Monday, November 28, 2011

Indefinite Domestic Military Detentions

by Stephen Lendman

Congress is now considering legislative language to mandate indefinite military detentions of US citizens suspected of present or past associations with alleged terrorist groups, with or without evidence to prove it. More on that below.

The 2006 Military Commissions Act authorized torture and sweeping unconstitutional powers to detain, interrogate, and prosecute alleged suspects and collaborators (including US citizens), hold them (without evidence) indefinitely in military prisons, and deny them habeas and other constitutional protections.

Section 1031 of the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act contained the 2009 Military Commissions Act (MCA). The phrase "unprivileged enemy belligerent" replaced "unlawful enemy combatant."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Washington Leaves Millions To Die

by Jeffrey Sachs

The wonder of our world is that scientific knowledge is now so powerful that we can save millions of children, mothers, and fathers from killer diseases each year at little cost. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria has mobilized that knowledge over the past decade to save more than 7 million lives and to protect the health of hundreds of millions more. Yet now the Global Fund is under mortal threat because of budget cuts approved by President Obama and the Congress.

The Obama Administration had pledged $4 billion during 2011-13 to the Global Fund, or $1.33 billion per year. Now it is reneging on this pledge. For a government that spends $1.9 billion every single day on the military ($700 billion each year), Washington's unwillingness to follow through on $1.33 billion for a whole year to save millions of lives is a new depth of cynicism and recklessness.

As a result of US budget cutbacks, and me-too cutbacks by other countries, the Global Fund this week closed its doors on providing new funds to impoverished nations. It was supposed to accept proposals next month from the poorest countries for an 11th round of disease-control funds. Instead, it has scrapped any new funding until 2014 at the earliest, and will only fund the continuation of the coverage of existing programs. US officials will prevaricate, noting that the US spends this amount or that amount. History will treat such excuses with the scorn they deserve.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Immigrants Cautious as Possible Reprieves Loom

by Maria Sacchetti

Some 100 protesters came to Government Center this week, waving signs and chanting slogans for Denis Lemos and his friend Vinny Quirino, both 25-year-olds who had been fighting deportation to Brazil. The protesters wanted a reprieve.

But then Lemos stood before the crowd and delivered the news.

“I got my call,’’ he said as applause broke out. “I am no longer in removal proceedings. My case is going to be closed.’’

Quirino’s stay of deportation followed soon afterward. Some immigrants and their advocatessay those decisions may be a sign that the Obama administration is finally acting on a federal directive issued five months ago to consider setting aside the deportations of students, the elderly, and other immigrants in order to more quickly deport convicted criminals and other high-priority cases.

Can Revolutionary Pacifism Deliver Peace?

by Noam Chomsky

As we all know, the United Nations was founded "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." The words can only elicit deep regret when we consider how we have acted to fulfill that aspiration, though there have been a few significant successes, notably in Europe.

For centuries, Europe had been the most violent place on earth, with murderous and destructive internal conflicts and the forging of a culture of war that enabled Europe to conquer most of the world, shocking the victims, who were hardly pacifists, but were "appalled by the all-destructive fury of European warfare," in the words of British military historian Geoffrey Parker. And enabled Europe to impose on its conquests what Adam Smith called "the savage injustice of the Europeans," England in the lead, as he did not fail to emphasise.

The global conquest took a particularly horrifying form in what is sometimes called "the Anglosphere," England and its offshoots, settler-colonial societies in which the indigenous societies were devastated and their people dispersed or exterminated. But since 1945 Europe has become internally the most peaceful and in many ways most humane region of the earth - which is the source of some its current travail, an important topic that I will have to put aside.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Redesigning Society - From Scratch

This topic was discussed on Breaking Taboo ( 11/21/11 at 7:00 pm EST.  Listen Here...

From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Nation in just two months

Edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer

Americans who flew bombing missions in World War II had a saying: "You know you're on target when you start getting a lot of flak." The protesters in today's nascent "Occupy Wall Street" movement must really be on target, then, because--boy!--they're enduring an unrelenting barrage of rhetorical flak from political and media defenders of America's plutocracy.

