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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,647

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Freedom Cannot Exist Alongside a Massive Surveillance Industrial Complex: They Are Incompatible


Freedom Cannot Exist Alongside a Massive Surveillance Industrial Complex: They Are Incompatible

Friday, 23 August 2013 09:19
By Heidi Boghosian, City Lights Books | Book Excerpt


Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, heads an organization that knows, from history, that a government allowed to spy with few limits will inevitably use them to control resistance to the elite status quo. The distance from tracking alleged Al-Qaeda terrorists to monitoring climate change activists is only a change of target, not a shift in technology or perhaps even a dramatic change in collected data. Once a massive spying apparatus is in place that functions with minimum oversight, who is to keep it from being used for domestic and political and economic agendas in the name of combating terrorism?

These are the kind of questions that Boghosian explores in "Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance."


.......(snip).......

Normalizing Cultural Obedience through Surveillance

Every day you leave your home, your image is caught on surveillance cameras at least two hundred times, it is estimated. Little public debate has addressed the possible consequences of nearly continuous surveillance. Cameras monitor us while we shop, ride elevators, tour museums, stand in line at banks, use ATMs, or merely walk down streets, desensitizing us to unceasing observation and recording.

People growing up in the digital age may have a hard time imagining life without the self-consciousness and self-censorship prompted by today’s surveillance state. Others may recall a time when the nation expressed outrage when its citizens were “bugged,” trailed, or tracked. Today, only those living off the grid in rural areas of places such as Montana or Alaska are exempt from being monitored all the time. If they are determined to be “persons of interest,” however, they too can be tracked down and monitored.

A new generation of advertisement-driven Americans is persuaded from an early age to buy cell phones, tablets, and computers with built-in monitoring capability. Disney and McDonald’s, along with many other corporations, lure children into online worlds or amusement parks where personal information is collected in exchange for special rewards. At the same time, policymakers, quick to approve sweeping counterterrorism measures, have dismantled many levels of legal safeguards that evolved over time to protect individuals’ civil liberties.

Normalization is the process by which we accept and take for granted ideas and actions that previously may have been considered shocking or taboo. Michel Foucault wrote that modern control over society may be accomplished by watching its members, and maintaining routine information about them. Foucault emphasized that Jeremy Bentham’s eighteenth-century panopticon, a continuous surveillance model for prisoners who could not tell if they were being watched, exemplified an institution capable of producing what he called “docile bodies.” ...............................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/18356-freedom-cannot-exist-alongside-a-massive-surveillance-industrial-complex-they-are-incompatible



GOP's "I Have A Dream" (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/gop_dream_speech_20130823/


Chris Hedges On Bradley Manning Being Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison





Published on Aug 22, 2013

Chris Hedges speaks to The Real News in an exclusive interview responding to Wikileaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning being sentenced to 35 years in prison


San Francisco's Green Power Plan Still Stalled by Corporate Interests a Decade Later


San Francisco's Green Power Plan Still Stalled by Corporate Interests a Decade Later

Friday, 23 August 2013
By Darwin Bond Graham, Truthout | News Analysis


In 2004, San Francisco committed itself to a revolutionary economic and environmental rejuvenation project centered on complete overhaul of the city's energy system. Or did it?

Back then, the plan called for investing more than a billion dollars in energy efficiency upgrades and publicly-owned renewable energy assets at thousands of sites within city limits. Voters authorized the issuance of revenue bonds to fund an unprecedented public energy investment program. The money for this gargantuan green energy and local jobs fund was to be sourced from the utility bills of ratepayers, a few pennies a month no longer siphoned off by the investor-owned utility as private profits.

Called CleanPowerSF, the idea was a reinvention of a municipal utility for San Francisco, a perennial sky's-the-limit goal of the city's progressives, but reinvented with new legal authority and new technologies that would not require the public to take control of costly and crumbling transmission lines and pipelines. Instead, the public would simply take over energy purchasing, and ratepayer funds, leaving the corporate utility in place to deliver the juice at a strictly regulated rate.

