The Great Decoupling How the West is Engineering its Own Downfall

04/16/2014

http://www.activistpost.com/2014/04/the-great-decoupling-how-west-is.html

4-16-2014 7-50-59 AM

James Corbett

Activist Post

Reports out of Moscow indicate that Russia is on the verge of signing the “holy grail” of gas deals with China. The deal between Russian state-owned gas firm Gazprom and Beijing would see as much as 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year flowing through the first proposed Russia-China pipeline by 2018. The agreement has apparently been in the works for years, but recent events on Moscow’s western flank (read: the Ukrainian situation) has moved the timetable on the plan up dramatically, with the last sticking point being the price. If the deal is signed next month during Putin’s state visit to China, as many analysts are speculating will happen, it will be a significant event not only economically, but geopolitically.

Given the fact that Russia, the world’s largest gas producer, and China, the world’s largest gas consumer, are neighbors it would be logical to assume that a gas pipeline between the two countries already exists. But logic and geopolitics seldom mix, and tensions between the two formerly communist countries (however one characterizes China’s current political and economic system) have remained ever since border disputes brought Moscow and Beijing to the brink of war in the 1960s. Establishing a gas link would thus be a very powerful signal of the growing understanding between the Russian bear and the Chinese dragon that their future lies more with each other than it does with a NATO-backed alliance that is increasingly encircling and isolating them.

Speaking of logic, this latest deal, if it is signed after all, would only be the logical extension of all of the moves toward cooperation between Russia, China and their ex-Soviet satellites that we’ve been seeing in recent years.

There’s the rise of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The “SCO” encompasses China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan waiting in the wings as observer nations, and Belarus, Sri Lanka and Turkey as “dialogue partners.” Originally the “Shanghai Five” of signatories to the 1996 Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions, the group has gone on to deepen their military, intelligence and security ties, staging joint military exercises since 2003 and China-Russia war games since 2005. They are also coordinating on security matters, including a 2004 agreement on a Regional Antiterrorism Structure and the 2006 cooperation agreement with CSTO, the NATO counterbalance in the region.
There’s the rise of the BRICS. From a theoretical construct in an economic paper in 2001 to a very real political association with annual summits and ministers meetings today, the rise of the BRICS grouping in the past decade has been undeniable. Although the days of double digit growth and “taking over the world” reports are now a thing of the past, the association remains important for its ability to fuse developing economies as diverse as those of Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa into an economic and political counterbalance to the so-called “Washington consensus” of the World Bank / IMF regime. While China is undeniably in the BRICS driver’s seat, the access that the five-nation grouping gives each other’s member nations to far-flung parts of the globe, and the ways that the members’ economies can find surprisingly symbiotic notes (like that of the relation between Brazil and China) have made it into more than the sum of its parts, and it is now looking to expand its regional influence with the creation of the BRICS development bank.

There’s the rise of the Eurasian Union. Set to come into existence on New Year’s Day 2015, the proposed economic union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia has been modeled on the European Union, complete with a “Eurasian Economic Commission” based on the European Commission. The Commission will coordinate integration on customs issues, macroeconomics, energy and financial policy, labor migration and other key issues, with the end goal being a European Union-style supra-national organization very much like the EU. Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are already waiting in the wings to get on board with the union, with Kyrgyzstan shutting down the U.S. Manas air base (allegedly used to ship drugs out of Afghanistan) and expanding the Russian air base that it currently hosts as a goodwill gesture.

Once again, the idea that Russia would seek closer economic, political and military cooperation with its regional neighbors is a perfectly logical and predictable outcome of the pressure that is building on Russia’s western flank from the US and NATO, not just the recent sanctions, but the years-long build-up of “ballistic missile defense” in Eastern Europe and NATO’s steady progress in swallowing up Eastern European nations. For those who are still locked in the mindset that moves on the geopolitical chessboard are essentially random, with countries scattering this way and that like billiard balls at the break, this poses a puzzling question: why would the NATO allies be backing Russia into a corner to the point that it starts engaging in these alliances? After all, the more Russia turns to its regional allies the more it weans itself and its economy off of the very system that could provide diplomatic and political pressure points for NATO to press upon when needed. In other words, why is NATO helping to push their geopolitical rivals into a closer union? Are they trying to build up their own enemy?

For those who like their answers up front, that answer is “yes.”

For those who need to see the argument before they arrive at the conclusion, there are no shortage of stories demonstrating how Russia, China, and their “resistance bloc” allies have been built up by the west in recent years.

The sanctions that have been levied against Iran in recent years have steadily driven that country into bilateral trade agreements that not only circumvent the sanctions, but help ease the country and its trading partners off their dependency on the dollar. There was the ‘gas-for-gold‘ swap between Iran and Turkey that skirted the sanctions. There was the ‘junk-for-oil‘ trade between Iran and India/China. There was the ruble-denominated bilateral agreement signed between Russia and Iran in 2012. In the long run, the west succeeded in doing damage to the Iranian economy, but they also succeeded in building up trading alliances that skirt the dollar (and weaken future sanctions regimes) altogether.

The growing naval and aerial threat of the Chinese military has US technology to thank, not only by direct military transfer(as a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory whistleblower demonstrated the Clinton administration did in the 1990s) but by indirect (and illegal) transfers via Israel. And just last month, a congressional investigation uncovered evidence that the US government was planning to give Russia high level military technology for use in training their troops as part of the FY2015 budget, even as they were talking about tough sanctions and dire consequences for Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The Chinese industrial juggernaut did not just spring up overnight; the infrastructure for China’s economic marvel of the last decade was laid in the decade before. In the seven years from 1994 to 2001 alone, direct investment of US-based multinational corporations in China quadrupled from $2.6 billion to $10.5 billion.

4-16-2014 12-25-23 PM

 In the same time period, China rose from the 30th-largest target of US R&D investment to the 11th on the back of a doubling of US affiliates in the country. The list of companies that started major R&D activities or facilities in China in the 1990s reads like a who’s who of the CFR-nested Fortune 500 set: DuPont, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, IBM, Intel, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, Motorola, and Rohm and Haas all had a significant stake in China by the beginning of the 21st century.
And the BRICS association that economists were wringing their hands over in previous years as a major threat to American-led western economic neo-liberalism? It was actually created by Goldman Sachs, an outgrowth of a research paper that was convincing enough that it actually caused the four nations (of the then-”BRIC” grouping) to start a political process that made the paper into reality.

It seems that as we enter the world of the “new cold war” there is western backing behind every aspect of this new rivalry. And sure enough, the much-ballyhooed Cold War 2.0 is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. China’s decision to abstain from the UN Security Council vote on Crimea’s annexation last month was a significant turning point in and of itself. Given China’s unease over its own territorial issues (Tibet, Xinjiang), the fact that they didn’t vote for the resolution condemning a nation’s right to unilaterally secede from a country speaks volumes about China and Russia’s increasing cooperation in geopolitical matters.

The inescapable conclusion is that the NATO powers have helped to create their own enemy. They have helped to arm and fund that enemy, and then poked and prodded him into reaction. We would do well to remember the true genesis of this conflict the next time we are told about the “New Cold War.”
This is an article from The Corbett Report Subscriber, the weekly e-newsletter for members of corbettreport.com. Please support this website and this work by signing up for a Corbett Report membership today for as little as 100 Japanese Yen ($1 US) per month. CLICK HERE for details.

See more from James Corbett at CorbettReport.com and YouTube.

OLDDOGS COMMENTS

Coming from the pen of Mr. Corbett I would expect more clarification on where all this manipulation originated. Specifically identifying the Banking Cartel as the culprits behind every action that contributes to the death of sovereign States would seem more in line with the truth. This pusillanimous group of tyrants has their nefarious influence in every facet of our lives, and should always be identified as the head of the monster’s they command. Assume nothing; make the connection.

