Thursday, January 29, 2009

Iraq Ends Blackwater's Reign of Terror

Announced today by the Iraqi Interior Ministry Spokesman Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the Iraqi government has banned Blackwater from the country due to "improper conduct and excessive use of force". The most infamous Blackwater killing came in November of 2007 when 17 civilians were shot in a busy Baghdad intersection by rampaging American contractors.

Blackwater provides security for U.S. and foreign diplomats visiting Iraq. During President Obama's summer 2008 tour of Iraq, Blackwater protected him throughout the visit. Since the 2007 slayings, the government has sent special military overseers on Blackwater missions, however their multi-billion dollar contracts with the U.S. government has remained intact.

Blackwater is a private military contractor company based in Moyock, North Carolina. Its ties with Halliburton, KBR and former Vice President Dick Cheney are well known.

Blackwater could be expected to leave Iraq as early as this spring.

The Obama Deception

Alex Jones releases a trailer for his newest expose of the American political scene. It is called The Obama Deception and is slated for DVD on the Ides of March.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Proposed Bill Contains Camp Provisions

A newly proposed bill, the National Emergency Centers Act (H.R. 645), if passed would ratify into law the operation of FEMA housing and work camps for American citizens to dwell in during "an emergency or major disaster”. The bill provides for the location of such camps to be on U.S. military bases where 24-hour surveillance would be introduced.

For years, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Managment Agency) has been constructing a large network of labor camps around the nation. In addition, some "prison affiliates" such as the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, indefinitely detains foregin families held before extradition.

One of the bill's provisions mainly allows the use of present and former military bases for holding American citizens in cases of emergency.

Announced earlier this winter in December 2008, Northcom (Northern Command Center for Strategic Control) plans to quarter 20,000 U.S. troops in American cities. These soldiers are to be at use to quell "civil unrest" and participate in "crowd control". Many American military personnel were already spotted in American streets in Denver, Colorado and St. Paul, Minnesota, during the respective Democratic and Republican Conventions as well as at last week's Presidential Inauguration.

The bill is being proposed by Congressman Alcee Hastings of Florida.

Despite calls for necessary disaster plans and the need for more citizen security, the bill in question delegates sweeping power to FEMA and military bases at the expense of the citizen. This legislation is terrorizing the public and waving the flag of fascism high.

Ron Paul: New Bailout will cost each American $6,700

Ron Paul on CNN's Good Morning on January 27, 2009, talks about government manipulation of the U.S. dollar and the grave danger of another Great Depression.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

DTV: Transition of Power

As ratified by a Senate vote last night, lawmakers have voted to delay the television transition to a digital signal until June 12th of this year. However, the almost invisible transition of power behind the screen will continue unabated.

The government mandated switch will forever finish the steady-air signal that has been a fixture of American life for sixty years. The TV airwaves have been a regulated feature available for those with television since the "TV Freeze" for standardizing frequencies ended in 1952.

While the Federal Communications Commission and the Association of Broadcasters lauds the transition as a vast improvement in signal and picture quality, little difference can be noted. The main contrast is that the broadcasted signal is digital rather than sent through the ether of Earth's electromagnetic waves. However, what will be left of the former airwaves?

Here comes the real reason for the switch. These frequencies on airwaves, an asset of the American public were sold by the FCC to unspecified private telecom companies as well as many public and private police and security agencies. According to The News Hour, the sales garnered well over $50 billion for the government.

But when was the public ever consulted? The television is now outsourced to create a massive and fail-proof cross-communication system. It is undoubtedly a dubious proposition, especially considering the more recent revelations about domestic surveillance. Proponents of DTV argue that the switch properly allows for the TV spectrum to be handed over to more essential police communications. It is claimed that their ownership of the spectrum will improve security operations following the September 11th terrorist attacks.

A similar coup occured 90 years prior in telecommunications. In the 1910s, at the height of the amateur radio operator, (when two-way communication existed over air), U.S. military communication errors in the Atlantic was used as an impetus to ban amteur use of frequencies. Later, when the Federal Radio Act passed in 1927, the spectrum of radio waves were sold and commercialized by the newly created Federal Radio Commission and the golden age of radio was forever lost.

