30 September, 2009
APF is a foreign mercenary group possibly run by Bosnians. Militarization of the police force is evident since the Pittsburgh G20. Foreign troops are positioned in Montana, according to Steve Quayle.
Full Service Thuggery
A weirdly ominous story out of Hardin, Montana, where the little-known, Blackwater-like American Police Force, a security and military training company, has reportedly taken control of the tiny town's never-used, loan-defaulted jail, which has no prisoners – having arrived in shiny SUVs marked with the logo of the Hardin police department, which doesn't exist. There has been a little press focusing on the non-jail/prisoners/police part of the story. But who ARE these guys, anyway? And does America need another private company of thugs whose website, complete with soundtrack of Ravel's stirringly martial "Bolero," boasts services that include interdicting terror activity, interdicting weapons of mass destruction, weapons sales including Nuclear/Biological/Chemical (WMD) and investigative services drawing on "vast global network of highly ranked officers and government officials"?
Could this be the group responsible for the above abduction? Their website states the U.S. government is their #1 client.
From their website:
American Police Force provides surveillance, investigative, and military services across the world. We predominantly offer effective solutions to the United States Government as well as other private clientele.
As part of our mission, APF plays a critical role in helping the U.S. government meet vital homeland security and national defense needs. Within the last 5 years the United States has been far and away our #1 client. Technologies, programs, and services performed by APF have played a very important role in U.S. military and civilian efforts to protect our homeland and combat terrorism.
Our main office is located in Washington D.C. and we service all 50 States and most Countries. Our experienced staff consists of highly experienced former law enforcement officers. We are dedicated to maintaining our well deserved professional reputation as a results oriented full-service private investigative and security agency by way of committment, diligence, unique resources, and tenacity.
Nearly 200 arrests were made at the G20 in Pittsburgh last week, and civil liberties groups charged the thousands of police, from as far away as Arizona and Florida with overreacting ... using : Bean bags fired from shotguns, CS (tear) gas, OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) spray, flash-bang grenades, batons and, according to local news reports, for the first time on the streets of America, the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD).
I saw the LRAD, mounted in the turret of an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), in action twice in the area of 25th, Penn and Liberty Streets of Lawrenceville, an old Pittsburgh neighborhood. Blasting a shrill, piercing noise like a high-pitched police siren on steroids, it quickly swept streets and sidewalks of pedestrians, merchants and journalists, and drove residents into their homes, but in neither case were any demonstrators present. The APC, oversized and sinister for a city street, together with lines of police in full riot gear looking like darkly threatening Michelin Men, made for a scene out of a movie you didn't want to be in.
Here’s a list of devices developed by a network of federally funded, university-based research institutes like one in Pittsburgh itself, Penn State's Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies:
* Raytheon Corp.'s Active Denial System, designed for crowd control in combat zones, uses an energy beam to induce an intolerable heating sensation, like a hot iron placed on the skin. It is effective beyond the range of small arms, in excess of 400 meters (about one-quarter mile). Company officials have been advised they could expand the market by selling a smaller, tripod-mounted version for police forces.
* M5 Modular Crowd Control Munition, with a range of 30 meters (about 98 feet) "is similar in operation to a claymore mine, but it delivers ... a strong, nonpenetrating blow to the body with multiple sub-munitions (600 rubber balls)."
* Long Range Acoustic Device or "The Scream," is a powerful megaphone the size of a satellite dish that can emit sound "50 times greater than the human threshold for pain" at close range, causing permanent hearing damage. The Los Angeles Times wrote that US Marines in Iraq used it in 2004. It can deliver recorded warnings in Arabic and, on command, emit a piercing tone ..." [For] most people, even if they plug their ears, [the device] will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine," says Woody Norris, chairman of American Technology Corp., the San Diego firm that produces the weapon. "It will knock [some people] on their knees." CBS News reported in 2005 that the Israeli Army first used the device in the field to break up a protest against Israel's separation wall. "Protesters covered their ears and grabbed their heads, overcome by dizziness and nausea, after the vehicle-mounted device began sending out bursts of audible, but not loud, sound at intervals of about 10 seconds.... A military official said the device emits a special frequency that targets the inner ear."
* In "Non-Lethal Technologies: An Overview," Lewer and Davison describe a lengthy catalog of new weaponry, including the "Directed Stick Radiator," a hand-held system based on the same technology as The Scream. "It fires high intensity 'sonic bullets' or pulses of sound between 125-150db for a second or two. Such a weapon could, when fully developed, have the capacity to knock people off their feet."
