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Tax-hike scare goes up in thin air

11:23 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

Honor Among Thieves. Just the difference of a suit of clothes – by Homer Davenport, 1900

An academic study released by an economist from the University of Massachusetts found that one of the scare tactics used by both federal and state lawmakers for not raising taxes and instead cutting back funding of public works and social services is based on a falsity.

A review of recent research performed by economist Jeffrey Thompson found that there is no evidence to support the often-employed claim that the wealthy will flee states that raise taxes to pay for public services. The study actually found that the most wealthy tax payers were less affected by tax increases in general and were therefore even less likely to consider moving out of state due to increases in their taxes.

Research on the subject found that that family and community ties and the difficult prospect of moving entire families out of state assuages both high wage earners and lower wage earners from considering a move simply due to a state imposed tax increase. Thompson said that the ability of the wealthy to “absorb such increases is obviously strongest,” and therefore such households ”are less likely to cut back on spending as a result of tax hikes.”

Thompson’s study also shows that the carnivorous business class’s deployment of crude ayn randian ‘objectivist’-styled scare tactics that hold that greed is the single most important driver in human relations (the passive-aggressive tactic of threatening to ‘take-my-ball-home’ and justifying the threat by suggesting that the selfish act is somehow legitimate when viewed from a faux ‘cost benefit analysis’ point of view) falls flat when that analysis takes into consideration the desires of even the most wealthy in our society to be part of a community, to know one’s neighbors, to participate in the local school systems, churches, public projects – to achieve both personal growth and to make our communities better for every citizen.

In fact, contradicting the meme broadcast by captured politicos and dreamed up by businesses that see nothing wrong with exacting tax giveaways, tax rebates and other tax avoidance schemes that benefit them from politicians while at the same time advocating starving public programs and reneging on contracted pension benefits, many wealthy wage earners told researchers that they felt obliged to pay more for programs and services that make the community a better place.

Unclear on the concept cavalcade continues to corrupt citizens’ consciousness

4:16 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

Ripped from the headlines, the news seems to suggest that rank and file democrats are following their standard bearer’s ‘style’ when it comes to solving some of the more pressing and complex problems that we face togehter as a nation. Its good to know that these followers have appreciated the efforts made by the Obama administration to “set the tone” as we sally forth together to solve these troubling and significant criminal and cultural problems.

Democratic leadership acts as anti-equal justice vigilante, taking personal initiative to smash the concept of equal protection under the law with of get-out-of-jail-for-free winks and nods to felonious bankers

President Obama, referring to the his administration’s broad based policy of agreeing to non-prosecution agreements drafted by private businesses who have been accused of criminality, reassured citizens angered by the administration’s apparent disregard for the law when he stated; “Well, first, on the issue of — on the issue of prosecutions on Wall Street, one of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehman’s and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal, it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless…You know, the financial sector is very creative, and they are always looking for ways to make money. That’s their job. And if there are loopholes and rules that can be bent and arbitrage to be had, they will take advantage of it.”

Democratic president acts as anti-international and anti-US constitutional law vigilante, pommeling treaties and settled US law with the truncheon of a non-investigation promise to American torturers

A short two months after winning the election in 2008, and just days before taking an oath that requires him to “protect and defend the constitution”, president Barack Obama, speaking on television on January 10, 2009, advised Americans of his unconventional plan for enforcing treaty obligated, legally codified and constitutionally mandated prohibitions against torturing human beings, stating; “Part of my job is to make sure that, for example, at the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got spend their all their time looking over their shoulders…(I operate on) a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

Democratic president acts as anti-health vigilante, taking personal initiative to smash the public healthcare option with cudgel of disingenuousness and lies

Speaking to a gathering of actually important Democratic party supporters in September of 2010 who paid $30,000 each to sup with President Obama, the president took time to put critics of his signature insurance industry bail-out plan called the Affordable Care Act in their place, saying, “Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get — to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed — oh, well, the public option wasn’t there.”

Democratic president acts as anti-constitution vigilante, taking personal initiative to bug-splat American citizens with no judge’s order

In a new book regarding the 2010 presidential campaign, President Obama confirms one of the skills that he has consciously honed and perfected since he became president of the United States. Having overseen the conveyance of sky-death to hundreds of innocent humans as he personally ordered hundreds of drone executions, Obama reflected on his new-found passion, stating, “I’m really good at killing people.”

