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Is the U.S. Crazy?

Inquiring minds from around the world want to know. 

Ann JonesTomDispatch

 

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Jim Fuller

 

goposaur_upsidedown.jpeg?1345564410 January 11, 2015 | Americans who live abroad -- more than six million of us worldwide (not counting those who work for the U.S. government) -- often face hard questions about our country from people we live among. Europeans, Asians, and Africans ask us to explain everything that baffles them about the increasingly odd and troubling conduct of the United States.  Polite people, normally reluctant to risk offending a guest, complain that America’s trigger-happiness, cutthroat free-marketeering, and “exceptionality” have gone on for too long to be considered just an adolescent phase. Which means that we Americans abroad are regularly asked to account for the behavior of our rebranded “homeland,” now conspicuously in decline and increasingly out of step with the rest of the world.

In my long nomadic life, I’ve had the good fortune to live, work, or travel in all but a handful of countries on this planet.  I’ve been to both poles and a great many places in between, and nosy as I am, I’ve talked with people all along the way. I still remember a time when to be an American was to be envied. The country where I grew up after World War II seemed to be respected and admired around the world for way too many reasons to go into here.

Ann Jones, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan, among other books, and most recently They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars -- The Untold Story, a Dispatch Books project.

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Obama’s Narrative of Deceits

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  • Though President Obama promised “transparency” and “openness,” he has slipped so far from those goals that some wonder how many sides of his mouth he can speak through. He has surely not broken from the longstanding pattern of presidential deceits that have eroded the Republic.
  • Our National Security State: A Self-Perpetuating Machine for American Insecurity
  • The Democrats Have Lost Their Nerve and Direction.

Jason Hirthler, Consortiumnews.com

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Ho-bamaJanuary 9, 2015 | If the American public knew what was being perpetrated in its name, it might put an end to the slow-motion coup d’état of the United States by corporate wealth. But it is kept in the shadows, pinioned by a harness of half-truths that underwrite its ignorance and enable its indifference.

The public will likely remain in this state until it hears the whole truth, and not the abridged version peddled by an unscrupulous administration, its Pavlovian Cabinet, our obsequious Congress, and the sycophant media (those dutiful court stenographers of state power). Until this confederacy of knaves is exposed at scale, the Janus-faced narrative streaming from the lips of the Commander-in-Chief — whomever he or she may be — will neither change nor falter. Ringing in a New Year will not matter.

Jason Hirthler is a veteran of the communications industry. He is a regular contributor to CounterPunch, Dissident Voice and other progressive communities. 

Full story … 

Related:

Our National Security State: A Self-Perpetuating Machine for American Insecurity, Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

Welcome to the new world of American insecurity and to the nightmarish inheritance we are preparing for our children and grandchildren.

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The Democrats Have Lost Their Nerve and Direction, December 31, 2014, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

  • If you're a leftie, the Democratic establishment doesn't care about your opinion. They certainly don't want your input. What they want is your vote -- in exchange for exactly nothing in return. They're political parasites, draining the enthusiasm and idealism of progressives, simultaneously neutering and exploiting mainline libs.
  • Part 1: The Democratic Party Keeps Screwing Up
  • Part 2: The Democratic Party Lost Its Way Chasing After Wall St. Cash

 

Our National Security State: A Self-Perpetuating Machine for American Insecurity

Welcome to the new world of American insecurity and to the nightmarish inheritance we are preparing for our children and grandchildren.

Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

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barack_obama_briefing.jpg?itok=EglQs4W1A briefing of top Obama national security officials in the Situation Room of the White House, October 2009. (Photo: White House/Pete Souza)

Tuesday, January 06, 2015 | As 2015 begins, let’s take a trip down memory lane.  Imagine that it’s January 1963.  For the last three years, the United States has unsuccessfully faced off against a small island in the Caribbean, where a revolutionary named Fidel Castro seized power from a corrupt but U.S.-friendly regime run by Fulgensio Batista.  In the global power struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union in which much of the planet has chosen sides, Cuba, only 90 miles from the American mainland, finds itself in the eye of the storm.  Having lost Washington’s backing, it has, however, gained the support of distant Moscow, the other nuclear-armed superpower on the planet.

shadowgovengelhardt.jpgIn October 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower instituted an embargo on U.S. trade with the island that would, two years later, be strengthened and made permanent by John F. Kennedy.  On entering the Oval Office, Kennedy also inherited a cockamamie CIA scheme to use Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro.  That led, in April 1961, to the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in which, despite major Agency support, the exiles were crushed (after which the CIA would hatch various mad plots to assassinate the new Cuban leader).  What followed in October 1962 was “the most dangerous moment in human history” -- the Cuban missile crisis -- a brief period when many Americans, my 18-year-old self included, genuinely thought we might soon be nuclear toast. 

Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. His latest book is, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World (with an introduction by Glenn Greenwald).

Full story … 

 

Related:

Pilger | The Silent Military Coup That Took Over Washington, John Pilger, Guardian (UK)

  • This time it's Syria, last time it was Iraq. Obama chose to accept the entire Pentagon of the Bush era: its wars and war crimes.
  • The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs
  • The 5 Most Ludicrous War Claims in Obama's Syria Speech

 

Raising Hopes, FCC Chairman Signals Stronger Stance on Net Neutrality Protections

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  • Speaking at tech conference, Tom Wheeler appears to be following progressive call for reclassification.
  • Special Report | A Free and Open Internet: The Latest from the Frontlines

Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Amelia Kroger 

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated that he would support the most progressive net neutrality protections on Wednesday. (Photo: The Cable Show/flickr/cc) 

Thursday, January 08, 2015 | Federal Communications Committee chairman Tom Wheeler indicated on Wednesday that he would support some of the strongest net neutrality reforms when the committee meets again next month—including, it seems, the reclassification of the internet as a public utility under Title II of the Federal Communications Act.

