Friday, September 30, 2011

Jordan Page "Liberty" (Acoustic Version)

Occupy Wall Street protesters march against police brutality

by Paul Harris

Several thousand anti-Wall Street protesters marched through downtown Manhattan on Friday night to protest against incidents of police brutality at a previous demonstration.

The group was part of the Occupy Wall Street movement which has camped for almost two weeks in a New York square to protest against the finance industry, among other grievances.

The group had attempted a march last weekend which ended in scores of arrests. Numerous incidents of police roughing up protesters were caught on film including one senior officer spraying mace at several female demonstrators being kept behind a police barrier.

Video of that attack went viral on the internet prompted mainstream media – which had mostly ignored the protests – to give them sympathetic attention. Computer hackers also released the name and address of the officer caught on film. Since then the occupation has garnered many new supporters and global press attention.

The Myth of American Freedom

by Andrew P. Napolitano

Does the government work for us or do we work for the government? Is freedom in America a myth or a reality? Tonight, what if we didn't live in a free country?

What if the Constitution were written not to limit government, but to expand it? What if the Constitution didn't fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence, but betrayed it? What if the Constitution actually permitted the government to limit and constrict freedom? What if the Bill of Rights was just a paper promise, that the government could avoid whenever it claimed the need to do so? What if the same generation – in some cases the same people – that drafted the U.S. Constitution enacted laws that violated it? What if the merchants and bankers who financed the American Revolution bought their way into the new government and got it to enact laws that stifled their competition? What if the civil war that was fought in the name of freedom actually advanced the cause of tyranny?

What if the federal government were the product of 150 years of stealing power and liberty and property from the people and the states? What if our political elites spent the 20th century importing the socialist ideas of big government Statism from Europe? What if our political class was adopting the European political culture from which our founding fathers fought so hard to break free?

OccupyTogether: The Best Among Us

by Chris Hedges

There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher

I Hear You, Occupy Wall Street

by Clint Reilly

Are the barons of high finance ever called to account for their avarice, or for the billions squandered by their schemes?

I own a San Francisco real estate firm with more than two hundred million in assets. But had I made dumb choices that destroyed my equity in my properties, I would have lost them or gone bankrupt. The financial elite, it seems, plays by a different set of rules. And that's what has people shaking their heads today.

Three years after Wall Street collapsed in a greed fueled conflagration, people from all classes, all ethnicities, and all generations are camped out at Liberty Square in New York City to protest the continued fleecing of America by big banks and corporate chieftains.

Other demonstrations built on the same highly-organized model have sprung up in 70 other American cities, including San Francisco, Portland, Memphis, Louisville, Miami, Sacramento and Boston.

The protesters bill themselves as the "Other 99 percent," in contrast to the 1 percent of Americans who account for 25 percent of all income earned in the United States and 40 percent of the country's wealth.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is the United States a Police State?

by John Grant

Honorable people like to debate whether the United States of America is a "police state," but when it comes to shutting down the expression of ideas on the political left, there's little room for argument.

We are inundated in this country with propaganda boilerplate about being the greatest democracy in the world. No, we're not a police state like our friends in Saudi Arabia or our former friends, and current enemies, in Iran. Our police agencies have figured out how to accomplish police state repression in a "softer," more sophisticated manner.

Look at the video in the September 26 report by Lawrence O'Donnell [1] of MSNBC on what he describes as a "violent burst of chaos" caused by armed "troublemakers" from the New York Police Department.

It was a peaceful demonstration against Wall Street greed. At least it started out that way. All evidence suggests it was, then, sent careening into chaos by the police strong-arming of young protesters who had done nothing but express their views in public.

In one incident, young women on the sidewalk observing the arrest of a young man in the street are corralled by cops using orange plastic nets. White-shirted Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, then, walks up, un-holsters his pepper spray gun and sprays the women full in the face [2]. He re-holsters his weapon and walks away. Another video shows him doing the same thing indiscriminately to others in an apparent violation of NYPD rules that say the spray is only authorized to disable someone resisting arrest. Over 80 people were arrested in the melee.

