone or commits other serious crimes like rape, in a bid to avoid friction between the two tribes, both of the victim’s and the murderer’s, if they were living in the same area.

Interior Minister Salameh Hammad has recently held several meetings with tribal and religious leaders, along with jurists, from across the Kingdom.

The figures reached an understanding that regulates tribal customs and norms and limits tribal cases that fall under the Crime Prevention Law to homicide, honor and cases when members of the tribes involved in the dispute do not honour pledges made on their behalf by mediators.

Under the amending law, jalwa should be limited to the murderer, his father and sons, and for a period not exceeding one year, with the possibility of renewing it if deemed necessary by the concerned administrative governor. The proposed version of the law also stipulates that jalwa should be made from one district to another within the same governorate.

The law also tasks the chief Islamic justice with deciding the value of diyeh in murder cases that end with reconciliation, and levies on those parties in tribal disputes who dishonor pledges made by mediators to pay mediators, or guarantors of the deals made, a fine of no less than JD50,000 in compensation for the damage caused to their reputation.

The administrative governor, according to the amendments, has the power to oversee all the tribal procedures included in this law, Petra added.

The amendments aim at regulating tribal customs and norms related to conflicts and cases of jalwa, atwah (a tribal agreement that functions as a temporary conciliation between conflicting parties until the civic law decides on the case) and diyeh, according to Petra.

The law is meant to avoid exaggerated practices that may cause social problems as a result of relocating families away from their places of residence, which normally results in damage to innocent families’ members, who might lose their jobs, education opportunities or businesses.

 

The 11 most eye-opening lines in James Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty,’ ranked

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

The 11 most eye-opening lines in James Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty,’ ranked

(CNN)Days before its official release, excerpts of James Comey’s memoir about his time as FBI Director under President Donald Trump have leaked. Actually, flooded.

There’s a lot of pieces of the Comey book — “A Higher Loyalty” — kicking around the media world at the moment. Some are salacious, others are stunning and some are just plain surreal.
I scanned through all of the available excerpts and plucked out the lines that are most devastating for Trump. Then I ranked them by level of damage they are likely to cause. Here they are, ranked from least to most problematic for the President of the United States.

11. “His face appeared slightly orange with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coifed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his…..As he extended his hand, I made a mental note to check its size. It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.”

This is, in a word, dumb. Or, in another word, petty. If Comey wanted to build the narrative with this book that he is truly committed to the good of the country rather than in selling books or scoring partisan points, he’d have been better served to leave this stuff out. Noting the size of Trump’s hands or the fact that he tans feels beneath the broader stated mission of the book: To reveal why Trump is simply not fit for the office he currently holds. Comey also mentions that Trump was shorter than he looked on TV. First off, everyone is short to the 6’8″ Comey. Second, who cares?

10. “I stared at the soft white pouches under his expressionless blue eyes. I remember thinking in that moment that the president doesn’t understand the FBI’s role in American life.”

Again, the fact that Trump has “soft white pouches” under his “expressionless blue eyes” feels more like an unnecessary jab than an essential insight. BUT, Comey’s next sentence is important — because he’s right. Trump has demonstrated time and time again that he simply doesn’t understand — or doesn’t care about — the unique role the Justice Department plays within the federal government. Yes, they work under him. But they don’t exactly work for him. He’s never seemed to get that.

9. “I had often wondered why, when given numerous opportunities to condemn the Russian government’s invasions of its neighbors and repression — even murder — of its own citizens, Trump refused to just state the plain facts…Maybe it was a contrarian streak or maybe it was something more complicated that explained his constant equivocation and apologies for Vladimir Putin.”

There’s no question that prior to the last week or so, Trump has been largely unwilling to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country as a whole. (The Syrian chemical attack and Russia’s continued support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to have changed how Trump thinks about Putin.)
But, we already knew that. And everything else in this excerpt is pure speculation. “Maybe it was something more complicated” isn’t exactly hard and fast evidence.

8. “Another reason you know this isn’t true: I’m a germaphobe. There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me, no way.”

This one is more salacious than anything else. But, that Trump feels the need to convince Comey that he never watched two prostitutes pee on one another is, um, something else.

7. “He brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ . . . adding that it bothered him if there was ‘even a 1 percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true….In what kind of marriage, to what kind of man, does a spouse conclude there is only a 99 percent chance her husband didn’t do that?”

Don’t be too quick to dismiss this as simply salacious. Yes, there is that. But it is absolutely telling about the state of Trump’s marriage that he was asking the FBI director to prove the falsehood of the “pee tape” to his wife — almost certainly because she wouldn’t believe him.
Then there’s the fact that Trump seems to believe that proving the tape doesn’t exist to Melania Trump is a worthy use of the FBI’s time. Which is, um, something.

6. “It is also wrong to stand idly by, or worse, to stay silent when you know better, while a president brazenly seeks to undermine public confidence in law enforcement institutions that were established to keep our leaders in check.”

Comey here is echoing people like Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake who have castigated their fellow Republicans for refusing to condemn Trump when he attacks the Justice Department or the Intelligence Community. The argument is that silence is essentially assent. Only by saying, “No, what Trump is doing is wrong and should stop immediately” can Republicans hope to have a party in the post-Trump era.
Amid Trump’s ramped-up rhetoric on deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and special counsel Robert Mueller, it will be interesting to see what Republican reaction will be if the president decides to fire either (or both) of those men. Will Republicans speak out?

