Friday, February 27, 2009

Eight Years in Afghanistan (Part 3)

The fires raged and uranium burned,
Ash, smoke, haze, engulfing all ferns.
I soon got a cough and a fever too
I did survive, but almost died of the common flu.

The young men grew strong and overtook all the old
For it is the weak that perish in war.
Little swaddling babies - old people too,
According to Bush, they had to die! It's true!

They say bin Laden's still around,
Hiding out in caves.
Some people praise him, but with his killing,
I don't want to be associated with his name.

But I am Afghan, that's all I know is true
So that means I'm vapid, depraved and enslaved
and surely not worth anything too.

And all I see is pointless tanks kicking up dust
and making a coup.
Beware! Is it Blackwater?
Better run to the zoo!

Panelaky for Marcy-Holmes

Time is running out for the old-world charm of Marcy-Holmes. In a swift coup of "urban renewal", the city of Minneaoplis' Orwellian Community Planning and Economic Development agency is working with big developers to bring "luxury" high rise block housing to the city's first residential neighborhood. But the CPED's massive restructuring of the community is not without its detractors.

Homeowners of Marcy-Holmes are angered by what they have called a "closed process" to reshape the neighborhood. Desperately trying to engage in dialogue with the Rybak appointed 15th Avenue SE Urban Design Plan commission, they claim their cries for consultation are being ignored. The commission refutes these claims as they have pointed out that a five week discussion period permitted by the city produced nothing. The top-down run Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association also approved the city's plan for mass development.

However, homeowners and residents claim they are being shut out of the final decision and are having the future of the neighborhood dictated by developers who are ultimately writing the plan for the Community Planning and Economic Development department.

Some speculate that the city wants to push out of Marcy-Holmes what they deem as overoccupied slum housing perpetuated by deadbeat landlords. Whatever the case may be, it appears the city will prevail in the effort to gentrify the area. With other recent projects in the area going up at the abandoned Bunge Factory as well as near St. Anthony Falls, the city hopes to capitalize on extending the glam of downtown across the Mississippi. However, as many residents have already questioned. who will pay to live in these overpriced apartment blocks?

In former communist Czechoslovakia, these state-promoted blocks of flats were infamously known for shoddy construction and aesthetic cruelty. They were rediculed and despised by the derrogatory name of panelaky. If Marcy-Holmes' development is steered by similar broken programs, the panelaky will stand in the city's oldest neighborhood marring its subtle grandeur, forever a monument to mediocrity.

So after all, in these days of economic crisis, who will pay for the high priced, low quality apartment living? Most likely, none.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama to Spend $800 Billion on Wars in 2009, Vows to Keep 50,000 in Iraq Past 2011

In a stark look at the reality of the situation of U.S. military commitments abroad, journalist Steve Watson of reports that President Obama will push for over $800 billion to spend on war-related and occupation activities in 2009. Watson also reports that "Every single component bar one of the DoD budget is up 5-10% compared to 2008, with the budget for 'military construction' increasing by a whopping 19.1%."

By escalating the ongoing war in Afghanistan by announcing the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to the battlefield, and expanding the CIA's covert war in the border region of Pakistan, America's war woes will not be cured anytime soon. America has occupied Afghanistan since the year 2001.

In other news, President Obama is poised to announce his so-called "withdrawal" strategy from Iraq where troop levels will be reduced over the next two years. After August 2010, President Obama plans to keep a "residual force" of over 50,000 soldiers in Iraq for occupation purposes. Currently, 142,000 American soldiers are deployed in Iraq. While the self-dubbed anti-war candidate has yet to deliver on any promise, it is astoundingly clear that his unwavering support of the Imperial War Machine will make things much worse for many more years to come.

Guantanamo Abuse Worsens Under Obama

A British-American lawyer Ahmed Ghappour for the group Reprieve, representing over 30 prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, has publicly stated that the abuse there has heightened since the election of President Obama. While noting that the abuse is not directed from above, he claims it is an endemic form of barbarism made worse by overzealous prison guards who have become used to torturing inmates.

Reuters reports that Ghappour stated that, "According to my clients, there has been a ramping up in abuse since President Obama was inaugurated." In addition, Ghappour claims that continued beatings, dislocation of limbs, excessive use of pepper spray and over-forcefeeding of prisoners remain mainstays of prison procedure. Ghappour also noted that most all of the 241 inmates still held at Guantanamo Bay do not believe that they will ever be released from the prison. All inmates held at the Guantanamo base are Muslim.

