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Selective Tyranny: Why “Terrorized” Gun-Owners Applaud Obama’s Worst Constitutional Abuses

1:46 pm in Uncategorized by amerigus

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Cherrypicking Tyranny by amerigus

When a gun rights advocate brings up the Second Amendment, I ask them why they wouldn’t defend the First, Fourth and Sixth Amendment from either Bush or Obama. If they are willing to fight for the Bill of Rights, why do gun-lovers not just allow, but fight for stripping our right to a jury trial, to privacy or protest?

Worse yet, if firearms are the answers to stopping government tyranny, why are gun owners first to grant this government the authority to unilaterally label US citizens as terrorists and wipe them off the map?

Codified by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, the 2011 NDAA makes firearm ownership yet another “red flag” for the government’s new legal authority to track, eavesdrop and ultimately, assassinate citizens, including minors, on their sole extra-judicial say-so, with total opacity. Isn’t this what the Second Amendment intended to prevent?

The “Well-Regulated Militia” 

When the founders mandated we arm ourselves to stand against tyrannical rule, citizen soldiers using muskets, bayonets and cannons trained to resist phalanxes of government soldiers or statehouse coups like a glorified neighborhood watch.

We can agree “non-standing” militias were designed to provide security without federal control or tax dollars, but we must see a lopsided imbalance has evolved. Current laws allow citizens limited access to long arms as a comical check to the government’s stockpiles of atomic missiles, aircraft carriers, tank brigades, iron curtains, remote controlled flying machines – or digital ears and eyes in every home.

By the age of mortars, bazookas and howitzers, any glint of citizen parity with War Department firepower was lost, but after they developed the Apache copter, Stinger/Hellfire missiles and Predator drones, the concept was relegated to an exercise in fantasy. The very idea of thinking about a ‘security check’ on a government is made more ludicrous by the advantage government has in secrecy, encompassing anything from their new crowd control ray to classified bio-weapons programs, nano, genetic, or as-yet-unknown technologies.

The best bulwarks therefore are brains – the academic and independent labs that outpace DoD research, the freedom of the press that exposes their antics, the public shunning and shame.

The individual gun owner today might be able to defend themselves against a single rogue FBI agent on their lawn, but cannot hope to beat back the local SWAT team, let alone the US military, were they to turn on us. The Supreme Court admitted this in 2008, when Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority acknowledged the changes in technology indeed made the “security” clause of the Second Amendment moot. Nevertheless, Scalia used the opportunity to invent an arbitrary carve-out preserving the right to own hand guns, furthering confusion and endless debate.

The power of the people today lay in our political and aggregate strength, intelligence and economic power. The hacker community has more capability than some governments, demonstrating routinely how they can assume control of sites and networks, but often do so with a self-proclaimed morality responsible to the peeps, using their power to pick virtual locks with a conscious.

We have not been able to curb government corruption because the federal government hydra has grown over 470,000 times it’s size since the Second Amendment was ratified. But the venue for achieving balance has shifted anyway, from a potential homeland battlefield to the intellectual space – money, votes, airtime, buzz, boycotts, protests.

We The People are what keeps the country functioning, so our smarts and numbers will mean more to public policy than the founders’ writ. With respect to best intents, that horse hath left the barn already…

As often seen overseas, governments invest heavily in “heart and minds”, promising our votes and political support control outcomes. A major plank in this is gun ownership, a perennial wedge issue splitting us into rural and urban camps, but in practical political terms, a long settled debate.

The issue did not get ink in 2012 or 2008, a win for the status quo. Democrat John Kerry posed for a photo while game hunting, conceding the issue in 2004. Obama’s “skeet” photos are the latest round in the optics game that ensure the toothless Second Amendment is not in the crosshairs.

Ronald Reagan knew when he first started automating data analysis in the 1980 presidential campaign that potential voters like feeling they are in control. Owning a gun feeds this fantasy, a deadly weapon in hand gives a rush of penis-compensating awesomeness, but also purports to soothe our insecurity that Willie Horton, freshly paroled by liberals is lurking in the bushes with his beady black eye on our white women. This was key to Scalia’s unusual carve-out.

