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Fri, 20 Oct 2017
The World for People who Think

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Judicial Watch announces list of Washington's "Ten most wanted corrupt politicians" for 2013

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Judicial Watch today released its 2013 list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians." The list, in alphabetical order, includes: Dishonorable Mentions for 2013 include:

Comment: Judicial Watch needs to do some more digging they haven't even scratched the surface. Nevertheless, it's a start.

Stop

At last, a law to stop almost anyone from doing almost anything - if you're rich, you have nothing to fear

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2013: Protesters, campaigners and activists gather in Trafalgar Square for a 'death party' celebrating the passing of Baroness Thatcher.
Protesters, buskers, preachers, the young: all could end up with 'ipnas'. Of course, if you're rich, you have nothing to fear

Until the late 19th century much of our city space was owned by private landlords. Squares were gated, streets were controlled by turnpikes. The great unwashed, many of whom had been expelled from the countryside by acts of enclosure, were also excluded from desirable parts of town.

Social reformers and democratic movements tore down the barriers, and public space became a right, not a privilege. But social exclusion follows inequality as night follows day, and now, with little public debate, our city centres are again being privatised or semi-privatised. They are being turned by the companies that run them into soulless, cheerless, pasteurised piazzas, in which plastic policemen harry anyone loitering without intent to shop.

Street life in these places is reduced to a trance-world of consumerism, of conformity and atomisation in which nothing unpredictable or disconcerting happens, a world made safe for selling mountains of pointless junk to tranquillised shoppers. Spontaneous gatherings of any other kind - unruly, exuberant, open-ended, oppositional - are banned. Young, homeless and eccentric people are, in the eyes of those upholding this dead-eyed, sanitised version of public order, guilty until proven innocent.

Now this dreary ethos is creeping into places that are not, ostensibly, owned or controlled by corporations. It is enforced less by gates and barriers (though plenty of these are reappearing) than by legal instruments, used to exclude or control the ever widening class of undesirables.

The existing rules are bad enough. Introduced by the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act, antisocial behaviour orders (asbos) have criminalised an apparently endless range of activities, subjecting thousands - mostly young and poor - to bespoke laws. They have been used to enforce a kind of caste prohibition: personalised rules which prevent the untouchables from intruding into the lives of others.

Vader

How propaganda can slowly repair the image of an utterly disgraced public figure like George W. Bush

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© Leavethecult.com
Peter Baker's book, "Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House" is one of the latest efforts in an audacious rebranding effort.

It is a testament to the degree to which presentation overshadows practice in modern political life that 49 percent of Americans approve of George W. Bush. Here is a President not only on the wrong side of history in almost every particular, but one whose misjudgments continue to constrain the country in measurable ways into the present. He is the author of two wars, one entered into based on faulty information, that have cost thousands of American, Iraqi and Afghani lives and further destabilized the Middle East, delivering it to the machinations of Islamic militants and increasing threats to our national security. To fund these wars, he employed deficit spending that could have been used to grow human and material capital through investments in infrastructure, education, clean energy and scientific research, among other areas. In the process of ballooning the deficit, he put further pressure on entitlement programs that were already moving toward unsustainability, helping precipitate a political crisis 20 years earlier than necessary. His concrete domestic innovation is a sprawling and convoluted defense bureaucracy lacking adequate oversight. His signature domestic initiative, a stillborn plan to privatize social security and create an "ownership society," appears, five years into an economic downturn precipitated by unwise investments, astonishingly ill-conceived. His two most successful decisions, the 2007 "surge" and the 2008 bailout, were reversals of errors that he either caused or compounded. This would not, in sum, seem to be a politician who merits much affection from the electorate based on his policies. Yet here he is enjoying a 49 percent approval rating, the result of a successful rebranding in which his professed purity of motives have come to count for more than the quality of his actual performance.