Then nine long years of war between environmentalists, labor, politicians, and the region's 800-pound gorilla utility corporation, PG&E, ground down the vision of San Francisco as a post-carbon, green jobs mecca into what might be a fatally compromised plan. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/18347-considered-a-national-example-san-franciscos-green-power-plan-has-struggled-for-a-decade-to-overcome-opposition-from-monopoly-corporate-interests



Chris Hedges: Bradley Manning and the Gangster State


from truthdig:


Bradley Manning and the Gangster State

Posted on Aug 21, 2013
By Chris Hedges


FORT MEADE, Md.—The swift and brutal verdict read out by Army Col. Judge Denise Lind in sentencing Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison means we have become a nation run by gangsters. It signals the inversion of our moral and legal order, the death of an independent media, and the open and flagrant misuse of the law to prevent any oversight or investigation of official abuses of power, including war crimes. The passivity of most of the nation’s citizens—the most spied upon, monitored and controlled population in human history—to the judicial lynching of Manning means they will be next. There are no institutional mechanisms left to halt the shredding of our most fundamental civil liberties, including habeas corpus and due process, or to prevent pre-emptive war, the assassination of U.S. citizens by the government and the complete obliteration of privacy.

Wednesday’s sentencing marks one of the most important watersheds in U.S. history. It marks the day when the state formally declared that all who name and expose its crimes will become political prisoners or be forced, like Edward Snowden, and perhaps Glenn Greenwald, to spend the rest of their lives in exile. It marks the day when the country dropped all pretense of democracy, obliterated checks and balances under the separation of powers and rejected the rule of law. It marks the removal of the mask of democracy, already a fiction, and its replacement with the ugly, naked visage of corporate totalitarianism. State power is to be, from now on, unchecked, unfettered and unregulated. And those who do not accept unlimited state power, always the road to tyranny, will be ruthlessly persecuted. On Wednesday we became vassals. As I watched the burly guards hustle Manning out of a military courtroom at Fort Meade after the two-minute sentencing, as I listened to half a dozen of his supporters shout to him, “We’ll keep fighting for you, Bradley! You’re our hero!” I realized that our nation has become a vast penal colony.

If we actually had a functioning judicial system and an independent press, Manning would have been a witness for the prosecution against the war criminals he helped expose. He would not have been headed, bound and shackled, to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. His testimony would have ensured that those who waged illegal war, tortured, lied to the public, monitored our electronic communications and ordered the gunning down of unarmed civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen were sent to Fort Leavenworth’s cells. If we had a functioning judiciary the hundreds of rapes and murders Manning made public would be investigated. The officials and generals who lied to us when they said they did not keep a record of civilian dead would be held to account for the 109,032 “violent deaths” in Iraq, including those of 66,081 civilians. The pilots in the “Collateral Murder” video, which showed the helicopter attack on unarmed civilians in Baghdad that left nine dead, including two Reuters journalists, would be court-martialed.

The message that Manning’s sentence, the longest in U.S. history for the leaking of classified information to the press, sends to the rest of the world is disturbing. It says to the mothers and fathers who have lost children in drone strikes and air attacks, to the families grieving over innocent relatives killed by U.S. forces, that their suffering means nothing to us. It says we will continue to murder and to wage imperial wars that consume hundreds of thousands of civilian lives with no accountability. And it says that as a country we despise those within our midst who have the moral courage to make such crimes public. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/bradley_manning_and_the_gangster_state_20130821/



Chris Hedges: Bradley Manning and the Gangster State


from truthdig:


Bradley Manning and the Gangster State

Posted on Aug 21, 2013
By Chris Hedges


FORT MEADE, Md.—The swift and brutal verdict read out by Army Col. Judge Denise Lind in sentencing Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison means we have become a nation run by gangsters. It signals the inversion of our moral and legal order, the death of an independent media, and the open and flagrant misuse of the law to prevent any oversight or investigation of official abuses of power, including war crimes. The passivity of most of the nation’s citizens—the most spied upon, monitored and controlled population in human history—to the judicial lynching of Manning means they will be next. There are no institutional mechanisms left to halt the shredding of our most fundamental civil liberties, including habeas corpus and due process, or to prevent pre-emptive war, the assassination of U.S. citizens by the government and the complete obliteration of privacy.

Wednesday’s sentencing marks one of the most important watersheds in U.S. history. It marks the day when the state formally declared that all who name and expose its crimes will become political prisoners or be forced, like Edward Snowden, and perhaps Glenn Greenwald, to spend the rest of their lives in exile. It marks the day when the country dropped all pretense of democracy, obliterated checks and balances under the separation of powers and rejected the rule of law. It marks the removal of the mask of democracy, already a fiction, and its replacement with the ugly, naked visage of corporate totalitarianism. State power is to be, from now on, unchecked, unfettered and unregulated. And those who do not accept unlimited state power, always the road to tyranny, will be ruthlessly persecuted. On Wednesday we became vassals. As I watched the burly guards hustle Manning out of a military courtroom at Fort Meade after the two-minute sentencing, as I listened to half a dozen of his supporters shout to him, “We’ll keep fighting for you, Bradley! You’re our hero!” I realized that our nation has become a vast penal colony.

