NDAA: Hedges v. Obama: Did the Bill of Rights die today?

by Jill Dalton

As I head west on Chambers Street toward the Court House I hear a huge roar followed by loud chanting ricocheting off the stone walls of the buildings and I’m elated.   This is amazing, I think.  There must be hundreds of people protesting the NDAA outside 40 Centre Street.  But then I realize the protest is the transit workers’ school bus strike now in its third week.  I stop to take a few photos and give them a thumbs up before continuing along my route.

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By the time I reach 40 Centre Street I’ve missed Hedges, Ellsberg, Drake, Chomsky and the other notables who’ve already entered the Court House.  What I find are 25 or so activists milling around and a huge group of photographers standing in a line on the opposite side of the sidewalk watching the proceedings along with several police cars and officers.  So much for my dream of a large people’s presence* to protest Obama’s signing the NDAA into law on December 31, 2011 as unsuspecting Americans sipped champagne and sang “Auld Lang Syne.”  Perhaps Obama figured no one would notice — and most people didn’t — but Chris Hedges did and he filed a lawsuit against Obama and Panetta.

Whenever I mention the NDAA most people give me a quizzical look and ask, “What’s that?”  To which I give them the ‘in a nutshell’ answer.  The NDAA stands for the National Defense Authorization Act, which has provisions for the government to use the US military against US citizens and can throw us into prison without due process until the end of hostilities, which in our case of permanent war means forever!   They then look at me and ask, “Are you making this up?”  To which I reply, “Google it.”  Let’s be honest: who could make this up?  Well, besides some member of the SS.

This is why plaintiffs and supporters in the Hedges v. Obama lawsuit are challenging the controversial indefinite detention provision set forth in Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA and were back in court on February 6th.   The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, referred to as the Magnificent 7, or Freedom 7, are: Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, NDAA Case Coordinator and founder of Revolution Truth Tangerine Bolen, author Noam Chomsky, Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, Occupy London activist Kai Wargalla and journalist and activist Alexa O’Brien.  Bruce Afran & Carl Mayer serve as counsel for the plaintiffs.

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Back in May US District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled Section 1021 of the NDAA was unconstitutional.  Her ruling returned us to the country we were before Obama signed this act into law.  Meaning the government cannot strip a US citizen of due process or use the military to arrest US citizens and hold them in a military prison indefinitely.  Judge Forrest then granted a permanent injunction on the NDAA provision, which was appealed the next day by the Obama White House.  The 2nd Circuit Court of appeals then placed Section 1021 of the NDAA back into effect. 

Hedges describes the NDAA as, “The final battle between the restoration of due process and the imposition of a military state.” 

They seek to subjugate us all.”  Chris Hedges

The only thing more craven than Obama signing the NDAA into law is the total lack of any coverage by the corporate media, which has proven itself to be nothing more than the propaganda arm of the corporate state.  There were no cameras from NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX or CNN in front of the courthouse.  The reporters were from Democracy Now!, RTTV, WBAI and various other independent media outlets.  But worse still is the complete denial on the part of the American public that anything out of the ordinary is going on.  The willful ignorance of Americans’ is astounding to me.  We’ve become a nation of zombies.

Obama is a brand, and I believe he was put into office to do what no Republican could ever get away with.  He’s the kinder gentler face of corporate empire. Here we have a president who’s much worse than Bush in so many ways.   Obama’s extended the wars, created new wars, extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich, gave additional bail out money to the banks, allowed the health insurance industry to write the healthcare bill, extended the Patriot Act, escalated drone attacks (6 times as many as Bush) and prosecuted twice as many whistle-blowers, under the Espionage Act of 1917, as all other presidents combined.  Obama has assassinated three US citizens without due process, and now wants to carry this draconian power out at home, and to that end signed the NDAA into law, and amazingly still finds time to ruminate over his ‘kill list’ on ‘Terror Tuesdays.’

Under his watch not one member of the Bush Administration has been held accountable for leading us into wars built on false evidence and lies; not one banker’s been held accountable for the fraud and corruption that brought down the global economy.  Obama is every corporatist’s wet dream.

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Is the American public willfully ignorant or just ignorant?  Or as a friend of mine told me when we were arguing over Mr. O and his policies. “Well, I don’t want to know.  I’m happy with my little life and if I know I’ll just be depressed.”  Perhaps that’s the same logic the Germans used as Hitler came to power and began systematically stripping away civil liberties and silencing all descent.  I used to wonder how the Germans could remain silent with all that transpired, but now see it happening here in the US, and I’m truly amazed and pissed off by our complicity in this corruption. 