At first, the Loyal Defenders of the Plutocratic Order simply tried to ignore the youthful protest that had sprouted on September 17 in a plaza next door to Wall Street. But the occupiers, who were remarkably proficient in social media, spread their story and the visuals of their occupation to millions who tuned in on the web. This generated support from all over, and many more people began trekking to New York to join them. Surprised and alarmed by this inflow, the L.D.P.O. tried to cut it off by firing rounds of mockery at the protesters to make them look frivolous--a September 23 New York Timespiece, for example, snickered that this "fractured and airy" movement was just a "carnival" of bored kids adrift in an "intellectual vacuum." Their cause, opined the writer, was "virtually impossible to decipher." Already, she declared, the movement is "dwindling."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving in America - 2011

by Gary Aminoff

S. Paul note:  Though I mostly agree with this article, I find the part of the armed forces "protecting us" to be on the side of promoting global militarism and dominance while we here in this nation suffer for the increased taxation and lack of representaton currently infecting our country.  

Rampant brutalism expressed though our military is not an American attribute.  It is what we originally revolted against:  England's own policies and the taxation they imposed on the colonies to support it.  We are not very far from the days preceding the1773 Boston Party and consequent Revolution.  

Thanksgiving isn't about glorifying our new nationalism supporting Empire, it is about family.  In our efforts to dominate the world, we should take a moment to remember that the people we want to control and indiscriminately kill in our campaigns have their own families.

The article: 
All Americans know the history of the origin of Thanksgiving: A group of separatists from the Anglican Church left Plymouth, England in September 1620 for the New World, where they felt they would be able to have both civil and religious liberty.  They sailed across the Atlantic, in a very rough two-month voyage, until they landed in November.  They finally disembarked in December at a place they designated "Plymouth Rock."  Before leaving the ship, however, they all signed the "Mayflower Compact."  This was America's first document of civil government, and the first ever to institute the concept of self-government. 

The colonists immediately held a prayer service and then began the process of building shelter against the cold Massachusetts winter.  They were not prepared for the starvation and sickness that accompanied a harsh New England winter, though, and by spring of 1621, nearly half of those who had arrived in December were dead.  Persevering, and with the help of the native Indians, they reaped a bountiful harvest that summer.  In December of 1621, the grateful colonists decided to thank God and celebrated a three-day feast with their Indian friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why Does Obama Suddenly Want a War With China?

by William Pfaff

One might think that a bitter Central Asian war in Afghanistan, spilling into Pakistan, with no sign of ending, and an as yet ambiguous military commitment to a defeated and incompletely reconstituted Iraq, now overshadowed by Iran and the Arab Awakening across the Middle East, would be enough for President Barack Obama to cope with.

He was, after all, elected to reduce American military commitments. He was going to end things in Iraq, fight the “right war” in Afghanistan, which Gen. David Petraeus told him could be wound up in a year. Unaccustomed to generals as he might have been, he surely did not expect “Af-Pak” to turn into a permanent activity and a source of income for the Pentagon and the American arms industry.

Why then does he now want a war with China? No one seems to have made much of this in American press reports and comment, but others have noticed, most of all in China. His journey to Asia this month proclaimed a Pax Americana for Asia—which as such is absurd. The effort is likely to become just the opposite: a steadily deepening and costly engagement in suppressing China’s attempt to reclaim the Asian preeminence it held for more than a thousand years.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Game Over for Planet Earth: The Month’s Biggest Story You Never Read

What's the biggest story of the last several weeks?  Rick Perry’s moment of silence, all 53 seconds' worth?  The Penn State riots after revered coach JoePa went down in a child sex abuse scandal? The Kardashian wedding/divorce?  The European debt crisis that could throw the world economy into a tailspin?  The Cain sexual harassment charges?  The trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor?

The answer should be none of the above, even though as a group they’vedominated the October/November headlines.  In fact, the piece of the week, month, and arguably year should have been one that slipped by so quietly, so off front-pages nationwide and out of news leads everywhere that you undoubtedly didn’t even notice.  And yet it’s the story that could turn your life and that of your children and grandchildren inside out and upside down.

Monday, November 21, 2011

ACLU Report Warns Public About Privatizing Prisons

Contributed by Sherwood Ross

The latest report by the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) is not likely to inspire politicians to shut down our private prisons when prison operators are pouring millions of dollars into their campaign coffers.

