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Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill

–Out of the total $1,148,971 given, an average of $17,676.48 was donated to each of the 65 ‘yea’votes.

| 27 May 2015 | A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the cash spigot in the hopes of getting it passed… Ron Wyden and seven other Senate Democrats announced they were on the fence on 12 May, distinguishing themselves from the Senate’s 54 Republicans and handful of Democrats as the votes to sway. In just 24 hours, Wyden and five of those DemocRATic holdouts — Michael Bennet of Colorado, Dianne Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington, and Bill Nelson of Florida — caved and voted for fast-track. Bennet, Murray, and Wyden — all running for re-election in 2016 — received $105,900 between the three of them. Bennet, who comes from the more purple state of Colorado, got $53,700 in corporate campaign donations between January and March 2015, according to Taylor Channing’s research.

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Late last month we outlined an IBTimes report which showed that Goldman Sachs paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to Bill Clinton for a speech before lobbying the State Department (then run by Hillary Clinton) on legislation tied to the Export-Import Bank which would eventually approved a loan to a Chinese company that subsequently placed a $75 million purchase order with a Goldman-owned aircraft manufacturer. The implication, of course, was that the speaking engagement fee ultimately influenced the State Department’s decision making, a suggestion Goldman called “preposterous.”

The Clintons have also come under scrutiny for possible conflicts of interest arising from contributions to Clinton Foundation charities while Hillary Clinton served as the nation’s top diplomat. More specifically, a Reuters investigation revealed that the Foundation failed to report “tens of millions” of donations from foreign governments on three years’ worth of 990s, prompting the organization’s acting CEO Maura Pally to pen a lengthy blog post explaining the “mistake.” Shortly thereafter, Reuters found inaccuracies in Pally’s explanation, noting that in fact, Clinton broke transparency promises made to the Obama administration.

Now, the IBTimes is out with a new investigative piece that looks at the relationship between foreign government and corporate donors to Clinton charities and weapons deals negotiated under Hillary Clinton’s State Department which, as it turns out, approved $165 billion in arms deals to nations who had previously given money to the Clinton Foundation. 

Via IBTimes:

In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing — the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 — contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.

The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.

Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term…

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-26/hillary-clintons-state-department-approved-165-billion-arms-deals-clinton-foundation

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The number one error, engaged in by the majority of people, is failing to be an activist. The world’s going to hell, countless situations can be easily improved, lives can be saved, and most people just sit there and do nothing. Others actively work to make matters worse. So, if you’re working for peace and justice, you’re among the tiny minority that’s pretty much got the big stuff right. If constructive criticism drives you into despair, please stop reading this article right now and just continue what you’re doing with your life. You have my gratitude.

If you’re open to hearing some suggestions, for whatever they may be worth (and yes, of course, this list of errors will exclude those that I am myself guilty and unaware of), read on:

1. ELECTIONISM. We need elections but do not now have them in the United States, not at the federal level. Working for election reforms is one of the most important things anyone can do. But taking time off from activism to focus on elections is the biggest waste of resources we engage in. Election reform will come through creative nonviolent activism, education, organizing, media, disruption, resistance, and protest. It won’t come through elections. Registering voters is not activism. Creating automatic registration, as just done in Oregon, is activism. Please stifle your compulsion to ask me who I’m voting for. You don’t ask me if I want to win the lottery. (I do, but I will not buy a ticket or devote my life to staring at one.)

2. OBAMANISM. As bad as taking a break from activism every election cycle, is thinking and acting like a voter and a campaigner rather than an activist every day of every year, cheerleading for a team of corrupt officials rather than for policies, reforms, and actions that you support. “The nationalist,” said Orwell, “not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” Nationalism is a huge problem, and its language, which has peace activists using the word “we” in saying “We are bombing Afghanistan,” may contribute to identification with crimes. But the problem of managing not to even hear about them applies to partisanship as well. If a Republican were picking men, women, and children to murder on Tuesdays, you’d see protests.