Riots Continue in Greece

Yesterday in Athens the protests of late last year continued as a large number of citizens were able to effectively shut down the nation's capitol city airport. Riots began last fall in November after a 15 year old was shot and killed by police. Since then, the rioting has escalated as many Greeks have come to the streets to protest their government in lieu of the world economic crisis.

According to Reuters, thousands of farmers blocked national border crossings in January in protest of the low prices of their products. These protests were quelled after the government announced a 500 million Euro economic bailout, similar to those already dictated in the United States.

Riots also broke out during Greek carnival celebrations this month. This video presents one such protest in Thessaloniki.

As unrest has now continued for several months it is unclear what the final outcome of the situation will be and how it will effect the rest of Europe and the world. Rising discontent with the economic situation could present governments around Europe and North America with more sustained and concerted protests. So far, Greece has declined to use lethal force against their citizens.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

President Obama Addresses Congress with Rhetoric, Little Substance

In a prime-time address to Congress last night, President Barack Obama rumbled through an awkward and arrogant speech, asserting America's need to revive and rebuild the nation's economy. In attempting to reassure the American people of the stability of markets and the certainty of the future, Obama lauded his recently passed $900 billion stimulus package as a great jumpstart to the economy, but warned that it was only the beginning of his efforts to "reform" the financial system.

With his words greeted by a mixed chorus of vengeful cheers and racuous booing in the halls of Congress, President Obama's speech stirred more resentment and worry than his purpose of calming down and reassuring a restless America. Stating that the economy had "still ample" ability to grow, he promised the stimulus' packages ability to "save or create" 3.5 million jobs. Nearly five million American jobs have been lost since the summer of 2008.

In scare-mongering of the "failure to act" to the unprecedented economic meltdown, President Obama echoed Keynesian ideas and the end of free market competition as the only way to stave off the so-called "Day of Reckoning". While giving fig leaves to the idea of peace in the Middle East and in Afghanistan, his actual policy in these departments did not quite add up to his words. Announcing last week the deployment of 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, his remarks were incongruous with his policy.

As the speech wore on, a cloud of doubt fell over his credibility in his claims. Even his mention of the website which supposedly tracks stimulus package money ends as a paper tiger; the site has no more specifics of how the money is being spent than general outlines like "Education" for whatever hundred billion dollar amount suits the PR fancy.

President Obama echoed the former President Bush's words of the need to be "moving swiftly and agressively" to force banks to lend more money to ailing banks, businesses and consumers.

President Obama praised his new comission for accountability in government spending, heading by President Joe Biden "because no one messes with Joe." This unwelcome joke and gaffe was answered by a chorus of boos, mostly from the balcony where Republican House members sat. One of many awkward moments, the President's being buffeted in frame by the highly partisan and unprofessional House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented a state of disunity and bitter partisan bickering that plagues the nation. As the speech continued, it became painfully obvious that the Republican-Democrat pseudo split is doing more harm than anything else to America. The Democrats could be seen gloading in their new position as power extraordinaire on the political scene.

Saying he would end the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama's rhetoric appeared more as just words and little action to back up his claims. President Obama plans to leave a residual force of 50,000 troops in Iraq past the year 2011. He also touched on wasteful spending. However, this topic lost all punch as in the midst of a $13 trillion national debt he spent $1 trillion last week.

President Obama even took a moral tone as he told parents to take an active part in their children's education. Telling parents to turn off the TV and put down the video games, Obama began moral exhortations in which he claimed "I speak to you not as a President, but as a father." Sadly, personality and the conveyance of "father" now dominates the office of President more than his actual duties.

Emphatically stating that "those days are over" when a billionaire-scammer can disapear on a private jet, many Americans now ask when will it be when the President will no longer be able to disappear on his private jet. Rather than bringing a "sense of responsibility" to Washington, I'd personally like to see actual responsibility brought to the shallowest halls of shame and deceit.