* "Distributed Sound and Light Array Debilitator" a.k.a. the "puke ray." The colors and rhythm of light are absorbed by the retina and disorient the brain, blinding the victim for several seconds. In conjunction with disturbing sounds, it can make the person stumble or feel nauseated. Foreign Policy in Focus reports that the Department of Homeland Security, with $1 million invested for testing the device, hopes to see it "in the hands of thousands of policemen, border agents and National Guardsmen" by 2010.
* Spider silk is cited in the University of Bradford's Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project, Report #4 (pg. 20) as an up-and-comer. "A research collaboration between the University of New Hampshire and the US Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center is looking into the use of spider silk as a non-lethal 'entanglement' material for disabling people. They have developed a method for producing recombinant spider silk protein using E. coli and are trying to develop methods to produce large quantities of these fibres."
* Inertial Capacitive Incapacitator (ICI), developed by the Physical Optics Corporation of Torrance, California, uses a thin-film storage device charged during manufacture that only discharges when it strikes the target. It can be incorporated into a ring-shaped aerofoil and fired from a standard grenade launcher at low velocity, while still maintaining a flat trajectory for maximum accuracy.
* Aiming beyond Tasers, the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, (FY 2009 budget: $1 billion) the domestic equivalent of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), plans to develop wireless weapons effective over greater distances, such as in an auditorium or sports stadium, or on a city street. One such device, the Piezer, uses piezoelectric crystals that produce voltage when they are compressed. A 12-gauge shotgun fires the crystals, stunning the target with an electric shock on impact. Lynntech of College Station, Texas, is developing a projectile Taser that can be fired from a shotgun or 40-mm grenade launcher to greatly increase the weapon's current range of seven meters.
* "Off the Rocker and On the Floor: Continued Development of Biochemical Incapacitating Weapons," a report by the Bradford Disarmament Research Centre revealed that in 1992, the National Institute of Justice contracted with Lawrence Livermore National Lab to review clinical anesthetics for use by special ops military forces and police. The lab concluded the best option was an opioid, like fentanyl, effective at very low doses compared to morphine. Combined with a patch soaked in DMSO (dimethylsufoxide, a solvent) and fired from an air rifle, fentanyl could be delivered to the skin even through light clothing. Another recommended application for the drug was mixed with fine powder and dispersed as smoke.
* After upgrades, the infamous "Puff the Magic Dragon" gunship from the Vietnam War is now the AC-130. "Non-Lethal Weaponry: Applications to AC-130 Gunships," observes that "With the increasing involvement of US military in operations other than war ..." the AC-130 "would provide commanders a full range of non-lethal weaponry from an airborne platform which was not previously available to them." The paper concludes in part that "As the use of non-lethal weapons increases and it becomes valid and acceptable, more options will become available."
* Prozac and Zoloft are two of over 100 pharmaceuticals identified by the Penn State College of Medicine and the university's Applied Research Lab for further study as "non-lethal calmatives." These Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), noted the Penn State study, "... are found to be highly effective for numerous behavioral disturbances encountered in situations where a deployment of a non-lethal technique must be considered. This class of pharmaceutical agents also continues to be under intense development by the pharmaceutical industry.... New compounds under development (WO 09500194) are being designed with a faster onset of action. Drug development is continuing at a rapid rate in this area due to the large market for the treatment of depression (15 million individuals in North America).... It is likely that an SSRI agent can be identified in the near future that will feature a rapid rate of onset."
In Pittsburgh last week, an enormously expensive show of police and weaponry, intended for "security" of the G20 delegates, simultaneously shut workers out of downtown jobs for two days, forced gasping students and residents back into their dormitories and homes, and turned journalists' press passes into quaint, obsolete reminders of a bygone time.
29 September, 2009
Yes, the cops become violent.
Perhaps the Woonsocket Rhode Island police should have used the taser on this teenager who six cops beat up in a park? So more police brutality warrants purchase of the tasers? What a vicious cycle.
“The FBI has launched a criminal civil rights investigation into allegations that several Woonsocket police officers brutally beat a teenage boy in a city park and twice in a police station room that was not equipped with cameras.”
Meanwhile, cops around the country are using the taser as the first resort, perhaps to stop themselves from committing more violent acts, such as beating up grannies.
"Why Are Cops Tasering Grandmothers, Pregnant Women and Kids?"
