Category : America

I don’t hate the police for arresting me without probable cause or any concern for my civil liberties. The problem is institutional and systemic. The police merely carry out orders. The leaders in government and business are the ones who have erected this steel-barricaded oligarchy, and they are ultimately to blame for the sad state of civil liberties in this country, which in turn has lead to a serious downturn in the quality of our political system. Politicians are merely corporate whores; they spend 90% of their time schmoozing for cash in order to afford re-election, which incumbents manage to do over 90% of the time.

People are pissed about this. I am one of them. The cops are no different than barbed wire and steel barricades. They’re just an obstacle to freedom set up by the ruling class in order to protect them from us, no matter how peacefully we approach them with our greivances. They don’t want to hear about it because it’s a zero sum game — their power depends on the abdication of our liberties. They are not inclined to hear or obey the people because they are not of the people. They are the Oligarchs; the Ruling Elite. They rule by force and manipulation. They are not a government by and for the people, they are a fascist oligarchy run by megalomaniacs for their own twisted gain.

Never take your eye off the ball. The cops are pawns in this just like the rest of us. To see who’s playing the game, look to the Superclass.

I went downtown to St. Paul in order to get some pictures and observe the situation (I already protested on Monday), but John Ireland Bridge was blocked by the police with dump trucks when I got there. The cops said there was a bomb threat to the Minnesota Historical Society, but that was quite clearly a lie since they were standing so close to it and they’d already closed the other bridges as I found out later.

cops in front of historical

So I went over to the capitol on foot using the Marion Street Bridge instead. I saw more cops than protesters.

protester at John Ireland Blvd bridge

The cops had the city in a headlock. All the other bridges were closed by the police; cops, BCA agents and national guardsman were everywhere. St. Paul was on fucking lockdown.

A shitload of cops

By the time I found out how totally heavy-handed the police presence was I was getting tired and decided to split. I was trying to get back to my car on the other side of the Marion street bridge when I saw a group about 200 protesters approaching the bridge. That’s why I’m walking against the flow at the beginning of the video. Unfortunately I was too busy trying to get good footage and didn’t notice the cops had surrounded us on all sides.

Soon the police started firing flash grenades, smoke bombs and generally scaring the shit out of me and all these peaceful protesters. We were corraled onto the bridge where they told us we were all under arrest, but not before all of us were shellshocked by the overwhelming police response. Watch the video, but beware that it’s intense, chaotic and there’s swearing and explosions.

Notice how none of the protesters resisted or attacked the cops in any way. This is ironic because we were charged with “resisting a lawful order” along with the 1st amendment-killing crime of “presence at an unlawful assembly.” Whatever happened to the right of people to peaceably assemble?

We are not free; The Bill of Rights is no longer operative.

If you aren’t reading this from jail that simply means the cops haven’t bothered to arrest you on trumped up charges yet. They can clearly do exactly that whenever they want, with no repercussions. I wasn’t even part of the protest and I was charged with being part of an “unlawful assembly.”

The whole arrest process took hours. We were told to sit and put our hands on our heads, which many people had to do for several hours (your arms get sore). I was cuffed after an hour or so and stood around for another hour waiting to get my mug shot (on the bridge; this was all very ad hoc). Since we were on the bridge for so long they eventually hauled at least 3 porta-potties onto the bridge itself, for both police and protester usage (under heavy guard, of course).

Eventually I was led onto a city bus with 40 other arrestees and brought to the Ramsey County jail for booking. They searched me about 5 times, confiscated all my stuff, and gave me a paper bag with a peanutbutter and jelly sandwitch and two apples. See, even oppressive police tactics have a Minnesota Nice aspect. Of course we didn’t get knives so we had to spread the jelly and PB with our fingers.

Hours dragged by as we waded our way through the bureaucracy and were eventually cited and loaded onto a paddywagon and driven out of the jail. They let us out just outside the fences and we were free and on our own far from where we were arrested, but at least the incredibly awesome Coldsnap Legal Collective were there to offer us hugs and access to free legal advice.

outside the jailhouse

People without rides or places to go were able to sleep on the grass outside the jailhouse thanks to sleeping bags the Coldsnap folks brought. Somebody sent the angels last night; they’re doing great work and need your support!

The problem with good things is that the police like to infiltrate and ruin them from the inside. That might’ve been the case with the protest last night. I heard several people talking about police plants agent provocateurs pretending to be protesters, inciting violence and keeping their superiors informed about where they are headed.

Unfortunately, this is standard practice for police departments these days, including Denver during the DNC. How many acts of vandalism and violence that you read about in the mainstream media were actually committed by undercover cops in order to incite and defame activists?

