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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh, The Pain of The Believer

Barack’s Betrayals Offer Lessons We Can’t Deny

By Danny Schechter
Disinformation.com
August 30, 2011

Journalists are not supposed to have political opinions, and yet
we all do.

Our “biases” are usually disguised, not blatant or overtly partisan,
and can be divined in what stories we cover and how we cover them.

Even ‘just the facts, ma'am,’ journos for big Media have to decide which facts to include and which to ignore.

Our outlooks are always shaped by our worldviews, values and experience, not to mention the outlets we work for.

Which brings me to the challenge of seeking truth and recognizing
it when you see it.

I have to admit that I was seduced by the idea of Barack Obama.

The idea of a black President, the idea of a young President, the
idea of an articulate President, and the idea of a man married to
such a stand up woman from a working class family was hard to resist.

Here’s a guy who seemed really smart, not just because he went to
Harvard but because professors there I liked were impressed with
him. (I taught at Harvard, and know very well how not so smart
many students there can be!)

In the end, it doesn’t mean much, but in that period he lived about
a block away from the house I once shared on Dartmouth Street in Somerville.

Was that a degree of separation?

He had also been a community organizer, starting in politics at the grassroots in Chicago. I also worked at Saul Alinsky-style organizing and even knew the iconic organizer personally.

Was that another degree?

He’s invoked the spirit of the civil rights movement but was not
part of it.

He treated Dr. King as a monument before the new memorial was
conceived, embracing him as a symbol of the past, not a guide to
the future.

He took an anti-war stance on pragmatic grounds only, preferring Afghanistan to Iraq. He hasn’t extricated us from either battlefield.

His strategy borrowed heavily from the Bush Doctrine. What’s
the difference, really, as US troops now intervene worldwide
and Guantanamo remains open for business?

There was a lot I didn’t know.

I didn’t know the backgrounds of those that groomed him and
funded him. His relationship with the centrist DLC was murky
as were the details on the services he performed for a shadowy
firm, Business International, said to have CIA links.

There were those who warned, but I guess I didn’t want to listen.

Why? I didn’t want to reinforce my own skepticism and sense of
despair. I feigned at being hopeful even as I took quite a few
critical whacks at his positions in my blog.

His deviations from a liberal agenda and his paens to the “free market” were considered necessary for his “electability.”

I was also influenced by the euphoria for him overseas that had become infectious but has since soured.

To be honest, I was so disgusted with eight years of George Bush for all the right reasons that I wanted him gone full stop, as did millions of Americans.

Hillary didn’t appeal to me, not because she’s a woman but because of her slavish affinity for the Israel lobby and middle of the road Democrats. (Yes, Obama, did his mea-culpa to AIPAC too!)

I was denounced as a super sexist by a few for not buying into her centrist Clintonista crusade.

She had gone from a student advocate to part of a ruling family; he went from bottom-up activism to top-down elitism.

When she joined his “team,” you knew they were always in the same league.

When the right bashed him for associating with radical Bill Ayers, who I knew, it made me suspect he might even be cooler than I thought, even as he raced to distance himself.

His membership in Reverend Wright’s church hinted at a deeper
consciousness until he buckled in the media heat and threw the
man that married him under the bus.

And yet, I wanted to believe because I needed to believe, needed to believe it was possible to change the American behemoth, to believe that, as he kept saying, “it could be different this time.”

As the late writer David Foster Wallace put it, “In the day-to-day
trenches of adult life…there is no such thing as not worshipping.
Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship…
else (what) you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money
and things - if they are where you tap real meaning in life - then
you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough.”

So, in a sense, I became a worshipper like so many, not of the man or the dance he was doing in an infected political environment, but because I convinced myself that I worshipped possibility, that there are times when the unexpected, even the unbelievable occurs.

I had seen Mandela go from prison to the presidency of South Africa.

After all, how does a progressive blast a candidate who has Bruce
Springsteen and Pete Seeger singing the uncensored version of
“This Land Is Your Land” at his inaugural?

Yet, there was always a nagging question: was he with us or just
co-opting us?

Yes We Can?

Slowly, despite the glow and the aura, deeper truths surfaced, realities I had winked away.

Its not surprising that his mantra has gone, as the Washington
Post reports, from the “fierce urgency of now,” to “Be patient,
democracy is big and tough and messy.”

Yes, I knew, I may have been rationalizing a false god, who was only another, if more attractive, politician who says one thing and does another in a political system where power, not personalities prevail.

Like many of his predecessors he would be “captured” by the power structures, by the military men and contractors at the Pentagon and the money men on Wall Street.

He was in office but never really in charge. Clearly, he didn’t have the votes to enact a real change agenda. But that was because his own party was long ago bought and paid for.

He never had a chance, even if as I wanted to believe, he wanted one. He said he wanted to be transformational figure but the system transformed him—and quickly.

Everyone runs “against Washington,” even a Senator, who was part of it. And so I held my nose and voted, hoping against my wiser instincts.

I even made a positive film about the campaign that showed how he used social media and texting to mobilize new voters. When I tried to get a copy to the White House, through an insider there, I found they couldn’t be less interested.

By then, he had gone from playing the “outside game” to opting
into the “inside game” built around compromise in the name of
“pragmatism," or "getting it done,” in his words.

In the end he was a rookie who may have outsmarted himself or
just served the interests who put him there.

He couldn’t dump his most passionate and issue-oriented followers fast enough.

While his backers were still hot to trot, he became cooler toward them, and, in effect, repudiated them with few progressive appointments.

He put on his flag pin and relished the symbolism of the “office.”

He became the master of the uplifting speech disguising a quite different policy agenda.

He spoke for the people but served the power. His wanted the other side to love him too, even as his stabs at “bi-partisanship” proved non-starters.

When you lie down with those “lambs,” (or is it snakes?) you betray not only supporters, but their hopes. FDR was soon spinning in his grave.

I am not surprised that knowledgeable critics of his economic policies not only consider him bull-headed and wrong, but actually corrupt, aligned and complicit, with the banksters who are still ripping us off.

No wonder he’s "bundled” more donations from the greedsters
and financiers this year than in 2008!

No wonder he turned his back on consumer advocate Elizabeth
Warren and is trying to kill prosecutions of bank fraud in high
places.

Christopher Whalen who writes for Reuters say there will be a
cost for his doing nothing:

“The path of least resistance politically has been to temporize
and talk. But by following the advice of Rubin and Summers, and
avoiding tough decisions about banks and solvency, President
Obama has only made the crisis more serious and steadily
eroded public confidence. In political terms, Obama is morphing
into Herbert Hoover.”

Yet, at the same time, many of us who now know how we have been used, will vote for him again, because, as he rightly calculates, there is no one else, and the alternative is even worse.

Watch and weep as today’s rebels become next year’s rationalizers.

It reminds me of when activists were asked to vote for Lyndon Johnson in 1964 with the slogan “Part of the Way with LBJ.”

That way ended with an endless escalation of war in Vietnam, and guns trumping butter. Sound familiar?

The search for truth and reality has hit a wall but has to continue. The lessons need to be learned.

We have to say we were wrong, when we were, not in our beliefs,
but in pinning our hopes on a shrewd, ambitious, and double-faced
political performance artist.

While people who still back him dismiss the accusation that’s he’s a hidden socialist, Kenyan, or space alien, all too many suspect he may be a secret Republican.

He is who he is, aloof, cautious, and a man in the middle. He’s staying there.

Let’s give David Foster the last word.

