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Land of the Moderately Free: USA Far from the Most Free Country in the World

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  • Candidates will claim they can solve our woes if we give them more power and more control. However, keep in mind that countries ranked highest in freedom also enjoy the highest incomes and well-being. Until politicians seek to empower the individual – rather than control them – the U.S. will continue to decline in the rankings.
  • Remember the words of the British politician, Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
  • 10 Ways America Has Come to Resemble a Banana Republic

Brett Meador, IVN

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uploads/2015/09/grunge-flag.jpg?8e00a6Sep 7, 2015 | The Human Freedom Index has downgraded the United States to the 20th most free country in the world. This puts America well behind its northern neighbor, Canada, which is ranked 6th. And even our mother country – the United Kingdom – far outranks us at 9th.

This report is not surprising for those tracking other liberty indicators. The Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index has tracked the demise of economic freedom in the United States for years – the US is currently at 12th globally.

Brett Meador is a full-time Physician Assistant Master Student with a B.S. in Biopsychology. Through civil discourse, he seeks to promote peace, liberty and intellectual honesty.

Full story … 

Related:

10 Ways America Has Come to Resemble a Banana Republic, Alex Henderson, AlterNet

  • What will it take for America to reverse its dramatic decline?
  • America’s Descent Into Madness
  • Yes, we could change. So why don't we?

 

A guide to the worst refugee crisis since WWII

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  • The struggles of refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere, for the moment, seem to not be given much attention as the media focuses on refugees from Syria and as the international community tries to grapple with the largest refugee crisis since World War II. 
  • Read This Before the Media Uses a Drowned Refugee Boy to Start Another War

Ben Norton, Mondoweiss

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Boatload%20of%20Refugees%2C%20credit-%20UNHC.jpgSeptember 9, 2015 | The world is witnessing the largest refugee crisis since the horrors of World War II.

Today there are close to 60 million war refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)—“an all-time high as violence and persecution” around the world are on the rise.

The Middle East, North Africa, and Western Asia are particularly hard hit. Millions of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Yemen are fleeing violence and war in their countries. 

Ben Norton is a freelance journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications. 

Full story … http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/refugee-crisis-since

Related:

Read This Before the Media Uses a Drowned Refugee Boy to Start Another War, Dan Sanchez, AntiMedia

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You are troubled by that picture you saw on Facebook. Good. It means your heart hasn’t been completely hardened by nationalistic and xenophobic indoctrination. But don’t let it make you susceptible to war party manipulation. And don’t just “raise awareness” of it by liking and sharing the tragedy and then forgetting about it in a month. To truly contribute to justice for Aylan, work to set things right.

 

14 Years After 9/11, the War on Terror Is Accomplishing Everything bin Laden Hoped It Would

  • Al Qaeda goaded us into doing what it had neither the resources nor the ability to do.
  • Loose Change Final Cut: Exposing The Fraudulent Official Story of 9/11

Tom Engelhardt, the Nation 

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Marines_convoy_Afghanistan_ap_img.jpgA Marine convoy in southern Afghanistan in 2008 (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File) 

September 8, 2015 | Fourteen years later and do you even believe it? Did we actually live it? Are we still living it? And how improbable is that?

Fourteen years of wars, interventions, assassinations, torture, kidnappings, black sites, the growth of the American national security state to monumental proportions, and the spread of Islamic extremism across much of the Greater Middle East and Africa. Fourteen years of astronomical expense, bombing campaigns galore, and a military-first foreign policy of repeated defeats, disappointments, and disasters. Fourteen years of a culture of fear in America, of endless alarms and warnings, as well as dire predictions of terrorist attacks. Fourteen years of the burial of American democracy (or rather its recreation as a billionaire’s playground and a source of spectacle and entertainment but not governance). Fourteen years of the spread of secrecy, the classification of every document in sight, the fierce prosecution of whistleblowers, and a faith-based urge to keep Americans “secure” by leaving them in the dark about what their government is doing. Fourteen years of the demobilization of the citizenry. Fourteen years of the rise of the warrior corporation, the transformation of war and intelligence gathering into profit-making activities, and the flocking of countless private contractors to the Pentagon, the NSA, the CIA, and too many other parts of the national security state to keep track of. Fourteen years of our wars coming home in the form of PTSD, the militarization of the police, and the spread of war-zone technology like drones and stingrays to the “homeland.” Fourteen years of that un-American word “homeland.” Fourteen years of the expansion of surveillance of every kind and of the development of a global surveillance system whose reach—from foreign leaders to tribal groups in the backlands of the planet—would have stunned those running the totalitarian states of the twentieth century. Fourteen years of the financial starvation of America’s infrastructure and still not a single mile of high-speed rail built anywhere in the country. Fourteen years in which to launch Afghan War 2.0, Iraq Wars 2.0 and 3.0, and Syria War 1.0. Fourteen years, that is, of the improbable made probable.

