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A pariah in his home state

Storm Smashes Chris Christie's Presidential Candidacy

 

If New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has any chance of gaining traction in his bid to become the 2016 Republican candidate for president he has to maintain support in suburban communities like East Greenwich Township, a small, predominately white, upper middle income area located about fifty miles south of Trenton, NJ’s capital city.

Republican Christie received 71.5 percent of the votes in East Greenwich Township when he won a landslide reelection in 2013, up nearly twenty points from his 2009 victory margin in that community where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans.

Today however, the most likely thing Christie would get from East Greenwich Township is a chorus of boos and a mass wave of middle fingers because he was notably MIA (Missing In Action) during the aftermath of a recent storm that tore through large sections of southern New Jersey. The 85 mph winds in that storm sent trees crashing into houses and cut electric service to tens of thousands of homes and small businesses for days.

Residents of East Greenwich Township and other Gloucester County communities pummeled by that storm are fuming because Christie, a self-proclaimed Hands-On Manager, ignored their pleas for help. Residents across sections of four South Jersey counties hit hard by that powerful storm are bitter that their state’s governor campaigned heavily during past weeks in Iowa and New Hampshire but couldn’t find time to at least tour their storm ravaged communities.

Dale Archer, the Republican mayor of East Greenwich Township, told reporters that, “I have lost all respect for our governor. Most importantly…he’s lost my vote.”
Chris Christie's running for president, but would be hard-pressed to win dog-catcher these days in his home state of New JerseyChris Christie's running for president, but would be hard-pressed to win dog-catcher these days in his home state of New Jersey
 

We don't do body counts

Have Millions of Deaths from America's 'War on Terror' been Concealed?

 

How many days has it been
Since I was born?
How many days
'Til I die?

Do I know any ways
I can make you laugh?
Or do I only know how
To make you cry?

― Leon Russell, Stranger in a Strange Land
 

The US invasions of Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001 have produced holocausts in both countriesThe US invasions of Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001 have produced holocausts in both countries
 

The mass media in the US have covered up the most important fact in America’s ongoing wars: the number of people slaughtered. Even before the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the mainstream media served as cheerleaders for the bloodshed, spreading the major lies that led us to war.

As a combat vet still shocked by what I saw almost 50 years ago in Vietnam, where we earlier slaughtered millions in another war based on lies, I decided to look into what is happening in the current wars. I discovered that as many as seven million innocents may have been slaughtered in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I say "innocents," because even most combatants American forces have killed were merely defending their homelands from invasions by foreigners (that is us). The invasion of Afghanistan was avoidable ― the Taliban had offered to give up bin Laden if the USA would show them proof that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
The invasion of Iraq meanwhile violated international law and was little more than genocide.

I first looked for government or mainstream media reports in researching this article, but found little help there, forcing me to conclude they are not at all interested in counting victims. Anything they've put out to date is so simplistic that it should be ignored by anyone seeking facts. They wouldn’t even report on or take seriously a 2006 report by the respected UK medical journal, the Lancet, which, based upon household surveys and other data, concluded that between the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the beginning of 2006, Iraq had suffered over 650,000 war-related deaths, representing an astonishing 2.5% of the country’s population.

It should go without saying that nobody has a completely accurate count of the dead. But over the years, the impact of a corporate media and National Security State have taken their toll on the truth, warping it to imply that relatively few people have died in America’s phony "War on Terrorism."

The charge of a cover-up by the mass media seems obvious, as it is unconscionable that major media, a multi-billion dollar industry, could not find the numbers if they made even a feeble attempt. It seems obvious as well that such numbers would shock the public and turn them against the wars, which probably explains the silence of the mainstream, which is in line with their avid war support and simply echoes the words of General Tommy Franks that "We don't do body counts."

A victory for common sense and basic decency

5 Cheers and 4 Raspberries for the Supreme Court as it Bars States from Blocking Gay Marriage

 

The pig-headed small-mindedness and intellectual dishonesty of most fundamentalists of whatever religion knows no bounds.

Kudos to the narrow majority of the five Supreme Court justices for today at least blowing one result of that pig-headedness out of the water with their ruling declaring that states cannot abridge or deny gay couples from marrying in a state-sanctioned union, and receiving all the benefits that come from such a union.

The opposition to gay marriage has never made any constitutional sense. It has always been based upon a false conflating of church weddings and the legal marriage that is conferred by local governments in accordance to state laws. The fundamentalists -- people like Jerry Falwell or ex-Senator and perennial GOP presidential wannabe Rick Santorum and their ilk -- have claimed ad nauseum that sanctioning gay marriage would "weaken" marriage as an institution, citing in support the Bible, which they erroneously claim "defines" marriage as the "union of one man and one woman." (Hell, it doesn't even include the number one, as many male characters in the Bible have more than one wife.)

