Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* HOW THE GOVERNMENT TRACKS YOU: NSA SURVEILLANCE
* EMPIRE UNDER OBAMA: BARACK OBAMA’S GLOBAL TERROR CAMPAIGN
By Andrew Gavin Marshall, The Hampton Institute
Under the administration of Barack Obama, America is waging a global terror campaign through the use of drones, killing thousands of people, committing endless war crimes, creating fear and terror in a program expected to last several more decades. Welcome to Obama’s War OF Terror.
When Obama became President in 2009, he faced a monumental challenge for the extension of American and Western imperial interests. The effects of eight years under the overt ruthless and reckless behaviour of the Bush administration had taken a toll on the world. With two massive ground wars and occupations under way in Iraq and Afghanistan, Western military forces were stretched thin, while the world’s populations had grown increasingly wary and critical of the use of military force, both at home and abroad. Just as Brzezinski had articulated: “while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low.”
When it came to the ‘War on Terror,’ Obama implemented his electoral visions of “hope” and “change” in the only way he knows: change the rhetoric, not the substance, and hope to hell that the Empire can continue extending its influence around the world. As such, Obama quickly implemented a policy change, dropping the term “war on terror” and replacing it with the equally – if not more – meaningless term, “overseas contingency operations.”
A major facet of Obama’s foreign policy strategy has been the implementation of an unprecedented global terror war with flying killer robots (“drones”) operated by remote control. By 2011, the Washington Post reported that no president in U.S. history “has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals.”
Every Tuesday, a counterterrorism meeting takes place in the White House Situation Room among two dozen security officials where they decide who – around the world – they are going to illegally bomb and kill that week, drawing up the weekly “kill list” (as it is called). […]
* A CORPORATE TROJAN HORSE: OBAMA PUSHES SECRETIVE TPP TRADE PACT, WOULD REWRITE SWATH OF U.S. LAWS
Source: Democracy Now
* CHRIS HEDGES AND ROBERT SCHEER DISCUSS AMERICAN FASCISM
The two celebrated journalists discuss the collapse of vital institutions and the rise of demagogues and charlatans in post-meltdown America.
* DAVID STOCKMAN EXPLAINS THE KEYNESIAN STATE-WRECK AHEAD – SUNDOWN IN AMERICA
By Tyler Durden, zerohedge
David Stockman, author of The Great Deformation, summarizes the last quarter century thus: What has been growing is the wealth of the rich, the remit of the state, the girth of Wall Street, the debt burden of the people, the prosperity of the beltway and the sway of the three great branches of government – that is, the warfare state, the welfare state and the central bank… What is flailing is the vast expanse of the Main Street economy where the great majority have experienced stagnant living standards, rising job insecurity, failure to accumulate material savings, rapidly approach old age and the certainty of a Hobbesian future where, inexorably, taxes will rise and social benefits will be cut… He calls this condition “Sundown in America”.
SUNDOWN IN AMERICA: THE KEYNESIAN STATE-WRECK AHEAD
Remarks of David A. Stockman at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University, September 26, 2013
The median U.S. household income in 2012 was $51,000, but that’s nothing to crow about. That same figure was first reached way back in 1989— meaning that the living standard of Main Street America has gone nowhere for the last quarter century. Since there was no prior span in U.S. history when real household incomes remained dead-in-the-water for 25 years, it cannot be gainsaid that the great American prosperity machine has stalled out.
Even worse, the bottom of the socio-economic ladder has actually slipped lower and, by some measures, significantly so. The current poverty rate of 15 percent was only 12.8 percent back in 1989; there are now 48 million people on food stamps compared to 18 million then; and more than 16 million children lived poverty households last year or one-third more than a quarter century back.
Likewise, last year the bottom quintile of households struggled to make ends meet on $11,500 annually —-a level 20 percent lower than the $14,000 of constant dollar income the bottom 20 million households had available on average twenty-five years ago.
Then, again, not all of the vectors have pointed south. Back in 1989 the Dow-Jones index was at 3,000, and by 2012 it was up five-fold to 15,000. Likewise, the aggregate wealth of the Forbes 400 clocked in at $300 billion back then, and now stands at more than $2 trillion—a gain of 7X.
And the big gains were not just limited to the 400 billionaires. We have had a share the wealth movement of sorts— at least among the top rungs of the ladder. By contrast to the plight of the lower ranks, there has been nothing dead-in-the-water about the incomes of the 5 million U.S. households which comprise the top five percent. They enjoyed an average income of $320,000 last year, representing a sprightly 33 percent gain from the $240,000 inflation-adjusted level of 1989.
The same top tier of households had combined net worth of about $10 trillion back at the end of Ronald Reagan’s second term. And by the beginning of Barrack Obama’s second term that had grown to $50 trillion, meaning that just the $40 trillion gain among the very top 5 percent rung is nearly double the entire current net worth of the remaining 95 percent of American households. […]
* THE OCEAN IS BROKEN
By Greg Ray, Newcastle Herald
[…] The next leg of the long voyage was from Osaka to San Francisco and for most of that trip the desolation was tinged with nauseous horror and a degree of fear.
“After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.
“We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.
“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.”
In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.
“Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea. And it’s still out there, everywhere you look.”
Ivan’s brother, Glenn, who boarded at Hawaii for the run into the United States, marvelled at the “thousands on thousands” of yellow plastic buoys. The huge tangles of synthetic rope, fishing lines and nets. Pieces of polystyrene foam by the million. And slicks of oil and petrol, everywhere.
Countless hundreds of wooden power poles are out there, snapped off by the killer wave and still trailing their wires in the middle of the sea. […]
* BP’s SILENT DISASTER
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout
New Orleans, US - Most people believe only those who have experienced war can know post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But those living in the impact zone of BP’s 2010 oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico know differently.
John Gooding, a fisherman and resident of the coastal city of Pass Christian, Mississippi, began having health problems shortly after the disaster began. He became sicker with each passing month, and moved inland in an effort to escape continuing exposure to the chemicals after being diagnosed with toxic encephalitis.
He experiences seizures regularly, and two of his dogs even died of seizures from what he believes was chemical exposure.
“I’ve been married 25 years, and my wife and I’ve never had problems. But recently we’ve started having problems, mostly because of finances and my health,” Gooding told Al Jazeera.
“I can no longer work because of my physical sickness from the chemicals. My wife is struggling with depression, and is going through grief counselling due to having to deal with my ongoing health issues. Our savings is gone. Our retirement is gone. This has been a living hell and continues to be a nightmare.”
Gooding’s story is not uncommon among countless Gulf residents living in areas affected by the BP disaster.
“People are becoming more and more hopeless and feeling helpless,” Dr Arwen Podesta, a psychiatrist at Tulane University in New Orleans, told Al Jazeera back in August 2010. “They are feeling frantic and overwhelmed. There is already more PTSD and more problems with domestic violence, threats of suicide and alcohol and drugs.” [...]