Tag Archives | America

Failure Is Success: How American Intelligence Works in the Twenty-First Century

514zcaXr01LTom Engelhardt’s new book “Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World” is now out!

via Tom Dispatch:

What are the odds? You put about $68 billion annually into a maze of 17 major intelligence outfits. You build them glorious headquarters.  You create a global surveillance state for the ages. You listen in on your citizenry and gather their communications in staggering quantities.  Your employees even morph into avatars and enter video-game landscapes, lest any Americans betray a penchant for evil deeds while in entertainment mode. You collect information on visits to porn sites just in case, one day, blackmail might be useful. You pass around naked photos of them just for… well, the salacious hell of it.  Your employees even use aspects of the system you’ve created to stalk former lovers and, within your arcane world, that act of “spycraft” gains its own name: LOVEINT.

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Kids as Young as 12 Working in America’s Tobacco Fields

Tobacco field by John Buie via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Tobacco field by John Buie via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

via Politico Magazine:

The Obama administration has made curbing nicotine use by kids a public health priority, with efforts including mass media campaigns to reduce teen smoking and a proposed ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors. But when it comes to the serious health risks run by thousands of children who work each summer on tobacco farms in the United States, the administration has been conspicuously silent.

Lax federal labor laws allow kids as young as 12 to work in tobacco fields, despite mounting evidence that they can contract acute nicotine poisoning from handling tobacco leaves. Even some tobacco growers and companies take the position that U.S. laws and regulations aren’t strong enough. But the Obama administration has said little and done even less. That needs to change.

A Human Rights Watch report released in May documented the dangers to children working on American tobacco farms based on a year’s research and interviews with 141 child tobacco workers, ages 7 to 17, in the country’s four largest tobacco-producing states: North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

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“And prove to me, America, that you care. And prove to me, America, you’re aware” – ‘Is It For Freedom?’ by Sarah Thomsen

via chycho

A message to the citizens of the United States of America regarding your doctrine of endless war, delivered through song by Sara Thomsen.

“Is It For Freedom?” by Sara Thomsen

Below you will find the Lyrics for “Is It For Freedom?” from the 1999 album “Fertile Ground”.

Rulers of the nations as you fuss and fight
Over who owns this or that and who has the right
To design, build, sell and store and fire
All the bombs and guns to defend your holy empire

There are children hungry, children sick and dying
There are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers crying
They’re only pawns in your play of power and corruption
Slowly starve them, your new weapon of mass destruction


And prove to me, America, that you care
And prove to me, America, you’re aware
Who’s dying for your freedom in this land
Who pays the cost for the liberties you demand

Is it for freedom, or our comfort and convenience
Is it to profit for big business we pledge our allegiance
Are we prisoners in the land of the brave and the bold?

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1 in 4 Americans Open to Secession

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America the Beautiful, Pat’s Run, April 2014, Tempe, Arizona. by Kevin Dooley via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

Scott Malone writes at Reuters:

The failed Scottish vote to pull out from the United Kingdom stirred secessionist hopes for some in the United States, where almost a quarter of people are open to their states leaving the union, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.

The urge to sever ties with Washington cuts across party lines and regions, though Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners, according to the poll.

Anger with President Barack Obama’s handling of issues ranging from healthcare reform to the rise of Islamic State militants drives some of the feeling, with Republican respondents citing dissatisfaction with his administration as coloring their thinking.

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The Working Class is Underrepresented in Rap – An Interview with Killer Mike

It was while listening to the horrifically embarrassing clipping. album Sub Pop put out a few months back that I suddenly realized exactly why I fail to connect with the vast majority of hip hop artists I check out (not that I CAN connect with the rich kid hipster lifestyle rock and house beat pop bullshit the corplantations push these days). So many MC’s are far too bamboozled by the hustle of the street that they fail to see the cycles of daemonic exploitation keeping themselves and their community down systematically. Really just a comment on our failed educational system more than anything, which is something Killer Mike addresses in his lyrics quite specifically. For every rap mogul gangsta, there’s a white collar CEO or Wall Street spook colder and richer than they’ll ever be by a hundred fold. They’re the ones funding these bling rap records. I wonder why. You gotta read between the lines.… Read the rest

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The American Cult of Bombing

Car bombing in Iraq, 2005. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Car bombing in Iraq, 2005. Via Wikimedia Commons.

William J. Astore outlines America’s history of bombing and how we can expect more of it.

via TomDispatch (please follow the link to read the entire piece):

When you do something again and again, placing great faith in it, investing enormous amounts of money in it, only to see indifferent or even negative results, you wouldn’t be entirely surprised if a neutral observer questioned your sanity or asked you if you were part of some cult.  Yet few Americans question the sanity or cult-like behavior of American presidents as they continue to seek solutions to complex issues by bombing Iraq (as well as numerous other countries across the globe).

Poor Iraq. From Operation Desert Shield/Storm under George H.W. Bush to enforcing no-fly zones under Bill Clinton to Operation Iraqi Freedom under George W. Bush to the latest “humanitarian” bombing under Barack Obama, the one constant is American bombs bursting in Iraqi desert air.  Yet despite this bombing — or rather in part because of it — Iraq is a devastated and destabilized country, slowly falling apart at seams that have been unraveling under almost a quarter-century of steady, at times relentless, pounding.  “Shock and awe,” anyone?

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Chomsky on America’s Increasingly Corporatized University System

Being a graduate of a large educational institution this hits close to home. It also outlines why I eventually decided to forego my plans to work within academia.

via Alternet:

On hiring faculty off the tenure track

That’s part of the business model. It’s the same as hiring temps in industry or what they call “associates” at Wal-Mart, employees that aren’t owed benefits. It’s a part of a  corporate business model designed to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility. When universities become corporatized, as has been happening quite systematically over the last generation as part of the general neoliberal assault on the population, their business model means that what matters is the bottom line.

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World War I Propaganda 100 Years On

100 years ago this month, hostilities broke out in the most hellish war the world had seen at the time.  Naively, we thought that this was the “War to End All Wars,” as though the memory of atrocity and suffering were the best safeguard against it!  Here is some World War I propaganda various nations used to incite people to participate in throwing away lives for no reason. What will the propaganda inciting people to participate in throwing away lives for no reason look like in our next war?

See more propaganda on a previous post here.

Head over to WW1 Propaganda.com for the entire collection.

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Down With Western ‘Democracy’!

GodBlessAmericaAndre Vltchek writes at CounterPunch:

A specter is haunting Europe and Western world — it is this time, the specter of fascism. It came quietly, without great fanfare and parades, without raised hands and loud shouts. But it came, or it returned, as it has always been present in this culture, one that has, for centuries, been enslaving our entire planet.

As was in Nazi Germany, resistance to the fascist empire is again given an unsavory name: terrorism. Partisans and patriots, resistance fighters – all of them were and have always been defined by fascist bigots as terrorists.

By the logic of Empire, to murder millions of men, women and children in all corners of the world abroad is considered legitimate and patriotic, but to defend one’s motherland was and is a sign of extremism.

German Nazis and Italian Fascists defined their rule as ‘democratic’, and so does this Empire.

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