Glenn Ford refers to Obama as the “more effective evil” and I have to agree with his assessment.  I mean give me a break.  Don’t listen to what Obama says. Talk is cheap.  Look at his actions.  It’s not that difficult.  Obama’s completely charmed and neutered the African American community.  And the hypocritical liberals are so full of crap.  They’re a bunch of crybabies who under Bush raised holy hell and now under Obama remain silent sycophants to his reign of terror.  These so-called liberals are enabling cowards.  Defending their murderer in chief at every turn.  The lily-livered, hypocritical liberals lay prostate and impotent at Obama’s feet pleading to be stomped on.  They beg for their enslavement.  Jesus, are they truly that deaf, dumb and blind?   

The corporate takeover of our government and the erosion of our civil liberties continue and if it’s allowed to continue unabated then we’re truly done for.  We will be a full-blown corporate police state with no rights and no jobs.  We’ll be a penal colony.  A third world country filled with serfs and overlords.  Hedges affirms, “All these laws are being put through by design.” 

The sooner Americans figure out there’s no two-party system the better.  There is only one party and that, my friends, is a corporate party that serves the 1% and the corporations.  Our government has been taken over by corporate forces that have no loyalty to any nation but only to profit and they will exploit all humanity and the planet until both collapse.  Because like Chris Hedges says, “The only word they know is, “More!”

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But here’s the rub: we live on a finite planet with finite resources.  As corporate forces continue to rape and pillage mother earth we’ll all be fighting for scraps.  The so-called elites and the 1% believe their money will save them, and for a time it probably will.  But rest assured when there’s no clean water or clean air, and the planet’s completely radioactive from all the nuclear spills, and the oceans are polluted by oil spills, and only used as a dumping ground for plastic and chemical wastes no amount of money will save these greedy bastards.  They’re going down just like the rest of us.  The only difference is they’ll be shocked, as they believe their own hype.

But alas, we have to keep bearing witness to these atrocities even when nobody else does.  It’s no time to get discouraged, because my dream is one day the 100th monkey will figure out what’s really going on, and then we’ll all be washing our coconuts.  Until then one must keep the faith, keep showing up, standing up and speaking truth to power.

On my way home I again pass by the transit workers and this time stop to listen to their grievances.  They get it.  Our 29 billion dollar mayor is trying to break their union.  I encourage them, “Don’t let them do it.  Stay strong.”

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Throughout history all totalitarian regimes have eventually turned on their own citizens.  The violence always comes home to roost but like Gandhi said,

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win.” 

Chris Hedges: NDAA Update 2.7.13.

 

www.StopNDAA.org

 “Hey Jill, I think I left you a message on your article. Nice piece. Had one correction, which ought to make you feel better – we had 3 overflowing courtrooms last week. Main room had 64 people, overflow had 150 packed in, and there was a third, not sure how many it held yet, but it was packed as well. There were lines of people trying to get in to court, and just a few who gave up and just stayed outside. By our counts there were probably 350 there that day, so, not too shabby.”  Tangerine Bolen

There was an amazing panel discussion at The Culture Project the evening after the court hearing.  Well, worth listening to.  


War is Peace

War is Peace

Image by Nick Bygon.

In this time of grand illusion and double speak Obama is the commander of illusion. He has dazzled all the so-called liberals into believing his lies. He is much worse than Bush and yet these same people who railed and marched against Bush and his illegal wars fully support this guy. Obama is the Trojan Horse. He’s been put into office to do what no Republican could ever get away with. Now let’s see if Americans are gullible enough to let him steal their Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In order to support Obama you must believe . . .
War is peace.


Mumia Abu Jamal: Long Distance Revolutionary

Long Distance Revolutionary

I went to see this documentary on Saturday. I learned about Mumia Abu Jamal via Democracy Now! but this was a much more in-depth expose into who he is as a man, and as a journalist. I encourage everyone to see this documentary.  If you don’t know about Mumia Abu Jamal it’s time to learn about this brilliant writer, journalist finally released from Death Row to life imprisonment. He spoke out against the corrupt, racist, police department and Frank Rizzo their fearless leader a thug of immense magnitude and he paid the ultimate price for speaking up and out.  He is a powerful force for good on the planet and our society either assassinates or incarcerates powerful black men. And Philadelphia was a police state under Frank Rizzo and is also one of the most racist cities in Americka. Well, let’s face it, as someone said, all of the U.S. is Mississippi. Go see it.