Reagan knew well how to play the cowboy, portraying many a formulaic wild west hero in a spate of Hollywood flicks. This tapped into our tradition of rugged frontier individualism on the surface, but more subliminally reminds us of a “white is right” and “might is right” history. The USA was built on gun violence and racism as we exploited brown people the world over to spur “growth”.

Guns harken back to our Manifest Destiny, now called American exceptionalism, right in the home, helping us puff out our chests as we ignore the stark reality that we are a much more likely to see a family member shot than use a gun in a “citizen intervention” case. These rare self-defense anecdotes are great for sales, allowing purchasers to imagine themselves in the super-suave hero role as they support an industry that made $1.7 trillion dollars in the last year.

But the reality is that the gun remains close at hand as families go through good and bad times – it’s there when depression hits and leads to a predictable 19,000 firearm suicides per year. It’s there when arguments or fender benders escalate violently, for all of our worst moments.

It’s there when spouses are caught cheating, or teenage hormones rage, or when small children explore the house.  Just two years ago, a childhood friend of mine going through a separation took his life when he heard he was also losing his job. The gun was there before a friend could be.

So despite our best intentions for self-defense in the home, the increased access to the personal firearm has proven itself to be a remedy whose side effects are worse than the cure. Looking at the stats year after year , we are willingly hurting the many as we seek a benefit for the few.

If we cling to our Second Amendment liberty , the right to bear arms, the Constitution demands we train and prepare to revolt when our leaders fail to abide by the law, as part of a well-regulated militia . In a sense, it’s happening – i t is the truly the people keeping unchecked power from eating itself and everything else, but it’s getting increasingly difficult.

President Obama recently blustered that he could not change Washington from the inside, on one level an apparent cry for help, on the other, a warning reminiscent of Eisenhower’s 1961 call for “vigilance” of the military-industrial cancer consuming Washington. So who or what drives Obama, Bush and Congress to strip our rights away?

Cherrypicking Tyranny

Concerning “tyranny”, the government has already violated the Constitution, many times over. When the founders crafted rules for impeachment, they expected it to be used frequently. But because of all-too-effective PR, government has made us servile, unable to question a War on Terror at odds with our Constitution and driving massive debt.

Reagan saw to it that pro-war propaganda was in place long before he ordered acts of aggression overseas. He even used taxpayer money to seed this, ordering restrictions lifted on political talk radio and manipulating national literature distribution to ensure hawkish ideas thrive on our bookshelves.

But since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, Bush era propaganda such as multicolored alerts froze all the so-called red state patriots into total “terrorized” compliance.

The typical NRA member and the demographic living in “shotguns and pickups” zipcodes were so afraid of Muslim extremists, they welcomed unprecedented surveillance, rendition, and enhanced interrogation. They continue to defend and argue for these policies, even as they roundly disapprove of Congress and absolutely despise the current occupant of the White House. Ironic is too weak a word.

This has been the biggest abuse of power in our lifetime, the new idea that terrorist acts constitute endless ‘war’ which suspends our civil liberties, treaties and normal checks and balances. Themselves well-armed, the typical red state voter was so pussifed by the specter of Osama bin Laden he swallowed whole the major changes to our civil liberties on the fast-track, without realizing how it affects their rights.

The Patriot Act, torture, detainment, the Iraq War, the drone program, the warrantless surveillance were all high crimes and misdemeanors sold to gun-toting Republicans as necessary to guard against an unseen enemy, these Islamic terrorists in sleeper cells. The 9/11 response of “shock and awe” stated actual intention to intimidate suicide bombers, a laughably tragic failure of logic. Why a suicidal maniac would fear their enemy, I’m sure I don’t know.

Thanks to Fox News and the Limbaugh/Hannity talk radio lot, Republicans are still pro-actively arguing for our rights to be withheld by the government. The same government they say is too big, is too incompetent, is too liberal. After 9/11, we traded liberty for security, directly contradicting the clearest language in the Constitution, without a peep. We declared War Powers without a true war, we allowed spying on ourselves and we invaded sovereign nations without cause. Democrats bought in, lending the necessary votes.

Obama continues further, through the Trespass Act which strips our First Amendment right to petition elected officials with grievances, now a felony punishable by 10 years in federal prison. The Tea Party, who used to love picketing and protesting stood by deaf and dumb as this passed both houses unanimously, quickly and quietly. The left did little more than report on it.

