Monday, July 30, 2012

The State As A Fantasy

by James E. Miller

If there were a prize for the best “do as I say, not as I do” politician, the latest winner would be California Senator Dianne Feinstein.  Senator Feinstein, who is currently leading a crusade to plug the White House’s recent spring of classified military leaks, is the Chairwoman of the powerful Select Committee on Intelligence.  Because of her position of power, she has become “deeply disturbed by the continuing leaks of classified information to the media.”   In other words, Ms. Feinstein finds it appalling that the American public is finding out about the not-so-glamorous doings of its own government.  Her scorn for disinfecting sunlight has inspired her to call for the prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for espionage.

This talk of super secretive government would be all fine and good for a minion of the security state except for one thing: Senator Feinstein is one of the biggest leakers in Congress herself.  And it just so happens that her husband has benefited financially from contracting with the U.S. military.  For all her talk of protecting the American people, Feinstein is just another well-connected thief in the societal racket known as the state.  As Salon’s Glenn Greenwald trenchantly observes:
That the powerful Senator who has devoted herself to criminally punishing low-level leakers and increasing the wall of secrecy is herself “one of the biggest leakers in Congress” is about as perfect an expression as it gets of how the rule of law and secrecy powers are sleazily exploited in Washington.

Obama Gives Israel $70 Million to Murder More Palestinians

by Susanne Posel

President Obama is handing over an additional $70 million in military funding to his Zionist friends, the Israeli government.

Obama hopes that his generous gift will assist in Israeli expansion of production of short-range missile defense systems known as Iron Dome. These “defense funds” will most likely be used against the Palestinians as the democide and systematic destruction of an entire group of people continues at the hands of the Israeli government.

As Obama signed the bill, he proudly announced that he was expanding military and civilian cooperation with Israel by stating that the US government has an “unshakable commitment to Israel.”

Obama said : “I have made it a top priority for my administration to deepen cooperation with Israel across the whole spectrum of security issues — intelligence, military, technology. And, in many ways, what this legislation does is bring together all the outstanding cooperation that we have seen, really, at an unprecedented level between our two countries that underscore our unshakeable commitment to Israel security.”

U.S. Needs To Replace Pentagon's Approach With Peace Corps

Contributed by Sherwood Ross

If the United States attempted to “conquer” by love rather than force of arms, it might be respected, not reviled, globally.

If the White House took an altruistic approach in foreign affairs---that is, if it rejected greed, exploitation, and war in favor of fair play, charity, and humanitarian assistance---it might enjoy such prosperity as exists beyond the dreams of its misguided rulers.

It is no naïve suggestion to urge the Congress to transpose the budgets and numbers of personnel of the Pentagon and the Peace Corps. Naïve is how one would define the Pentagon's 10-year-long failure to conquer Afghanistan by force of arms. Naïve is how the Pentagon can claim the U.S. has improved Iraq when that country far is worse off today than when the Pentagon first bombarded it eight years ago.

The U.S. has invested 10 years and $3 trillion in attempting to conquer Iraq and Afghanistan and what does it have to show for it, apart from the increased hatred of peoples throughout the Middle East? Congress has taken the Pentagon's road and what's been achieved apart from massive slaughter and despoliation of those nations and a bankrupt Treasury at home? For President Obama to prosecute these criminal wars, based on a tissue of lies, and to initiate new wars is naïve as well as criminal.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

As America's Military Spreads Across the Globe, Who is Protecting Our Nation?

by S. Paul Forrest

We will be discussing this as one of the topics on -  Breaking Taboo -  7:00 PM EST - 07/30/12 -  Our special guest is Susanne Posel, co-founder of Occupy Corporatism... Be sure to tune in.

"Amerika" by Lakota Phillips
As America faces deficits the measure of which have not been seen in the history of this once, great nation, military bases continue to be built around the world.  Other outposts known as “leap pads”, are being built as well to assist in the transfer of military personnel and equipment everywhere from Siberia to the Cape of Good Hope - all part of an greater agenda to spread our Empire of Greed to every corner of the Earth no matter who dies or is falsely imprisoned for exposing it for what it is: A New Age of Tyranny.  