Democratic president acts as anti-privacy vigilante, taking personal initiative to bludgeon the notion of private communication for every member of the human race with complete and unrelenting surveillance

Speaking to a troubled populous after they were informed of the un-warranted and warrantless surveillance of all Americans, and most citizens of planet earth, for the entire time he has been president, Barack Obama sought to calm the concerns of Americans when he advised in July 2013 that, the “modest encroachments on privacy” were “worth us doing” in furtherance of protecting the homeland. Obama reminded Americans that, while not specified in the US Constitution, “There are some trade-offs involved,” when it comes to protecting the homeland.

Democratic leadership teams with Republican leadership as anti-sick person vigilantes, taking personal initiative to scheme to beat back relief payments to American patients with technical accounting brick-bat

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DARPA’s eternal bloodlust of the spotless brain

3:43 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

DARPA’s new project, deep brain stimulation

When my sick brother was fitted with deep brain stimulators to attempt to address some of the most debilitating symptoms of the progressive and cureless brain affliction called Parkinson’s disease there was no real alternative to the treatment that his doctors had prescribed. My brother was 40 at that time, he has since passed.

Many understand Parkinson’s disease as an old person’s disease, and for most of my life this was the case. Many are now aware that the illness can afflict younger people (the poster boy for early onset Parkinson’s is the well-known Michael J. Fox). When an older person gets the disease, they usually expire before the permanent progressive affliction exhibits its horrible and merciless deterioration on one who is stricken.

My brother had just exited a regimen of treatment that was promoted by profit seeking drug companies and perhaps well intentioned doctors whose desire to find new treatments for Parkinson’s disease led my brother to be experimented upon. This was, of course, for the combined purposes of easing the painful and ever present symptoms my brother was experiencing and to find a ‘holy grail’ for drug manufacturers; a drug that every patient with an incurable disease must take several times every day (the pharmaceutical companies really love those cash cows). By the way this drug, Mirapex, is currently being prescribed to help lady sleepers with “restless leg syndrome” – both a syndrome and a marketing campaign!

After years of complaints and pleadings to the doctors which flowed out of episodes of dangerous and wildly uncharacteristic behaviors on the part of our sick brother, we threatened legal action, and my brother was offered to be one of the first patients in the nation to undergo surgery to implant electrical stimulators directly into his brain to hopefully abate or countervail the unbearable and incapacitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

I have to honestly report that the technology did work. While the stimulator did, as we were advised prior to the installation surgery, further incapacitate my brother’s speaking ability (one of the many aspects of complete body rigidity – I mean like a wooden post, and not limited to arms and legs but both the mouth and throat muscles were also cemented in my brother due to Parkinson’s rigidity) the stimulator did ease his dyskinesia and immobility (although these symptoms may seem contradictory, such are the ravages of the nasty permanent sickness called Parkinson’s disease) allowing him to live a higher quality of life for the last years of his life, especially as the electrical stimulation machine allowed my brother to not have to be a slave to the psychological horrors of Mirapex.

On the day of his implant surgery, our family was at Northwestern Hospital where a brilliant neurosurgeon performed the multiple hours long procedure during which time my brother was kept in a semiconscious state, as is required when one is having holes drilled into one’s skull and the deus ex machina is being tested to detect the most effective placement of the stimulating electrodes. It was during the testing of the electronic brain stimulator that I witnessed something as strange and scary as it was revelatory and understandable.

The doctor positioned the electrodes deep within my brother’s brain, into the area that controls movement of his arms and legs, capacities that the disease took away from my brother, to unlock his limbs so he could walk more easily, swallow…all of the motions that we never think about too deeply that allow us to be humans in this human world. Then the doctor would turn the machine on to see how my brother responded to the electrical impulses, the intent was to make sure that the electrical stimulation was directed at the exact spot in my brother’s brain to ensure he received the positive effects that the treatment was intended to provide.

During the electrode placement trials, the doctor shifted the wires inside my brother’s head and revved up the stimulator unit – my brother, lying on an operating table, not having been told anything, not thinking of anything in particular, uncomfortably clad in a hospital gown, began to laugh – busted out laughing. The stimulator was turned off – the doctor jiggled the wires – the machine was reactivated…and my brother sobbed.

Revelatory and understandable, I’m not a doctor but have often used the words “synapses firing” (or not firing, as the case may be) relating to my pre-coffee state of mind in the morning. Strange and scary, I don’t read science fiction but am aware of DARPA.

