Battlefield: America

Battlefield: America

For all of you who have supported keeping Guantanamo Bay as a prison for people who have not been charged with a crime and those who believe, as some presidential candidates do, that torture should be allowed when questioning said prisoners, meet the National Defense Authorization Act.  This spending bill, passed by the Senate this week, has in it

Guantanamo Bay is a prison full of people who have never been charged with a crime and never been taken to trial. They are held in a hellish limbo indefinitely. The NDAA would allow the military to do this to US citizens in our own homes.

a provision that would allow the US military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect, anywhere in the world.  This will broaden the definition of battlefield to apply anywhere, including inside the borders of the United States of America.

This proposal, authored in secret committee by Senators Levin (D) and McCain (R), would allow United States citizens to be imprisoned indefinitely, without ever having a charge brought against them.  It takes a moment for that to sink in, doesn’t it?

As the Occupy protests grow with each passing day, the threat to the 1% is growing as well.  Wednesday will see one of the largest protests in decades in the UK.  The #N30 strike as it is being called, will see Brits strike against the austerity measures that have been enacted against them by their government. Last week, Egypt protests renewed as the military elites supported by the US government have entrenched themselves in power against the wishes of the people.  Greece, Italy and Spain are teetering as well, protesting regularly against their forced austerity.  It is no wonder that our government, who is a decades long supporter of the police state as both a profit center and business model, has tried to slip this legislation through.

As is clear in Europe now, governments intend to force the 99% to accept austerity.  They intend to take what they want and socialize their debts to the rest of us.  The banks who own our government were secretly given $7 trillion in taxpayer dollars from the Federal Reserve.  We don’t know to whom this money went or how much each received but it was enough money in total to give each man, woman and child in this country over $100,000.  The Federal Reserve isn’t even part of the government.  It is a private company, so they don’t have to tell us what they do with our money.

With each passing day, the need for the creation of a US police state grows for the 1%.  Without it, they will not maintain power.  In September of this year, it was announced that the US military was using seven drones domestically in order to monitor our borders.  As the moving

The application of drone technology here at home could impact right to privacy and pave the way for a host of abuses.

parts of the US police state are explored, the domestic use of drones to spy on American citizens must be looked at as the next logical frontier.  There have been hearings at the FAA regarding their domestic use and application.  The police want to use them as replacements for manned aircraft and drone technology is much more flexible.  Small helicopter drones can be used for hovering outside windows, for example.

It is important to note that the same bill that contains the proposal that would allow for the military to snatch people us in the middle of the night has another addendum as well.  This second proposal would repeal the executive order banning torture.

Silencing the Critics

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have won numerous awards for excellence in journalism and the ire of the United States government. The whistle blowing site has been victim of an unlawful financial blockade and its founder the target of a legal probe founded on vague allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden.

 

Last night in Australia, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, was awarded the highest honor in Australian journalism. The Walkley is the Australian version of our Pulitzer Prize and joins a long list of awards for excellence in journalism bestowed to WikiLeaks and its founder by countries around the world. In what has become the norm for the United States among the International community, is that it stands alone in its criticism and stance toward WikiLeaks. They view it and its journalists as enemies of the state and have treated them as such, embarking on a campaign coordinated with and executed by the largest banks and corporations in America to destroy WikiLeaks.

One doesn’t have to look hard for the reasons our government has taken this stance. WikiLeaks has been instrumental in bringing forward evidence of US involvement in the murder of unarmed Iraqi civilians and journalists, including children. They have released tens of thousands of documents that detail the close relationship between the largest American corporations and our government, and their plans and plots to assert their will in various parts of the world. These documents have contained truth such as the cozy relationship between the head of the IAEA, the nuclear watchdog agency that has been in the news recently. In those cables, Director Amano was quoted as being in line with Washington’s point of view on Iran, which is evident after their report on Iran’s nuclear program was released. The report confirmed what has been said previously, that there are no signs whatsoever that Iran is actively engaging in developing nuclear weapons, yet Amano has helped to spin this in such a way as to provide a false basis for possible future action. There are cables that discuss things like targeting France’s food supply with GMO seeds in order to circumvent the country’s ban on modified foods. Ironically, it was this same issue that prompted a South Korean member of parliament to lash out with a pepper spray compound as acceptance of the Free Trade agreement with the US was forced through despite opposition who argued the agreement was good for a very few people in South Korea and the US and awful for the masses in both countries.