Jobbing out the incarceration business, said lawyer David Shapiro of the ACLU Prison Project “has been a bonanza for the private prison industry, which rakes in billions of dollars a year and dishes out multi-million dollar compensation packages to its top executives.”

And those top executives, in turn, between 1998 and 2000, for example, wrote over $1.2-million in checks to political candidates and political parties. And why not, when their firms have received such huge public subsidies as $68 billion in tax-free bonds to help them build?

Since the 1980s Reagan era shift to privatization, more than 150 private facilities---detention centers, jails, and prisons----with a capacity of about 120,000 have been opened, and 7% of all U.S. adults inmateshave been dumped in them.

Peaceful UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed

UC Davis students, protesting police brutality at a demonstration on their campus, were assaulted by police wearing riot gear when they did not disperse as ordered by officials. What is most disturbing about not only this offense against freedom and against those individuals occupying Wall Street, is how few people watching actually care.  The question that we should all be asking ourselves is, when did the citizens of a self-touting “Free Nation” become so desensitized to believe that those paid to serve and protect us are somehow justified in such an assault? 

With each passing day, the psychological attack against our “Freedom” is soaking into our collective minds to the point where the fascist state as reflected in these actions, is believed to be normal.  Didn’t our government just use this sort of treatment of protestors in Libya to justify bombing their leader out of office to “Liberate the People”?  It would seem that not only have Americans fallen asleep and have become purposely ignorant of this ongoing assault against us but now, they have become complacent in it as well.  As long as it doesn’t happen to you, is it alright?   Welcome to the new America: Land of the Oblivious.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

America's Oil Addiction: The Profit-Oriented Destruction of our Nation

by S. Paul Forrest
America Revealed

America’s Oil Industry is 150 years old.  Our addiction to it stems from our dependence upon its poison in every aspect of our lives.  This addiction, like that of any other, is slowly but surely destroying our collective body.  As crude oil becomes more inaccessible, “natural gas” and “clean coal” are being advocated by the oil industry and their lobbyists in Washington to keep us hooked.  This effort includes lying about alternative fuels and their potential role in the detox we so desperately need.  The same insane thinking and obsessive lies that haunt the minds of addicts is consistently stated by our corporatist government and their media talking heads: Our nation must have this fuel to continue to survive. The truth though, is there are better solutions.

The world's once, readily available petroleum supplies are now dwindling.  To compensate, new recovery tactics have been employed to drill deep water, process coal and tar sands and hydraulically fracture the earth to continue the flow of our economic drug.  No matter the cost or potential danger to lives across this nation and the world, our addiction continues to go unchecked and is in fact, worsening.  Due to increased lobbying from big energy corporations combined with the attempted deregulation of this industry by their paid-for politicians, the dealers are left to further gouge the American user without resistance.  From insane statements like "Drill Baby Drill" to the efforts to destroy all Federal regulation in the name of job creation, this addiction is infecting not our natural body but every aspect of our political and economic system. 

Thought Experiments In Poverty

by Laura Clawson

Pretending to be poor is a lot of work. This is both because being poor is a lot of work and because the more distance between a person and poverty, the less their life is organized in a way that accommodates pretending.

Conducting the thought experiment of poverty, or some selected piece of poverty, is a not uncommon way to try to convey, to oneself or to readers or listeners, the appalling reality behind the statistics—like the 46.2 million people living in poverty in the United States in 2010.

There's Barbara Ehrenreich's classic Nickel and Dimed, in which Ehrenreich spent a month living in each of three places, to see if she could make ends meet at the jobs she could get without her graduate degree, professional-writer credentials and employment history. Writing in 2001, the scenario she posed was of a single mother leaving welfare; how would such a woman survive in the labor and housing market? Making the attempt—three times—without children, with her health, and with whatever intangible benefits being middle-class might carry, Ehrenreich worked as a waitress, a hotel housekeeper, a "Merry Maid," a nursing home dietary aide and a Walmart employee. Even without lavish expenditures, she found that there was no way to make ends meet with only one job at a time, but that working two jobs made it harder to manage the commute necessary to get a cheap place to live, or simply that finding two jobs with hours that would never overlap was a struggle.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Where Does Occupy Go From Here?

by William Pfaff

The program to oust the Occupy Wall Street movement from its sites of occupation is now under way. The Occupied, who own the police, have grown tired of the Occupation.