And for crowd control there’s nothing like The Scream:
Long Range Acoustic Device or "The Scream," is a powerful megaphone the size of a satellite dish that can emit sound "50 times greater than the human threshold for pain" at close range, causing permanent hearing damage. The L.A. Times wrote U.S. Marines in Iraq used it in 2004. It can deliver recorded warnings in Arabic and, on command, emit a piercing tone…"[For] most people, even if they plug their ears, [the device] will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine," says Woody Norris, chairman of American Technology Corp., the San Diego firm that produces the weapon. "It will knock [some people] on their knees."
28 September, 2009
Source: Popular On-Line
Argentina: Woman Claims Visit by 14 “Extraterrestrials”
The event occurred at a house in Florencio Varela and the case promises to have worldwide repercussions
They were fourteen aliens in total. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, they were surrounding the bed she shared with her husband and small daughter. They looked at her silently, and at no moment did she feel fear. She wanted to wake up her husband, to have him witness what was occurring before her very eyes, but the Vistors advised her telepathically that he would remain asleep, as he was still not yet ready. Then, the beings revealed all of their secrets to her during a 40 minute time period. This is a “contact” experience between a young woman from the town of Florencio Varela and a group of aliens – a case whose mysterious elements have the research community on tenterhooks, and promises to become known worldwide.
The entire episode forms part of an impressive investigation undertaken by the renowned founders of Grupo OVNI – Jorge Marron and Daniel Valverdi – who managed to secure an interview last week with the young woman, 23, who lives in a house in Florencio Varela along with her husband and child. “The case is currently under investigation and the analyses have not yet been completed. We are working with a multi-disciplinary team of experts who have contributed their manpower to unravel the case. As we can tell right now, it is 90% true,” Valverdi told Expedientes Secretos.
“Karina” is the name of the protagonist, and the story is truly enthralling. Among other revelations, she said that the aliens visit our planet on six-month rotations, and are replaced by a new group. They also explained that the circles and shapes that appear on the fields are signals they employ among themselves, and finally explained that there are dozens of civilizations from other planets that come down and interact on Earth to study it (and surely to study us).
“I never had an experience of this sort. It happened two and a half months ago. We were in bed – my husband, my baby and me. They were asleep and I was trying to fall asleep. Suddenly I felt lights, and when I opened my eyes there was nothing there. I closed my eyes again, and the same thing happened. Like a flash of light. I opened my eyes, but all I could see was the [pilot light] on the stove,” explained Karina, on audio recordings broadcast on the Codigo OVNI radio show (FM Apuntes, Mondays, 22:00 hrs.)
“The fourth time that this happened, I felt it closer. I opened my eyes and saw the beings standing beside me. I was lying between my husband and my daughter. I uncovered myself and sat up. They were around the bed, fourteen of them, all of them short except for one: this last one was beside my husband, staring at him fixedly. The small ones were all around, and measured 1.30 meters or so. They were slightly taller than my bed’s sommier, which is rather tall,” said the young woman.
In her description of the events to researches Marron and Valverdi, the witness explained that she tried to wake her husband, but was unable to do so. “I even dug my nails into him, but nothing. The baby was on the other side, on her stomach, but neither of them reacted. At that time, one of the beings told me not to wake up my husband, because he was not ready. I realize that they spoke to me telepathically, and I could answer them in the same way,” Karina explained.
They were practically alike. The only difference was the height of one of their number. They were skinny, with long necks and small heads. Their eyes were black, like almonds, slanted, and their mouths were also small. They had little wrinkles on their face and the head was oval. They had shoulders; their fingers were long and had no nails,” described the woman, who was standing beside a group of aliens who touched her hair, the palms of her hands and lifted one of her arms.”
“Five of them were on the left, four facing me and five on the right side of the bed. I was the only one who wasn’t paralyzed. We communicated for some 40 minutes, mouths closed. That is to say, I spoke by my mouth didn’t move. I managed to touch one of the little ones, and he touched my face. I just felt the need to touch him, and in fact I felt peaceful in their company. I never had the impression that they could harm my daughter or any one of us,” Karina insists.
“Suddenly he made a movement (sic),” said the witness. “He touched me with two fingers, and finally brushed a finger along my forehead. They told me they had come to give me answers about a black book (the Bible) and that what I was thinking was in fact true. When I asked them a question, they told me everything, with details.”