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and
awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to
care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over,
in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.
The alternative is unconscioussness,…

… It is about simple awareness - awareness of what is so real and
essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to
keep reminding ourselves, over and over…”


News Dissector Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org. His new
film is Plunder The Crime of our time on the financial crisis as a
crime story. (Plunderthecrimeofourtime.com)

http://www.disinfo.com/2011/08/oh-the-pain-of-the-believer-
baracks-betrayals-offer-lessons-we-cant-deny/

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The World at a Tipping Point

The World at a Tipping Point

America and the world seem precariously balanced between those
who wish to deny the many problems facing mankind and those who
insist that the human race address the multiple crises confronting
the planet. Winslow Myers sees reason to hope that the world will
tip in a positive direction.

By Winslow Myers
Consortiumnews.com
August 28, 2011

The brilliance of the “Mad Men” television series lies in the
crackerjack acting and script, but even more in the way the
series dramatizes the paradigm shift of American women
from gross subjugation to rough equality.

In an early episode, protagonist Don Draper reluctantly allows his
wife to consult a (male) psychiatrist, and then calls the doctor,
who casually violates confidentiality.

The series explains much about how the males of my generation often haplessly misunderstood — or deliberately ignored — the autonomous subjectivity of females.

This begs two questions: what blindnesses operating in the present cultural moment might be illuminated by talented scriptwriters as they look back from the perspective of 2040?

And second, what is the vision that orients us as we work to
ensure that there will be a future to look back from in 2040?

American politics in 2011, in the run-up to the next presidential
election, seems to operate in a weird bubble of denial, the engine
of which is politicians pandering for votes.

No one gets to be a President or Senator by emphasizing such unvarnished truths as:

–Oil and coal companies exercise too much power to slow or prevent
altogether an incentivized transition to clean and sustainable forms
of energy generation.

–People of wealth and large corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes, and as long as Congress is in thrall to lobbyists, reform of the tax code toward simplicity, transparency and fairness will be difficult in coming.

–Some American financial institutions characterized as “too big to fail” are insufficiently regulated, making money off the misfortunes of ordinary citizens, intensifying the grotesque differences between the incomes of the super-rich and all the rest of us.

–The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are obscenely expensive
stalemates that have not increased our security, and may
have created more terrorists than they have killed.

–Nuclear weapons have become completely useless as
instruments of deterrence.

–The U.S. defense budget is bloated and lacks accountability.

–Global climate instability is clearly being intensified, if not
caused, by human activity.

–The U.S. military is the biggest user of fossil fuels and polluter in the world, even as it plans to fight wars caused by the same extreme climate events that are presently intensifying chaos and dislocation for millions.

–The debt ceiling of nations may be negotiated or engineered, but the debt that comes from the unsustainable assault of too many humans on the living systems of the Earth is non-negotiable.

Coral reefs are dying; the oceans are polluted with plastic; many fish species have been harvested almost to extinction; tropical rain forests are still being put to the torch or the saw; polar icecaps and mountain glaciers continue to melt at faster than expected rates.

But there is good news also, about which we also do not hear enough from our candidates:

–There are millions of non-governmental organizations springing up around the world that agree upon the values of human rights for all, eco-sustainability, nonviolence, and democratic structures—the largest mass movement in history, says entrepreneur and ethicist Paul Hawken.

One important new organization is Awakening the Dreamer, which offers citizens a free half-day seminar that awakens us to the real challenges we face—and the real possibility of meeting them.

–War just might be a dying institution. Wars of decolonization or
proxy wars between superpowers have scaled back to zero since
the end of the Cold War.

While still horrible, contemporary wars kill fewer civilians and soldiers than some of the conflagrations of the not-too-distant past.

Still, this optimism about war fails to include the continued presence of massive numbers of nuclear weapons, nor the ever-increasing effects of climate change upon the poorer nations, nor global population growth, nor the unpredictable element in current events.

New World

We find ourselves waking up in a whole new world, where
rich and poor occupy the same leaky boat in a polluted sea.

Ensuring the future requires a fundamental shift in thinking from
“I am separate” to “We are one”—a paradigm shift from measuring
our economic success quantitatively to finding new qualitative criteria.

From turning reflexively toward war to moving aggressively
to prevent war.

From grotesquely large military budgets to humanitarian aid
that directly meets human needs.

From candidates who deny global warming to candidates who
advocate for a reorientation of priorities on the level of a
planetary Marshall Plan.

None of this will happen unless we all get involved, and push and question and become an active force that leaders cannot ignore.

This is the time when candidates are spending the most time listening to ordinary citizens.

The questions we ask can be powerful agents of a new awakening.

If that came to pass, we might someday enjoy a TV series that
looked back through the decades to dramatize the gradual end
of our delusions.

It might make us wince at the “windy militant trash” (Auden) of present political discourse just as we wince at the dated chauvinism of the “Mad Men” era, but we might also be celebrating how far we had come.

Meanwhile we have a long way to go, baby.


Winslow Myers, the author of Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,
serves on the Board of Beyond War (www.beyondwar.org), a non-
profit educational foundation whose mission is to explore, model
and promote the means for humanity to live without war.

http://consortiumnews.com/2011/08/19/the-world-at-a-tipping-
point/

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Amnesty for the Indefensible

Amnesty for the Indefensible
By Robert Scheer
Truthout.org
Thursday, August 25, 2011

They will get away with it, at least in this life.

"They" are the Wall Street usurers, people of a sort condemned in Scripture, who have brought more misery to this nation than we have known since the Great Depression.

They will not suffer for their crimes, because they have a majority ownership position in our political system.

That is the meaning of the banking plea bargain that the Obama
administration is pressuring state attorneys general to negotiate
with the titans of the financial world.

It is a sellout deal that, in return for a pittance of compensation by banks to ripped-off mortgage holders, would grant the banks blanket immunity from any prosecution.

It's intended to short-circuit investigations by a score of aggressive state officials, inquiries that offer the public a last best hope to get to the bottom of the housing scandal that has cost U.S. homeowners $6.6 trillion in home equity in the past five years and left 14.6 million Americans owing more than their homes were worth.

The $20 billion or so that the banks would pony up is, for them,
chump change -- compared with the trillions that the Fed and
other public agencies spent to bail them out.

The banks were given direct cash subsidies and virtually zero-
interest loans, and the Fed took $2 trillion in bad paper off their
hands, while the banks exacerbated the banking crisis they had
created through additional shady practices, including fraudulent
mortgage foreclosures.

Yet, the administration has rushed to the aid of the banks once
again and is attempting to intimidate the few state attorneys
general who have the gumption to protect the public interest
they are sworn to serve.

As Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times reported:

"Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, has come
under increasing pressure from the Obama administration to drop
his opposition to a wide-ranging state settlement with banks over
dubious foreclosure practices. ...

"In recent weeks, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and
Urban Development, and high-level Justice Department officials
have been waging an intensifying campaign to try to persuade
the attorney general to support the settlement. ..."

Donovan has good reason not to want an exploration of the origins
of the housing meltdown: He has been a big-time player in the
housing racket for decades.

Back in the Clinton administration, when government-supported housing became a fig leaf for bundling suspect mortgages into what turned out to be toxic securities, Donovan was a deputy assistant secretary at HUD and acting Federal Housing Administration commissioner.

He was up to his eyeballs in this business when the Clinton
administration pushed through legislation banning any regulation
of the market in derivatives based on home mortgages.

Armed with his insider connections, Donovan then went to work for
the Prudential conglomerate (no surprise there), working deals with
the same government housing agencies that he had helped run.