The advantage they possess is that the Occupiers have not provided a coherent statement of what they want. Their other advantage is that Americans are not revolutionaries—after all, isn’t the American system the best in the world?

The Occupiers dismiss this demand for a program as contrary to the spirit of the Occupation. There is not and cannot be an agreed upon program because that is not the nature of the movement, which is anarchistic in quality (yet having nothing to do with anarchism itself).

It is against “the system.” The system is how the world economy works today, and it is responsible for creating the international crisis of which Occupation has been a response: original, spontaneous, seductive, but incoherent and directionless.

How, after all, can “the system” be changed? Well, first, justice could be done. This is what people want: Justice.

Privatization Nightmare: 5 Public Services That Should Never Be Handed Over to Greedy Corporations

by Dave Johnson

Who gains – and who loses – when public assets and jobs are turned over to the private sector? 

The corporate right endlessly promotes “privatization” of public assets and public jobs as a cash-raising or cost-saving measure. Privatization is when the public turns over assets like airports, roads or buildings, or contracts out a public function like trash collection to a private company.  Many cities contract out their trash collection.  To raise cash Arizona even sold its state capital building and leased it back. 

The justification for privatization is the old argument that private companies do everything better and more “efficiently” than government, and will find ways to cut costs.  Over and over we hear that companies do everything for less cost than government. But it never seems to sink in that private companies don’t do things unless the people at the top can make a bundle of cash; if the CEO isn’t making millions, that CEO will move the company on to something else.  When government does something they don’t have to pay millions to someone at the top.  

So how do private companies save money?   What costs do companies cut that government doesn’t?  When you hear about “cost-cutting” here is something to consider: what if by “costs” the privatizers are talking about … us? 

America's Student Loan Debt Bondage

by Stephen Lendman

Higher education today isn't like it used to be. US students face crisis conditions. Washington and lenders wage financial war on them. In addition, dozens of budget-strapped states cut funds to public colleges and universities.

Students are directly impacted by sharp tuition hikes (double-digit at some schools) and less financial aid. As a result, many thousands are entirely shut out. Others relying on student loans face permanent debt bondage.

By end of 2011, student loan debt will top $1 trillion. It already exceeds credit card indebtedness. Moreover, in the past year alone, students borrowed over $100 billion, double the amount a decade ago adjusted for inflation.

Borrowing is one thing, repaying another. Therein lies the rub. Many former students end up debt slaves for life. With interest, collection charges, penalties, and other costs, some burdens exceed $100,000, Over their lifetime, they can rise five-fold or more for some.

Repaying graduate school debt pushes it higher. New medical professionals can owe $200,000 or more at first. An unidentified one said he'll pay $1,000 a month for the next 30 years. With higher inflation, monthly costs will rise exponentially.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy harder: Two rough but fruity months for OWS

Karl Rove: "Who gave you the right to Occupy America?"

I personally fail to see the relevance of this "Occupy Baltimore" disruption.  If you listen to this speech in full, Rove was making some very good points.  Free speech does not mean the freedom to disrespect or disrupt a Q&A with obscenities and pointless chanting.  There was nothing to be gained in this but rather to be lost.  These types of "protests" only give credence to the claims from some that OWS is nothing more than a rabble. The movement is quickly becoming a moot point with these types of acts.

Rove was making a statement which was in condemnation of the same class disparity OWS has said they stand against. Maybe they need to research rather than just blindly stumbling into a speech like drunken sailors merely because the speaker is a Washington insider. 

Please help me understand the point of this particular "Mic Check"....

The Balanced Budget Amendment That Isn’t About Balancing the Budget

OMB Watch

In a move hearkening back to the Clinton era, Senate Republicans introduced a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution earlier today. All 47 members of the caucus are cosponsoring the bill, a strong show of force. But here’s the thing: this balanced budget amendment isn’t about balancing the budget.

For sure, the amendment would balance the budget. Indeed, it requires a two-thirds vote of both houses in order for outlays to exceed revenues. But it isn’t as if Congress is unable to balance the budget now. If Congress wanted to balance the budget, it would balance the budget. In fact, it has a chance to do so right now, since Congress is still debating the FY 2011 budget, despite the fiscal year having started six months ago. But I don’t see anyone arguing for this year’s budget to be balanced.

