Tag Archives | Government

The Manufacture of “Surveillance by Consent” Part 2 – Is Mass Surveillance So Bad If You Can’t See It?

One nation under CCTV
Image by T.J.Blackwell

In the dark ages known as the twentieth century, mass surveillance of entire populations was a sport practised only by elitist totalitarian states . Those unlucky enough to live in a what was then termed a “free country”, had to sit on the sidelines and simply imagine what it was like to be subject to constant state intrusion.

But times change, and after several wars of the twentieth century (including the war to end all wars) mass surveillance was finally liberated. The liberators of surveillance even adopted a snappy slogan to help spread their evangelic message, which today is more commonly used than that one about washing up liquid – “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”. Don’t bother de-constructing this slogan in any way – just marvel at its symmetry and its almost Shakespearean rhythm.

You see the secret to success of the architects of “surveillance for all” was they spotted that surveillance is so much easier to sell to the masses when it’s invisible.… Read the rest

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Government Shutdown Doesn’t Slow Negotiations On The Trans-Pacific Partnership

tpp

Democracy Now! reports the latest on the previously discussed sinister and corporate power-grab:

As the federal government shutdown continues, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Asia for secret talks on a sweeping new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The TPP is often referred to by critics as “NAFTA on steroids,” and would establish a free trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompassing 800 million people and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto.

“This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade.

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Government Shutdown and Appointment of Janet Yellen Guarantees Flow of Funds to Wall Street: They are reducing “two-thirds of this country to subsistence level”, Chris Hedges

via chycho

Yellen Submarine

It’s no secret that the only reason the markets have been roaring – since bottoming out in March 2009, the DOW is up approximately 125% and The S&P 500 approximately 120% – is because of unlimited quantitative easing to the tune of $85 billion a month, a last resort, desperate measure that the FOMC began in 2012 to maintain its ‘growth’ targets. The end result of this program has essentially been the transfer of wealth from Main Street to Wall Street.

In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 35% of all privately held stock, 64.4% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top ten percent have 81% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.”


click to enlarge – source

How this plays out with the ‘government shutdown’ and the fears that we will enter a recession if the U.S.

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Jesse Ventura to Federal Elected Officials: End the Government Shut Down and Regain Our Civil Liberties

ventura memoFormer Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura has started a petition on Change.org calling for an end to the government shutdown. Click HERE to sign the petition if you agree with this:

A million federal employees have been laid off since the government shut down. It costs us, the taxpayers, over 300 million dollars a day. The representatives that work for us are still getting paid, even though they’ve declared they won’t show up for work. Can you imagine walking into your job today and telling your boss that you won’t be showing up to work, but you demand your boss still pays you? How well do you think that conversation will play out?

As I’ve said many times before, every American citizen deserves free health care. It isn’t socialism; it’s the right thing to do. Even though I don’t agree with President Obama on many issues, I do know that he was re-elected because We The People, the majority, wanted the Affordable Care Act.

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Uncle Sam Shuts Down: The State Is Out Of Date

State out of dateTiming doesn’t get much more appropriate than this. On Oct 1st, the very day the US government grinds to a standstill, my book, The State Is Out of Date – We Can Do It Better, is released in its Kindle edition by Disinformation Books (special shutdown price: $2.99!).

Could the US be experiencing a dress rehearsal for its own eventual failure as a sovereign state? This slight taste of what would happen if Washington’s credit line ran out is the reason banks receive ransoms to prop up, for a little longer, a clearly unsustainable financial system. It is well to remember that throughout history states have failed, every one of them, eventually.  The Romans never thought their might would crumble; Hitler expected 1000 years; the Brits trickled away their greatness; the sprawling Soviet Union imploded almost overnight. The US…?

Is there an alternative – something more real and effective than changing faces and tweaking the knobs and levers of power?… Read the rest

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Rest Easy, ‘Murica: Shutdown Doesn’t Stop Feds From Opening New NSA Center

eGuA25bLAWDon’t worry, loyal citizens: The NSA is still here to stalk love interests, read your mail, listen in on your conversations and otherwise keep acting like a psycho ex-girlfriend/boyfriend.

Via Information Liberation:

The so-called “government shut down” and the furloughing of thousands of non-essential federal employees has not prevented the opening of a $2 billion dollar NSA spy center in Utah which will snoop on Americans’ private emails, Google searches and phone calls.

As we highlighted yesterday, the shut down will only affect the tiny amount of services government provides that Americans actually like.

Rest assured, TSA grope downs, VIPR checkpoints, drone attacks, SWAT team raids, tax collection, torturing terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, arming jihadists in Syria and running guns to Mexican drug dealers will all continue unimpeded – as will NSA domestic spying.

Although the NSA itself refuses to confirm it, to all intents and purposes the agency’s mammoth new spy center in Bluffdale, Utah “may be open already,” according to the Denver Post.

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Federal Marijuana Hearing Victim of Government Shutdown

ST-3-bud

Picture: Hupu2 (CC)

Published a day prior to the legislative temper tantrum:

Politico:

One of the first victims of a government shutdown may be a congressional hearing on marijuana laws.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on the White House’s drug control policy “in the wake of the DOJ’s decision not to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it,” the panel said in a statement. “This hearing will also explore the effects of legalization, including the social costs of increased marijuana use.”

But if there’s no agreement on a federal budget, the hearing will be postponed, the committee said.

Oh, and marijuana isn’t legal while the feds are doing their thing, (although I think maybe a little weed might help on Capitol Hill).

 

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A Shutdown or A Coup? How It Was Engineered

What is the Tea Party and where did it come from? Was it a grass roots movement nurtured in the bowels of deep dissatisfaction in the American electorate with “big government” and its inexorable turn towards Socialism?

Hate to disappoint folks who buy the populist revolt theory. Anyone remember the mad rant of Rick Santelli in 2009? He’s a fixture on the pro-business channel CNBC who actually was first to call for a Tea Party by millionaires in Chicago to protest against any relief for homeowners who were on the verge of being foreclosed upon.

It was this loudmouth who used his bully pulpit on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to make the original call.

The idea resonated with the armies of the resentful who always feel l that the government should not help those in need—characterizing them as people living in bigger houses than they can afford and unfairly demanding a bailout from tax payers.… Read the rest

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The NSA Deserves a Permanent Shutdown

Nsa signTo the people in control of the Executive Branch, violating our civil liberties is an essential government service. So — to ensure total fulfillment of Big Brother’s vast responsibilities — the National Security Agency is insulated from any fiscal disruption.

The NSA’s surveillance programs are exempt from a government shutdown. With typical understatement, an unnamed official told The Hill that “a shutdown would be unlikely to affect core NSA operations.”

At the top of the federal government, even a brief shutdown of “core NSA operations” is unthinkable. But at the grassroots, a permanent shutdown of the NSA should be more than thinkable; we should strive to make it achievable.

NSA documents, revealed by intrepid whistleblower Edward Snowden, make clear what’s at stake. In a word: democracy.

Wielded under the authority of the president, the NSA is the main surveillance tool of the U.S. government. For a dozen years, it has functioned to wreck our civil liberties.… Read the rest

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