Friday, January 28, 2011

What's outrageous?

An Alternet story this morning gave birth to the idea for this topic. While contemplating, I did stop to wonder if I should go back in time for matters that belong on this list. But then I thought that more then enough is going on right now, as we speak, to fill up this list. And, current events are far more important then this history of it all, which, presumably, has already been logged into historical records. That being the case, researchers can can sort out how we arrived at this point.

Years ago, I wrote urgently, some might say frantically, to call attention to a problem I observed in the 60's regarding small town newspapers, that they were political tools in bed with special interests that extended throughout the power centers of the country. It's a giant propaganda machine. It doesn't exist to give you news and information, it exists for the benefit of it's interests, not yours.

Today, it's easy for anyone who has any interest at all to gain an appreciation for the scope and magnitude of this problem simply by reading the MSM "news" and listening to it's TV shows, and then reading the "alternate" news sources, which I'm very pleased to say are growing in numbers and getting stronger by the day, and by comparing notes it wouldn't take long to figure out who is telling the truth and who is peddling propaganda. A very interesting thing about these alternate organizations is that they aren't well funded, but they are sure standing on pillars of strength. It's amazing how strong something as simple and elementary as the truth can be! Methinks the power of the Internet went right over their heads, otherwise they'd already be controlling it. But it's too late now. This genie is out of the bottle, and it ain't going back.

I'd say Alternet is certainly one such "truth bearer", but judge for yourself, or make your own list, but do some homework and find some websites that match your interests and follow them. I have my list, which I've already published, and I'm very pleased to say how nicely it's grown over the years. I have every expectation that there will be a "battle of the titans" between the MSM and the Internet at some point when very large collisions between truth and self-serving propaganda occur and hit the fan.

These days I don't write as much, but then events keep demanding *some* response, so here I am again.

So, with no further ado, starting with this outstanding candidate for the list of what's outrageous:

1. 75-Year Prison Sentence for Taping the Police? The Absurd Laws That Criminalize Audio and Video Recording in America By Lauren Kelley

2.Uprisings in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt -- America Is Paying the Price for Supporting Corrupt Dictatorships in the Muslim World." Paranoia about Muslim fundamentalist movements and terrorism is causing Washington to make bad choices that will ultimately harm American interests and standing abroad." By Juan Cole


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why Military Spending is Untouchable

Why Military Spending is Untouchable By ANDREW BACEVICH

This is one of those articles you'll have to read in it's entirety to understand what's being said. Powerful stuff for people who can get their mind around what's important.

How Will It All End? Posted by David G

From the reader replies:

Mark Twain, a man I have great respect for became more and more bitter as he grew old. His book “The Mysterious Stranger” features an end of the world scenario and he has some choice comments about the hypocrisy of Christians as well. One scene involves the Stranger who is an extraordinary being called Number 44 who apparently knows everything. He is befriended by a pious young man named Augustus who asks him at one point if he is a Christian. 44 answers that he is not but if he was he would be very lonely. Augustus is surprised and asks why. Knowingly 44 answers, “because I would be the only one.”

Dangerous Creation is a blog worth following.

The Road to National Suicide by Philip Giraldi

"It is not often that one sees an entire nation marching in lockstep to go over a cliff into an abyss, but that is essentially what the United States is doing at the moment. Not only have there been strong hints from the Obama Administration that the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will go on into the dim future, but there is also no sign of any necessary course correction in other areas. Israel, backed by Washington, continues its reckless policies and may be cranking up for a new war against Lebanon and Syria with the ultimate objective of involving its American patron in fighting against Iran."


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Numbers that matter

I'll reserve this post for a list I'll develop here over time, of numbers that matter.