Iowa National Guard Cancels Plans to Raid Arcadia, Iowa

After announcing last week that the Iowa National Guard would be conducting a four-day military exercise in the city of Arcadia, Iowa, they are now cancelling plans for the event after being bombarded with several hundred emails and calls complaining about the proposed raid. According to the Des Moines Register plans called for 100 troops to be involved in the operation in which they would go door to door searching houses with prior consent in the tiny town of 443.

As nationally syndicated radio talk show host Alex Jones brought to the attention of the wider national public, his focus on the story brought several complaints to the city, many of them from Arcadia residents or in towns nearby. However, Arcadia Mayor Oran Kohorst says he supported the training event and does not understand that there are any safety concerns regarding the proposed raid.

This event follows a string of new military policies instituted this decade where entire live U.S. towns become target practice for new strategies preparing the military for a War on Terror in the United States.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Representative Dan Itse: You're Not the Boss of Us, We're the Boss of You

New Hampshire State Representative Dan Itse comments on federal programs and laws that violate the Constitution and usurp state authority. He is among a growing number of advocates in over 25 states with resolutions that renounce all bills or laws that violate state sovereignty.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Obama: No Change in War Policy

Many lauded President Obama's election as a new positive turn in policies of the American government. However, despite all the fervor following the emotional election cycle, his newly held grasp on power has done little to change the war policy of the United States.

Most noticeably, his continued support of the expansion of the War in Afghanistan into Pakistan has taken direct lines from the Bush Administration. His war strategy remains consistent as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates still heads the military occupations abroad. As President Bush began the unmanned drone missile attacks in Pakistan last year, Obama has intensified their efforts as the CIA is engaging in an all out war on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

While civilians are killed weekly in the unmanned drone missile strikes, the Pakistani government is facing ever more difficult positioning when it comes to the never ending War on Terror. While at home President Al-Zadari must publicly condemn raids on Pakistan's territory by the American military, he balances the Western media as posing as a partner in the War in Afghanistan. It is an increasingly volatile situation that not only undermines Al-Zadari's rule, but also increases worldwide public hostility against the United States.

In other news, Press TV reports that leading intellectual Noam Chomsky has criticized Obama for his failure to respond to the Israeli invasion and camp-style occupation of Gaza. Ignoring the discrimination that Palestinians must live with in their own country, Chomsky claims President Obama knew of the pre-meditated attack on Gaza and refused to speak on the conflict because of his implicit involvement in the policy decision. Chomsky also points to Obama's intensely pro-Israel campaign rhetoric that promised to protect Israeli territory as if it was the United States.

Chomsky predicts little shift in the United States' policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that remains the sole largest issue in relations between the West and the Middle East.

U.S. Soldier Refuses to Go to Iraq

Spc. Kristoffer Walker of the Wisconsin Army Reserve announced by email to his superiors yesterday that he will not return to Iraq with his unit. Walker most recently served in Iraq since October 2008 as a truck driver and later as an employee at a headquarters office.

Walker states that he refuses to return because he believes that the War in Iraq is "an illegitimate, unnecessary campaign." While the Army has urged Walker to deploy with his unit, and even suggested to him enlisting as a conscientious objector, Walker still refuses to return to occupy Iraq. He claims that he could not be classified as a conscientious objector because he believes a retaliatory war can be just and necessary. Walker insists that the Army has breached their contract by sending him on a mission that does not entail defending the United States.

Walker previously served a year tour of duty in Iraq as an infantryman. If he does not report for duty within thirty days, Walker may be arrested for being absent without leave or ultimately desertion.

Here is an interview of Lt. Ehren Watada, the first officer to refuse to return to Iraq.

Friday, February 20, 2009

DTV Converter Box: Hidden Secrets

Since the mandated government switch to digital television has uprooted age old rabbit ears and now obsolete classic televisions, one thing the DTV converter boxes do have not been discussed by the government or private companies, despite the massive federal DTV converter box coupon program.

As this man discovered for himself, his DTV converter box he bought at a local Wal-Mart was equipped with a rather surprising device.

The DTV converter box government program has now run out of funds to pay for the newly invented "food-stamps" version of television coupons. At this time, over four million Americans are on the waiting list. The mandated DTV switch will occur this June.

Eight Years in Afghanistan (Part 2)

The second year of occupation was underway,
the volleys were unbearable
the hiss then BAM!
shook the indescribible.

