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Informing Hawaii's voters

Merrick Garland Nominated as 5th Jew to U.S. Supreme Court

Hawaii Political Info introduction: Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland would be the fifth or fourth Jew on the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court if approved by the U.S. Senate. The other Jewish Justices are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan and possibly Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor is thought to be of Jewish ancestry, but there appears to be no publicly available hard evidence. She was raised Catholic, according to news reports. The remaining Justices are Catholic.

Sotomayor is considered part of the Jewish (usually called "liberal") block in the Court, along with Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan. They voted together in upholding Obamacare and same-sex marriage, where the vote in both cases was a narrow 5-4 in favor.

The Jerusalem Post

New Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland credited his Jewish grandparents, who he said fled to the US from anti-Semitism in Russia, for putting him in position to be nominated.

“My family deserves much of the credit for the path that led me here. My grandparents left the Pale of Settlement at the border of western Russia and Eastern Europe in the early 1900s, fleeing anti-Semitism and hoping to make a better life for their children in America,” he said, choking up Wednesday morning in the White House Rose Garden as he accepted President Barack Obama’s nomination.

Born to a Jewish mother and a Protestant father, Garland was raised as a Jew.

Read more . . .

Son's Accusations Led to His Mother's Execution during Chinese Cultural Revolution

Zhang Hongbing in his study

Zhang Hongbing haunted by his actions as a teenager

by Xie Wenting, Global Times (owned by the mainland China communist party)

"He stomped on her leg, and my mother immediately fell to her knees. They then used hemp ropes to tie her arms behind her back. It was like they were binding zongzi [rice dumplings]," recalled Zhang Hongbing, 63, a Beijing-based lawyer.

This scene took place in February 13, 1970. When other families were still celebrating the Spring Festival, two army officials in Guzhen, East China's Anhui Province, rushed to Zhang's home to arrest his mother, Fang Zhongmou.

The woman had been denounced by her son and husband for having criticized Chairman Mao Zedong. Less than two months later, Fang was executed.

Zhang, then a 16-year-old, believed at the time that he was doing the right thing. But decades later, his deeds have returned to haunt him. "I want to atone for my crimes," said Zhang.

Zhang's story is just one of the countless tragedies that took place during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), a decade of political chaos.

"I want to get people to think about how it was possible that a husband denounced his wife and a son sent his mother to her death in the Chinese mainland, and what we can do to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future," Zhang told the Global Times.

Red to the core

In his younger years, Zhang used to view himself as being "red to the core." His mother was an administrator at a local hospital in Guzhen and his father was an official in the county's health department.

He later learned that his grandfather, Fang's father, had been identified as a "landlord" and "spy," an allegation he said was not backed by any evidence.

At the outset of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, Zhang joined the Red Guards together with his elder sister.

At the age of 13, he changed his given name from Tiefu to Hongbing, meaning red soldier, a decision that was backed by his parents.

However, after his sister went to Beijing at the end of 1966 to attend Chairman Mao's reception, she died of meningitis shortly after returning home. After his sister's death, his mother's mental condition took a turn for the worse.

As the Cultural Revolution continued, Zhang's father was subjected to criticism and struggle sessions for almost two years for following a "bourgeois reactionary line." During this period, Zhang wrote a poster in large characters accusing his father of buying clothes and face cream for his daughter.

Once his father was released, his mother underwent criticism sessions. The brutality she endured during those sessions, combined with her daughter's death, destroyed the woman and led to her outburst one day.

Fang said Mao was a "traitor" and praised former Chinese President Liu Shaoqi, who was deposed and denounced by Mao as a "revisionist" and "capitalist roader" during the Cultural Revolution.

This led Zhang to get into an argument with his mother. His father later went out to denounce Fang. Worrying that his father had not done so, Zhang wrote a short letter of accusation and sent it out on his own initiative.

When the army officials came to Zhang's house after receiving the letter, the portraits of Mao Zedong that had been hanging on the wall and Mao's writings had all been burnt by Fang, leaving a pile of ashes on the ground.

After Fang was taken away, his father took out a notebook, asking everyone to write down materials for the prosecution.

Zhang wrote 21 pages and his father wrote 10. They ended by writing the same suggestion: Fang Zhongmou should be shot.

According to the county history and court documents, Fang was then found guilty of supporting Liu Shaoqi and attacking Mao Zedong.

On April 11, 1970, Zhang went to see Fang at a mass tribunal but did not follow her to the firing squad.

Making amends

After the fall of the Gang of Four in 1976, who had directed the purge of thousands of Communist Party of China officials and intellectuals during the Cultural Revolution, Zhang felt his political faith collapse. He even considered drowning himself in a river at the end of 1976.

In 1978, Fang Zhongmou's brother went to Zhang's family, asking to appeal his sister's case, but the idea was met with opposition by Zhang's family.

The family's attitude changed in 1979 after many similar tragic cases were revised.