Imagine the embarrassment of the police and governments if they held a convention with massive protests and no one was arrested! They’d have spent millions upon millions of dollars for nothing! They’ve got to earn their outrageous security budgets, which is why they were so keen to arrest anybody who happened to be near Marion St. Bridge last night, including media folks and medics (at least 5 were arrested, along with a dozen credentialed photographers).

Of course they also wanted to show who’s boss. Clearly they are, and clearly they are not going to allow us to change the system peacefully or otherwise. We are not free. We are only permitted to do what they let us; truly free expression is verboten. Believe it or not, America used to be a pretty anything-goes society as long as it wasn’t overtly violent (think of the Old West). Nowadays we cling to our police state as if that makes us safer. But what have we lost in the process?

Diebold to America: “Hey, thanks for all the tax dollars. Our vote counting software doesn’t work. Have a nice election!”

Bradblog is doing an excellent job, as usual, of covering the insanity that is our election system, especially when it comes to black box electronic voting.

Diebold has admitted that their tabulator software, known as GEMS, and used all across the country, in at least 34 states, does not count votes correctly.

In fact, it actually loses votes, by not counting them at all, yet gives the system administrator no indication that the votes were not counted. Instead, it tells them that all votes have been counted correctly. This bug has been in Diebold’s software — where it remains to this day– for years. Diebold has only admitted it now that it’s been found by someone else (a number of counties in Ohio, of all places) and with the 2008 Presidential election less than 80 days away.

On that note, have a great election, America!

I’ll be packing for someplace with a functioning democracy… like Pakistan!!

Er… wait, was it “modest” or “obviously brilliant”?

Regardless, I have an idea, everyone! Stand back, place safety goggles over your eyes, make sure the lead-lined X-ray bib is securely fastened to your chest and that your boots tied up tight.

Some Background
Now, I may be an old-fashioned (young) guy, but I believe that fair is fair. And our tax code, ladies and gentlemen, is not fair.

For instance, did you know that:

Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress.The study by the Government Accountability Office, expected to be released Tuesday, said about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period.

Collectively, the companies reported trillions of dollars in sales, according to GAO’s estimate.

What a sweet deal for them! They get to operate without having a huge tax burden weighing down on them, freeing them to make more investments and take more risks.

Of course, they have a shitload of capital, credit and resources to begin with. But this is America, goddammit! We don’t make corporations pay taxes no matter how much they fuck up the environment or make insane profits on the backs of their low-income workers.

But — and I’m getting to my ridiculously cool proposal — I can’t help but think that it’s not especially fair that multi-billion dollar companies don’t have to pay any taxes (ZERO fucking taxes) whereas, I, as a Regular Joe, have to pay about 30% of my income in taxes every year.

Perhaps I am just a whiner, not fit to lick the boots of a mighty multinational like Wal*mart. I know, I know. This is America. Corporations have more rights and resources than regular citizens. Yeah, “The Constitution guarantees…” blah blah blah… Obviously the Constitution don’t mean shit. Money talks and the Constitution was written on hemp paper by a bunch of proto-hippy revolutionaries who wore funny clothes and probably squealed like girls when tickled.

This is America, goddammit! We drive hummers and invade countries full of smelly brown people who are all determined to kill us (our Media assures us this; it must be true!) or even just because they looked at us funny. We don’t have time for “rules” or “equality” or what’s it called.. uh…. libraries? .. no… uh, — “Liberty!” Yeah, that’s it.

But what I want is not to return our country to the whole Constitution thing. I’m not that naive. However, I do think it would be freakin’ neat if we lived in a country where lawful citizens were counted as 3/5ths of a corporation. Currently, we’re about a zillionth of a corporation, so 3/5ths would be a vast improvement.

My Blindingly-Awesome Proposal
U.S. citizens, when paying their taxes, should be able to write off “overhead“. Only our “profits” should be taxed.

That means, no taxes should be administered until after the essentials of running a healthy body/mind have been accounted for.

What are the essentials? Food, water, shelter and clothing are a good start (no, a big screen TV is not an “essential”). That means I should be able to deduct all of the money I spend on food, rent/mortgage and clothes (within reason) before any other deductions. A healthy mind is important, too, so education costs, books and maybe even an internet connection should also be deductable.

Also, I have to have certain things in order to do my job — or even get to it — like a functioning car, gas, a bunch of hygienic equipment to look/smell nice, a cell phone and a computer. That’s all overhead; my paycheck is not “profit.” It’s revenue. I have to spend a big chunk of it just to stay alive and another chunk to fit into the corporate world. These are expenses and they are subtracted from revenue before you end up with profits — if you have any.