WikiLeaks, in a short amount of time, managed to uncover more dark, hidden truth about how our government does business than all of the major news outlets in the United States combined. The list of journalistic

The whistle blowing website has broken more stories since its inception than any other single media outlet.

accomplishments in 2010 is long and covers a host of topics regarding the US murder of reporters and civilians, the torture of detainees, collusion between the administrations of Bush and Obama to kill probes into torture by US forces and the Pope’s refusal to cooperate with investigations into the Church’s sex scandal, to name a few. WikiLeaks and the brave whistle-blowers who risked their personal safety to expose these unseemly facts, was effectively changing journalism by reminding the profession what it was intended to be. For this, and for the fearlessness shown by the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks was placed squarely in the cross hairs of the United States empire.

One cannot mention WikiLeaks and the United States mission to see them undone without mentioning Pfc. Bradley Manning. Manning was arrested in Iraq in May of 2010 and has been held in US military custody since. He was first held at the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, VA. Here, he was forced to endure solitary confinement, was made to stand and sleep naked and endured systematic abuse and humiliation in what has been coined as ‘no-touch torture’. This pretrial treatment led to calls for intervention by Amnesty International, a UN Special Rapporteur and the British Embassy. State Department spokesman Phillip J. Crowley called Manning’s treatment “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”.

This assessment led to his resignation two days later. Manning is being charged with “aiding the enemy” for his alleged role in leaking thousands of diplomatic cables, footage of a July 2007 air strike in Baghdad and footage of the 2009 Granai air strike in Afghanistan. Both incidents show American forces murdering civilians, including children. It has been speculated that the release of this shocking video contributed to Iraq’s refusal to extend immunity to American troops during an extended occupation. These videos

Bradley Manning, a young private, is accused of leaking video that shows US troops engaging in war crimes and thousands of US diplomatic cables.

depict war crimes committed by US troops against civilian populations and, after viewing them, I am left to wonder when exactly the truth became the ‘enemy’ of the United States government. Perhaps the answer will be had soon, as the first hearing in Manning’s case is set to begin December 16th.

Assange is facing his own troubles these days, having been dealt an expected setback in his ongoing fight against extradition to Sweden to face charges of sexual misconduct. Assange has been living under house arrest in the UK for several months during his fight to have the charges against him dropped. He will soon be going to Sweden to face the charges while the US government continues to work to find a way that would allow them to get their hands on the rogue publisher.

Recently, Assange announced that WikiLeaks would temporarily suspend new publications as a result of an unlawful financial blockade, which is blocking donations to the site. A joint effort on the part of Bank of America, Western Union, Mastercard, Paypal, Visa and other banking and credit

Julian Assange, in reporting on United States wrongdoing around the globe, has become an example of what happens when one crosses the US government and its corporate allies.

institutions have managed to choke off funds to the organization, effectively paralyzing it for the foreseeable future. This financial blockade and the determination of the US government to prosecute whistle blowers of all stripes, are clear indicators that the United States government and the corporations who owns it, have much to hide.

While Congress continues a parade of legislation that is designed to strip citizens of their freedoms and liberties, the latest of which is found in S 1867, or the National Defense Authorization Act. In it lies a provision that would allow the US military to detain anyone it likes, including US citizens, indefinitely and without charge or trial. This jurisdiction would apply on American soil as well, meaning it would allow the military to scoop citizens up in the middle of the night, potentially never to be seen or heard from again. Frightening, especially when one considers the large network of US sponsored CIA ‘black sites’ that have been used to secretly torture scores of detainees away from prying eyes.

The threat WikiLeaks represents to the mainstream, corporately controlled media is real. Each new leak reported through the web site and all of the investigations that have resulted are hammer strikes to the fragile illusion our media outlets serve us. WikiLeaks has been able to start conversations that have as their foundation, truth and that is the role of a free press.

As we have seen with the obvious crackdown on media here in this country, control of the media is essential to maintain the lie. To that end, they continue to quell the media in order to maintain their hold on power. If the truth were to come out, then people might actually begin to understand that it really is the 1% of us who hold power and they will fight to maintain it through any means necessary.

European Austerity

Europe provides answers to bleak US future

As the Eurozone debt 'crisis' spreads and people spill into the streets in protest of forced austerity, America is getting a glimpse into the crystal ball accompanied by a long, sobering look in the mirror.

The Eurozone is continuing its slow descent into a new dark age as Spain and Italy watch as the screws of rising interest rates restrict their ability to borrow and expands their debts.  This is applying greater pressure in the EU to enforce austerity measures in an effort to meet debt requirements.  Belgium also saw their credit rating downgraded as the economic

Unelected technocrat Mario Monti has taken over as Italy's PM and will now enforce unpopular austerity measures that are not agreed to by the population.

dominoes fall with increasing regularity and volume around the European Union.  These are the latest developments in the attempt to bring the whole of Europe under the direct influence of the infamous International Monetary Fund or IMF.