The American people were shortchanged in that transition and by all looks of it, are about to lose another crucial public resource. But then again, did we ever have much of it at all?

Onslaught Rages in Afghanistan

This past Saturday a U.S. missile strike in Mehterlam, Afghanistan, on a suspected terrorist site killed 16 people. While the U.S. military alleges all killed were terrorists, the government of Afghanistan recognizes that all 16 massacred were civilians.

President Hamid Karzai publicly denounced the attack and has sent requests to the United States and United Nations asking for greater Afghan oversight over the strikes. Karzai also pointed to such mistakes as an impetus for further fighting by terrorists in the region. Hundreds protested the massacre of civilians in Mehterlam on Sunday.

This event transpires admist President Obama's plan to double U.S. forces in that country. This Afghan "surge" would raise troop levels from 30,000 to over 60,000. Ultimately devastated by 30 years of near-constant war, Afghanistan remains one of the world's poorest countries. However, executive oil companies' plans since the 1990's have called for an oil pipeline through Afghanistan and beyond the Caspian Sea to circumvent Russia in delivering oil to Europe. This long-time initiative, now ever closer in sight, gives the largely untraversable country increased international importance.

The War in Afghanistan has entered its eighth year. After occupying that country from 1980-1988, the Soviet Union collapsed a year later.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

U.S. Strikes Pakistan, Kills 20

As the euphoria of Inauguration Day subsides, the War on Terror continues its rampage throughout the world. Yesterday, a U.S. strike in Pakistan attempting to strike a suspected terrorist hideout killed twenty people.

Covert operations producing missile strikes in the rugged terrain of western Pakistan were a central part of the Bush Administration's terrorist containment policy for the region. It is a highly contested policy that the Pakistan government condemned late last year in November when a U.S. missile strike killed nearly two dozen civilians.

As President Barack Obama plans to double the amount of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 30,000 to as much as 70,000, relations with Pakistan are highly strained as Pakistan has publicly denounced such U.S. attacks in their borders and have called on the international community for assertion of their autonomy.

But after U.S.-backed dictatorial President Perez Musharraf (who seized power in a 1999 military coup) enacted martial law in 2007 and arrested many political dissidents and intellectuals, Pakistan remains highly suspicious of U.S. motives. Musharraf's reign of terror culminated in the December 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto, his head opposition who seemed poise to assume power. Musharraf's role in her assassination still remains dubious.

The continuing missile strikes into Pakistan by the United States contradict President Obama's anti-war rhetoric which attracted many to his campaign. Although only four days into his presidency, it is reported that after the attack, President Obama met with the National Security Council and discussed military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Washington Post reports that since August, there has been 38 missile strikes, killing over 130. All of the strikes have been conducted by the CIA.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cause for Concern

As Barack Obama became the 44th and first black President of the United States, yesterday was certainly one for the history books. However, it may be historic not because of the man elected, but for the conditions the office of President now assumes.

On a day when nearly two million people packed Washington, D.C. to witness the Presidential Inauguration, a large slew of current and former head government officials bowed as centerpieces to media-sanctioned grand congratulations during a ceremony that has never tolerated such excess and overindulgence.

Over 10,000 from federal and state police agencies patrolled the event, well-equipped with riot gear and firepower in the event of the need to disperse the peaceful crowd. According to CBS radio news, many Obama supporters were recorded chiding police after being herded from the Capitol toward the Washington Monument due to overflow crowds. The event was a neo-conservative wet dream of possible terror, and these idealogues made sure to convince their minions in Congress to sanction an entire U.S. Army brigade be nearby on call for the event. This is not to mention the over 5,000 security cameras which continuously monitor D.C. every day of the year.