10 13 11 flagbar


Washington Is Humanities Worst Enemy

04/15/2014

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/04/13/washington-humanitys-worst-enemy-paul-craig-roberts/

Paul Craig Roberts

How does Washington get away with the claim that the country it rules is a democracy and has freedom? This absurd claim ranks as one of the most unsubstantiated claims in history.

There is no democracy whatsoever. Voting is a mask for rule by a few powerful interest groups. In two 21st century rulings (Citizens United and McCutcheon), the US Supreme Court has ruled that the purchase of the US government by private interest groups is merely the exercise of free speech. These rulings allow powerful corporate and financial interests to use their money-power to elect a government that serves their interests at the expense of the general welfare.

The control private interests exercise over the government is so complete that private interests have immunity to prosecution for crimes. At his retirement party on March 27, Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutor James Kidney stated that his prosecutions of Goldman Sachs and other “banks too big to fail” were blocked by superiors who “were focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service.” The SEC’s top brass, Kidney said, did not “believe in afflicting the comfortable and powerful.” In his report on Kidney’s retirement speech, Eric Zuesse points out that the Obama regime released false statistics in order to claim prosecutions that did not take place in order to convince a gullible public that Wall Street crooks were being punished.http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/09/65578/ 

Democracy and freedom require an independent and aggressive media, an independent and aggressive judiciary, and an independent and aggressive Congress. The United States has none of the above.

The US media consistently lies for the government. Reuters continues to report, falsely, that Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. The Washington Post ran an obviously false story planted on the paper by the Obama regime that the massive protests in former Russian territories of Ukraine are “rent-a-mobs” instigated by the Russian government.

Not even Washington’s stooges in Kiev believe that. Officials of the Washington-imposed government in Kiev acknowledged the need for some autonomy for the Russian-speaking regions and for a law permitting referendums, but this realistic response to widespread concerns among Ukrainians has apparently been squelched by Washington and its presstitute media. US Secretary of State John Kerry continues to turn a deaf ear to the Russian Foreign Minister and continues to demand that “Russia must remove its people from the South-East.”

What is happening is very dangerous. Washington misjudged its ability to grab the
Ukraine. Opposition to the US grab is almost total in the Russian-speaking areas.
Local police and security forces have gone over to the protesters. The corrupt Obama regime and the presstitute media lie through their teeth that the protests are insincere and mere orchestrations by “Putin who wants to restore the Soviet empire.” The Russian government keeps trying to end the conflict and unrest that Washington’s reckless coup in Kiev has caused short of having to reabsorb the former Russian territories as it was forced to do in Crimea. But Washington continues ignoring the Russian government and blaming the unrest on Russia’s not Washington’s, interference.http://rt.com/news/lavrov-kerry-ukraine-talks-200/ See also:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38196.htm

The Russian government knows that Washington does not believe what Washington is saying and that Washington is systematically provoking a continuation and worsening
of the problem. The Russian government wonders what agenda Washington is pursuing. Is Washington in its arrogant stupidity and superpower hubris unable to acknowledge that its takeover of the Ukraine has come amiss and to back off? Does Washington not realize that the Russian government is no more able to accept the application of violence against Russian populations in Ukraine than it could accept violence against Russians in South Ossetia? If Washington doesn’t come to its senses, the Russian government will have to send in troops as it had to do in Georgia. nal-288/ ” target=”_blank”>http://rt.com/news/ukraine-russia-operation-criminal-288/

As this is clear even to a fool, is it Washington’s goal to start a war? Is that why Washington is massing NATO forces on Russia’s borders and sending missile ships
into the Black Sea? Washington is putting the entire world at risk. If Russia concludes that Washington intends to drive the Ukraine crisis to war rather than to resolve the crisis, will Russia sit and wait, or will Russia strike first?

One would think that the Chancellor of Germany, the British Prime Minister, and the President of France would see the danger in the situation. Perhaps they do. However, there is a large difference between the aid that Russia gives countries and the aid given by Washington. Russia provides financial support to governments; Washington gives bagfuls of money to individuals in the government with the knowledge that individuals are more likely to act in their own interest than in the interest of their country. Therefore, European politicians are silent as Washington pushes a crisis toward war. If we don’t get to war, the only reason will be that Putin comes up with a solution that Washington cannot refuse, as Putin did in Syria and Iran.

It is a paradox that Putin is portrayed as the heavy while Washington pretends to be the champion of “freedom and democracy.” In the 21st century Washington has established as its hallmarks every manifestation of tyranny: illegal and unconstitutional execution of citizens without due process of law, illegal and unconstitutional indefinite detention of citizens without due process of law, illegal and unconstitutional torture, illegal and unconstitutional rendition, illegal and unconstitutional surveillance, and illegal and unconstitutional wars. The executive branch has established that it is unaccountable to law or to the Constitution. An unaccountable government is a tyranny.

Tired of being spied upon and lied to, the Senate Intelligence Committee has produced a thorough investigation of the CIA’s torture programs. The investigation took four years to complete. The Committee found, unequivocally, that the CIA lied about the extent of the torture and kidnappings, that detainees did not undergo some mild form of “enhanced interrogation” but were subjected to brutal and inhumane torture, that the CIA, contrary to its claims, did not get even one piece of useful information from its grave crimes against humanity. The American presstitutes assisted the CIA in inaccurately portraying the effectiveness and mildness of the CIA’s Gestapo practices. During the entirety of the investigation, the CIA illegally spied on the Senate staff conducting the investigation.

Is the public ever to see this report beyond the parts that have been leaked? Not if the CIA and Obama can prevent it. President “change” Obama has decided that it is up to the CIA to decide how much of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation will be made public. In other words, unless someone leaks the entire report, the American public will never know. Yet, “we have freedom and democracy.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee itself has the power to vole to declassify the entire report and to release it. The committee should do so immediately before the members of the committee are browbeat, threatened, and propagandized into believing that they are endangering “national security” and providing those mistreated with grounds for a lawsuit.

The US government is the most corrupt government on earth. There is no independent judiciary or media, and Congress has acquiesced to executive branch encroachments on its powers. Consider the judiciary. Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights represented the father of the American citizen, who Obama said would be murdered by the US government on suspicion that he was associated with terrorism. When Ratner asked the federal courts to block an illegal and unconstitutional execution of an American citizen without due process, the federal judge who heard the case ruled that the father of a son about to be murdered did not have standing to bring a case in behalf of his son.

After several lives were snuffed out by President “I’m good at killing people” Obama, Ratner represented relatives of Obama’s murdered victims in a damage suit. Under US law it was clear as day that damages were due. But the federal judge ruled that “the government must be trusted.”http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38202.htm

Whether or not anyone has standing is entirely up to the government. The IRS takes a completely different position on the matter. Children have standing to have their tax refunds confiscated by the IRS if the IRS thinks the IRS may have overpaid the parents’ Social Security benefits.http://www.cnbc.com/id/101576080

So in “freedom and democracy” Amerika, children are responsible if the IRS “thinks”–no proof required–that it wrote parents too large of a Social Security check, but a father has no legal standing to bring a lawsuit to prevent the US government from the extra-legal murder of his son.

Thanks to the Republican Federalist Society and to the Republican judges the Federalist Society has managed to have appointed to the federal bench, the federal judiciary functions as a protector of executive branch tyranny. Whatever the executive branch asserts and does is permissible, especially if the executive branch invokes “national security.”

In America today, the executive branch claims that “national security” is impaired unless the executive branch can operate illegally and unconstitutionally and unless citizens are willing to give up every constitutional right in order to be made safe in a total police state that spies on and documents every aspect of their lives.