1. Click here New budget estimates released Wednesday predict the government's deficit will hit almost $1.5 trillion this year, a new record ... The daunting numbers mean that the government will have to borrow 40 cents for every dollar it spends ... looming legislation that's required to allow the government to borrow more money as the national debt nears the $14.3 trillion cap set by law.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Important stories for Jan 25 2011

American Policy on the Brink by Juan Cole and Tom Engelhardt

"The problem: Washington’s foreign-policy planners seem to be out of ideas, literally brain-dead, just as the world is visibly in flux. In their reactions, even in their rhetoric, there is remarkably little new under the sun, though from Tunisia to India, China to Brazil, our world is changing before our eyes. "
Can the United States 'control' the Middle East? (Nope) by Stephen M. Walt

"I normally like a lot of Anthony Shadid's reporting, but one odd line leapt out of this story, which I read online in Hanoi this morning. He was discussing the turbulent political situation in Lebanon, and offered this unremarkable observation:

"It is yet another episode in which the United States has watched -- seemingly helplessly -- as events in places like Tunisia, Lebanon and even Iraq unfold unexpectedly and beyond its ability to control."

Shadid is obviously right, but the observation itself is banal in at least two senses. First, even a country as powerful as the United States doesn't "control" an awful lot of events in world politics, and especially the internal maneuverings and struggles of a country like Lebanon. And the sooner that Americans dispense with the notion that we can reliably control events in far-away places, the better off we'll be.

Second, it is hardly surprising that the United States has steadily lost influence (note: not control) in the Middle East. We're hamstrung by the "special relationship" with Israel, which reduces our freedom of maneuvers, makes our rhetoric about justice and democracy and human rights look hypocritical, and angers millions of people around the Arab and Islamic world. We foolishly invaded Iraq and then bungled the job, which made us look both aggressive and incompetent. We continue to follow a failed policy toward Iran, which only seems to make Ahmadinejad stronger. And we help prop up authoritarian regimes that are deeply unpopular, favoring democracy only when the candidates we like win."

Justice Dept. Wants Providers to Retain Internet Data

"The Justice Department will ask Congress to make it mandatory for Internet service providers to retain data on their users’ activity. Law enforcement officials already can ask for data to be preserved, but Justice would like to have more robust snooping capabilities in order to investigate and prosecute “almost every type of crime.”

ISPs are required to make the records they do have available to law enforcement upon request, and many Internet providers, including cellular networks, telcos and cable companies, already retain data for government access.

According to this CNET report, the Justice Department would like to force providers large and small to retain information.

Not surprisingly, the push for mandatory data retention originated in the Bush administration. —PZS"

In the end, the powers-that-be, the "authorities" are going to get access to all of the information on the Internet, for their purposes. Here, in this case, they are trying yet another angle (from the "Patriot Act"), having the ISP's do the dirty-work for them. I think it's redundant, given the Internet is already being recorded ("for our own good", of course).

One day we'll wake up and realize that there are 2 classes of people: those with unfettered access to that mountain of data, and the rest of us. Because we'll all human and we all make mistakes, anyone with access and some time can search the mountain and find some detail that can be puffed to hinder if not destroy their enemies.


Monday, January 24, 2011

What's wrong with the economy?

If you're anywhere near interested in the economy, I'm sure you've read some stories by now on what happened. Maybe you understand credit default swaps and the other buzzwords, or need another dose of explanation to get a little closer to understanding.

Well, here's one of the best articles I've read on the subject: The Looting of America: How Wall Street Fleeced Millions from Wisconsin Schools By Les Leopold.

This is the 1st chapter. I'd like to read the rest but, tell ya, for the moment I'm feeling worn down by it all. The sheer magnitude of the problem gives me a headache, and then to see so much ignorance and apathy.

Excuse me, but now I'm going to take a jump over to the core of our problem: our information supply.

Why is it that the information in this article is only available on Alternet? Why isn't it on your "news" channels and in your newspapers? I don't know how many people read Alternet, or this blog for the matter, but I'm quite sure we're talking about a tiny fraction of those who read the Wall Street Journal.

Why isn't the "news" calling for justice for the people who pulled off the biggest heist of all time?