The Senate Republicans’ amendment goes far beyond just balancing the budget. The amendment also caps government spending at just 18 percent of gross domestic product, makes it harder to raise the debt ceiling, and requires a two-thirds vote to raise taxes. It even reaches beyond just the legislative branch, forbidding the courts from ordering increased revenues.

None of these added provisions have anything to do with balancing the budget, but they are central parts of the conservative agenda. And the provisions will make it hard for Congress to function even in times of relative economic normalcy. Imagine if our current House of Representatives needed a two-thirds margin to raise the debt ceiling. It just wouldn’t happen. And the budget would still be unbalanced.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

America's Inverted Totalitarianism

by Sheldon Wolin
The Nation

Spaul note: This article, though written quite a time ago, focuses on the regime change of the Bush Doctrine and encompasses the very fabric of the modern American governmental farce we were about to endure.  Video by Chris Hedges is included to drive the point home.  This change in the American approach to imperialism, has had catastrophic, social and economic implications and will continue to worsen until the people stand up against it.  The question is though, considering the depth of the corruption is; can we?

The war on Iraq has so monopolized public attention as to obscure the regime change taking place in the Homeland. We may have invaded Iraq to bring in democracy and bring down a totalitarian regime, but in the process our own system may be moving closer to the latter and further weakening the former. The change has been intimated by the sudden popularity of two political terms rarely applied earlier to the American political system. "Empire" and "superpower" both suggest that a new system of power, concentrated and expansive, has come into existence and supplanted the old terms. "Empire" and "superpower" accurately symbolize the projection of American power abroad, but for that reason they obscure the internal consequences. Consider how odd it would sound if we were to refer to "the Constitution of the American Empire" or "superpower democracy." The reason they ring false is that "constitution" signifies limitations on power, while "democracy" commonly refers to the active involvement of citizens with their government and the responsiveness of government to its citizens. For their part, "empire" and "superpower" stand for the surpassing of limits and the dwarfing of the citizenry.

U.S. Debt Tops $15 Trillion Mark Today

ABC News

Don’t look now, members of the “supercommittee” battling the national debt, but the amount the U.S. owes topped the $15 trillion mark Wednesday afternoon.

That’s a lot of George Washingtons, as you can see here live at

With a week until the committee’s deadline to reach agreement on cutting $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction still has no agreement to stem automatic cuts to the budget.

A Democrat on a special deficit-cutting  supercommittee  Wednesday questioned whether Republicans are still interested in negotiating after the panel’s top GOP member said Republicans have “gone as far as we feel we can go” on tax hikes, the Associated Press reported.

A sense of deep pessimism has gripped the supercommittee, and judging from the limited public statement by panel members, a debt bargain could be out of reach.

“We need to find out whether our Republican colleagues want to continue to negotiate or whether they’ve drawn a hard line in the sand,” said supercommittee member Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland. “The question is whether they’ve kind of said ‘take it or leave it.’ ”

The deficit has ballooned to nearly $48,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. This year alone, the U.S. will spend $1.3 trillion more than it takes in

The debt has expanded at an alarming pace, from $7.5 trillion in 2004 and $5.6 trillion in 2000. At the current rate, reckons that the debt will top $23 trillion in 2015, though the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office puts the estimate at $17.6 trillion.

Back in August after a protracted fight, Congress voted to raised the national-debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion to $17 trillion, while requiring $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction by 2021.

Compared with other developed nations, the U.S. has a debt to GDP ratio of 85 percent, compared with Germany at 74 percent and Japan at a whopping 194 percent. World debt clocks can be found here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Police Violence Reveals A Corrupt System

by Lauri Penny

At four in the morning in lower Manhattan, as what remains of theOccupy Wall Street encampment is loaded into trash compacters, some protesters have still not given up on the police. Kevin Sheneberger tries to engage one NYPD officer in a serious debate about the role of law enforcement in public protest. Then he sees them loading his friend's tent into the back of a rubbish truck. Behind him, a teenage girl holds a hastily written sign saying: "NYPD, we trusted you – you were supposed to protect us!"

