Bandaid

Between the NSA's power and the IRS's revenge, how can Americans not be worried about the opinions they express?

obama arrested
Feel like Big Brother is watching you these days? You're not alone.

"This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario," wrote the late William Safire of The New York Times in 2002, in the panicky aftermath of 9/11. "Here is what will happen to you: Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive . . . will go into what the Defense Department describes as 'a virtual, centralized grand database.' "

Comment: Before they are able to express their opinion, the Americans need to educate themselves, see what is actually going on around the world, and finally express exactly how they feel about their dire situation. This might be a good place to start (warning, you might not be able to watch it fully to the end):



Attention

Beyond Orwell's worst nightmare

Big Brother Watching
© Brian Jackson

"Big Brother is Watching You," George Orwell wrote in his disturbing book 1984. But, as Mikko Hypponen points out, Orwell "was an optimist." Orwell never could have imagined that the National Security Agency (NSA) would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. Orwell could not have foreseen that our government would read the content of our emails, file transfers, and live chats from the social media we use.

In his recent speech on NSA reforms, President Obama cited as precedent Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty, who patrolled the streets at night, "reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America's early Patriots."

This was a weak effort to find historical support for the NSA spying program. After all, Paul Revere and his associates were patrolling the streets, not sorting through people's private communications.

To get a more accurate historical perspective, Obama should have considered how our founding fathers reacted to searches conducted by the British before the revolution. The British used "general warrants," which authorized blanket searches without any individualized suspicion or specificity of what the colonial authorities were seeking.

At the American Continental Congress in 1774, in a petition to King George III, Congress protested against the colonial officers' unlimited power of search and seizure. The petition charged that power had been used "to break open and enter houses, without the authority of any civil magistrate founded on legal information."
Bullseye

Why the rich are freaking out

money
© AP Photo
The nation’s wealthiest 1 percent appear to be having a collective meltdown
The co-founder of one the nation's oldest venture capital firms fears a possible genocide against the wealthy. Residents of Manhattan's tony Upper East Side say the progressive mayor didn't plow their streets as a form of frosty revenge. And the co-founder of Home Depot recently warned the Pope to pipe down about economic inequality.

The nation's wealthiest, denizens of the loftiest slice of the 1 percent, appear to be having a collective meltdown.

Economists, advisers to the wealthy and the wealthy themselves describe a deep-seated anxiety that the national - and even global - mood is turning against the super-rich in ways that ultimately could prove dangerous and hard to control.

President Barack Obama and the Democrats have pivoted to income inequality ahead of the midterm elections. Pope Francis has strongly warned against the dangers of wealth concentration. And all of this follows the rise of the Occupy movement in 2011 and a bout of bank-bashing populism in the tea party.

The collective result, according to one member of the 1 percent, is a fear that the rich are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe not today but soon.

Comment: The elite should feel nervous. In times of catastrophe and societal collapse the population turns against its leaders.

Attention

Dead whales are showing up bringing us a message the entire world should see

More people are starting to look at what we've done to this planet, especially since the birth of the technological revolution. Our oceans have been suffering for a very long time, with countless oil spills and toxic waste dumped into them every single day from industrial practices and more. Despite having numerous ways to operate in a fashion that is more harmonious with the planet, we continue to choose to destroy our planet on a daily basis, and we can't afford to do that anymore. Despite how much our planet is suffering, people everyday are starting wake up and realize that we really do need to look at, question, and change the way we operate here on planet Earth. This shift in perception alone can help springboard us towards change, and creating a new experience for us and other beings who we share the planet with.

Whales have been showing up dead on multiple beaches, bringing us a message with stomachs full of plastic. This has happened multiple times. In the summer of july 2013, a sperm whale was stranded on Tershelling, a Northern island in the Netherlands. The whale swallowed 56 different plastic items that totalled over 37 pounds. In april 2010, a gray whale died after stranding itself on a West Seattle beach, it was found to have over 20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, plastic pieces, duct tape, and more in its system. In March of 2013 a dead sperm whale washed up on Spain's South coast which swallowed 17kg of plastic waste.
USA

Confessions beaten out of 'suspects', executions by the hundreds... How different is justice in today's Iraq from the era of Saddam?

The presumption of guilt is just one of Saddam's creation that has outlived the dictator
terror confessions
Saddam is Dead! Long live Saddam! And glancing through the grisly list of executions which the new, free, democratic, American-constructed Iraq has carried out - about 500 all told, and rising - Saddamism is flourishing in the land of the two rivers. Last year alone, 1,200 men and women were on death row, most of them sentenced after the usual pre-trial confessions under torture. In fact their court appearances were preceded, in many cases, by television interviews in which they admitted to their "crimes". And sure enough, another 26 "terrorists" were executed in Baghdad last week as the country's Shia Muslim prime minister tried to smother the Sunni revolt against him.
Mr. Potato

The real State of the Union

State of the union 2014
© Getty Images
And the circus continues. Another state of the union address, another set of lies to camouflage the fascist takeover of America.
US President Barack Obama's State of the Union (SOTU) address was a somewhat surrealist spectacle. Way beyond avalanches of PR spin, the US government for a long time has not exactly done wonders for the public good. So as it advertises itself in front of a dysfunctional US Congress dismissed as repellent by an overwhelming majority of Americans - including, and expanding, on those 76% who are living paycheck to paycheck - what's left is a grand, old Hollywood production.

And Obama, of course, is a decent actor who can deliver a decent speech - certainly better than Ronnie Reagan, whom Gore Vidal used to describe as "the acting president".