Most kids my age didn't survive
As the ramparts they held on high
American uniforms swarmed all around
No man could anymore claim any ground

Most families had split or simply been killed
the rest of us here, sure to rot, as long as that's God's will.

And who is to say what is right?
The older boys shoot at the soldiers, learning how to fight
And wise men I've known since I was a babe,
let curses and wicked spells fall upon the invader's braves.

Many are starving, most without home,
They say Americans will bring jobs,
With all this killing,
I don't know.

And who is to blame for all this injustice and untimely death?
And who will be left to wonder
Who could survive this horrible fight?

I know the Taliban were bad,
Insidious and vengeful in all ways
but the Afghan American emissaries
seem just as split from day.

Alas, a normal life I want to have
go to school, see friends,
live life like it ought to be had.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama's Surge

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama announced the deployment of an additional 17,000 U.S. forces to Afghanistan. As the war enters its seventh year, this surge of troops has received little media attention in comparison with the months-long debate over the early 2007 "surge" in Iraq.

In the latest reports to come out of Afghanistan, a new survey showed that civilian deaths increased by 40% in the year 2008. In that year alone, over 2,100 civilians were killed. In other reports, nearly 80% of the Afghan people disapprove of the war in their country and an overwhelming majority predict the situation to worsen over the next years.

On Tuesday, President Obama commented on Afghanistan, noting that the situation "actually appears to be deteriorating at this point."

"I'm absolutely convinced that you cannot solve the problem of Afghanistan, the Taliban and the spread of extremism in the region solely through military means," he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "We're going to have to use diplomacy, we're going to have to use development."

Despite President Obama's rhetoric urging diplomacy over military means, his solution to send 17,000 more U.S. troops clouds his statements.

Yesterday, Afghan authorities confirmed the deaths of 13 civilians in a U.S. unmanned drone missile strike on Monday near Herat. According to AFP, among the dead were six women and two children.

Before the U.S. began occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, the Soviet Union fought their own war and occupied its terrority from 1980-1988. The Soviet Union collapsed one year later.

Games with Nukes

In an even more disheartening and humiliating tone than Hillary Clinton took against North Korea earlier this week, North Korea has responded to her nuclear ultimatum by accusing the United States of planning a nuclear strike on their territory. According to Reuters, the Communist controlled North Korean state stated that, "The U.S. bellicose quarters are pushing ahead with the moves for rounding off the preparations … in a bid to make a pre-emptive nuclear strike.”

North Korea has become increasingly belligerent since they began a propaganda campaign earlier this month pinning for war with the South. In other reports, dictator Kim Jong Il suffered a stroke this past fall and his oppressive regime may be on the verge of major reform or collapse.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to the region has done little to quell the words of possible war as she gave an ultimatum to North Korea on Monday to disarm, urging them of the consequences of firing nuclear missiles. Her rhetoric has done little to calm the situation and has heightened a flare in the United States' foreign policy in the Middle East. Her first act as Secretary of State has become a gaffe that is now threatens to sour international relations in other places around the globe.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First Strike: Clinton's War Game

Seeing and hearing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first public appearance in that new role elicited all sorts of ugly and wretched emotions within me. Once thought forever defeated, President Obama's appointment of Clinton to this crucial position dashed hopes of peace and reinstated the fervor of what journalist Justin Raimondo calls the "War Party" with all the licivious passion as before.

In her first foreign trip as head Secretary of State, Clinton spent her first media whirl in a dazed groggy stupor exhorting statements about a country and culture she knows little about. Perhaps a short modern history of American involvement in Korea since World War II would do her and her policies some good. Ripped apart by a bloody and unnecessary politically-driven Civil War, two world empires converged on Korea after WWII, ultimately ending in the deaths of 3 million people. Since its inconclusive end in 1953, South Korea has endured nearly 60 years of U.S. military occupation (essentially as an American colony) and North Korea lasted the same amount of an even more oppressive regime of Communist Party rule.

However, these details mean little to Clinton or President Obama's foregin policy team. After all, with war hawk staffers like Richard Perle (so-dubbed "The Dark Knight") and the stern fisted George Mitchell (whose peace talks with Israel over Gaza were a mere farce) what real change can America expect?

Clinton, America's top diplomat, opened her mouth this week not to chart a new course of friendship and peace among fellow nations for the future, but rather to give a stark and largely unneeded ultimatum against a nuclear armed petty world power.