5. “Asking — rhetorically, I assumed — whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes. He then began discussing cases where women had accused him of sexual assault, a subject I had not raised. He mentioned a number of women, and seemed to have memorized their allegations.”

Two things are at work here — one not terribly problematic for Trump, the other potential more so. The first is that he demonstrates he has a massive ego and believes that he is so appealing to women that any story about him frequenting prostitutes simply can’t be believed.
The second is that he is intimately familiar with the details of the bevy of accusations made against him by a number of women during the 2016 campaign. That level of interest/obsession belies the public face of dismissal and unconcern Trump and his people have presented when confronted with the allegations.

4. “Now it was pretty clear to me what was happening. The setup of the dinner, both the physical layout of a private meal and Trump’s pretense that he had not already asked me to stay on multiple occasions, convinced me this was an effort to establish a patronage relationship.”

This is very important. What Comey is alleging here is that Trump, from the start, saw his relationship with Comey as entirely transactional. I’ll let you stay in your job as FBI director but I want something for it. That something, as we now now, was a loyalty pledge that Comey refused to give.
Trump’s approach to every encounter appears to be similar to what Comey describes here. Let’s make a deal where you get something but, far more importantly, I get something.

3. “[Kelly] said he was sick about my firing and that he intended to quit in protest. He said he didn’t want to work for dishonorable people who would treat someone like me in such a manner. I urged Kelly not to do that, arguing that the country needed principled people around this president. Especially this president.”

This anecdote is going to make chief of staff John Kelly’s life even harder than it already is. Rumors of him clashing with Trump and/or being on the way out are everywhere. Now, he’ll have to face a barrage of questions over whether Comey’s recounting of the moments right after Trump fired him are accurate. And if Kelly says they are, how can he stay in his job? If he says Comey got it wrong, will Trump even believe him?

2. “The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”

In this excerpt, Comey is comparing Trump to a mob boss. Which is a tough comparison to make when you are dealing with the President of the United States. But, Comey is right in the main when it comes to how Trump sees himself and how he leads his team. Trump must always be the strongest and toughest one in any room. He expects total loyalty from those who work for him — and works to rid his inner circle of those he believes have shown even a speck of disloyalty to him. He doesn’t tell the truth about things that are easily and provably false — largest inauguration crowd ever, millions of illegal votes cast — and then dares those around him to question him.
I don’t know any mob bosses personally but there’s not question that Comey nails Trump here.

1. “This President is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”

These two sentences are the most damaging thing to Trump so far in the Comey excerpts because they speak to a number of demonstrated truths. We know that Trump said more than 2,000 things in his first year in office that were either partially or entirely untrue. We know he looks at every situation as a chance to extract something for himself. That he is immensely self focused to the point of a blindness as to how his actions might be perceived by people who aren’t him. We know that he either misunderstands or chooses to ignore traditional norms for how a president acts, what he says and how he treats those who work for him.

‘Teflon don, Trump’ About To Go Down In The Flames Of Impeachment?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

(Is The ‘Teflon don, Trump’ About To Go Down In The Flames Of Impeachment?)

Right Turn

Trump melts down after Cohen raid — and only hurts himself

  
 April 10 at 9:00 AM 
 2:01
Trump fumes ‘attorney-client privilege is dead’ after FBI raid

President Trump tweeted his outrage at an FBI raid of his personal attorney Michael Cohen’s home and offices, calling it a “witch hunt.”

In an extraordinary series of events, the FBI executed a no-knock raid on President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen’s office, home and hotel. The president, seated alongside his top military and civilian national security advisers to discuss a response to the Syrians’ use of chemical weapons, launched into a rant in which he did not rule out firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, accused law enforcement of bias, whined that Hillary Clinton was not being prosecuted, suggested Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein had behaved improperly in signing off on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, railed again at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself (and thereby allowing the investigation proceed) and deemed execution of a warrant signed off on by a federal judge and approved by a U.S. attorney and deputy attorney general, both of whom he appointed, to be an “attack” on the country.
Let’s start with the raid. The Post reports:

Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney of President Trump, is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, according to three people with knowledge of the case.
FBI agents on Monday raided Cohen’s Manhattan office, home and hotel room as part of the investigation, seizing records about Cohen’s clients and personal finances. Among the records taken were those related to a 2016 payment Cohen made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, according to another person familiar with the investigation.
Investigators took Cohen’s computer, phone and personal financial records, including tax returns, as part of the search of his office at Rockefeller Center, the second person said.
In a dramatic and broad seizure, federal prosecutors collected communications between Cohen and his clients — including those between the lawyer and Trump, according to both people.

Let us not understate how extraordinary a development this is. The standard of proof required to raid any attorney’s office is exceptionally high. To authorize a raid on the president’s lawyer’s office, a federal judge or magistrate must have seen highly credible evidence of serious crimes and/or evidence Cohen was hiding or destroying evidence, according to legal experts. “The FBI raid was the result of an ongoing criminal investigation *not* by Mueller but by the interim US Attorney personally interviewed and selected by Trump himself, pursuant to a warrant issued under strict standards by a federal judge, subject to approval by the head of the Criminal Division,” said constitutional scholar Larry Tribe. He warns that “firing Sessions or Rosenstein (or reining in Mueller) would trigger a crisis for the Constitution and our national security but wouldn’t even extricate Trump from criminal investigation of his innermost circle.” In short, Tribe concludes, “This is every bit as shattering as many have surmised.”