This rebranding had several sources. The first was historical logic: the dissatisfaction that Bush helped precipitate among Republicans ended up empowering figures so radical that he appeared prudent by comparison. The second was Bush's own canny performance once he was out of office: unlike, say, Dick Cheney, he stayed on the political sidelines and devoted himself to benign initiatives helping African AIDs victims and U.S. veterans. The third, and most instrumental, was a Washington press corps habitually focused on stark narrative contrasts, which helped publicize the benign storyline that the former president was quietly crafting (Bush vs. the Tea Partiers, Bush vs. Cheney). The opening of the Bush Presidential Library in April functioned as the opportunity for this process to go public, and, specifically, for longtime Bush supporters to press their case for redemption in a newly receptive environment. Against the backdrop of partisan logjam in Washington, the event was portrayed in the rosy hues of reunion: in Peggy Noonan's unabashed rendering, "What was nice was that all of them - the Bush family, the Carters and Clintons - seemed like the old days. 'The way we were.'" The exhibition itself included prominent places for Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley and Andrew Card, those figures marginally less tarnished by the Administration's blunders, and none at all for the reviled troika of Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove. Political commentary tended to revolve around the President's charitable initiatives or, more insistently, his "character."

Attention

Review of extreme weather and cosmic events on Earth in 2013 (VIDEO)

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Record heatwaves and wildfires, widespread and severe flooding, massive sinkholes swallowing buildings and people, mass animal deaths, an asteroid exploding over Russia, thousands more fireballs lighting up the sky throughout the year, record-breaking blizzards snowfall, the coldest northern spring in 100 years, massive landslides, 'rare' tornadoes occurring in places they shouldn't, the widest tornado ever observed, more volcanic eruptions, more major earthquakes forming new islands, the strongest tropical storm in recorded history, successive hurricanes in Europe, the coldest temperature ever recorded, snow in Cairo... these are signs of climate change, aka Earth Changes.

Welcome to the new normal.


Handcuffs

72 types of 'dangerous' Americans

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© Ayay.co.uk
Are you a conservative, a libertarian, a Christian or a gun owner? Are you opposed to abortion, globalism, Communism, illegal immigration, the United Nations or the New World Order?

Do you believe in conspiracy theories, do you believe that we are living in the "end times" or do you ever visit alternative news websites (such as this one)?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are a "potential terrorist" according to official U.S. government documents. At one time, the term "terrorist" was used very narrowly. The government applied that label to people like Osama bin Laden and other Islamic jihadists. But now the Obama administration is removing all references to Islam from terror training materials, and instead the term "terrorist" is being applied to large groups of American citizens. And if you are a "terrorist", that means that you have no rights and the government can treat you just like it treats the terrorists that are being held at Guantanamo Bay. So if you belong to a group of people that is now being referred to as "potential terrorists", please don't take it as a joke.

The first step to persecuting any group of people is to demonize them. And right now large groups of peaceful, law-abiding citizens are being ruthlessly demonized.

Below is a list of 72 types of Americans that are considered to be "extremists" and "potential terrorists" in official U.S. government documents. To see the original source document for each point, just click on the link. As you can see, this list covers most of the country...

1. Those that talk about "individual liberties"

2. Those that advocate for states' rights

3. Those that want "to make the world a better place"

4. "The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule"

5. Those that are interested in "defeating the Communists"

6. Those that believe "that the interests of one's own nation are separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations"

Handcuffs

Why I'm Leaving

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© The Dollar Vigilante
This will be the fourth consecutive emigration of the last three generations of my immediate family. My grandparents emigrated from Portugal to Mozambique during the 1940s and 50s in search of a better life. The massive and undeveloped colony seemed like the land of milk and honey for those willing to get their hands dirty. A few decades later my parents-to-be immigrated to South Africa as Mozambique headed towards what would become a 10-year war for independence. Then when I was just 4 years old they decided that a fascist state fully enveloped with the evils of apartheid was no place to raise a child. My mother was fortunate enough to get a work visa into the United States and that's where we've been ever since.

Now the time has come for me to follow in my family's footsteps. Maybe it's in our blood to not only yearn for change but to have the fortitude to go out into the unknown in search of it. But this time something is different. I'm leaving the United States of America, the shining city on the hill; a land where millions of people try to enter each year, often at great risk.

Upon learning of my wife and my decision to leave our friends, family, great jobs, and fantastic home, everyone immediately asks us: Why? It's such a painfully awkward question to answer. How could the answer be anything but obvious? That said, we learned our lesson early and have stopped telling people the truth behind our exodus. Instead we've been answering with generic statements like "Oh, just for a change of pace" or "We've always wanted to experience another culture."

I'm tired of holding my tongue. It's not healthy to keep so much bottled up inside and it's even more painful to watch those closest to me living a most ignorant and animal-like existence. So here are our real, unfiltered, and honest reasons for fleeing the land of the free.