Over 1,000 bases and another 250 leap pads are littering the landscape of over 140 countries globally in order to proliferate our American Militaristic State supporting a New World Order. We here in America, spend on average, over one trillion dollars each year on military initiatives.  We are told schools, highways, bridges, community centers and unemployment compensation cannot be paid for because we must control the budget. Meanwhile, we continue to fund drone bombing of villages, the support of Israel’s immoral war against Palestine and wage wars in places like Africa; all in the name of Empire. Our “leaders” try to justify these expenditures by saying we are fighting “terrorism” or trying to fight the “Axis of Evil”.  Their priorities have obviously become stained with corruption instead of the interests of those of We the People.  With all this militaristic might operating overseas, it would seem no one is protecting us anymore.

Many tout this military might as essential to fight against terrorism and the promotion of Democracy but the reality is, the spreading of our Empire is more than a mere attempt to combat a few mule riding, poor farmers from Afghanistan, it is an evil in and of itself, fighting not against tyranny but rather, for it. Part of America’s Global, military efforts include a renewed promise to control, silence or destroy any who will stand in the way of our Nation’s role in the Order including but not restricted to, the Nation of Islam and yes, even We the People who would dare stand up to protect our nation from the fascist regime which is slowly shredding our Constitutional rights. Along with the United Nations, they are trying to destroy not only our First and Second Amendments but have begun to enact policy which will eventually, if not stopped, negate our entire, National purpose.

Our nation now embodies the greatest of those evils we are supposed to be fighting against; represented by our political deceivers so desperate to justify the cost of our ongoing “war against terrorism” while ignoring the needs of real Americans.  So many in this nation ignore these issues if only to keep from awakening from the American Dream they were once sold on, so long ago.  Our children are taught to obey regardless of the insanity of the laws meant to further their subservience and thousands die at the hand of our military while the reality of our empire goes underreported and largely ignored by those in this nation still clinging desperately to their fantasy that America is still a great nation.  As corporate controlled media and puppet politicians continue their propagandistic charter to distract us from reality, our nation falls deeper into the chasm of destruction and our military, operating under the guise of patriotism and Democracy, only takes us one step closer to full Fascism and hopeless surrender.

Transforming Teacher Unions

Spaul Note:  I recently watched "Waiting for Superman" and was captivated by the harsh reality of American education (or lack thereof).  I wept when I thought of all those children and parents who so desperately wanted their children to become educated but were not chosen in the Lottery.  They could only hope and pray that their dream of a quality education would become a reality.  For those not chosen, the future is grim because of teacher Union forced "Tenures" and bureaucratic nonsense.  Our children deserve better in this Nation than to hope for an education by way of luck: We owe it to them and ourselves to ensure they ALL are educated: Our future depends on it.

by Joel Jordan
Edited by Bob Peterson and Michael Charney,
published by Rethinking Schools, MilwaukeeWisconsin, 1999

FROM A RADICAL perspective, Transforming Teacher Unions, published by the editors of the progressive newspaper Rethinking Schools, has much to recommend it. It persuasively argues that a pure and simple trade unionism that confines itself to improving teacher salaries, working conditions and contract protections, without addressing the broader issues of the nature and quality of education, is increasingly inadequate to counter the mounting attacks on public education.

Teacher unions, the authors contend, must aim to secure for students the best possible education. They need, therefore, to concern themselves with central aspects of public education that were previously the exclusive responsibility of school administration -- curriculum development, training of teachers, students' programs, and the like.

Moreover, since the project of providing a good education is so profoundly undermined by the background conditions of class exploitation, racial oppression, and poverty that restrict the educational opportunities of so many students, teachers should be in the forefront of struggles for social justice, in the community and in the work place.

The basic idea, excellent in itself, is that teachers in their unions must go beyond their immediate concerns, and see the interests of students, and thus the interests of social justice, to be in their own interests.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Americanism Redefined

by Rick Staggenbord, M.D.

Afterward by Rick Staggenbord
Every American realizes that the people of the United States face threats to their safety, health and economic well being that are not being addressed by Congress. Congress has a favorability rating in the single digits, yet we continue to re-elect the vast majority of its members every two years. The reason is that most Americans seem afraid to face the greatest threat: that the Democratic experiment may fail because of rabid partisanship, for which we are ultimately responsible. The dangers our government is failing to address pose a threat to the rest of the world given the economic and military dominance of the United States over other nations.