In her conversation with the researchers, Karina stated “the tall one was looking at my husband all the time. His head was slightly smaller than the others, because the small ones had rather larger heads. It felt like touching a baby’s skin – they had little wrinkles, but I couldn’t feel them when I touched one of them. The skin was cold and the color was odd, neither white nor gray. They had a skin tone that doesn’t exist here.”
(Translation (c) 2009, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO, and Jorge Marrón and Daniel Valverdi, Grupo OVNI)
27 September, 2009
G20 Protest Coverage reimagined
by Xaq Fixx
Yesterday a large group of Americans gathered to celebrate and practice their constitutionally protected rights were attacked by well organized domestic terrorists. The terrorist cells gathered from all over the United States, some, such as the Charlotte, NC based cell, claimed it was training for future attacks. The attackers used a variety of tactics and weapons, including kidnapping, psychological warfare, beatings, chemical weapons, and sound weapons developed for military use in Iraq.
According to reports from terrorist sympathizers in the media and on the internet websites the attackers were motivated by a hatred of the American's freedoms & decadent lifestyle. The terrorist also claim they are justified in their use of violence as they answer to a higher power and that they are not unclean sub-humans like the Americans they attack.
The attacks look like they will continue, and spread around the world, with no end in site. The terrorist are also very well funded through a combination of forgery and theft on a global scale. Beyond their attacks at the G20 summit they have known ties to violent monopolies, dictators, the weapons and drug trade and involvement with other terrorist groups across the globe.
Adam Meuller, part of the Anti-Terrorist force at MotorhomeDiaries.com, said the key to preventing future attacks is a combination of ignoring the terrorist demands and making it more difficult for them to steal from you through tax resistance and counter economics.
Kidnapping by terrorists in broad daylight in Pittsburgh
Terrorists throwing chemical grenades in Pittsburgh
Be on the lookout for more aggressive behavior by terrorist cells in the US.
25 September, 2009
24 September, 2009
23 September, 2009
19, 20, 21, 23 and 29, as well as issues 1 thru 4.
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Located in the center of the URI campus, the Carothers Library and Learning Commons was founded in 1892 and houses 1.4 million volumes, among them every single issue of PARANOIA (recently moved to the Special Collections area).
Now that’s Vindication!
22 September, 2009
I hope she has a body guard!
"The corruption wasn't confined to the State Department and Pentagon - it infected Congress as well. .... Bill Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno, was briefed on the investigations, and since they were Republicans,...
And this little tidbit:
GIRALDI: And, of course, none of this has been investigated. What do you think the chances are that the Obama administration will try to end this criminal activity?
EDMONDS: Well, even during Obama’s presidential campaign, I did not buy into his slogan of “change” being promoted by the media and, unfortunately, by the naïve blogosphere. First of all, Obama’s record as a senator, short as it was, spoke clearly. For all those changes that he was promising, he had done nothing. In fact, he had taken the opposite position, whether it was regarding the NSA’s wiretapping or the issue of national-security whistleblowers. We whistleblowers had written to his Senate office. He never responded, even though he was on the relevant committees.
As soon as Obama became president, he showed us that the State Secrets Privilege was going to continue to be a tool of choice. It’s an arcane executive privilege to cover up wrongdoing—in many cases, criminal activities. And the Obama administration has not only defended using the State Secrets Privilege, it has been trying to take it even further than the previous terrible administration by maintaining that the U.S. government has sovereign immunity. This is Obama’s change: his administration seems to think it doesn’t even have to invoke state secrets as our leaders are emperors who possess this sovereign immunity. This is not the kind of language that anybody in a democracy would use.
The other thing I noticed is how Chicago, with its culture of political corruption, is central to the new administration. When I saw that Obama’s choice of chief of staff was Rahm Emanuel, knowing his relationship with Mayor Richard Daley and with the Hastert crowd, I knew we were not going to see positive changes. Changes possibly, but changes for the worse. It was no coincidence that the Turkish criminal entity’s operation centered on Chicago.
Read the full interview at American Conservative Magazine.
Most people think of the Fed as an indispensable institution without which the country's economy could not properly function. But in END THE FED, Ron Paul draws on American history, economics, and fascinating stories from his own long political life to argue that the Fed is both corrupt and unconstitutional. It is inflating currency today at nearly a Wiemar or Zimbabwe level, a practice that threatens to put us into an inflationary depression where $100 bills are worthless. What most people don't realize is that the Fed--created by the Morgans and Rockefellers at a private club off the coast of Georgia--is actually working against their own personal interests. Congressman Paul's urgent appeal to all citizens and officials tells us where we went wrong and what we need to do to fix America's economic policy for future generations.