“I made the film because, you know, you wake up in a country, Amy, and you realize that the country is being run by mass murderers, economic rapists and general, run-of-the-mill psychopaths, so I started to look for some sanity. And for me, I found sanity in a dark, dank hall on death row in Pennsylvania. I had been a longtime reader of Mumia’s material, listening to the incredible broadcasts that you guys have broadcast. And my partner, Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio, has—a Herculean task—gotten his voice out all over the world. I wanted to offer some sanity. You know, John Pilger says that we have made the unthinkable normal in this world, and the normal unthinkable. I wanted to offer a ray of hope and some sanity, that Mumia, I think, offers all of us. You know, the people in this country have been offered war and violence and no healthcare and, you know, horrific contribution to the death of the planet. Mumia offers the opposite of that. And people ask me, they say, you know, “Well, how do you make a film about someone so radical?” I don’t think Mumia is radical at all. What I find radical are people that can lob cruise missiles into neighborhoods. So that’s what we’re trying to do: We’re trying to offer sanity.”  Stephen Vittoria, director “Long Distance Runner” from interview on Democracy Now!

Also Listen to DemocracyNow!’s 12-minute LIVE telephone interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal taped this morning and followed up with an on-air interview with LDR director/producer Steve Vittoria and LDR producer Noelle Hanrahan.

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL: We live now in a national security state, where the United States is fast becoming one of the biggest open-air prisons on earth. I mean, we can speak about freedom, and the United States has a long and distinguished—

OPERATOR: You have 60 seconds remaining.

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL: —long and distinguished history of talking about freedom, but have we exampled freedom? And I think the answer should be very clear: We have not. And we’re becoming a less free nation every day. And I think people should rise up, and I think they should organize. And I think, frankly, they should raise hell. You know, if you don’t want to join our movement, join some movement, but damn it, do something, because we are in an age that we may never be able to capture again.


Central Park Five: A Travesty of Justice

by Jill Dalton

I live in New York City just one block off Central Park and when this unthinkable crime occurred on April 19, 1989 I remember, like most New Yorkers, being shocked and horrified.  This brutal attack not only rocked the city it reverberated around the world.  Mayor Koch called it the crime of the century.

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The victim, a 28-year old white female, investment banker had been so badly beaten, raped and left for dead she was not expected to live.  The suspects, five black and Latino teenagers, were in the park for a night of “wilding” and the jogger was just another victim in their wake or so the story went. 

It was amazing how quickly the perpetrators were apprehended, confessed to the crimes, tried and sent off to rot in prison.  The press dehumanized and vilified them as members of a “wolf pack.”  Notable personalities, including Donald Trump, immediately went to work publically defaming and demonizing these kids.  Mayor Koch chimed in “They got ’em.”  They were tried in the court of public opinion, condemned and convicted in a court of law and that was that. 

The young woman miraculously recovered although, luckily for her but sadly for the five accused youths, she remembered nothing about her attack or attacker(s).

Amazing how quickly all the loose ends were wrapped up in a neat little package and tied with a bow.  Now everyone could go back to business as usual.  The criminals had been apprehended, law and order restored, we breathed a collective sigh of relief, the city went back to normal and everyone forgot about the attackers as justice had been served or so we were led to believe.

I recently attended a screening of the film, “Central Park Five” by Ken Burns, his daughter Sarah Burns and her husband, David McMahon.  As I watched this powerful documentary unfold I became more and more outraged, as did the audience as evidenced by how many of us, myself included, responded verbally to what was transpiring on the screen.  The film uses actual footage of the events including the confessions.  As the facts unfurl you realize all the confessions were coerced and the entire case was built on lies. 

The cops, the detectives, the prosecutors all knew there was no physical evidence linking these kids to the crime so they manipulated these kids and the facts to fit their narrative.  They reassured them if they’d just confess they could go home.  Then coached them on what to say.  It seems the cops were under so much pressure to find the perpetrator(s) they needed/wanted someone/anyone to pay for this crime and it didn’t matter who. 

These kids didn’t stand a chance.  They didn’t even have attorney’s present when their confessions were coerced.  The parents look shell-shocked in the film and didn’t seem to know they had any rights let alone the right to an attorney.  Everyone just went along assisting the police who they believed were helping them until they realized they weren’t and by then it was too late.

 Then low and behold some 13 years later a serial rapist and convicted murderer, Matias Reyes, now serving a life sentence for raping 3 women and raping and murdering another woman suddenly confesses to the crime.  His DNA is tested and it’s a match for the DNA found on the Central Park Jogger.   Not only was there no physical evidence linking these kids to the attack but none of their confessions matched each other or the crime.

 In 2002 Judge Tejada reviews the confessions and DNA evidence from Reyes and immediately overturns the convictions of the Central Park Five and wipes their records clean.  Unfortunately, there was little if any fanfare regarding their innocence and even a ticker-tape parade up the Canyon of Heroes couldn’t give these five now grown men back their lives.  This travesty of justice destroyed their lives and their families.  And because Matias was not apprehended he was allowed to continue his slaughter of innocent women as well.