Even the Government Accountability Office has been neutered. In 2013 the Government Accountability Office told the TSA to eliminate its behavior screening program as it is a waste of money and does not work. So what did the TSA do. Why, of course, it expanded the useless intrusion into the privacy of travelers.

This is Amerika today. Yet Washington prances around chanting “freedom and democracy” even as it displaces the greatest tyrannies in human history with its own.

Only gullible Americans expect leaders and elites or voting to do anything about the institutionalization of tyranny. Elites are only interested in money. As long as the
system produces more income and wealth for elites, elites don’t give a hoot about tyranny or what happens to the rest of us.

OLDDOGS COMMENTS

What Mr. Roberts consistently omits is all of the people involved in this travesty are under the control of the International Investment Banking Cartel, and we only need one honest and brave General to construct an elite special force to eliminate the Cartel and some of the Corporate heads, disband the government and start over with a United Citizens States of America Republic. One that was administrators for the States on different subjects and did not have any power other than what the States gave it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember that’s what we were told we had. Evil men will never cease to exist and accumulate power; therefore we need a new system of governance with the people really in control of the administrators.

10 13 11 flagbar


Independence Rising Secession movements spreading around the globe

04/12/2014

3-8-2012 8-51-13 AM

Subscribe Here. http://www.theinternationalforecaster.com/order.php

 The International Forecaster

by James Corbett corbettreport.com April 5, 2014 Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month, you no doubt know about the Crimean status referendum that was held in March to determine the fate of the autonomous republic, until now a subdivision of Ukraine. The referendum gave Crimean’s the choice of joining the Russian Federation or reverting to the 1992 Crimean constitution, which gave the republic full sovereign power as a nominal part of Ukraine. The result was nearly unanimous, with 96.77% voting to join Russia.

The vote was naturally considered illegitimate by the NATO powers that had just successfully engineered a violent coup overthrowing the democratically-elected (if cronyish and thuggish) government of Viktor Yanukovych. They led the UN General Assembly to adopt a (typically non-binding, toothless, meaningless) resolution declaring the referendum invalid on the grounds that the vote had been carried out under Russian coercion and did not follow the procedures of the Ukrainian constitution in seeking formal secession from the country. This leads to the obvious retort that the coup in Kiev did not follow the Ukrainian constitution, either, but then again this is the type of argument put forward by the likes of John “you just don’t invade another country on a completely trumped-up pretext” Kerry, so it’s safe to assume that hypocrisy is not something these people are concerned about.

What you may not have caught under all the pomp and bluster of these first shots in the so-called “New Cold War” is that a very similar scene was taking place in southern Europe at nearly the same time. In a week-long unofficial referendum beginning March 15, citizens of Veneto-the region of Italy encompassing such cities as Padova, Vicenza and, most famously, Venice-voted on whether or not to secede from Italy. In a region of 3.8 million voters, organizers say nearly 2.36 million cast a vote, with a whopping 2.1 million voting for independence. The results of the very non-scientific poll are hotly contested, with critics alleging that some of the votes were being cast from overseas and others being counted twice, but Rome is taking it seriously enough: Earlier this week they arrested 24 independence activists, claiming that they were engaged in “terrorism” and even “fabricating weapons of war.” What weapons? Apparently Italian authorities seized a tractor that they claimed the activists had tried to convert into a tank.

As cartoonish as the would be “Repubblica Veneta” appears at this point, it’s part of a wider trend that’s spreading across the globe: a trend toward secession. The Venetian activists were inspired by a similar movement in Scotland, where independence advocates are looking forward to their own referendum this September on whether or not Scotland should become an independent country, either as a republic or as an independent Commonwealth realm under the crown a la Canada or Australia. In the Catalonian region of Spain and France, meanwhile, a strong contingent of citizens support the formation of an independent Catalan nation. Across the pond in Canada, the idea of Quebec’s separation is once again rearing its head in the provincial election cycle.

Likewise around the world, separatist movements in Algeria, China, Indonesia, Libya, Uzbekistan, and literally dozens of other countries continue to agitate for secession from their respective governments. Even the countries where one would least expect to find such sentiment harbor their own separatists, however marginalized: the Ainu in Japan; the Basque, Bretons, Corsicans, Normans, and others in France; the Zapatistas in Mexico. Whatever else may be said about the human condition, it seems the dream of sovereignty cuts across race, culture and social context.

But this is supposed to be an era of globalism, isn’t it? We live in an era of UNs and EUs and WTOs and TPPs and NAUs and APECs and SCOs and all sorts of other ominous acronyms that all stand for the same globalist ideology. They are all about bringing the world into a system of increasingly large and unaccountable globalist bodies that take power further away from the people.

So aren’t these independence movements the exact opposite phenomenon? Isn’t this about bringing power back down to the people, not to some national capital in some far off place but closer to home, among people we know and identify with? Isn’t this about decentralization and independence? Isn’t this the opposite of globalism?

Well, yes and no. “Yes” in the sense that separatist movements are fighting against the trend toward bigger and more distant governments. It’s about returning power to the local level, after all. But “no” in the sense that, as separatism is a desire to undermine the nation-state, it dovetails nicely with that part of the globalist game plan that relies on the undermining of the nation-state. Americans will never see themselves as citizens of the United Nations, after all. Try to sell them that and most people will salute the nearest flag and start humming the Star-Spangled Banner with their hands over their heart. But ask a Texan if he likes what the Congress critters in Washington are doing and you start to chip away at that sense of “nation.” Here we have the idea that separatist movements can be used as stepping stones toward a globalist endgame. Split the nations up and give the people their local governments, then stitch those local governments up with trade pacts and treaties until you have a world government of local, “autonomous” regions.

This idea was suggested by Daniel Estulin in his 2007 bestseller The True Story of the Bilderberg Group. According to Estulin:

“…it became known to me from deep undercover sources within the [Bilderberg] meeting that the 1996 conference was allegedly to be used as a staging ground for the imminent breakup of Canada. This was to be secured through a Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Quebec, to be launched in early 1997. The declaration would fragment Canada, with the aim of achieving ‘Continental Union’ with the U.S. by 2000, a date which has been pushed back at least twice since then.”

What seems paradoxical at first glance makes a twisted kind of sense upon further reflection. It’s much harder to merge Canada with the US and Mexico than it is to force Quebec and Cascadia and Texas and Chiapas and a bunch of other subdivided regions into a marriage of economic necessity. After all, it gives the people what they want (the appearance of local rule and sovereignty) even as it takes it away behind the scenes by enacting a bunch of ‘boring’ trade agreements and treaties.

This strategy is at play in the implementation of Agenda 21. This UN-led “sustainable development” monstrosity is seeking the creation of a system of inventory and control of the planet’s resources by the ruling oligarchy, which is why it has to hide behind feel-good terms like “sustainable development.” In order to forego the scrutiny (not to mention bureaucracy) that comes with trying to implement such a plan at the nation-state level, Agenda 21 is being introduced at the local level through organizations like ICLEI, the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives” that boasts a membership of “12 mega-cities, 100 super-cities and urban regions, 450 large cities, 450 small and medium-sized cities and towns in 84 countries dedicated to sustainable development.” ICLEI provides the materials, resources and action plans for individual cities to enact, much like the Green Cities Campaign, the Global Mayors’ Forum, and a host of similar organizations. Again, people get to feel that the policies that are being enacted (increasing restrictions on land use, increasing concentration of “human habitation,” increasing clampdowns on the use of resources and on manufacturing activity, etc.) are all coming from spontaneous, local, grassroots groups in their own city without ever realizing that the agenda is being coordinated at the top.

