Rand Paul is Ally in Fight to Repeal Patriot Act
Congress will consider a bill to completely repeal the Patriot Act, which is up for renewal, this spring. President Obama campaigned on a platform to rein in U.S. intelligence agencies, but “will soon leave Washington in even worse shape than he found it” in terms of civil liberties, said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Buttar said GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul and elements of the Tea Party are more willing than most Democrats to stand up to the CIA and NSA.
A Multi-Generational Movement
“We need to create an intergenerational dialogue between those who represent the older movement and those who are representing the newer movement,” said Nyle Fort, a young minister from Newark, New Jersey, and contributor to the latest issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy. The journal is sponsor of a public forum on “Mass Incarceration, Police Violence and Political Imprisonment” at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center in New York City, March 20.
Mumia: What Was “Unsaid In Selma”
“Selma is a vivid example of an evil that still lives with us: that of police immunity for their violence,” said Mumia Abu Jamal. President Obama’s speech at the 50th anniversary ceremonies in Selma was a “masterwork” of oratory, said the nation’s best known political prisoner. The president “could have addressed police immunity, but that would have shattered his ‘we’re all better’” off than we used to be speech.
A 20-Year Cap on Prison Terms
No one should serve more than 20 years in prison, no matter what the crime, said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project. About 3,000 people sit on death rows in the U.S., while 160,000 are serving life sentences – comprising one out of every nine inmates, said Mauer. Sentences are a lot shorter in Europe, where “some countries have found life sentences to be unconstitutional, and those that still maintain it generally have only a few dozen people serving those kind of terms,” he said.
Obama goes Reagan on Venezuela
President Obama last week invoked the same language against Venezuela that President Ronald Reagan deployed against Nicaragua, in the Eighties, when the U.S. waged a proxy war against that country. In imposing economic sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, Obama declared the country an “extraordinary threat” to the national security of the United States. Obama is attempting, like President George Bush, “to inoculate Latin America from the contagion that Venezuela represents in terms of social and political change,” said Miguel Tinker Sala, professor of history and Latin American Studies at Pomona College, in Claremont, California. However, all of Latin America has denounced U.S. sanctions against Venezuela. Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said the U.S. foreign policy establishment doesn’t under “that the hemisphere has changed drastically in the last 15 years, and is truly independent of the United States for the first time in 150 years.”
Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Click here to download the show. Length: One hour.