Initially developed and conceived as a Fund that would step in and aid countries who were distressed financially during pivotal times to maintain stability, it has since been turned into a tool used by the United States Government and US Corporations to exploit countries around the world.  It’s long history of development loans have been used to enslave entire populations by shackling them to loans they can never repay.  It was this explosion and inequity of debt that caused legendary rocker Bono to intervene a few years ago and campaign on behalf of Africa, begging for a renegotiation and a lowering of the debt burden that was crippling the continent.

Now, the IMF has its sights set on the European Union as its countries are lined up and their leaders are all-too-willing to commit their countrymen to generations of mountainous debt.  This is a scheme they have witnessed before.  The leaders of these countries understand how this plays out.  They have witnessed as the IMF, at the direction of the United States of America, placed country after country under the boot heel  of economic repression, saddling citizens with debts they did not ask for and can never repay, under terms that require the complete privatization of public assets and services.  Now, this weapon is being leveled against the citizens of the developed world as the global economic meltdown has exposed the entire continent to ‘debt contagion’, setting the stage for the IMF to step in with offers of aid.

It is this aid, or more specifically, the conditions that come with it, that have Greeks, Spaniards and Italians in the streets.  These conditions for receiving aid have been repeatedly used throughout the developing world

Unelected technocrat Lucas Papademos takes over in Greece to enforce austerity measures on a populations on the verge of outright revolt.

over the past few decades, providing an overwhelming historical record of their effect.  This evidence in no small way, has spurred resistance in Europe as they understand the lessons that history provides.  Whether in Bolivia, Mexico, Argentina or Nigeria, IMF involvement with the decision making processes in these countries have led to huge sums of wealth being transferred from the people to corporations and banks, while enslaving populations with staggering austerity measures and unfathomable debt.  Consider this list (taken from the BBC website), which is Greece’s recipe for austerity success as agreed to by the IMF and corrupt Greek politicians.

TAXATION

* Taxes will increase by 2.32bn euros this year, with additional taxes of 3.38bn euros in 2012, 152m euros in 2013 and 699m euros in 2014.
* A solidarity levy of between 1% and 5% of income will be levied on households. It will be raised twice next year.
* The tax-free threshold for income tax will be lowered from 12,000 euros to 5000 euros, rather than the original plan of 8,000 euros.
* There will be higher property taxes.
* VAT rates are to rise: the 19% rate will increase to 23%, 11% becomes 13%, and 5.5% will increase to 6.5%.
* The VAT rate for restaurants and bars will rise to 23% from 13%.
* Luxury levies will be introduced on yachts, pools and cars.
* Some tax exemptions will be scrapped.
* Excise taxes on fuel, cigarettes and alcohol will rise by one third.
* Special levies on profitable firms, high-value properties and people with high incomes will be introduced.

PUBLIC SECTOR CUTS

* The public sector wage bill will be cut steadily to shrink it by more than 2bn euros by 2015.
* Nominal public sector wages will be cut by 20%.
* Wages of employees of state-owned enterprises will be cut by 30% and there will be a cap on wages and bonuses.
* The number of civil servants to be suspended on partial pay will rise to 30,000 by the end of this year, from 20,000 planned initially. They will receive 60% of pay for one year, having been promised a job for life.
* All temporary contracts for public sector workers will be terminated.
* Only one in 10 civil servants retiring this year will be replaced and only one in 5 in coming years.

SPENDING CUTS

* Defence spending will be cut by 200m euros in 2012, and by 333m euros each year from 2013 to 2015.
* Health spending will be cut by 310m euros this year and a further 1.81bn euros in 2012-2015, mainly by lowering regulated prices for drugs.
* Public investment will be cut by 850m euros this year.
* Subsidies for local government will be reduced.
* Education spending will be cut by closing or merging 1,976 schools.

CUTTING BENEFITS

* Social security will be cut by 1.09bn euros this year, 1.28bn euros in 2012, 1.03bn euros in 2013, 1.01bn euros in 2014 and 700m euros in 2015.
* There will be more means-testing and some benefits will be cut.
* Monthly pensions above 1,000 euros to be cut by 20%
* Existing retirees aged under 55 to lose 40% of any pensions over 1,000 euros.
* The government hopes to collect more social security contributions by cracking down on evasion and undeclared work.
* The statutory retirement age will be raised to 65, 40 years of work will be needed for a full pension and benefits will be linked more closely to lifetime contributions.