The Central Park Five and their families have subsequently filed a $250 million civil suit, accusing the city as well as the police officers and prosecutors who worked on the case, of violating their civil rights, which the New York City government is fighting.  According to a New York Police Department commissioned review, the police officers involved in the case claim they did noting wrong. 

No surprise there.  The police protect their own.  We all know many police departments have their own “code of conduct.”  This Blue Code of Silence is an unwritten rule among police officers in the U.S. not to report on a colleague’s errors, misconducts or crimes by claiming ignorance of any wrongdoing.

The city has also fired back by subpoenaing Burns’ company, Florentine Films, to turn over all their notes and outtakes not included in the documentary for review.  The city claims Burns and his colleagues are not journalists and therefore aren’t allowed to invoke legal privileges to protect their work. 

This case brings to mind the recent execution of Troy Anthony Davis.  Davis was tried, convicted and executed for the shooting of a white police officer, Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia, although there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.  Then in a evidentiary hearing ordered by the Supreme Court of the United States eight of the witnesses, whose original testimony identified Davis as the shooter, recanted their testimony and identified Sylvester “Redd” Coles as the trigger man.  Coles was not subpoenaed by the defense so his alleged confession to the killing was excluded as hearsay.  Troy Anthony Davis was executed on September 21, 2011 by lethal injection.

The systemic corruption and mass incarnation of black males is outlined in Michelle Alexander’s best selling book, “The New Jim Crow.”  The United States has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoners.  According to Alexander, the majority of young black men in large American cities are “warehoused in prisons” (their labor no longer needed in the globalized economy) or, after having criminal records and labeled as “felons,” are permanently trapped in a second-class status.”

The conventional point of view holds discrimination mostly ended in the 1960’s with the Civil Rights movement reforms.  After all we have a black president, Oprah Winfrey’s rich and we have many black professionals.

Michael Tonry writes in Thinking About Crime: Sense and Sensibility in American Penal Culture:

While historically crime and punishment intensities have often been poorly correlated, the scale and lack of balance of the present USA criminal justice activity and penal system have turned it, according to Alexander, into a system of social control unparalleled in world history.  Its targets can be defined largely by race.  The rate of incarnation in the U.S. has soared, while its crime rates have generally not been higher than those in other western countries, where the incarceration rates accordingly have remained stable.  The current rate of incarceration in the USA, six to ten times greater than in other industrialized nations, is therefore not related to the actual rates of crime or their increase, but can be traced to a great extent to the artificially invoked “War on Drugs” discriminatory policies.

The Central Park Five case is an excellent example of how broken our system of justice is, as it functions more as a system of injustice at this point.  There is systemic corruption throughout our entire judicial system.  These kids were thrown into prison for a crime they didn’t commit while not one banker who caused the global meltdown has been questioned let alone prosecuted.  Whistleblowers are being prosecuted for exposing war crimes.  Pfc. Bradley Manning is charged with a number of offenses, including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy, a capital offense for exposing the Collateral Murder footage and the U.S. Diplomatic Cables.  Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for exposing waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques and yet not one person has been prosecuted for torture or for starting an illegal war based on lies.  I guess they’re still looking for those WMD’s.  The message is very clear.  If you’re rich no matter what you do you walk except for Bernie Madoff whose real crime was stealing from rich people.  Let’s be honest, if you’re poor or black or tell the truth you’ll pay.

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.  George Orwell

The Central Park Five documentary shows with amazing clarity, using facts and actual footage that these kids were framed.  The DA, detectives, police officers, and prosecutors knew these kids weren’t the perpetrators of this crime, and yet they prosecuted and convicted them anyway.  They got their promotions and their notoriety, and now that the truth is out they’re not only denying it but fighting it.  

Justice did not prevail.  Corruption did. 

 


When the War Comes Home

by Jill Dalton

YET ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING

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Our country’s rocked by yet another mass shooting this time in Newtown, Connecticut.  This time, according to reports, a 20-year-old kid, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, in their home then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he killed six adults including the principal and 20 children before killing himself.

This time three weapons were found in the car: a .223 caliber “Bushmaster” rifle and two pistols, a Sig Sauer and a Glock.  Adam’s mother, Nancy Lanza, a gun enthusiast who’d taken both her children to the rifle range to learn how to shoot, legally owned all these guns.

Image by Shepard Fairey                    

 This shooting, one of the deadliest in U.S. history, is second only to the rampage that killed 32 students at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. This in a country where just five months earlier another gunman killed 12 in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.,

I’m always amazed when Americans express their shock at yet another mass shooting when we live in a culture awash in violence.  In fact, we glorify violence.  It’s produced, packaged and promoted by Hollywood, television and video games.   We live in a country where we shoot first and ask questions later or not at all.  The NRA drafted the “stand your ground” law, which caused the senseless murder of Travon Martin, and this Neanderthal law has been enacted in 25 states.  We live in a culture where our government no longer negotiates to solve issues with other nations but instead uses preemptive illegal wars and we now find ourselves residing in a state of permanent war.