3. TOKENISM. “Black people are dumb.” “Muslims are violent.” These are understood to be ignorant hate speech. But “Women make better presidents” is not frowned on quite so much, despite its exactly equal idiocy. The problem is not the demographic characteristics of the president. The problem is having a single individual with the powers of a god, in debt to sociopathic billionaires, in a system dominated by militarism and corruption. We won’t change it with a female or gay or Latina corporatist warmonger.

4. STRATEGISM. Winning a first and a second and a third step down a path to peace or justice is not best achieved through the means that many activists think of as “strategic.” If you tell someone that they should halt one war so that the military can be better prepared for other wars, you weaken your argument against the one war, and you provide an argument for future wars. If you oppose the weapons that don’t work, you give legitimacy to the far worse weapons that do work. If you object to a gimmick that boosts weapons spending over a mandated limit by transferring funds from a war budget, you shouldn’t do so in a way that suggests either budget is acceptable at all, or in a way that suggests war spending is preferable to non-war-spending or budget trickery. Pre-compromising doesn’t get you a compromise result; it gets you incoherence and lack of believability. A young woman pointing out to Jeb Bush that his brother (and Hillary and a few hundred others) created ISIS does a lot more to move people against war than do the strategies coming out of DC peace groups. War is counterproductive on its own terms, immoral, illegal, and catastrophic. Its funding should be eliminated. Our job is to demand that. A small reduction is a first step toward our goal.

5. IMPOTENTISM. The most pervasive and powerful propaganda is that of powerlessness. Telling yourself and each other that you are powerless is no different than Judith Miller repeating CIA lies about WMDs. It’s exactly as ridiculous and exactly as damaging. We are not powerless. We quite easily have an impact frequently and could quite easily have a much bigger one. Expecting fairness won’t help. We have to work uphill, but it’s perfectly doable. Being impatient won’t help. We have to keep working however long it takes and however few help out. Self-flagellation won’t help. The money is against you and money is powerful. It’s not your fault you haven’t saved the world, but it might be thanks to you that your grandchildren save it.

6. PAROCHIALISM. We have to form uncomfortably large coalitions, and we really don’t want to. I’m not advocating what I critiqued above as strategism. Don’t sell your soul. Don’t promote destructive ideologies for short-term gain. But don’t be scared of guilt-by-association. Be willing to stand with people on an issue whose views and actions you deeply oppose on other issues.

7. LOCALISM. It’s far more satisfying to find peace in your heart or sustainability in your backyard than to take on the military industrial complex. But if the earth dies, so will you. There are local and hyper-local angles that contribute to the greater cause. Cities and states can change nations. But individual action alone is not enough. Even small group action aimed too near is not enough. If everybody with solar panels on their roofs had put half the money into a movement to create public solar arrays, we’d have them.

8. FREUDISM. In a popular, simplistic notion of nonviolent communication, one never persuades anyone through rational argument. This is a claim, by the way, that comes out of an ideology supposedly dedicated to respecting people and their “needs.” Apparently among those needs is not the need for a good reason to believe something. It would of course be equally simplistic to assert that all one ever needs are facts, or to ignore the age-old wisdom that it is hard to get someone to believe something they are paid not to. But when I tell people that college is free in other countries, their jaws drop, and it’s not 30 seconds before they’re saying it should be that way in the U.S. When I talk to non-self-selected groups about ending war, the majority say at the end that they have been moved toward believing that war can and should be ended. Facts are not enough, but they are one of the main things the corporate media deprives us of, and one of the key components of activism. They do nothing to help us see another’s point of view if we’re unwilling to look. They do nothing to alleviate high levels of fear. But it would be a mistake for us to become inversions of Edward Bernays working to manipulate people in a kinder, gentler manner.