When a Paradigm Falls and Nobody Hears It

by Chris Lehmann

The neoliberal status quo is indefensible—yet the public silently accepts its supposed legitimacy.

Future historians will be hard-pressed to know what to make of the giddy reveries of the 1990s. It was not merely the age when sage interpreters of the world system declared the end of history, ideology and other assorted curdled leavings of the modern age; it was also the moment when the global economic order was supposed to be reaching its own great moment of singularity under the placid technocratic rubric of “neoliberalism.”

The neoliberal dream was basically the economic version of what utopian-minded tech prophets call the singularity: the coming near-mystical convergence of forces that would sort out the channels of information and production and knowledge work into a seamless, world-conquering whole.

Judge Receives Over 17 Year Sentence For Role In ‘Cash For Kids’ Private Prisons Scandal

by Ian Millhiser

Former Pennsylvania state judge Michael Conahan was sentenced last Friday to 210 months in prison for his involvement in a scandal to enrich private prison corporations by sentencing juvenile pranksters and other extremely minor offenders to be incarcerated in a corporate-run facility:

Michael Conahan, a former jurist in Luzerne County, was sentenced on Friday to 210 months in custody by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik II. Conahan was also ordered to pay $874,000 in restitution. [...] As Main Justice reported in August, Ciavarella, former president judge of the Court of Common Pleas and former judge of the Juvenile Court for Luzerne County, was sentenced to 28 years in prison and ordered to make restitution of $965,930. [...]

Conahan’s role in the “cash for kids” scheme was to order the closing of a county-run detention center, clearing the way for Ciavarella, once known as a strict “law and order” judge, to send young offenders to private facilities. This arrangement worked out well for Ciavarella and Conahan, as well as the builder of the facilities and a developer, who pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The arrangement didn’t work out so well for the young offenders, some of them sent away for offenses that were little more than pranks and would have merited probation, or perhaps just scoldings, if the judges had tried to live up to their oaths.

Sadly, this kind of behavior by the private prisons industry is not at all surprising. The industry spent millions in lobbying dollars to push harsh criminal penalties and longer sentences in order to maximize their own profitability. Leading lawmakers like Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) each supported major prison privatization plans after receiving tens of thousands of dollars in donations from the industry. Indeed, the number of prisoners incarcerated in corporate-run facilities grew by 37 percent during a seven-year period when their lobbying efforts also grew by 165 percent.

Nevertheless, the willingness of two judges to simply trade away their judicial oaths to benefit a corporation’s bottom line is truly shocking.

Read also by S. Paul Forrest:

Private Prisons and the American Police State

Killing the Recovery


How far are we from another Depression?
The world has barely dug out of recession and the global economy is again slowing dangerously. Most leaders seem eager to make things even worse.

Instead of looking for ways to reignite growth, Europe’s leaders — and Republicans on Capitol Hill — are determined to slash public spending. Europe’s fixation on austerity is also compounding its debt crisis, bringing the Continent even closer to the brink. Meanwhile, China’s government, which is struggling to contain inflation without letting its currency rise, has been trying to slow domestic demand, allowing its trade surplus to balloon.

Each of these policies is wrong. In combination, they are likely to tip the world into a deep recession.

The International Monetary Fund has cut its forecast for global growth this year to 4 percent, from the 4.3 percent it had forecast in April. It expects rich countries to grow by only 1.6 percent. That may be too optimistic.

Virgin Mobile and Verizon retain content of text messages

by Eric W. Dolan

The cell phone service providers Virgin Mobile and Verizon retain the content of text messages, according to a Justice Department memo obtained by the America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina.

Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Nextel, and Virgin Mobile all retain information relating to text messages, such as who the text messages were sent to and when, but only Verizon and Virgin Mobile retain the actual content of the text messages. Virgin Mobile keeps text message content for 90 days and Verizon keeps it for 3 to 5 days.

The Justice Department document, “Retention Periods of Major Cellular Providers,” was published in 2010 as a guide for law enforcement agents seeking to obtain cell phone records.