 We have a president who offers his condolences to the families, sheds a few tears over the loss as he reassures us, “Our hearts are broken today.” and promises “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.”  Then turns around and picks from his “kill list” who he’ll assassinate without due process via remote control by sending out one of his many drones of empire to track down and murder brown people, which results in the slaughter of innocent civilians including women and children, euphemistically referred to by our military as “collateral damage.”

 I ask myself what’s the difference between these mass shootings and murdering children in the Middle East?  Let’s be honest, we have a president who condones and carries out violence everyday and the American people make not so much as a peep about this.  Our racism runs so deep it’s become an acceptable norm.

 The paradox of the American psyche allows us to grieve over these white children while ignoring the brown ones in the Middle East.  I’m amazed at how good Americans are at denial and sticking our collective heads in the sand as we perpetrate violence against our own children by ignoring 16 million who live in poverty and go to sleep hungry and even homeless every night.  We have one of the highest child poverty rates in the world. 

 We’re somehow able to compartmentalize these situations in order to rationalize our atrocities.  This is what comes with a corporate culture now devoid of any real empathy for others.  If these were poor black children in New Orleans instead of white kids from Connecticut would our outcry be so loud?  It certainly wasn’t during Katrina.  We allowed people to rot in the heat and toxic waters for days without any help.

 Racism is so embedded into our collective unconscious we can’t even make the connection and, in fact, many are incensed when the comparison is even suggested. 

 And even when presented with the facts, like lemmings to the sea, the people proclaim, “They hate us for our freedoms.”  No, actually they hate us for our hypocrisy.  They hate us for pretending to promote democracy when, in fact, we support and install dictatorships (i.e. Shah of Iran) around the world and we’re not fighting terrorism so much as creating more of it as we struggle to steal resources while simultaneously bankrupting ourselves.

 People will go to great lengths to protect their worldview and if that worldview believes the U.S. are the good guys — the protectors of the world, despite facts to the contrary, than anything that challenges that belief, albeit how distorted that worldview is, will be met with huge resistance and hostility.

 

CORPORATE CULTURE

 We now live in a corporate culture based on fear and lack.  Our values have deteriorated from hard work, cooperation, and faith “All for one and one for all” to lovelessness, greed and profit at any cost.  Money is our God and when you worship the false god of greed the darkness moves in.

We’ve become desensitized to violence and our corporate culture is antithetical to human values. This violence and hardheartedness comes in many forms. 

We now live in a nation where corporations are people and money equals free speech.

We live in a rich nation that allows half it’s citizens to live in poverty or near poverty. 

We live in a nation that allows millions of her children to go to bed hungry and homeless yet spends billions on the military industrial complex and the surveillance police state that’s been put into place.

We live in a culture that condones banks foreclosing on people’s homes while stealing pensions and life savings and allows corporate CEO’s and Wall Street bankers to roam free without so much as a slap on the wrist for collapsing the global economy.

We live in a corporate culture where each year 44,000 people are allowed to die and denied health care so the insurance companies can make obscene profits.

We live in a culture where a person can be thrown in prison for smoking a joint but when banks and Wall Street steal billions and launder drug trafficking money it makes you a “Master of the Universe.” 

We live in a culture that spends $40,00 a year to incarcerate each prison inmate but only $8,000 a year to educate an elementary school student.

We live in a culture where whistleblowers are labeled terrorists while the real criminals remain in positions of power in our government and corporate halls.

We live in a culture that condones and conducts torture not just overseas but throughout our industrial prison complex. 

We live in a culture that supports the death penalty even though the rest of the world stopped this inhumane practice long ago. 

We live in a culture that spies on its citizens, illegally searches (be it the racially motivated New York Stop and Frisk law) or accosting U.S. citizens at every airport. 

We live in a culture that is destroying our unions and outsourcing our jobs so more and more people are not able to earn a living wage. 

We live in a culture where our police forces are now militarized and protect the 1%.

We live in a culture that shuts down peaceful protests (Occupy) while allowing extremist gun toting, racist spewing Tea Party rallies to chant their bile hatred without consequences.

We live in a culture that claims to export democracy while simultaneously stripping Americans of their rights.  And now that Obama’s signed the NDAA into law he can assassinate or put any U.S. citizen into prison without due process until the “end of hostilities,” which in a state of permanent war means indefinitely.