"It was I who caused my mother's death. I felt full of regret, grief and shame… I needed to take action to clear my mother's name. As for my guilt, I will never clear it in my whole lifetime," Zhang wrote in his diary.

Since then, Zhang has tried legal means to expiate his guilt. Now he is seeking a revision of the county's historical records related to his mother's death, and for his mother's tomb to be identified as an immovable cultural relic.

The two cases are now pending at Bengbu Intermediate People's Court in Bengbu, Anhui.

Speaking out

Zhang said the essence of his mother's case is that she was "convicted for her words." The right to free speech that the Constitution gives to people was taken away at that time, he says.

Zhang decided to speak out about his guilt to the public in 2013. "I spoke about it to remind people and to prevent them from forgetting," Zhang said.

Zhang's decision to speak out drew a backlash from some of his closest relatives and his wife, who was against him speaking about these past affairs. Zhang's younger brother is supportive of his efforts to identify their mother's tomb as an immovable relic, but does not want him to talk about it in the media, worrying it could have a negative influence on his children.

Zhang's life did not change much after his open confession. He spent much of his spare time reading comments left by netizens on his actions. He communicated with those who supported and encouraged him, but did not reply to those with neutral or negative opinions.

There were also some commenters who told him to kill himself. These people, according to Zhang, are "inhumane beasts" who are just like he was in the Cultural Revolution.

Fang's brother Meikai told the China News Weekly that "They have forgiven the family. But they were still unable to be calm when reflecting on the past."

Zhang said that he now is writing a "treacherous son's book of confession," dedicated to his mother.

54 Private Jets at Meeting to Stop Trump

Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Tuesday that “something like 54 private jets” had arrived at an elite meeting of tech CEOs, GOP party insiders and big donors set on stopping Donald Trump before he wins the Republican nomination.

The meeting was the annual World Forum, an off-the-record conference hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a leading Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank. AEI has hosted the “secretive” event since 1982, but this year had a unique focus. Republican pundit Bill Kristol and former George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove were there, among others, including leaders of both the House and Senate.

Grim broke the story:

Read more . . .

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Not a Believer in First Amendment Rights

Sunday March 13, 2016

During her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Attorney General Loretta Lynch admitted that she asked the FBI to examine whether the federal government should take legal action against so-called climate change deniers. Attorney General Lynch is not responding to any criminal acts committed by climate change skeptics. Instead, she is responding to requests from those frustrated that dissenters from the alleged climate change consensuses have successfully blocked attempts to create new government programs to fight climate change.

These climate change censors claim that the argument over climate change is settled and the deniers’ success in blocking congressional action is harming the public. Therefore, the government must disregard the First Amendment and silence anyone who dares question the reigning climate change dogma. This argument ignores the many reputable scientists who have questioned the magnitude, effects, and role of human action in causing climate change.

If successful, the climate change censors could set a precedent that could silence numerous other views. For example, many people believe the argument over whether we should audit, and then end, the Federal Reserve is settled. Therefore, the deniers of Austrian economics are harming the public by making it more difficult for Congress to restore a free-market monetary policy. So why shouldn’t the government silence Paul Krugman?

The climate change censorship movement is part of a larger effort to silence political speech. Other recent examples include the IRS’s harassment of tea party groups as well as that agency’s (fortunately thwarted) attempt to impose new rules on advocacy organizations that would have limited their ability to criticize a politician’s record in the months before an election.

The IRS and many state legislators and officials are also trying to force public policy groups to hand over the names of their donors. This type of disclosure can make individuals fearful that, if they support a pro-liberty group, they will face retaliation from the government.

Efforts to silence government critics may have increased in recent years; however, the sad fact is the US Government has a long and shameful history of censoring speech. It is not surprising that war and national security have served as convenient excuses to limit political speech. So-called liberal presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt both supported wartime crackdowns on free speech.

Today, many neoconservatives are using the war on terror to justify crackdowns on free speech, increased surveillance of unpopular religious groups like Muslims, and increased government control of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Some critics of US foreign policy have even been forbidden to enter the country.

Many opponents of government restrictions on the First Amendment and other rights of Muslims support government actions targeting so-called “right-wing extremists.” These fair-weather civil liberties defenders are the mirror image of conservatives who support restricting the free speech rights of Muslims in the name of national security, yet clam to oppose authoritarian government. Defending speech we do not agree with is necessary to effectively protect the speech we support.

A government that believes it can run our lives, run the economy, and run the world will inevitably come to believe it can, and should, have the power to silence its critics. Eliminating the welfare-warfare state is the key to protecting our free speech, and other liberties, from an authoritarian government.

Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute.

The Grassroot Institute to Debut Local Weekly Radio Show on Monday Morning

The Grassroot Institute announces the debut of its weekly Oahu-based radio show. On Oahu, tune in every Monday morning at 7:00 am to KKNE AM940, broadcasting island-wide.

The first episode airs this upcoming Monday, March 14.

