Examining a microcosm can shed light on the larger reality. I have chosen to analyze a small mountain hamlet, Chagoti Ghar (Chergotah), located some forty kilometers east of Khost city in eastern Afghanistan in a time frame separated by eight and a third years – November 23rd 2001 and March 24th 2010. Both times, two Afghan civilians perished as a result of foreign occupation fire. In both instances, the U.S corporate media was silent. Both times, to pierce the veil of silence spun by the American military industrial media information complex (MIMIC) a person had to turn to independent, regional media; in November 2001 to the Peshawar-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency and in March 2010, to the Kabul-based Pajhwok Afghan News. Those killed in 2001 perished during morning prayers and those obliterated in 2010 succumbed after sundown. A women and girl were martyred in November 2001 and a teenaged couple was killed in March 2010. A Bush air strike killed two in 2001 and an Obama ground attack did the same in 2010.
BBC Monitoring Central Asia Unit
Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring
November 23, 2001, Friday
“American aircraft bomb areas in eastern Afghanistan”
SOURCE: Afghan Islamic Press news agency, Peshawar, in Pashto 11:49 GMT 23 Nov 01
Text of report by Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency
Peshawar, 23 November: American aircraft bombed Khost this morning, and one woman and a girl were martyred as a result.
During the Morning Prayer, American war planes bombed the house of a tribal leader, Haji Mohammad Naim Kochi, 20 km to the south of the Khost bazaar in Khost Province. One bomb fell on another house, and as a result one woman and a girl were martyred. Haji Mohammad Naim Kochi helped the Taliban government. And in 1992 he also worked in the previous mujahidin government…
On March 3rd, Richard Fisher – President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – told the Council on Foreign Relations:
A truly effective restructuring of our regulatory regime will have to neutralize what I consider to be the greatest threat to our financial system’s stability—the so-called too-big-to-fail, or TBTF, banks. In the past two decades, the biggest banks have grown significantly bigger. In 1990, the 10 largest U.S. banks had almost 25 percent of the industry’s assets. Their share grew to 44 percent in 2000 and almost 60 percent in 2009.
The existing rules and oversight are not up to the acute regulatory challenge imposed by the biggest banks. First, they are sprawling and complex—so vast that their own management teams may not fully understand their own risk exposures. If that is so, it would be futile to expect that their regulators and creditors could untangle all the threads, especially under rapidly changing market conditions. Second, big banks may believe they can act recklessly without fear of paying the ultimate penalty. They and many of their creditors assume the Fed and other government agencies will cushion the fall and assume the damages, even if their troubles stem from negligence or trickery. They have only to look to recent experience to confirm that assumption.
Some argue that bigness is not bad, per se. Many ask how the U.S. can keep its competitive edge on the global stage if we cede LFI territory to other nations—an argument I consider hollow given the experience of the Japanese and others who came to regret seeking the distinction of having the world’s biggest financial institutions. I know this much: Big banks interact with the economy and financial markets in a multitude of ways, creating connections that transcend the limits of industry and geography. Because of their deep and wide connections to other banks and financial institutions, a few really big banks can send tidal waves of troubles through the financial system if they falter, leading to a downward spiral of bad loans and contracting credit that destroys many jobs and many businesses.
Malnutrition comes in a delightful assortment of colorful flavors nowadays. But poverty and obesity are a correlation that Americans find hard to swallow.
“Genetics and family history can predict whether you will become obese but then so can your ZIP code,” says Adam Drewnowski, world-renowned leader in innovative research approaches for the prevention and treatment of obesity, and Director of the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. In December of 2003, Drewnowski said, “If poverty and obesity are truly linked, it will be a major challenge to stay poor and thin.” 
In a more recent interview regarding her new “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama argues: “A recent study put the health care cost of obesity-related diseases at $147 billion a year. This epidemic also impacts the nation’s security, as obesity is now one of the most common disqualifiers for military service.” 