We live in a country where any fool with ready cash can buy an automatic weapon without a background check. 

We live in a culture where 2nd Amendment rights are held up as a sacred cow, as the rest of the Bill of Rights is shredded.

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 WHAT IS THE NRA’S RESPONSIBILITY?

 Changing the gun laws will not change the hatred in people’s hearts but we have no business selling automatic or semi automatic weapons designed to make sure the victim does not survive. We have stricter laws governing hunting then regarding these assault weapons of mass destruction, which should not be allowed for personal use under any circumstances.

 Guns in the U.S kill 35 people a day. 

 The NRA screams 2nd Amendment rights as their posse of gun lobbyists buy off legislators to protect their right to buy, sell and own automatic weapons.  But what about my rights as a U.S. citizen not to be murdered by someone with a grudge, mental problem or on some over prescribed/under supervised hallucinogenic prescription drug who can pick up a gun at the nearest Wal-Mart or gun show and decide to take out anyone he pleases.  Where are my rights? 

 The NRA calling for more guns in schools as a solution is insanity and just another knee jerk reaction that will lead to more shootings. 

 “Making guns easily accessible to everyone does not make our communities safer: the evidence is clear that more guns mean more homicide.”  “Firearms Research: Homicide,” Harvard School of Public Health, accessed 01-03-13.

 And according to a recent study by Texas A&M University the “stand your ground” law has increased homicide rates between 7-9% in the states that implemented it.  More guns do not make us safer.  

 Back in August in New York City during rush hour there was a gunman near the Empire State building and 9 victims were wounded all by police gunfire.  If the police can’t stay calm under pressure then how can a school principal or teacher?  So I guess we’ll hire armed guards to run our schools like the prison industrial complex.

 The NRA doesn’t care about your children.  They care about profits.  The bottom line.  Money.  That’s why they lobby so hard on Capital Hill.  The NRA and the people who insist on these high-powered weapons (mainly white males who fear blacks) are cowards. 

 As for those who fear the government will come and get you rest assured if they want you you’re no match for the Navy Seal team they’ll send to your house to apprehend you.

 We don’t need more guns.  We need fewer guns and stricter gun checks.  We need to enforce strict background checks and gun owners should be required to get a license similar to what we do for driving a car and to carry insurance so if they shoot or kill anyone they’ll have to pay. 

I personally detest guns but I don’t believe our government has the right to confiscate them either.  My Colonel father owned guns, which he kept under lock and key.  I never saw one unless he took them out to clean them except once when he thought we had a burglar downstairs. My father called out in a very loud voice, “I’m going to get my gun.”  I said, “Are you going to shoot someone?”  His reply, “If someone’s in my house I will.”  Now, I realize he was speaking loudly to give the would-be burglar, if indeed there was one, a chance to get the heck out of our house.  Because dealing with weapons was part of my father’s profession there was total respect for them and what they’re used for, to kill people. 

 We are a culture awash in violence that uses war to negotiate and in the words of Jeremiah Wright, “The chickens have come home to roost.”

Timeline of mass shootings.

  

 SECRET SERVICE RESEARCH

 After yet another one of these shootings I always wonder what would drive a child to pick up a weapon and commit mass murder?  The Secret Service did a study on assassins, the Exceptional Case Study Project, then extended the study to include 32 school shooters and released their findings in 2002.  Contrary to popular belief there is no set profile for these shooters, however, they do follow certain action steps, which occur over days, weeks, months of planning, which the Secret Service calls the pathway to attack.  These actions include:

 They pick a weapon.

They practice with the weapon.

2/3’s of the assassins tell someone about their plans for the attack.  They also usually write about it.

They feel desperate and believe violence will solve their problems.

They believe they needed a gun to be heard because nobody cared.

They couldn’t find a reason not to do it.

Afterwards they feel remorse, as it didn’t work out the way they thought it would.

 Many times school shooters are victims of bullying.  In the case of the shooter Luke Woodham, (16), he killed 2 students, injured 7 others at his high school on Oct 1, 1997 at Pearl High School in Mississippi but first he stabbed and bludgeoned his mother to death.

He was mad at the way people treated him.  Classmates pushed him around; called him gay or stupid, and threw rocks at him.  Minutes prior to the shooting Woodham gave this message to a friend.

“I am not insane, I am angry. I killed because people like me are mistreated every day. I did this to show society, push us and we will push back. … All throughout my life, I was ridiculed, always beaten, always hated. Can you, society, truly blame me for what I do? Yes, you will. … It was not a cry for attention; it was not a cry for help. It was a scream in sheer agony saying that if you can’t pry your eyes open, if I can’t do it through pacifism, if I can’t show you through the displaying of intelligence, then I will do it with a bullet.”