As The New York Times reported in 2008, after President Barack Obama picked him to be secretary of HUD, "Mr. Donovan was a managing director at Prudential Mortgage Capital Co., in charge of its portfolio of investments in affordable housing loans, including Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration debt."

The HUD website boasts in its bio of Donovan that "under Secretary Donovan's leadership, HUD has helped stabilize the housing market and worked to keep responsible families in their homes."

If that is so, we have to assume that the tens of millions savaged
by an out-of-control banking industry were not "responsible."

And if the housing market has in any way been "stabilized," why
did the Commerce Department report Tuesday that new home
sales have dropped for the third month in a row?

Shifting the blame from the swindlers to the victims is the
cynical rot at the core of the response of both the Bush and
Obama administrations to the housing collapse.

It is a response that aims to forgive and forget the crimes of Wall
Street while allowing ordinary folks to sink deeper into the pit of
debt and despair.

It infects Donovan and many others who claim to be concerned for the very homeowners they are betraying by undermining the few officials such as Schneiderman who seek to hold the bankers accountable.

In her article about the pressure being brought to bear on
Schneiderman to go along with the sellout, Morgenson reported
that according to an attendee at a memorial service this month
for former New York Gov. Hugh Carey.

As Schneiderman was leaving, he "became embroiled in a contentious conversation with Kathryn S. Wylde, a member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who represents the public."

When interviewed by Morgenson, Wylde claimed that her conversation with Schneiderman was "not unpleasant" but that she told him "it is of concern to the industry that instead of trying to facilitate resolving these issues, you seem to be throwing a wrench into it."

"Wall Street is our Main Street -- love 'em or hate 'em. They are
important, and we have to make sure we are doing everything we
can to support them unless they are doing something indefensible."

When haven't they done that?

Robert Scheer is editor of truthdig.com

http://www.truth-out.org/amnesty-indefensible/1314211785

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why Did Capitalism Fail?

Why Did Capitalism Fail?
By Bob Burnett
The Smirking Chimp
August 22, 2011

We live in interesting times. The global economy is splintering.

U.S. voters hate all politicians and there's political unrest
throughout the world.

The root cause of this turmoil is the failure of the dominant economic paradigm -- global corporate capitalism.

The modern world is ruled by multinational corporations and
governed by a capitalistic ideology that believes:

Corporations are a special breed of people, motivated solely
by self-interest.

Corporations seek to maximize return on capital by leveraging
productivity and paying the least possible amount for taxes and
labor.

Corporate executives pledge allegiance to their directors and shareholders.

The dominant corporate perspective is short term, the current
financial quarter, and the dominant corporate ethic is greed,
doing whatever it takes to maximize profit.

Five factors are responsible for the failure of global corporate capitalism.

First, global corporations are too big. We're living in the age
of corporate dinosaurs.

The largest multinational is JP Morgan Chase with assets of
$2 Trillion, 240,000 employees, and offices in 100 countries.

The original dinosaurs perished because their huge bodies
possessed tiny brains.

Modern dinosaurs are failing because their massive bureaucracies possess miniscule hearts.

Since the Reagan era global corporations have followed the path of least resistance to profit; they've swallowed up their competitors and created monopolies, which have produced humongous bureaucracies.

In the short-term, scale helps corporations grow profitable, but in
the long-term it makes them inflexible and difficult to manage.

Gigantism creates a culture where workers are encouraged to take
enormous risks in order to create greater profits; it's based upon
the notion that the corporation is "too big to fail."

Second, global corporations disdain civil society.

They've created a culture of organizational narcissism, where
workers pledge allegiance to the enterprise.

Corporate employees live in a bubble, where they log obscene
hours and then vacation with their co-workers.

Multinationals develop their own code of ethics and worldview separate from that of any national state.

Corporate executives don't care about the success or failure of any particular country, only the growth and profitability of their global corporation.

Many large corporations pay no U.S. income tax; in 2009 Exxon
Mobil actually got a $156 M rebate.

Third, global corporations are modern outlaws, living outside the
law. There is no invisible hand that regulates multinationals.

In 1759 Philosopher Adam Smith argued that while wealthy
individuals and corporations were motivated by self interest,
an "invisible hand" was operating in the background ensuring
that capitalist activities ultimately benefited society.

In modern times this concept became the basis for the
pronouncements of the Chicago School of Economics that
markets were inherently self regulating.

However, the last five years have demonstrated that there is no
"invisible hand" -- unregulated markets have spelled disaster for
the average person.

The "recovery" of 2009-10 ensured that "too big to fail" institutions
would survive and the rich would continue to be rich.

Meanwhile millions of good jobs were either eliminated or replaced
by low-wage jobs with poor or no benefits.

Fourth, global corporations are ruining our natural capital.

Four of the top 10 multinational corporations are energy companies, with Exxon Mobil leading the list.

But there are many indications that our oil reserves are gone.

Meanwhile, other forms of natural capital have been depleted -- arable land, water, minerals, forests, fish, and so forth.

Multinational corporations have treated the environment as a free resource.

When the timberlands of North America began to be depleted,
lumber corporations moved to South America and then Asia.

Now, the "easy pickings" are gone.

Global corporations have ravished the world and citizens of every nation live with the consequences: dirty air, foul water, and pollution of every sort.

Fifth, global corporations have angered the world community.

The world GDP is $63 Trillion but multinational corporations garner
a disproportionate share -- with banks accounting for an estimated
$4 trillion (bank assets are $100 trillion).

Global black markets make $2 trillion -- illegal drugs account for
at least $300 billion.

In many parts of the world, a worker is not able to earn a living wage, have a bank account or drive a car, but can always obtain drugs, sex, and weapons.

And while the world may not be one big village in terms of lifestyle,
it shares an image of "the good life" that's proffered in movies, TV,
and the Internet.

That's what teenagers in Afghanistan have in common with
teenagers in England; they've been fed the same image of
success in the global community and they know it's inaccessible.

They are angry and, ultimately, their anger has the same target -- multinational corporations (and the governments that support them).

We live in interesting times.

The good news is we're witnessing the failure of global corporate capitalism.

The bad news is we don't know what will replace it.


Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer, activist, and Quaker. Before
starting a second career as a journalist, he was a technologist
and one of the founding executives at Cisco Systems.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/bob-burnett/38002/
why-did-capitalism-fail

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Notes on the Social Crisis in America

Notes on the Social Crisis in America
By Naomi Spencer
Information Clearing House
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thousands Line Up For Free Dental Care in Georgia

Thousands of Georgians waited in line to see volunteer dentist
teams at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock August 12 and 13.

Many arrived on Thursday night and slept on the sidewalk.

“I have a couple of missing teeth and I need some extractions,”
one woman told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

She explained that she had lost her job a couple of years ago
and had gone without dental insurance since then.

A University of Georgia student who had recently spent $3,800 on
dental care explained, “I never got it finished—I couldn’t afford
the rest of it—so I came to see if I could get the rest of it done.”

“The line went around the building, all the way through the parking
lot and around a warehouse,” Atlanta dentist Richard Smith told the
Journal Constitution.

Smith estimated that at one point, 4,000 were in line. Over 1,600 volunteers, including 300 dentists, contributed to the effort.

“A bunch of us started looking around and realized that with
this economy we had to do something,” Smith said. “We are
not responsible for the problem that’s there, but we’re the
only ones who can fix it."