As you probably know, only corporate profits are taxable. Most overhead costs (the costs of running a business) are exempt. Wikipedia lists examples of overhead expenses as follows:

Overhead expenses include accounting fees, advertising, depreciation, indirect labor, insurance, interest, legal fees, rent, repairs, supplies, taxes, telephone bills, travel and utilities costs.

So I should be able to deduct my high-paid accountants as well. Then I can make sure, like most corporations, that I pay no income tax. Alternately, we could just leave gaping loopholes in the tax code so normal people don’t have to hire expensive accountants (and then deduct the costs of their services). Something like, “if you don’t feel like paying any income tax this year, check this box.”

So you see, my super-cool proposal just brings Joe Sixpack into the same league as the corporations, who already have incredible advantages in the economy because of their size and reach.

Corporate Welfare is Only for Wealthy Corporations
Small businesses generally take it up the rear as well since they can’t afford all those slippery accountants. Or maybe those small businesses just need to take a page from the criminals on Wall Street and learn how to privatize profits while socializing losses.

It doesn’t seem fair to me that the average guy/gal has to assume the vast majority of the tax burden when most of are making jack diddly squat compared to a major multinational. Fair is fair. Progressive income taxation is based on the idea that the rich should pay a greater portion of their income because they can afford it and because they owe it to society; especially since the rich people/corporations take advantage of the situation and pay their workers a pitance while making them work long hours in often-dangerous conditions. Meanwhile, the CEO gets his taxes paid for by the corporation via what is known as a “gross-up”.

Think it’s unfair of me to use the corporate tax code instead of the individual one? Well, like I said, fair is fair. Corporations are increasingly using the individual tax code:

An outside tax expert, Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, said increasing numbers of limited liability corporations and so-called “S” corporations pay taxes under individua
l tax codes.

“Half of all business income in the United States now ends up going through the individual tax code,” Edwards said.

Turnabout is fair play.

Even though my brilliant tax proposal seems like a total giveaway I could make it a reality. If I had high-powered corporate lobbyists at my disposal I could enact all sorts of people-friendly laws. I’d use my army of ninja-lobbyists to get a 28-hour work week and every Friday off, along with guaranteed overtime for salaried workers and an Economic Bill of Rights for all.

Instead, the already-rich corporations have the lobbyists and they use them to get ever-greater amounts corporate welfare. Then they rewrite the laws so that the managers pay a lesser percentage of tax than their secretaries do, as Warren Buffett pointed out:

Speaking at a $4,600-a-seat fundraiser in New York for Senator Hillary Clinton, Mr Buffett, who is worth an estimated $52 billion (£26 billion), said: “The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”

Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent.

Notice how he implies he could’ve made his effective tax rate much lower if he had bothered. But he didn’t. Badass. But most CEOs are not as cool as Warren… of course, he could probably stand to pay his secretary more than 60K a year if he’s making 46 million, don’t you think?

Anyway, the point is: The system is unfair. Let’s try to level the playing field a little bit.

My proposal is not to make humans equal to corporations. That’s crazy. I just want to make a person worth 3/5ths of a corporation. Is that too much to ask?

COINTELPRO is back

Dave Zirin at The Huffington Post was labelled a terrorist and a potential threat for going to anti-death penalty meetings.

I am “Dave Z.” This nickname was given by an undercover agent known to us as “Lucy.” She sat in our meetings of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, smiling and engaged, taking copious notes about actions deemed threatening by the Governor of Maryland, Robert Ehrlich. Our seditious crimes, as Lucy reported, involved such acts as planning to set up a table at the local farmer’s market and writing up a petition.

Our totalitarian government is not as keen on dissent as they would like you to believe. Sure, you can protest all you want… but you will be monitored.

COINTELPRO was the codename for activities related to spying on peaceful protesters during the 60s. Now there’s probably a new codename, but the plan remains the same. There are totalitarian elements in our government. These fascists seem to operate with near-total impunity; they are protected from On High; nobody can bring them to justice. Democracy is a myth used to control the masses. We live in Oligarchy.

Kucinich has introduced the Articles of Impeachment against Bush

…and the Media hasn’t said shit.

“Liberal Media” my ass! The Media is fucking fascist, end of story. They are utterly controlled by the same corporate interests that control both major political parties. That’s why Dennis Kucinich is a pariah in his own party — he actually looks out for the Constitution and the rights of We The People. Such dedication to Liberty is considered treason in the bowels of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

A few mainstream outlets picked up the story and managed to spend an approximate average of less than 200 words describing the measure. They couldn’t even be bothered to list more than a few of the 35 articles of impeachment.

I’ve seen better reporting in a fucking high school newspaper.

I don’t blame the beat reporters; if their editors said “give me 2,000 words” they would have. As is, they probably had to fight to get 200.