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What we don’t know is whether the suspected wrongdoing extends to Trump or is solely attributable to Cohen. (By referring the matter to the New York prosecutor, Mueller may have signaled this is not germane to the Russia investigation; however, any possible crimes concerning Stormy Daniels, for example, may or may not implicate Trump.) Whatever the FBI sweeps up may very well further enmesh Trump in an investigation in which what seemed like a series of separate topics — Trump’s personal finances, potential obstruction of justice, possible Russian collusion and hush money paid to a porn star — have begun to bleed into one another. Trump is as vulnerable as he has always been, in part because he plainly does not know what federal prosecutors now have in their possession and because intense pressure may be brought to bear on Cohen to “flip” on Trump.
Trump cannot take much comfort in the attorney-client privilege. For one thing, it applies to legal communications; if Cohen is acting as a businessman/”fixer,” no privilege may attach. Moreover, the attorney-client privilege cannot apply to communications that are part of a crime (e.g., a conspiracy to obstruct justice). Trump once said investigating his finances were a “red line” for Mueller; the latest move in raiding Cohen transgresses any limitation Trump could possibly have dreamed up. His reaction reflects his fury in not being able to fend off Mueller.
Trump’s response was disturbing on multiple levels.
First, Trump in essence declared war on the rule of law. “It’s, frankly, a real disgrace. It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for,” said the president, who now equates the operation of the criminal-justice system under the rule of law to be an attack on the country. He is the country in his eyes. Those who challenge him are enemies of the country. There is no better formulation of his authoritarian, anti-democratic mindset than this.

 3:03
Opinion | Trump can fire Mueller, but that won’t get rid of the Russia investigation

Opinion | If President Trump fires the bane of his legal troubles, he could spark a legal and constitutional crisis.

Second, his tirade against Sessions should rekindle concerns that he is contemplating firing him and putting in a flunky to protect himself. “The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this, and when he recused himself,” Trump said. “Or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself, and we would have used a — put a different attorney general in. So he made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country.” That, too, is a picture-perfect distillation of his warped view of the presidency. He hands Mueller another admission that he thinks the DOJ should protect him from, instead of conducting investigations into criminal and counterintelligence matters.
Third, Trump’s attempts to discredit Mueller’s team and the FBI should highlight the necessity of Congress protecting the special counsel. (“This is the most biased group of people. These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen.”) When he says the investigation is a “witch hunt,” he may be plowing the way to fire Mueller and/or Rosenstein or refuse to cooperate with an interview. In either event, we would face a constitutional crisis.
Fourth, Trump’s insistence that his campaign has been exonerated from “collusion” (“So they find no collusion, and then they go from there and they say, ‘Well, let’s keep going.’”) is baseless. More than 70 different contacts between Trump team and Russian-related figures have been found. Multiple indictments and plea deals have been struck. The investigation continues. His false certainty that there is no evidence of collusion can now be seen as the motive for his attempts to discredit and derail the investigation, to obstruct justice, in other words.
Finally, Trump’s rambling, unhinged reaction — after his attorneys no doubt counseled him to keep quiet — should shake his supporters. The pressure of the investigation and vulnerability to prosecution and/or impeachment are not going to vanish. His family and his fix-it lawyer won’t stop Mueller. His TV friends cannot keep the FBI at bay. He lashes out like a cornered animal. The angrier and more panicked Trump becomes, the greater chance he will behave in extreme and destructive ways.
“The president cannot help himself,” former White House ethics counsel Norman Eisen told me. “Instead of doing his job as our chief federal law enforcement official and allowing the rule of law to operate unimpeded, he lashes out when he feels personally threatened.” He adds, “The president’s words were more befitting a mob don when the feds are closing in. Given Michael Cohen’s role in Trump’s past, perhaps they are. The American people will not stand for any Trump attempt to match his hostile words with aggressive action against Mueller, Sessions, Rosenstein or other DOJ officials. If he does, it will be the beginning of the end for his presidency.”
Now would be a good time for Republicans to find their spines, remember their oaths and act to insulate Mueller and Rosenstein from Trump. A simple declaration that firing either would be an impeachable offense would, frankly, be a help to Trump. He could use some outside restraint.

Is Islam More Racist And Un-inclusive Than The KKK Or The Nazi’s?

Is Islam More Racist And Un-inclusive Than The KKK Or The Nazi’s?

 (First Published On January 2nd Of 2016)

When Donald Trump spoke about not allowing Muslims into the United States a month or so ago as Dr. Ben Carson did, I knew that as those words came out of their mouths that it would be used eventually by Islamist terror groups. Too not believe so would be very naive, as it would be to think that democrats like Ms. Hillary would not ridicule them for those ‘anti-Arab’ statements. Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson did speak things that are truthful about our country needing to shut down our borders until our government can come up with a solid workable safe plan regarding Islamic believing people being allowed into our country. But, I knew that what they were saying, especially Mr. Trumps statements were unconstitutional subject actions and that the only way for those things to happen is through changing the Constitution. But now comes the question, if there become monthly if not weekly or daily Islamic terrorist attacks here on American soil, will we the people demand that the Constitution be amended to outlaw Islam on American soil then? Should we wait, will we wait until then? Do we as a democracy have a choice either way? Tough question, tough answer either way. People need to get truly informed on this issue because this issue is not going to magically just go away.