PRIVATISATION

* The government aims to raise 50bn euros from privatisations by 2015, including:
* Selling stakes this year in the betting monopoly OPAP, the lender Hellenic Postbank, port operators Piraeus Port and Thessaloniki Port as well as Thessaloniki Water.
* It has agreed to sell 10% of Hellenic Telecom to Deutsche Telekom for about 400m euros.
* Next year, the government plans to sell stakes in Athens Water, refiner Hellenic Petroleum, electricity utility PPC, lender ATEbank as well as ports, airports, motorway concessions, state land and mining rights.
* It plans further sales to raise 7bn euros in 2013, 13bn euros in 2014 and 15bn euros in 2015.

LABOUR MARKET REFORM

* The law will make it easier for companies to cut their payroll costs. It will do this by suspending industry-wide wage bargaining.

Extreme austerity measures and reducing spending, in conjunction with privatization of public assets and services, have been bread and butter principles for the IMF debt repayment plan.  This has served to predictably drive economies into depression.  As has been shown time and time again, severe austerity results in shrinking an economy as opportunity decreases with each dollar cut.  Thus, it is no surprise that in many of these cases,

Greece has seen numerous general strikes during the year, resisting severe austerity measures voted for by their politicians.

citizens have taken to the streets in protest and outrage as their countries were gutted and their resources pillaged.  It is not a shock that these transitions to ‘free markets’ and mass privatization must be enforced at the end of a gun or with wires and a car battery.

These transitions to corporate capitalism must have the backing of a ruthless police state in order to bring them to fruition.  Democracy doesn’t mix with unfettered ‘free markets’.  The reason for this is a simple one.  An unrestricted, unrestrained ‘free market’ economy is completely contrary to

Police in an overwhelming show of force during the eviction of peaceful protesters at Occupy Portland. Increasing police violence against protesters and members of the press has been met with universally met with public outcry.

people’s own well-being, therefore they will not endorse it with their vote.  To do so is economic suicide.  This creates the intimate relationship between corporate capitalism and the police state.  While this steroid juiced version of capitalism is tremendous for creating monstrous corporate profits, it comes at an equally monstrous price to the people upon whom these changes are forced.

All measures of subjugation are used in completing the economic transformation insisted on by the US and the IMF.  Recently, Italy’s police used tear gas on protesters assembled outside the parliament while politicians voted in austerity measures.  After passing the harsh measures and committing the country and its economy to IMF ‘review’, the Prime Minister resigned and was replaced with an unelected technocrat.  He is intent on enforcing the IMF’s agenda there.  Greece has done the same, as another unelected economist has been appointed to meet the budget expectations of the IMF.  Spain saw elections last week, but there can be little comfort taken from the conservative party taking power.  The illusion of choice has been used as a tool by the IMF and US before in order to secure the desired result, in fact, one can make a legitimate argument for that having been employed in America.  In this case, the goal is the oppression of millions of Europeans due to the crimes, decisions and deal making of the very few.

The Central Bank of England has been discussing the notion of introducing another round of Quantitative Easing, which is a fancy way of saying they are considering pumping more money into the economy.  The problem with this as a fix is that it isn’t a fix.  It serves to drive inflation and borrowing costs, which is what has put the EU at the mercy of the IMF.

What is clear, as Europe slides closer to actually attempting to enforce these brutal austerity measures, is that the people will resist.  That is evident throughout the world, as revolution and awakenings are taking place all around the globe in an effort to end oppression.  Here in America, as we begin to see our own future play out a continent away, a realization is beginning to settle in.  We are beginning to understand what is coming here and why.  For those responsible for unleashing this misery and other crimes against humanity around the globe for years without challenge, it is this awakening that is kryptonite.

What is equally clear, is that the empire of the United States of America, using the IMF as its proxy, is intent on bringing Europe’s people to their knees.  It is clear that these same banking institutions are preparing Americans to accept their austerity.  The automatic cuts triggered by planned congressional failure are the first wave to hit here.

Quietly, public domains are being given away for nothing as the government continues the march toward privatization of our commonly held assets.  As in the recent example of the Rio Tinto land swap which would expand the private transnational mining corporation’s copper deposits in Arizona by swapping a few thousand acres of land, labeled ‘environmentally sensitive’ for these valuable holdings.  Rio Tinto is being tried in US federal courts for their role in the genocide and war crimes committed with alongside the government in Papua New Guinea against citizens there who opposed a mining project in the 1980’s.  This would make Rio Tinto ideally suited as a business partner for the US government.

As South America was used as a laboratory for US experiments in police state capitalism, Eastern Europe and Russia was where the techniques of pushing reform at the barrel of a gun were perfected.  Western Europe is where the finishing touches are now being applied to the tyrannical system.

Student protesters against 'free market' reforms in China were victims of a bloody massacre in a police state crackdown on democracy. People of all nations resist these same massive IMF-inspired 'free market' reforms that consist of deregulating business and privatizing the public sector. China and it's unapologetic police state remains the preferred business model of the IMF.