If we want a government of, by and for the People, we must achieve consensus on where we want our leaders to take us. That requires forging a consensus on what kind of America we want to leave our children. This is the crux of the dilemma in which we find ourselves. If we cannot agree on what we want our elected officials to do, then they will continue to do as they please. That is generally to keep themselves in office by catering to the interests of the special interests that pay for their obscenely expensive election campaigns.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Poverty Epidemic Hits the Suburbs

Why is this presidential campaign so centered on the middle class? What about the poor people? Their numbers are growing, but their fate hasn’t made it into the debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Of course, the Democratic candidate and his Republican opponent don’t have the same vision of where America should go. The president favors an activist government. He bet his political future on an Affordable Care Act that makes a big start toward assuring the availability of health care. Romney favors the crimped vision of the Republican economic leader Rep. Paul Ryan, and his plan to reduce taxes for the rich, eventually privatize Medicare and dismantle Medicaid for the poor.

But little, if anything, is said about the disastrous phenomenon of rising poverty, which, as Hope Yen of The Associated Press reported this week, is “on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century. ... Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor.” Census figures that will be released in the fall, she wrote, are expected to show that poverty has exceeded the level it was at in 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson’s launched his War on Poverty.

These truly are the forgotten Americans. They are invisible to candidates, strategists, pundits and even journalists, except for those dedicated few who stick with the poverty beat.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Congress Must Act After US Government Admits To Unconstitutional Warrantless Wiretapping For the First Time

As Congress and the President rush to re-authorize the dangerous FISA Amendments Act (FAA)—the law shamefully passed after pressure to legalize certain portions of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program—EFF has been sounding the alarm that Americans’ communications are still being unconstitutionally collected by the government without a warrant. On Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, (DNI) begrudgingly agreed, acknowledging that, “on at least one occasion” the secret FISA court “held that some collection…used by the government was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”

In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the DNI declassified three statements at the request of the Senator, one of which indicated that the
FISA Court agreed with Wyden that the government had “circumvented the spirit of the law.” Wired called it a “federal sidestep of a major section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” and the Wall Street Journal confirmed it “represented the first time the government has acknowledged U.S. spy activities violated the constitution since the passage of” the FAA in 2008.

Aurora: A Response to the Conspiracy Theorists

No Rhyme or Reason...What We Really Fear
by John Caelan

In the aftermath of the Aurora "Dark Knight" shootings (a branding which must leave director Christopher Nolan wrenching with stomach pains) commentators, would-be movement messiahs, bunker-bound apologists, and political pundits have inundated the blog-o-sphere and media with a myriad of subjective theories in a vain attempt to define purpose in a purposeless event. It is a curious reflection on the human condition, this need to understand and index all anomalies. Whether one leans towards murmurs of broad conspiracies of intricate false flag operations, or the influences of pharmaceuticals, or the proliferation of guns and ease of acquisition of weaponry in our nation, or the nihilistic effects of an entertainment culture saturated with violence, the goal seems to be singular in its focus: to find rhyme or reason in a tragedy that may have comprised no logic, however warped, whatsoever.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Police Getting Ready for RNC Convention in Tampa

by Tamara Lush

#Spaulf: Stephen Sodheim once wrote a song entitled "Send in the clowns". Don't bother, they're here.

Tampa's "Event Zone" where you will be "allowed" to
protest in groups of 50 or less as long as you obey the rules.
Tampa has hosted four Super Bowls, but the protesters expected to cram into the city for the Republican National Convention will be a different sort of crowd, and the police are trying to be ready.

In 2008, thousands of protesters arrived in St. Paul, Minn., for the RNC. Some smashed cars, punctured tires and threw bottles in a confrontation with pepper-spray wielding police. Hundreds were arrested over a few days, including dozens of journalists.

"Minneapolis surprised everyone," said Rod Reder, a retired Hillsborough County sheriff's captain who worked three Super Bowls in Tampa and the Free Trade Area of the Americas protests in Miami in 2003.

Congress has given Tampa — and Charlotte, the location of the Democratic National Convention — $50 million each in taxpayer money to try to ensure everyone is safe for the political gatherings that crown each party's presidential candidate every four years.

Tampa police have spent about $13.6 million so far on big-ticket security items, including 200 bicycles, 13 electric all-terrain vehicles and one armored truck for the Aug. 27-31 Republican gathering.

However, authorities are not revealing much more about the purchases and other expenditures.

Journalism v. propaganda

by Glenn Greenwald

Almost immediately after a suicide bomber killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria on Wednesday, Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, blamed Iran, an accusation uncritically repeated by most Western media outlets even as Bulgarian investigators warned it would be a “mistake” to assign blame before the attack could be investigated. Now, Israel, along with the U.S., is blaming Hezbollah and, therefore, Iran for the attack. (The) New York Times article by Nicholas Kulish and Eric Schmitt – headlined “Hezbollah Is Blamed for Attack on Israeli Tourists in Bulgaria” – uncritically treats those accusations as confirmed fact despite no evidence being offered for it:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Voter Purging: Our Government’s Answer to Accountability

by S. Paul Forrest

We discussed this as one of the stories - 07-23-12 - on Breaking Taboo - 7:00 PM EST – If you missed the show, Listen to it HERE.

