Tag Archives | Government

Activist Comics: Compulsory Voting

It’s kind of crazy that people will accept an army draft in wartime, serving jury duty, and now buying health insurance as government mandates, but the notion of required voting provokes outraged reactions. As it is, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be quick to point out you don’t even have a right to vote.

As I have screened PAY 2 PLAY across the country, audience members have been thankful for including solutions that attack the cycle of pay-to-play outlined in our documentary. Most of the fundamental reforms we list in our Fix Six are welcomed without question–except one. Compulsory Voting.

Law students in particular take issue with the idea. As proponents of civil liberties, they’ll insist, how can that be fair? The government forcing people to vote is an abomination. I’d think it is a much bigger abomination that only 36% voted in the 2014 midterms, and they are allowed to affect the country so drastically.… Read the rest

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Is Obama Covering Up the Scope of CIA Torture?

Central_Intelligence_Agency_logoJon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

“The public has to know about it. They don’t want the public to know about it.”

That’s what Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told the Huffington Post on Thursday night regarding continued White House stalling over release of a report that catalogs the internal investigation of CIA torture during the Bush years. The comments followed a close-door meeting between Senate Democrats and Obama administration officials that took place just hours before the president gave a much-anticipated speech on another subject, immigration reform.

Rockefeller said the torture report is “being slow-walked to death” by the administration and told the HuffPost, “They’re doing everything they can not to release it.”

“[The report] makes a lot of people who did really bad things look really bad,” Rockefeller continued, “which is the only way not to repeat those mistakes in the future.”

Though the report has been completed for many months, the members of the Senate Intelligence committee have been fighting with the White House, which allowed CIA officials to review its findings, over the scope of redactions to the report’s summary before it’s made public.

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How Economic and Social Rights Disappeared from the United States

 democapitol (CC BY 2.0)

democapitol (CC BY 2.0)

via Dissident Voice:

Several years ago the Occupy movement captured the imagination of an American public disillusioned with the country’s socioeconomic system, which had failed to provide them with a standard of living commensurate with wealth of the richest country in the history of the world. Occupy provided a forum for average citizens to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo, and created a framework to view what was happening in society as a class war waged by the 1% against the 99%.

Many economic and social goals were proposed such as a living wage, free higher education, and single-payer health care system, to name a few. While many would consider those all worthy goals in the public interest, none have been implemented by the federal government.  It is striking that in the 21st century it is even necessary to have this debate in the United States.

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Feds Indict Another Person For Teaching People How To Beat Polygraph Tests

walknboston (CC BY 2.0)

walknboston (CC BY 2.0)

via Tech Dirt:

Polygraph technology is far from infallible and has been for so long that it’s practically common knowledge. And yet, the federal government still wants everyone to believe polygraphs tests separate the honest from the liars with incredibly high accuracy. So, it cracks down on those who claim to be able to help others beat the tests.

In 2012, federal agents began investigating Chad Dixon and Doug Williams, two men who sold books, videos and personal instruction sessions on beating polygraph tests. Late last year, Dixon was sentenced to eight months in prison for obstruction and wire fraud charges. The government claimed his actions jeopardized national security, pointing to a client list that included intelligence employees, law enforcement agents and sex offenders.

The government has just handed down an indictment [pdf link] of its second target — former Oklahoma City police polygraph administrator Doug Williams.

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$548 Billion In Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies “Rig The Game” Against Renewables

Screen-Shot-2014-11-13-at-11.06.36-AM-590x298

via Clean Technica:

In the same week that a new study found that G20 nations, including Australia, were providing $US88 billion ($A102 billion) a year in subsidies just for fossil fuel exploration, another report – this time from the highly conservative International Energy Agency – has put a number to the global value of subsidies that artificially lowered end-use prices for all forms of fossil energy in 2013: $US548 billion.

It’s a huge number, and although $25 billion less than in 2012, the IEA notes that the $548 billion spent in 2013 – over half of which was directed to oil products – remains more than four times the value of subsidies to renewable energy and more than four times the amount invested globally on improving energy efficiency.

