David Seaman on Jul 31, 2013
David explains XKeyscore, the completely terrifying “new” NSA Internet spying program that was revealed to the public by additional Edward Snowden documents earlier today.
democracynow on Jul 31, 2013
www.democracynow.org – The sentencing hearing for Army whistleblower Bradley Manning begins today following his acquittal on the most serious charge he faced, aiding the enemy, but conviction on 20 other counts. On Tuesday, Manning was found guilty of violating the Espionage Act and other charges for leaking hundreds of thousands of government documents to WikiLeaks. In beating the “aiding the enemy” charge, Manning avoids an automatic life sentence, but he still faces a maximum of 136 years in prison on the remaining counts. Continue reading
When the Occupiers took an interest in moving San Francisco’s money into a city-owned bank in 2011, it was chiefly on principle, in sympathy with the nationwide Move Your Money campaign. But recent scandals have transformed the move from a political statement into a matter of protecting the city’s deposits and reducing its debt burden. The chief roadblock to forming a municipal bank has been the concern that it was not allowed under state law, but a legal opinion issued by Deputy City Attorney Thomas J. Owen has now overcome that obstacle.
That most charming of couples: Nationalism and hypocrisy
It’s not easy being a flag-waving American nationalist. In addition to having to deal with the usual disillusion, anger, and scorn from around the world incited by Washington’s endless bombings and endless wars, the nationalist is assaulted by whistle blowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, who have disclosed a steady stream of human-rights and civil-liberties scandals, atrocities, embarrassing lies, and embarrassing truths. Continue reading
As millions take to the streets demanding political participation, social justice and freedom, opponents to change – governments and reactionary forces worldwide – centralise power, tighten control of civil society and the media and trample on democratic ideals. The dangerous accumulation of powers, “legislative, executive, and judiciary” that the “father of the [American] constitution” James Madison wrote,[i] “in the same hands whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
“The Indian Uprising” by Donald Barthelme is an iconic short story of the 1960s heralding the defeat of the US empire and the end of white male dominance. Written as the USA was mired in a hopeless war, as Native-Americans and African-Americans were rebelling against oppression, and as women were breaking out of the traditional roles they had been confined to, the story predicted the victory of these insurgents over the feeble old order. Its experimental style full of dislocations and dissolutions captured the postmodern zeitgeist.
In the second quarter of 2013, the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, Citigroup, posted a 42% increase in profits which CEO Michael Corbat praised as a “well balanced” result of “cost cutting” programs, including the firing of 11,000 workers.
This big bank has a sordid history of predatory profiteering and criminal activity, not unlike all the other large banks. In the early 20th century, what was then National City Bank was the main bank for the Rockefeller Standard Oil interests. Continue reading
The recently declared bankruptcy of Detroit City could serve as an epitome of the rise and fall of not just American capitalism, but the capitalist system generally as an historical mode of production. It is a mode of production that is no longer viable as a way of efficiently organizing and sustaining society in the 21st Century. In fact, the system has become the nemesis of American and other societies across the world.
Yesterday President Obama chose Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois (originally founded by anti-slavery activists in the 1830s) to float the economic program he has been working out with Wall Street investment bankers. His aim is to wrap this program in a democratic rhetoric. The speech’s actual content boils down to: “I’m doing fine and housing prices are recovering. The way to heal the economy faster is to make a Public-Private Partnership (with Wall Street) to finance new infrastructure investment. The government will guarantee a return – and if there’s any loss, we (you taxpayers) will bear it.” His political genius was not to sugar-coat the shady parts of his proposals.
“One man’s collateral damage is another man’s son.” (Political cartoonist, Jeff Danziger, August 2nd 2006)
The words of Nasser al-Aulaqi, have a measured, dignified determination, shadowed by bewilderment and the betrayal by a country for which he had had respect, happy memories and which had provided aspects of the basis for his considerable achievements.
Nasser al-Aulaqi is the father of Anwar al-Aulaqi and the grandfather of sixteen year old Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, both killed in American drone strikes in the Yemen, within two weeks of each other, in September and October 2011, respectively. Both were American citizens.
ciwebvideos on Jul 24, 2013
Chris Hedges spoke at Friday’s Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy. He was the last to speak on the week’s theme, “Markets and Morals.” His lecture traced the demise of liberal values in America since World War I and emphasized the importance of social movements in maintaining democracy.
How can China avoid the “Western financial disease” – a real estate bubble followed by defaults and foreclosures? The U.S. and European economies originally sought to avoid this fate by taxing the location’s site value. A rent tax was the focus of Progressive Era reforms.
Enacting a rent tax remains China’s main challenge to accompany its privatization of real estate and natural resources. If land rent were fully taxed, it would not be paid to banks as interest for rising mortgage loans – and governments would not have to tax income and sales. Holding down housing debt will reduce labor’s cost of living, but not its living standards.
I have known my postman for more than 20 years. Conscientious and good-humoured, he is the embodiment of public service at its best. The other day, I asked him, “Why are you standing in front of each door like a soldier on parade?”
“New system,” he replied, “I am no longer required simply to post the letters through the door. I have to approach every door in a certain way and put the letters through in a certain way.”