China has been a model, creating a nearly perfect union of the police state and capitalism, illustrating what is possible when human rights are discarded in favor of lining pockets with gold and placing power in the hands of an unopposed 1%.  No surprise then, that the people of the United States find themselves stuck under a boot they hadn’t realized was there.

While the bank controlled debt crisis races through the European Union and its leaders are faced with the distasteful task of enforcing the IMF dictates, America watches with anticipation.  Like the car wreck that faces us to look at our own mortality, we are unable to peel our eyes from what we know is our inevitable fate.  European Austerity is where it begins but we know where it is heading.

Police action taken earlier this month against protesters at Occupy Oakland in which a young veteran's skull was fractured.

Tea Party: R.I.P.

Tea Party: R.I.P

After reading the diatribe written by the head of the local ‘tea party’ chapter regarding the FERC/Ameren dispute, one is left with two reactions.  First, you must shake your head while the president of the LACC points his finger in a revival of the elementary school debate technique, ‘nah, nah, nee, boo, boo’.  Then, as you consider the national politics of this group, its congressional record after reaching office, its political candidates and its ultra conservative, hard line platform, you realize it is time to grab a fork because the ‘tea party’, for all practical purposes, is done.

While there is heated debate over the origin and roots of the group, one thing is not in dispute.  Camdenton, Missouri held a rally on the courthouse square in the first day of national tea party gatherings promoted by Fox News.  They held their posters high and raised their voices in united opposition to the bailout and the ‘new regime’ in Washington.  They were fed up, they were mad, they weren’t going to take it anymore.

Increasingly, the tea party looks like the ‘astroturf’ organization it has long been accused of.  Whether it is the voting record the ‘tea party’ candidates have earned since the election in 2010, which has produced no efforts whatsoever to aid a failing economy and an anemic job market or leading

Michele Bachmann, leader of the 'Tea Party' caucus, offers a hybrid of religion, deregulation and reduced taxation in her campaign to go along with her claim of being the only true 'social conservative' in the race. Whatever that means.

the charge toward deregulating the businesses that have gutted our country and economy, there seems to be a common refrain.  The ‘tea party’, intentionally or not, represent the lunatic fringe of conservatism and their extreme talking points and platform positions do not resonate with the vast majority of Americans.  They have served to move America further and further to a nightmare right, where tyranny rules with an iron fist and intolerance and ignorance are the currency of the land.  In a recent letter, the head of the local tea party was appealing to have pastors begin preaching politics from the pulpit.  If this is an indication of the type of society envisioned by the leaders of the corporately funded ‘tea party’, I wonder if you have considered moving to Tehran?  They seem to have exactly what you are looking for in a good old fashioned theocracy, including the torture of political dissenters.

The America that has been offered by the ‘tea party’ has been rejected by the people.  We aren’t interested in ending government controls and regulations on the very businesses responsible for hollowing out our manufacturing core, corrupting our financial systems and allowing us to be held hostage to big energy.  We aren’t interested in the notion of flat taxes of any kind, because it would raise taxes on most Americans and drive the costs of all our goods sky high, including food and medicine.  We do not want our social safety nets destroyed as a result of poor government decisions leading to a ‘crisis’ of their own making.  We do not want companies to be allowed to socialize debt to the citizens while reaping record profits.  We do not want tax breaks to be extended to the oligarchs who own our government.  We do not want to see workers’ rights attacked and legislation promoted that will drive down wages and benefits across the board.

Most of us wouldn’t boo a gay soldier just because he or she is gay.  We know that sexual harassment is real and should not be tolerated.  We

Cain, like so many of his sub-party's ideals, is having difficult standing up to scrutiny. After the newness wore from his failed "9-9-9" flat tax and the skeletons began to fall from Mr. Cain's closet, the Koch Brothers' private candidate appears to have run his course.

wouldn’t cheer letting a man die because he has no health insurance.  We wouldn’t put out a call to small business owners to ‘stop hiring’ in order to drive home a hateful point.  We wouldn’t end woman’s access to health care, restrict American citizens right to vote and we wouldn’t want to be responsible for ripping a Mexican mother away from her children or electrocuting her at the border.

What the leader of the lake’s group and the national movement seem to be counting on is that the American people will continue to be apathetic and ignore this demented minority view.  While this strategy works for those who refuse to leave the echo chamber of Fox News and their unabashed propaganda machine, those of us out here it rings false.  It would seem that daylight has the same effect on the ‘tea party’ as it does on vampires.  When exposed to truth, the ‘tea party’ illusion crumbles into so much dust.