The endless list of parties imbibe "victory" and now celebrate into the morning their uncertain cause. All of the action around the new President turned the Inauguration into a shameless joy-ride with the uttering of the oath constituting a mere inconsequential action. All in all, over $150,000,000 was spent on the activities. Much of that money came from the most wealthy elite of the nation, all jockeying for favor with the new guard. These donors propelled Obama throughout his campaign despite warm rhetoric about his "grassroots" movement.

It is astonishing that such extravagance for one is shouldered by an economy on the brink of depression. But more shocking is the air of achievement and finality the ceremony gleefully tried to convey, when in all truth, after President Obama's first day, essentially nothing has changed from the recently passed days of war criminals Bush and Cheney.

As the media lauds the day as one of triumph of the goodness of American reason and values, it is in all respects a day of defeat. For the mere triumph of Leader, is is no way a triumph of the Republic.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Taser is Torture

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution reads,

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

However, it is becoming all too common for the average on-duty police officer to carry a torture device, and in many cases, get away with murder.

How is it that officers of the law may at their own discretion, inject lethal electric shocks into alleged suspects, often for nothing more than being unruly and hostile to the official?

Shows like COPS have long pushed the idea of giving the police the benefit of the doubt when using force. It is this reign of accepted violence by law enforcement which now hampers real progress on eliminating taser use altogether.

It can be singly agreed that giving people forceful electric shocks to subdue them can by no way be considered humane, and often much more painful and torturous than past ways of subduing out-of-control people. There is no excuse for its need, and defending the use of taser only further legitimizes torture.

Our society has become one of expediency. However, sadly force is often a bridesmaid of expediency. And if we are to sacrifice our values of liberty for such "convenience", soon enough force becomes the norm, and it replaces reason as the ultimate paradigm in our society. Simply put, taser is torture and torture is wrong.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Minneconsin: Merging States - The Death of Federalism

In a surprising but well-doctored media conference on Monday, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announced a plan to merge some state services into a joint body in order to trim government waste. Their estimates show that such action could save both states a few million dollars. But with Minnesota's budget deficit at the tens of billions of dollars range, the plan appears rather narrow in scope to deal with the mass of enormous debt.

Could the idea be part of a greater scheme?

It is not a new idea but one that certainly gives the citizen the impression that state sovereignty does not necessarily matter. In a system becoming all the more geared to what Washington dictates for the nation, Pawlenty's proposal gleefully cheers for the further disintegration of local decision making. Its disdain for state autonomy and indifference to the safeguards of a federalist system are perplexing in that they come from the top government official in Minnesota.

All too often special interests that steer public policy crave power centers. And if they can influence all parts of the nation by one branch or house, their dream is realized.

This development is at the heart of the death of federalism. Federalism, a system outlayed in the U.S. Constitution, seperates powers so that individual states can make local decisions and wield proper control over programs that affect them. However, the federal government in D.C., is meant only to aid states in upholding the Constitution. A state, in many respects, has autonomy. The Declaration of Independence even calls it a duty for a state to secede in the event of its impeding the rights of people. Jefferson wrote,

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

But the government in St. Paul does not revolve around Minnesota. No, it rather beams toward Washington with a galiant bow in service. And Pawlenty's ambitions for the presidency are notorious. His "service" as the state's governor is for him only a stepping stone to greater halls.

States used to violently defend any who dared disrupt their sovereignty. Now, they rather like the idea of giving it up altogether.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

War in Gaza Worsens

According to U.N. officials, today the Israeli Defense Forces shelled the United Nations Work and Relief Agency building in Gaza City, setting it on fire and ultimately destroying the building with white phosphorous. White phosophorous was banned as a weapon in 1980 under the Geneva protocol. In addition, a Reuters news agency building was also shelled by Israeli troops.

Talks continue in Cairo to discuss a possible cease-fire agreement, but little hope for peace exists in the war-torn imprisoned country. With access to Gaza cut off by Israeli troops, there is nowhere for civilians to flee to. Around 1,074 Palestinians have died in the past three weeks, nearly 700 of them civilians. More than 320 children have died since the assault began.

Five Heads of State: Hail to the King!