The above book summary emphasizes that the creators of the Fed were the Morgans and Rockefellers while oddly ignoring that the actual motive force behind the Fed's establishment was the Rothschild family:
"Until a few years ago, however, the names of those who owned the Federal Reserve was one of the best kept secrets of international finance due to a proviso on passage of the Federal Reserve Act agreeing that the identities of the Fed's Class A stockholders not be revealed. Class A stockholders control the system by owning the stock of the largest member banks in the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The controlling interest is held by fewer than a dozen international banking establishments, only four of which are based in the United States. The rest of the interests are European, with the most influential of these being the Rothschild family of London. Each of the American interests are in some way connected to this family. Included among these are the Rockefellers who are by far the most powerful of the Fed's American stockholders.
"By the 1820's, the Rothschilds had become the dominant banking family of Europe, controlling the fastest growing banking houses in France, England, Austria, Italy, and Germany. Operations in these countries were overseen by the five Rothschild brothers, each of whom controlled a different country. Those bankers who allied themselves with the Rothschilds and the Masonic Order became wealthy in their own right. Those who didn't would find the going tough.
"During the late 1800's, the Rothschilds began to finance various American industrialists as well. They would do so primarily through the Warburgs of Germany who were partners in Kuhn, Loeb, and company of New York. In this fashion, Rothschild/Masonic interests would gain a foothold in the administration of this country's finances. Both the Warburgs and Kuhn Loeb would later become principal stockholders in the Federal Reserve--with Paul Warburg becoming the first chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
"Through their U.S. and European agents, the Rothschilds would go on to finance the Rockefeller Standard Oil dynasty, the Carnegie steel empire, as well as the Harriman railroad system. The Rockefellers...owing their colossal fortune to the Rothschilds, have for the most part remained loyal to them and their European interests." --Gary Kah, En Route to Global Occupation
The Fed is the greatest modern conspiracy, since its inception in 1913 all other later conspiracies (Roswell, UFOs, JFK, RFK, OKC bombing, Martian pyramids, AIDS, 911 etc.) are derived from it--either through generating them or preventing any honest government/mass media investigation. A covert, egomaniacal, ethnic clique of genetically-related bankers wield supreme socioeconomic power over the world through the operation of their central banking system and consequent monopoly of the corporate, mass media, political and academic arenas.
21 September, 2009
The top O'Bomber has simplified Afghanistan for us:
Gen. Stanley McChrystal: "My position here is a little bit like a mechanic. We've got a situation with a vehicle and I've been asked to look at it and tell the owner what the situation is and what it will cost to make the vehicle run correctly and I will provide that… Now I understand that the vehicle owner then has to make a decision on what the car is worth, how much longer he intends to drive it. Whether he wants it to look good or just run."
And then you realize he’s talking about Afghanistan. We’ve got a grave human situation in Afghanistan, not a car problem.
Note in the very same article the Top O’Bomber also states: "I do not see indications of a large al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan now."
Oh shit, people, we’re through the looking glass here.
When will our manipulators fully admit to “mission creep” in Afghanistan?
20 September, 2009
12 September, 2009
I have to credit my teenage daughters for this one. Months ago they started routinely referring to Prez Obama as "Harvey." I asked what it was all about, and they explained it to me: "Harvey Dent. Dad, you know Batman; remember, Harvey Dent? The man who becomes Two Face? Well..." Then they went into detail. "Note that they only show one side of Harvey's face--I mean the President's face--in the photos? That's because they're hiding the other face! He's Two Face!"
Now I started noticing. Indeed, there was an uncanny resemblance between Obama and the cartoon version of Harvey Dent from 'Batman: The Animated Series.' Score one for my daughters. Next point: many pictures did only feature one side of his face...but of course, usually the 'good side' is shown...which, come to think of it, is in a way their point as well. Hmmm. Could there really be a dark side of the Obama moon?
Months later my daughters have been proved to be high priestesses of political prophecy. Mr. Change--Harvey--has ridden in on a white horse making near-messianic promises, fueling hope. And what has he done? Entrenched the so-called Federal Reserve economic rapists, bailed out Big Business, and ramped up the war in Af-Pak.
Daughters, I salute your prescience. With enough young people like you, there is still hope for this land of zombies.