Chaining Democracy

The United Police States of America:
Chaining Democracy

While the leaders of the Eurozone governments continue to force austerity and privatization on its member states at the direction of the IMF and Washington, and while protesters are being gunned down in the streets of the Middle East, it is evident that a war is being waged against democracy across the globe.  Whether it is Greece and Italy, whose governments are

Protests against austerity in Greece, have resulted in a police crackdown and political turmoil in Greece.

ruled by unelected economists and bankers, or it is Egypt, whose military refuses to release its grip on control, democracy is being denied.  As we have so clearly learned in the past few months, the United States is no different.  The 1% has no interest in our freedoms and no plans to relinquish control of our government.  As has been evidenced repeatedly, the government of this country is practicing what it has preached in other countries throughout our tarnished, shameful history of supporting oppression.  The United States has a well documented history of installing illegitimate regimes that allow for the complete transformation economies into disastrous ‘free market’ beasts that socialize debt to the people via taxation and austerity measures while reaping gluttonous profits from the privatization of everything, from education to the post office to the mines and oil fields to the labor force.  This has been the means of conquest since the late 1960’s, as it became

Protests in Chile against their broken education system. Education was privatized in the 1970's by the decisions of US economists who advised Pinochet's government after the bloody coup which left the duly elected government dead and a dictator in power. Chile has yet to recover.

necessary during the Cold War to develop more subtle methods of warfare.  Our government mastered these techniques and with them, have brought most of the world under the combination of the debt weapon and the police state.

Here in the United States, we have seen a slow erosion of our rights and liberties.  It has come in ways that have been largely unnoticed through the legislative process.  Passing laws that require permits for protests is unconstitutional, as I’m pretty sure Jefferson, Franklin, Washington and the rest didn’t intend for me to have to seek permission to speak my mind.  Yet it is with these Gossamer threads that they first begin to restrict democracy, instilling in the population the idea that they ‘must’ have a permit.

The Patriot Act has ushered in a decade of unequaled attacks on the freedoms and liberties of American citizens. Recently, there has been a wave of legislation designed to narrow and restrict the rights of Americans. This includes everything from harsh anti-immigration legislation to a campaign to disenfranchise millions of Americans by restricting who can vote.

Other attacks on our liberties have been less subtle.  The Patriot Act dropped like a lead curtain in the early days after September 11.  It came down with such chilling speed, one cannot help but wonder how long it had been waiting in the wings for the right opportunity to enact it.  With it, the government broadly expanded the use of domestic spying while shrinking our rights to and expectations of, privacy.  The result is a government who can, simply by declaring you a threat, have a private ‘security contractor’ go into your email and web history to see everything you’ve been doing.  They can listen in on your conversations, read your personal texts and track your movements.  The Patriot Act seems to have been developed not to keep us safe from an over-hyped enemy, but to be used as a tool with which to monitor and crackdown on dissent.  If you doubt that, take a look on top of the stoplights next time you drive through Osage Beach or Camdenton.  Look at the cameras there.  They aren’t ‘red light’ cameras, those were found unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court.  Tell me why they are there.

Tear gas and a more potent chemical that appears to attack the nervous and respiratory systems, have been unleashed in five days of bloody crackdowns against peaceful protesters that have seen dozens killed and thousands injured by police using weapons provided by the United States.

The coordinated efforts to silence the press has also been tried in the regimes we have supported abroad and, as Egypt and Yemen and the rest of the Arab Spring has shown us, it is having the opposite of the desired effect.  The police here are making obvious their intent to restrict members of our media from covering their handling of protesters.  While we see Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen in the news, it is hard to make an argument for allowing the police to hide their actions against protesters in this country.  It is unconstitutional, it is being directed by our government, and it is traditionally followed with increasing brutality, if the people do not resist this behavior and decry its use.

Currently, Congress who have failed the 99% so spectacularly, seem to have figured out how to pass a law that will allow them to shut down social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and for that matter, ANY internet site it deems to be infringing on ‘intellectual property’ rights (yes, it’s intentionally vague).  That’s right, shut down.  As in, turn off.  Can you imagine how handy that will be when, say, the NYPD are ordered to evict Zuccotti Park again?  Turn off social media sites temporarily under the

Officers of the NYPD show an enthusiasm for dealing violently with peaceful protesters and reporters during the Occupy movement.

guise of files being illegally shared or some other violation of ‘piracy’ laws they could invent as a reason to throw the switch.  China’s police state has total control over its internet, for example.  See how handy that tool is?  Remember, the San Francisco Bart Transit Police already shut off cell phone access during a protest in order to disrupt communication and transmission of video earlier this year.  They are working to pass the SOPA act through the House and its partner the IP Act in the Senate.  This will then give the government complete control over what we see, read, who we talk to and how we talk to them.