 

Most folks who are born and raised in America know there is a group of people called the KKK that has a very narrow inclusion policy. Before people say that they are or are not for allowing Islam to be allowed in their country each person needs to understand the fundamentals that create a religions very core, it’s basement teachings and beliefs do need to be understood. Should the people of Germany have forbidden Austrians like Adolf Hitler from being allowed to either enter Germany or, once they found him preaching hate should they have been allowed to just thrown him and his followers out? Am I saying that Islam is as bad as the ‘Klan’ or the Nazi? Folks, democracy and Islam will not stand together if those whom believe in the fundamentalist teachings of Islam within that Nation have any say so in that matter. Is your personal religion based on a concept that if you are not exactly like me then the only thing you are good for is to be put to death, or enslaved? If you found out that this is what a group within your midst believed and practiced would you welcome them in as neighbors? If they were now your neighbors, would you insist they move away? Do we, should we, have the ‘right ‘to do so? This is a slippery slope folks, what would be next, expelling all gay folks? How about those mixed race people? Then of course all them Yankees! O, let us not forget all those hate-mongering Christians. You see folks; you always need to be careful what you pray for unless your Asp is turned back on you. We do not have to believe anything that any religion or belief system teaches for someone who does believe in it to kill you and everyone you have ever cared about, you will still be just as dead. A word of wisdom, an uninformed prey is much more likely to be prey!

 

 

If Saudi Arabia Is Honest About Reform They Must Free Raif Badawi!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Ensaf Haidar, wife of the jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, shows a portrait of her husband as he is awarded with the Sakharov Prize, on Dec. 16, 2015 in Strasbourg, France.
Ensaf Haidar, wife of the jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, shows a portrait of her husband as he is awarded with the Sakharov Prize, on Dec. 16, 2015 in Strasbourg, France.
Christian Lutz—AP/REX/Shutterstock
IDEAS
Silver is a member of Raif Badawi’s international legal team; Abitbol is cofounder of the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom.

“We want to lead normal lives, lives where our religion and our traditions translate into tolerance.”

“For me, liberalism simply means, live and let live. This is a splendid slogan.”

Who could have imagined that these equally conciliatory concepts would result in such conflicting consequences?

Yet in Saudi Arabia, the advocate of one is heralded as a reformer, while the other is harassed for being a radical.

Indeed, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman said the former; imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the latter.

Born one year apart, these millennials have given expression to the vision and values of a younger generation, one that is empowered by the digital age, implicated in a globalizing world and impervious to the religious orthodoxy of some clerical elite.

However, while the Crown Prince travels the world touting a transformed Kingdom, Badawi has languished in a Saudi prison for almost six years now, for professing his vision for remaking the region.

Using a blog to exercise his right to freedom of expression, Badawi unmasked a culture of corruption and criminality, as well as the impunity that underpinned them; he challenged religious intolerance and extremism, and sparked a discussion on modernization. In short, Badawi paved the way for today’s discourse and developments in Saudi Arabia concerning what the Crown Prince himself has called a “moderate Islam” and combating the “cancer of corruption.”

But will these commendable principles and policies have permanence, or were they simply a prelude to the Crown Prince’s Western ties–building tour and PR campaign? The litmus test for legitimacy is the freeing of Raif Badawi — the champion of these changes.

Indeed, releasing Raif would be in the kingdom’s own self-interest.

As the Crown Prince looks to raise foreign direct investment to 5.7% of GDP, he is seeking to “create an environment attractive to… foreign investors, and earn their confidence in the resilience and potential of [the Saudi] national economy.” Building this investor confidence will require increasing trust in Saudi legal norms, including those of constitutions and contracts — a crucial assurance for investors against arbitrary treatment.

Yet the treatment of Raif Badawi is in standing violation of domestic Saudi law and further obligations that Saudi Arabia has assumed under international law. The Court that convicted Badawi lacked jurisdiction. The witnesses in his case were inadmissible. He was denied his right to counsel — his lawyer and brother-in-law Waleed Abu Al-Khair was himself imprisoned — and he was not informed of the charges against him, nor given the necessary time and means to prepare his defense. His sentence of lashings was itself illegal — as physical torture is prohibited under the Arab Charter on Human Rightsratified by Saudi Arabia in 2009, and the U.N.’s Convention Against Torture, which the nation ratified in 1997. The criminalization of Badawi was ultimately the criminalization of the protected rights he sought to exercise and of freedom itself.

In the face of these standing violations of their own sacred laws and treaty agreements, why should investors trust that Saudi Arabia would respect their business commitments? Investors could just as easily be treated with the same arbitrariness. However, it is not too late for Saudi Arabia to make an important statement to the international investor community about rule of law and remedy these standing violations by releasing Badawi and his lawyer.

To release Badawi would also be a stroke of geostrategic genius.