9. FETISHISM. Here’s a little secret. The people who speak the viewpoints that serve big money are not smarter, wittier, pithier, or better at framing a topic. They’re on the air because they speak the viewpoints that serve big money. They may be more eloquent than you. They may be less so. But trying to think and sound like them in general is a quite risky proposition and completely unnecessary. There is nothing we need more than better media and better use of existing media by its readers, listeners, and viewers. There is no smarter place to invest as activists. But what we lack is not spokespeople. What we lack is microphones.

10. PINKERISM. “But haven’t you heard? War is going away on its own? I heard it from someone who read a review of a book by Steven Pinker.” War is not going to go away on its own. It is not even going away with our help. But it could go away if we really get our act together.

<--break->http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/05/top-10-activist-errors.html

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‘Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee announced his plans to run for president on Tuesday, May 5. During his speech, the Republican attempted to criticize current president Barack Obama and squandered hope of gaining Native American support in the 2016 election.

“When I hear our current president say he wants Christians to get off their high horse so we can make nice with radical jihadists, I wonder if he can watch a western from the ’50s and be able to figure out who the good guys and the bad guys really are,” stated the politician, who was once a Southern Baptist pastor.

This absurd comment came in reference to a speech made by Obama at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast. Whilst speaking about Islamic terrorism, the president reminded the audience that most, if not all, religions have dark aspects of their history.’

Read more: Presidential Candidate Likens Native Americans to Jihadists

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‘Singer and U.N. global ambassador Dionne Warwick recently released an interesting if puzzling statement asserting that she would, and I quote, “never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel.”

“Waters’ political views are of no concern,” I assume she means to her, the statement read. “Art,” she added, “has no boundaries.”

Until today, I have not publicly commented on Ms. Warwick’s Tel Aviv concert or reached out to her privately. But given her implicit invitation, I will comment now.’

Read more: Roger Waters to Dionne Warwick: ‘You are showing yourself to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947′

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This Video will be Attacked by ADL so please share it before they remove it
Ariel Sharon: “We, the Jewish People, Control America, and The Americans Know it”!
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)dvisory board includes such notable figures as Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, and R. James Woolsey, while Vice President Dick Cheney, former U.S. Representative to the United Nations John Bolton, and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith were all on JINSA’s Board of Advisors before they entered the Bush administration
Jason Vest, writing in The Nation,alleges that JINSA, along with Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, are “underwritten by far-right American Zionists” and both believe strongly that “‘regime change’ by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative.”

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DECATUR, Ga. — More than $70,000 in campaign money has gone from Congressman Hank Johnson’s campaign into the pocket of the congressman’s wife, Mereda Davis Johnson. Rep. Johnson says his wife has earned every penny.

Democrat Hank Johnson was first elected to Congress following a memorable primary runoff in 2006 over the fiery incumbent Cynthia McKinney. Two years later, Rep. Johnson put his wife Mereda on the campaign payroll– even though Johnson was the only congressman in the state to run for re-election with no ballot opposition. Federal election records show Johnson’s campaign paid Mereda Davis Johnson $8250 in 2006. Mrs. Johnson has remained a presence on the payroll ever since.

“She kind of acts like a quarterback. A lot of people ordinarily just pick up the phone and call her,” Johnson said in an interview with 11Alive News. “I think anybody who deals with me knows that Mareda is intimately involved in every aspect of what I do.”

Congressional campaigns are financed with voluntary donations. No tax money is involved.

http://www.11alive.com/story/news/local/decatur/2015/03/05/georgia-politics-hank-johnson-campaign-congress-money/24443693/

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The elites have been at war with America all my life. I can remember in high school reading a Foundation study saying we needed to cut world population to a billion or so people. There have been hundreds of studies since which also concluded billions of people like you and me should stop breathing.I think I am justified to conclude that anyone who wants to kill 6 billion people  has declared war against us.