But aside from the obvious point that with divorce rates in the US running at close to 50% for first marriages, the "institution" itself is pretty weak on its own and doesn't need any help from gay couples, who actually have a pretty good record of staying together, when it comes to that, even when denied the right to marry as has long been the case.

More importantly, nothing in the Supreme Court's decision would require any church to itself offer marriage services to gay couples. That is a battle that has to be fought religious sect by religious sect -- something that has been going on for some time now. What the court has done, and its action is shamelessly long in coming -- is say that the civil procedure of registering a marriage cannot be denied to anyone because of sexual orientation, and that with that change, gay couples who marry in accordance with Constitutionally protected state law anywhere in the US (or elsewhere in the world one would assume), have the same rights and legal responsibilities and liabilities as do heterosexual couples.

With this decision, gay couples have the same right to adopt children, to visit each other in the hospital, to have joint bank accounts, to obtain health benefits offered to employee spouses, to file joint income taxes and to share in driving a rental car. They also will enjoy the protection of divorce law, will be liable where appropriate, for paying child support and sometimes alimony in the event of a divorce, and will have the protection of shared ownership of property except where there are pre-nuptial agreements signed.

If any of that weakens what's left of religious marriage vows (which I sincerely doubt), then tough.

The SCOTUS decision legalizing gay marriage strikes a small blow against fundamentalist bigotry, but there's plenty left to combatThe SCOTUS decision legalizing gay marriage strikes a small blow against fundamentalist bigotry, but there's plenty left to combat
 

Dog Whistlers Run For Cover

Lone Wolf Racist Terror Backfires

 
Our ancestors were literally fighting to keep human beings as slaves and to continue the unimaginable acts that occur when someone is held against their will. I am not proud of this heritage.
      - S.C. State Senator Paul Thurmond, son of Strom Thurmond,
       explaining why he will vote to take down the Confederate flag

This is the beginning of communism.
      - Robert Lampley protesting the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds
 
 
A young man gets hooked on a volatile political website, obtains a modern weapon, pumps up his sense of vengeful zealotry, latches onto a symbolic target and kills a handful of people. Why does this “radicalized” young man do this? To advance what he feels in his tumultuous, troubled inner life is an important goal, a greater conflagration -- all to satisfy his youthful, lone-wolf feelings of dissatisfaction with the status-quo.

In America, if that young man is a Muslim and the website is focused on attacking the globalized, consumer culture of the National Security State -- let's say he sets off a bomb at a public marathon race -- it’s terrorism. If the young man is a white American attacking African Americans ... well, if you listen to Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, he’s an individual, Godless lunatic and the real problem is “far-left race-hustlers” who hate America and want to destroy it.

"You talkin' to me!"  Dylann Roof posturing with his new Glock and the Council of Conservative Citizens website"You talkin' to me!" Dylann Roof posturing with his new Glock and the Council of Conservative Citizens website

Since the first moments following Dylann Storm Roof’s shooting of nine African American Christians in Charleston, I’ve been watching a lot of Fox News and MSNBC. Even before rigor mortis set in on the nine bodies, after expressing his condolences, O’Reilly began flogging the individual maniac line hard. Race problems in America, he insisted over and over, have been solved and any other explanation was far-left race-hustling. MSNBC conceded Roof was likely not mentally well, but it quickly assumed what might be called a social-dysfunction line focused on the persistence of racism in America.

Eugene Robinson, a Pulitzer-prize winning, African American columnist at The Washington Post, was the spiritual center of MSNBC’s coverage, since he was raised as a black kid in Charleston; his grandfather had a blacksmith shop near the murder site, the famous AME church known affectionately as Mother Emanuel. Robinson is a moderate, easy-going man, and you felt in his heart he understood only too well what this was all about. He was not shy in calling it race-based, white nationalist terrorism.

What were you doing on your vacation?

Returning Home to the US is to Enter a Police State

 

A few weeks ago, I got a vivid comparative look at how far this country has moved towards becoming a police state. The occasion was a brief visit to Montreal, where my wife was to give a harpsichord recital at an early keyboard music conference.

At the Canadian border crossing, just above Lake Champlain, the Canadian official politely asked us our purpose in coming to Canada. Informed it was to perform harpsichord music at a music conference, he actually asked my wife what composers she was playing! (It was Gaspard le Roux) I tried to imagining even being asked such a question by an American border official and simply couldn’t. The Canadian officer also asked us if were were bringing anything in with us. Told that we had a keyboard, he asked if we planned to sell it -- a fair question for a customs official. Then, assured we’d be bringing it back home with us, he waved us through with a smile.