Speaking at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday, Wheeler dismissed the most common industry arguments that reclassification would discourage service providers from upgrading their network systems or stifle business and innovation. ISPs and cable companies like Comcast and Verizon have strongly objected to reforms pushed by net neutrality supporters.

Nadia Prupis, staff writer, Common Dreams

Full story ... 

Net-neutrality-meme-e1398433124309.jpgRelated:

Special Report | A Free and Open Internet: The Latest from the Frontlines, January 6, 2015, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

  • To ensure an Internet that's open, fast, secure, and affordable, contact the FCC, call your members of Congress, and support efforts to build a network that works for everyone, and not just the few. 
  • Part 1: Four Pivotal Internet Issues as the Year Turns 2015
  • Part 2: FCC Will Vote On Net Neutrality In February

 

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The Absurdist Theatre of the NYPD

  • When NYPD officers turned their backs on de Blasio, they also turned their backs on us.
  • Being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are.

Kasai Rex, Daily Good

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15503314434_6c2d0d1703_o.jpg=s900x1300NYPD officers turned their backs on New York City mayor Bill De Blasio at Officer Rafael Ramos' funeral. Photo by Flickr user Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916.

Dec 31, 2014 | By now, you’ve likely heard the story of how Ismaaiyl Brinsley—who once testified in a Georgia court that he suffered from mental illness—began the morning of December 20th. He entered his ex-girlfriend Shaneka Thompson’s apartment in Baltimore County using a key he wasn’t supposed to have, then shot and critically wounded her. A trip on a Bolt Bus and several chilling posts to Instagram later, Brinsley ambushed two NYPD officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, killing the men as they sat in their squad car eating lunch, before turning his weapon on himself.

Though similar threats have streamed into the NYPD—mostly from idiotic trolls outside the N.Y.C area—the general public tends to agree that this tragedy was detrimental to the cause for an end to out-of-control police tactics. (That a few might share the wrong-headed sentiment that murdering any officer is acceptable—or even some sort of victory for “the movement”—is a testament to the deep-seated pain caused by police overreach and violence.) Most have rightly disavowed the actions of Brinsley, casting him as a lone actor with a troubled mind. 

Kasai Rex is a contributor to Daily Good 

Full story … 

Related:

The NYPD's Work Stoppage Is Surreal, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

  • In an alternate universe, the New York Police might have just solved the national community-policing controversy.
  • The Absurdist Theatre of the NYPD

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Being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are, Redditt Hudson, Washington (DC) Post  

There’s only one fix.

Chris Hedges | Greatest Speech Ever Made

Chris Hedges speaks about dismantling corporate empire, free speech, and more ….

Rise Up Times

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Gary G. Kohls

102512-1.jpg(Image: Lance Page / Truthout; Adapted: Sean McMenemy, Paula Bailey)

December 31, 2015 | Chris Hedges on: Democratic party, dismantling corporate empire, fall of the empire, financial regulation, the liberal class, the Middle East, moral paralysis, Orwell's 1984, radicalism, working classes.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

Full story … 

 

Related:

The End of the Beginning of the End, William Rivers Pitt, Truthout 

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. -- Frederick Douglass

Rise Up or Die, Chris Hedges, Truthdig

Special Report | A Free and Open Internet: The Latest from the Frontlines, January 6, 2015

To ensure an Internet that's open, fast, secure, and affordable, contact the FCC, call your members of Congress, and support efforts to build a network that works for everyone, and not just the few. 

Net-neutrality-meme-e1398433124309.jpg

Part 1: Four Pivotal Internet Issues as the Year Turns 2015

Part 2: FCC Will Vote On Net Neutrality In February

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: Four Pivotal Internet Issues as the Year Turns 2015

At stake is whether the Internet remains a democratic, user-powered network -- or falls under the control of a few powerful entities. 

 

Timothy Karr, Huffington Post

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Wheeler_with_protesters_0.jpg FCCFCC Chair Tom Wheeler with Protestors at the FCC Headquarters, Washington, DC

12/31/2014 | The death of the Internet is at hand. 

Sound familiar? That's what Internet pioneer Robert Metcalfe predicted in 1995 when he wrote that spiraling demands on the fledgling network would cause the Internet to "catastrophically collapse" by 1996. 

Metcalfe, of course, was dead wrong: The Internet is still chugging along nearly twenty years later, with a predicted 3 billion users by year's end. 

Still, the Internet's fate feels distinctly uncertain as 2015 begins. Washington is engaged in a furious debate over Net Neutrality, access to affordable broadband services is still considered a luxury for many, while governments here and abroad continue to filter digital communications to spy on everyone, crack down on dissident voices and silence speech. 

Timothy Karr, Senior Director of Strategy, Free Press

Full story … 



Part 2: FCC Will Vote On Net Neutrality In February

The outcome could affect the prices consumers pay for access to entertainment, news and other online content.

Associated Press (AP) / Huffington Post

n-FCC-TOM-WHEELER-large570.jpgFCC Chair Tom Wheeler

01/02/2015 | Federal regulators are expected to vote next month on rules to govern how Internet service providers deal with the flow of content on their high-speed networks.

The five-member Federal Communications Commission will consider then a proposal from Chairman Tom Wheeler on so-called net neutrality rules, agency spokeswoman Kim Hart said Friday. She was confirming reports in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal on the planned timing of the vote. Details of the draft proposal weren't disclosed.

Full story … 

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