It seems morbid that national security is Michelle Obama’s primary concern regarding obesity in American children. After all, raising healthy American children to become dead American soldiers doesn’t seem like a viable health care objective. But aside from that, poverty is directly correlated with obesity in Americans of all ages. So isn’t American poverty an even worse security threat than American obesity?
There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest.
Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.
Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”
Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government.
Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt.
Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.
Today many whose goal once was the discovery of truth are now paid handsomely to hide it. “Free market economists” are paid to sell offshoring to the American people. High-productivity, high value-added American jobs are denigrated as dirty, old industrial jobs. Relicts from long ago, we are best shed of them. Their place has been taken by “the New Economy,” a mythical economy that allegedly consists of high-tech white collar jobs in which Americans innovate and finance activities that occur offshore. All Americans need in order to participate in this “new economy” are finance degrees from Ivy League universities, and then they will work on Wall Street at million dollar jobs.
Economists who were once respectable took money to contribute to this myth of “the New Economy.”
To understand what is going to happen to America’s health care delivery system, we must first understand what has happened to Detroit.
Detroit is dying. Yes, I know that there are lots of books on “The Death of. . . .” That word sells books. But Detroit really is dying. It is the first metropolis in the United States to be facing extinction. We have never seen anything like this in American history. It is happening under our noses, but the media refuse to discuss it. To do so would be politically incorrect. Two factors tell us that Detroit is dying. The first is the departure of 900,000 people – over half the city’s population – since 1950. It peaked at 1.8 million in 1950. It is down to about 900,000 today.
In 1994, the median sales price of a house in Detroit was about $41,000. The housing bubble pushed it up to about $98,000 in 2003. In March 2009, the price was $13,600. Today, the price is $7,000. Check the price chart.
There has never been a collapse of residential real estate values of this magnitude in peacetime history, anywhere. Detroit is dying.
The following is based on a talk delivered at the Free State Project’s Liberty Forum in Nashua, New Hampshire, Saturday, March 20, 2010.
In the United States, civil liberties are seen as the province of the left. The ACLU, the Bar Association, the Democratic Party, people who err in favor of procedural protections for criminals and even terrorists — this is what tends to come to mind to conservatives who condemn civil liberties as a leftist interest, and to liberals who celebrate it as a great anchor of their political philosophy.
But what happens when the left-liberals are in charge of the executive branch, its police, its justice department, prosecutors and military courts? Predictably, conservatives fear the government will be soft on foreign and domestic villains. Liberals hold out hope that due process will be restored.
Libertarians, too, will often adopt this general lens through which to see political reality. Just as many progressive writers discussed the coming of Obama as a new dawn for the Bill of Rights — or, at least, the amendments they openly favor — many libertarians hoped that the Bush era of warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, torture and police statism would recede with the electoral victory of the Democrats.
But here we see the problem. For if the left are the most institutionally important guardians of civil liberties, then the ascent to power of one of their own will often mean a quieting of dissent. Left-liberals become caught up with economic policy, become corrupted, or simply tire of finding more reasons for their own partisan figurehead to be criticized, and look the other way. Just as Republican administrations can often implement domestic interventions with a freer hand — look at Bush’s effortless Medicare expansion compared to how long it has taken for Obama to move on health care — Democrats can expect a less hostile climate in which to build up executive power to the detriment of civil liberty. And indeed, even if they have good intentions, they run against political pressure from the opposition accusing them of being soft with the police power. A left-liberal in office is the perfect storm for the destruction of our privacy and the rule of law. Just remember what Clinton did at Waco, or the erosion of liberty after the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the truth of this was confirmed long before January of last year when Obama took the throne.
In the Swiss newspaper Zeit-Fragen, Professor Dr. Eberhard Hamer from Germany asks, “How Sovereign is Europe?”