But it’s disgusting. I mean, jeeze, it’s only the impeachment of the goddamn President of the United States of America. They all managed to mention that it’s not politically feasible. Well I wonder why that is, you jackasses! It’s because you won’t cover it! If you did, everything would change, no matter how shitty and biased your coverage. Mr. 25% Approval Rating would not find many advocates in the populace, even if he would in the dominant press. And then you’d look pretty stupid, wouldn’t you, defending the murdering megalomaniac who launched an illegal war. Those of us who still remember the impeachment of Bill Clinton know that it takes very little to whip the Media into a frothing frenzy of obsessive, inane coverage. Surely you could do the same for Bush. But you won’t.

Because you’re traitors.

Yeah, that’s right. I said it. And it’s true. This president is the most evil, diabolical man ever elected and you, the supposed Fourth Estate, won’t criticize him in a voice above a whisper. It’s fucking pathetic.

Look at Kucinich’s 35 articles of impeachment. There’s a lot of red meat here:

#1: Creating a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false case for war against Iraq

#2 Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression

#3 Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War

#4 Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States

#14: Misprision of a felony, misuse and exposure of classified information and cover up (Plame outing)

#15: Providing immunity from prosecution for criminal conduct for contractors in Iraq

#17: Illegal detention – detaining indefinitely, and without charge, American citizens and foreign captives (suspension of habeus)

#18: Torture – secretly authorizing and encouraging use of torture, as matter of official policy

#19 Rendition

#24 Spying on citizens violating 4th Amendment

#26 Announcing intent to violate laws w/signing statements, and then violating those laws.

#27 Failing to comply with congressional subpoenas, and instructing others to do so.

#29: Conspiracy to violate voting rights act of 1965, Ohio Sec of State 2004-06

#34: Obstruction into the investigation of 9/11

That’s just a few of them. And this isn’t wing-nut stuff, this is all stuff that has been discussed at one time or another in the mainstream press. Much of it was hushed up (the NSA spying scandal, election fraud, 9/11 obstruction) but some of it was loud and clear (torture, Plame, illegal Iraq War). Far from being left-wing lunacy, this is the last 7.5 years, distilled into 35 bullet points.

And yet the Media won’t cover a congressman trying to hold Bush/Cheney accountable for their crimes.

I already told you why. But let it sink in. The Mainstream Media are the ones who made the Bush/Cheney disaster possible. They’re the ones who greased the wheels, regurgitated the lies, jumped on the bandwagon and hushed up the really bad shit. Bush, without a fawning press corps, is just another partisan nutcase with a rich daddy. He wouldn’t've been re-elected, let alone “elected” in the first place (another coverup there).

Let me lay it down for ya, real simple: If Bush hangs, Brian Williams should hang, too. If Cheney hangs, Tim Russert needs to swing from the same pole. If Rumsfeld goes down to the gallows, Charles Krauthammer and David Brooks need to die too. The blood of OVER ONE MILLION IRAQI INNOCENTS is on their hands.

Maybe that’s why the Media is so protective of the Bush regime: They know if Bush goes down, they all go down. They’ve all bloodied their hands and sullied their souls together. Might as well stick together until the bitter end.

But if we don’t stop them, they’ll turn this nation into a fascist state and make you and I into criminals for believing in justice, peace and freedom. Somehow we’ve got to stop them, but I just don’t know how. I’m just some random guy with a blog. What can I do? There’s no one representing my interests in Washington except Dennis Kucinich.

One man, standing up against the Forces of Evil, spitting in the wind and calling for change. This doesn’t look good for the underdogs.

Meanwhile, the supposed hope of mankind is cozying up to Israel, possibly attending the secret Bilderberg meeting (another media coverup) and generally doing whatever it takes to get elected. Fair enough. But Barack Obama had better watch out that he doesn’t sell his soul in the process.

Maybe the whole Obama campaign is just a mirage, a hallucination by those of us who have dreamed of someone who could bring our government back from the brink of tyranny and outright fascism.

I hope I’m wrong, but it’s hard to believe in anything or anybody anymore. We’ve been utterly betrayed by the government, the media and the elite. It just hurts too much to care anymore. The audacity of hope, indeed.

I’d feel a lot more hopeful if I knew somebody out there was fighting the good fight. I sleep a little sounder knowing Kucinich has the balls of a man twice his size, but he’s only one man. We need a few hundred more like him in Congress.

Dennis Kucinich: I salute you. You are a true American patriot.

There exists, somewhere deep in the belly of the NSA, a database so large, so secret, and so illegal, that few government officials will dare talk about it, even off the record.

Sources familiar with the program say that the government’s data gathering has been overzealous and probably conducted in violation of federal law and the protection from unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention. [emphasis mine]

Are you on the list? You have no way of knowing. There’s no way to reason with them, to tell them you’re not a threat. There’s no recourse, no due process, no rights.