America got a full dose of the presidency last week when the past five heads of state met at the White House for a celebratory meeting exalting the power of the Executive Branch. Presidents Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, current President George W. Bush, and President-Elect Barack Obama met and held a press conference, posing for photo-ops and further giving the media and the nation a sense of the faulty but real power the President holds over the other two branches of government.

The United States Constitution provides for a somewhat weak present. It grants legislative action to the U.S. Congress and judicial oversight to the Judicial Branch. However, these presidents are a strong testament to the President's growing power and the subservience of the other two branches.

It is supposed that this media-created event is a further step in preparing the American people for more consolidation of power in the executive branch. During the present Bush's career, the Executive has increased enormously in power. The President now makes many important legislative proposals to Congress and presides over torture and unlawful imprisonment without any judicial oversight.

And when Barack Obama calls for "extraordinary" measures to deal with "extraordinary circumstances", it is strikingly evident that his term in office may become the greatest usurpation of power in the hands of the President seen yet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Clinton: Mission to Destroy

The United States Senate confirmed Hillary Clinton's nomination as the new Secretary of State yesterday. Upon her confirmation, she defiantly uttered that "all options are still on the table" in regard to disarming an ever nuclear-powerede Iran. A top National Intelligence Estimate report by the Bush administration in November 2007 concluded that Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 in the face of pressure from Washington. Yet, Hillary in her new executive post yearns for a war on Iran and openly shrieks the war whoop to the delight of congratulatory cheers heaped upon her by the elite Senate and most of all, the Press.

In April of 2008 in a nationally televised interview with ABC, Clinton vowed that if Iran attacked Israel, the United States in turn "would totally obliterate" Iran.

Indeed, diplomatic comments from America's top diplomat.

But while Tehran's possession of a peaceful nuclear power program may be "unacceptable", Clinton has no qualms about the nuclear weapon capabilities of Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

The imperial hypocrisy is seen with all of its stupidity at face value. The Madame of State is smiply playing a bigger, more grandiose version of her childhood doll games. At least it seems so to her.

Meanwhile, opponents of Clinton have accused her of a "pay to play" scandal in that her husband's foundation, the William J. Clinton Foundation is accepting large sums of money as donations in order for foreign governments to curry favor and buy out the U.S. Secretary of State as a mouthpiece. Noted donations to the William J. Clinton Foundation include $25,000,000 from Saudi Arabia, $1,000,000 from the Confederation of Indian Industry and $25,000 from the infamous private military group, Blackwater, whose employees now face criminal charges for a shooting rampage on civilians in Baghdad which killed 17 last autumn in Iraq.

In addition, Mrs. Clinton has unconstitutionally been oathed into office, Article One, Section Six of the U.S. Constitution provides that,

"No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office."

On January 4th 2008, an executive order by President Bush increased the pay of the Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton presided in the United States Senate at that time. This order thus makes her ineligible for the position.

Minnesota Snow

Piece by piece it comes fluttering down,
slowly gathering at the angles of ledges,
sides of doors, and sides of roofs.
At first, it appears small, insignificant,
a slight drop on the shoulder.
But over time, it grows and abounds,
leaving streets white and tickled by clover flakes.
Piles amass aside all streets,
and quickly the blanket bellows.

The thickness is yoked and creamed in white.
And while the pile on the lawn gets thicker and thicker,
the fine top layer of snow glistens supreme,
like the dust of sand atop beach dunes, crafted by wind.
And the crunch of the snow underneath the boot,
all compact and hard the bottom sheets cling.
It is the ground it scratches, attaching its root,
forming to become ice, permanently entombed.

And all outside is desolate, none afoot.
'Til the wind stops, none dare cross,
the ice creamed snow balls collecting till nigh.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama Condones Torture

President-Elect Barack Obama announced last week that he will not seek to reprimand or punish those involved in torture at the U.S. Justice Department. While his campaign repeatedly used rhetoric that seemed to condemn the nation's use of torture against detainees and in the case of Jose Padilla, even American citizens, Obama has until now remained silent on the issue. Instead of going after the perpetrators of crimes, he will simply let them go freely.