Target

The Move to Muzzle Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala

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According to the French government, comedian Dieudonné has mobilized millions of citizens to make an anti-semitic gesture, a 'reverse Nazi salute'... but is that really what 'La Quenelle' means?
French mainstream media and politicians are starting off the New Year with a shared resolution for 2014: permanently muzzle a Franco-African comedian who is getting to be too popular among young people.

In between Christmas and New Year's Eve, no less than the President of the Republic, François Hollande, while visiting Saudi Arabia on (very big) business, said his government must find a way to ban performances by the comedian Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala, as called for by French Interior Minister, Manuel Valls.

The leader of the conservative opposition party, UMP, Jean-François Copé, immediately chimed in with his "total support" for silencing the unmanageable entertainer.

In the unanimous media chorus, the weekly Nouvel Observateur editorialized that Dieudonné is "already dead", washed up, finished. Editors publicly disputed whether it was a better tactic to try to jail him for "incitement to racial hatred", close his shows on grounds of a potential "threat to public order", or put pressure on municipalities by threatening cultural subsidies with cuts if they allow him to perform.

Megaphone

Patrick Basham, Cato Institute: U.S. is greatest threat to world peace

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America's military interventions and its deadly drone strikes overseas along with its massive spying efforts have turned the country into the "greatest threat to world peace," a US policy analyst says.

A recent WIN/Gallup International survey suggests the US is considered the greatest threat to peace in the world. According to the poll, 24 percent of people worldwide see the United States as the biggest threat.

"The new poll results are very bad news for the United States as they show increasingly that around the world, people view America as the greatest threat to global peace, said Patrick Basham, a scholar with the Cato Institute and founding director of Democracy Institute in Washington.


Dollars

U.S.: The shocking redistribution of wealth in the past five years

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© CultureChange.org
Anyone reviewing the data is likely to conclude that there must be some mistake. It doesn't seem possible that one out of twenty American families could each have made a million dollars since Obama became President, while the average American family's net worth has barely recovered. But the evidence comes from numerous reputable sources.

Some conservatives continue to claim that President Obama is unfriendly to business, but the facts show that the richest Americans and the biggest businesses have been the main - perhaps only - beneficiaries of the massive wealth gain over the past five years.

1. $5 Million to Each of the 1%, and $1 Million to Each of the Next 4%

From the end of 2008 to the middle of 2013 total U.S. wealth increased from $47 trillion to $72 trillion. About $16 trillion of that is financial gain (stocks and other financial instruments).

The richest 1% own about 38 percent of stocks, and half of non-stock financial assets. So they've gained at least $6.1 trillion (38 percent of $16 trillion). That's over $5 million for each of 1.2 million households.

The next richest 4%, based on similar calculations, gained about $5.1 trillion. That's over a million dollars for each of their 4.8 million households.

The least wealthy 90% in our country own only 11 percent of all stocks excluding pensions (which are fast disappearing). The frantic recent surge in the stock market has largely bypassed these families.

USA

Life in the emerging American Police State: What's in store for our freedoms in 2014?

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Vol. 1
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In Harold Ramis' classic 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, TV weatherman Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) is forced to live the same day over and over again until he not only gains some insight into his life but changes his priorities. Similarly, as I illustrate in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we in the emerging American police state find ourselves reliving the same set of circumstances over and over again - egregious surveillance, strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, government spying, the criminalization of lawful activities, warmongering, etc. - although with far fewer moments of comic hilarity.

What remains to be seen is whether 2014 will bring more of the same or whether "we the people" will wake up from our somnambulant states. Indeed, when it comes to civil liberties and freedom, 2013 was far from a banner year. The following is just a sampling of what we can look forward to repeating if we don't find some way to push back against the menace of an overreaching, aggressive, invasive, militarized government and restore our freedoms.

Government spying

It's hard to understand how anyone could be surprised by the news that the National Security Agency has been systematically collecting information on all telephone calls placed in the United States, and yet the news media have treated it as a complete revelation. Nevertheless, such outlandish government spying been going on domestically since the 1970s, when Senator Frank Church (D-Ida.), who served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence that investigated the NSA's breaches, warned the public against allowing the government to overstep its authority in the name of national security. Church recognized that such surveillance powers "at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide." Recent reports indicate that the NSA, in conjunction with the CIA and FBI, has actually gone so far as to intercept laptop computers ordered online in order to install spyware on them.