This is the dark heart of our government, silently beating away in the darkest corner of a military base somewhere deep underground. There are people in position who long for (or at least plan for) the chance to take power in the next emergency. The Constitution would be suspended, Congress rendered impotent, martial law declared and cities locked down.

For what?

Fear. This government fears its citizens, not because they’re all terrorists, but because many of them still believe in democracy. Such people are dangerous. Believing in the Constitution might be enough to get you on the list.

Let’s imagine a harrowing scenario: coordinated bombings in several American cities culminating in a major blast—say, a suitcase nuke—in New York City. Thousands of civilians are dead. Commerce is paralyzed. A state of emergency is declared by the president. Continuity of Governance plans that were developed during the Cold War and aggressively revised since 9/11 go into effect. Surviving government officials are shuttled to protected underground complexes carved into the hills of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Power shifts to a “parallel government” that consists of scores of secretly preselected officials. (As far back as the 1980s, Donald Rumsfeld, then CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and Dick Cheney, then a congressman from Wyoming, were slated to step into key positions during a declared emergency.) The executive branch is the sole and absolute seat of authority, with Congress and the judiciary relegated to advisory roles at best. The country becomes, within a matter of hours, a police state.

Why? Why do we need to become a police state in order to become “secure”? Well, I already mentioned it above; the people who put these COG plans together are not patriots. They are traitors who wish to dispense with the annoyances of representative government and move instead to a system where everything is much smoother… for those in power.

It’s strange that they would throw 200 years of liberty at the first sign of trouble … if you don’t know who these people are. Notice who gets protected in the scenario above. They aren’t saving the Constitution, they’re saving their own asses. They don’t have contingency plans in place to ensure that citizens’ rights are upheld; no, they’re only concerned with maintaining their power and their control over us.

It’s not necessary that the government be saved. We can start a new one and Lord knows it’ll be better than the one we’ve got. But the one we’ve got is intent on saving its own skin, Constitution and Bill of Rights be damned. This isn’t a Continuity of Liberty plan. This is a Discontinuation of Liberty plan.

The totality of this plan, the way every tactically-important aspect has been planned for seizure and “continuity”, is to me indicative of Totalitarianism. The state and those in power can’t even imagine why we wouldn’t want the government to control everything. The idea that we could survive just fine without a bloated Federal government doesn’t even occur to them.

You know, the United States of America was originally supposed to be an alliance amongst soveriegn states. If something bad happens in Washington D.C. that shouldn’t directly affect Arizona or Minnesota, except as far as Federal money is concerned (the main tool by which the Federal government has tightened its control over the states).

Realize this: We don’t need a strong Federal government! We have state and local governments to take care of things important to every American; things like roads, power, water, communications and other services.

And who’s planning all this stuff anyway? Surely a competent agency with a devotion to civil liberties, right?

Haha, just kidding. You know we’re fucked: It’s FEMA!

Under law, during a national emergency, FEMA and its parent organization, the Department of Homeland Security, would be empowered to seize private and public property, all forms of transport, and all food supplies. The agency could dispatch military commanders to run state and local governments, and it could order the arrest of citizens without a warrant, holding them without trial for as long as the acting government deems necessary.

Seriously.

Well, I guess I should look at the silver lining: FEMA will probably be just an incompetent at taking our liberties away as at helping those in need… But that’s probably optimistic on my part. The reason FEMA sucks at disaster relief is because it was never really set up to be a benevolent agency; the idea behind FEMA was always this: Seizing control of the nation during an emergency.

This is the real purpose of the War on Terror. It’s to get us used to the idea that the government needs to step in and take over when things get rough. What they don’t tell you is that they’re intentionally creating a culture of fear to make the poisonous medecine go down easier, and they’re probably working the other end of things too, creating the conditions for terrorists to thrive so they’ll launch attacks and trigger the COG plans that were the whole point of the War on Terror in the first place. So, like the War on Drugs, the WOT is reall just a War on Liberty.

All this brings us back to the Main Core database:

Another well-informed source—a former military operative regularly briefed by members of the intelligence community—says this particular program has roots going back at least to the 1980s and was set up with help from the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has been told that the program utilizes software that makes predictive judgments of targets’ behavior and tracks their circle of associations with “social network analysis” and artificial intelligence modeling tools.

“The more data you have on a particular target, the better [the software] can predict what the target will do, where the target will go, who it will turn to for help,” he says. “Main Core is the table of contents for all the illegal information that the U.S. government has [compiled] on specific targets.” An intelligence expert who has been briefed by high-level contacts in the Department of Homeland Se
curity confirms that a database of this sort exists, but adds that “it is less a mega-database than a way to search numerous other agency databases at the same time.”