The document also reveals that Verizon, Sprint and Nextel retain IP session and destination information, potentially allowing law enforcement to ascertain what sites someone has visited on their cell phone.

Information that could be used to determine the movement of a cell phones is also retained by the cell phone service providers. Cell phones continuously transmit data to cell-sites scattered across the nation and cell phone service providers keep records of the this geolocational data, essentially recording the physical movement of anyone carrying a cell phone.

Verizon and T-Mobile keep that data for one year, Sprint and Nextel keep it up to two years, and AT&T keeps it indefinitely.

ACLU affiliates in 34 states across the U.S. have filed public records requests seeking information from law enforcement agencies as to when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans.

"The ability to access cell phone location data is an incredibly powerful tool and its use is shrouded in secrecy," said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. "The public has a right to know how and under what circumstances their location information is being accessed by the government."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Mad As Hell Generation

20 Reasons Why Millions Of Americans Under The Age Of 30 Are Giving Up On The U.S. Economy

Millions upon millions of young Americans have completely lost faith in the U.S. economy and are mad as hell that their economic futures have been destroyed.  The recent economic downturn has hit those under the age of 30 the hardest.  Today, there are hordes of young people that should be entering their most productive years that are sitting home with nothing to do.  Many of them have worked incredibly hard throughout high school and college.  Many of them have stayed out of trouble and have done everything that "the system" asked them to do.  But once they got finished with school, the promised "rewards" simply were not there.  Instead, millions of young Americans are faced with crushing student loan debt loads in an economy where they can't find good jobs. 

When you are in your twenties, it can be absolutely soul-crushing to send out hundreds (or even thousands) of resumes and not get a single interview.  Most of us grew up believing that we would "be something" when we got older, and millions of young Americans are having those dreams brutally crushed right now.  Americans under the age of 30 voted for Barack Obama in droves back in 2008 because they believed that he would make things better.  Instead, Barack Obama has made things even worse.  Significant numbers of young Americans are starting to wake up and realize that neither political party is providing any real answers, and they are starting to get mad as hell about it.

Americans are Reaching a Breaking Point

by S. Paul Forrest

This article was originally written for an interview with New Dissident Radio's Lakota Phillips on Breaking Taboo.

A look around this country, reveals troubled times. The Average American; John and Jane Doe, are more now than ever, struggling to make ends meet.  At the base of these troubles there exists a corporatist state where politicians, Supreme Court Justices and news agencies funded by large corporations and their investors, serve only their own interests instead of We the People’s.  In another time; perhaps in an alternate America, the corporatism infecting our Nation would have been stopped.  Now though, it is growing unchecked, working to negate the Constitution and our civil liberties “guaranteed” by it while greatly profiting from our struggles.

We are seeing it daily; the incessant moat building around the castles of the rich while corporate guilds continue to be funded with the sweat equity of the American poor, downtrodden and disenfranchised.  Where in the past the Constitution had protected citizens from oligarchic representation and corporate monopolistic endeavors, the greater populous is now seeing the unequivocal empowerment of those entities from which our founding Fathers had worked so hard to escape. 

A Simple Way to Help Resurrect Hope In America

Rand Clifford
Hope again by WafaTekaya
Activist Post

Napoleon Bonaparte called history “A set of lies agreed upon.” It’s even been said that lies are the glue that holds civilization together.

And now, before our eyes, lies accumulate like flies on flypaper; germy, nasty things that get processed, pasteurized, and homogenized into history. Examples seem endless: from elections rigged with e-voting, to the heinous false flag circus of 9/11, to the Global War on Terror, to evisceration of the Constitution to “protect” people, to the off-the-charts upward transfer of wealth of bankster bailouts, to the murder of over a million people amid destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya . . . .

Look around, look in the rearview mirror, lies, and lies about lies ad nauseam...becoming history. Napoleon implied that it has always been this way, but one might wonder: Has it always been thisbad? Might we respond to Napoleon’s observation with, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet?”