I have decided to write this essay based on an article by Brandon Smith which appeared at Zero Hedge. It included a talk given by Max Boot on insurgencies. It seems the rich and powerful are worried that the 5 or 6 billion who are supposed to die to benefit the Uber Rich might object to decisions made concerning their early demise.

Smith specifically mentioned the US Army exercise Jade Helm which is using resources from the FBI and the DEA. This is clearly not an exercise designed to train US troops for battle in Iraq or Iran. He thinks the billionaires are preparing to defend their position because they know we are near an economic collapse.

I have said that the Mossad has put forward two publicity campaigns to explain to American Christians that an economic collapse in September of 2015 and even a war were the Will of God and not caused either by the gross criminality of Bankers or by Israeli Warhawks.

China has decided to apply to the IMF to add the yuan to the SDR basket of currencies. America depends on its ability to print the world’s reserve currency to feed itself. Wall Street has stolen everything so when we lose our reserve currency status 80% of Americans will be reduced to abject poverty. That is unless we reform the system.

There is so much corruption in our government that Bankers have been allowed to steal money by the tens of trillions of dollars and yet not one man from Wall Street has seen the inside of a jail. But then the Chinese are doing the same. The wealthy of China created nearly a trillion a year in false invoices to get money out of the country. They do have $4 trillion in British banks in the Caribbean. Asia Times magazine says the Banks launder at least $200 billion a year in bribes for Chinese officials.

My previous essay explored that relationship between the elite in America and China. I concluded that a threatened Thermonuclear involving the US, China and Russia could be used to keep the exploited citizens of those nations in line after their economies collapse more devastatingly than during the Great Depression.

Max Boot is an adviser to the Defense Department on insurgencies. His advice is well heeded by the elite. They need to control the flow of information to prevent Americans from resisting. Boot thinks American won the Revolutionary war because British public opinion turned against the war and its costs. Americans did make more money than did British workmen. But he thinks that the British could have won if they had waged war like the Romans did against Spartacus. Crucify a few thousand rebels. Only a minority of the colonials supported the revolt anyway.

Max Boot does not understand America. He was born in Moscow. He was raised in Los Angeles in a Jewish family and attended America’s best universities. But he actually thinks crucifying Americans could work. American Christians would seriously object to crucifixion. If he tried that today, he would not be able to count the number of bullets in the bodies of the men who followed his orders. American cops fired 137 bullets into the bodies of one unarmed couple in a car.

Boot thinks torturing resistance leaders is fine as long as the general public does not get wind of it. He likes the British Malay model. Put the people in concentration camps and cut off their contact with the rebels.

He can monitor us 24/7 with NSA snooping. But that is only good in the initial stages. It intimidates the timid. It also identifies the opposition. The government knows who does not like them. During the Bush administration, they compiled a list of 8 million people to be ‘Disappeared’ in case of national emergency. There are by now probably many more than that on their ‘To Be Disappeared List’. The problem is that Wall Street’s Minions in DC cannot go into full combat mode against 8 to 10 million people. If they want to ‘Disappear’ 10 million Americans, 20 or 30 million will think they are coming for them because there is no way to know you are not on the ‘Kill list.’ Millions of Americans will grab their guns and shoot the men seeking to do them harm. On Day 2 they will seek vengeance against those who gave the orders. The Resistance will probably cut all electricity going into Washington DC before Day 3 is over. It will not be a pretty sight.

Boot said they should use Special Forces to target specific men in the armed rebellion as the British did in Malay in the 1950s. The US has 25,000 Special Ops soldier. One problem is that even if he can get 50,000 soldiers to go out and grab 10,000 Americans a day, how many days would it take to grab 10 million people? And how many men would come back alive after Day One and then Day Two and Three.

Another problem is that Boot currently has no armed rebellion so what will he do? He could blow something up like the Israelis and the US government did on 911 at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon. But people are already having trouble believing the lies they are told.