“A lot of these people are in pain, they have infections, they’re missing front teeth … there’s a huge need just to get people back to work. Mothers can’t take care of their children, father’s can’t earn a living,” he said.

Police stopped allowing new arrivals by Friday because the mass turnout risked overwhelming the event.

A similar clinic held in South Carolina the week before was forced to turn away at least 1,000 people, provoking frustration and anger in the crowd.

Poll Finds Widespread Depression In Appalachia

A survey of 188 metropolitan areas across the US by the Gallup
polling organization found the highest rates of clinical depression
in Appalachia.

Of the 11 areas where residents are most likely to report they have been diagnosed with depression, six are in Appalachia. Huntington, West Virginia recorded the highest rates, with one in three residents saying they had been diagnosed with the disorder.

Gallup notes, “Respondents who have been diagnosed with
depression report a high number of days in the past month
when poor health kept them from doing their usual activities.

Depression is more strongly related to unhealthy days than any other specific health condition asked about, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma.”

Those metro areas that ranked highest for depression are among those with the highest average number of “unhealthy days.”

The region has high unemployment, low labor force participation, deep poverty, and little social infrastructure to aid those struggling with psychological problems or other health issues. In Huntington, West Virginia, 45 percent of all adults are obese.

A 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of the area found more than one in five over the age of 45 years old suffered from coronary heart disease, and one in six had been diagnosed with diabetes.

The CDC found that 48.1 percent of residents over the age of 65 were missing all of their natural teeth.

Economy Forces Delay In College, Family Plans

Of Americans aged 18 to 29, three-quarters expect to delay a major life change or purchase—including raising a family and buying a home—because of economic problems, a new survey by the non-profit Generation Opportunity indicates.

The finding echoes an earlier Gallup poll that showed that less than half of Americans believe the current generation of youth will have a better life than the last one.

Nationally, the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds stands at 17.4 percent. In many regions youth unemployment is higher than 30 percent.

“I don’t want to invest in something I can’t afford, given the
economy breaking down,” 20-year-old UC San Diego student
Alicia Thomas told the Los Angeles Times.

“I’ll be taking smaller steps…. You can’t reach for the stars at
this point.”

“Our generation is going to take the brunt of the force of the debt crisis,” 21-year-old John Glass, a government major at New York’s St. Lawrence University, told the Times.

“It’s going to mean fewer jobs, higher interest rates, more debt. We’ll have to sacrifice. This is a raw deal for our generation.”

Army Soldier Commits Suicide After 8 Deployments

After receiving orders for his ninth deployment to Iraq and
Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Jared Hagemann went onto the
grounds of the training camp at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in
late July and shot himself in the head.

Spokesmen for the base continue to tell the local press that the cause of Hagemann’s death remains undetermined, but the soldier’s widow said he had been deeply disturbed by his experiences and actions in combat.

“It was horrible. And he would just cry,” Ashley Hagemann told local KOMO News August 12. “And [he felt] there’s no way that any God would forgive him—that he was going to hell. He couldn’t live with that any more.”

She said her husband had wanted out of the military. “He just wanted to know what it felt like to be normal again.”

Hagemann’s death is indicative of the mental health crisis among
the veteran population. Left psychologically scarred from witnessing
or carrying out violence, soldiers are under pressure to hide their
problems.

Suicides have reached epidemic proportions among military
personnel involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations.

Soldiers also have higher rates of substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, and other indicators of mental instability.

The Army has attempted to deal with the growing unpopularity of
the wars and poor recruitment levels with endless redeployments
of battle-worn soldiers.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord has fed some of the most brutal campaigns in southern Afghanistan, including the 2009 “surge” authorized by the Obama administration, during which soldiers from the base committed numerous atrocities against Afghan civilians.

Two Mentally Disabled Men Die After Transfer To Group Homes

A 54-year-old mentally disabled man died of a blood clot just
four days after he was transferred from the Massachusetts-
run Templeton Developmental Center into a group home run
by Northeast Residential Services.

He was described as being in excellent health at Templeton. The
man’s family has expressed concern that his death was caused by
a medication error.

The man’s death follows a case of another man who died of aspiration pneumonia from a plastic bag shortly after being transferred from Fernald Developmental Center to a group home.

The man suffered from pica, a desire to swallow nonfood items.

The state is planning to close five of its six mental health
institutions by 2013, shifting hundreds of developmentally
disabled patients into group homes that have far lower levels
of staffing and supervision.

Massachusetts HIV and AIDS Services To Be Cut

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health notified community health agencies on August 12 that the state’s AIDS prevention budget would be reduced by $4.3 million.

The cut, amounting to one quarter of the department’s yearly
spending on the program, will impact public health worker training,
high school sex education, public awareness campaigns, access to
contraceptives for teens and college students, and needle exchanges
for the drug addicted—practices that helped to reduce infection rates
by more than 50 percent over the past decade at a time when most
other states saw rising infection rates.

The budget cut is a reaction to federal changes for AIDS prevention, including a halving of federal funding effective immediately.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is diverting funding from Massachusetts and other states with lower rates of infection away to states with rising rates.

The CDC can now also dictate how states spend federal funding,
a change that will impact community-based health programs in
particular. Prevention program funding will be instead put into
case management of those already infected.

The AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is among the organizations to be affected.

The committee’s president, Rebecca Haag, told the Boston Globe that it would have to shut down its 25-year-old hotline service. “We are the sole HIV hot line for the state,” she said.

“And we actually picked up coverage for Rhode Island when the
government chose not to fund its hot line. We can no longer fund
two statewide hot lines without any support.”

New Jersey Homeless Camp Forced To Take Down Wooden Huts

A Lakewood, New Jersey homeless camp called Tent City has been told to dismantle wooden huts the residents built to stay warm last winter.

Frail and elderly homeless occupants will have to instead live in
fabric tents that have been stressed by heavy rains.

“It’s a little like a friend has died,” 60-year-old Marilyn Berenzweig told the New Jersey News as her hut was torn down August 15. “It was small, but it was cozy.”

The encampment grew over the past few years in the woods on
the outskirts of town and is now home to 65 people. The nearest
homeless shelters are 35 miles away, in Trenton.

Similar camps have sprung up all over the country.

The homeless population is vulnerable to frostbite, hypothermia,
and freezing deaths, as well as dangerous wood or propane fires.

In 2009, one Lakewood Tent City resident was killed and another
was seriously injured in two separate propane stove accidents.

Last year the encampment was buried in three feet of snow.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28876.htm

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Death By A Thousand Cuts

Death By A Thousand Cuts
By Bob Schulz - WeThePeople.org
Liberty News Online
Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We start with a First Principle:

Those things allegedly most treasured by our nation including
Liberty, justice, wealth, safety and social order arise not by
chance or force, but through the institutions of Law and limited
government, offered, embraced and manifest by moral, learned
and spiritual minds via the collective political instruments now
known as our state and federal Constitutions.

It follows naturally that the gross separation or alienation of government officials from our Constitutions must, by definition result in the death of the nation itself.

Each violation heaps an additional, devastating impact on America’s economy, families, moral character, global reputation and the Freedoms of its citizens.

To be sure, if we permit it to happen, the material cause of the demise of Liberty and our Republic will be the cumulative damage and decay resulting from the relentless and escalating number of violations that continue to debase both our state and federal Constitutions.

After all, the Constitutions, as rule books designed to govern the government, are all that stand between the People and total tyranny.

Yes, through it all and despite the damage, our democracy will survive; we will go on electing people to office, as this function is necessary in establishing any form of representative government.