Purging the voter pool seems an innocent enough idea; those people in this nation who cannot prove they are a citizen, cannot vote.  If you do not have legal documents such as a federally certified birth certificate, then too bad; you cannot partake in choosing your Governmental leaders.  If you are a convicted felon whereby you broke the Law of the Land; you cannot vote.  If you live in the inner city where a car is a luxury enjoyed only by the rich so a driver’s license is not needed; you cannot vote.  In other words, only those Americans who have fully adhered to the mandates of absolute subservience to a system designed to control them, can vote.  Yes, it is quite simple.

The problem of course, which seems to be a continuing theme within the out-of-touch political crowd infecting our government’s higher offices, is even simpler: Those trying to purge the voter pool do not want any people from the underclass participating in this Democracy because what this country needs is more greed, selfishness and self-absorptive mandates to control the aforementioned people. Any interference from the undesirables in this nation as politicians further enact America’s own version of Europe’s austerity measures, is unwanted.  The irony is, the poverty, illegal immigrant status and criminal burdens keeping some from the voting booth were created by the very same mentality within our government that is doing nothing save for driving those discounted into participatory oblivion.

The real issue at hand is not a matter of ineligibility as a citizen of these United States to vote; it is a matter of politicians not wanting to be held accountable for their actions (or rather, inactions) and intentions while in office.  Those existing within the disparaged class are the ones who are more aware than any American of how little these politicians are doing to help them.  No where else are the true pains of this self serving system felt than around the tables of those who find their ability to buy food dwindling, their future prospects fading and their hope that America is still the Land of Opportunity, disappearing.  No where else is this pain felt more than among those who are currently being targeted in the voter purge initiative.

It is interesting though, how this action by some States is being blamed on the Republicans while the Democrats, the Party who is supposed to be “for the People”, lay silent; doing nothing to stop it.  The President condemns this initiative in meaningless speeches atop the marble steps of the White House but is doing nothing more than delivering more pretty words in his all too apparent pattern of false promises and empty gestures so far delivered by his Administration.  More talk is not what we need in this Nation; more action is and without it, we will all surely find ourselves purged as well while our Government moves further and further away from representing We the People. 

The Libor Scandal In Full Perspective

by Paul Craig Roberts

The article about the Libor scandal, coauthored with Nomi Prins, received much attention, with Internet repostings, foreign translation, and video interviews. To further clarify the situation, this article brings to the forefront implications that might not be obvious to those without insider experience and knowledge.

The price of Treasury bonds is supported by the Federal Reserve’s large purchases. The Federal Reserve’s purchases are often misread as demand arising from a “flight to quality” due to concern about the EU sovereign debt problem and possible failure of the euro.

Another rationale used to explain the demand for Treasuries despite their negative yield is the “flight to safety.” A 2% yield on a Treasury bond is less of a negative interest rate than the yield of a few basis points on a bank CD, and the US government, unlike banks, can use its central bank to print the money to pay off its debts.

It is possible that some investors purchase Treasuries for these reasons. However, the “safety” and “flight to quality” explanations could not exist if interest rates were rising or were expected to rise. The Federal Reserve prevents the rise in interest rates and decline in bond prices, which normally result from continually issuing new debt in enormous quantities at negative interest rates, by announcing that it has a low interest rate policy and will purchase bonds to keep bond prices high. Without this Fed policy, there could be no flight to safety or quality.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

US Cities Going Bankrupt

by Stephen Lendman

In past decades, many US municipalities declared bankruptcy. Since 1981, 42 cases were filed. Ten came in the past four years. 

Given hard times getting harder, what's happening now is unprecedented since the Great Depression. 

Cities occasionally declare bankruptcy. In America, they're coming more often. Others in dire financial straits may follow.

San Bernardino, CA is the latest. On July 11, The New York Times headlined "Third City In California Votes to Seek Bankruptcy," saying:

Officials have no choice. They can't meet payroll obligations through summer.

"Faced with a budget shortfall of $45 million and city coffers that have already been drained, the San Bernardino City Council voted on Tuesday to file for bankruptcy."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

America’s Drones Are Homeward Bound

Americans have been protesting and getting arrested at U.S. drone bases and research institutions for years, and some members of Congress are starting to respond to the pressure.