Like Bush and Cheney, Obama has repeatedly said that he "looks to the future" and will not seek punitive measures against the greatest tyrants in the American republic. Such overlooking of grave atrocities will show to the American people that no justice will be served. And if there is no justice, the state of no peace will be assured its continuance.

While the prosecution of crimes against low-level Justice Department officials who approved torture and those who actually committed the heinous crimes seems reasonably, and even necessary to ensure fairness and a true change in course, Obama refuses to even investigate those involved in some of the greatest crimes against humanity in the recent past.

However, media reports relayed that Obama intends to shut down prison-torture camp Guatanamo Bay in Cuba. While some predict an executive order could do the task on January 20th, others are skeptical about the quickness of such a plan. But, it remains unclear whether Obama will accomplish any of these early goals. Late last week, he stated that he will not be able to deliver some of his most crucial campaign promises because of the world economic collapse.

Such explanation is mind-boggling. While so much was expected from the junior Senator from Illinois, so much of that expectation has quickly faded into the shadows of political competition and intrigue.

Israeli Occupation Continues

While high-profile international protests have attempted to engage the so-called "western democracies", little is being done to stop Israel's now three week occupation of Gaza. All in all, almost 1,000 Palestinians have been killed, with a large portion coming from the civilian population. Many were women and children.

Over 100,000 took to the streets in London to protest, often crying "Free Palestine". They were later beaten away by police. Another several thousand also were protesting in Paris and chanting similar slogans. President Nicolas Sarkozy has acted as a third party peacemaker in the process, and despite what looked like a possible cease-fire during the first week has now dragged on into an endless campaign of violence, torture, and the brunt assertion of imperialism.

One report last week detailed a U.N.-run school that was the target of the Israeli military. In it, a cadre of troops seiged over 50 civilians, children and teachers, and ultimately shot them to death inside the school. Such events are highly reminiscent of Lidice, a town that was flattened to the ground by Nazi troops in Czechoslovakia during 1942.

Meanwhile, Israel and the West have continued to blame Hamas for the violence, claiming that their ability to fire rockets into the north from Gaza is the cause for retaliation. However, the disproportionate amount of deaths on the Israeli side leaves many questions unanswered.

President-Elect Obama has remained silent on the issue, reasonably calling for "one president at a time". However, his appointee to be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has repeatedly praised Israel for its "necessary ability to defend herself", while only giving fig-leaf comments about civilian deaths.

While the world waits and shrugs its shoulders, the killing continues and the territory of Palestinian establishments, now resembling controlled concentration camps rather than homes will continue to face the brute force of violence and death. For in the web of imperialism, the situation in Gaza is fast becoming the "Czechoslovakia" of the 21st century.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pat Buchanan: Gaza is "Israeli Concentration Camp"

Pat Buchanan valiantly speaks the truth on MSNBC. Aired January 9, 2009.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Public Works for Private Profit?

In the midst of deep recession with a possible chance of a depression looming in the future, some have interesting ideas on how to "stimulate" the economy. The Minnesota Vikings owner recently came up with one of his own: get citizens to pay for a new multi-million dollar stadium to generate even greater revenue for his franchise.

However, the Vikings already have a lavish multi-million dollar stadium downtown, the Metrodome, one of the iconic domes in the NFL. Built in the early 1980s, the Metrodome functions well, and at the Vikings first playoff game in over five years last Sunday, just barely sold enough tickets to make sure that the game would be broadcast in Minnesota.

It is shocking that the Vikings owner is now pleading to the Minnesota Congress to fund his extravagant expenditure. While the press is billing it as a "public works project", that description simply misses the mark. Public works often generate revenue specifically for local governments and have a true benefit to all citizens, a tangible improvement in their lives. However, a multi-million dollar stadium that will only reshuffle low-quality jobs and have tickets that are easily over $30 for the nose-bleed section is highly suspect. In addition, most revenue will go to the franchise, with the city only receiving a minimal cut for all the funding poured in for a new stadium by the citizens of Minnesota.