What will not survive, however, is the Republic of America -- designed by the greatest governing documents ever given to mankind.

Simply put, absent a sea change in the People’s attitude
and commitment toward their Constitutions, our Republic’s
approaching demise is all but a certainty.

Unless a sufficient number of People decide to soon embrace
our Constitutions, and learn to “connect the dots” between
the specific provisions and prohibitions of Law provided
therein and the malevolent, unlawful behaviors of our elected
officials, we are a doomed nation, subject only to the Rule of
Men and the tyranny of Power.

Unless the American People soon rekindle and accept personal
responsibility to hold all elected officials accountable to those
written documents, regardless of their political stripes and
whether they voted for them, America’s fate as a Sovereign,
lawless ship, captained only by pirates and despots is sealed.

Without a collective constitutional conscience of the People, for the errant impulses of our elected officials to contend with, the (now) unbridled violations of Law will most assuredly drain the remaining life blood from the Republic.

As Jefferson said, political parties are by their nature corruptive.

Without a national constitutional conscience, the loyalties of
our elected officials will naturally continue to flow away from
the Constitution to the Party responsible for designating them
for the ballot and its self-serving platforms and objectives.

As Jefferson also said, the People are the only sure reliance for
the preservation of our Liberty.

Without a national constitutional conscience, the collective belief
of the People will continue to be the naive cry of all democracies,
i.e., “If you don’t like what is going on, vote for someone else”.

In truth, elections are the crudest form of organized political
exercise possible by a “free” People and are the instrument
of participation employed by all pure democracies.

Elections, in essence, are the tool of those that control the
political process, the levers of government and the status quo.

Elections, if relied upon as the sole method of exercising the
powers of Popular Sovereignty, serve only the will of the majority
and the chosen recipients of government beneficence.

Despite the necessity of electing those who wield governmental
power, it is the malicious use of elections by which pure
democracies sustain the illusion of Liberty, while Individual
Rights, i.e., those superior, unalienable Rights and political
protections which define the heart of a true Republic, wither
and dissolve.

Again, our Constitutions are our Law. They are all that stand
between the People and total tyranny.

The Constitution is not a menu and cannot defend itself.

That’s up to us, the People.

http://www.libertynewsonline.com/article_301_30937.php

Friday, August 12, 2011

5 Reasons Why American Riots Will Be The Worst In The World

5 Reasons Why American Riots Will Be The Worst In The World
By Silver Shield
Don't Tread On Me
August 12, 2011

I wrote an article called 5 Places NOT To Be When The Dollar Collapses.

In it I wrote that societies that benefited the most from the dollar
would be the worst places to be when it fell apart.While the dollar
has not even collapsed yet, the strain in these areas is becoming
more apparent.

England is number 3 on the list has had 4 days of violent riots as
people start to lose it. Israel is number 1 on that list has had
massive protests. There is revolution in the air all over the world
except in the US.

America is still in deep denial which is still the first stage of the Awakening. This denial will be wiped away when the dollar collapses.

For now the economy is still functioning with food and fuel available.

Americans still have the illusion of wealth and normalcy. They still
are stuck in the false left right paradigm and think some other sock
puppet will turn things around.

When the dollar collapses, all American illusions will collapse with it. Deep denial will turn into deep anger.

The violence I expect in the other 3 areas on the list and all urban areas in the US, will make all other global riots pale in comparison.

America is deeply infused with arrogance, denial, narcissism, drugs and violence. There is no other society that I know of that has the degree of intensity and combination of these factors.

"We're Number 1! We're Number 1!"

1. Arrogance – All of our lives we have been fed the lie that somehow we are better than everyone else.

We believe this so much that we feel it is morally acceptable to stick our noses in everyone's business. We have 777+ military bases all over the world. Our currency is the world's reserve currency.

We control most international organizations like the UN, IMF and
World Bank. We control the world's shipping lanes. Our media is
the most popular and sought after propaganda in the world. Our
corporations harvest the resources that our empire provides.

This has lead to an American way of life that is not negotiable. We
print debt and consume. This way of life was only possible by the
very real and hard sacrifices made by Americans long dead.

America today is nothing more than a spoiled brat blowing through
the last of their inheritance. The only thing the US is number 1 in
is spreading debt and death.

This American arrogance will be turned on to other Americans as
the dollar collapses.

We will no longer be able to maintain the global empire of force without a functioning currency. All of our troops will be forced to come home and we will no longer be able to import 25% of the world's oil.

This sudden shift will turn arrogant Americans on each other as they seek to enforce their inflated sense of self worth on to others.

They will think that somehow the world somehow owes them something and they believe that lesser people should make that sacrifice for them.

After all, the American way of life is not negotiable… at least that's what Dick Cheney said.

"Everything is fine today, that is our illusion." ~ Voltaire

2. Denial – For those that aren't arrogant, they are in denial that somehow they are okay because they are good people.

They believe that the America will recover and that the American Dream is still alive.

They believe this because they either lack the ability to logically see through the lies or they believe that the people ruling them have the same morals as they do.

You cannot spread freedom with war. A nation cannot enforce their will on another nation anymore than you can enforce your will upon another. There will always be blow back.

Of course that is the plan of your rulers. They do not share the same values as you do. They seek to create chaos and division so that they can garner more power and profits.

"You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of reality." ~ Ayn Rand

The dollar collapse will end the ability of the average American to deny their active or passive participation in the dominance of the world by spreading debt and death.

When people's entire life's savings are wiped away, they will wonder
what their life has been all about. All of the missed times with their
family and connections with others has been stained by the pursuit
of material gains.

Only when everything is taken from them, will they start to see the real importance of life. Many will not be able to come to terms with this coming reality.

Those that are aware and prepared stand a great chance of making
it through this paradigm shift and thrive.

3. Narcissism – The amount of narcissism in America is epidemic.

The fascination with celebrities and their clothes consumes so many women. Men are addicted to worshiping sports figures.

We have this fear of competition and view others as enemies. This leads to shallow and transitory relationships.

Americans consume their way into debt as they try to create an outer facade to hide a void in their vapid lives.

The Baby Boomer generation is known as the "Me" generation. Their obsessive pursuit for material possessions was matched by their embrace of debt.

The dollar collapse is going to hit the Baby Boomers the hardest as they are forced to come to term with the trail of pain they have left in their wake. Broken families and debt are just the tip of the iceberg.

The war and debt machine they enabled and unleashed upon the
world is a much harder reality they will have to deal with.

The real problem is the sad fact that many of them will be too old
to have a second chance on life.

4. Drugs – Millions of Americans turn to drugs to fill the void of true purpose in their lives.

Instead of dealing with a past a hurt or seeking a higher purpose in
their lives by helping others and using their natural talents to make
a better world, people turn to drugs.

The worst kind of drugs are the ones that people believe are making them better. The powerful psychotropic drugs like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or more commonly known as anti-depressants.

These drugs are extremely powerful and can cause psychotic breaks
that lead to violence. Go to http://ssristories.com/ to see the list
of nearly 4,300 cases of crime related to these drugs.

These stories include everything from the Virginia Tech shooting
to the mom that drowned her 5 kids in the bathtub.

I would say that these drugs are much more dangerous than guns, because they cause the people to break from reality and cause the violence.

I don’t have time to go into the mass medication of America and the real reason why Marijuana is illegal, but I do want to warn everyone of one thing. Nearly 10% of the country or 27 million Americans are on these drugs.