Woodham wished he’d been stopped.  He’d been acting out over the course of 2-3 years, turning up the volume and trying to get someone to intervene but in a violent macho gun culture where boys are not allowed to express their feelings let alone cry they cry bullets instead.

One of the most profound findings of the Secret Service study revealed 90% of all the school shooters were on prescription drugs with little or no therapy or supervision for their mental or physical conditions.  In the case of Adam Lanza, he had Asperger’s a form of autism and he too was on medication.

The findings from the Secret Service report immediately raised a red flag for me.  Here’s a list of school shooters and medications they were taking.

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 ARE THERE ANY SOLUTIONS?

 War is big business.  Guns are big business.  The military industrial complex and weapon manufacturers who traffic in fear, murder and lies are stealing our money, our conscience and our future.  Our politicians are bought and paid for and to expect them to do anything is absurd. 

 Mark my words there will be no effective gun reform.  Our government is dysfunctional and paralyzed.  The Feinstein bill, a band aide posing as a solution, exempts 900 weapons.  Our legislators are very “Slim Shady” when it comes to these bills.  They put fancy names on them and then exempt the criminal activity they’re supposed to protect us from.  The so-called whistleblower protection bill Obama just signed is another one of these bills.  If you read further this bill exempts the CIA, FBI, Pentagon and any part of the Surveillance State from being held accountable.

Some believe if we just vote these people out of office things will change but this will only change the players on the chessboard.  Our system is corrupt from top to bottom.  Corporate forces have taken over our government and we must get money out of politics and over turn Citizens United.

Where is our outrage?  Where is our conscience?  We’ve become just like the Germans in the 1930’s and turned a blind eye to what is really going on in our country.  We must find the courage to stand up and speak out.  It’s up to each individual to take responsibility as a citizen of this country and decide is this how you want to live?  Is this the America you want?

Humanity is doomed until we can learn to resolve our disputes without violence and I believe we can stigmatize these weapons of mass destruction just like we did cigarettes and drunk driving in order to reduce our gun violence to a manageable level.  And why are we medicating our children?  Why do parents allow this when their minds are not even fully developed?  Drugging a child is not therapy except in extreme cases and certainly not effective parenting. We need to look into this. 

We’re living in fear-based thinking.  Fear is a dark ugly energy with a dark ugly voice that talks to people in ugly ways and encourages us to make wrong decisions.  Violence is the wrong decision.  People have to give up the fear or nothing will change.  It’s our belief system.  Our inner beliefs are merely being projected outward and made manifest into the world

Violence in our culture runs deep but we can no longer afford to live in an “us versus them” universe.  It no longer serves us and it doesn’t work.  Separation is of the ego.  We are one.  What we do to our brothers we do to ourselves.  People are awakening globally and standing up against the dark forces of tyranny.  The violence in the world we are experiencing is created by the hatred in our hearts and the negative thoughts of fear we project out into the world. 

 734964_445134522207586_1802897985_nOur permanent war, violent, high tech, consumer driven culture glorifies torture claiming it’s a useful way to stop terrorist attacks (Zero Dark Thirty) or that repeatedly raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl until they believed she was dead was all in good fun and she deserved it after all (Steubenville, Ohio football team and their supporters).  Is this what passes for entertainment and acceptable behavior? 

 “A Course in Miracles” teaches, “you become what you defend against.” And in our case we’ve become the terrorists we claim to loath and despise.  We’ve become the dark side.  So unless our consciousness is raised and we evolve we will soon destroy ourselves in a demise of our own ego making. 

 

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars…Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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Go Back To Sleep America at Your Own Peril

by Jill Dalton

Go back to sleep America.  The election is over.  The “lesser of two evils” or as Glen Ford so aptly labeled him the “more effective evil” has won and all is well with the world.

You cast your faux fear vote for your faux president who was actually selected and installed by the corporate powers to serve the corporate police state that’s been put into place over the past 30 years, and is now accelerating at an alarming rate.  The irony is many actually believe their vote matters and global warming doesn’t exist and we’re fighting the good wars and fracking will save us from peak oil and taking our rights away will keep us safe and we’re number one.

Sure we’re number 1.  Number 1 in income inequality, #1 in incarceration rates, #1 in building and exporting weapons, #1 in military spending.  In fact, we’re the #1 terrorist organization on the planet.  Our main exports are: murder, torture, death and destruction.  We’ve managed to create terrorists where there were none.  Terrorism is like a cancer and when it’s attacked it metastases and spreads around the globe.  Our child poverty rate is 23.1% second only to Romania.  We rank in the low 20’s in science and math scores so go back to sleep America.