But worse by far, the NDAA stripped our Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial by a jury of our peers, to face our accuser, to have an attorney and the protection of due process enshrined in over 800 years of democratic tradition. Our new law says a single bureaucrat can be your judge, jury and executioner whether you are armed on an overseas battlefield, or walking down the street in your American home town. Suspicion alone is now all that is needed to indefinitely capture or kill any US citizen, to deprive them of rights stated plainly in the Constitution in extra-ultra-unmistakeably clear language.

The Obama administration is apparently hanging this on Bush’s “enemy combatant” designation, which applies during wartime (eleven years and counting) and quite newly, to any part of the USA homeland, now considered a “battlefield” from sea to shining sea.

Obama also denies our 4th Amendment protection of privacy, collecting all emails, texts and call data to create long-term profiles of every single citizen. Multiple NSA defectors have confirmed they created capability to map our personal and digital histories, aided by automation to sift through all communications, presumably to aid law enforcement “if necessary”. This is all being done in secret, at great expense, under the program Stellar Wind.

The GOP’s Lost Potential for Big Wins

If you’d told the GOP candidates they could run against Obama on multiple proven violations of the US Constitution, you’d think they’d be all over it. But curiously, Republicans across the board shrink on what should be slam-dunk issues that grab US voters by their red-blooded heartstrings. Why? Republicans are even more power-mad than Obama, hoping to get back in power to take the reins of Nixonian spying, executive assassination, indefinite detention, corporate glad-handing and absolute suppression of dissent.

Republicans love to share images of Obama shredding the Constitution or buggering Lady Liberty, but claim it’s Obamacare that is unconstitutional, the same policy that originated with them when first suggested by the Heritage Foundation. Full circle and head-up-ass…

Read full article at OpedNews.com

Non-commercial Creative Commons use granted for image above with attribution linked to this page.

Walmart CEOs Concealed Evidence of Foreign Bribery Scandal

9:36 pm in Uncategorized by amerigus

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Share this image freely to alert shoppers of the Low Cost of Corruption

Each Black Friday the TV news leads off with stories about Walmart, from the jaw-dropping discounts to the deaths by trampling. This year, we’ve been hearing about coordinated strikes, walk-outs and protests as Walmart workers have begun to resent the depths of their corporate exploitation.

But we don’t hear about the corruption probe of Walmart’s foreign expansion as multiple bribery allegations widen. Walmart is the biggest retailer in known history, employing one million US workers and making $3.63 billion in profits just in the most recent quarter.

Obviously, a business this size will hold a lot of sway in media where they are regular advertisers. Maybe that’s why we’re not hearing about a global bribery scandal which could lead to perp walks, but so far, is going acutely unreported.

Kudos to the Boston Globe for updating the story that David Barstow broke on the front page of the New York Times last April. In brief, it explained how Walmart had systematically bribed officials to fast-track expansion in Mexico.
When a 10 year Walmart official blew the whistle, an internal investigation ordered by Walmart’s top executives buried the affair for some seven years. How? They simply made a guy involved in the bribery allegations responsible for the investigation. Not surprisingly, he found no wrongdoing. Management even promoted the chief executive of the Mexican division to vice chairman.

This alleged cover-up implicates senior management including two CEOs who knew – or should have known – their financial records showed tens of millions in payments for local “gestores,” Mexican officials who greased the wheels in obtaining permits, zoning approvals and environmental waivers. Cutting through bureaucratic red tape, Walmart’s explosive growth “south of the border” quickly made them also Mexico’s largest private employer with over 2,000 new stores opening in 12 years.

The SEC and DOJ are finally taking an interest, but Walmart was able to get way out in front of US law enforcement to conduct another round of internal “investigations” of their own books. Records that could have been seized and subpoenaed after the 4/22/12 NY Times bombshell are being “prepared” by Walmart internal compliance which includes 300 lawyers and accountants, a noted former FBI official and SEC prosecutions experts. Walmart spent $100 million so far, and has been accused already of stonewalling and stalling.

To remind the reader (in the public interest) a bribe made to a foreign official is a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

TV anchors from Sean Hannity to Rachel Maddow and everyone in between has spiked this major story as it rages in the financial and print press. Walmart just admitted last week that they are aware of the Mexican FCPA allegations in official filings.