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Bipartisan odor wafting from DC

7:41 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

Republican Elephant & Democrat Donkey

Bi-partisan cooperation, but not in the people’s name.

As both Democratic and Republican politicians are getting ready to roll up their sleeves and start governing now that the closed for business government has been re-opened for business, a small group of political leaders from both parties are working together to brainstorm solutions that are practical, make good sense and appeal to the mindsets and meet the requirements of politicians from both parties. While the consensus of TV’s shouty partisan teletubbies is that our diametrically opposed political parties can’t possibly agree on anything (and we therefore can’t do anything other than continue fighting imperial wars and bailing out private businessmen) the deal-makers in DC are currently working on a proposal that has not been castigated by either Democrats or Republicans as “unworkable”, “undoable”, “unpalatable” or “un-American” providing hope that the chasm between the party of Lincoln and the party of…whatever the Democrats say that they are the party of, can be bridged for the sake of benefiting regular Americans, who are very rich.

The bi-partisan work group has proposed implementing what it calls the “chained tax tables” that will, over the course of time, gradually reduce the rate of taxes paid by the country’s “job creators” eventually bringing the country to a comfortable stasis point of zero percent with respect to taxation of our richest donors/citizens that both Democrats and Republicans can trumpet as a success when they stand before their local Chambers of Commerce.

In the system of chained tax tabling, instead of politicians caving to wealthy campaign cash contributors once every two years (during election seasons) and giving away scads of unwarranted tax breaks, promoting tax forgiveness schemes, offering multiple year tax holidays and tax rebates, an assessment will be made every month that will take into account the level of pouting, screaming and threatening to withhold financial support from politicians by America’s wealthiest and America’s businesses that will be recorded on a new government scale called the “Captured Politican Index” (CPI). Based upon the monthly changes to the CPI, the tax rates of our top earners will be decreased in rough proportion to the kicking and screaming, pouting and threatening that the index will quantify.

Chained tax tabling was originally conceived of by a team of academics that was appointed during the Clinton presidency when both republicans and democrats, supported by the White House, determined that having the lowest personal tax rates on the planet for our wealthiest citizens and for our hard working corporations was just too burdensome.

Though chained tax tabling was inspired out of a pure bi-partisan desire to help a small sliver (one percent) of America’s citizens that legislators realized really “needed a little help” from our government, the concept was originally lionized largely by rightwing think tanks in America, including the Heritage Foundation, and was supported by George W. Bush among other members of America’s “hard right”. But, with the election of the very pragmatic servant of the public Barack Obama, members of America’s “left wing”, including Obama himself, have realized the need to extend tax relief to the hard working very rich in our country.

US Representative Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently exclaimed his full throated support for chained tax tabling and the CPI recently stating, “That’s right. I do, and I’ll tell you why — because Social Security is going to run out of money in 20 years. I want to fix it now, before we reach that cliff … Medicare may run out of money in 10 years, let’s fix it now If we don’t focus on the health care and dealing with the entitlements, the baby boom generation is going to blow away our future.”

It is this mindset that animates the group of brave elected officials from both parties that has banded together to push for chained tax tabling to lend support to our country’s job creators and to show that bipartisanship has not died in this great land.

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Patriotism, marketism, exceptionalism – destinyism? : The prison of the isms

11:08 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

Portrait of Columbus

A recent holiday lets one reflect on occupation and power.

Columbus Day can be a warm day or a cold day (and this year was spectacular autumn falling through cool sunshine) but it always provides an opportunity to reflect on the day as a holiday representing as it does a kind of anachronistic celebration of manifest destiny – and we know that we have grown beyond all that…shameful as it is as a part of our history.

It had to be someone, and it was Columbus who ‘discovered America’ and, among other accomplishments, initiated the Euro-American human trafficking biz. We are reminded of both the inhuman brutality and stark commercial natures of this from Columbus’ own diaries where he comments off handedly that due to the free market demands of Euro customers, “dealers” are always looking for young girls and “those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

A few days ago I saw an investigative journalism piece by Raveena Aulakh who writes for the Toronto Star called, “I got hired at a Bangladesh sweatshop. Meet my 9-year-old boss”. In the article, Aulakh describes the harrowing lives of child garment factory workers in Bangladesh where she took a job for a week posing as a willing sweatshop worker. Her nine year old boss, Meem, works making linen shirts for shirt wearing customers somewhere beyond the streets of Dhaka in 12 hour shifts 7 days a week with half days on Friday making $32 dollars Canadian monthly (10 cents an hour). Meem’s dream: to advance from being a sewing helper to become a sewing operator. Aulakh writes that in Bangladesh, “Factory managers prefer younger sewing helpers…Their eyesight is better, their little fingers nimbly trim threads and they don’t fuss about backaches and neck pain.”