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the Tomdispatch.com website, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Full story … 

 

Related:

Loose Change Final Cut: Exposing The Fraudulent Official Story of 9/11, Stuart Hooper, 21st Century Wire

  • On the anniversary of 9/11, we always find ourselves looking at Loose Change Final Cut, a brilliant compilation of evidence exposing the many frauds in the official story of 9/11, where we are told a man in a cave with a satellite phone managed to get NORAD to stand down. Absurd.
  • 14 Years After 9/11, the War on Terror Is Accomplishing Everything bin Laden Hoped It Would

 

The unending persecution of Chelsea Manning

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  • The US government is trying to destroy one of the great whistleblowers of our time.
  • Manning took action with brave whistleblowing that those atop the US military machinery still find unforgivable.

Norman Solomon, Al-Jazeera

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Chelsea%20Manning%20portrait.jpgAugust 18, 2015 | The U.S. government is trying to destroy Chelsea Manning.

Five years after the arrest of Manning, an Army private, for providing classified information to WikiLeaks, the government’s cruelty is taking another turn — part George Orwell, part Lewis Carroll. But Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning did not fall down the rabbit hole. She’s locked up at Fort Leavenworth, five years into a 35-year sentence — and the fact that she is not scheduled for release until 2045 isn’t enough of a punishment. Prison authorities are now brandishing petty and bizarre charges to threaten her with indefinite solitary confinement.

Norman Solomon is the author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org.

Full story … 

Why is Cornel West Sheep-Dogging for the Democrats – Once Again?

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  • “You can’t condemn Obama as the 'drone president' and give moral cover to a candidate that confesses that he would continue that immoral policy.” --Ajamu Baraka
  • The Sanders Trap
  • Bernie Sanders Should Stop Ducking Foreign Policy

Ajamu Baraka, Black Agenda Report 

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BARAKA_sanders_west.jpg?itok=PSzxBmerTue, 09/08/2015 | Cornel West has thrown his support to Bernie Sanders, the nominal socialist – but unquestionable Democrat – running for president. Dr. West says Sanders “tells the truth about Wall Street, white supremacy, empire, patriarchy and homophobia.” Really? The author says West has some explaining to do. “Brother West, you can’t quote King on his stance against militarism and support a candidate that is unable to utter a word against U.S. militarism.”

Rosa Clemente, who ran for Vice President with Cynthia McKinney in 2008, reminds us that Cornel West and many other notable left activists and intellectuals who have given lip-service to the need for an independent left politics in the U.S., dutifully lined-up to give their support to Barack Obama.  For many of these leftists, the rationale offered to support the Democrat candidate wasn’t even about the traditional “lesser of two evils,” but a strange belief that somehow this individual, selected and pushed by powerful forces within the liberal Democrat establishment and some defectors from the Clinton DLC wing of the party, represented a significant break with the neoliberal agenda that both parties had committed themselves to since the late 70s.

Ajamu Baraka: Black Agenda Report editor and columnist 

Full story … 

Bernie%20Sanders%2C%20Clinton%20Sheep%20Dog.jpgRelated:

The Sanders Trap, Lance Selfa, Jacobin

  • History shows that Bernie Sanders’s campaign will raise lots of hopes — and do little to strengthen the Left.
  • America's Electoral Farce

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Bernie Sanders Should Stop Ducking Foreign Policy, Norman Solomon, Al Jazeera

  • The progressive favorite has views on foreign affairs but has avoided articulating them to voters.
  • Bernie Sanders must show he takes race as seriously as class struggle,

 

Watching as the Fabric That Holds This Society Together Unravels

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  • That shocking degree of violence described above illustrates what happens when the fabric of a society unravels; when the major foundations of this country begin to crumble, the violence escalates.
  • Special Project | From the Archives: Chris Hedges on "The Death of the Liberal Class"
  • Book Excerpt: ‘Death of the Liberal Class’ ~ Chris Hedges

Michael PayneOpEdNews

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s_300_farm5_static_flickr_com_23439_5079441849_b48655b17a_n_440.gif9/2/2015 | Leave for work, go for a walk or to the mall, attend church, go to your grade school, high school or college, or to a movie and you can be a victim of catastrophic violence in an instant. No longer can one go anywhere in this country and feel completely safe. Those days are long gone in today's America, an epicenter of violence. And that's a national tragedy of monumental proportions.

That shocking degree of violence described above illustrates what happens when the fabric of a society unravels; when the major foundations of this country begin to crumble, the violence escalates.

Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.

Full story … 

Related:

arts_culture_uploads/thedeath_182.jpgSpecial Project | From the Archives: Chris Hedges on "The Death of the Liberal Class"

  • Tue, 03/08/2011 A frightening critique of anybody who falsely believes that electoral politics might save the planet from the cannibalization by the ruling elite.
  • Michael Moore: "America Is NOT Broke"

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Book Excerpt: ‘Death of the Liberal Class’ ~ Chris Hedges

In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue. It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements, making the liberal class a useful component within the power elite.

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