Knowing that there is only a one month supply in the system and the kind of psychotic breaks that will happen if people come off these drugs too fast, this is definitely not a good thing.

When the dollar collapses, we not only have to worry about the 7 to 10 day supply of food and fuel in the system, we really need to worry about the 1 in 10 Americans who are not going to be medicated while their world paradigm collapses.

I can see it now, humanitarian airlifts dropping Zoloft and Lexapro from the sky…

5. Violence – Violence has been apart of our American culture since the beginning of our country. We have the most armed population and the highest crime rates in the world.

The violence we will see in some parts of America could become as
bad as the Reign of Terror from the French Revolution. I wrote the
2 Coming American Revolutions.

One Revolution will embrace founding fathers vision of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The other Revolution will be some collectivist vision of coercion and fear.

Some parts of this country will confront the new post-dollar paradigm
by embracing freedom and honest money. Others will try to hold onto
power by becoming more tyrannical and finding enemies within their
neighbors.

We are surrounded by violence and have been desensitized anti social behavior. Our movies and video games show the killing of others but rarely the consequences of those actions.

Even other anti social behavior has been normalized. I even realized my favorite show of all time Seinfeld was all about normalizing anti social behavior.

The series finale was based on a man getting mugged and all 4 main characters not only not helping the man, but actually making fun of the man as he is violently robbed.

This lack of empathy is at the root of our problems.

So here we now have a society that not only cares only about
themselves and their materialistic needs, we also have a society
that no longer cares about other's feelings.

The American riots will be the worst the word has seen because of the amount of will be of arrogance, denial, narcissism, drugs and violence in our society.

These factors are systemic and infect every level of society.

I do fear that our nation is sick enough to unleash a series of false flag events to spread our violence even further. This violent Anger phase in the 5 Stages of the Awakening will not last long and not happen in every part of America.

There will be a few months of violence that will shake the faith
in mankind. Those that live by the sword, will die by the sword.

After the most violent are either killed, brought to justice or
burnt out, we will enter in a societal depression as we try to
come to terms with what has happened. This period could last
for years as we struggle with the loss of wealth and life.

I am hopeful that this collapse will actually be the beginning of
something really great for mankind. A new paradigm not based
on debt and death is a very real outcome of this collapse.

With the collapse of the dollar, those that were lured into a
senseless narcissistic consumer lifestyle will be forced to come
to the understanding that instant gratification is not why we are
put on this earth.

Those that were ill prepared for the collapse will start to ask questions, then they will seek answers, then they will want blood.

The Elite that created, perpetuated and profited off of this paradigm will be running for cover as the world wakes up to what they have done.

It will be nice to have consumerism, militarism and narcissism flushed away. (Read Resonate IV)

This collapse will not result in a One World Order. The Elite that are trying desperately make this happen will no longer be able to operate in secrecy. Their minions will lack any legitimacy with the people they rule.

After all who is going to trust a President who says he did not see this coming when you and I can see it coming from miles away.

The result after a very violent Anger phase is going to be massive decentralization of power not more centralization of power. Local communities, cities counties and states will assert more power over the daily activities of our lives.

Some will slip into tyranny to make order out of chaos. Others will attract the best and brightest by embracing freedom and honest money.

The end result is a life where we can reach our highest and best self.

How we get there is a rough road, but one I feel is easily traveled if you are aware and prepared.

Wake Some People Up!

http://dont-tread-on.me/5-reasons-why-american-riots-will-be-the-
worst-in-the-world/

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What can we do about the Great American Lie?

What can we do about the Great American Lie?
By Michael Lewis
Hayduke Blogspot
August 10, 2011

I. F. Stone told us many years ago that All Governments Lie.

Daniel Ellsberg, in Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, told us why governments, including Presidents, always lie, and must continue to lie about what they know to be true, but about which they cannot talk under constraints of "National Security."

The lies place an impermeable barrier between Those Who Know and Those Who Cannot Be Told, a barrier that trickles downhill forever separating the citizenry of the United States from their government.

Today, the lies continue, as they must, even though journalists, bloggers and other malcontents desperately chip away at the facade.

The raid into Pakistan to capture Bin Laden is revealed to have been not a one-off military adventure, but part of an on-going campaign of covert military intervention in 120 countries around the world on the part of a highly organized and secretly funded cadre of 15,000 specially trained soldiers let loose on the world.

There was never any intent to capture Bin Laden alive. The goal of the raid was to kill this living embarrassment to the United States government and remove any chance that he might say something awkward and revealing before he died of kidney failure on his own.

It's not just the President who is foisting lies on the public.

Politicians of all stripes meet in smoke filled back rooms with
corporate lobbyists and industry representatives, barely deigning
to conceal the bribes slipped under the table into their grasping
clutches. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

The press is summarily dismissed from these gatherings, such as
ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, as politicos hide
their faces from the peering eye of the Internet, pretending we do
not see.

The back slapping and glad handing continue safely within the
confines of the Marriott Hotel, where legislation is crafted far
from the public eye. Would that they were only making sausage.

What do we do in the face of a government corrupt to the core, a
government that professes to be of the People, by the People and
for the People, yet continues to do the bidding of unaccountable
corporate lobbyists, revolving door "experts," and an overweening
military technology industry?

Do we continue to vote for new fodder for the corporate grist mill,
aka Congress?

Do we demand legislation that will stop the Congressional gravy
train, from those who are first at the gravy bowl? Do we demand a
President to lead us out of the wilderness scheduled to be clear-cut
for corporate profits?

The central authoritarian government doesn't have the answer, as
it is the central problem.

Jeffersonian Republicans knew what they were doing when they
opposed Alexander Hamilton's Federalists at the turn of the 19th
Century. They foresaw the coming excesses of centralized authority
in a world dominated by capitalist greed.

They viewed the Federalist agenda as anti-revolutionary, a
continuance of the economic system that had strangled the North
American British colonies until the Revolution tore them free.

The Anti-Federalists argued for small government, democracy,
mutual aid, self-reliance and self-government.

As foreseen, Hamilton's paternalistic state has fostered a populous that cannot take care of itself, let alone serve as a beacon of democracy and freedom in an increasingly privatized world.

There is only one path open to those few willing and aware US citizens: turn around and take a new step forward.

We cannot solve the problem of corrupt government by appealing
to the corrupt government.

Jefferson was fond of the concept of public dissent and rebellion: "Every generation needs a new revolution."

It's time for our generation to expose the lies and foster a new revolution, a revolution that starts between the ears, and works outward through our families, neighborhoods, communities and bioregions.

Not a violent revolution, as that which spawned this country, but
a quiet revolution over back yard fences, neighborhood meetings
in living rooms, public gatherings with local representatives, the
anonymity of the polling booth.

By the time the central authority recognizes the revolution, it will
be too late, a fait accompli, a done deal.

The challenge at present is to penetrate the fog of lies and
mindless distractions of popular culture sufficiently to foster
such a revolution.

The solution is simple: we tell the truth.

The Orwellian bumper sticker tells us: "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

Whenever we encounter a lie, we respond with the truth.

From local neighborhoods to the White House, in the coffee shop
or City Council chambers, we never let a lie pass unchallenged.

This accomplishes two goals: we raise the consciousness of all within reach, and we challenge those who lie to us and expect to get away with it.

Thus the revolution begins.

http://hayduke2000.blogspot.com/2011/08/what-can-we-do-about-
great-american-lie.html

Monday, August 8, 2011

Obama on the Backs of the Poor

Obama on the Backs of the Poor

Exclusive: The painful resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis shows that Republicans and the Right know how to play hardball – and that the Democrats and President Barack Obama know how to get rolled.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern is thinking about other options.