Faced with the regional resurgence of violence emanating from the Iranian Regime — such as the recent firing of rockets at Riyadh by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen — the Saudi Crown Prince has been encouraging the international community to increase economic and political pressure against Iran. Similarly, the Crown Prince spearheaded a regional move to sever ties with Qatar to protect “national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.” The collective action aimed to pressure Qatar to end its support for terror groups, including elements of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

But when the Saudi ambassador to Canada tried to host a major press conference on Qatar with his Egyptian and Emirati counterparts in July 2017, his message was lost. Journalists asked about Badawi at the Conference — and the ambassadors were forced to abandon their advocacy on Qatar to defend the unjust imprisonment.

Indeed, Raif Badawi may be the most celebrated prisoner of conscience in the world today. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, he is a recipient of scores of prestigious human rights awards and honorifics, including the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament, the PEN Pinter Prize and the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Prize. Foreign Policy named him as one of 2015’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers, and he received the Courage Award from a coalition of 20 human rights groups from around the world at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. His case and cause have been championed by a broad and inclusive cross-section of leaders from both civil service and civil society.

Rather than distract from Saudi efforts, releasing Badawi would help advance their campaign. Indeed, Badawi would be an articulate ally and spokesperson for shining a spotlight on Iran and Qatar, which are among the most regressive and repressive regimes in the world — and as a human rights activist Badawi has been a forceful critic of each. Living in liberty, Badawi — with his established and influential global network — can play a transformative role in growing a grassroots campaign and cultivating a collective coalition against the state-sanctioning and support of extremism of the Regimes in Iran and Qatar.

With such a critical mass of reasons to release Raif, any claims to the contrary are certainly surmountable.

The slippery slope argument — that the Saudi state would face an emboldened movement to release other prisoners, some of whom may pose a risk to national security — is mitigated by the exceptional nature of Badawi — an international icon, whose views now largely parallel those of the new Saudi leadership. His release would have a positive worldwide resonance, and attest to the genuine authenticity of reforms to this global audience.

Ultimately, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has full authority to grant clemency. When he releases the list of pardons in advance of Ramadan next month, the Crown Prince should take the opportunity to propel his agenda forward — both within Saudi Arabia and across the globe — by freeing Raif Badawi, and allowing him to join in Canada his wife Ensaf, and children Najwa, Terad and Miriyam.

Are Donald Trump’s Muslim Ideas Correct; Nuts; Or Even Constitutional

Are Donald Trump’s Muslim Ideas Correct; Nuts; Or Even Constitutional

 

Even if America went exactly against what our Constitution allows and we excommunicate all people who believe in the Islamic faith from our shores unless the whole non-Islamic world follows suit it would be only America who gets ‘Black-balled’ in the eyes of the world. If we are going to break our Constitution, if we are going to break one of the moral codes our society was built upon, then the Government better have one heck of a good reason, or is there such a thing in your eyes? Is the exile of all Islamic believing people back to their country of origin a good idea? What if every single Islamic person on earth were located only in Arabic/Persian/Islamic countries, would this be a good idea? Now of course we would be needed to be banned from going into ‘their countries’, only humanitarian type products, no weapons! There is one question that I would like you Christians and you Jewish folks to think about as we Americans sweep the bare fields where Mosques once stood, who is next? What if the next ‘enemy of the state’ is it Christians? You know them Christians, always causing trouble. Do you remember the Indian folks of the late 1800’s here in America? Beat them down, round them up, disarm them, kill them, does that sound at all familiar? I’m just saying, crack the egg and the guts could fall out.

 

In my lifetime (over 60 yrs now) I have never seen news-headlines like what are bouncing off of the wires here in America lately. Some of the Republican Presidential candidates are making comments and statements that are far more brass than what the D.C., NYC, Hollywood commentators can seem to wrap their far right liberal education and training around. Just like the two parties leaderships don’t seem to get it, the ‘it’ being that the American people are totally fed up with business as usual when the whole nation and all American’s way of life is changing daily and those changes are for the worse. It is the politicians and the media that are clueless to the real world that all the rest of us are living in. Does Donald Trump lead America and most of the rest of the world into a world with bombings here on the homeland a couple of times a week, or do we break the Constitution and force all Islamic believing people to go back to their countries of origin? That is a hard policy, is it correct, nuts, or un-Constitutional?

 

Make no mistake about the issue of why the whole world must do this horrible thing (a point of view) of making one specific religion to clear off all American land. For those of you whom do not know these few facts I will give you a crash course on a basic fundamental that is at the heart of Islams teachings. The Quran is the Islamic Holy Book of the sayings of their Prophet Muhammad but their Holy Book called Hadith is the Book of the Actions of The Prophet. Make no mistake, Muhammad was a military general, the actions of the Prophet should make any human sick. Not only did he do horrible things to thousands of people, he laid out a very intelligent battle plan for all the followers of Allah to follow, until there are no more infidels/non-believers on the Earth. Folks, if a person is brought up in this pure evil all that person knows is this burning hate, that is if they are truly devout to Allah’s will. Folks it is not (radical Islam) it is (fundamental Islam). Folks there is nothing radical about these people who murdered 14 in southern California two years ago. When you are getting to the roots of the religion you believe in and this religion says to do these Demonic acts it is at this point that all people who were brought up in the religion should see their error and convert to a God of love. But in the real world we all know that even under the best of situations six-billion people would have to annex one-billion people to their own ‘private island’. The logistics, the morality, the un-realistic, even impossible scope of such an event on world populations.