11 September, 2009
Ding, dong he's dead, ding dongs!
See also, David Ray Griffin:
09 September, 2009
If the "Af-Pak" war(s) seem familiar, there is good reason: the "death head" has changed its mask from "Right" to "Left," from Bush to Obama. Those who buy into the phony control schema of "Left versus Right" (minted from old patterns such as the kabbalistic two pillars in the Tree of Life) will miss the passing Game of Death--until a body bag arrives at their doorstep, or they inhabit one. That's a little late.
Zombie America needs to unplug itself from the feed tube in the back of the skull, wake up, and demand real change, not slogans and lies--starting with an end to the blood sacrifice of our young in the name of vague, fake "objectives." "Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it," said Santayana, and if we are experiencing Deja Vu--a "glitch in the Matrix"--watching these war reruns in realtime and real life--with real body counts--our lesson comprehension is being tested. Right now.
The dollar's role in international trade should be reduced by establishing a new currency to protect emerging markets from the "confidence game" of financial speculation, the United Nations said.
UN countries should agree on the creation of a global reserve bank to issue the currency and to monitor the national exchange rates of its members, the Geneva-based UN Conference on Trade and Development said today in a report.
China, India, Brazil and Russia this year called for a replacement to the dollar as the main reserve currency after the financial crisis sparked by the collapse of the U.S. mortgage market led to the worst global recession since WWII. China, the world's largest holder of dollar reserves, said a supranational currency such as the International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights, or SDR's, may add stability.
"There's a much better chance of achieving a stable pattern of exchange rates in a multilaterally-agreed framework for exchange-rate management," Heiner Flassbeck, co-author of the report and a UNCTAD director, said in an interview from Geneva. "An initiative equivalent to Bretton Woods or the European Monetary System is needed." The 1944 Bretton Woods agreement created the modern global economic system and institutions including the IMF and World Bank.
While it would be desirable to strengthen SDR's, a unit of account based on a basket of currencies, it wouldn't be enough to aid emerging markets most in need of liquidity, said Flassbeck, a former German deputy finance minister who worked in 1997-1998 with then U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers to contain the Asian financial crisis.
The 45-year old UN group, run by former World Trade Organization chief Supachai Panitchpakdi "promotes integration of developing countries in the world economy," according to its Web site.
04 September, 2009
As public opinion tips against the US military presence in Afghanistan, and Congress talks about "doubling down," as the pullout from Iraq is accompanied by steadily increasing violence, and talk turns to slowing or halting the pull-out, the question the anti-war public must ask itself is: What now? War funding for Iraq continues despite two consecutive Democratic majorities elected expressly to stop it. Obama's high-stakes 2008 Super Bowl ad blared "Getting Us Out of Iraq," and it worked. He was elected. But the cold hard fact seems to be emerging that, regardless of public opinion, the wars will roll on.
The occasional heroic Congress member or senator will call for a timetable, an exit plan or a halt to war funding, but despite lots of heat generated in the debate, the war bills seem to pass at the end of the day. This is because incumbents' real constituents are no longer the people who live in the district. The real power, the money which pays for television ad blitzes and the all-important donations to the local Little League, comes from far away.
Very few people know that on average 80 percent of their Congress members' and senators' campaign funds come from outside the district, and largely from outside the state. They come from industries like defense, telecommunications and financial services. What do they get for these contributions, even in cases when the Congress member votes against those contributors' positions on certain bills?
The 1976 US Supreme Court decision, Buckley v. Valeo, which equated money with "free speech," affirmed your right to buy your own congressman. But it did not explicitly affirm your right to buy mine. Since that decision, the amount of money in politics has skyrocketed and is at all-time highs. Also at record-breaking highs are the pay-offs, like bailouts for the auto and financial services industries.
The savings and loan bailout of the nineties, at $200 billion, was chump change compared to the $700 billion TARP slush fund of today, which rewards financial services companies for the subprime mortgage fiasco. In searching for an answer to how the $3 trillion Iraq war can drag on despite three years of Democratic majorities in Congress elected to end it, follow the money.
The citizen's watchdog group MAPlight.org has found that congressmen who voted for TARP, the "Troubled Assets Relief Program," received nearly 50 percent more in campaign contributions from the financial services industry (an average of about $149,000) than congressmen who voted no. Legislators who voted for the automobile industry bailout in 2009 received an average of 40 percent more in "contributions" from that industry (the less politic call them "bribes") than those who voted against it. And House Energy and Commerce Committee members who voted yes on an amendment in 2009 favored by the forest products industry, to allow heavier cutting of trees, received an average of $25,745 from the forestry and paper products industry. This was ten times as much as was received by each member voting no. This pattern repeats itself over and over.