As we are witnessing increasing hostility on the side of the police toward protesters, we cannot ignore the chains that appear to have been slipped around our own democracy.  We are seeing a coordinated effort by the 1% who control our government to silence the voices of the rest of us.  They are threatened by what it is we have to say.  We are beginning to rise from our slumber as we see our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, pepper sprayed on a college campus and we feel the

Dorli Rainey, 84, victim of pepper spraying at the hands of Seattle Police during a series of crackdowns across the country orchestrated by the Federal Government.

tug of the chains they have given us and hear the lies they tell us to make it ok.  We hear them say somehow the kids deserved it.  Just like the old lady, I suppose.  The pregnant woman too, and all the rest.

We are waking from our lethargy as we see Egypt back on the news, their citizens victims of a massacre, shot dead in the streets by the military rule our government supports.  We feel again the strain of their chains on our democracy as a cold certainty begins to dawn in us.  If they support it there…

One link at a time, one lie at a time, their chains are giving way.

Murder in Seattle

The United Police States of America:
Government Ordered Murder in Seattle

President Obama has yet to comment on reports that Seattle Police, acting in coordination with and on orders from the United States government, were responsible for the miscarriage of Jennifer Fox, 19, who was pepper sprayed the same night as 84 year-old Dorli Rainey.  Video emerged that shows Ms. Fox, three months pregnant, agonizing in pain as she is attended to by other protesters.  Ms. Fox claims that in addition to being pepper sprayed she was hit twice in the stomach by officers of the Seattle PD.

Jennifer Fox, 19, after being pepper sprayed in Seattle during a police crackdown. Fox suffered a miscarriage as a result of pepper spray and assault.

 This is the latest in a week that has seen an escalation of police violence against protesters while forcefully keeping members of the media from covering raids, arrests and actions.  Although under reported by corporate media, it has been discovered that members of the United States Government are coordinating these actions and authorizing the use of shocking, brutal attacks in order to end the protests of the 99%.  This week also saw video surface of the second Iraq war veteran to be put in the hospital by Oakland PD, Tayvan Sabeghi.  In the video, Tayvan is seen backing away from an advancing officer, hands at his sides, when the policeman viciously beats him repeatedly with a baton, rupturing his spleen.

   It is impossible, as we see Tahrir Square once again filled with thousands of defiant protesters demanding control of their government, to avoid the parallels between what is happening here and on the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities.  The US government supports the Egyptian military junta with cash, but mostly with huge sales of American arms.  In other

Tear gas canister from Egypt, proudly labeled.

words, most of our aid to Egypt comes in the way of Boeing jets and Raytheon missiles and, in this year’s shipment, more than $1 million dollars worth of ‘anti-riot’ equipment, including tear gas and ‘cr’ gas, the latter of which attacks the nervous system and is being employed now in Tahrir.

    The United States has a long and well-documented history of supporting police states around the world.  South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East are sprinkled with examples of those relationships and it is important to know what we have indirectly sponsored.  The Arab Spring, in part, is a response to those police states that have risen as a result of United States foreign policy.  Most Americans may not like to admit this, but more and more are understanding the truth of it.  We do, after all, come from a line of rebels who didn’t like being told what to do by a foreign power.

    Seeing Egypt today, again facing military and police oppression, offers us a glimpse at what is ahead for us as a nation, now that the President has ordered we go down the same path in our treatment of Americans practicing the First Amendment.

      Mayor Jean Quan confirmed the Justice Department, FBI and Department of Homeland Security were all involved in coordinating attacks on civilians by the police of eighteen cities.  This is a direct indictment of the Federal Government and the President of the United States of America.  Employing the tactics of petty dictators will not be tolerated here.  These tactics have been caught repeatedly on video, although the corporate media does not show them.  They have been photographed, recorded.  Police have been documented shooting peaceful non-violent protesters with bean bag rounds and rubber bullets.  They have been filmed throwing flash bang grenades at a group of protesters trying to help a critically injured war veteran.  Police have been recorded beating students, the elderly and members of the press along with protesters.  They have indiscriminately sprayed civilian after civilian in the face with chemical agents.

    They have now taken a life.

    The 1% will stop at nothing to silence us because they have everything to fear as this movement grows.  It represents the truth they cannot dispute and that we cannot ignore.  The 99% really is 99% of us.