Let's get on with something we should have done long ago: throw out the "news"/information system. Render it moot by simply not watching it or buying newspapers. Get your information from the Internet.

Let's make no mistake about this: our information supply, aka "news" is the core of America's major problems. This system is corrupted, controlled, manipulated, and nothing more then a giant propaganda machine serving it's master's interests.

If we can replace it with Internet TV (we all become broadcasters to real TV sets, not computer monitors), then organizations like Alternet can have their channel with someone reading their news to you. I'm rooting for Alternet to move in this direction. But, until TV's are Internet-ready (i.e. there's just one monitor for both TV and the Internet), will you turn off the TV and stop buying newspapers? That is, starve the beast. If we do this, and we must, then we'll have a chance to get our civilization onto a healthy track.

As it happens, at this very moment we're in a race for control of the Internet. It wouldn't happen in any one single stroke, but a big one is happening as we speak, and I suspect most people don't know and therefore can't know enough to care. The gov't wants to require positive identification to access the Internet. Whether it be a card, a password, a retina scan, whatever means is used, the intent is for everyone who uses the Internet to be positively identified. This means no more anonymous anything. Everything you read, hear, watch, download, message, etc., will all be tied back to you, legally.

Factor in that the entire Internet is (I'm sure) being recorded. And since our digital telephone system uses the same technology as the Internet, there's every reason to think all of our telephone calls are being recorded as well.

Must I or anyone list all of the potential abuses for this information store? Just think about it's potential to control a society. People with access get to peruse everything you've ever said, read, watched, etc. have a whole lot of power.

But the information collected so far isn't very useful for this purpose, as much of it was anonymous or can only be tracked back to a shared IP address and not individuals. That's about to end once the Gov't issues Internet ID cards which will be required for all Internet accesses. There will be no more anonymous and all of your records will be attached to your name.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why You Should Feel Cheated, Deceived and Sickened by America's Stunning Inequality

Why You Should Feel Cheated, Deceived and Sickened by America's Stunning Inequality, Even If You're Doing Well By Paul Buchheit

"The massive redistribution of income from the middle classes to the rich over the last 30 years is like a malignant tumor that doesn't appear on the surface but eventually destroys the whole body.


only the top 5 percent of American families increased their percentage of the country's total household net worth from 1983 to 2007. So unless you make $160,000 or more, your household value has decreased, percentage-wise, over the last 25 years. Taxing the 1 percent of America responsible for all this is not "soaking the rich." The soaking has already been done, in the opposite direction. The inequality caused by this sickening theft and deception is not just a plague on poor people -- at least 90 percent of us should be feeling it, and fighting back."

If you've been following this situation, then you know this isn't the only such article.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

America Alone

America Alone by Ted Galen Carpenter

"Nation-building missions and armed democracy-promotion ventures are not essential to America's security. We do not need, and should not want, any more Iraqs or Afghanistans. More than 5,000 dead Americans and nearly $2 trillion down the drain ought to deter Washington from pursuing similar schemes in the future."

The trust of this article is about how Britain is no longer going to be sending troops on military adventures. Not much is being said yet about the fate of the very much ongoing invasion of the Middle East.

What big events do we have to look forward to? either a withdrawal in defeat or a major escalation and all-out war, and (2) one way or the other, the ongoing and massive propaganda campaign disassociating the Neocons from any shred of culpability for the launching of the greatest military disaster in American history.

What should we be looking forward to? How about we start with the trial of George W. Bush for murder, and take the proceeds of that trial to bag the rest of the gang.

Then fix our foreign policy.

And while we're at it, read Thomas Paine's Age of Reason.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Can U.S. Foreign Policy Be Fixed?

Can U.S. Foreign Policy Be Fixed? by Laurence M. Vance

Read this seriously, like your life depends on it - because it does.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Is the Ruination of America Possible?

Is the Ruination of America Possible? By Sam Harris

"We now live in a country in which the bottom 40 percent (120 million people) owns just 0.3 percent of the wealth."