Continue reading at
It sounds like the plot for the latest summer horror movie. Imagine, for a moment, that George W. Bush had been allowed a third term as president, had run and had won or stolen it, and that we were all now living (and dying) through it. With the Democrats in control of Congress but Bush still in the Oval Office, the media would certainly be talking endlessly about a mandate for bipartisanship and the importance of taking into account the concerns of Republicans. Can't you just picture it?
There's Dubya now, still rewriting laws via signing statements. Still creating and destroying laws with executive orders. And still violating laws at his whim. Imagine Bush continuing his policy of extraordinary rendition, sending prisoners off to other countries with grim interrogation reputations to be held and tortured. I can even picture him formalizing his policy of preventive detention, sprucing it up with some "due process" even as he permanently removes habeas corpus from our culture.
I picture this demonic president still swearing he doesn't torture, still insisting that he wants to close Guantanamo, but assuring his subordinates that the commander-in-chief has the power to torture "if needed," and maintaining a prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan that makes Guantanamo look like summer camp. I can imagine him continuing to keep secret his warrantless spying programs while protecting the corporations and government officials involved.
If Bush were in his third term, we would already have seen him propose, yet again, the largest military budget in the history of the world. We might well have seen him pretend he was including war funding in the standard budget, and then claim that one final supplemental war budget was still needed, immediately after which he would surely announce that yet another war supplemental bill would be needed down the road. And of course, he would have held onto his Secretary of Defense from his second term, Robert Gates, to run the Pentagon, keep our ongoing wars rolling along, and oversee the better part of our public budget.
Bush would undoubtedly be following through on the agreement he signed with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for all U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2011 (except where he chose not to follow through). His generals would, in the meantime, be leaking word that the United States never intended to actually leave. He'd surely be maintaining current levels of troops in Iraq, while sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan and talking about a new "surge" there. He'd probably also be escalating the campaign he launched late in his second term to use drone aircraft to illegally and repeatedly strike into Pakistan's tribal borderlands with Afghanistan.
If Bush were still "the decider" he'd be employing mercenaries like Blackwater and propagandists like the Rendon Group and he might even be expanding the number of private security contractors in Afghanistan. In fact, the whole executive branch would be packed with disreputable corporate executive types. You'd have somebody like John ("May I torture this one some more, please?") Rizzo still serving, at least for a while, as general counsel at the CIA. The White House and Justice Department would be crawling with corporate cronies, people like John Brennan, Greg Craig, James Jones, and Eric Holder. Most of the top prosecutors hired at the Department of Justice for political purposes would still be on the job. And political prisoners, like former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and former top Democratic donor Paul Minor would still be abandoned to their fate.
In addition, the bank bailouts Bush and his economic team initiated in his second term would still be rolling along - with a similar crowd of people running the show. Ben Bernanke, for instance, would certainly have been reappointed to run the Fed. And Bush's third term would have guaranteed that there would be none of the monkeying around with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that the Democrats proposed or promised in their losing presidential campaign. At this point in Bush's third term, no significant new effort would have begun to restore Katrina-decimated New Orleans either.
If the Democrats in Congress attempted to pass any set of needed reforms like, to take an example, new healthcare legislation, Bush, the third termer, would have held secret meetings in the White House with insurance and drug company executives to devise a means to turn such proposals to their advantage. And he would have refused to release the visitor logs so that the American public would have no way of knowing just whom he'd been talking to.
During Bush's second term, some of the lowest ranking torturers from Abu Ghraib were prosecuted as bad apples, while those officials responsible for the policies that led to Abu Ghraib remained untouched. If the public continued to push for justice for torturers during the early months of Bush's third term, he would certainly have gone with another bad apple approach, perhaps targeting only low-ranking CIA interrogators and CIA contractors for prosecution. Bush would undoubtedly have decreed that any higher-ups would not be touched, that we should now be looking forward, not backward. And he would thereby have cemented in place the power of presidents to grant immunity for crimes they themselves authorized.