So where does this leave us? Are all of these independence movements being secretly spearheaded by the globalists? Are all attempts at secession doomed to fall into the globalist trap? Should the Scots give up their quest for sovereignty? Or the Catalans, or the Venetians, or anyone else for that matter? Of course not. No one will deny that the urge for sovereignty and independence is the spontaneous expression of a heartfelt desire, one shared by people around the world and throughout the ages. But at the same time, does the process of decentralization end once we get a more local parliament? If so, why? What does “independence” really mean if the people are still subject to the decisions and policies of “lawmakers” in the seats of power? And where does the power and justification for these government come from in the first place? Will we ever escape the globalist trap if we continue to believe in the power of government to make our laws and sign our treaties and negotiate our economic agreements and regulate our money supply?

These are all big questions, and I won’t pretend to answer them here and now. But it’s something to keep in mind as the excitement over independence starts to pick up steam around the globe.

Recommended Reading and Viewing.

Recommended Reading US Gov Covertly Invented a “Cuban Twitter” to Create Revolution – LibertyBlitzkrieg CIA ‘misled public about interrogation techniques’ – Yahoo! News No global warming for 17 years 8 months – WattsUpWithThat

Recommended Listening Porkins Policy Radio ep. 19 Mathew Van Dyke: The CIA’s Favorite Mercenary

Recommended Viewing The New Trend: Allergy-Free Food and What You’re NOT Eating Police Shoot, Kill 80-Year-Old Man In His Own Bed The Secret Science Of Advertising

10 13 11 flagbar

 


Young Americans Don’t Fight Back?

04/11/2014

http://globalwarming-arclein.blogspot.ca/2014/04/young-americans-dont-fight-back.html

By Bruce E. Levine  There is a lot of seriously flawed thinking in this article, but it is worth reading for the points listed and consideration.   What is blindingly obvious is that our society is in transition and has been so for a long time.  Not surprisingly, old institutions and ideas do get left behind and many do lose their way as well.   What that does mean is that we need to strive to do better as a society to achieve superior results.  Our forefathers had clear ideas that they vigorously implemented.   We need to think out our available options and apply them and vest them properly inside the community and family.   This writer surely thinks that youthful resistance should focus of his own agenda and that is surely not true.  Resistance always needs to mature and be applied at the fulcrum for effect.  We are watching this happen worldwide now and it is all leading to a more egalitarian society.   8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance March 19, 2014

 http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/03/19/8-reasons-young-americans-dont-fight-back-us-crushed-youth-resistance/

Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination. Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it. A 2010 Gallup poll asked Americans “Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?” Among 18- to 34-years-olds, 76 percent of them said no. Yet despite their lack of confidence in the availability of Social Security for them, few have demanded it be shored up by more fairly payroll-taxing the wealthy; most appear resigned to having more money deducted from their paychecks for Social Security, even though they don’t believe it will be around to benefit them. How exactly has American society subdued young Americans?

1. Student-Loan Debt. Large debt—and the fear it creates—is a pacifying force. There was no tuition at the City University of New York when I attended one of its colleges in the 1970s, a time when tuition at many U.S. public universities was so affordable that it was easy to get a B.A. and even a graduate degree without accruing any student-loan debt. While those days are gone in the United States, public universities continue to be free in the Arab world and are either free or with very low fees in many countries throughout the world. The millions of young Iranians who risked getting shot to protest their disputed 2009 presidential election, the millions of young Egyptians who risked their lives earlier this year to eliminate Mubarak, and the millions of young Americans who demonstrated against the Vietnam War all had in common the absence of pacifying huge student-loan debt. Today in the United States, two-thirds of graduating seniors at four-year colleges have student-loan debt, including over 62 percent of public university graduates. While average undergraduate debt is close to $25,000, I increasingly talk to college graduates with closer to $100,000 in student-loan debt. During the time in one’s life when it should be easiest to resist authority because one does not yet have family responsibilities, many young people worry about the cost of bucking authority, losing their job, and being unable to pay an ever-increasing debt. In a vicious cycle, student debt has a subduing effect on activism, and political passivity makes it more likely that students will accept such debt as a natural part of life.

2. Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance. In 1955, Erich Fromm, the then widely respected anti-authoritarian leftist psychoanalyst, wrote, “Today the function of psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis threatens to become the tool in the manipulation of man.” Fromm died in 1980, the same year that an increasingly authoritarian America elected Ronald Reagan president, and an increasingly authoritarian American Psychiatric Association added to their diagnostic bible (then the DSM-III) disruptive mental disorders for children and teenagers such as the increasingly popular “oppositional defiant disorder” (ODD). The official symptoms of ODD include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules,” “often argues with adults,” and “often deliberately does things to annoy other people.” Many of America’s greatest activists including Saul Alinsky (1909–1972), the legendary organizer and author of Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals, would today certainly be diagnosed with ODD and other disruptive disorders. Recalling his childhood, Alinsky said, “I never thought of walking on the grass until I saw a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass.’ Then I would stomp all over it.” Heavily tranquilizing antipsychotic drugs (e.g. Zyprexa and Risperdal) are now the highest grossing class of medication in the United States ($16 billion in 2010); a major reason for this, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010, is that many children receiving antipsychotic drugs have nonpsychotic diagnoses such as ODD or some other disruptive disorder (this especially true of Medicaid-covered pediatric patients).

3. Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy. Upon accepting the New York City Teacher of the Year Award on January 31, 1990, John Taylor Gatto upset many in attendance by stating: “The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions.” A generation ago, the problem of compulsory schooling as a vehicle for an authoritarian society was widely discussed, but as this problem has gotten worse, it is seldom discussed. The nature of most classrooms, regardless of the subject matter, socializes students to be passive and directed by others, to follow orders, to take seriously the rewards and punishments of authorities, to pretend to care about things they don’t care about, and that they are impotent to affect their situation. A teacher can lecture about democracy, but schools are essentially undemocratic places, and so democracy is not what is instilled in students. Jonathan Kozol in The Night Is Dark and I Am Far from Home focused on how school breaks us from courageous actions. Kozol explains how our schools teach us a kind of “inert concern” in which “caring”—in and of itself and without risking the consequences of actual action—is considered “ethical.” School teaches us that we are “moral and mature” if we politely assert our concerns, but the essence of school—its demand for compliance—teaches us not to act in a friction-causing manner.

4. “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” The corporatocracy has figured out a way to make our already authoritarian schools even more authoritarian. Democrat-Republican bipartisanship has resulted in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, NAFTA, the PATRIOT Act, the War on Drugs, the Wall Street bailout, and educational policies such as “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” These policies are essentially standardized-testing tyranny that creates fear, which is antithetical to education for a democratic society. Fear forces students and teachers to constantly focus on the demands of test creators; it crushes curiosity, critical thinking, questioning authority, and challenging and resisting illegitimate authority. In a more democratic and less authoritarian society, one would evaluate the effectiveness of a teacher not by corporatocracy-sanctioned standardized tests but by asking students, parents, and a community if a teacher is inspiring students to be more curious, to read more, to learn independently, to enjoy thinking critically, to question authorities, and to challenge illegitimate authorities.

5. Shaming Young People Who Take Education—But Not Their Schooling—Seriously. In a 2006 survey in the United States, it was found that 40 percent of children between first and third grade read every day, but by fourth grade, that rate declined to 29 percent. Despite the anti-educational impact of standard schools, children and their parents are increasingly propagandized to believe that disliking school means disliking learning. That was not always the case in the United States. Mark Twain famously said, “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.” Toward the end of Twain’s life in 1900, only 6 percent of Americans graduated high school. Today, approximately 85 percent of Americans graduate high school, but this is good enough for Barack Obama who told us in 2009, “And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country.” The more schooling Americans get, however, the more politically ignorant they are of America’s ongoing class war, and the more incapable they are of challenging the ruling class. In the 1880s and 1890s, American farmers with little or no schooling created a Populist movement that organized America’s largest-scale working people’s cooperative, formed a People’s Party that received 8 percent of the vote in 1892 presidential election, designed a “subtreasury” plan (that had it been implemented would have allowed easier credit for farmers and broke the power of large banks) and sent 40,000 lecturers across America to articulate it, and evidenced all kinds of sophisticated political ideas, strategies and tactics absent today from America’s well-schooled population. Today, Americans who lack college degrees are increasingly shamed as “losers”; however, Gore Vidal and George Carlin, two of America’s most astute and articulate critics of the corporatocracy, never went to college, and Carlin dropped out of school in the ninth grade.

