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hat tip: The Daily Bell
Monday, May 24, 2010 – by Staff Report
Who owns America today? … Perhaps the greatest threat to … the tea party is that they appear to be arguing a case that, for all practical purposes, has already been settled for the majority of Americans. The America of the Founding Fathers roots – a modest, decentralized, and agrarian nation – is gone, or is at least being pushed to the demographic margins, inhabiting the great red swath of the country’s middle. Politically, the America of today is as much a product of Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson – of the sprawling government programs of Medicaid and Social Security as much as the Second Amendment and its provision for nongovernment militias. Though he was speaking of … the Civil Rights Act specifically, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s comment Sunday morning on “Fox News Sunday” appears to be broadly relevant to the tea party as a viable political movement: “The philosophy was misplaced in these times,” he said. “The philosophy got in the way of reality.” – Christian Science Monitor
Dominant Social Theme: It’s ovah! The blue states have won. Federal government activism is gloriously ascendant.
Free-Market Analysis: Working closely together, we Bell staffers have developed a most un-libertarian, hive-like mentality. These days, buzzing in our brains are recollections, often, of the compelling Claudius books by Robert Graves. What comes to mind, however, is not so much the pomp and decrepitude that Graves brought to life as the books’ over-riding, semi-tragic perspective that the Republic was gone and could not be brought back.
Indeed, the theme of Roman republicanism-now-lost hangs over these books and in our humble opinion lifts them into the realm of great art. Not only does Graves have an apparently thorough grasp of ancient times, but he is able to bring these times to life and to inhabit them with living, breathing creatures who are often among the most maleficent and fascinating since Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote his great character-driven plays (Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, etc.).
By Dennis Grover
Yes, I’m a Veteran.
Yes, I believed I served in Vietnam to protect Freedom in America. (3rd TFW, PACAF, Bien Hoa RVN)
Yes, I have a son who was born deaf as a result of my exposure to Agent Orange. (3rd TFW, PACAF, Bien Hoa RVN – Ranch Hands Squadron)
Yes, I carry the internal scars and personality defects of this experience.
However, without this experience I would not be able to recognize the truth involved in that war and others, nor would I be the person I am today, both the good and the bad. Nor would I carry a wrenching knot in my stomach watching a corrupt and immoral gaggle of low-lifes attacking Americans to steal their God-Given Unalienable Rights; the rights that I, in effect, took a bullet for.
Yes, I believe in a strong military for the very reasons that our Founding Fathers did when they acknowledged the Militia internally and a Navy to guard our shores. The reason for this is so that we do not have war.
However, the military when used to promote war for material gain of those in power at the expense of the loss of well-intentioned young Americans and disruptions of human love is despicable.
by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, May 17, 2010
When Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen and 30-year-old son of a retired senior Pakistani Air Force officer was arrested in the failed plot to detonate a car-bomb in Times Square May 1, U.S. counterterrorism officials and their stenographers in the corporate media proclaimed a “connection” between Shahzad and the far-right jihadi outfit, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Never mind that such “evidence” relies on the thinnest of reeds: that Shahzad had recently traveled to Pakistan, was allegedly in “contact” with the TTP and had even received “training” from a sectarian, clan- and tribal-based organization wary of outsiders who nevertheless, allegedly “approved” of an ill-conceived plan to kill hundreds of New Yorkers.
Last week on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder claimed, “We know that they [TTP] helped facilitate it. We know that they helped direct it. And I suspect that we are going to come up with evidence which shows that they helped to finance it. They were intimately involved in this plot.”
Holder’s “evidence”? Why statements by former CIA torture-enabler and current Obama counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, “confirming” the administration’s threadbare assertions.
The New York Times reported that Brennan “appeared to say even more definitively than Mr. Holder did that the Taliban in Pakistan had provided money as well as training and direction.”
by Chuck Baldwin
Posted on May 19, 2010
People all over America are discussing freedom’s future. In short, they are worried. In fact, many are actually talking about State secession. In coffee shops and cafes, and around dining room tables, millions of people are speaking favorably of states breaking away from the union. Not since the turn of the twentieth century have this many people thought (and spoken) this favorably about the prospect of a State (or group of states) exiting the union. In my mind, this is a good thing.