If indeed our trajectory involves ever-increasing divergence between history, and truth, is there some agent we could point to that facilitates this madness—something greatest of all at conditioning people to absorb lies? Something invasive, powerful, and even addictive enough to render majorities of populations unable to think critically—unable to tell truth from lies, leaving them gullible enough to swallow whatever mainstream corporate media (CorpoMedia) feeds them? There is one agent towering above other suspects, and almost every American is hooked. The agent is called TV.

Occupy Wall Street: Day 11 -- Susan Sarandon Joins the Protest

by Mark Adams

NY Police guard the Bull in a symbolic gesture
of where their allegiances lay.
More big news from Day 11 of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Protest in NYC!  Susan Sarandon joined the protesters and discussed the issues on the live feed
Liberty Square
is still filled with protesters.

I'm picking up coverage for Chaz Valenza.  He joined the protest and covered it live for the first 10 days.  He had to attend to business, but he'll be back soon.  His previous articles can be found at this link.

Susan Sarandon Supports OWS!

Susan Sarandon talked about the harm which the bankers have caused to Americans.  She spoke of the lost jobs, the stolen homes, the broken dreams, the banker bailouts and bonuses, and the government's failure to bail out the victims of the banksters' crimes.  She said that it is time for Americans to demand accountability from the government, that it is time to end favoritism and injustice, and that the American people should be incensed!

Susan pointed out that change does not come from those in power, but instead, that positive change comes when people are willing to demand change and demand justice.  She said that the movement is building, that people need to join in the movement to get real change, and that people need to register to vote and vote most of the incumbents out of office because only a few of them act in the public's best interests.  

Crazy never wins GOP sweepstakes

by Joe Scarborough

As Rick Perry might say, “It really ain’t that hard.”

If you’re a Northeast elite hoping to crack the code on GOP presidential primaries while impressing your friends at Fifth Avenue dinner parties with insightful political prognostications, always remember one simple rule: Crazy never wins.

You heard right, my Upper West Side friend. Crazy. Never. Wins.

Despite the crop of nutty right-wing candidates that sprout up in GOP presidential fields every four years, despite the gasps and growls that regularly rise from Manhattan cocktail parties aimed at extremists who are hijacking the Republican Party (in ways that past GOP extremists would never have dreamed of hijacking the party), despite the cries from right-wing radio hosts predicting the rise of Ronald Reagan’s ghost and the nomination of an unelectable candidate, in the end this political chatter always proves to be sound and fury signifying nothing.

Family Unplanned: Texas Cuts Funding for Women’s Reproductive Health Care

Daily Kos

While Texas has some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on reproductive health care, it has also drastically cut funding to family planning centers. At the same time the state has increased funding to so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPC), which has decreased the access women have to reproductive health care in the state. In Rick Perry’s Texas, women are not trusted to make their own reproductive health care decisions.

As the Texas Tribune reported, the Texas Legislature cut $73.6 million from the Department of State Health Services budget for family planning programs. The budget for family planning went from $111.5 million from 2010-11 to $37.9 million for 2012-13. According to the DSHS own reports the funding cuts will cause a reduction of 180,000 client out of 220,000 that receive family planning services. The Legislative Budget Board estimates that the cuts could lead to 20,500 additional births.

Dorothy Reno, Director of Clinics of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, explains below in an interview with Thanh Tan of the Texas Tribune what effect the cuts in family planning will have on Texas women. These effects could include women not detecting breast or cervical cancer until the later stages, or not detecting a sexual transmitted disease (STD) until after transmission to a sexual partner or it having an effect on their fertility.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

6 Ways the Rich Are Waging a Class War Against the American People

by Joshua Holland

There hasn't been any organized, explicitly class-based violence in this country for generations, so what, exactly, does “class warfare” really mean? Is it just an empty political catch-phrase?

The American Right has decided that returning the tax rate paid by the wealthiest Americans from what it was during the Bush years (which, incidentally, featured the slowest job growth under any president in our history, at 0.45 percent per year) to what they forked over during the Clinton years (when job growth happened to average 1.6 percent per year) is the epitome of class warfare. Sure, it would leave top earners with a tax rate 10 percentage points below what they were paying after Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, but that's the conservative definition of "eating the rich" these days.