 

General Muhammad’s war plan for the whole world was and is quite simple. They are supposed to migrate into a country, bide your time, grow your communities throughout the host country and wait. Wait for your fellow soldiers of Allah to attack the country from the outside as then the plants are supposed to start and up-rising from the inside. Folks this pattern has been followed throughout north-Africa, the Persian Gulf and Europe for about 1,400 years now, folks they are very good at what they do. ISIS has helped show the strength of the fundamental movements in the ‘Arab World’. They along with many other hate groups are insisting on strict Sharia law be enforced everywhere on earth. I don’t know what to do about these horrible issues but the world is being forced to change because if the world that we all know and love doesn’t fight back hard on these huge issues, we wont have a country to walk on or breath in.

 

For those of you who are blind to these events can you not see the path of these Sunni groups like ISIS and Hamas taking total control of your town, of you, and every member of your family, forever! We must not forget the biggest minority within Islam are the Shiite folks. Yet by the articles I scan each day that the Shiite community make up about 20% of Islamic believers, the Sunni about the other 80%. Right now there are Shiite groups who are trying to stay more quiet than normal, could it be it is because ‘the West and Russia’ are bombing the Shiites enemy. Folks there are also many hate groups within the Shiite believers who want the exact same thing that the Sunni groups like ISIS want, total control, total power. I have heard this saying three times, once each from a young Palestinian, Pakistan man and a Saudi man ‘that the only thing lower than a dog is a Christian and the only thing lower than a Christian is a Jew’. The reason there will never be peace between the Jewish State of Israel and its Islamic neighbors is that so many of this religions (Islam) believers will never ever except a Jewish or a Christian State in ‘the Holy Land’. The rest of the world is now starting to taste a tiny taste of what the people of Israel have had to endure for most of their 70 year existence. A sleeping dragon has awakened in our world, now the question is who wins this battle? The Jewish people learned a long time ago that if you refuse to fight on the Sabbath, then you will die on the Sabbath. Just because you lay down your arms for a day or for a lifetime, if the ones who hate you are still shooting at you, you are going to have a very short lifetime. Just because Donald Trump comes off a bit befuddled about facts sometimes it doesn’t mean that he is wrong about everything all of the time, just most things, most of the time.

Gun Rights Were Designed To Protect The People From Their Government

Gun Rights Were Designed To Protect The People From Their Government

 

The Europe that our fore fathers left back in the 15, 16 and 17 hundreds was a landscape of tyranny put upon the people of the lands by their governments. Back in those days the people were not allowed to have any fire arms. Only the Royals, Feudal Lords and the Armies were allowed to have any fire power, not the people. So, anytime you had a mad man or woman who was your Landlord or the current Prince, Duke, King or Queen (evil women do exist you know) the people had no way to fight back against their aggression. When the State has all of the power that means that the people have none. If you lived in a country like England, France or Spain and you have a (Lord) who wished to take your land, your daughters, your sons, there was nothing you could do. You have probably heard the term bringing a knife to a gun fight, that is about how much chance the people had when those with power over them decided to rape, murder or steal from them.  Then there is the issue of cases like Ruby Ridge Idaho in 1992 when federal agents from among other “policing agencies” like the FBI who murdered a 12-year-old boy by shooting him in the back and his unarmed mother in the face killing her. If the family had not had fire arms, they would have all been murdered, and yes that does mean all the children also.

 

Federal agents were ordered there with the order given to “if it is breathing, kill it”. This is the way to make sure that there is no other side of a story getting told, simply kill everyone. The man who was at the center of this was supposed to be a white supremacist who had contacts within a like-minded group of people. This man was told to sell an illegally altered shotgun to this group, this would then give the government the “reason” to raid this group of people. The man in question said no, the government’s response was a directive to the FBI man in charge to “if it breathes, kill it”. These illegal acts upon American citizens was directed under a Republican administration (George H.W. Bush). Just a year later in Waco TX under a Democratic administration (Bill Clinton) there was another case of the American “policing agencies” gone insane. There the American government murdered over a hundred men, women, and children. After these two horrible events nothing happened to the ones who gave the orders to murder these innocent people or to the ones who murdered them. With both of these cases the very top, and I do mean the very top of the government agencies should have been prosecuted for mass murder, possibly even to the point of both presidential administrations (both Presidents) being removed from office, nothing happened to any of them. Just how much do you personally trust that all levels of the governments around you are honest?

 

Our fore fathers had enough sense to know that the only way to have freedom was if the people had a way to protect themselves from internal and external aggression. No matter how much fire power a government has the human leaders of the government know that they themselves can be brought down by a single little gray pill. If those in power know that the people have no power to remove them from office as it would be if say only two political parties were allowed to share all the power between themselves and the people had no munitions to end their reigns of terror the people become nothing but slaves and cannon fodder to those in power. There are many reasons to keep fire arms in your home and one of those is self-protection from intruders who wish you and/or your family harm. No, this does not necessarily mean that all government employees are out to kill and steal from you but it is a means to try to keep you and your loved ones alive if crooked politicians or police departments do decide it is your day to die.