The fact that there are 8 million of us in this database is nothing less than horrifying. If there were really 8 million terrorists in the USA we’d have people exploding with Baghdad-like regularity… but we don’t. Nope, it’s far more likely that the people in this database are those like myself who believe in liberty and democracy. We are the true threat a tyrannical government would face in an emergency because we would want the Constitution to be reinstated. The COGers won’t let that happen.

That is why we need to be monitored. All of us. All the time. For no reason other than we might be a threat some time in the future. Maybe. The pesky 4th amendment makes this so much more difficult than the government would like, but after years of merciless attack there’s not much left of it in the public consciousness or on the law books. Here’s a look at what they monitor:

The following information seems to be fair game for collection without a warrant: the e-mail addresses you send to and receive from, and the subject lines of those messages; the phone numbers you dial, the numbers that dial in to your line, and the durations of the calls; the Internet sites you visit and the keywords in your Web searches; the destinations of the airline tickets you buy; the amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals; and the goods and services you purchase on credit cards. All of this information is archived on government supercomputers and, according to sources, also fed into the Main Core database.

Basically, you are being monitored at all times. The NSA has been scooping up anything and everything on the internet for years. They already had phone conversations and financial transactions.

The privacy concerns are horrifying enough, but what’s worse is that the database is probably useless at preventing terrorism:

In any case, mass watch lists of domestic citizens may do nothing to make us safer from terrorism. Jeff Jonas, chief scientist at IBM, a world-renowned expert in data mining, contends that such efforts won’t prevent terrorist conspiracies. “Because there is so little historical terrorist event data,” Jonas tells Radar, “there is not enough volume to create precise predictions.”

But there is a lot of data on regular Americans who aren’t planning any attacks. And that data can be misused, and it probably will be at the first opportunity.

Ah, the wisdom of Twitter. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s amazing what you can fit in 140 characters… such as a complete evisceration of the mainstream media (MSM) because of their utter, obsequious hypocrisy and the biased, treasonous way they frame and focus on issues. Here it is, from Chuck Olsen:

“If the corporate media had been as diligent about watchdogging the president as… Rev. Wright, it’s likely we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq.”

Boom. Pretty much says it all doesn’t it?

Here’s where he originally found that quote.

The corporate media chooses — seemingly as one — what to make a big deal out of. And what to blackout.

The Corporate Media (especially the TV news stations who were caught red-handed) have been feeding us Pentagon-approved talking points through the supposedly-independent retired generals who show up for interviews about the war. Strange that they never invite peaceniks on the air, isn’t it? Well, war is big business. You can’t expect truth and fairness when the bottom line is at stake.

Quite simply, the Media act as a megaphone for the positions they support and a censor for those they do not. Peace, wisdom, tranquility, free thought…. these concepts are all offensive to the corporate media. They would rather focus on strife, stupidity, distraction and obedience.

All three major cable news networks are wasting valuable air time on Senator Obama’s former pastor. Why? Is the story newsworthy? Sure. Is wall-to-wall Wright coverage more important than Iraq or gas prices or the climate crisis? No way. But Reverend Wright is a scary, shouting black man and scary shouting black men equal ratings-sweet-ratings.

We expect to see this sort of race-baiting behavior from Fox News Channel, but CNN and MSNBC have, once again, similarly crossed the tabloid threshold into the very same nefarious Roger Ailes realm by beating this nothing story to death.

They’re all the same. Fox News is simply the worst offender. But instead of being an embarrassment to decent journalists everywhere Fox News is seen a pioneer, a bold leader in the (fascist) future of news. Thus, the other news channels simply follow Fox’s lead.

Face it folks: Our mainstream media is controlled. Totally controlled. By just five mega-corporations, all of whom have interests vastly different from the average American.

Is it too hard to imagine that these corporations embrace war, hypocrisy and distraction? Five corporations means five CEOs. These reptilian CEOs have a different agenda than the common man. They’re often Republican, always rich, usually ruthless and seldom charitable. These five scumfucks control 90% of what we see, hear or read in the press and they’ve all profited from the war. The only thing that gives us a chance at regaining our freedom is the internet and I assure you this blog and others like it don’t have ratings anywhere near that of Fox or CNN.

So when you see the Media trumpeting something, be it Paris Hilton, Rev. Wright or American Idol, just remember that they’re showing you what they want you to know and they’re hiding the rest. For everything they tell you they’re obscuring another ten useful facts with their incessant bullshit.

The media doesn’t investigate, they serve the rich; they afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable. They are traitors, liars, demons and filth. I consider Big Media’s tacit embrace of the Iraq War before and after the fact to be nothing less than treason.