But it’s not that drones are being used to extrajudicially execute people, including Americans, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia that has U.S. lawmakers concerned. Rather it’s the possible and probable violation of Americans’ privacy in the United States by unlawful drone surveillance that has caught the attention of legislators.

Rep. Jeff Landry, R-La., says “there is distrust amongst the people who have come and discussed this issue with me about our government. It’s raising alarm with the American public.” Based on those discussions, Landry has placed a provision in a defense spending bill that would prohibit information gathered by drones without a warrant from being used as evidence in court.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Vicious Walking U.S. Zombie

by Larry Pinkney
Intrepid Report

“Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.”—Frantz Fanon

It is not Africa, Asia, or Europe that have died in the 21st century. It is the Empire of the United States that is dying and decaying.

As in the case of the once mighty British Empire, whose vast ill-gotten colonial possessions spanned the globe and upon whom it was said that the sun could never set, so it is with the crumbling, yet increasingly vicious, Empire of the United States.

The United States is incapable of spreading genuine ‘democracy,’ for it has itself no democracy to spread. Moreover, real democracy is home grown, and is not some kind of commodity that can be spread by outside force at the end of bayonets, gun barrels, bombs, or predator drone missiles. This is the stuff of Empires, not democracies. Empires can only subvert democracy, not spread it. And all Empires ultimately wither and fail.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

America’s Food: Where Our Survival Meets Our Death

by S. Paul Forrest

If you missed the show - 07-16-12 - on Breaking Taboo - 7:00 PM EST – LISTEN TO IT HERE
Food: It's a simple word; one syllable with one meaning: Survival.  Food is essential for it nourishes our bodies in order for us to continue to live, work and play. Our human and even, animal forms on this planet of ours, cannot survive without it.  However, with the advent of overt or rather, covert, political power and corporate prowess, it has come to represent control over the people and profit without conscience both of which would seem fitting in this, our modern world, which has become infected with greed and obsessed with power; operating without remorse.  As has been said; those who control the food, control the population and no where is this more readily evident than in our present day world where genetically modified and chemically manipulated foods are being lobbied for by corporations like Monsanto who stand to make a great deal of money from it.

Food is most often not seen as just sustenance: Much of our food is enjoyed for its flavor, alone. Restaurants, meant to serve our sapid, culinary desires only, continue to pop up like daisies every year.  Many of these establishments though, are just too expensive for the average, monetarily challenged American so in order to provide a more affordable alternative to said, fine cuisine, corporate owned restaurants like McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken have come to the rescue with their fat laden, sugar laced, carcinogenic appointed menus in order to offer those who can’t afford to eat elsewhere, the opportunity to poison themselves and their children with everything from pink slime to faux fries made of anything save for that which is healthy.  Most partaking of this fare seem not to mind the reality of the dangers involved. In fact, the worse the food is for them, the more they seem to crave it.  

Food fully saturated with fat, preservatives and genetically modified ingredients, flood our food chain with seemingly no concern by those who are supposed to be regulating it. From steroid ridden meat to chemical soaked vegetables, even the most basic of our foods and historically “good” for us pabulum, has become a detriment to our collective health.  Those in the corporate quasi-corpus have adopted a poisoned ideology that is meant only for profit, regardless of the long term health risks that it imbibes. The corporate puppets in Washington, in their infinite wisdom, have determined that not only do genetically modified foods not have to be labeled, they have decided to perpetuate a sickness so perverted with greed that even the best among us is at risk from it’s malfeasant attempts to profit from one of our most basic, human needs.   

In place of nutrition, we here in America have come to accept genetically modified foods and chemical additives meant only to please our retronasal, culinary obsessions instead of acknowledging the long term, physical ramifications of said modification and the thousands of pesticides inundating it.  It is bad enough that no one fights against the poisoning of our water, air and earth but to lay silent whilst our food is manipulated and open to be marketed by those who are responsible for protecting us from such manipulation, is beyond reproach.  It is one thing to sacrifice yourself to the gastric gods but to allow even your baby’s food to be poisoned while you sit sedated in front of the television is less than responsible; it is neglectful.  When will you draw the line between survival and death? When will you awaken to the reality that food has become a poison and acceptance of the current system's proliferation of it is akin to suicide, and demand a stop to it?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Selling of American Democracy: The Perfect Storm

by Robert Reich

Who’s buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers, and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn. 