Even many of those who oppose the prospect of secession understand the increasing tyrannical nature of the current central government in Washington, D.C., and that something must be done about it.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines tyranny as “1: oppressive power . . . 2: a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler . . . 3: a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force . . . 4: a tyrannical act.”
Even a casual observer would have to conclude that most of the actions proceeding forth from DC today match at least Webster’s 1st and 3rd definitions of tyranny. Besides, who would argue the advantage of the tyranny of an oligarchy over the tyranny of a monarchy? A tyranny of many cannot be distinguished from a tyranny of one in most cases–especially not by those poor souls who are at the point of the spear of Government’s cruelties.
FRANKLIN, Vt. — The red brick house sits unassumingly on a sleepy back road where the lush farmlands of northern Vermont roll quietly into Canada. This is the Morses Line border crossing, a point of entry into the United States where more than three cars an hour constitute heavy traffic.
The bucolic setting of silos and sugar maples has become the focus of a bitter dispute that pits one of America’s most revered traditions — the family-owned farm — against the post-9/11 reality of terror attacks on US soil.
The Department of Homeland Security sees Morses Line as a weak link in the nation’s borders, attractive to terrorists trying to smuggle in lethal materials. The government is planning an estimated $8 million renovation here as part of a nationwide effort to secure border crossings.
It intends to acquire 4.9 acres of border land on a dairy farm owned for three generations by the Rainville family. Last month, the Rainvilles learned that if they refuse to sell the land for $39,500, the government intends to seize it by eminent domain.
The Rainvilles call this an unjustified land-grab by federal bullies.
AP / Emilio Morenatti
By David Sirota
Imagine, if you can, an alternate universe.
Imagine that in this alternate universe, a foreign military power begins flying remote-controlled warplanes over your town, using onboard missiles to kill hundreds of your innocent neighbors.
Now imagine that when you read the newspaper about this ongoing bloodbath, you learn that the foreign nation’s top general is nonchalantly telling reporters that his troops are also killing “an amazing number” of your cultural brethren in an adjacent country. Imagine further learning that this foreign power is expanding the drone attacks on your community despite the attacks’ well-known record of killing innocents. And finally, imagine that when you turn on your television, you see the perpetrator nation’s tuxedo-clad leader cracking stand-up comedy jokes about drone strikes—jokes that prompt guffaws from an audience of that nation’s elite.
Ask yourself: How would you and your fellow citizens respond? Would you call homegrown militias mounting a defense “patriots” or would you call them “terrorists”? Would you agree with your leaders when they angrily tell reporters that violent defiance should be expected?
Fortunately, most Americans don’t have to worry about these queries in their own lives. But how we answer them in a hypothetical thought experiment provides us insight into how Pakistanis are likely to be feeling right now. Why? Because thanks to our continued drone assaults on their country, Pakistanis now confront these issues every day. And if they answer these questions as many of us undoubtedly would in a similar situation—well, that should trouble every American in this age of asymmetrical warfare.
Big Brother’s got that ju-ju, Gaia’s got the blues — hologram, carry me home
By Joe Bageant
May 13, 2010
“Information Clearing House“
I’ve spent most of this week watching American television and movies. I leave the TV on all night long. I toss and turn with my bad back, and bad lungs, catch a rerun episode of Two and a Half Men, or CSI, and conk out again. Then I awaken to the U.S. morning talk shows. It’s a grueling regimen, only for the strong. Or the lonely. For periodic relief, I switch to Mexican television (be patient, I really am going somewhere with this). Mexican TV is not one iota better than US television, but is veeerrry heavy on the booty. More than heavy. Astronomical. Think all-but-bare tits and ass close-ups every fifteen seconds, straight through commercials, dramas, comedy shows, history shows, and even the news where possible. Every show but the bullfights and that old nun who comes on at ten PM, who invariably drives me back to the U.S. channels.
Ahhhh … Safely in the American national illusion, where all the world’s a shopping expedition. Or a terrorist threat. No matter, as long as it is colorful and wiggles on the theater state’s 400 million screens. Plug in and be lit up by the American Hologram.