He examines the issue and concludes that Europe has little, if any, sovereignty. Professor Hamer writes that the sovereign rights of Europeans as citizens of nation states were dissolved with the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty on Dec. 1, 2009. The rights of the people have been conveyed to a political commissariat in Brussels. The French, Germans, Belgians, Spanish, British, Irish, Italians, Greeks, and so forth, now have “European citizenship whatever this may be.”
The result of aggregating nations is to reduce the political participation of people. The authority of parliaments and local councils has been impaired. Power is now concentrated in new hierarchical structures within the European Union. European citizenship means indirect and weak participation by people. Self-rule has given way to authoritarian rule from top to bottom.
by Chris Hedges Truthdig
March 22, 2010
Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s decision to vote “yes” in Sunday’s House action on the health care bill, although he had sworn to oppose the legislation unless there was a public option, is a perfect example of why I would never be a politician. I respect Kucinich. As politicians go, he is about as good as they get, but he is still a politician. He has to run for office. He has to raise money. He has to placate the Democratic machine or risk retaliation and defeat. And so he signed on to a bill that will do nothing to ameliorate the suffering of many Americans, force tens of millions of people to fork over a lot of money for a defective product and, in the end, add to the ranks of our uninsured.
The claims made by the proponents of the bill are the usual deceptive corporate advertising. The bill will not expand coverage to 30 million uninsured, especially since government subsidies will not take effect until 2014. Families who cannot pay the high premiums, deductibles and co-payments, estimated to be between 15 and 18 percent of most family incomes, will have to default, increasing the number of uninsured. Insurance companies can unilaterally raise prices without ceilings or caps and monopolize local markets to shut out competitors. The $1.055 trillion spent over the next decade will add new layers of bureaucratic red tape to what is an unmanageable and ultimately unsustainable system.
The mendacity of the Democratic leadership in the face of this reality is staggering. Howard Dean, who is a doctor, said recently: “This is a vote about one thing: Are you for the insurance companies or are you for the American people?” Here is a man who once championed the public option and now has sold his soul. What is the point in supporting him or any of the other Democrats? How much more craven can they get?
“If you think health care is expensive now–just wait until it’s free.”
P. J. O’Rourke
Universal health care will not be free – it will devastate the economy, warns Ron Paul
Paul Joseph Watson Prison Planet.com
Monday, November 9, 2009 (always ahead of his time)
If the Obama administration keeps its promise in guaranteeing not to raise taxes to pay for universal health care, the only way to cover the costs will be for the Federal Reserve to print even more money out of thin air, a process that will kill the dollar and lead to lower living standards for all Americans, warns Congressman Ron Paul.
In his weekly Texas Straight Talk telephone update, Dr. Paul said that Saturday night’s passage of the health care bill in Congress will lead to a further devastation of the American economy and the greenback.
Don’t get excited. It’ll never happen. Is there really a crisis in US-Israeli relations? Yes and No. Yes, because the world’s premier power doesn’t care to have its vice president publicly humiliated by a midget of a nation whose entire population is smaller than that of Los Angeles county. No, because the elected politicians nominally running the government of the world’s premier power live in mortal fear of the Israel lobby in the United States. This time, as always, No will carry the day. (You can find a detailed narrative by Jeffrey Blankfort on this site today, from which much of this Diary is drawn.)
Consider Biden’s reaction the day after Interior Minister Eli Yishai, probably with Netanyahu’s foreknowledge, announced the scheduled building of 1600 apartments – Jews only – in East Jerusalem, right at the moment Biden was trying to breathe life into the “peace process”
So here’s the vice president of the United States of America,standing with all the injured dignity of a man who has just had a bucket of sewage dumped over his head and who amid his discomfiture, actually did use the word “condemn” and “Israel” in the same paragraph. The next day Biden heads for Tel Aviv university and confides to the audience that he is a Zionist and that, “throughout my career, Israel has not only remained close to my heart but it has been the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as Vice President of the United States.” Get that: “the center of my work.” This mission statement is not quoted in the U.S. press.