And they’re doing much of it in secret.

It’s a perfect storm:

The greatest concentration of wealth in more than a century — courtesy “trickle-down” economics, Reagan and Bush tax cuts, and the demise of organized labor.

Combined with…

Unlimited political contributions — courtesy of Republican-appointed Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy, in one of the dumbest decisions in Supreme Court history, “Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission,” along with lower-court rulings that have expanded it.

The Real Libor Scandal

by Paul Craig Roberts and Nomi Prins

S. Paul Note:  This is relevant to America since England seems to be, in recent years, our twin when speaking in terms of faux-terrorist plot fights and austerity measures.  This is a reflection of what is occurring here in our own Nation, and should be viewed as a foreshadowing of the crimes committed by corporate banksters now and soon to be uncovered in the near future, here in the U.S.

According to news reports, UK banks fixed the London interbank borrowing rate (Libor) with the complicity of the Bank of England (UK central bank) at a low rate in order to obtain a cheap borrowing cost. The way this scandal is playing out is that the banks benefitted from borrowing at these low rates. Whereas this is true, it also strikes us as simplistic and as a diversion from the deeper, darker scandal.

Banks are not the only beneficiaries of lower Libor rates. Debtors (and investors) whose floating or variable rate loans are pegged in some way to Libor also benefit. One could argue that by fixing the rate low, the banks were cheating themselves out of interest income, because the effect of the low Libor rate is to lower the interest rate on customer loans, such as variable rate mortgages that banks possess in their portfolios. But the banks did not fix the Libor rate with their customers in mind. Instead, the fixed Libor rate enabled them to improve their balance sheets, as well as help to perpetuate the regime of low interest rates. The last thing the banks want is a rise in interest rates that would drive down the values of their holdings and reveal large losses masked by rigged interest rates.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dear Poverty: It's not you, it's me

by Tsara Shelton

Stop Poverty by Scaramouchi
We've been together a long time, you and me. And what a ride we've had! There were times when I couldn't have loved you more my dear poverty, and times when it seemed as if all that kept us together was my absolute hatred for you. However, I have to admit, that these last few years I feel like we've stayed together more because I feel bad leaving, after all that you've given me, than because we still belong together.

But like I tell my kids, doing what's truly right for you is the best way to take care of everyone else in your life. And so I feel certain that it is time I move on.

Looking back I can see the attraction we had for each other was tangible and real. In so many ways I needed you. I discovered the world of recycling clothes and books could be easily as rewarding as buying my own. I was often tempted to steal, knowing well what it is to want, but because my relationship with you was so solid I also knew what it was to go without, and how unnecessary so many of my wants were.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bravery and Drone Pilots

by Glenn Greenwald

The effort to depict drone warfare as some sort of courageous and noble act is intensifying:
The Pentagon is considering awarding a Distinguished Warfare Medal to drone pilots who work on military bases often far removed from the battlefield. . . .

Army Institute of Heraldry chief Charles] Mugno said most combat decorations require “boots on the ground” in a combat zone, but he noted that “emerging technologies” such as drones and cyber combat missions are now handled by troops far removed from combat.

The Pentagon has not formally endorsed the medal, but Mugno’s institute has completed six alternate designs for commission approval. . . .

The proposed medal would rank between the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Soldier’s Medal for exceptional conduct outside a combat zone.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Revolution Equation

by Allan Goldstein

Poster Art by
S. Paul Note: "Get a job" they decry, where there are no jobs to be gotten..."Go back to God" they preach, when the only God they want us to worship is their control... "We will create change" they claim, when that change centers arround low paying, unlivable wage, slavery jobs to bring profit for the corporate elites... "We will take back our country" they announce, when what they really want is to take it back for they and their class, alone. The time has come to tell them what We want...What We will no settle for less than: Our America and our world for that matter, to be returned to the People.

A weariness besets the world.   America drifts, Europe crumbles, China slows, markets everywhere are tired and broken.   A sort of nervous exhaustion stalks societies, our problems feel bigger than our solutions.

This stagnation is a symptom, the disease is the lack of hope.   The cause is intellectual fatigue; the world is dying for the want of a new idea.   But this inertia won't last forever.

Sooner or later the human spirit will rise and change will come.

Most of human history is drudgery, things are the way they are because they've always been the way they are.   The slave, the peasant, the serf, the toiler, the tenant farmer and disposable cubicle drone all submitted to their miserable fate quietly, generation after generation.