On our way back into the US, we found ourselves being questioned by a grim-faced, beefy, cop-like guy, complete with sidearm, about where we’d been and what we’d done in Canada. Now this is getting draconian. We are both US citizens traveling back from home from a visit to a country that is about as close an ally to the US as a country can be. There is no reason why an immigration official, having looked at our passports, should be asking us about our activities while in Canada. Hell, I could have said I was attending a conference on promoting world socialist revolution, or a global meeting of some white supremacist organization. It wouldn’t matter. He’d still have to grant us entry. I have every right to attend such political meetings in the US with impunity if I want to, and I have the same right as a US citizen to attend them abroad too.

The stupid thing, of course, about such questions, is that if I actually were doing something illegal -- say passing stolen state secrets to a spy connection in Canada, or meeting with some terrorist organization to plot a bombing in the US -- I certainly wouldn’t offer that information to a border patrol officer.

So why would we be asked by a border patrol official to report what we had been doing in Canada?

US border crossing south of Montreal, heading into New York State. "Where have you been while in Canada, and what were you doingLines of cars carrying US terrorists returning from training in Canada wait to cross the US border just south of Montreal, so they can head down to New York City. Luckily, alert border guards ask each driver what they did in Canada before letting them back into the country.

Big donations are great, but what we really want are lots and lots of small ones

We're at 10% of Our Goal. Help Us Move It Up Another Notch!


Good news! Some of our readers are starting to come through. We have, three months into this first ever fund-raising effort, raised one-tenth of our goal: $2000 in mostly small donations.

It's not nearly the kind of money that would allow the members of this collective -- who put out the reports on this award-winning site for nothing, doing the reporting and writing in our spare time -- to cut back on our day jobs and actually devote serious time to alternative news reporting, but it's the start. If you, our readers, can get into the habit of occasionally supporting a site like this that you turn to regularly or even occasionally to know what's happening, big things will happen here.

We know this can work. You all clearly want what we are producing, and value our reports (we know that because you keep coming back and reading what we write), and yet still far too many of you, our readers, are just taking what we do for free. That isn't going to help build a movement. We need solidarity to build a new media model. And solidarity aside, just from the point of view of self-interest, we could provide so much more of the unique news we have been providing for almost four years if we had some serious money coming in to support us in that work.

So readers, hear our call! Join those TCBH! readers who are coming through with support, show some solidarity for a change, support what we do, don't just take it, and send us what you can. We're hoping from $5 per reader, but even $1 would help, if you all did it.

It's easy: use the handy Paypal button above, or send cash or a check made out to Dave Lindorff/TCBH to POB 846, Ambler, PA 19002

Watch what happens if you all finally start coming through with that support!
If you haven't contributed yet, please try sending even $5 (we know we're worth at least that much).

And please spread the word about this site to friends and acquaintances using the envelope icon below. That doesn't even cost anything. Together we can do this!

Killing prisoners through medical neglect and incompetence in Pennsylvania

Mumia Attorneys Sue in Federal Court for Prisoners' Right to Medical Care and Hospital Visitation

 

Attorneys from the Abolitionis Law Center in Pennsylvania, an organization defending prisoner rights and challenging the state's penal system, have filed suit in federal court demanding that Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections stop preventing them from even seeing their client, journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, on occasions when he has to be hospitalized for a critical diabetes condition.

In an hour-long interview with Dave Lindorff on ThisCantBeHappening's radio show "This Can't Be Happening!" that aired last Wednesday on PRN.fm, Abolitionist Law Center founder and legal director Bret Grote says that Abu-Jamal, who is serving a term of life imprisonment without possibility of parole, was allowed to develop a case of diabetes through poor diet and medical neglect in the SCI_Mahanoy prison where he is incarcerated, and then, when finally rushed to a hospital after he had collapsed in diabetic shock, was barred from seeing supporters and relatives (even his wife and brother!) or even his attorneys, on orders of the DOC.

Grote says that intense pressure from local and international supporters, who demonstrated outside the hospital and deluged the DOC and the Governor's Office with calls and emails, led the DOC to relent and allow some brief visits, but then began denying Abu-Jamal's attorneys access to his medical records.

Grote, who earllier won a major victory in the same federal court district, overturning a recently passed "anti-Mumia" law passed unanimously by the state legislator barring state prison inmates from talking or writing about their cases, talks about this latest attack on Abu-Jamal and all prisoners, and about the intentionally inadequate and punitive medical support provided to state inmates on the program, which can be heard by clicking here

Mumia Abu-Jamal at SCI-Mahanoy prison before his diabetes crisis (l),  after losing 80 1bs. due to the undiagnosed condition (center), and his attorney, Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center (r)Mumia Abu-Jamal at SCI-Mahanoy prison before his diabetes crisis (l), after losing 80 1bs. due to the undiagnosed condition (center), and his attorney, Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center (r)

It approves the spy program and makes it permanent

USA Freedom Act is Anything But

 

To get to the point: there is nothing -- nothing at all -- in any recent law or legislative action that will in any way weaken the police state structure our government has put into place for rapid deployment. You are not any more free than you were last week and, no matter what the Congress has done with the expired provisions of the Patriot Act or the newly developed and Orwellian-named "USA Freedom Act", you are not going to be any more free next week.