Clinton forcefully stated in all the boring bellowing of her naive conceded voice that "The possible missile launch that North Korea is talking about would be very unhelpful in moving our relationship forward." The tone of a bully is easily noticeable. Clinton is opening up sores that have already began to heal. While North Korea halted its nuclear testing under pressure from the Bush Administration and now proceeds with more careful approach to nuclear weapons, Clinton almost begs Kim Jong Il to open up a new arms race. Speaking in Tokyo, her neoconservative agenda played to Japan's steady militarization, a country noted as a partner in the everlasting War on Terror. Japan's U.S.-drafted Constitution strictly forbids the use of a military other than for direct self defense on the islands.

And when was it that North Korea was threatening to launch missiles on Japan or on America's soil? It seems that Clinton is simply staking out her future battles and laying the groundwork for a cross-course collision that could make the world all the more a scarier place.

North Korea has gradually been showing signs to "open up" to the neighbors to the south. In recent years, they have increasingly accepted South Korean economic aid as well as foodstuffs to their starving and economically depressed population. As dissatisfaction with communism continues, it appears only a matter of time before Korea could be reunited. However, the Communist Party and Kim Jong Il must fall first, and Clinton appears to want to embolden their 56 year power hold on the country. For a presidential candidate that attempted to play the "peace card" while acting tough, Clinton in her first assignment did not do a good job. Rather than heal ill feelings and push for diplomatic relations worthy of note, Clinton seems more interested in entrenching divisions and putting peace on hold.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ron Paul: What if Empire is Wrong?

On February 12, 2009, Texas Congressman Ron Paul (R) gave a speech on the House of Representatives floor imploring his fellow members what if what we are doing is wrong?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Another Deadly Drone Attack Kills 27 in Pakistan

Today, 27 Pakistanis lost their lives when an unmanned American Predator attack drone fired a missile into an alleged terrorist hideout. This latest strike in the rugged country of south Waziristan comes admist past protests from the Pakistani government and strong condemnations from people living in these tribal areas.

According to Reuters, most killed in the attack were Uzbeks and allegedly high leaders of the resurgent Taliban. These unmanned drone missile strikes started last November by the Bush Administration has become common fare of military operations along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The policy now continues under the supposed liberal "anti-war" President Barack Obama as protests from Pakistan's highest leaders have deceased while attacks continue.

While it is unclear whether any civilians were killed in the raid, the last notable raid in late January killed nearly two dozen women and children. According to Reuters, about 220 people have died from these U.S. missile strikes inside of Pakistan.

As the Obama Administration poises for announcing a new "surge" tactic in Afghanistan expected to double the amount of troops in that country. A conflict that has continued unabated since the October 2001 American invasion, this ancient region seems no more stabilized or ready for peace than when the Soviet Union occupied its terrority from 1980-1988. The length of the American presence is now on the verge of eclipsing their former imperial counterpart.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Winning the War on Drugs

And as the media flare heightens surrounding Olympic Champion Michael Phelp's rip of a bong, it seems fitting to let the Spankers take this one away. Here is the Asylum Street Spankers performing "We're Winning the War on Drugs" in Seattle, WA, on March 28, 2008.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stimulating the Public

With all this talk about the new huge economic stimulus plan, I began to wonder, what's so stimulating about this message? After all, only a few weeks after assuming power, our President in his description of the ever grander "Bailout" sounds uncannily similar to another chief executive. Worst of all, playing the former President's talk only exerts pain over a figure who most Americans desire expelled from society.

President Obama is sounding alot like President Bush touting "economic stimulus" and the need to "hit the ground running" in order to "move swiftly and effectively", all equipped with "extraordinary" power.

If Obama really wanted to stimulate America, wouldn't he want to push legislation that actually changed it?

For one, it is obvious that the U.S. military occupations in Affghanistan and Iraq are primary culprits in the waning of American power. THis is not to mention another 700 bases in nearly 140 nations. To end these destructive wars abroad as well as the countless occupations of U.S. military bases would not only shake up America and in the longterm improve the economy, but it would also shock the world. Anti-American sentiment would be vastly reduced and enemies made weak and powerless.