Boot also said the British succeeded by making promises of independence and reform to the people of Malay. That definitely can’t happen here. The Bankers control the government and stole money from us by the tens of trillions. They will not voluntarily go to jail and surrender the tens of trillions of dollars they stole from us. Nor will they surrender the right to charge us interest on the money they created out of nothing. And they cannot stop their attacks against the Bill of Rights.

Max Boot, Wall Street and Israel can never offer reform.

More: https://vidrebel.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/the-elite-declared-war-against-us-they-expect-resistance/

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‘What you’re about to read here is a revealing look at the psychological mechanism presently being used by government and media to achieve near-absolute control over the population. I’m calling the concept the “crisis of the NOW,” and understanding this is a lot like taking the RED pill.

The “crisis of the now” involves an incessant, strategic bombardment of the population with a never-ending stream of contrived crises that demand immediate attention in the present. This psychological bombardment is waged primarily via the mainstream media which assaults the viewer by the hour with images of violence, war, emotions and conflict.

Because the human nervous system is hard wired to focus on immediate threats accompanied by depictions of violence, mainstream media viewers have their attention and mental resources funneled into the never-ending “crisis of the NOW” from which they can never have the mental breathing room to apply logic, reason or historical context.’

Read more: Mind control through emotional domination: How we’re all being manipulated by the ‘crisis of the NOW’

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Quite rightfully, there appears to be an increasing amount of debate around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  Ah yes ‘free trade’.  If I had a nickel for every time I got into a free trade debate I’d be a very rich man.  This is one of those great topics for which both sides can make a very strong academic case and so everyone walks away from the discussion feeling they won.  This is why it’s such a popular debate amongst academics.  But this particular free trade discussion needs to address not so much the deal itself but the delivery process.  Allow me to explain.

The thing about free trade is that it really has nothing to do with free trade.  It’s a regulatory maneuver pure and simple.  We know the champions of free trade are corporations because they are the profiteers of reallocating working capital out of heavy US regulatory environments and into much lighter emerging market regulatory environments.  This is very much a distinction that needs to be made.

What supporters of free trade argue is that it allows a free flow of trade to regions with competitive advantages and thus putting capital to use in the most efficient ways (if they don’t, that is the argument they should be using).  However, the stark reality is emerging markets rarely have competitive advantages in any realm over developed industrial nations.  For instance, the Chinese workers are less productive than American workers and so the cost advantage from labour is not due to higher productivity in China but to much softer wage regulations.

The result is that Americans are losing out on critical manufacturing sector jobs, which is where the American middle class was built.  The free trade champions will argue that because we no longer have a competitive advantage in that type of work we should retrain workers into areas we still have that advantage.  But again, this has nothing to do with competitive advantage.  It’s a convenient argument because it sounds logical if the facts are true.  But the fact that we don’t have a competitive advantage in manufacturing is just not true.  What we have are large dislocations in regulation.  For better or worse, American regulation require corporations to provide a much higher level of overall compensation for domestic employees than regulation does for foreign employees.  And the free trade deals very clearly provide a mechanism by which US corporations can swap heavy i.e. costly US regulation for very light foreign regulation.

Now that’s a fairly standard style free trade debate but the current debate over TPP is more about the legality of the executive branch request to fast track this free trade deal hidden behind a wall of secrecy, i.e. the details are classified.  I’m really at a loss on this one.  If you read my work regularly you are familiar with my angst on American apathy toward our Constitutional rights.  Every week another slew of Constitutional rights are being creatively and quietly withdrawn.  This has been ongoing for decades but at an extraordinary pace over the past 15 years.

The fact that Americans have been so willing to part with their guaranteed Constitutional rights has really emboldened our legislature and executive branches of government to go full bore against the Constitution.   We allow them to spy on us, to imprison us without due process and now to remove us completely from the legislative process.  So in effect we are no longer a self-governed democracy in any way, shape or form.  Somebody somewhere explain to me why that proposition is untrue.  And please do not go down the road of well we vote for a representative and that is how we impose our will on the legislative process.  Save that for whatever dumbshit, drunkass moron it worked on last night at the bar because that doesn’t meet the required standard of debate here sir.