One former participant, NBC military analyst Kenneth Allard, has called the effort “psyops on steroids.” As Barstow reports, “Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as ‘message force multipliers’ or ‘surrogates’ who could be counted on to deliver administration ‘themes and messages’ to millions of Americans ‘in the form of their own opinions.’ … Don Meyer, an aide to Ms. Clarke, said a strategic decision was made in 2002 to make the analysts the main focus of the public relations push to construct a case for war.”

If there’s any justice in this world they will all burn in the hell they’ve created. I say we give them all a one-way ticket to Baghdad. Sleep in the bed you’ve made, Fuckers!

This is some fucked up shit right here:

“It’s not a compound.”
“It’s a ranch. It’s our home.”
“We’re the most free women in the whole world!”

I’m gonna have nightmares.

I was reading a well-researched look into fascism in America when I came across this quote by FDR:

“The “privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction….” They erected a “new industrial dictatorship” which controlled the “hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor….”

“For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor-other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real….”

“Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people’s mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended …”

I think it’s still relevant today, unfortunately. Roosevelt was not able to end economic fascism in his lifetime and now it’s back with a vengeance. Economic tyranny is as much of a problem as political tyranny.

In 1944 Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed an “Economic Bill of Rights” that would radically transform the economic policies of our nation to ensure freedom from oppression by Big Business. He saw that political freedom meant nothing if you didn’t have food to eat or a roof to sleep under. Shockingly, FDR’s dream is still unfulfilled 64 years later, but his reasoning and his solutions still hold up.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights-among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however-as our industrial economy expanded-these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. [emphasis mine]

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all-regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

  1. The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  2. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; [fascinating inclusion!]
  3. The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  4. The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  5. The right of every family to a decent home;
  6. The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  7. The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  8. The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

While none of the above are guaranteed to every citizen, in many cases America has made a half-assed attempt to realize them. Let’s look at how America 2008 matches up with FDR’s dream:

  1. There is no right to work or hold a job.
  2. Minimum wage laws attempt to set a floor for worker pay yet businessmen still howl whenever we try to raise it in keeping with inflation. Minimum wage is America is currently $5.85 an hour and will rise to $7.25 in July of 2009.
  3. Farmers are a relic of FDR’s time. Big business controls much of the industry. Farmers do have some price supports but these may cause more harm than good.
  4. The SEC and other watchdog groups are in place to ensure fairness, but they’ve been largely infiltrated by the industries they’re supposed to watch, especially under the Bush administration.
  5. We don’t have a right to a home.
  6. We still don’t have universal health care, but we do have Medicare and Medicaid.
  7. Social Security
  8. Public schooling up to 12th grade. “Good”? No comment.

Overall, not too bad, but some of the big ones are totally missing. Economic inequality is worse today than it was in FDR’s time.

The article makes the point that the idea of big government restrictions on business is a sort of fascism. I disagree. It’s socialism.

Fascism is more akin to a merger of Big Government and Big Business. Policies in fascist countries are laissez faire when business leaders want them, but they can quickly swing the other way depending on who stands to lose/gain. It’s closer to oligarchy and “might makes right.” Fascism allows businesses to destroy each other through the power of the state. It all depends on who knows who and who’s in power.

Socialism and fascism were both attempts to find a middle ground between laissez faire capitalism and totalitarian communism. Fascism was an attempt from the perspective of business and socialism was an attempt from the perspective of the common man. Fascists were willing to cede political freedom in exchange for economic security whereas socialists surrendered economic freedom in exchange for political security.

Neither system works perfectly, but a look at Europe over the last 70 years should tell you which one is generally superior. Fascism was mostly a lie; fascist leaders denounced the tyranny of communism and turned around and did just as bad when they attained power. Socialism, on the other hand, is the norm in most of western Europe and largely successful and fair. While it results in high taxes and lots of regulation the Bush administration has shown how devastating deregulation can be and their tax cuts for the rich did nothing but spit in the face of the middle class.

It’s ironic that the same Europe that was ravaged by fascism 70 years ago is now a paragon of the economic liberty that FDR envisioned… and that America is in the grip of a shadowy new form of fascism.

I didn’t even watch the damn debate and I could still smell its rancid stink by checking the livebloggers. God, what a wretched display of divisive, gotcha politics.

Here’s my open letter to ABC News and the neocon whores who run it:

Dear treasonous media jackals:

ABC News’ “debate” was a travesty and embarrassment to decent journalists everywhere. The gotcha debate style is more suitable to a professional wrestling match than an interview for the most important job in the world. Clearly, ABC News wants voters to be angry, uninformed and divided. YOU hate America, not people who don’t wear flag pins. Burn in hell, you traitorous corporate whores.