This great loom of media images, and images of images, is so many layers deep that it has replaced reality. No one can remember the original imprint. If there was one. The hologram is a hermetic snow globe, a self-referential circuitry of images, and a Möbius loop from which there is no logical escape. Logic has zilch to do with what is going on. The smallest part holographically recapitulates the whole, and vice versa. No thinking required, we just cycle and recycle through an aural dimension. Not all that bad, I guess, if it were not generated by forces out to fuck every last pair of eyeballs and mind plugged into it.
The investing class has put thousands of billions into movies, TV and other media to keep the hologram lit up over the past six decades. Which is to say, keep the public in an entertained stupor, awed, mislead, and most importantly, distracted. But the payoff probably runs in the trillions.
by sherry mann
Mississippi Governor, Haley Barbour is still in political containment mode with such quotes as, “We’re going to fight it every step of the way, and we do not take for granted that this is going to be catastrophic” while millions of gallons of oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico, and the full cataclysmic nature of the recent BP drilling rig explosion will be taken for granted as a crude reality.
Although the AP (American Propaganda) prefers to discuss the economic ramifications, the greater aftermath will be felt in the natural world. Innumerable living creatures will die or be irreparably harmed from the suffocating, poisoning and starvation effects of the petrol-chemicals now in and around the Gulf, but it is the landfall damage caused by the fast approaching hurricane season which may outweigh even that devil’s brew.
Just three weeks from now, hurricane season will officially begin, and while I am by no means a weather expert, isn’t it common knowledge that when a hurricane passes through an area, it sucks up the water from one place and dumps it out everywhere else?
Of course, there are a number of unknown factors at play and even the experts don’t know how oil, seawater and hurricanes will interact.
by sherry mann
On this date (May 12) in 1962, Douglas MacArthur delivered his famous “Duty, Honor, Country” valedictory speech at the United States Military Academy. The original speech may be read here, but I have made small changes so that it might be a more fitting address from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico to a dying America 48 years later.
President Obama, British Petroleum officials, shareholders, and servicemen of the United Corporations of America. As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, “Where are you bound for, General?” and when I replied, “The Gulf of Mexico,” he replied, “Beautiful place. Have you ever been there before? If so, you won’t recognize it today.”
No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a setting as this, coming from a profession I have served so long and people I have loved so well. It fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But as look at these shores today–awash will the oil we have sacrificed so much for–this fitting reward symbolizes the moral code–the code of conduct of those like me who have served the US–the “defensive” arm of fine companies like Shell, Unocal and BP, we wore our uniforms proudly as we fought and often died for this “American way of life“.
What is the meaning of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated with so feeble an ideal–yet somehow triumphant in its purpose as we can see, smell and feel here, arouses a sense of humility which will be with me always.
“Duty,” “Honor,” “Country”–those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, yet as an American soldier or oil consumer–what you will never be. They are your rallying points to build rhetoric when facts fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for it, and to create hope even when it is based on chains we can believe in.
by Paul C. Wright
hat tip: Global Research, May 5, 2010
There is a new technological trend in the United States that promises to use advances in Internet, GPS, and chemical detection technology to manage states’ surging prison and parolee populations. Several states, particularly those with massive budget deficits like California and Michigan, are unable to shoulder the burden of housing more inmates in their dangerously overcrowded prisons. They are therefore dramatically increasing the use of GPS technology to monitor the whereabouts and activities of parolees, as well as using the technology for home detention programs and even alcohol consumption monitoring. While it is true that GPS ankle bracelets have been in use for a few years now, new technology, laws, and applications are increasing the use of such devices in what is soon to be a booming industry – fully dependent upon the corrections system.
In Richmond, California, statistically identified as having America’s fourteenth highest crime rate  , the police recently fitted twenty parolees with GPS tracking devices on their ankles.  The devices include paging systems that require the parolee to call his or her parole agent each time they feel the device vibrate. Police officers say that they can use the devices to track parolees and place them at the scene of a crime committed while on parole. The tracking devices do, however, bring into question the status of a parolee’s civil liberties and may open the door to court challenges regarding invasion of privacy and other constitutionally guaranteed rights. The political will of several states are fully behind using the new technology and the courts thus far seem to like the flexibility they offer in sentencing and early release. The Richmond program is merely the tip of the iceberg.