Walmart knows their holiday shoppers must be insulated from bad PR. But as this progressed, their own “new” investigators found the same model for rapid expansion was used in Brazil, China and India where hundreds of stores opened and many more were in planning.

It’s no secret that bribes are common in the developing world, but US companies are bound to strict federal laws. The Securities and Exchange Commission just last week published fresh, clear cut guidelines for interpreting the FCPA to spell out what constitutes an illegal bribe. Walmart’s admissions came one day later. It’s almost as if the SEC knew the NYT piece was going to cause a legal shitstorm and fired the first shot.

The two legal teams are now positioned for a battle pitting the US government versus the richest family in the US, literally. But the whole thing might be a big kabuki dance — the Obama administration has little appetite for criminal prosecution, settling the vast majority of corporate FCPA cases without charging principals.Already red-faced for squelching the evidence once, Walmart is this time pledging new oversight and background checks for intermediaries. They have suspended a handful of workers from their India division, but they will likely try to protect top management.This could be vigorously pursued were there the will to, because current CEO Michael Duke and former CEO Lee Scott both signed documents affirming any evidence suggesting potential fraud was disclosed. As last week’s disclosures show, not so much.

It’s not how or when Obama/Holder will react but IF

Barstow’s bombshell describes a wealth of first-hand evidence that points squarely to upper management, drunk with greed as foreign expansion boomed. But similar cases involving Tyson Foods, Halliburton and Siemens did not result in jail sentences for individuals, instead were settled via secretly negotiated fines in “deferred prosecution” agreements.

These became chic when the Bush administration was convinced by lobbyists that bad outcomes in criminal probes hurt innocent investors and employees. Walmart has given millions to lobbyists like the US Chamber of Commerce and Cato Institute in order to further weaken the FCPA, even as they are being investigated.

This conflict caught the attention of Congressional Democrats Henry Waxman and Elijah Cummings who demanded an investigation, but any action been blocked by the Republican majority led by committee chair Rep. Darrel Issa. The late Senator Arlen Specter, who ditched the GOP, fought this practice in Senate hearings, noting “fines are added to the cost of doing business … going to jail is what works to deter crime.” Waxman and Cummings also claim to have obtained documents suggesting Walmart’s foreign bribery scheme included tax evasion and money laundering but Walmart won’t answer to those rabble-rousers. Sigh.

Per the NY Times’ “Lots of Bribes, but Little Jail Time,” Walmart took note as Tyson’s top execs escaped criminal charges for bribing Mexican officials, and simply decided to sweep their own scandal under the rug. When Obama lined his incoming cabinet with Wall Street attorneys, little changed.

Thus, it is already predicted President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and a (now leaderless) SEC will let Walmart’s CEOs skate without criminal prosecution. The current administration is expected to continue to ‘sell justice‘, and our nation’s #1 employer, knowing Obama always needs to pad jobs numbers, is likely to play hardball.

walmartization-nyc-sm

We reported last April that Walmart’s goal of 20% market penetration nationwide is bad news for Main Street USA, small business owners and taxpayers. Areas that welcomed Walmart saw net job losses and lost wages as supermarkets, local shops and smaller retailers were displaced. Area profits were funnelled out as local tax bases got drained by the millions to provide healthcare and welfare checks for Walmart worker families.

Walmart is known to have coached associates to apply for government aid such as food stamps, WIC or Section 8 housing subsidies. Walmart’s “poverty wages” force taxpayers to pay an extra $3.6 billion per year in welfare and Medicaid to make up the difference. Walmart takes in profits over $15 billion per year to it’s Arkansas headquarters.

NYC was able to fend off Walmart’s latest lobbying, advertising and “charity” blitz, but Chicago was breeched after Alderwoman Emma Mitts became Walmart’s latest political acquisition, saying “we” when referring to the company in a TV interview.

The reasons to boycott Walmart are many, but the worst is knowing Obama would sell another get-out-of-jail card even after this evidence is out of the toothpaste tube . Walmart’s executives scoff at the law because money makes it go away.

What could change this eventuality would be massive public outcry, but until this widening, deepening bribery scandal is covered in the “news”, it will be another slow-motion travesty of justice. Happy holidays.