This is the effect of many causes in American society. But out of the economic crisis may come something good. We may have to learn what is necessary to live with and what is just crass extravagance. We may also learn what will be really needed to improve everyone's lives, not just those at top.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Minnesota Senate Race: Final or Farce?

Yesterday, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie ceritified the U.S. Senate race for Minnesota, declaring Democrat Al Franken the winner after overcoming his opponent, incumbent Norm Coleman, by 225 votes. While Coleman is scheduled to hold a press conference in St. Paul today at 3pm to publicly declare his course of action in possible legal battles, it now looks almost assured that Al Franken will be seated later this week as the junior Senator from Minnesota.

With over 5,000 votes being thrown out, 200 simply lost throughout various precincts, and another 1,000-2,000 still hanging on to a slim possibility of inclusion in the final count, the bigger question seeks out not the winner, but rather if the State of Minnesota has upheld its responsiblities to count all votes and ensure our republican democracy. And it was long ago that the press stopped talking about the other candidates in the race, most notably Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley who garnered over 15 percent of the vote totals.

Instead of the constant bickering that has dominated the two major party candidates bid for the Senate, citizens should demand better representation in Congress. Franken and Coleman were often indiscernable in their overall views that Government is the ultimate power and that all people are dependent and subservient to its agenda. The only real difference between the two was in personality, and like the U.S. Presidential race, it sadly ended up determining everything in the end.

After all this recount hub-bub, many Minnesotans after hearing these new surprising results can only say, "Who cares!?" For whichever policy puppet lands in the riches of Senatorial gold, it is already assured that the real loser is the Minnesotan.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Israel Gears Up for Ground Invasion

After eight days of bombardments of Gaza and the death of nearly 500 Palestinians, many civilians, the Israeli military is poised to move tanks and ground troops into the Palestinian territory. While the Israeli government has claimed that the bombings are in retaliation for Hamas rocket attacks that have killed four Israelis, its indiscriminate campaign to root out the terrorist organization has failed in attempting to delicately guard innocent human life.

CNN reports that the Israeli air forces dropped leaflets in Northern Gaza, warning inhabitants to "leave the area immediately" and abandon their homes, family and daily lives. War in Gaza has wrought much hardship and suffering on both peoples, and it is evidently true that a military solution will never be the answer.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sitting In a Food Court

I’m sitting in a food court, staring aimlessly around the blank white walls
Gazing here and there at others but careful not to cross eyes
lest one be seen in a naked moment

I wonder about those others,
my supposed companions chomping down on their McFood glories
Are they happy with for here or to go? Proud of the slithery convenience this life has wrought?
Or are they like me? A bit embarrassed, even ashamed of their trappings,
The plastic chairs from China, the shoddy hard-topped tables,
The gleaming white sterile floor?

Was this what our society was aiming for? Or only a consequence of our lack of fulfillment?
Our settlements for efficiency and comfort in the sub-par

But it quickly became obvious that the food court extended far beyond its material form
Silence gripped the air as words became interference, an annoyance reserved for undesirables
Those who did speak held their words close, only vague utterances came forth
Personal affairs were to be regarded as loathsome subjects, never to be revealed

I looked down at my clumpy color mashed pizza, warm but not hot
And took a further bite to quell my thoughts
When out of my eye entered a beautiful young woman
She turned, and assumed a seat near to me

As she began to sit down and take out her micro-digital meal
I thought about who she may be

Dressed in dark hues with soft close robes
I drifted into her see,
Glasses mounted on her face, clean-cropped brown hair falling down
A skirt so neatly trimmed; even warm black socks to fill some space
Her aura was cool, her senses clean
Maybe she’s beyond the realm of sensitivity!

But, as much as I wanted to stand and shout
Shake her and say, “Come, let’s be free!”
We sat there trapped in a food court
Rotting out like it’s part of taking the lead

Alas, life is short and we too often waste our time
But in the end, nothing was said,
More souls now gone on an American spree