6. The Normalization of Surveillance. The fear of being surveilled makes a population easier to control. While the National Security Agency (NSA) has received publicity for monitoring American citizen’s email and phone conversations, and while employer surveillance has become increasingly common in the United States, young Americans have become increasingly acquiescent to corporatocracy surveillance because, beginning at a young age, surveillance is routine in their lives. Parents routinely check Web sites for their kid’s latest test grades and completed assignments, and just like employers, are monitoring their children’s computers and Facebook pages. Some parents use the GPS in their children’s cell phones to track their whereabouts, and other parents have video cameras in their homes. Increasingly, I talk with young people who lack the confidence that they can even pull off a party when their parents are out of town, and so how much confidence are they going to have about pulling off a democratic movement below the radar of authorities?

7. Television. In 2009, the Nielsen Company reported that TV viewing in the United States is at an all-time high if one includes the following “three screens”: a television set, a laptop/personal computer, and a cell phone. American children average eight hours a day on TV, video games, movies, the Internet, cell phones, iPods, and other technologies (not including school-related use). Many progressives are concerned about the concentrated control of content by the corporate media, but the mere act of watching TV—regardless of the programming—is the primary pacifying agent (private-enterprise prisons have recognized that providing inmates with cable television can be a more economical method to keep them quiet and subdued than it would be to hire more guards). Television is a dream come true for an authoritarian society: those with the most money own most of what people see; fear-based television programming makes people more afraid and distrustful of one another, which is good for the ruling elite who depend on a “divide and conquer” strategy; TV isolates people so they are not joining together to create resistance to authorities; and regardless of the programming, TV viewers’ brainwaves slow down, transforming them closer to a hypnotic state that makes it difficult to think critically. While playing a video games is not as zombifying as passively viewing TV, such games have become for many boys and young men their only experience of potency, and this “virtual potency” is certainly no threat to the ruling elite.

8. Fundamentalist Religion and Fundamentalist Consumerism. American culture offers young Americans the “choices” of fundamentalist religion and fundamentalist consumerism. All varieties of fundamentalism narrow one’s focus and inhibit critical thinking. While some progressives are fond of calling fundamentalist religion the “opiate of the masses,” they too often neglect the pacifying nature of America’s other major fundamentalism. Fundamentalist consumerism pacifies young Americans in a variety of ways. Fundamentalist consumerism destroys self-reliance, creating people who feel completely dependent on others and who are thus more likely to turn over decision-making power to authorities, the precise mind-set that the ruling elite loves to see. A fundamentalist consumer culture legitimizes advertising, propaganda, and all kinds of manipulations, including lies; and when a society gives legitimacy to lies and manipulativeness, it destroys the capacity of people to trust one another and form democratic movements. Fundamentalist consumerism also promotes self-absorption, which makes it difficult for the solidarity necessary for democratic movements. These are not the only aspects of our culture that are subduing young Americans and crushing their resistance to domination. The food-industrial complex has helped create an epidemic of childhood obesity, depression, and passivity. The prison-industrial complex keeps young anti-authoritarians “in line” (now by the fear that they may come before judges such as the two Pennsylvania ones who took $2.6 million from private-industry prisons to ensure that juveniles were incarcerated). As Ralph Waldo Emerson observed: “All our things are right and wrong together. The wave of evil washes all our institutions alike.” About the Author Bruce E. Levine is a clinical psychologist and author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite  (Chelsea Green, 2011). His Web site is http://www.brucelevine.net/

OLDDOGS COMMENTS

While I do not disagree with the author’s commentary, I feel strongly that he missed the age group by about forty years. It is my experience that up too, and including seniors of this generation are as dumb as rocks if judged by how little resistance they are involved in to authoritarian government. The schools have done a fine job of intellectual castration much further back than reported, and now America is flooded with a bunch of pacifist. When men my age (73), are willing to die for their freedom, what the hell is wrong with 40 year old men?

10 13 11 flagbar


Shocking Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Everyone Should Know

04/09/2014

 http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

4-8-2014 9-07-17 PM

By Michael Snyder

How long can America continue to burn up wealth?  How long can this nation continue to consume far more wealth than it produces?  The trade deficit is one of the biggest reasons for the steady decline of the U.S. economy, but many Americans don’t even understand what it is.  Basically, we are buying far more stuff from the rest of the world than they are buying from us.  That means that far more money is constantly leaving the country than is coming into the country.  In order to keep the game going, we have to go to the people that we bought all of that stuff from and ask them to lend our money back to us.  Or lately, we just have the Federal Reserve create new money out of thin air.  This is called “quantitative easing”.  Our current debt-fueled lifestyle is dependent on this cycle continuing.  In order to live like we do, we must consume far more wealth than we produce.  If someday we are forced to only live on the wealth that we create, it will require a massive adjustment in our standard of living.  We have become great at consuming wealth but not so great at creating it.  But as a result of running gigantic trade deficits year after year, we have lost tens of thousands of businesses, millions upon millions of jobs, and America is being de-industrialized at a staggering pace.

Most Americans won’t even notice, but the latest monthly trade deficit increased to 42.3 billion dollars

Read More

The U.S. trade deficit climbed to the highest level in five months in February as demand for American exports fell while imports increased slightly.

The deficit increased to $42.3 billion, which was 7.7% above the January imbalance of $39.3 billion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

When the trade deficit increases, it means that even more wealth, even more jobs and even more businesses have left the United States.

In essence, we have gotten poorer as a nation.

Have you ever wondered how China has gotten so wealthy?

Just a few decades ago, they were basically a joke economically.

So how in the world did they get so powerful?

Well, one of the primary ways that they did it was by selling us far more stuff than we sold to them.  If we had refused to do business with communist China, they never would have become what they have become today.  It was our decisions that allowed China to become an economic powerhouse.

Last year, we sold 122 billion dollars of stuff to China.

That sounds like a lot until you learn that China sold 440 billion dollars of stuff to us.

We fill up our shopping carts with lots of cheap plastic trinkets that are “made in China”, and they pile up gigantic mountains of our money which we beg them to lend back to us so that we can pay our bills.

Who is winning that game and who is losing that game?

Below, I have posted our yearly trade deficits with China since 1990.  Let’s see if you can spot the trend…

1990: 10 billion dollars

1991: 12 billion dollars

1992: 18 billion dollars

1993: 22 billion dollars

1994: 29 billion dollars

1995: 33 billion dollars

1996: 39 billion dollars

1997: 49 billion dollars

1998: 56 billion dollars

1999: 68 billion dollars

2000: 83 billion dollars

2001: 83 billion dollars

2002: 103 billion dollars

2003: 124 billion dollars

2004: 162 billion dollars

2005: 202 billion dollars

2006: 234 billion dollars

2007: 258 billion dollars

2008: 268 billion dollars

2009: 226 billion dollars

2010: 273 billion dollars

2011: 295 billion dollars

2012: 315 billion dollars

2013: 318 billion dollars

Yikes!

It has been estimated that the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every 1 billion dollars of goods that are imported from overseas, and according to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing about half a million jobs to China every single year.