We look at the past and wonder how they put up with it.   The answer is that they didn't see the possibility of a better way.   And their betters made sure they never would.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The GOP’s Crime Against Voters

Spare us any more hooey about “preventing fraud” and “protecting the integrity of the ballot box.” The Republican-led crusade for voter ID laws is revealed as a cynical ploy to disenfranchise as many likely Democratic voters as possible, with poor people and minorities the main targets.

Recent developments in Pennsylvania—one of more than a dozen states where voting rights are under siege—should be enough to erase any lingering doubt: The GOP is trying to pull off an unconscionable crime.

Late last month, the majority leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mike Turzai, was addressing a meeting of the Republican State Committee. He must have felt at ease among friends because he spoke a bit too frankly.

Ticking off a list of recent accomplishments by the GOP-controlled Legislature, he mentioned the new law forcing voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Said Turzai, with more than a hint of triumph: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania—done.”

Monday, July 9, 2012

After The Fireworks Have Faded: Intimations of Bosons Among a Cacophony of Bozos

On July 4, the people of the U.S. marked the passing of another year's perfunctory, Independence Day festivities. The date, also, was occasioned by the formal announcement from physicists at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) that, according to the banner headline at CERN's official website, "Higgs within reach […] Our understanding of the universe is about to change […] [Our] experiments see strong indications for the presence of a new particle, which could be the Higgs boson."

Thus, augur the smart people at CERN, a change in our fundamental understanding of the universe, and our place as human beings in it, is at hand. From their lips to the mouth of the God Particle, this development, if true, would be cause for celebration -- that a display of fireworks should be in order -- because of an embrace of the philosophical and social implications of this discovery could be the starting point of a profound form of independence: the release from ossified systems of thought and being, such as those dominating the present era, including the hagiography of U.S. Independence Day.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

America’s “Representatives” Continue to Support Job Losses

by S. Paul Forrest

We discussed this as one of the stories - 07-09-12 - on Breaking Taboo - - 7:00 PM EST - If you missed the show, listen to it HERE.

Many have claimed that the recent recession in America was caused by the housing bubble which eventually burst.  Others claim it was caused by over speculation from Wall Street robbers or the manipulation of interest rates and the Federal Reserve’s role in it.  Still others recognize the cost of a resource war in the Middle East which has exponentially added to our problems and continues to do so is the problem.  Although the afore mentioned factors have contributed to our economic failures, the bulk of American jobs were lost and continue to be so because corporations left our shores courtesy of Congressionally approved free trade pacts and corporate purchased, tariff-free import agreements with foreign countries for both material and intellectual property. 

The latest of these government-backed actions ridding our country of jobs has emerged via the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement which is essentially, the big brother of S.O.P.A.  The T.P.P.A. is an agreement between Pacific Rim nations whereby those participating would enjoy absolute freedom from tariffs and open our shores to more corporations able to leave America to open factories in countries where low wages are acceptable and environmental concerns are ignored for the sole purpose of making greater profits.  Those within the greed infected circles of this agreement argue the trade agreements will bring prosperity to those countries participating but the only prosperity enjoyed will be by those corporations who will be able to profit from its unilaterally perpetuated misery.

This Agreement, if enacted, would eliminate 11,000 tariff lines among those countries participating in the T.P.P.A.’s corporatist club house.  The proposed tariff elimination would mean that not only could companies operate overseas without restrictions pertaining to the environment, labor compensation and taxation in any fashion but they also could operate, produce and then ship their products back to us; the greatest consumers in the world, here in America, for free. Meanwhile, we are expected to believe the media pushers and political puppets who tell us this agreement is “good” for our economy but the reality of this pro-corporate, anti-American, job destroyer is quite different.  Yes, goods will become cheaper but our GNP and our wage levels will decrease proportionately courtesy of labor costs and human rights violations so prevalent within the other member nations.

The saddest part of this action is not the job losses or the proliferation of human rights violations but rather, it is how a President who claims continuously on the campaign trail to support the “little guy”, is engaging in talks to bring this further degradation of our employment situation to fruition.  Even worse, are how many people so desperate to see real change from the ever increasing despair globally to a system of opportunity and equality, still so ignorantly believe that the current system operating under the guise of representation within our Government, actually cares for them, their families and their friends. 