In short we have yet another example of blatant disrespect and disregard for the very process that defines our nation as a self-governed democracy.  Each time we allow the President or legislature to circumvent the will of the people without prosecuting them we place another set of chains around our necks.  This nation has imprisoned millions of men and women for smoking marijuana, an activity that will be legal in all 50 states at some point in the near future.  At the same time, we have not prosecuted one president, policymaker or legislator for breaking Constitutional laws that have now resulted in the unjustified deaths of tens of thousands of American soldiers and innocent civilians and the immeasurable destruction of the very system promised us by those that created this once great nation.

That is heavy heavy stuff.  Yet for some reason we apparently feel much more threatened by a guy smoking a joint in his house than we do by the most powerful men in the world tacitly rendering our Constitution a paper tiger.

Is it that we don’t care?  Is it that we don’t see it?  Is it that we are masochists? What is it about us that makes us so apathetic to the atrocities against our Constitutional rights?  They are there for our protection and so, to we the people, they are assets that require maintenance but we are leaving them to be destroyed by the political elements.  I am really at a loss on this one.  It seems to go in the face of the basic instinct for self survival.

Now I get that inner cities are being supported by government hand outs and so they will be hesitant to rock the boat.  Although that is becoming less and less the case isn’t it.  But I mean even amongst well versed, well educated and very interested Americans there seems to be very little concern, judging by reaction, to the fact that our Constitutional rights are quite blatantly at this point, being taken away from us.  Why is that not creating more of an agitated response??

This is the discussion, this is the debate that needs to happen over TPP.  Corporations will always push for higher profits, that we know, but why does our government feel confident enough to blatantly negate our Constitutional rights so openly in America now?  That is with certainty, the most imminent and paramount question we need to be working on as a free society today or soon we won’t have the right to discuss such things.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-10/most-imminent-and-paramount-question-americans-today

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As Americans wait for Congress to decide next month whether to renew the Patriot Act and the vast NSA metadata surveillance program it’s made possible, a panel of three appellate judges has made the decision on its own: The Patriot Act, they’ve now ruled, was never written to authorize the sort of sweeping surveillance the NSA interpreted it to allow.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on Thursday that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone metadata by the NSA wasn’t in fact authorized by section 215 of the Patriot Act, as the intelligence community has argued since the program was first revealed in the leaks of Edward Snowden two years ago. The ruling doesn’t immediately halt the domestic phone records surveillance program. But if it’s not overturned by a higher court it could signal the program’s end—and it at least forces Congress to choose whether it wishes to explicitly authorize the program when the Patriot Act comes up for renewal on June 1st.

“We hold that the text of § 215 cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and that it does not authorize the telephone metadata program,” the ruling reads. “We do so comfortably in the full understanding that if Congress chooses to authorize such a far-reaching and unprecedented program, it has every opportunity to do so, and to do so unambiguously. Until such time as it does so, however, we decline to deviate from widely accepted interpretations of well‐established legal standards.”

more: http://www.wired.com/2015/05/breaking-news-federal-court-rules-nsa-bulk-data-collection-illegal/

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by Frank Scott

 

Once again, a black man innocent of any crime is dead, a city torn by outbursts of anger, but the nation hopefully pushed to acting on a reality. America has many serious problems, high among them de-humanized race relations. But none of those problems are removed from the political economics that make us a nation under the control of minority wealth in a system which enables some to do very well, some not very well, a small minority to live in luxury beyond belief and a larger minority to live in miserable poverty.

To believe that such a place is an exceptional democratic nation striving towards equality for all, as our bi-partisan leadership regularly claims, is to believe the tooth fairy created the world. What has been advertised as an American dream of comfort and security for citizens moves closer to becoming an American nightmare of, at best, unpayable debt for consumers, and at worst, being murdered by public servants.