If we actually had a functioning judicial system and an independent press, Manning would have been a witness for the prosecution against the war criminals he helped expose. He would not have been headed, bound and shackled, to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. His testimony would have ensured that those who waged illegal war, tortured, lied to the public, monitored our electronic communications and ordered the gunning down of unarmed civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen were sent to Fort Leavenworth’s cells. If we had a functioning judiciary the hundreds of rapes and murders Manning made public would be investigated. The officials and generals who lied to us when they said they did not keep a record of civilian dead would be held to account for the 109,032 “violent deaths” in Iraq, including those of 66,081 civilians. The pilots in the “Collateral Murder” video, which showed the helicopter attack on unarmed civilians in Baghdad that left nine dead, including two Reuters journalists, would be court-martialed.

The message that Manning’s sentence, the longest in U.S. history for the leaking of classified information to the press, sends to the rest of the world is disturbing. It says to the mothers and fathers who have lost children in drone strikes and air attacks, to the families grieving over innocent relatives killed by U.S. forces, that their suffering means nothing to us. It says we will continue to murder and to wage imperial wars that consume hundreds of thousands of civilian lives with no accountability. And it says that as a country we despise those within our midst who have the moral courage to make such crimes public. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/bradley_manning_and_the_gangster_state_20130821/



NAFTA on Steroids: The TransPacific Partnership and Global Neoliberalism

NAFTA on Steroids: The TransPacific Partnership and Global Neoliberalism

Monday, 19 August 2013 09:23
By Cliff DuRand, Truthout | News Analysis


A world without democracy, ruled by a technocratic elite serving the interests of US and global capital - protecting "investor rights" against national laws and regulations - is now being created in secret negotiations over free-trade treaties, one of which, the TransPacific Parnership (TPP), may be sewn up this fall. Can popular will stop it?


For four decades now, we have seen corporate-led neoliberal globalization transforming nation-states into globalized states that serve the interests of transnational capital above the interests of national populations. This tendency has been strong in states both of the global North and of the global South. Everywhere sovereignty is being compromised. The ideal political system most suitable for such globalized states is polyarchy, since it legitimates relatively autonomous elite rule. However, even in such a managed "democracy," there are moments when elites can be made accountable to national populations through the struggles of social movements. Occupy Wall Street was the beginning of such a social movement.

As philosopher Milton Fisk has argued in The State and Justice: An Essay in Political Theory, in the class-divided societies of capitalist countries, the function of the state is to maintain the social order. This means the political elite promotes the interests of the economically dominant class. This is due to what István Mészáros calls "the metabolic reproductive process" of capitalist society. However, to maintain governability, it is sometimes necessary to limit the benefits going to capital and to increase the benefits going to the popular classes. How far the elite moves in the direction of social justice depends on the level of the subject classes' political activity. The elite's default position is to favor the interests of capital, if only because the interests of the dominated classes depend on them.

A state is a democratic nation-state insofar as it represents the interests of the peoples it governs. That nation includes both the dominant class of capitalists and the dependent popular classes. The constellation of class forces within the nation at any given time directs the nation-state. The state mediates class relations, as, for instance, in constructing the class compromise of the capital-labor accord represented in the Fordist regime of production, a model of economic expansion named after Henry Ford.

Popular Sovereignty Gone with Globalization

However, with globalization, transnational corporate capital has leaped over the territorial and legal boundaries of the nation, and the state is following it. In so doing, the nation-state is morphing into a globalized state that serves the interests of transnational capital rather than any "own" national population. Contrary to what some have claimed, globalization has not weakened the state. In some respects, it has even strengthened it, particularly the executive branch. But globalization has weakened the state's connection with its own citizens as the state follows capital into a new global economic system. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/18221-contradictions-of-global-neoliberalism




NAFTA on Steroids: The TransPacific Partnership and Global Neoliberalism


NAFTA on Steroids: The TransPacific Partnership and Global Neoliberalism

Monday, 19 August 2013 09:23
By Cliff DuRand, Truthout | News Analysis


A world without democracy, ruled by a technocratic elite serving the interests of US and global capital - protecting "investor rights" against national laws and regulations - is now being created in secret negotiations over free-trade treaties, one of which, the TransPacific Parnership (TPP), may be sewn up this fall. Can popular will stop it?