Ahh…commerce – always able to find value to be tapped to meet the market’s needs. Why, one may ask, are the market’s needs so important that Meem has to set her tiny feet on the rat race conveyer belt? Why is it so difficult for us to compute the true cost of global commerce as it is paid out in jobs lost at home and slave work created in ‘opened markets’? What makes us deserve to be decked out in daywear assembled out of the attenuated aspirations of the world’s children? Today I am wearing clothing made in Guatemala, Viet Nam and China.

We here in the US recently had a socialist finger wagged in our collective face when Vladimir Putin scolded, “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.” The chastising came after President Obama described his military’s delivery of cruise missiles that will (as we all know, like we know where our linen comes from) level homes and schools killing innocent humans (which we call ‘collateral damage’ so as to not think too hard about the practicalities of the dynamic– in much the same way we call Meem an ‘employee’ so as to not think too hard about the practicalities of the dynamic) thusly:

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Troubled waters as Israeli newspaper is accused of editorial dishonesty

5:20 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

The artist-activist Roger Waters has responded sharply to the editors of Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper who published an interview by Alon Hadar with the co-founder of the music group “Pink Floyd” on September 28. Waters said that the article was “littered with misinformation” and amounted to a “serious distortion of the actual interview” that he gave in Amsterdam in early September.

Waters, in a letter to his Israeli fans that was released via social media, states that the editors of Yedioth Ahronoth did not misquote him, but they altered the questions that Waters was asked, making the exchange appear to have been “a combative, ill-natured, dog-fight.” Waters said that the editors of the newspaper were engaging in “shoddy journalism” as they held up “to be real, what is in fact, a fabrication.” Waters has provided an English Translation of the interview that was transcribed from a video of the event.

Waters said that the editors with all their “distortions and untruths…(appear to) want to maintain the status quo, alienate me from my fans in Israel and retreat from any consideration of the position that all the peoples of the region deserve to live in peace and justice with equal rights for all under the same laws, irrespective of color, race or religion.”

Waters agreed to the interview in an effort to reach out to his Israeli fans to explain his strong opposition to the half-century illegal occupation of Palestine, the militarized quarantining of Gaza and Israel’s unfair treatment of its Arab citizens. Waters had hoped that the interview could help him explain his “position on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), to break down Walls, and shed light on possible misunderstandings and our shared predicament.” Waters is a strong supporter of the growing boycott and divestment movement protesting Israel’s policies towards Palestinians.

To hell with the heelots and then, to the hills

1:14 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

As this divided, infrastructurally decrepit, middle class obviated, finance industry indentured, environmentally forsaken, compassion suppressing, rich get richer, war is the only answer, private capital coddling country slides off the rails towards the only demise that its choices can afford it, inhabited as it is by government protectors of big business who scream about government overreach, pettifogging mouthpiece Nobel Peace Prize winners who describe their child victims as terrorists expecting that their ‘framing’ absolves them from war crime guilt, humanitarians who call for the cindering of civilians, government regulators who claim they have only the power to de-regulate industries, criminal enforcement entities who wink&grin with private business owners as they say they cannot prosecute crimes unless they are committed by poor people, American patriots whose vision of freedom is to be freed from contributing to the common good and freed to move tax payer bailout money to untaxable off-shore accounts, political party apologizers who gladly accept tens of thousands of deaths every year in America so they can assert that laws created by the insurance industry to protect it from being thrown on the ash heap of history are somehow helping our poor and sick to receive care, I look out my Midwestern window today to have revealed to my weary eyes, a clump of river birch trees accepting its fate of dying to the winter, its beautiful death-shroud of golden leaves quivering in the portent of a northerly breeze. I am inspired today to sing praise to the bull-shit callers, the question askers (and answer demanders), those who will not give in or up as the fresh face of modern US neo-fascism glares threateningly back, the whistle blowers, the debate goers, the seed sowers who call out the collateral victim mowers, the division growers and baby in the bathwater throwers – those who recognize these ‘heelots’ for what they are and know that standing firm is the only stance to take when “standing up”.