In addition, Obama could end domestic spying which permeates all citizens' lives and adversely affects their human rights. Yet, his team seems highly unlikely to challenge the Orwellian NSA or even worse, abolish the Department of Homeland Security.

Furthermore, Obama could end the War on Drugs. An unnecessary war that more often results in bloodbath and injustice rather than reconciliation and rehab, nearly half of the 1,000,000 Americans in prison are locked up for using or distributing banned narcotics. Many serve long sentences for small amounts of illegal drugs. The amount of money spent on legal representation as well as prison maintenance for an arrested drug-using population is excessive and grossly inadequate to properly provide for the needs of the community. To allow local authority priority over drug regulationj would greatly decrease frivolous arrests and incarcerations. To end the War on Drugs, including funding for the war outside the United States, would not only save billions or even trillions, but would make America safer.

Or better yet, Obama could call for an essential budget freeze on all non-necessary programs. Many state governments have already taken this measure. At elast cutting in half military spending from $1 trillion to $500 billion a year could save some money and repay a part of the $13 trillion national debt. It could also prepare America for life with a more reasonable, and perhaps more effective military presence. Obama could also cut spending programs and refuse to pass bills with overly laden local projects. But, with his strong urging and almost dictatorial lead, Obama's first signature on the economic stimulus bill could near almost $2 trillion. It is an action and a sum that will turn our founding fathers in their very graves.

I have a whole laundry list of possible actions or suggestions President Obama could give or take. Here is to name a few that would immediately improve our lives and the economy:

Abolish the Federal Income Tax
Repeal the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act
Reduce vastly the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal
End U.S. Foreign Military Aid
Restore the Bill of Rights

But with his own slew of so-called "expert" advisors I doubt he will follow my advice. At least we can stimulate each other and ponder what could be.

Eight Years in Afghanistan (Part I)

In that first year, now so far away
when bombs struck and held us at bay,
cowering under rubble of ancient brick and stone
that was when we first lost our home

The soldiers came and the old order went,
Men shaved their beards and women donned their eyes,
But out were we as no longer to school we were sent.

Battles raged and the "Western press" came and went,
meanwhile our cave hidden rations lasted us something to lick
Old places were deserted, new ones quickly marked and changed
No day had routine, each day a whizzing bullet exploding into a flame

Most moved on from the small village I lived,
almost all of it shut down.
We were never free from our misery,
hidden to the outside world,
except for occasional evening star seeing
until the American planes overhead did roar.

The first year of occupation came and went,
Minus a few friends, limbs and lives put on bent.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Madoff: Piece of a Larger Puzzle

Bernie Madoff, mastermind investor of the largest ponzi scheme in history scammed over $500 billion in a scandal that is a mere dot stain in the larger blood drawn in financial scheming that has lead to a global economic collapse. His ponzi scheme which used new investor money to pay out profits to signed up investors was central to a congressional investigation of Madoff's crime in conjuction with the SEC.

According to financial fraud investigator Harry Markopolos who testified before Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the scandal after Markopolos "gift-wrapped and delivered the largest ponzi scheme in history."

Markopolos claims that the investment scandal's effect on European investments is decimating but not yet entirely visible. Clearly, the SEC assisted Madoff in concealing the scheme and perhaps even participated in the run away crime spree. The American government has given the SEC a free hand in committing financial atrocities against the American people.

While members of Congress strongly chided the SEC for their utmost failure and ignorance of their basic duties, little will be done to punish those responsible for allowing the $500 billion heist to carry on for well over a decade. This past weekend, Reverend Al Sharpton protested outside of Madoff's penthouse Manhattan apartment for his ability to remain a free man on bail citing the deplorable state of hundreds of thousands of Americans who languish indefinitely behind bars for minor drug crimes. But, Markopolos and Sharpton's message of justice do not appear to be making any major changes to how the SEC regulates and how the federal government regulates the haphazard financial regulator.

In a country where apparatuses of justice hold open prominence in public, it is highly discouraging that these supposed bastions of fairness harbor the deepest and most sadistic retrogressive ideas toward the rule of law.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

ACLU Implores U.S. to End Torture Secrecy

In the latest development of the U.S. torture practices, the British government has made public the fact that the conditions surrounding the arrest and imprisonment of a British national, Binyam Mohamed, at Guantanamo Bay, are to be kept secret due to U.S. government claims of "national security" importance.The British High Court ruled yesterday that Mohamed's experience at Guantanamo must be kept secret due to these joint intelligence reasons.

