Tag Archives | Government

Inverted Totalitarianism: A New Way of Understanding How the U.S. Is Controlled

51Nq0NjuepLChalmers Johnson via Alternet:

Reviewed: Democracy Incorporated by Sheldon S. Wolin (Princeton University Press, 2008)

It is not news that the United States is in great trouble. The pre-emptive war it launched against Iraq more than five years ago was and is a mistake of monumental proportions — one that most Americans still fail to acknowledge. Instead they are arguing about whether we should push on to “victory” when even our own generals tell us that a military victory is today inconceivable. Our economy has been hollowed out by excessive military spending over many decades while our competitors have devoted themselves to investments in lucrative new industries that serve civilian needs. Our political system of checks and balances has been virtually destroyed by rampant cronyism and corruption in Washington, D.C., and by a two-term president who goes around crowing “I am the decider,” a concept fundamentally hostile to our constitutional system.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

All the Creepy Ways Big Brother Is Watching You

1984

John W. Whitehead Via Activist Post:

“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
—George Orwell, 1984

None of us are perfect. All of us bend the rules occasionally. Even before the age of overcriminalization, when the most upstanding citizen could be counted on to break at least three laws a day without knowing it, most of us have knowingly flouted the law from time to time.

Indeed, there was a time when most Americans thought nothing of driving a few miles over the speed limit, pausing (rather than coming to a full stop) at a red light when making a right-hand turn if no one was around, jaywalking across the street, and letting their kid play hookie from school once in a while. Of course, that was before the era of speed cameras that ticket you for going even a mile over the posted limit, red light cameras that fine you for making safe “rolling stop” right-hand turns on red, surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition software mounted on street corners, and school truancy laws that fine parents for “unexcused” absences.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Astronomers spot clouds on Mars: Is the U.S. Government terraforming the red planet?

Via Shepard Ambellas at Intellihub:

Cloud-like formations were originally spotted within the atmosphere of Mars by astronomers in 2012, leading some to believe the planet may be habitable or is being transformed in some way to make it so.

In fact images show the vapor formation to be over 621 miles across, which is larger than any other formation previously spotted within the red planet’s atmosphere to date.

A planetary scientist with the European Space Agency says this “raises more questions than answers”.

Damien Peach, an astronomer said, “I noticed this projection sticking out of the side of the planet. To begin with, I thought there was a problem with the telescope or camera. But as I checked more of the images, I realized it was a real feature – and it was quite a surprise.”

According to reports the haze lasted about 10-days before reemerging about 30-days later as it appears these new clouds are beginning to form in a more consistent manner than ever before, bringing only one thing to mind — the 1990 science fiction film Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ashton Carter: No Word of Peace

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:

Alice Slater, New York director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, breaks down Obama’s pick for the next Secretary of Defense (head of the U.S military), Ashton Carter. She scratches the surface of this man’s past genuflections toward the weapons and defense industry. The Senate approved his nomination 93 – 5, which demonstrates the obsequious, acquiescent, complacent, and no-questions-asked nature of the military-industrial-Congressional-complex. Previously serving as the Pentagon’s chief arms buyer, Carter has advocated preemptively bombing North Korea, arming the Ukrainian government, and opposes shutting down Guantanamo Bay. He has made tens of thousands of dollars from advocating war, pushes nuclear weapons production, and has consulted for defense corporations time and time again. Due to previous conflicts of interest, Cater required an ethics waiver to join the pro-war Obama administration.

There is no word of peace from this man. Please, for the love God, do not vote for any majority party in the 2016 U.S National Elections.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Unauthorized Government Attacks Are Murder

Unmanned

Via Ivan Eland at Antiwar.com:

Although U.S. drones firing missiles at suspected bad guys in faraway places – such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia – have gotten much publicity in recent years, it was recently revealed that the CIA assassinated top Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mugniyah with a good old fashioned car bomb in Damascus, Syria with President George W. Bush’s strident approval in 2008. Because of an executive order, signed in 1975 by President Gerald Ford, prohibiting assassinations by the CIA, presidents usually get around that order by using the military to kill an enemy bigwig and then make the disingenuous claim that it was merely taking out a “command and control” target rather than an assassination. In this case, Bush, never one to observe constitutional or legal niceties, became incensed that the CIA director was being too timid in carrying out the hit using the exploding car. The real issue in such cases is not whether it is more dangerous to liberty to kill the enemy using a high tech drone or a more traditional car bomb, but whether it constitutional to do either.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Twitter’s Latest Transparency Report

Every 6 months, Twitter releases a statement that outlines government requests for information on its users. They’ve released their latest report, though it has been heavily redacted.

In October, Twitter sued the US government “to allow it to release more information (the case is still pending), and today, the government allowed Twitter to publish a heavily redacted version of a letter the company drafted to inform its users about surveillance requests.”

Screen-shot-2015-02-09-at-9.39.59-AM

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The 3 deadliest drugs in America are all totally legal

via Vox Media.

via Vox.

German Lopez via Vox:

As the US debates drug policy reforms and marijuana legalization, there’s one aspect of the war on drugs that remains perplexingly contradictory: some of the most dangerous drugs in the US are legal.

Don’t believe it? The available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows tobacco, alcohol, and opioid-based prescription painkillers were responsible for more direct deaths than any other drug in 2011. This chart compares those drug deaths with the best available data for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana deaths [show above].

Now, this chart isn’t a perfect comparison across the board. One driver of tobacco and alcohol deaths is that both substances are legal and easily available. Other substances would likely be far deadlier if they were as available as tobacco and alcohol. (Heroin-linked deaths in particular have been trending up since 2010, topping 8,200 in 2013 and making heroin deadlier overall than cocaine.) And federal data excludes some deaths, particularly less direct illicit drug deaths, which is why the chart focuses on direct health complications for all drugs.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

On Leaving the United States

Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0)

Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0)

Sami Al-Arian writes at CounterPunch:

After 40 years, my time in the U.S. has come to an end. Like many immigrants of my generation, I came to the U.S. in 1975 to seek a higher education and greater opportunities. I also wanted to live in a free society where freedom of speech, association and religion are not only tolerated but guaranteed and protected under the law. That’s why I decided to stay and raise my family here, after earning my doctorate in 1986. Simply put, to me, freedom of speech and thought represented the cornerstone of a dignified life.

Today, freedom of expression has become a defining feature in the struggle to realize our humanity and liberty. The forces of intolerance, hegemony, and exclusionary politics tend to favor the stifling of free speech and the suppression of dissent. But nothing is more dangerous than when such suppression is perpetrated and sanctioned by government.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen: The FAA is regulating business on the moon

Via Reuters:

(Reuters) – The United States government has taken a new, though preliminary, step to encourage commercial development of the moon.

According to documents obtained by Reuters, U.S. companies can stake claims to lunar territory through an existing licensing process for space launches.

The Federal Aviation Administration, in a previously undisclosed late-December letter to Bigelow Aerospace, said the agency intends to “leverage the FAA’s existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis.”

In other words, experts said, Bigelow could set up one of its proposed inflatable habitats on the moon, and expect to have exclusive rights to that territory – as well as related areas that might be tapped for mining, exploration and other activities.

However, the FAA letter noted a concern flagged by the U.S.

Read the rest
Continue Reading