Robert Riskin wrote the screenplay for the classic American film “Meet John Doe”, based upon a story by Richard Connel and Robert Presnell. The Capra film was released in 1941, but really reflects the time period of America’s last depression. As many know, the story involves a scheme concocted by a jaded newspaper woman who has been fired when a new owner of her newspaper comes in to “clean house”. The reporter convinces ‘John Doe’, an innocent country boy, to pretend to threaten to commit suicide due to the economic misery and America’s political intransigence to remedy the suffering, which gives the recently fired reporter an exclusive story – saving her job. The scheme careens out of the control of the schemers when the concocted story ignites a massive popular movement among regular Americans who are seeking both relief from the crushing economic depression as well as answers from politicians and the captains of industry. In an interesting fictional parallel to an historic incident, America’s industrial magnates conspire to seize control of the movement and utilize the agitated populace to instigate a coup, taking over America and instituting a fascistic new government that is directed by rich business owners to protect private capital and subordinate America’s workers and neuter the nascent popular political movement.

I know readers will see in this story many parallels to our current times – with the obvious exception being the fact that, during the previous depression, Hollywood would allow such a piece of socialist agit-prop to hit the big screens across America (even with its softening sub-plots) – and I encourage readers who have not seen this film in a long time to seek it out and view it comparing its mise-en-scene with today’s messy scenes in the USA; but my intent of bringing up this wonderful film is to call attention to a scene where ‘the Colonel” (played beautifully by Walter Brennan) gives his soliloquy, expounding on freedom in (from) this modern world.

After agreeing to the scheme, the hoboing John Doe is fed a meal, given new cloths by his newspapermen handlers, and $50 “spending money”. All of which leads to the Colonel frustratedly expressing his philosophy to a room full of regular modern Americans, city folk to be sure – but regular folks, just like those country folks in the American hinterland: Read the rest of this entry →

Frankie’s exceptional exceptions to American Exceptionalism

12:57 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

Pope Francis

A progressive pope and a regressive president?

In the brave new bizzarro world where the head of the two thousand year old capital serving, land owning, supporter of bloody imperialists and thieving enterprises on 6 of the seven continents known as the Catholic Church comes out as an unabashed adherent to the transmitted ‘teachings’ of the barefooted, long-haired, anti-institutional religion, anti-capital accumulation, anti-money lending institution, supporter of the poor and dispossessed, promoter of the union of brethren humans including our avowed ‘enemies’, exclaimer to a world of owners, “give up all that you own and follow me,” wandering philosopher and proto-hippie known as Jesus of Nazareth, we have the opportunity to reassess the claims of talk-tv screamers, political reamers, surgical strike schemers, imperial pipe-dreamers, military full-steamers, geo-political extremers and America-first home-teamers whose dreams to pillage and plunder abroad and pacify peasants at home have always been couched in language exactly like this; “I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.” (Barack Obama, Washington DC, 09.10.13)

So, using the exclamations of the nation’s current most vocal supporter of what is known as “American Exceptionalism” (by the way, this word “exceptionalism” always comes up on spell-check as ‘not in the dictionary’) let’s see what we can glean about what exactly “That essential truth …” is here in the good ‘ol USA;

Pope Francis on capitalism:
We must say: ‘We want a fair system; a system that allows everyone to move forward.’ We must say: ‘We do not want this globalized economic system that does so much harm.’ At the center has to be man and woman, as God wants – not money.

Barack Obama on capitalism:

Well, first on the issue of prosecutions on Wall Street, one of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehmans and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal, it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless.

Pope Francis on economic growth:

This is not just a problem of Sardinia; it is not just a problem of Italy or of some countries in Europe. It is the consequence of a global choice, an economic system which leads to this tragedy; an economic system which has at its center an idol called money. Grandparents are thrown away and young people are thrown away…And we must say no to this throwaway culture…A change of attitude… is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world. Development cannot be reduced to economic growth alone, often attained without a thought for the poor and the vulnerable.

Barack Obama on economic growth:

We can do more. So I’ll push new initiatives to help more manufacturers bring more jobs back to America… Let’s tell the world that America is open for business… Let’s offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening… We’ll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest… I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most…

Pope Francis on immigration:

DEA fakebook : parallel construction

1:33 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

Reuters has reported that the National Security Administration has been sharing information gleaned through its extensive secret systems of surveillance with the Drug Enforcement Administration for more than a decade.