It has also been revealed that the British government was previously threatened by the U.S. executive office on releasing any information that would implicate the United States in the practice of torture. According to the opinion of the British High Court, these efforts to supress information surrounding U.S. torture continues under the new presidential administration. Former President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have repeatedly claim that interrogation and imprisonment tactics used on terrorism suspects are within decent standards and the United States Constitution.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the ACLU wrote to beg her to clarify the U.S. position in Binyam Mohamed's case. Imploring her to break with the past history of executive deception, and "remove any threat related to the publication of the court's full judgment." The Obama Administration and Secretary of State Clinton have not yet commented on the case.

Biden Warns of Imminent Crisis

Lest we forget to heed the words of our new Vice President, here is a short video of Joe Biden on October 19, 2009, warning America of a known imminent crisis bound to strike the United States.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Congress Legislates new Campus Control Center

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 748 which will provide for a National Center for Campus Public Safety to help American universities train police and security personnel for possible future violent outbreaks on campuses. This legislation comes as a response to such high profile shooting rampages like Virginia Tech's 2007 massacre that left over 30 dead.

According to the Associated Press, this federally funded national center to streamline and centrally coordinate police responses would receive funds from the Justice Department's COPS program (Community Oriented Policing Services) which began under the Clinton administration. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Robert Scott (D) of Virginia and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) of Texas.

The National Center for Campus Public Safety, if ratified, would divy out grants to campus security services as well as engage in direct training of campus officers. The federal government would be highly active in the strategic planning and instruction of how to respond in different emergency situations.

While such an idea may contain some merit to better bolster safety on college campuses, using such a center as a conduit for more repressive practices will always remain possible. With many universities already having extensive emergency scenarios in place to combat possible school shootings, a federally mandated blueprint for proper response denies local officials their own autonomy in decision making and may even make campuses more dangerous.

And in the slew of now regular student emergency drills and SWAT team-style police training on many college campuses, students are left to wonder what the next piece of university militarization holds for their future.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Putting President on Par

Through images, slogans, seals and manerisms a portrayal's imagery permeates. Its emblazing personality upon a public produces a numbing effect.

As the TV networks continue hamming up history through Entertainment Tonight-style journalism, the deception continues in prompt personality form. The New Year has brought an unprecedented amount of presidential focus stories. Interestingly enough, a large majority of the content does not discuss the major events facing the world, but rather work to introduce and familiarize the personal life of the American leader.

In a presidential first, Barack Obama sat down with NBC for a pre-Super Bowl interview. With a captive audience at hand, news and government officials combined forces to shamelessly try to win public admiration. Bob Costas shared a few light moments with the President chatting about the continued Iraq War as well as Obama's plans for escalating the almost eight year War in Afghanistan. But to NBC and the greater Super Bowl public, these glaring facts held little value. Bob and Barack went on to talk about more feel-good things like Super Bowl predictinos and acknowledging certain campaign contributors from Pittsburgh. Also, they rummaged around family dialogue in promotion of the goodness of the corporate side of Super Bowl. Costas also was able to bring the President into tabloid converstaion guffawing over Jessica Simpson and squealing with delight at his ability to illicit any face out of the leader of the once free world.

Even mainstream American historiography of its reflexive self has fallen into the great meat masher of thoughtless existence.

So we settle for a projected personality, an enjoyable farce. We turn away from discover, ending all dialogue. The more we boast of our greatness, the less great we seem to be. For in the Age of Information, information does not seem all that important.

Courtesy Walk

Every day as I come to work I do, I venture through several halls. Not much unlike a white mouse I made my way through sheaves of glass, tile and brass. Timidly advancing, taking small steps, my labyrinth way spreads out before me. Wide and long, it narrows down as the vast and faceless rush forward. It begins to fill a crowd of bodies, each's warmth nearing mine. I feel a push, almost a shove!, bearing down on me. Everyone else goes so fast, do they even see?

I scurry along ruffled about, I smell the cheese around. I wait to move in an immobile gape, all else refuse to pause. But ever so lightly, nimble and quick I manage my way around. And in the end, I reached the maze and then stay in my new found ground.