By Ray McGovern
Consortiumnews.com
August 08, 2011

What are we to make of the Obama-brokered deal on debt and spending?

It was certainly what the Germans call eine schwere Geburt (a difficult birth); it was one of the few times I would have favored abortion.

I am reminded of a sermon that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave during the turbulent 1950s, in which he peered into the future and issued a prescient warning:

“A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded
men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”

In promoting and then signing the so-called “deficit reduction”
legislation, President Barack Obama has definitively confirmed
that he stands in the ranks of those spiritual-death-dealing,
“soft-minded” men about whom Dr. King warned so ominously.

In my view, even dyed-in-the-wool Obama supporters will now
have to let the scales fall from their eyes. The new one-sided
“compromise” so clearly promotes the interests of the wealthy
over those of the poor that, in Biblical terms, it can readily be
seen as a Goddamned deal.

I want to share some thoughts with those among us — believers
and non-believers alike — who shudder at the prospect of our
children and children’s children inheriting a country far
different from the one promised by the American Dream, a
nation approaching “spiritual death.”

If you are not greatly concerned with the growing disparity between
the rich and poor in this country, take another minute to ponder
another warning from Dr. King in the same sermon:

“Passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that
system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.”

It is a bitter pill – and a great disappointment – that the President
has turned his back on those about whom the Hebrew and Christian
scriptures express the deepest concern, the anawim.

This frequently used Biblical word denotes not just those on the
margins, but the despised, hated, poor, often said in Scripture
to include the widows, the orphans, the strangers.

My atheist friends regularly remind me to widen my perspective.

The scriptural mandate to care for the widows, the orphans and the strangers springs from the highest of human instincts, and neither requires nor presupposes a faith perspective.

In modern American history, it also has been shown that having a
vibrant middle class is good for business, while a society of a few
rich and many poor is prone to destructive boom-and-bust cycles.

A huge majority of economists concede that America has been
sliding into a land of haves and have-nots for the past several
decades and that the “deal” Obama signed into law on Tuesday
will do little, if anything, to improve the lives of our fellow citizens
deprived of work, shelter, medical care and other necessities.

In sum, Obama – again put in a corner by Republicans who appeared
ready to force the United States into default if they didn’t get their
way – reneged on a promise not to let the burden for coping with the
economic/fiscal mess fall primarily on the backs of the poor.

The immediate deficit-cutting plan excludes any additional tax
revenues from the rich, a line in the sand drawn by Republicans
who were determined to protect even an extravagant tax loophole
for corporate jet owners and special tax breaks for oil companies
recording record profits.

And Republican leaders have made clear that they will be equally
adamant against any new tax revenue from the recommendations of
a special congressional committee, meaning that the United States
will soon face another budget crisis in which the Republicans will
demand even deeper spending cuts.

Demons and Scripture

Scripture contains a lot of stories about demons.

These texts were always a stretch for me, until I found myself investigating my country’s use of kidnapping, torture and black-site prisons — not to mention targeted assassinations. No longer could I make light of the demonic.

Lessons from the various indignities visited on many of my friends
in inner-city Washington have served as confirmation. Ex-offenders
are especially prominent among the anawim of our nation’s capital.

If we are to follow Dr. King’s mandate to avoid participation
in unjust systems and practices inevitably exacerbated by the
legislation signed by the President on Tuesday, we need to
decide how to react. Ideally, we will choose to move forward in
a wide, justice-and-peace oriented community.

From what is known of Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor in
Chicago, and the United Church of Christ’s reputation for
faithfulness to Hebrew as well as Christian scripture, it is a
safe bet that the social gospel was preached again and again
in the hearing of an attentive Obama.

There is no way he could have escaped the insight that the ancient
Hebrew concept of social justice was something that many in the
U.S. power elite today would decry as an un-American activity.

This Hebrew concept of justice, which Jesus strongly embraced, challenges modern America and its economic inequality at almost every turn.

Take, for example, the Biblical concept of the Jubilee Year, which mandated widespread redistribution of wealth every 50 years. (See what I mean about “un-American?”)

I think we can assume that, if Obama were paying attention, he
would have assimilated the starkly countercultural Hebrew concept
of the Jubilee Year — an inspiration that rejected the idea of
accumulated wealth and the outsized power that goes with it.

The Bible was dead serious about the redistribution of wealth. The
Jewish sense was that, over time, the community would inevitably
see immoderate wealth and immoderate poverty co-existing.

In other words, it was a given — for a whole bunch of very human
reasons — that there would be mal-distribution of wealth, and the
concept of Jubilee was to squash it all back down, essentially
requiring everyone to return to the same starting point every 50
years as a matter of law.

Granted, it was a primitive idea for a simple economy, but the
Jubilee spirit was the spirit of the God of the Hebrews who insisted
time and again through the Biblical writers and prophets “there shall
be no poor among you.”

And for that to happen, there had to be periodic sharing of wealth.

It would be perhaps too much to expect that President Obama would have broached something along these lines to House Speaker John Boehner.

Still, would it have been too much a stretch to expect some mutual concern – from Republicans and Democrats alike – over the growing disparity between rich and poor in this country?

Boehner is fond of advertising that he is a Catholic. Me too.

The House speaker is a little younger than I am, but I would be surprised if he had not learned that the first thing Jesus of Nazareth said in his inaugural speech was that he had come to “bring good news to the poor.”

There was only bad news for the poor from the debt-limit
“compromise.”

http://consortiumnews.com/2011/08/03/obama-on-the-backs-of-
the-poor/

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Barack Obama and the Debt Crisis

A Successful Con Game Explained
By Bruce A. Dixon
Information Clearing House
Thursday, August 04, 2011

The phony debt ceiling crisis was, from beginning to end, a con.

It was an elaborate and successful hoax in which the nation's first black president, the Democratic and Republican parties, Wall Street and corporate media all played indispensable parts.

The object of the supposed “crisis” was to short circuit public opinion, existing law, democratic process and traditions of public oversight, in order to deal fatal blows to Medicaid, Medicare, social security, job growth and public expenditures for the common good.

It worked. We've been conned.

President Barack Obama as First Actor in the Con

The key actor in the con was and is Barack Obama, leader of the Democratic party and president of the United States.

When the Bush and Obama administrations bailed out the banksters in 2008, 2009 and 2010 they didn't print new warehouses of greenbacks and send them over in a fleet of trucks.

The Federal Reserve simply opened its spreadsheets, and wrote
numbers with lots of zeroes crediting the banksters' accounts. It
literally created the new money by giving it away, and next
proceeded to borrow those funds back from the banksters at
interest.

The debt ceiling crisis was nothing but those same banksters
twirling their mustaches and oinking “Well, we don't think you
(the government that created the money by giving it to them)
can really afford to repay all these loans you've been taking
out... We might have to downgrade your credit rating...”

The whole notion of excessive government indebtedness, or that
government might not be able, as the president threatened, to
issue or cash social security checks was always a crock, a sham.

There was never, ever a moment when Barack Obama didn't know
that his homey analogies about government having to live within
its means just like a family were just cynical fairy tales.

The president could have prevented this “crisis” by passing a debt
ceiling when he had a 50 vote majority in Congress for all of 2009
and 2010. He could have avoided it again by allowing the Bush tax
cuts to expire.

Instead the president renewed the Bush tax cuts when he had a 50
vote majority in Congress. The president could have defused it in
the last month by any of a number of means, including simply calling
it fake.