The key theme of SOTU 2014 was the appalling income inequality in the US. Call it an appendix of this past week at the World Economic Forum in Davos - that snowy Vegas for the 0.00001% - in which the Masters of the Universe finally "discovered" inequality. So much inequality, in fact, that 2014 was instantly tagged by the Masters - and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - as the new 1914, all that furiously tweeted to all corporate boardrooms of the liquid modernity elite.

Comment: All just a show. The psychopaths in charge don't care one bit about the people. They are simply unable to, but they are good at pretending with lies and lies and lies with nicely choreographed Hollywood flair. Are you fed up of being lied to?

Video

Stress, Portrait of a Killer - Full Documentary (2008)

Robert Sapolsky
© John Heminway
Robert Sapolsky and an olive baboon share a quiet moment on the Talek River, July 2007
The stress response: in the beginning it saved our lives, making us run from predators and enabling us to take down prey. Today, human beings are turning on the same life-saving physical reaction to cope with 30-year mortgages, $4 a gallon gasoline, final exams, difficult bosses and even traffic jams - we can't seem to turn it off. So, we're constantly marinating in corrosive hormones triggered by the stress response.

Now, scientists are showing just how measurable - and dangerous - prolonged exposure to stress can be. Stanford University neurobiologist, MacArthur "genius" grant recipient, and renowned author Robert Sapolsky reveals new answers to why and how chronic stress is threatening our lives in Killer Stress, a National Geographic Special. The hour-long co-production of National Geographic Television and Stanford University was produced exclusively for public television.

Comment: The excellent presentation of the work of Robert Sapolsky in this documentary spells out and clarifies how the dominant baboons in our society, the psychopaths in power, cause the deterioration of our mental and physical health by stressing us out (and to death) with their bullying tactics.

Now, unless the psychopaths who rule over us somehow disappear, we have to take care of ourselves by at least learning to cope with the constant stress emanating down from the top. One way to begin is by applying the simple techniques of Éiriú Eolas, which can be used daily as an antidote to stress, not only to preserve and optimize our mental and physical health, but also to give us the clarity of mind for further studies on the subject of psychopathy. The understanding gleaned from such study of the predators in our midst would provide us with the skills necessary to navigate a world ruled by dominant baboons without succumbing to the deadly effects of stress that their inhuman behavior causes.

Did you also notice what happened to the baboon community when all the dominant baboons ate the tuberculosis tainted food and died? Suddenly the society changed from a hierarchical one, where violence was perpetrated from the top down and the lower ranks suffered from stress and heart problems, to a society where social affiliation and cooperation prevailed, and no one within it had to suffer from stress anymore. Just imagine how us humans can transform our society if our dominant baboons are no longer above us.

Alarm Clock

Karzai suspects U.S. is behind Taliban attacks, Afghan officials say


An Afghan driver looks out from a broken windshield after a recent suicide bombing outside a Lebanese restaurant in Kabul that left 21 dead.
Kabul - President Hamid Karzai has frequently accused the U.S. military of causing civilian casualties in its raids. But behind the scenes, he has been building a far broader case against the Americans, suggesting that they may have aided or conducted shadowy insurgent-style attacks to undermine his government, according to senior Afghan officials.

Karzai has formalized his suspicions with a list of dozens of attacks that he believes the U.S. government may have been involved in, according to one palace official. The list even includes the recent bomb and gun assault on a Lebanese restaurant in Kabul, one of the bloodiest acts targeting the international community in Afghanistan, the official said. The attack, which left 21 people dead, including three Americans, was almost universally attributed to the Taliban.


Comment: "almost universally" meaning the Western mainstream media.


But Karzai believes it was one of many incidents that may have been planned by Americans to weaken him and foment instability in Afghanistan, according to the senior palace official, who is sympathetic to the president's view and spoke on the condition of anonymity. He acknowledged that his government had no concrete evidence of U.S. involvement and that the American role had not been formally confirmed.
Family

Polar vortex and food stamp cuts create perfect storm of hunger

The freezing temperatures across the country mean higher heating costs for everyone. Many low-income families are struggling with this increase in prices. They are already under the strain of trying to afford food.

Last year 47 million hungry Americans lost food stamp benefits, and Congress may be bringing more cuts to the table. Needy families are placed in the awful situation of having to choose between heat or food.

The combination of this winter's "polar vortex" with the cuts in food stamps has created a perfect storm of increasing hunger in America.

Feeding America's CEO Bob Aiken says, "The high cost of heat this winter due to prolonged and brutal cold spells will strain many household budgets and send more people to food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency-food charities."

In a study released prior to the cold spell, Feeding America said about 46 percent of its clients "report choosing between paying for food and paying for heating fuel or other utilities." With the massive drop in temperatures this winter, this figure is likely much higher.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, temperatures have been in the single digits or below zero multiple days this month. Sarah Cook of the Freestore FoodBank says, "We are seeing more people right now because of utility issues. "

However, the Freestore and other food banks across the country face dwindling donations following the holidays, making it tougher to keep up with any increase in demand. In addition, with the cuts in food stamps, hungry Americans are turning to food banks for more support than ever. Food banks, even with the generosity of its donors, cannot make up the difference for major cuts in federal food aid.

Pirates

America's real welfare queens


No only do Zombie Corporations and Zombie Banks not actually produce anything useful for the real economy, they just take and take and take from it...
When Republicans talk about "welfare queens," they're really talking about their buddies in big banks, Big Oil, and giant transnational corporations. It's time to cut off the corporate welfare pipeline, and use those billions of dollars to help our economy recover, and to help those Americans who need it the most.
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