A hint for next time: If you don’t want to talk about important issues, don’t hold a debate. If you want to ask about stupid, pointless shit, why not get Jerry Springer to hold the debate? I’m sure he’d do a better job than the two ass-clowns you had run it.

…. You may think I’m being impolite. Wrong. You should’ve seen what I wanted to write.

Sincerely,
an American voter

Click here for a more reasoned and restrained open letter (not that you deserve it, ABC).

The mainstream media is covering the global elite: The Superclass.

What is the world coming to? Are we actually going to have an honest discussion on the nature of the Super-rich and their incredibly disproportionate influence upon the world?

I doubt it, but it’s still nice to see Newsweek talking about it… of course, the author positively lusts after the power in front of him:

Recalling an earlier crisis in global securities markets that he helped to manage, Geithner said the Fed brought together the leaders of the world’s 14 major financial firms, from five countries, representing 95 percent of all the activity in global markets. The Swiss were there, the Germans were there, the British were there. Interestingly, no Asians were there, not even the Japanese. Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein “jokingly called them ‘the 14 families,’ like in ‘The Godfather’,” says Geithner. “And we said to them, “You guys have got to fix this problem. Tell us how you are going to fix it and we will work out some basic regime to make sure there are no free riders to give you comfort; you know that if you move individually everybody else will move with you.”

There was nothing in writing, no rules, no formal process, and while no one asked the Fed to act, the Fed let everyone in the markets know it was acting. The beauty of the process was its absolute efficiency, seeing what a tight circle of large firms with “some global reach” could get done, fast—with an executive committee of only four running the weekly conference call until the crisis was past.

There was nothing in writing because it’s not a democratic process. It’s an oligarchical one. These super-rich folks have a common interest — maintaining their power — and they’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.

The people on the recent calls like those described by Geithner, plus a few thousand more like them, not only in business and finance, but also politics, the arts, the nonprofit world and other realms, are part of a new global elite that has emerged over the past several decades. I call it the “superclass.” They have vastly more power than any other group on the planet. Each of the members is set apart by his ability to regularly influence the lives of millions of people in multiple countries worldwide. Each actively exercises this power, and often amplifies it through the development of relationships with other superclass members.

It’s just like high school. The super-rich have formed their own clique and none of the rest of us are invited “in”. Nope, we’re outsiders…. which seems odd because there’s approximately 6,000 of them and 6,000,000,000 of us.

So how does one become a member? As ever, being rich certainly helps. Many superclass members are wealthy, wealthier in relative terms than any elite ever has been. The top 10 percent of all people, for example, now control 85 percent of all wealth on the planet.

It’s very stable. It’s orderly, and it works.

But it’s not democracy.

In fact, when I said “it works” I meant that the system works. I didn’t mention anything about whether or not it works for everybody. Clearly, with most of the world’s population in either mild or abject poverty, the system does not work fairly or equitably.

So here’s a question: Why do we need these guys?

What benefit do they bring me? Or you? Right now they only bring the status quo, but with the economy faltering (and these guys being in a position to see it coming) it seems to me that they’re bringing us a world of pain. The superclass will have time to jump ship. They’ve probably already moved much of their wealth to Euros or gold. The rest of us? We’re just trying to get by.

If they fuck us over, I say it’s on. You ruin my standard of living, I might just ruin yours.

The iconic symbol of superclass unity is the Gulfstream private jet. In fact, one way to measure the clout of an event is to count the private jets at the nearest airport. According to Gulfstream, Davos traditionally attracts more of its planes than any other gathering, drawing up to 10 percent of the 1,500 planes in service to Zurich airport. But this year’s Olympics in Beijing will give it a run for its money, as typically do events as diverse as the Monaco Grand Prix, China’s Boao Forum, the Geneva Auto Show or Allen & Co.’s annual getaway for media magnates in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Globalization looks different when you can tell the pilot when to leave and where to go, and when there are no security lines to wait in when you are heading off for distant destinations. Those who are free to move about the planet this way come to have more in common with themselves than with their own countrymen. “What happened to us, that we walk through the Davos party and know more people than when we were walking across the village green in the town we live in?” wonders Mark Malloch-Brown, former Deputy Secretary General at the United Nations and now a senior official in the British Foreign Ministry.

The Gulfstream jet is a perfect metaphor for these people. They are in the fast lane while the rest of us take the bus. There’s only one word for it: Class.

I thought America was supposed to be a classless (or at least upwardly mobile) society, but it seems like we’ve copied the British class system almost to the letter. Throw some more racism and capitalism in the mix and you’ve got Britain 2.0. Is that what our founding fathers wanted?

People tell me that I shouldn’t wage class warfare, to which I say: “What the fuck are you talking about? The war is over. The rich won a long time ago.”