But giving away the game is not what actors in a con do.

The Second Actor: Corporate Media

The second key actor in the con was and is the corporate media
establishment. Media is nothing less than the sum total of the
public conversation.

Our corporate media is owned by a tiny group of greedy billionaires
and soulless corporations who get to decide what most of us see and
hear, what gets in and what gets left out of that supposedly public
conversation.

So corporate media cynically repeated the bankster's doubts about getting their free money paid back.

Over the years, corporate media moguls had manufactured an entire
Matrix-like world of fake “money experts” and economists who
assured us in the 90s that tech stocks would never go down, and in
the 2000s that real estate prices would never decrease, and always
that lower taxes on the rich would trickle down to create jobs for the
poor.

For these masters of alternative realities, rebranding the white
nationalist wing of the Republican party as “the tea party”
portraying it as a mass movement, and riffing on a new/old set
of lies about the government going broke were par for the course.

Corporate media set the limits of the political discourse inside a
false reality --- one where the myths that the US government could
and might go broke, and where trickle down economics unquestioned
facts.

It portrayed the only political choices available in that universe as
the president's accommodation vs the “tea party's” extremism.

The Third Actors: Republicans and their tea party faction

Every Jeff needs a Mutt, every good cop needs a bad cop. This was
the role played by Republicans.

Throughout the Obama presidency their job has been to refuse the president's pre-emptive compromises to meet them fifty, seventy, ninety percent of the way, moving the goal ever rightwards.

Along the way a secondary function is to gratuitously insult the
president, sometimes in openly racist terms, thus enabling some of
the president's backers to try to rally black and progressive support
around him despite his utter abandonment of any progressive agenda.

The power of Republicans and their tea party subsidiary to dictate
the course of events has always been exaggerated. During the first
two years of the Obama presidency they had no legislative
majorities anywhere and could not even call a committee meeting.

Even with a majority in the House since the beginning of this year, Republican power to do damage is always limited by the combined power of the Democratic White House and a large Democratic minority in Congress.

Despite the insistence of Republicans and the power of corporate
medial the imaginary “debt crisis” would not have existed unless
the White House and Congressional Democrats co-signed it into
existence.

The Fourth Actors, Hand Wringing Democrats, Progressives, and
the Black Establishment

Last week we decided that Barack Obama, far from being weak,
vacillating, and too spineless to stand up for the tens of millions of
working and poor people who elevated him to office, was simply
smarter than they were.

Barack knows what side he's on --- only Democrats and so-
called “progressives” don't know, or pretend not to know.

Every abusive relationship has two parts. There's an abuser, who
does what he does, and there's an enabling victim who forgives
and makes excuses for the abuser.

When Democrats and progressives waste ink and air on President
Barack Obama trying to “make him do it” or discoursing on
his “weakness” and lack of progressive backbone, they are
effectively enabling his serial abuse by ascribing it to curable causes
open to democratic remedies rather than deliberate intent and the
people-proof mechanisms of their own party and of US governance in
general.

They enable their abuser.

The most pitiful and sometimes the most unprincipled of these are members of the Black Misleadership Class who support President Obama.

The only card they have left is to point to the daily stream of racist
quips and quotes from Republicans and tea partyers or Glen Beck, or
whoever they can find that day calling the president a White House
porch monkey, or some other racist epithet, as the reason to circle
the wagons, squelch examination of Obama policies and silence
criticism of his many betrayals in office of the cause of peace and
justice.

The Directors of the Skit: Wall Street and Corporate America

Was there every really any danger of the US going broke?

The stock market didn't crash. The holders of US Treasury bonds
didn't try to unload them with this horrific train wreck a mere 24
hours distant.

That was because they knew the train and the tracks were
imaginary, they knew it was a hoax.

They knew that President Obama could have declared it a foolish stunt and ignored it. They knew they would get their money any damned way.

President Obama expects to raise more than 1 billion dollars in
direct financing of his 2012 presidential campaign alone, most
of it from corporate sources and from Wall Street.

This doesn't count the money going to other Democrats in the House
and Senate, or Democratic candidates for governor, for state and
county level judges and other offices, for state legislatures and the
like.

Substantially the same contributors not only fund and own both
parties, but also bankroll and dictate the policy positions of
organizations like the Urban League, the National Council of LaRaza,
and the NAACP.

If you don't think dependence on corporate money, as a politician,
or say as the National Urban League, whose keynote address this
weekend was delivered by billionaires Bill Gates, makes you
subservient to a corporate agenda, you're living in some other world.

All the actors in this drama live at the corporate trough. That's it,
and that's all.

The Deal: Supercommittees, Automatic Cuts, and Default Governing
By Budget Cutting

With all the players acting their parts, the rigged game produced its
expected outcome.

Contrived in the imaginary universe where trickle down economics
are the accepted norm, The Deal contains no new taxes on
corporations and the wealthy.

President Obama announced that he has averted a crisis with more
than a trillion dollars in immediate spending cuts, a number much
higher than the value of the stimulus package passed at the
beginning of his administration.

A bipartisan “super-committee” of perhaps only a dozen Senate
and House members will earmark a further $3 trillion in near term
budget cuts, which will be submitted to Congress as up-or-down no-
amendment, take-it-or-leave-it votes.

And should Congress reject them, a round of automatic budget cuts
dictated by some unknown formula will ensue. Medicare, Medicaid,
social security, environmental protection and much more will
inevitably fall.

Thus on the strength of a single vote in Congress drummed up by
this fake crisis, the will of the American people has been subverted.

Medicare, Medicaid and social security, if put up for popular votes
would all win.

If Congress had to debate them under scrutiny and take votes in
public on them, Wall Street and the corporations would lose and
the people would win.

But that's the purpose of a modern political “crisis:” to engineer the
enactment of measures on behalf of elites that normal political
processes would not allow.

Welcome to the future, where a black president has been the
indispensable anchor player in the con game that ended the New
Deal and Great Society.


Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and based
in Marietta GA where he is on the state committee of the Georgia
Green Party.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28744.htm

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Declaration of Independence

My Dear Fellow American Citizens:

Yesterday a group of politicians out in Washington D.C. put before Congress, a bill to increase the federal debt limit up to $2.4 Trillion, which would be the largest debt limit increase in our Nation's history.

Now in direct response to this I have decided to post a copy of the
"Declaration of Independence" on my Blog today, as well as a quote
from our Nation's 16th President Abraham Lincoln, because in the
words of President Lincoln:

"Worse than traitors in arms are the men who pretend loyalty to the flag, and feast and fatten on the misfortunes of the Nation while patriotic blood is crimsoning and their countrymen are moldering the dust!"

Sincerely,

Tony E. Whitcomb
Founder/CEO Expotera


Declaration of Independence

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them
with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the
separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of
nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness.

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to
these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and
to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most
likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such
is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former
systems of government.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of
repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object
the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.

To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large
districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right
of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them
and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual,
uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public
records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance
with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing
with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure
of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms
of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without
the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior
to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign
to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his
assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring
province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and
enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example
and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in
these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws,
and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns,
and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries
to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already
begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in
the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized
nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas
to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of
their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has
endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the
merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is
undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.

We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.

We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America,
in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of
the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by
the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish
and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to
be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all
allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection
between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be
totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have
full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish
commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent
states may of right do.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other
our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr.,
Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776

http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/freedom/doi/text.html