The Grassroot Institute with Dr. Keli'i Akina is also broadcast weekly on Maui on KAOI AM1110 and KAKU FM88.5.

The program, according to the Grassroot Institute, is the only free-market radio show in the state that works to promote individual liberty and limited, accountable government. "Each week we look at the most important issues happening throughout the state as we work together to build a better economy, a better government and a better society."

Grassroot Institute's Joe Kent & Dr. Keli’i Akina

You can also subscribe to their iTunes podcast and visit their website to listen to weekly podcasts and clips. Check out past episodes here.

Send Natural News Your Water for Testing!

Natural News has already received over 100 water samples from across America to be tested for lead. They've published an online map showing where the samples came from.

Now NN has opened up its water testing initiative to the general public, so you can send NN your city water for testing! Natural News is doing the testing as a public service, so there is no charge.

With YOUR help, NN can test water all across America and start documenting lead, fluoride and other contaminants nationwide. Here's how to do it.

Rubio and Trump Talk about Small Hands

This gives a good idea of what the American people are up against when it comes to their choice of presidential candidates.

The Pitfalls of Hawaii's Renewable Energy Plan

James Taylor, Senior Fellow for Environment & Energy Policy at the Heartland Institute, dismantles the argument that renewable energy is more environmentally sustainable than fossil fuels and shines some much needed light on the ramifications that Hawaii's 100 percent mandate would have on Hawaii's business climate and its taxpayers.

Unlike renewable energy "experts" whose main motivation for their rosy pictures of renewable energy programs is lining their pockets with taxpayer money, Taylor gives us the facts in this Grassroot Institute of Hawaii talk on February 26, 2016.

Congress Is Giving Up Its Constitutionally Mandated Duty on War

While the Washington snowstorm dominated news coverage this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was operating behind the scenes to rush through the Senate what may be the most massive transfer of power from the Legislative to the Executive branch in our history. The senior Senator from Kentucky is scheming, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, to bypass normal Senate procedure to fast-track legislation to grant the president the authority to wage unlimited war for as long as he or his successors may wish.

The legislation makes the unconstitutional Iraq War authorization of 2002 look like a walk in the park. It will allow this president and future presidents to wage war against ISIS without restrictions on time, geographic scope, or the use of ground troops. It is a completely open-ended authorization for the president to use the military as he wishes for as long as he (or she) wishes. Even President Obama has expressed concern over how willing Congress is to hand him unlimited power to wage war.

President Obama has already far surpassed even his predecessor, George W. Bush, in taking the country to war without even the fig leaf of an authorization. In 2011 the president invaded Libya, overthrew its government, and oversaw the assassination of its leader, without even bothering to ask for Congressional approval. Instead of impeachment, which he deserved for the disastrous Libya invasion, Congress said nothing. House Republicans only managed to bring the subject up when they thought they might gain political points exploiting the killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.

It is becoming more clear that Washington plans to expand its war in the Middle East. Last week the media reported that the US military had taken over an air base in eastern Syria, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the US would send in the 101st Airborne Division to retake Mosul in Iraq and to attack ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, Syria. Then on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden said that if the upcoming peace talks in Geneva are not successful, the US is prepared for a massive military intervention in Syria. Such an action would likely place the US military face to face with the Russian military, whose assistance was requested by the Syrian government. In contrast, we must remember that the US military is operating in Syria in violation of international law.

The prospects of such an escalation are not all that far-fetched. At the insistence of Saudi Arabia and with US backing, the representatives of the Syrian opposition at the Geneva peace talks will include members of the Army of Islam, which has fought with al-Qaeda in Syria. Does anyone expect these kinds of people to compromise? Isn’t al-Qaeda supposed to be our enemy?

The purpose of the Legislative branch of our government is to restrict the Executive branch’s power. The Founders understood that an all-powerful king who could wage war at will was the greatest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why they created a people’s branch, the Congress, to prevent the emergence of an all-powerful autocrat to drag the country to endless war. Sadly, Congress is surrendering its power to declare war.

Let’s be clear: If Senate Majority Leader McConnell succeeds in passing this open-ended war authorization, the US Constitution will be all but a dead letter.

Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute.

3 Gitmo 'Suicides' Were Actually Murdered: Former Guard

A former Guantanamo guard, who says he witnessed hunger strike “leaders” being brought to a secret CIA “black site”, is accusing the agency of having staged their suicide to get rid of the “problem”. At the time, the US said the men hanged themselves.

On June 10, 2006, the Department of Defense reported that Saudi Arabians Mani al-Utaybi and Yasser al-Zahrani, and a Yemeni citizen, Ali Abdullah Ahmed, “killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact.”

“Two Saudis and one Yemeni, each located in Camp 1, were found unresponsive and not breathing in their cells by guards,” Joint Task Force-Guantanamo said at that time, adding that “all lifesaving measures had been exhausted.”

Read more . . .

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