Considering the high level of unemployment that we now have in this country, can we really afford to be doing that?

Overall, the United States has accumulated a total trade deficit with the rest of the world of more than 8 trillion dollars since 1975.

As a result, we have lost tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and our economic infrastructure has been absolutely gutted.

Just look at what has happened to manufacturing jobs in America.  Back in the 1980s, more than 20 percent of the jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs.  Today, only about 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

And we have fewer Americans working in manufacturing today than we did in 1950 even though our population has more than doubled since then…

4-8-2014 9-07-44 PMMany people find this statistic hard to believe, but the United States has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

Millions of good paying jobs have been lost.

As a result, the middle class is shriveling up, and at this point 9 out of the top 10 occupations in America pay less than $35,000 a year.

For a long time, U.S. consumers attempted to keep up their middle class lifestyles by going into constantly increasing amounts of debt, but now it is becoming increasingly apparent that middle class consumers are tapped out.

In response, major retailers are closing thousands of stores in poor and middle class neighborhoods all over the country.  You can see some amazing photos of America’s abandoned shopping malls right here.

If we could start reducing the size of our trade deficit, that would go a long way toward getting the United States back on the right economic path.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama has been negotiating a treaty in secret which is going to send the deindustrialization of America into overdrive.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being called the “NAFTA of the Pacific”, and it is going to result in millions more good jobs being sent to the other side of the planet where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.

According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue.

So what will this country look like when we lose tens of millions more jobs than we already have?

U.S. workers are being merged into a giant global labor pool where they must compete directly for jobs with people making less than a dollar an hour with no benefits.

Obama tells us that globalization is good for us and that Americans need to be ready to adjust to a “level playing field”.

The quality of our jobs has already been declining for decades, and if we continue down this path the quality of our jobs is going to get a whole lot worse and our economic infrastructure will continue to be absolutely gutted.

At one time, the city of Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city on the entire planet and it had the highest per capita income in the United States.  But today, it is a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the world laughs at.

In the end, the rest of the nation is going to suffer the same fate as Detroit unless Americans are willing to stand up and fight for their economy while they still can.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

OLDDOGS COMMENTS

Ever asked yourself what you would have done if it were not for the internet, and the activist writers? You would have remained ignorant up until the day the shit hit the fan, and if you were still alive a week later, you would probably be in one of the internment camps just like the Jews in the second world war; hopeless, and waiting for death! Now that you know this was all planned years ago by the Banking Cartel, and you also know that there is no way patriots can safely communicate to organize a resistance, you can falsely hope the military will intervene and reset out National Government, but you correctly know that’s a false hope as they belong to the Bankers also. You know in the back of your mind there is nothing ahead but agonizing depression and starvation. BUT WAIT! What if you got off your dead ass and got involved in spreading the word, and it became a wild fire in the hearts of hundreds of millions of Americans? There is hope, but it needs your participation!!!!!! Also, what would happen if you educated your Sons and Daughters in the military? Think about this. There would never have been a single piece of steel if it were not for someone working their ass of fanning the fire in the forge.

10 13 11 flagbar


Fusion Centers A Dangerous Part of the Surveillance State

04/08/2014

http://www.activistpost.com/2014/04/fusion-centers-dangerous-part-of.html

4-8-2014 7-51-19 AM

Nadia Kayyali
EFF

While NSA surveillance has been front and center in the news recently, fusion centers are a part of the surveillance state that deserve close scrutiny.

Fusion centers are a local arm of the so-called “intelligence community,” the 17 intelligence agencies coordinated by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The government documentation around fusion centers is entirely focused on breaking down barriers between the various government agencies that collect and maintain criminal intelligence information.

Barriers between local law enforcement and the NSA are already weak. We know that the Drug Enforcement Agency gets intelligence tips from the NSA which are used in criminal investigations and prosecutions. To make matters worse, the source of these tips is camouflaged using “parallel construction,” meaning that a different source for the intelligence is created to mask its classified source.

This story demonstrates what we called “one of the biggest dangers of the surveillance state: the unquenchable thirst for access to the NSA’s trove of information by other law enforcement agencies.” This is particularly concerning when NSA information is used domestically. Fusion centers are no different.

In fact, in early 2012, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved the sharing of raw NSA data with the NCTC. The intelligence community overseen by the NCTC includes the Department of Homeland Security and FBI, the main federal fusion center partners. Thus, fusion centers—and even local law enforcement—could potentially be receiving un-minimized NSA data. This runs counter to the distant image many people have of the NSA, and it’s why focusing on fusion centers as part of the recently invigorated conversation around surveillance is important.

What are fusion centers?

Fusion centers are information centers that enable intelligence sharing between local, state, tribal, territorial, and federal agencies. They are actual physical locations that house equipment and staff who analyze and share intelligence.

How many are there?
There are 78 recognized fusion centers listed on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website.

Who works at fusion centers?
Fusion centers are staffed by local law enforcement and other local government employees as well as Department of Homeland Security personnel. DHS “has deployed over 90 personnel, including Intelligence Officers and Regional Directors, to the field.” Staffing agreements vary from place to place. Fusion centers are often also co-located with FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

What do fusion centers do?
Fusion centers enable unprecedented levels of bi-directional information sharing between state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies and the federal intelligence community. Bi-directional means that fusion centers allow local law enforcement to share information with the larger federal intelligence community, while enabling the intelligence community to share information with local law enforcement. Fusion centers allow local cops to get—and act upon—information from agencies like the FBI.

Fusion centers are also key to the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI), discussed below.

What is suspicious activity reporting?
The government defines suspicious activity reporting (SAR) as “official documentation of observed behavior reasonably indicative of pre-operational planning related to terrorism or other criminal activity.” SARs can be initiated by law enforcement, by private sector partners, or by “see something, say something” tips from citizens. They are then investigated by law enforcement.

What is the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative?
NSI is an initiative to standardize suspicious activity reporting. The NSI was conceived in 2008, and started with an evaluation project that culminated in a January 2010 report describing how NSI would encompass all fusion centers. It appears significant progress has been made towards this goal.

The evaluation project included so-called Building Communities of Trust (BCOT) meetings which focused “on developing trust among law enforcement, fusion centers, and the communities they serve to address the challenges of crime and terrorism prevention.”

BCOT “community” events involved representatives from local fusion centers, DHS, and FBI traveling to different areas and speaking to selected community representatives and civil rights advocates about NSI. These were invite only events with the clear purpose of attempting to engender community participation and garner support from potential opponents such as the ACLU.

So what’s wrong with Suspicious Activity Reporting and the NSI?
SARs do no meet legally cognizable standards for search or seizure under the Fourth amendment. Normally, the government must satisfy reasonable suspicion or probable cause standards when searching a person, place, or detaining someone. While SARs themselves are not a search or seizure, they are used by law enforcement to initiate investigations, or even more intrusive actions such as detentions, on the basis of evidence that does not necessarily rise to the level of probable cause or reasonable suspicion. In other words, while the standard for SAR sounds like it was written to comport with the constitutional standards for investigation already in place, it does not.

In fact, the specific set of behaviors listed in the National SAR standards include innocuous activities such as:

taking pictures or video of facilities, buildings, or infrastructure in a manner that would arouse suspicion in a reasonable person,” and “demonstrating unusual interest in facilities, buildings, or infrastructure beyond mere casual or professional (e.g. engineers) interest such that a reasonable person would consider the activity suspicious. Examples include observation through binoculars, taking notes, attempting to measure distances, etc.

These standards are clearly ripe for abuse of discretion.