In its 2014 World Energy Outlook report, released on Wednesday, the IEA says the subsidisation of fossil fuels remains a big problem globally, imposing enormous economic, social and environmental costs.

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Key Factors Enabling the American Government to Commit Horrific Acts Abroad

gaelx (CC BY-SA 2.0)

gaelx (CC BY-SA 2.0)

John Chuckman writes at Globalresearch.ca:

Political Bunraku

For those who are not familiar, Bunraku is an old form of Japanese puppet theater, its distinctive characteristic being that the puppeteers are on the stage with their puppets, dressed in black so that the audience can pretend not to see them.

While many old art forms have conventions that are unrealistic by modern standards, there is something particularly unsatisfying about bunraku: you can pretend not to see the puppeteers but you cannot fail to see them.

Bunraku, as it happens, offers a remarkable metaphor for some contemporary operations of American foreign policy. So many times – in Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Venezuela, Egypt – we see dimly the actors on stage, yet we are supposed to pretend they are not there. We can’t identify them with precision, but we know they are there. Most oddly, the press in the United States, and to a lesser extent that of its various allies and dependents, pretends to report what is happening without ever mentioning the actors.

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China and the New World Order

Military tensions, cyber espionage accusations, a brewing currency war; with every passing day, the headlines paint a convincing portrait of an emerging cold war between China and the West. But is this surface level reality the whole picture, or is there a deeper level to this conflict? Is China an opponent to the New World Order global governmental system or a witting collaborator with it? Join us in this in-depth edition of The Corbett Report podcast as we explore China’s position in the New World Order.

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Is Government Obsolete?

George Gilder at the launch event for his book The Silicon Eye, at the Computer History Museum, April 2005.  Dicklyon (CC BY 3.0).

George Gilder at the launch event for his book The Silicon Eye, at the Computer History Museum, April 2005.
Dicklyon (CC BY 3.0).

From the Wired Archives:

Is the free market all we need to build a robust and democratic political economy for the 21st century? Two authors take aim at George Gilder.

By David Kline

It is ironic that just when governments the world over have reached the zenith of their power, the very notion of government as a viable social institution and a force for the public good is under assault.

Ironic but not surprising. Clotted with the bureaucracy and ossification that have piled up over two centuries of the industrial age, government today is among the forces in society most resistant to change. Compared with business, which must constantly adapt and innovate in order to compete successfully, government seems to grow more bloated and ineffective as its leaders claim they are making it leaner and meaner.

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Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets

iEVIW_IslFYo

via The Week:

For as long as I’ve been reading about alien conspiracies, it’s been an accepted article of faith among believers that the government was the enemy of the people and was conspiring with an alien race, or simply with other governments in our world, to keep evidence of a sentient extraterrestrial presence hidden.

In 2012, authors Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel became instant iconoclasts within the believer community when they published a book, After Disclosure, that laid out meticulously what the government should do to prepare the public for the “disclosure” of the conspiracy. The book leans in to the notion itself. The government conspirators, say these two, think that the conspiracy is untenable and that a full and open discussion of the fact of alien sentience is the best way to unite the world. Somehow.

This big secret will be revealed in 2015, if the chatter on shows like Coast-to-Coast AM is any indication.

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Capitalism is the Legitimate Racket of the Ruling Class – Al Capone

 

Al_Capone_in_1930

via Histomatist:

Al Capone on Capitalism

It is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that ‘Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class’, – and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn’s autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all.

In 1930, Cockburn, then a correspondent in America for the Times newspaper, interviewed Al Capone at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, when Capone was at the height of his power. He recalls that except for ‘the sub-machine gun…poking through the transom of a door behind the desk, Capone’s own room was nearly indistinguishable from that of, say, a “newly arrived” Texan oil millionaire. Apart from the jowly young murderer on the far side of the desk, what took the eye were a number of large, flattish, solid silver bowls upon the desk, each filled with roses.

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