The latest headlined tragedy in Baltimore should help us concentrate less on simply finding guilty individuals and institutional servants, all of whom can act no differently as long as the present system prevails, and more on total transformation of that system.

In the action taken to charge six officers in the death of Freddy Gray it is notable that three were “people of color” – presently acceptable divisive terminology even if implying they were green or blue – and two were women. This alleged gender and racial balance in the police force is a form of what is called affirmative action, but it did absolutely nothing to affirm the life of Freddie Gray. Changing the skin tone or sex of the work force in the military, at the bank, among our clerks, scientists, cab drivers, teachers or pet trainers does nothing to change the foundation of the system. Integrating our workforce so that more members of one or another minority and one majority sex occupy equal roles in dispensing the wonders, joys and benefits of the market place while also seeing to it that people remain homeless, alienated, poor, and too often, dead, only represent progress and equality to the demented.

Whether we murder people here or in far greater numbers in foreign countries, rest assured their loved ones don’t feel better because members of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, gay, straight or neuter minority may have played a role in killing them.

While Baltimore authorities initially reacted in near panic, calling for martial law over a serious situation that warranted thought and not infantile racism, the charges against the officers brought a measure of reason and an attempt at getting to justice. But the city in which a man was killed after being arrested for an imaginary crime having more to do with what he looked like to the police – three of whom looked like him – has suffered particular economic pain during a time in which Baltimore experienced the fate of many former industrial centers in America.

When corporations moved to cheaper, more profitable foreign labor markets and dumped workers and communities in the USA, we were told by economic servants of capital that manufacturing was an outmoded process no longer necessary. Now we had to develop computers, smart phones and apps to do everything for us and didn’t need old mechanical devices. Sure. So the industries went to foreign countries which also, coincidentally, produce the electronics we use to order pizzas, aim drones, open garage doors before we get home and make coffee before we wake up in the morning. The economic blight that was the fate of places like Detroit and Baltimore reduced once reasonably prosperous areas to near degradation, poverty, high unemployment, low social esteem and crime. This is often written off to racism alone but we need a broader view of america than one defined only by one or another minority, especially when that view excludes the most powerful minority which profits most from social destruction: the wealthiest tiny percentile at the top of the economy.

Given our wretched history of slavery and its generational impact still only dealt with by greeting card slogans and divisive programs, “people of color” suffer most. And even minimal affirmation for some has been accompanied by maximum negation for most.

Great improvement in social status and material standards have been gained through Affirmative Action programs, and these mostly to women even more than the blacks they were originally intended for, but there have been great losses and more suffering for those who continue to receive negative action from the system of private profits for a minority and public loss for most.

The professional and upper middle class population among African Americans – what people of color or blacks are called when they reach that state – has grown but at the same time the population of poor, unemployed, and imprisoned black americans has skyrocketed beyond the numbers that existed even under apartheid racism of the past.

Obama in the white house, blacks in positions of authority in government, in law and at the university mean nothing at all to the black men regularly shot dead in the streets, or in the Baltimore case who die while being taken to jail. Our prisons are so crowded we are among the most jailed population in what is called the civilized world. And the number of those prisoners who have darker skin are out of all proportion to their percentage in the population at large. Race looms very large in this ugly picture, but economics looms even larger and concentration on only one to the exclusion of the other means continued injustice, perhaps unequally distributed but universally felt.

Black lives do indeed matter, but they won’t if we concentrate on the police departments without noticing who and what the departments work for. War does not happen because armies decide to go to foreign countries to kill people and the police are the local armies of capital, composed of good people and bad, like bus drivers, teachers and the rest of us. They work for a living. At least if they have jobs. We need democratic control of that process to make all life matter.

 

email: fpscott@gmail.com

Frank Scott writes  political commentary and satire which is available online  at Legalienate

http://legalienate.blogspot. com

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