 

Guns are also a means to put food on your families table and or to rid your personal property of animals that you don’t want on your property. Just a few years back a rancher in Montana shot and killed a charging grizzly bear on his own property the result was that the feds fined him $2,000 for doing that. I guess the alternative would have been for the rancher to have stuck his head between his legs and kissed his behind goodbye. You or I as humans are not ever going to out run one so I guess that rancher should have volunteered to be bear poop. You know that is what the politicians would have done if it had been themselves out in that field with that bear, right? There are many predators in this old world, some on two legs, some on four.

 

There is also another reason that We The People were to be armed citizens, it is called invasions from nations or factions of people, lets say a religious culture who want to enslave or wipe out a town, city or even the whole country. If our government is really our government then they have nothing to fear from the citizens as the citizens will use their weapons to help back up and support our troops and law enforcement departments. Think about this for a moment, if you are going to raid a home, town or country it is much safer for you the aggressor if none of the above have any firearms. The nation becomes much easier to conquer if the population can’t fight back against the aggressor. I as a veteran took an oath to protect my country and my family from all threats, both foreign and domestic. Do you notice that it is the government that keeps trying to take away our ability to protect ourselves, why do you think that is?

China: Constitutional amendment adopted by NPC

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS PAPER THE ‘SHINE’)

(THE END OF ANY FREEDOM OF ANY KIND FOR THE PEOPLE OF CHINA THANKS TO XI?)

Constitutional amendment adopted by NPC

Xinhua

2018 Two Sessions

Xinhua

A deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress casts her ballot on a draft amendment to the Constitution at the third plenary meeting of the first session of the 13th NPC in Beijing yesterday.

China’s National People’s Congress, the national legislature, enshrined Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in the country’s Constitution yesterday, codifying its guiding role.

The amendment, adopted at the first session of the 13th NPC with an overwhelming majority, wrote Xi’s thought into the Constitution’s preamble, along with other guiding theories including Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, and the Theory of Three Represents.

Scientific Outlook on Development has also been incorporated into the Constitution as a guiding theory.

“As an important content of the amendment, the inclusion of Xi’s thought into the country’s fundamental law reflects the common aspiration of the entire Communist Party of China and all Chinese people of various ethnic groups,” said Shen Chunyao, chairman of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the 12th NPC Standing Committee.

“It has been the fundamental theoretical guide for the historic achievements and shifts made in the cause of the Party and the country since the 18th CPC National Congress,” Shen said at a press conference held after the amendment was adopted.

The CPC announced the formation of Xi’s thought for the first time at its 19th National Congress in October, hailing it as “the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and an important component of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Upon conclusion of the congress, Xi’s thought was written into the Party’s Constitution as a new guide to action.

This was the first amendment to the country’s fundamental law in 14 years.

Key concepts, policies and strategies the Thought encompasses were embedded in the Constitution.

Included are a vision of innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all; the five-sphere integrated plan for coordinated economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement; the goal of a “great modern socialist country;” and an oath of allegiance to the Constitution.

The amendment has enriched clauses on the patriotic united front, harmonious relations among ethnic groups, and peaceful foreign policies, including the addition of building a community with a shared future for humanity.

The expression that China will “adhere to the peaceful development path and the mutually beneficial strategy of opening-up” was added to the preamble.

The following sentence was also added in the Constitution to stress the overall CPC leadership: “The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

“The greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the CPC,” said Cao Qingyao, an NPC deputy and a district Party chief of southwest China’s Chongqing.

“The revision has enriched provisions concerning upholding and strengthening the overall CPC leadership and is significant to ensuring the Party and the country to forge ahead along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Cao noted.

Other revisions include adding core socialist values and granting Chinese cities, with subordinate districts, the power to make local laws and regulations.

The people’s congresses and their standing committees in these cities will be able to adopt local laws and regulations under the condition that they do not contradict the Constitution, national laws and regulations, and provincial laws and regulations, according to the amendment.

Supervisory commissions have been listed as state organs in the Constitution, with a section about such organs added to the third chapter, “The Structure of the State.”

Supervisory organs are listed together with administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs of the state, all of which are created by the people’s congresses to which they are responsible and by which they are supervised.

The constitutional amendment included 11 entries related to supervisory commissions, said Zheng Shu’na, vice chairwoman of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the 12th NPC Standing Committee.

The amendment offers constitutional support for supervisory commissions, their duties and powers, as well as the draft supervision law to be deliberated at the session, she added.

Reform of the supervisory system aims to pool anti-corruption resources, enhance the Party’s centralized, unified leadership over the campaign against corruption and form a centralized, unified, authoritative and efficient supervisory network, she stressed.

The establishment of supervisory commissions involves major adjustments of state apparatus, Zheng said.

The NPC has the power to elect the director of the national supervisory commission while the NPC Standing Committee can appoint or remove deputy directors and members of the commission at the recommendation of its director.

Directors of supervisory commissions of all levels will serve the same term as that of the people’s congress of the same level, while the director of the national supervisory commission shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.

As the supreme supervisory organ, the national supervisory commission will oversee local commissions and supervisory commissions at higher levels will lead the commissions at lower levels.

Lawmakers at the session agreed that the constitutional revision, which accords with the aspiration of the Party and the people and has won approval from both inside and outside the Party, is of historic significance for ensuring prosperity and lasting security of both the Party and the country.