The sentiment is a familiar one. Across Europe, over a year of demonstrations, occupations and civil disobedience, anti-austerity protesters have largely shifted from declaring solidarity with the police – as fellow workers whose jobs and pensions are also under threat – to outrage and anger at state violence against unarmed protesters. Following last month's police brutality in Oakland, and today's summary eviction of the Occupy Wall Street camp, American activists too are reaching the conclusion that "police protect the 1%".

Supreme Court To Take On Obama Healthcare Law

by James Vicini

S. Paul note:  It is curious how this hearing will take place with such proximity to the Presidential elections.  This can not be a coincidence; can it?

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide the fate of President Barack Obama's healthcare law, with an election-year ruling due by July on the U.S. healthcare system's biggest overhaul in nearly 50 years.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman said oral arguments would take place in March. There will be a total of 5-1/2 hours of argument. The court would be expected to rule during its current session, which lasts through June.

The decision had been widely expected since September, when the Obama administration asked the country's highest court to uphold the centerpiece insurance provision and 26 of the 50 states separately asked that the entire law be struck down.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The 2012 Presidential Debates vs. Reality

by S. Paul Forrest

Another Presidential election will soon be upon us. As in the past, this election has more to do with showmanship than reality. When a pizza slogan captures the imaginations of American voters rather than serious issues like that of a ten-year long war without purpose or the migration of American Industry to foreign lands, one has to wonder whether American voters are all in some way, suffering from dementia when seriously considering any of these performers for the highest office in the land.  If these candidates are the best of the best from the Republican Party, one must pause to contemplate whether reality has left the GOP’s collective consciousness or whether those producing this performance, think American’s are all so easily amused.

Currently, the public opinion of Congress shows an 82% disapproval rating. Considering this political side show of Presidential campaigning echoing the reality of our representative’s inability to lead, it doesn’t seem things are going to get better any time soon. One would hope this campaign would have brought about a better approach to our current, economic and social debacle but this latest Republican run for President has brought to us all nothing more than sycophantic amusement.  Forget the circus, this show has an entertainment factor high enough to rival even the best of late night television or drama mini-series’.  Like watching an episode of Family Guy, candidates from Perry to Bachmann have rendered unto us all a level of ridiculous that one has to wonder whether they even take the role of President seriously.  It would be funny if it weren’t so very sad.

Why Extinctions Should Worry Us as a Species

by Michael McCarthy

You probably missed it on the news, three weeks ago, the item about the Vietnamese rhinoceros going extinct; it didn't make a lot of noise. The fact that an animal which had roamed the jungles of Vietnam for millions of years had now disappeared from the Earth for ever didn't hit the front pages, or the television headlines: there were far more pressing concerns for the world. A rhino in Vietnam? So what? Who's bothered?

But I've been thinking about it ever since. I find the story gripping. Nobody knew there were any rhinos at all in Vietnam, or in mainland Indo-China, for that matter, until just over 20 years ago, when hunters shot one in the dense forests of the Cat Tien National Park about a hundred miles north of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon as was). Imagine. You suddenly realise your country's got rhinos. You had no idea. It's like finding wolves surviving in the Scottish Highlands.

It turned out to be a subspecies of the Javan rhinoceros, itself one of the world's rarest animals, and its discovery was one of the first elements of what you might call Vietnam's zoological peace dividend. For nearly 40 years, remember, the country was continually at war, with the Vietnamese fighting first the Japanese, then the French, then the Americans, and its tropical forests were off-limits to all but the combatants; but after hostilities finished, in 1975, the jungles slowly began to give up their secrets, which included a whole series of large mammals previously unknown to science.

The Police State Makes Its Move: Retaining One's Humanity in the Face of Tyranny

by Phil Rockstroh

For days now, we have endured demonstrably false propaganda that the fallen soldiers of U.S. wars sacrificed their lives for "our freedoms." Yet, as that noxious nonsense still lingers in the air, militarized police have invaded OWS sites in numerous cities, including Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, and, in the boilerplate description of the witless courtesans of the corporate media, with the mission to "evict the occupiers".

Hundreds of NYC riot police forcibly evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park early on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011.U.S soldiers died protecting what and who again? These actions should make this much clear: The U.S. military and the police exist to protect the 1%. At this point, the ideal of freedom will be carried by those willing to resist cops and soldiers. There have been many who have struggled and often died for freedom--but scant few were clad in uniforms issued by governments.