    One of the protesters favorite chants when facing brutality is the mantra, ‘The whole world is watching’, while cameras provide evidence of repeated attacks on democracy.  As we realize that we have entered the place where our government has destroyed life in order to protect the interests of the few.  The President of the United States of America, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, wears the black gauntlet of tyranny and that must not be suffered.  Not in this country who, since it’s birth, has been synonymous with freedom. Now, it is time for us to join our brethren in Egypt.  It is time for the American people to be heard.  Let the mantra of the 99% crystallize in our hearts and minds.  Understand what it means, and the responsibility that comes with it.

    The whole world is watching.

The United Police States of America: The Media

The United Police States of America:
The Media

The United States government has begun a campaign against the media

nashville reporter arrested

Nashville reporter Jonathan Meador was arrested while trying to cover Occupy protests. He joins a significant list of members of the media to have been arrested during Occupy coverage.

and its members.  This campaign has been designed and executed at the direction of the federal government of the United States and is being run against our free press in an effort to hide coverage of police attacking Occupy protesters.  This ‘media blackout’, which has on numerous occasions during raids, evictions and police actions, been invoked to create a perimeter that restricts members of the press from covering these events for their own ‘safety’.
Last week, amidst increasing pressure in Oakland and two resignations of her staff in support of the protesters, Mayor Jean Quan admitted to taking part in a conference call with mayors of eighteen different cities.  This call, and the uniformity of action by police around the country, was directed by the US government against its own people and the media.  An unnamed Justice Dept official has come forward to say Justice, the FBI and Homeland Security were all involved in the coordination of police actions against protesters and the media.

Scott Olsen, injured in clash with Oakland police. This, along with repeated violent actions against protesters by police, caused two of Mayor Quan's staff to resign in protest and have led to human rights groups beginning to question US tactics toward protesters and the press.

During Thursday’s International Day of Action that celebrated the two month anniversary of the Occupy movement, twenty-six members of the press were arrested.  Some were beaten by police. Others had credentials and equipment ripped away while they were wrestled into zip cuffs and thrown into vans along with the protesters they were there to cover.  The arrests and violence suffered by these and other journalists and protesters have caused some human rights groups to begin to caution against the path the US government appears to be taking in handling the press.
If arresting the press to prevent them from covering a state crackdown on demonstrators sound a little too much like Egypt or Syria to you, there is a reason.  You can’t have an effective police state without exercising control over the media.  Whether it is through money, influence and corruption that guides an editor’s hand or the crack of a baton over a reporter’s head on the street, control must be in place and it must be guided by an iron fist.  If they cannot control and intimidate the media, the police state cannot exist.  People, when able to express their own ideas and have their own voices heard through the media, dictate that the compass that navigates coverage points to True North.  It is those enemies of the truth, those who profit and reap benefit from obscuring the facts, that will go to great lengths to maintain their fragile hold on control over our media.  Without it, the illusion they present us, already nearly impossible to maintain, will fall completely away.
As the unconstitutional ‘super committee’ admits defeat and American Austerity comes via a wave of cuts to our social safety nets due to ‘automatic triggers’, one thing is absolutely clear.  The Occupy movement is not going anywhere.  It will only grow as with each passing day, it becomes harder and harder to hide the truth.
In this nation’s earliest days, when small communities of people rose together and began to organize against those powers that be, when the value of a free press was fully realized, understood and cherished for what it is and the role it serves.  The free press is a shield against oppression and a sword against injustice. It is the ‘people’s mic’ through which all viewpoints should be explored and expressed without fear or shame of consequences.  It is our armor against tyranny, even if, especially if, it rears its ugly head here in our home.
Makes me think of a little joke:
‘How do you know when you are in a police state?’
‘I dunno, how?’
‘When they show people getting beaten on the nightly news and anchors smile while they dismiss it.’
It doesn’t take long to surmise, when you start seeing them resort to physical violence and arrests against reporters and media blackouts with government oversight and coordination, what comes next.  Just turn on the news, while we still have it, and look.  Or better yet, crack a history book.  Our closet is full of skeletons of oppressive regimes, installed by, trained by, and funded by the United States government.  Most were installed in order to serve the needs of corporate America, in one fashion or another.  You can see the familiar path they are taking us down.
If they are able to do this to our media without resistance, they will not stop.  They will continue until the media loses the will to do their duty.  It is our responsibility as citizens to stand along side those unafraid to speak truth to power.  Our free media must and will be, defended.  They cannot take these rights, no matter how urgent their rush to do so.  These are our heritage, our birthrights.  We shall not forsake them, nor those who practice their rights peacefully.  We shall not forsake those who serve us in giving us reports of the world, so we might have a better, broader understanding of it.
We must unite and protect one another.  The press must protect the people

Occupiers showing solidarity with the free press in the face of increasing brutality.

while we in turn, protect the press.  As Egypt has shown, we must be in this for the long haul.