In the '70s, there was The Hustle. We've got a new dance here in the Homeland. It's called The Holocaust Shuffle. The steps are easy to learn. Just stand here, legs apart - and arms up. Say nothing - and do exactly as you are told. Now, freeze in place. There! You are almost ready... .
What are they normalizing? We all know, deep down - it's just that most of us don't want to face up to it. We can't bear to. It is inconceivable. Unimaginable. Impossible. It would upend the conditioning of a lifetime - our entire view of the world. Of our country and culture - of the people all around us.
Such things can't happen again. And certainly not here.
Ah, but they can. Right here, too.
They already are. And the process began long before the events of nineleven - the new High Holy Day here in the land of the formerly somewhat free. It has been a work in progress since at least the 1980s - when the notion of randomly stopping people - the first frontal assault upon the Fourth Amendment - was introduced and accepted by the courts and then the public. Got to get those dangerous drunks off the road, you see.
Fast forward 20 years and now people are randomly groped as a matter of routine. Got to get those dangerous terrorists now, you see. Personal space itself is no longer inviolate. They can literally spread your cheeks and jam a thumb up your anus now. Just to be "safe." Over a traffic stop. No, seriously. Don't believe it? Believe it. They can throw you over the hood of a squad car and draw your blood. They can kick in the door of your home. They can shoot your dog if they feel it threatens "officer safety." And they can shoot you, too. That's today.
Fri, 26 Oct 2012 17:14 UTC
A senior Greek police officer has claimed that the far-right Golden Dawn party has infiltrated the police at various levels. He has laid the blame on consecutive governments and the leadership of the police force for turning a blind eye to what he describes as "pockets of fascism".
Speaking to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, the officer said the Greek state had been fully aware of the activities of Golden Dawn for several years, with the National Intelligence Service and other security agencies monitoring it closely. The officer claimed police chiefs had had the opportunity to isolate and remove these small "pockets of fascism" in the force but decided not to. The state, he said, wanted to keep the fascist elements "in reserve" and use them for its own purposes.
Fri, 26 Oct 2012 17:00 UTC
Last month, Vanity Fair featured a major profile of President Obama by Michael Lewis, who was given what the New York Times called "rare" and "extraordinary access". Lewis "conducted multiple interviews with the president"; "rode in the official presidential limousine"; "was given a special lapel pin that identified him to the Secret Service as someone who was allowed to be in close proximity to the president"; and "flew with the president on several foreign and domestic trips" -- "not with the rest of the press corps in the back of Air Force One, but near the front." And, noted the Times, "the president even allowed Mr. Lewis to play on his basketball team."
But in exchange for such access, Lewis, unbeknownst to readers of his profile, had agreed to a journalistically corrupt practice - now banned by many large media outlets - whereby the only quotes he was permitted to use were ones the White House approved in advance. Unsurprisingly, the profile was pure hagiography that left Obama's most devoted media fans gushing with ecstacy.
Though I would have thought it impossible, Rolling Stone somehow just managed to top that profile when it comes to sycophantic, power-worshiping "journalism". This week, it features a cover story on Obama by its contributing editor, the historian Douglas Brinkley, largely based on a 45-minute interview in the Oval Office. The questions Brinkley posed are so vapid and reverent that it is hard to believe it's not satire.
The Washington Post
Wed, 24 Oct 2012 16:54 UTC
Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the "disposition matrix."
The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the "disposition" of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.
Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation's counterterrorism ranks: The United States' conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.
Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.
Wed, 24 Oct 2012 16:18 UTC
A primary reason for opposing the acquisition of abusive powers and civil liberties erosions is that they virtually always become permanent, vested not only in current leaders one may love and trust but also future officials who seem more menacing and less benign.
The Washington Post has a crucial and disturbing story this morning by Greg Miller about the concerted efforts by the Obama administration to fully institutionalize - to make officially permanent - the most extremist powers it has exercised in the name of the war on terror.
Based on interviews with "current and former officials from the White House and the Pentagon, as well as intelligence and counterterrorism agencies", Miller reports that as "the United States' conventional wars are winding down", the Obama administration "expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years" (the "capture" part of that list is little more than symbolic, as the US focus is overwhelmingly on the "kill" part). Specifically, "among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade." As Miller puts it: "That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism."
I have travelled this world much more extensively than either Obama or Romney, and I still do. I find everywhere, even in areas of conflict and economic difficulty, the vast majority of people are friendly, even kind, and have very similar aspirations, across cultures, to personal development and emotional fulfilment.
The striking thing about last night's US Presidential "foreign policy" debate, is when it did occasionally discuss foreign policy, the world out there was discussed not as a place of vast potential, but as a deeply disturbing place full of foreigners who are, apparently, all evil except the Israelis, who are perfect.
The vast benefits from cooperation and trade with "abroad" were not mentioned once that I noticed (though I confess the thing was so awful my attention wandered occasionally). Europe apparently doesn't exist, other than Greece which is nothing more than a terrible warning of the dangers of not being right wing enough.
The last time we checked on the (funding) status of America's real presidential race - the one where America's uber-wealthy try to outspend each other in hopes of purchasing the best president money can buy - the totals were substantially lower. With November 6 rapidly approaching, however, the scramble to lock in those record political lobbying IRRs is in its final lap. And thanks to the unlimited nature of PAC spending, look for the spending to really go into overdrive in the next 2 weeks as the spending frenzy on the world's greatest tragicomedy hits previously unseen heights.
Academic psychology in the 1970s was by no means perfect. There was a dominating force of manipulative, control-freak behaviorists who appeared to get their rocks off conditioning people as if they were rats in a maze. However, there was also a significant force of people such as Erich Fromm who believed that an authoritarian and undemocratic society results in alienation and that this was a source of emotional problems. Fromm was concerned about mental health professionals helping people to adjust to a society with no thought to how dehumanizing that society had become. Back then, Fromm was not a marginalized figure; his ideas were taken seriously. He had bestsellers and had appeared on national television.
However, by the time I received my PhD in 1985 - from an American Psychological Association-approved clinical psychology program - people with ideas such as Fromm's were at the far margins. By then, the focus was on the competition as to what treatment could get patients back on the assembly line quickest. The competition winners that emerged - owing much more to public relations than science - were cognitive-behavioral therapy in psychology and biochemical psychiatry. By the mid-1980s, psychiatry was beginning to become annexed by pharmaceutical companies and forming what we now have - a "psychiatric-pharmaceutical industrial complex." Increasingly marginalized was the idea that treatment that consisted of manipulating and medicating alienated people to adjust to this crazy rat race and thus maintain the status quo was a political act - a problematic one for people who cared about democracy.
Sat, 13 Oct 2012 05:38 UTC
Failing harvests in the US, Ukraine and other countries this year have eroded reserves to their lowest level since 1974. The US, which has experienced record heatwaves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a historically low 6.5% of the maize that it expects to consume in the next year, says the UN.
"We've not been producing as much as we are consuming. That is why stocks are being run down. Supplies are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year," said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). With food consumption exceeding the amount grown for six of the past 11 years, countries have run down reserves from an average of 107 days of consumption 10 years ago to under 74 days recently.
Fragmentation and Sonics! Northern California Fireball Meteor +19'42 PDT 17OCT2012 - Unrelated to the Orionids
Thu, 18 Oct 2012 08:46 UTC
CHP and local San Mateo County police radio traffic about a meteor in the San Francisco Bay Area meteor on October 17, 2012:
Comment: See our SOTT Focus: Meteorite Impacts Earth in Minden, Louisiana - Media and Government Cover It Up