Do fusion centers increase racial and religious profiling?
The weak standards around SAR are particularly concerning because of the way they can lead to racial and religious profiling. SARs can originate from untrained civilians as well as law enforcement, and as one woman pointed out at a BCOT event people who might already be a little racist who are ‘observing’ a white man photographing a bridge are going to view it a little differently than people observing me, a woman with a hijab, photographing a bridge. The bottom line is that bias is not eliminated by so-called observed behavior standards.

Furthermore, once an investigation into a SAR has been initiated, existing law enforcement bias can come into play; SARs give law enforcement a reason to initiate contact that might not otherwise exist.

Unsurprisingly, like most tools of law enforcement, public records act requests have shown that people of color often end up being the target of SARs:

One review of SARs collected through Public Records Act requests in Los Angeles showed that 78% of SARs were filed on non-whites. An audit by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Inspector General puts that number at 74%, still a shockingly high number.

A review of SARs obtained by the ACLU of Northern California also show that most of the reports demonstrate bias and are based on conjecture rather than articulable suspicion of criminal activity. Some of the particularly concerning SARs include titles like “Suspicious ME [Middle Eastern] Males Buy Several Large Pallets of Water” and “Suspicious photography of Folsom Dam by Chinese Nationals.” The latter SAR resulted in police contact: “Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy contacted 3 adult Asian males who were taking photos of Folsom Dam. They were evasive when the deputy asked them for identification and said their passports were in their vehicle.” Both of these SARs were entered into FBI’s e-Guardian database.

Not only that, there have been disturbing examples of racially biased informational bulletins coming from fusion centers. A 2009 “North Central Texas Fusion Center Prevention Awareness Bulletin” implies that tolerance towards Muslims is dangerous and that Islamic militants are using methods such as “hip-hop boutiques” and “online social networks” to indoctrinate youths in America.

Do fusion centers facilitate political repression?
Fusion centers have been used to record and share information about First Amendment protected activities in a way that aids repressive police activity and chills freedom of association.

A series of public records act requests in Massachusetts showed: “Officers monitor demonstrations, track the beliefs and internal dynamics of activist groups, and document this information with misleading criminal labels in searchable and possibly widely-shared electronic reports.” The documents included intelligence reports addressing issues such internal group discussions and protest planning, and showed evidence of police contact.

For example, one report indicated that “Activists arrested for trespassing at a consulate were interviewed by three surveillance officers ‘in the hopes that these activists may reach out to the officers in the future.’ They were asked about their organizing efforts and for the names of other organizers.”

Who oversees the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative?
The NSI is led by the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) in collaboration with the DHS and the FBI. The ISE is “the people, projects, systems, and agencies that enable responsible information sharing for national security.” The PM-ISE, currently Paul Kshemendra, oversees the development and implementation of the ISE. The position was created by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

If this all sounds confusing, that’s because it is: the entire intelligence community is a plethora of duplicative agencies with overlapping areas of responsibility.

What kind of information do fusion centers have?
Staff at fusion centers have access to a variety of databases. Not all staff have the same level of clearances, and the entire extent of what is available to fusion centers is unclear. But we do know certain facts for sure:

Fusion centers have access to the FBI’s eGuardian database, an unclassified companion to the FBI’s Guardian Threat Tracking System. “The Guardian and e-Guardian systems . . . have a bi-directional communication ability that facilitates sharing, reporting, collaboration, and de-confliction among all law enforcement agencies.”

Fusion centers also have access to DHS’ Homeland Security Data Network and it’s companion Homeland Security Information Network. These systems provide access to terrorism-related information residing in DoD’s classified network. It is worth noting that HSIN was hacked in 2009 and was considered so problematic that it was briefly decommissioned entirely.

Fusion centers have access to other information portals including the FBI’s Law Enforcement Online portal, Lexis Nexis, the Federal Protective Service portal, and Regional Information Sharing Systems .
Finally, as discussed above, we know that un-minimized NSA data can be shared with the National Counterterrorism Center, which means that fusion centers could be in receipt of such data.

What federal laws apply to fusion centers?
Because they are collaborative, legal authority over fusion centers is blurred, perhaps purposefully. However, there are some federal laws that apply. The Constitution applies, and fusion centers arguably interfere with the First and Fourth Amendments.

28 Code of Federal Regulations Part 23 governs certain federal criminal intelligence systems. The “Fusion Center Guidelines . . . call for the adoption of 28 CFR Part 23 as the minimum governing principles for criminal intelligence systems.” 28 CFR 23.20 requires reasonable suspicion to collect and maintain criminal intelligence and prohibits collection and maintenance of information about First Amendment protected activity “unless such information directly relates to criminal conduct or activity and there is reasonable suspicion that the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct or activity.” Finally, it prohibits inclusion of any information collected in violation of local law.

Section 552(a)(e)(7) of the Privacy Act prohibits federal agencies, in this case DHS personnel who work at fusion centers, from maintaining any “record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity.” A 2012 U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report on fusion centers stated: “The apparent indefinite retention of cancelled intelligence reports that were determined to have raised privacy or civil liberties concerns appears contrary to DHS’s own policies and the Privacy Act.”

What state or local laws apply to fusion centers?
Fusion centers are sometimes bound by local and state laws. The law enforcement agencies that feed information into centers may also be restricted in terms of what information they can gather.

The Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, located in San Francisco, CA, serves as a good example of how state and local regulations can apply to a fusion center. NCRIC works with law enforcement partners around the region and stores criminal intelligence information. The California constitution has a right to privacy and California has other laws that address privacy and criminal intelligence. These should cover NCRIC.

The San Francisco Police Department’s relationship with NCRIC also serves as a good example of the applicability of local laws. SFPD participates in suspicious activity reporting, but is also bound by a number of restrictions, including Department General Order 8.10, which heavily restricts intelligence gathering by the SFPD, as well as the sanctuary city ordinance, which prohibits working with immigration enforcement. While the fusion center would not be bound by these regulations on its own, the SFPD is.

Who funds fusion centers?
Fusion centers are funded by federal and state tax dollars. Estimates of exactly how much funding fusion centers get from these sources are difficult to obtain. However, there are some numbers available.

For 2014, the Homeland Security Grant Program, which is the federal grant program that funds fusion centers, has $401,346,000 available in grant funds. The grant announcement emphasizes that funding fusion centers and integrating them nationally is a high priority. This is an approximately $50 million increase over last year’s allocation—somewhat shocking in light of the critiques around fusion center funding that have been raised by Congress.

A 2008 Congressional Research Service report states that the average fusion center derives 31% of its budget from the federal government. Those numbers may have changed now. Has there been any discussion about fusion centers at the federal level?

Yes, but not enough. In October of 2012, fusion centers were the subject of an extremely critical report from the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The bipartisan report focused on the waste, ineptitude, and civil liberties violations at fusion centers. The report revealed that fusion centers spent tax dollars on “gadgets such as ‘shirt button cameras, $6,000 laptops and big-screen televisions. One fusion center spent $45,000 on a decked-out SUV…” Regarding the information produced by fusion centers, the report noted that fusion centers produced “‘intelligence’ of uneven quality – oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.”

This report recommended a hard look at fusion center funding, but that clearly has not happened. They are still operating across the country with federal funding. In fact, their funding has even been increased.

What about at the local level?
There are grassroots privacy advocates in multiple cities fighting to get more information about fusion centers and how their local law enforcement participates in them. These efforts have been frustrated by stonewalling of public records act requests and uneducated, or at times dishonest, public officials.

Have any regulations been passed or proposed?
To date, only one place has passed regulations around fusion centers. Berkeley, CA, passed a policy in September 2012 that the Berkeley Police Department can only submit suspicious activity reports after establishing reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior, and put in place an audit of SARs.

Massachusetts is also considering changes to fusion centers. SB 642 would strictly limit collection and dissemination of criminal intelligence information and would require a yearly audit of the Massachusetts Commonwealth Fusion Center.