This week's big news is the expiration of the Patriot Act or actually a few of its provisions, since this humongous illustration of a fascist's wet dream is comprised of hundreds of laws that expire at different times. The provisions that have expired are, however, significant because they involve phone data capture that affects every U.S. citizen. The Congress had to renew those measures and they didn't, so the provisions are dead. In his most recent contribution to TCBH, my colleague Dave Lindorff presents a fuller picture of what those expirations really mean (and don't).

They're Still Going to Watch Us!They're Still Going to Watch Us!
 

The expirations make the USA Freedom Act, which the Congress has now passed in apparent lieu of the expired Patriot Act provisions, apparently important. In fact, reading the commercial media, one would think that democracy lost had now been found and reinstalled. Reflecting that buzz, Business Insider said the vote "significantly reigns in the federal government's ability to spy on citizens".

But the USA Freedom Act is basically a public relations and discourse-control maneuver that changes almost nothing about surveillance or repression. It is the culmination of a cleverly orchestrated campaign of diversion which positioned the spying as an intrusion into the lives of the average citizen. It's certainly that but its true purpose is to gather information on opposition movements. So, while the law takes a small step back on general spying, it actually entrenches the data-collection on movements of protest and change by maintaining it and making it permanent.

Rather than a cause for celebration, this is a blaring alarm.

Here come the terrorists!

Help! The USA PATRIOT ACT Has Expired!

 

Omigod! We’re all gonna die!

Three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were allowed to expire (at least briefly) on June 1 thanks to a Senate disagreement over how to "fix" them (and thanks to Sen. Rand Paul's outspoken opposition to renewal), and now we’re vulnerable to terrorism!

That at least is what President Obama and other fear-mongering advocates of ever-increased surveillance and draconian laws in Washington are saying.

As the president (who in one of his first televised debate with Mitt Romney, famously declared that his “number one” responsibility as President of the United States was “keeping Americans safe,” rather than upholding and defending the Constitution), said of the USA PATRIOT Act expiration: “Heaven forbid we've got a problem where we could've prevented a terrorist attack or could've apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity but we didn't do so."

Is your pulse racing? Are you stocking up on gas masks, canned food, bottled water and guns?

You’re not?

Maybe that’s because you realize now that this terrorism schtick is all a crock.

Not one alleged terrorism plot has been detected, disrupted, or foiled in the US since 2001 as a result of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act -- that fascistic law passed by Congress in a deliberately induced panic back on October 26, 2001. In fact, all the known so-called terror plots that have been busted by federal authorities turn out to have been instigated by those same federal authorities, though the creative use of paid informants and under-cover officers posing as terrorists -- informants who often themselves came up with the plots and provided the equipment, too, usually to unsophisticated and mentally challenged suckers.

The USA PATRIOT Act, actually called, in a particularly ridiculous example of the Republican penchant for creating acronyms for their bills, the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, was simply a collection of many civil-liberties violating measures long sought by authoritarian Washington officials, but never before successfully passed through Congress. This huge wish list of police-state laws were quickly dusted off by the Bush/Cheney White House and piled into one bill, and then rammed through Congress in a night session with no discussion in the wake of the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.


 

New poem

Manure Cannon

 
 
BAM!
Echo, like thunder off the shell of the sky-dome.
We, all on the terrace, glance at each other,
Jump to action.
Everyone knows what to do.
Grab something quick,
Whatever we don’t want to have to wash
Or hose off tomorrow:
Mugs of ice-tea,
Trays of cucumber slices, carrot sticks,
Bowls of chips, cheese, cold-cuts,
Pitcher of wine. . .
We all know how long we have too.
About three and a half minutes
And the shit will be raining down.
Pig shit, horse shit, chicken shit, human shit, bullshit,
A fine mist of shit, covering everything.
That’s how they get rid of it now,
They fire it into the sky
As high as they can
And let it rain down on our party.
BAM!
BAM!
Echo thunders again and again.
The kids are already inside,
Watching from behind the curtains.
Dog is barking angrily at the sky.
He’s the only one who is angry.
He hasn’t learned
It’s useless to rail at fate,
I mean, the gods.
 
--Gary Lindorff

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Fightin' Cock FlyerFightin' Cock Flyer

Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

Donate $50 to ThisCantBeHappening.net and get a free signed copy, postage paid, of Dave's classic tome The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Just click on the cover image to go to the Paypal payment page, make your payment, and send a note to Dave calling his attention to the payment, and giving your mail address and the name you want the inscription addressed to.

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by Dr. Radut