For four decades now, we have seen corporate-led neoliberal globalization transforming nation-states into globalized states that serve the interests of transnational capital above the interests of national populations. This tendency has been strong in states both of the global North and of the global South. Everywhere sovereignty is being compromised. The ideal political system most suitable for such globalized states is polyarchy, since it legitimates relatively autonomous elite rule. However, even in such a managed "democracy," there are moments when elites can be made accountable to national populations through the struggles of social movements. Occupy Wall Street was the beginning of such a social movement.

As philosopher Milton Fisk has argued in The State and Justice: An Essay in Political Theory, in the class-divided societies of capitalist countries, the function of the state is to maintain the social order. This means the political elite promotes the interests of the economically dominant class. This is due to what István Mészáros calls "the metabolic reproductive process" of capitalist society. However, to maintain governability, it is sometimes necessary to limit the benefits going to capital and to increase the benefits going to the popular classes. How far the elite moves in the direction of social justice depends on the level of the subject classes' political activity. The elite's default position is to favor the interests of capital, if only because the interests of the dominated classes depend on them.

A state is a democratic nation-state insofar as it represents the interests of the peoples it governs. That nation includes both the dominant class of capitalists and the dependent popular classes. The constellation of class forces within the nation at any given time directs the nation-state. The state mediates class relations, as, for instance, in constructing the class compromise of the capital-labor accord represented in the Fordist regime of production, a model of economic expansion named after Henry Ford.

Popular Sovereignty Gone with Globalization

However, with globalization, transnational corporate capital has leaped over the territorial and legal boundaries of the nation, and the state is following it. In so doing, the nation-state is morphing into a globalized state that serves the interests of transnational capital rather than any "own" national population. Contrary to what some have claimed, globalization has not weakened the state. In some respects, it has even strengthened it, particularly the executive branch. But globalization has weakened the state's connection with its own citizens as the state follows capital into a new global economic system. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/18221-contradictions-of-global-neoliberalism



Man Has Sex With Goat, Gets Banned From All Farms In United Kingdom


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/robert-newman-goat-banned-from-all-farms-uk_n_3786662.html?utm_hp_ref=weird-news


This court isn't kidding around -- this guy's baaaaaaaaanned.

Robert Newman, 23, is banned from every single farm in the United Kingdom after sexually penetrating a goat, the London Evening Standard reported.

Newman admitted to the act, which took place on a Wiltshire farm in April, on Monday, according to the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald.

His sentencing is scheduled to take place Sept. 12. Until then, Newman -- who has been released on bail -- is prohibited from being on any property where farm animals reside, according to SWNS. He also has to keep a curfew between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.






Worker "Disloyalty" Leads to Discharge; Employer Disloyalty Is Good for Business


Worker "Disloyalty" Leads to Discharge; Employer Disloyalty Is Good for Business

Monday, 19 August 2013 11:09
By Ellen Dannin and Ann C Hodges, Truthout | Opinion


The National Labor Relations Act protects the right of employees to join together to change working conditions. The law, as written by Congress, has no exception to this protection. But that doesn't mean the courts couldn't create exceptions big enough to drive a fleet of trucks through.

In fact, the blanket protection Congress put into the NLRA has been eaten full of holes by judicial moths. It's hard to decide which of the judicial amendments creates the most outrageous exception to the law's protection, but making employee disloyalty into a cardinal sin certainly deserves an award for chutzpah and judicial overreach.

The basic problem is that the word is so vague, it is easy to manipulate. If asked what employee "disloyalty" is, many people might say "stealing employer property." Take organizing a union, for example, or employees' complaints about working conditions. The NLRA actually says that organizing unions and participating in concerted activity to change working conditions are protected. But these are also behaviors that judges have put into the category of disloyalty in some cases.

According to the Supreme Court in the 1953 case of NLRB v. Local 1229, IBEW (Jefferson Standard), disloyal employees lose the protections of the National Labor Relations Act, even though the employees' actions are precisely what Congress intended to protect. As time has passed, the category called disloyal actions has expanded, making it ever easier for employers to deprive workers of their rights under the law. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18273-employee-disloyalty-leads-to-discharge-employer-disloyalty-is-good-for-business



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