A constitutional change is either proposed by the NPC Standing Committee or by more than a fifth of all NPC deputies, and then requires the approval of two-thirds or more of NPC deputies during the annual session.

The People’s Republic of China enacted its first Constitution in 1954. The current Constitution was adopted in 1982 and amended in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004.

From 1988 to 1999, amendments included reform of land-use rights, a legal status for the private economy, the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, replacing the phrase “planned economy” with “socialist market economy,” and incorporation of Deng Xiaoping Theory.

The most recent amendment in 2004 protected private property and human rights, and gave the Theory of Three Represents constitutional authority.

China’s Constitution has been developed along with the people’s practices of building socialism with Chinese characteristics under the CPC leadership, according to Li Shuzhong, vice president of the China University of Political Science and Law.

“The amendment makes the Constitution in keeping with the times by incorporating new achievements, experiences and requirements of the Party and the country’s development as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era,” Li said.

South Africa votes to confiscate white-owned land without compensation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWS FROM THE AFRICAN UNION)

 

‘The time for reconciliation is over’: South Africa votes to confiscate white-owned land without compensation

“THE time for reconciliation is over.” South Africa’s parliament has backed a motion to confiscate land owned by white people.

news.com.auFEBRUARY 28, 201812:11PM

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Lives of South Africans Will Reach ‘Higher Level,’ Ramaphosa Tells Parliament

SOUTH Africa’s parliament has voted in favour of a motion that will begin the process of amending the country’s Constitution to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation.

The motion was brought by Julius Malema, leader of the radical Marxist opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters, and passed overwhelmingly by 241 votes to 83 against. The only parties who did not support the motion were the Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the African Christian Democratic Party.

It was amended but supported by the ruling African National Congress and new president Cyril Ramaphosa, who made land expropriation a key pillar of his policy platform after taking over from ousted PM Jacob Zuma earlier this month.

“The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice,” Mr Malema was quoted by News24 as telling parliament. “We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land.”

According to Bloomberg, a 2017 government audit found white people owned 72 per cent of farmland in South Africa.

ANC deputy chief whip Dorries Eunice Dlakude said the party “recognises that the current policy instruments, including the willing-buyer willing-seller policy and other provisions of Section 25 of the Constitution may be hindering effective land reform”.

ANC rural affairs minister Gugile Nkwinti added, “The ANC unequivocally supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation. There is no doubt about it, land shall be expropriated without compensation.”

Thandeka Mbabama from the Democatic Alliance party, which opposed the motion, said there was a need to right the wrongs of the past but expropriation “cannot be part of the solution”. “By arguing for expropriation without compensation, the ANC has been gifted the perfect scapegoat to explain away its own failure,” she said in a statement.

“Making this argument lets the ANC off the hook on the real impediments — corruption, bad policy and chronic underfunding. Expropriation without compensation would severely undermine the national economy, only hurting poor black people even further.”

Pieter Groenewald, leader of the Freedom Front Plus party representing the white Afrikaner minority, asked what would happen to the land once it was expropriated. “If you continue on this course, I can assure you there is going to be unforeseen consequences that is not in the interest of South Africa,” he said.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFPSource:AFP

Protesters rally against deadly farm attacks. Picture: Gulshan Khan/AFP

Protesters rally against deadly farm attacks. Picture: Gulshan Khan/AFPSource:AFP

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said there was a “danger that those who think equality in our lifetime equates that we must dominate whites”, News24 reported.

Mr Malema has been leading calls for land confiscation, forcing the ANC to follow suit out of fear of losing the support of poorer black voters. In 2016, he told supporters he was “not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now”.

Civil rights groups have accused the EFF and ANC of inciting an ongoing spate of attacks on white farmers characterised by extreme brutality, rape and torture — last year, more than 70 people were killed in more than 340 such attacks.

Ernst Roets, deputy chief executive of civil rights group Afriforum, said the parliamentary motion was a violation of the 1994 agreement in which the ANC promised minority interests would be protected post-apartheid.

“This motion is based on a distorted image of the past,” Mr Roets said in a statement. “The term ‘expropriation without compensation’ is a form of semantic fraud. It is nothing more than racist theft.”

He earlier hit out at “simply deceitful” claims that “white people who own land necessarily obtained it by means of oppression, violence or forced removals”.

“The EFF’s view on redistribution is merely a racist process to chase white people off their land and establish it within the state,” he said. “This is not only deceiving, but also a duplication of the economic policies that the world’s worst economies put in place.”

Afriforum said it would take its fight to the United Nations if necessary. The matter has been referred to the parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee, which must report back by August 30.

Earlier this month, Louis Meintjes, president of the farmers’ group the Transvaal Agricultural Union, warned the country risked going down the same route as Zimbabwe, which plunged into famine after a government-sanctioned purge of white farmers in the 2000s.

“Where in the world has expropriation without compensation coupled to the waste of agricultural land, resulted in foreign confidence, economic growth and increased food production?” Mr Meintjes said.

“If Mr Ramaphosa is set on creating an untenable situation, he should actively create circumstances which will promote famine. His promise to expropriate land without compensation, sows the seed for revolution. Expropriation without compensation is theft”.

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