Freedom rises despite cops and soldiers not because of them. And that is exactly why those who despise freedom propagate military hagiography and fetishize those wearing uniforms--so they can give the idea of liberty lip service as all the while they order it crushed.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Everyone Should Learn Something From Penn State Molestation Scandal

The Olympian

The Pennsylvania State University football team took to the field Saturday and for the first time in 62 years, their coach, Joe Paterno, was not on the sidelines.

After 46 years as head coach, Paterno, 84, was fired last week, along with University President Graham Spanier for their actions – or more accurately – their lack of actions surrounding the sexual abuse of minors by a former football coach hired by Paterno.

Normally, we wouldn’t opine on a national issue of this nature, preferring instead to focus our attention on South Sound. But the circumstances surrounding the Paterno case are screaming for comment.

The facts, at least the facts that have emerged to date, go something like this:

Jerry Sandusky was employed by Paterno’s Nittany Lions as defensive coordinator, leaving the team in 1999. In 2002, assistant coach Mike McQueary, then a Penn State graduate assistant, heard a noise in the team showers. When the assistant coach investigated, he saw Sandusky engaged in illegal sexual contact with a boy McQureary estimated to be 10 years old. The next day, McQueary reported the incident to Paterno.

Paterno relayed the information to athletic director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business. Not one of the men, not McQueary, not Paterno, not Curley or Schultz, reported the child abuse to law enforcement.

Penn State Scandal Will Cost Millions

by Chris Isidore

Meet John Matko. John Matko is a 34-year-old Penn State class of 2000 alumnus, distraught by the recent revelations that legendary Coach Joe Paterno and those in charge allegedly shielded a serial child rapist, assistant Jerry Sandusky. He was livid that students chose to riot on campus this week, more upset about Paterno's dismissal than anything else. He was disgusted that the Board of Trustees decided to go ahead as planned with Saturday's Nebraska game just days after the revelations became public. John Matko felt angry and was compelled to act. He stood outside Saturday's Penn State-Nebraska game in Happy Valley and held up two signs. One read, "Put abused kids first." The other said, "Don't be fooled, they all knew. Tom Bradley, everyone must go." [Tom Bradley is the interim head coach.]

The response to Matko gives lie to the media portrayal of last Saturday's game. We were told the atmosphere was "somber", "sad" and "heart-rending", as "the focus returned to the children." The crowd was swathed in blue, because, we were told, that is the color to awareness of child abuse (also the Penn State colors) The team linked arms emerging from the tunnel. They dropped to a knee with their Nebraska opponents at midfield before the game. Once again, broadcasters told us, "the players were paying tribute to the victims of child abuse." We were told all of this, and I wish to God it was true.

'Personhood' and the Pro-lifers' Long Game

by Jill Filipovic

Mississippi's personhood amendment, where anti-choicers tried to give fertilised eggs the same legal status as your average adult male, has thankfully failed. But while the short-term efforts to give single-cell citizens more rights than adult women may have faltered, pro-lifers aren't giving up. There will certainly be more state personhood amendments in the future, and now congressional Republicans want to take the plan national. So, despite the failure of the Mississippi bill, pro-choicers still need to be vigilant – not just about the law, but about the small cultural shifts that pro-lifers are pushing.

Anti-choice activists aren't stupid (they're wrong, but they're not stupid). Over the past few decades, they've realised that if they can frame reproductive rights as being about saving babies' lives, they've got a winning case – after all, who doesn't like babies? What anti-choicers are actually hostile to are changing gender roles and the increased freedoms and liberties that have been afforded to women by the right to determine the number and spacing of their children. Unfortunately, those freedoms and liberties are wildly popular in the United States. Women like having rights. Women like having sex for pleasure. Women like going to school. Women like being able to work and have children, or have the option of choosing to be a stay-at-home parent rather than being forced or coerced into it. Women like marrying someone they choose, not someone they were accidentally impregnated by.

Capitalism vs. the Climate

by Naomi Klein

There is a question from a gentleman in the fourth row.

He introduces himself as Richard Rothschild. He tells the crowd that he ran for county commissioner in Maryland's Carroll County because he had come to the conclusion that policies to combat global warming were actually "an attack on middle-class American capitalism." His question for the panelists, gathered in a Washington, DC, Marriott Hotel in late June, is this: "To what extent is this entire movement simply a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine?"