I recently offered a less Orwellian definition, arguing that real class warfare is when those who have already achieved a good deal of prosperity pull the ladder up behind them by attacking the very things that once allowed working people to move up and join the ranks of the middle class.

But there's another way of looking at “class war”: habitually vilifying the unfortunate; claiming that their plight is a manifestation of some personal flaw or cultural deficiency. Conservatives wage this form of class warfare virtually every day, consigning millions of people who are down on their luck to some subhuman underclass.

We Can't Leave Free Trade Out of the Wall Street Protest

by Ray Tapajna

Economies based on making money on money instead of making things are burning out. The investment community divorced itself from the production sector of our society many years ago. The globalists used free trade as a tool to create new money products. They thought they could make debtor nations into exporting nations and have them at least pay interest on the loans whereby they could create perpetual revenues from these nations. But it didn't work because the new money products did not replace the loss value of workers and labor. Free trade deflates the value of labor, and this value is a real asset and perhaps a much better money standard than the value of paper money and all the funny money manipulations of transactions. Degrading the value of workers and labor affects all money values and creates a negative balance. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs during the most massive dislocation of jobs in U.S. history including the Great Depression.

A must read is "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins. Mainstream media tries to make him look like a quirky character, but in reading the book, you can put aside this judgment for another time and study the process he portrays. He shows how the money powers of the world get nations hooked on loans and then penetrate into whatever they can in terms of capturing the total resources of these countries -- or at least find a way to control the flow of wealth in these nations. If we ignore these things while going after Wall Street directly, we miss the proper sequence of cause and effect.

Alabama Town’s ‘Jesus Or Jail’ Policy Violates The Constitution, Americans United Says

Bay Minette May Not Force Offenders To Choose Between Going To Jail Or Going To Church, Says Church-State Watchdog

Officials in Bay Minette, Ala., have crossed a constitutional line by creating a program that allows low-level offenders to choose between fines and jail or going to church for a year, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“I have just two words for this ill-considered scheme: blatantly unconstitutional,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Government simply can’t put people in a position where their only choice is Jesus or jail.”

Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland says 56 churches have agreed to take part in the program, dubbed “Operation Restore Our Community.” Rowland says the plan is legal because no one is forced to go to church – they can choose fines or incarceration instead.

Americans United says Bay Minette is offering no real choice at all and that the scheme will clearly have the effect of funneling people into houses of worship.

In a letter to Rowland and Mayor Jamie Tillery sent today, attorneys with Americans United urged the town to drop the plan.

“Under well-established decisions, the City may not force individuals – even those convicted of crimes – to choose between religion and jail,” reads the letter.

The letter goes on to say, “The Program would be unconstitutional even if participants could, as the City has asserted, attend the religious service of their choice. For one, any such choice is purely theoretical: only churches participate in the Program and so in practice defendants must attend Christian services. In any event, the Program would violate the Constitution even if other religions did participate because the First Amendment also requires the government to remain neutral between religion and non-religion.”

The letter requests a response within 14 days.

Americans United’s letter was drafted by Gregory M. Lipper, AU litigation counsel, and AU Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan.
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

            (202) 466-3234      
Joe Conn
Rob Boston
Sandhya Bathija

The Globalist Empire Strikes Back With Censorship

Ethan Jacobs, J.D.

Media Censorship by NST Cartoons

In a telling act of desperation, the failing globalist empire, Google Blogger, completely deleted Activist Post, one of the top alternative news websites, without warning or reason.  The elite see that their global fascist world government agenda is falling apart due to the alternative media educating the public.  Globalist puppetHillary Clinton recently told a congressional committee, “We are in an information war and we are losing that war.”

Each day more people question why we have a private Federal Reserve that creates money out of nothing and exerts Communist-style central economic planning for the benefit of bankers, the 9/11 fable and other false flagsvaccinesfluoridated water, endless wars of military conquest and the absurd war on drugs.