What can I do?
Fusion centers are an area ripe for grassroots organizing. Groups like the StopLAPD Spying Coalition, which put together a “People’s Audit” of SARs in LA, provide excellent examples of how this can happen. Public records act requests can be leveraged to get information about what your local law enforcement is doing. Grassroots organizing and education can get people and elected officials talking about this issue.

On April 10, activists across the country will be participating in “Stop the Spy Centers: a national day of action against fusion centers.” These activists have three demands: 1. Shut down fusion centers, 2. De-fund fusion centers, and 3. Release all suspicious activity reports and secret files.

While April 10 is one day of action, the conversation around fusion centers must continue hand in hand with our national discourse around NSA, CIA, and FBI surveillance.

Where can I get more information about fusion centers?
2013 Brennan Center Report on National Security and Local Police
2013 StopLAPD Spying People’s Audit
2013 ACLU of Northern California Examples of Suspicious Activity Reports
ACLU of Massachusetts and National Lawyers Guild documents from Boston PD
2013 United States Government Accountability Office Report on Fusion Centers
2012 Senate Subcommittee Report: Federal Support for and Involvement in State and Local Fusion Centers
2012 Policing Dissent report from ACLU of Massachusetts and National Lawyers Guild
2012 Counterterrorism Intelligence: Fusion Center Perspectives report from George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute
2012 Constitution Project Report on Fusion Centers
2010 Political Research Associates Report: “Platform for Prejudice”
2009 Suspicious Activity Reporting Standards from the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative
2008 Congressional Research Service Report on Fusion Centers
2007 “What’s Wrong With Fusion Centers” report from National ACLU
StopLAPD Spying Home Page
Fusion Center blog posts from ACLU of Massachusetts
Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center page

Please visit and support the Electronic Frontier Foundation for digital privacy and freedom.

10 13 11 flagbar


Setting the Stage for Tyranny: Public Schools Deliberately Create a Culture of Fear

04/06/2014

http://www.activistpost.com/2014/04/setting-stage-for-tyranny-public.html

4-6-2014 10-43-41 AMDaisy Luther

Activist Post

What is the best way to ensure that gun control takes place within a generation?

Forget trying to change the minds of those who already have guns. The best way to do this is to encourage a culture of fear among young people.

And the public school system, with all of its zero tolerance lunacy, is doing just that. They are setting the stage for tyranny.

Case in point:

Yesterday in Baltimore, some students saw a person carrying a tripod through the school. Frightened, they reported this to administrators, which resulted in an immediate lockdown:

This morning, KIPP Ujima Village Academy and KIPP Harmony were placed in heightened security status, based on a report of a possible intruder. Police responded and secured the building, while police and school staff together ensured the safety of all children and staff. After a thorough investigation, police determined that there was no intruder in the building or on school grounds.

As a precaution while the large school building was searched, students were taken by bus to the shared campus of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Western High School. Parents were contacted by phone and through local and social media channels, and were directed to pick up children from that location. (source)

As it turned out, the person carrying the tripod was a journalism student and the tripod was for his camera. However, a SWAT team descended on the school and children and parents alike were terrified after a 4 hour lockdown scenario.
Critical thought is not encouraged. Panic is praised.

Security ‘expert’ Rob Weinhold sums it up:

It’s just not a time to use any judgment. Take the guesswork out. Lock down the school system. Make sure everyone is safe. (source)

Another incident recently occurred in Maryland when two people hunting ducks with a pellet gun caused terror on the campus of Stevenson University.

The Owings Mills campus was locked down for more than two hours Monday after someone reported a man with a gun.

Investigators say two students hunting ducks with a pellet gun caused that incident.

“The bottom line is that lockdowns save lives,” said security expert Rob Weinhold.

He says in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, school officials cannot be cautious enough when there’s a suspicion of a gunman on campus. (source)

The issue here is pretty clear. The younger generation is being taught that the very sight of a gun or anything that could be related to a gun is a reason for fear. That fear is cemented in the minds of children and parents when they are traumatized by the handling of the incidents.

Kids are getting in trouble for drawing pictures of guns. For having tools which are sharp. For wearing t-shirts with the word “gun” printed on them. For cutting their poor, defenseless food in the lunchroom. For biting a pastry into a shape that could either be a gun or the state of Florida. Maybe we should outlaw maps of Florida because the shape of that state is “intimidating.”

They are being taught to have an irrational fear of inanimate objects. And because everyone else shares that fear, that mass delusion, it becomes “normal”. It becomes so commonplace that it isn’t fear anymore, but an accepted fact: “Guns are scary.”

The fear is quite literally being implanted. When police refuse to tell people what is going on, when kids are rapidly evacuated, when cops in military-style SWAT gear swoop in – all of these dramatic scenes are not soon forgotten. When the dreaded “gun sighting” occurs in the future, the natural human response is to flash back to the last time that it happened. Instantly, the emotional response is overwhelming fear.

4-6-2014 10-44-20 AM

When you read the following statements from those involved in the lockdown, keep in mind this incident was not triggered by a masked man with a machine gun firing in the hallways. This series of emotional responses began when someone saw a kid with a camera tripod.

“They were really freaking out because the police were pushing you away so you didn’t know what was going on,” said Michelle Ward, parent.

The school told parents to meet at Poly-Western.

They quickly swarmed the parking lot and turned to each other for support.

“My child is in there. I know he a nervous wreck,” one mother said.

Tiffany Taylor has four children at KIPP Academy.

“It’s really frightening to hear on the radio that something is going on at the school,” Taylor said.

A large group of several hundred parents were on hand when police told the crowd all children were safe and would soon be bused to Poly to reunite with their families.

“In my heart, I felt a little relieved but I still need to see my children and be reunited with them. It just won’t be over until I get them home,” Taylor said.

Though it took some time and a lot of patience from parents, the buses started arriving and reunions got underway.

Student Damaya Smith told us about her ordeal.

“Everybody started crying. We had to hide because we felt uncomfortable,” she said. “It was a little scary when it started, but I listened to my teacher.”

For her parents, it was the perfect end to a long day.

“I’m just glad everything is OK. I’m just happy that nobody got hurt,” said Derrick Smith, parent. (source)

Make no mistake, this is deliberate. Those in charge are setting the stage for tyranny beyond our wildest dreams and they will never have to fire a shot. These kids will be begging the government to take away all of the guns and keep them “safe”. People that are this afraid of a tripod aren’t going to be leading the next revolution.

Daisy Luther is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared. She lives on a small organic farm in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. Daisy is the creator of The Organic Prepper where she writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. You can follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter. She can be contacted at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca. Wake the flock up!

OLDDOGS COMMENTS

I never miss reading the morning paper and it never fails to include something about those terrible GUNS! By the time I’m finished with the morning read and start scanning my email, I encounter more of the same. By then, my blood pressure is up to the boiling point and my day is ruined. For this, I am grateful, because if I were one of those pansy assholes fearful of being shot by some whacko, I would happily do myself in. It is becoming my favorite dream that every human overcome with fear would just take too many pills and go permanently to sleep. What a bunch of pansy ass Americans we have grown in our esteemed education system! The only thing worse is the media industry who competes with education to see which is the better mind destruction method. If American’s continue this intellectual decline that has been rampant for the last hundred years, there will not be anything worth living for, except wiping away the tears of fright on our children’s faces. Any National education system that does not confine it’s self to real education should be shut down. If we expect a stupid generation to compete with the Government and the elites who own it, and preserve our freedom we are shit out of luck. Americans will be slaves to the system that dominates them. A system of fear! Remember the hide under your desk routine of the cold war? More bullshit!

“No earthly government has jurisdiction over your God Given Rights.”

10 13 11 flagbar