If Bush were in his third term, some of his first and second term secrets might, by now, have been forced out into the open by lawsuits, but what Americans actually read wouldn't be significantly worse than what we'd already known. What documents saw the light of day would surely have had large portions of their pages redacted, and the vast bulk of documentation that might prove threatening would remain hidden from the public eye. Bush's lawyers would be fighting in court, with ever grander claims of executive power, to keep his wrongdoing out of sight.
Now, here's the funny part. This dark fantasy of a third Bush term is also an accurate portrait of Obama's first term to date. In following Bush, Obama was given the opportunity either to restore the rule of law and the balance of powers or to firmly establish in place what were otherwise aberrant abuses of power. Thus far, President Obama has, in all the areas mentioned above, chosen the latter course. Everything described, from the continuation of crimes to the efforts to hide them away, from the corruption of corporate power to the assertion of the executive power to legislate, is Obama's presidency in its first seven months.
Which doesn't mean there aren't differences in the two moments. For one thing, Democrats have now joined Republicans in approving expanded presidential powers and even - in the case of wars, military strikes, lawless detention and rendition, warrantless spying, and the obstruction of justice - presidential crimes. In addition, in the new Democratic era of goodwill, peace and justice movements have been strikingly defunded and, in some cases, even shut down. Many progressive groups now, in fact, take their signals from the president and his team, rather than bringing the public's demands to his doorstep.
If we really were in Bush's third term, people would be far more active and outraged. There would already be a major push to really end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan. Undoubtedly, the Democrats still wouldn't impeach Bush, especially since they'd be able to vote him out before his fourth term, and surely four more years of him wouldn't make all that much difference.
Submitted by Ken Boehm on Mon, 08/31/2009
National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.
The information to be captured includes comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video. The targeted sites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others – any space where the White House “maintains a presence.”
In the course of investigating procurement by the White House New Media office, NLPC discovered a 51-page solicitation of bids that was filed on Friday, August 21, 2009. Filed as Solicitation # WHO-S-09-0003, it is posted at FedBizzOps.com. While the solicitation specifies a 12-month contract, it allows for seven one-year extensions. It specifies no dollar cap. Other troubling issues include:
extremely broad secrecy terms preventing the vendor from disclosing to the public or the media what information is being captured and archived (page 7, “Restriction Against Disclosure”)
wholesale capturing of comments by non-White House staff on publicly accessible sites
capturing of content of any type (text, graphics, audio, or video)
capturing of comments by both Obama critics and supporters, with no restriction as to how the White House would use the information.
This is the third controversy involving the White House internet operations in less than a month. First, Obama’s New Media operation asked supporters to send information about critics of the White House health care effort to a White House email. This provoked a storm of criticism and the White House retreated. Then large number of people complained of getting email spam from the White House supporting the President’s health care position. Again the White House was forced to back down.
Now the same people at the White House are at it again with an ambitious plan to harvest huge amounts of information from the web and specifically social networking sites.
Given the White House’s recent abuse of its New Media operations, this huge, new secretive program is yet another sign that this Administration is at best indifferent to privacy rights and at worst prepared to violate civil liberties for political purposes.
Perhaps anticipating negative reaction to the invasiveness of the plan, a justification is provided in a Q&A. section of the solicitation. Question #9 reads:
The Presidential Records Act does not require the storage or archiving of non-EOP content, as such is there a specific reason as to why the content provided on EOP related websites in the form of comments is included in these archiving procedures?
Answer: The PRA includes in its definition of presidential records content ―received by PRA components and personnel. Out of an abundance of caution, we are treating comments made by non-PRA personnel on sites on which a PRA component has a presence as presidential records, requiring them to be captured or sampled.
Of course, this interpretation of the Presidential Records Act is so expansive that virtually any communication mentioning the president or the Administration could become subject to collection and archiving under the Act. This is not out of an “abundance of caution,” but out of an over-abundance of power. President Obama should make sure that this plan goes no further.
See also CNN 'Expert' Lamely Claims to 'Debunk' NLPC on White House Data Harvesting From Social Networks.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are treating comments made by non-PRA personnel on sites on which a PRA component has a presence as presidential records, requiring them to be captured or sampled. … the Presidential Records Act is so expansive that virtually any communication mentioning the president or the Administration could become subject to collection and archiving under the Act.
CNN tries to debunk the story:
NLPC: In other words, the administration wants the ability to have at least 10 government workers simultaneously adding new web sites to a crawl program, or adjusting the crawl frequency on web sites being crawled. This would allow a massive data mining operation. Our characterizations of this operation are not exaggerated.