Google is a CIA/NSA front company that collects information on its users and social trends based on Internet traffic.
"The CIA’s technology investment operation, In-Q-Tel, and Google are supporting a company that monitors the web in real time. The company, Recorded Future, scans tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find imputed relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents. Recorded Future claims it can utilize this information to predict the future."
Google founder Eric Schmidt attended the 2008 and 2011 Bilderberg meetings, where David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger most likely gave him his marching orders. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Inside the Wall Street Protests: An Eyewitness Account of Police Crackdown on Peaceful Demonstrators

by A.J. Myerson

Protester arrested by NYPD. Via @NYCRevMedia on Twitter.
Photo Credit: @nycrevmedia on Twitter
Deep in the belly of the beast, among the financial district’s skyscrapers, next to derivatives traders in business suits and Rolex watches, you will find a one-block large democratic society, governed by consensus, whose features include free food, free professional childcare, an arts and culture area, medical and legal teams, a media center, constant music, a library and a stand with refreshments for the many police stationed to supervise the area. This is the one-week-old occupation of Wall Street, located at Liberty Plaza Park.

A group of protestors from the camp ventured outside the park and marched on Union Square Saturday morning, and around 100 of them were arrested. Police sprayed peaceful protestors in the face with pepper spray, threw them to the ground and assaulted them with elbows, dragged a woman around by the hair, jumped over barricades to grab and rough up young people, and, when all was said and done, laughed to themselves triumphantly. This is exactly the sort of violence and brutality American authorities routinely condemn when perpetrated against non-violent civilians demonstrating for democracy in Middle Eastern dictatorships, even as they employ horrifying cruelty right here.

Twenty-five Percent of Very Young Children in America Are Living In Poverty

by Rodger Knight

This caught my attention this morning:

"Twenty-five percent of very young children in America are living in poverty, according to an analysis of Census data released Thursday.
The number of children under six living in poverty rose to 5.9 million in 2010 from 5.7 million in 2009, researchers from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire found."
          From The Huffington Post

We'll look at those numbers but first we need to know how they are calculated.  Each year the Poverty Index is created from data collected by the census bureau and represents pre-tax cash income only.  It does not include food stamps, housing assistance, etc.  The poverty threshold represents the annual minimum cash income necessary to support individuals and families of various sizes.

According to the University of Michigan's National Poverty Center the poverty level for a single individual is $11,344 per year.  That's $944.50 per month.  For a family of four (two adults, two children) the poverty level is $22,113 per year or $1842.75 per month.  In 2010, in California, the median housing cost (rent, utilities and garbage and trash) was $1,163 per month.  Nationally, monthly housing cost varied from a high of $1,198 in the District of Columbia to a low of $583 in Kentucky.  In 2010,  46.2 million Americans , 15.1 percent,  lived in poverty.  That figure was up from 14.3 percent in 2009 and was the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people living in  poverty.  The number of poor people in 2010 was is the largest number in the 52 years the statistic has been kept.  Between 2009 and 2010, the poverty rate increased for children under age 18 from 20.7 percent to 22.0 percent.  The number of Americans  under 18 is always significantly higher (about 10 percent on the average) than the rest of the population.

Government Shutdown? Now a Battle for the Soul of America

by Rick Ungar

For the third time in nine months, the threat of a government shutdown is back on the table.

For the overwhelming majority of Americans, such an event would pass mostly unnoticed.  Planes will still fly as federally paid air-traffic controllers continue to control the skies, federal law enforcement and military efforts will continue and social security checks will go out in the mail. 

However, for one very special class of Americans—the victims of this year's spate of deadly and destructive disasters—there will be nothing that is the least bit routine about such a shutdown.

At some point this week, FEMA, the federal agency struggling to keep up with the extraordinary pain and suffering created by this year's record number of disasters, will run out of money. The continued funding of the agency, plus the recognition that their budget must be increased to meet the demands of the many who have been stricken, is at the heart of the latest game of chicken being played out in Washington.