Here at the Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, the premier gathering for those dedicated to denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet, this qualifies as a rhetorical question. Like asking a meeting of German central bankers if Greeks are untrustworthy. Still, the panelists aren't going to pass up an opportunity to tell the questioner just how right he is.

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who specializes in harassing climate scientists with nuisance lawsuits and Freedom of Information fishing expeditions, angles the table mic over to his mouth. "You can believe this is about the climate," he says darkly, "and many people do, but it's not a reasonable belief." Horner, whose prematurely silver hair makes him look like a right-wing Anderson Cooper, likes to invoke Saul Alinsky: "The issue isn't the issue." The issue, apparently, is that "no free society would do to itself what this agenda requires.... The first step to that is to remove these nagging freedoms that keep getting in the way."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Health department Tyrants Raid Local 'Farm to Fork' Picnic Dinner


It is the latest case of extreme government food tyranny, and one that is sure to have you reeling in anger and disgust. Health department officials recently conducted a raid of Quail Hollow Farm, an organic community supported agriculture (CSA) farm in southern Nevada, during its special "farm to fork" picnic dinner put on for guests -- and the agent who arrived on the scene ordered that all the fresh, local produce and pasture-based meat that was intended for the meal be destroyed with bleach.

For about five years now, Quail Hollow Farm has been growing organic produce and raising healthy, pasture-based animals which it provides to members as part of a CSA program. And it recently held its first annual "Farm to Fork Dinner Event," which offered guests an opportunity to tour the farm, meet those responsible for growing and raising the food, and of course partake in sharing a meal composed of the delicious bounty with others.

But when the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) got word of the event and decided to get involved, this simple gathering of friends and neighbors around a giant, family-style picnic table quickly became a convenient target for the heavy hand of an out-of-control government agency. And Monte and Laura Bledsoe, the owners and operators of Quail Hollow Farm, were unprepared for what would happen next.

Unemployment Not Just a Problem for Returning Veterans

by Paul F. deLespinasse

It is hard to disagree with President Obama when he tells us it is wrong for returning veterans to be unable to find work. Even Senate Republicans went along with his proposal to give tax credits to companies that hire unemployed veterans.

Still, this kind of rhetoric and legislation should make us all very uneasy. Although it sounds good in Veteran’s Day oratory, it smacks too much of telling us that the wrong people are unemployed.

Government should not be in the business of deciding who should be employed and who should not be employed. Nor should anybody else be in that business. In a full-employment economy, veterans, like everyone else, would be able to find jobs.

Corporations Hate Regulation, Until They Love It

by Kevin Drum

The "Volcker rule" is a simple thing. Basically, it says that if you're a bank that takes deposits and benefits from federal deposit insurance, you can't also make risky trades that might blow up your bank and cost the taxpayers a bundle. Wall Street never liked the rule, because banks make a lot of their money these days trading for their own accounts and didn't want their trading profits cut off. They fought the idea in Congress, but in the end, the Dodd-Frank bill that passed in 2010 included a version of the Volcker rule in its final draft.

Was this a victory for common sense? Hardly. Last month regulators unveiled their first take on the actual implementation of the Volcker rule, and it had become a monster. "Only in today's regulatory climate could such a simple idea become so complex, generating a rule whose preamble alone is 215 pages, with 381 footnotes to boot," complained American Bankers Association Chief Executive Frank Keating.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What This Country Needs

by Paul Craig Roberts

Everyday, every hour, every time I raise up my head to investigate just what the hell is going on in this country. I am met with an outrage, met with nonstop bullshit and parsimonious non-sense called government, and then, all that I can do to restrain and to comfort myself and to keep my head from exploding is to repeat this one little phrase. "What this country needs is a f*cking revolution."

Not content with a decade of pointless war in the Middle East, the Obama administration begins to ratchet up the war rhetoric against Iran. They don't think that, we the people, have enough common sense to understand that they have now removed enough troops from Iraq and Afghanistan to start some new conflict somewhere else for the sole purpose of hegemony. They think that, we the people are so stupid; that we will fall yet again for the same arguments of the big, bad, scary boogeyman who is going to get us if we don't get him first.