Tag Archives | Government

The Vanquished Light

Michael Welton writes at CounterPunch:

From its founding, America has cast itself as a kind of redeemer nation unlike other nations (see E. Tuveson, Redeemer Nation: the Idea of America’s Millennial Role (1968) and J. Axtell, The School Upon a Hill: Education and Society in Colonial New England (1974)). The first emperors—Alexander the Great and the Roman Caesars—created myths of their descent from the gods. Alexander was “great” because he was descended from semi-divine beings. Augustus declared himself a son of a god. He raised a statue to his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, on a stage alongside Mars and Venus—not bad company. The USA engages in the same sort of myth-making. The Puritans came with an “errand in the wilderness” to build the New Jerusalem. They had no doubt that eradicating the indigenous people was within their god’s will, part of the divinely-promised land.

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Everything I know about homelessness I learned from SimCity

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Aaron Sankin at Kernel Mag:

In October 2012, a gamer posted a provocative comment to a forum run by Electronic Arts about its beloved, long-running SimCity franchise.

“There is one area I’d like to see as future expansion … the homeless,” gamer IanLoganson wrote. “Most cities have homeless … Some of the world’s biggest cities now are in the rapidly developing countries and one big problem [they] seem to have is slums. Let’s say you have a thriving commercial city full of landmarks, high-end jobs and high-end housing. Such city lights draw the dispossessed in search for hope and if there aren’t enough low-end jobs, low-end housing, or a social safety net, they end up on the street.

“A small homeless problem is no big deal, but as it gets bigger it brings down property value and discourages tourists,” IanLoganson continued. “You need to think of helping them with aid, providing more jobs/housing for them, or getting the police to kick them out of the centre.

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A New Kind of Mental Disturbance? Drone Pilots Are Quitting in Droves

David Rodriguez Martin (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

David Rodriguez Martin (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Pratap Chatterjee via AlterNet:

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The U.S. drone war across much of the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa is in crisis and not because civilians are dying or the target list for that war or the right to wage it just about anywhere on the planet are in question in Washington. Something far more basic is at stake: drone pilots are quitting in record numbers.

There are roughly 1,000 such drone pilots, known in the trade as “18Xs,” working for the U.S. Air Force today. Another 180 pilots graduate annually from a training program that takes about a year to complete at Holloman and Randolph Air Force bases in, respectively, New Mexico and Texas. As it happens, in those same 12 months, about 240 trained pilots quit and the Air Force is at a loss to explain the phenomenon.

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American democracy is doomed

Via Vox

Via Vox.

Via Matthew Yglesias at Vox:

America’s constitutional democracy is going to collapse.

Some day — not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies — there is going to be a collapse of the legal and political order and its replacement by something else. If we’re lucky, it won’t be violent. If we’re very lucky, it will lead us to tackle the underlying problems and result in a better, more robust, political system. If we’re less lucky, well, then, something worse will happen.

Very few people agree with me about this, of course. When I say it, people generally think that I’m kidding. America is the richest, most successful country on earth. The basic structure of its government has survived contested elections and Great Depressions and civil rights movements and world wars and terrorist attacks and global pandemics.

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Astrology could help take pressure off NHS doctors, claims Conservative MP

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Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

Via The Guardian:

A Conservative MP has claimed that astrology could have “a role to play in healthcare”.

David Tredinnick said astrology, along with complementary medicine, could take pressure off NHS doctors, but acknowledged that any attempt to spend taxpayers’ money on consulting the stars would cause “a huge row”.

He criticised the BBC and TV scientist Professor Brian Cox for taking a “dismissive” approach to astrology, and accused opponents of being “racially prejudiced”.

The MP for Bosworth, in Leicestershire, who is a Capricorn and in 2010 paid back £755 he had claimed in expenses for software that used astrology to diagnose medical conditions, told Astrological Journal: “I do believe that astrology and complementary medicine would help take the huge pressure off doctors.

“Ninety per cent of pregnant French women use homeopathy. Astrology is a useful diagnostic tool enabling us to see strengths and weaknesses via the birth chart.

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Homan square is the blackest of the black holes: New Revelations About CPD ‘Black Site’

On Wednesday, the Chicago Police Department responded to a Guardian exposé detailing CIA style interrogation tactics at the building on the 3300 block of West Fillmore Street with a typical “nothing to see here” attitude, calling NATO demonstrator Brian Church’s allegations of torture and abuse “false,” and blaming the death of another detainee, John Hubbard, on an accidental heroin overdose.

Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

New stories of abuse and interrogation tactics reminiscent of now freed police torturer Jon Burge however, continue to make national headlines. Kory Wright, a now 29 year old man living in Bronzeville, told The Intercept’s Juan Thompson of his 2006 experience with several others at the Homan facility:

For six hours, a sweaty Wright sat zip-tied to a bench with no access to a restroom, a telephone or water. “They strapped me — like across, kind of — to a bench, and my hands were strapped on both sides of me,” he says.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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