The information sharing, which has resulted in convictions of criminals in drug cases, has brought the law enforcement practice known as “parallel construction” to the awareness of US citizens who have reacted with astonishment, given the popular conceptions that Americans have about due process as it is articulated in the US Constitution.

The NSA, which has been revealed in recent months to be utilizing sophisticated technologies to engage in massive near total surveillance of Americans and the rest of the world’s citizens relying upon secret interpretations of secret laws, has been assiduous in ensuring that its worldwide surveillance program not be revealed. As the NSA shared its surveillance “tips” with the DEA, it instructed the agents who received its “tips” to create out of thin air justifications for why and how the DEA initiates its investigations. Reuters came into possession of training materials about the program that instructs agents to never reveal that “tips” come from the NSA and further instructs agents to misrepresent to judges and defense attorneys that the information received from the NSA was actually the result of “normal investigative techniques.”

Members of law enforcement who spoke about the NSA/DEA cooperative spying program to Reuters defended the spying program, saying that “parallel construction” is a police technique that is utilized “every day.”

In traditional law enforcement investigations, law enforcement must show a judge evidence of wrong-doing to receive a court order to electronically track, search or wiretap a target of interest. In cases where the NSA brought tips to the DEA that resulted in arrests, training documents revealed by Reuters show that the federal agents were required to “recreate” the trail of the investigation to cover up the fact that the cases were predicated on legally questionable surveillance by the NSA of regular American citizens.

While apparently this practice is ‘all good’ with police, federal agents and federal prosecutors as it guarantees them perfect ‘targets’ for investigations that are certain to produce jailed ‘bad guys’, it’s seeming violation of this tried and true method of criminal enforcement;

“no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,”

has been criticized by civil libertarians, defense attorneys and legal scholars. The Reuters article quotes defense attorney Lawrence Lustberg, who succinctly articulates the constitutional and due process problems created by the DEA using the tactic “parallel construction”; when law enforcement is instructed to cover up the origin of or simply fabricate evidence that it uses to convict citizens of crimes, is “not only alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional.”

Many Americans, who have become inured to dual track systems of justice in America (one for the wealthy and connected and one for regular citizens), dual track systems for due process (where we are accorded inalienable rights that have no value when a politician screams the word “terror”), dual track systems for education (publically supported private schools for the wealthy and broken-down ramshackle schools for the poor), dual track systems for government bailouts (private financial companies get bailed out with no strings attached to the tune of trillions while those who lost their homes get measly hundred dollar checks), may themselves find it necessary to think about their relationship to their cultural and political environment using the technique of “parallel construction”:

“One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”, paralleled with, “one nation under surveillance, with suspicion and indefinite detention for all”.

Its all good.

soft totalitarianism : self-censorship and acceptance of corporate surveillance

11:33 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross poste at the demise

The revelation from one of the world’s few remaining independent press organizations, the Associated Press, that, subsequent to the federal government’s attempt to criminalize the act of reportage, its traditional sources regarding governmental wrong doing (or just plain government doing) are choosing to keep mum should be of no surprise to the AP, and also to us, the citizenry.

When confronted with the specter of rulers who make the game up as they go along their merry way committing both immoral and illegal acts (and also, immoral illegal acts) who then claim that they have self-created authority to do these things, which meet the standards of their underling rubber-stampers (which cannot in any case be reviewed by ‘regular citizens’) –many Americans have recently fumbled with, have attempted to define for themselves based upon what they know now is true about how the government operates and from whom it takes orders, have almost brought to utterance but are hamstrung from personally accepting a concept that has been reviled, ostracized, belittled, ignored (all in a self-serving fashion that countervails appreciable extant reality) but is none the less likely the single most apt way to characterize the relationship between our current leaders of commerce and leaders of our nation: that we are living in a neo-fascist state.

Moreover, many citizens are realizing that, with the metastasizing fashion that corporate finance has seized all world markets and made pariahs of those earthlings who do not participate in the predatory system of structured western commerce; we live in a globalized neo-fascist economy where even sovereign state governments are powerless to effect change using systems of democratic governance.