To this author, the TPPA represents only one thing: How We the People are no longer represented and how the two party, “Democratic” system has become nothing more than a mechanism used to blind us all to the truth of how our government has become corrupted by corporate greed.  If we are ever to reclaim our America, we must act to stop not only the TPPA, but every other plan being devised by our “leaders” to only further degrade our economic and national security only to enslave us within a world of servitude while they alone, reap the benefits of our labors both physical and mental. The time has come for real change...real hope.  The kind of hope that agreements like this will never bring; only We the People can do that and it is well past the time for us to do so.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Military Solution

The Lessons Washington Can't Draw From the Failure of the Military Option
by Tom Engelhardt

Americans may feel more distant from war than at any time since World War II began.  Certainly, a smaller percentage of us -- less than 1% -- serves in the military in this all-volunteer era of ours and, on the face of it, Washington’s constant warring in distant lands seems barely to touch the lives of most Americans. 

And yet the militarization of the United States and the strengthening of the National Security Complex continues to accelerate.  The Pentagon is, by now, a world unto itself, with a staggering budget at a moment when no other power or combination of powers comes near to challenging this country’s might. 

In the post-9/11 era, the military-industrial complex has been thoroughly mobilized under the rubric of “privatization” and now goes to war with the Pentagon.  With its $80 billion-plus budget, the intelligence bureaucracy has simply exploded.  There are so many competing agencies and outfits, surrounded by a universe of private intelligence contractors, all enswathed in a penumbra of secrecy, and they have grown so large, mainly under the Pentagon’s aegis, that you could say intelligence is now a ruling way of life in Washington -- and it, too, is being thoroughly militarized.  Even the once-civilian CIA has undergone a process of para-militarization and now runs its own “covert” drone wars in Pakistan and elsewhere.  Its director, a widely hailed retired four-star general, was previously the U.S. war commander in Iraq and then Afghanistan, just as the National Intelligence Director who oversees the whole intelligence labyrinth is a retired Air Force lieutenant general.   

NAFTA on Steroids

by Lori Wallach

While the Occupy movement has forced a public discussion of extreme corporate influence on every aspect of our lives, behind closed doors corporate America is implementing a stealth strategy to formalize its rule in a truly horrifying manner. The mechanism is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Negotiations have been conducted in extreme secrecy, so you are in good company if you have never heard of it. But the thirteenth round of negotiations between the United States and eight Pacific Rim nations will be held in San Diego in early July. 

The TPP has been cleverly misbranded as a trade agreement (yawn) by its corporate boosters. As a result, since George W. Bush initiated negotiations in 2008, it has cruised along under the radar. The Obama administration initially paused the talks, ostensibly to develop a new approach compatible with candidate Obama’s pledges to replace the old NAFTA-based trade model. But by late 2009, talks restarted just where Bush had left off.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What's Right And Wrong With the Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare

by C. Virginia Fields

For millions of Americans living with HIV and AIDS, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a silver cloud -- but it's a cloud with a dark lining. While the ACA will be a godsend for so many people who currently don't have access to health care, including many living with HIV and AIDS, millions of other Americans who would stand to benefit from state-level expansion of Medicaid may be faced with no reasonable health care alternatives as a result of the ruling.

Currently, HIV and AIDS are considered pre-existing conditions. While 13% of people living with AIDS have private health insurance, 24% have no insurance coverage at all -- in some cases because of cost but often because coverage is denied by insurance companies. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, private insurance companies will soon be prevented from denying care because of pre-existing conditions and imposing lifetime caps on benefits that disproportionately affect people living with AIDS. Thanks to the Supreme Court's ruling, the Affordable Care Act -- including these vital provisions -- will soon go into effect and improve access to care for millions. And in the interim, people living with AIDS can access a special insurance pool for those with pre-existing conditions.

Climate Change: ‘This Is Just the Beginning’

by Amy Goodman

Evidence supporting the existence of climate change is pummeling the United States this summer, from the mountain wildfires of Colorado to the recent “derecho” storm that left at least 23 dead and 1.4 million people without power from Illinois to Virginia. The phrase “extreme weather” flashes across television screens from coast to coast, but its connection to climate change is consistently ignored, if not outright mocked. If our news media, including—or especially—the meteorologists, continue to ignore the essential link between extreme weather and climate change, then we as a nation, the greatest per capita polluters on the planet, may not act in time to avert even greater catastrophe.

More than 2,000 heat records were broken last week around the U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency that tracks the data, reported that the spring of 2012 “marked the largest temperature departure from average of any season on record for the contiguous United States.” These record temperatures in May, NOAA says, “have been so dramatically different that they establish a new ‘neighborhood’ apart from the historical year-to-date temperatures.”