Benito Mussolini, the historic patriarch of the world’s first broadly acknowledged fascist state, is reported widely (but not definitively) to have once described the government that he controlled as “corporatist” as opposed to fascist, because fascism is the melding of the state and corporate interests. Which of these players actually is the controller in this dynamic is less important in my mind (I am not a historian) because when the state’s interests and corporate interests merge, the interests of the populace – the citizens who are supposed to direct polity in democracies – are not the foci of the energies and concerns of the state and our corporate masters.

What concerns fascists, both corporate and political, is often rather; for politicians, the concern to maintain power (do the bidding of corporate controllers) and concentrate power (e.g. presidential signing statements), and in the corporate world, the concentration of power (monopolization) and the maintenance of power (wealth hoarding) – really the same thing, none of which directly speaks to the concerns, needs or wishes of the governed.

When the media complains now about their inability to mine sources due to the government’s threatening actions, they must not want to remember that they (meaning DC media types – but the same holds true at the city and state levels) have over and over again chosen to trade their being given “access” to ask questions of those who govern for their acquiescence to power itself – not embarrassing, not alleging anything untoward, not bringing up unseemly or embarrassing matters; generally kissing the ring, if you will, of the political class in America largely for selfish careerist reasons.

Examples of this fake-style journalism are myriad indeed- to name a few; why no questions to the candidates for president last election on the illegal occupation of Palestine, why no questions about the presidential assassination of American citizens with no due process, why no concern in the media that Dodd-Frank has been neutered by politicians in both parties, why so much agreement that ‘no laws were broken’ when the private banks destroyed the world economy and were consequently made whole with tax dollars handed out in an impressive bi-partisan manner to these private companies with no pre-conditions, why is it fair to make these private parties whole with tax dollars, why no reportage about the corporate/government cooperative program to attack and criminalize the Occupy movement, why no media interest in the detainment and torture of Bradley Manning, why no reporting on the massive surveillance state in the US that has been known about for more than 10 years, with lawsuits being filed, admissions of wrong doing on the part of the highest levels of government, laws being retroactively changed to protect corporations, presidential candidates running on the issues of transparency, illegal surveillance and privacy, as candidate Obama did? The list is nearly endless.

What one can very easily calculate is that the press is understood by the powerful as a tool of propaganda and has been turned into no more than a career building mechanism by reporters and a money maker for media owners, none of whom understand as our founding fathers did that a free and contentious press is a bulwark against totalitarianism and fascism, a necessary component of a free democratic society.

From one standpoint, the questions that are not answered might reflect that concerns such as those referenced above just may not be seen to be of interest to the media because they feel their audience does not care about these. We know this is not the case subsequent to the recent revelations of the massive surveillance state and Americans’ genuine, concerned and almost frantic interest in the story.

From another standpoint, the questions that are not answered are providing cover for politicians who want their anti-democratic programs to never be discussed – in other words, these media professionals are conspiring to cover-up government abuses. And, the same can be said of the press when it comes to writing about corporate excess and corporate crime…we have seen over the past twenty years or more that questions about matters that are ‘sensitive’ to the corporate elite remain, quite simply, never asked and buried.

So, with respect to the media coverage of corporate crime and political malfeasance we see an agreement to present a charade of press freedom as a free press. The political class depends on fake-reporters that self-censor to maintain control and (as we have become aware due to recent revelations), to enlarge the national security state and diminish or negate the rights of Americans to confront and challenge the national security state. A beautiful form of control that relies upon individuals to abandon their sense of community and commitment to the ongoing project of a democratic country. We don’t have the need for Pravda, just look at what a free press we have…soft totalitarianism.

Sadly, we too, the citizenry, have ‘traded-off’ to secure access. Access to coupons, targeted advertising, special offers, reduced prices, free gifts – consumer treats that flow like an unstoppable torrent as we daily agree to the ‘terms of service’ contracts that are presented to us by corporations so we can use the products that they develop.

In light of the revelation that the federal government has been and intends to continue to record every possible communication and transaction that we make, many Americans are rightly concerned about their loss of privacy and its attendant freedom (the right to be secure in your persons, homes, papers and effects). Revealing, this anger and disbelief and concern, as we have each individually and on thousands of incidental occasions over the past ten years consciously, willingly and happily relinquished our anonymity and autonomy to the enticing, invasive and unstoppable culture of complete corporate surveillance.

No need to take away our rights when they have been gifted away to our leaders of commerce by you and me…Soft totalitarianism.

‘beware of maya’ george harrison