The sociopaths have taken over the asylum and are hollowing or harvesting our country out from the inside.  Our manufacturing sector has plummeted from 70% in the 1960’s to a meager 17% today.  Corporate power, aided and abetted by our bought and paid for legislators, are exploiting us and destroying the environment in the process. 

I believe these white male supremacist hate the feminine and therefore degrade, defeat, demean, abuse, rape and pillage Mother Earth every chance they get, and when she fights back with a Katrina or a Sandy they deny climate change.  These male white supremacists treat us human women with the same distain and disrespect.  They’re dangerous dinosaurs that have not evolved and are running scared.  You only have to look at blowhards like O’Reilly or Limbaugh to see the pattern.  But all bullies are really cowards, hiding their fear behind racism, sexism and vitriol, and when you stand up to a bully they invariable back down as you’ve exposed them for the ugly pathetic little tyrants they are.  Their only power lies in our silence, and obedience. 

We know the truth, and we have the power.  Our Constitution still reads “we the people” not “we the corporations.”  It’s up to us to rise up and stand up for our rights, and our planet.  For our mother earth, women’s rights, economic equality, a peaceful world, a peaceful homeland, good food, good schools, good jobs and healthcare for all not just the rich.  These are basic human rights.

But we’ve given our power away.  We’re no longer citizens we’re consumers.   We’re passive.  We vote and think we’ve done our civic duty, and then go back to sleep till the next bogus election comes around complete with its negative attack ads, non-issues and corporately sponsored participants. 

Issues are never discussed because that would be too dangerous to the corporate state, and the American people might wake up and ask, “Yeah, why don’t I have a good job and healthcare, why can’t my kids get a decent education?  Why are we bailing out the bankers and Wall Street and foreclosing on homeowners?  Why are we spending trillions on illegal wars?  Why are our police forces militarized?  Why is my income the same as it was in 1968 while productivity is up, and CEO’s are making millions?”  Why?  Because the corporate state is about profit and control, and we’re merely pawns in their game of greed where, to borrow from Chris Hedges, “the only word they know is, MORE!” 

They ignore our cries.  50% of all Americans are either in or near poverty.  Our children go to sleep hungry and homeless but we’re too busy propping up a dead system that serves the 1%.  It’s actually much less than the 1% but no need to split hairs here.  Sure the economy works for them.  Their kids go to private schools; they have healthcare, a few nice homes and eat non-GMO food so it works for them.

I received an email from an old friend recently and inside was a rant from a woman proclaiming how all these poor people are freeloading off Obama’s welfare state because they receive food stamps while she, on the other hand, has to work very hard at her job, and why should they get a free ride?

I wrote back, “Seriously, you’re concerned about a poor family of four receiving $70 a week in food stamps?  What about Wall Street and the too big to fail banks who’ve been given $16 trillion of our taxpayer dollars, or 1 trillion a year being spent on illegal wars.  What about the tax cuts for the rich, and them not paying their fair share?”  Seems she’s been indoctrinated, as many have, in the Ayn Rand philosophy.  It’s the let’s blame the victim mentality.  Let’s point the finger at those who have no power, no voice, and can’t fight back. 

Her rage is understandable but completely misdirected.  But that’s how the corporate propaganda machine works.  And with many Americans no longer able to think, and instead spouting sound bites and platitudes with no real thought process behind them, we see how dangerously misguided this (it’s every man/woman for themselves) group think has become.

Our school systems are being privatized or corporatized, as they issue standardized tests, so students can parrot back the group think because people who’re able to think are dangerous to the corporate state.  It’s much harder to manipulate and control us when we’re able to process their crimes, and connect the dots. No matter corporatizing our school system will destroy the creativity, and ingenuity that Americans are known for.

“We the people” have the power yet we stand silent to these corporate forces, and merely obey as our rights are stripped away; our jobs sent overseas, our homes foreclosed upon.  We turn a blind eye to Obama’s drone attacks, illegal wars, collateral damage, “Kill List,” assassinations of American citizens, the signing of the NDAA and H.R. 347.  And like the Germans in the 1930’s we remain mute to these atrocities.

“First they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984

Go back to sleep America. 

And don’t forget to numb out by watching “Dancing With the Stars,” or some other mindless reality TV show, and fake corporate news that doesn’t deal with any real issues just like the campaign, and the faux debates because remember, “You can’t handle the truth.”  And if all else fails we can always entertain ourselves by shopping for cheap stuff made in China at Wal-Mart we don’t need as long as we’re distracted and preoccupied the powers that be have us right where they want us, and will continue to loot, murder, plunder, and steal.

And now it’s time to get austerity passed.  It’s time for Obama’s grand bargain with the Republicans, which he can’t wait to install and we all see how well that’s working in Europe with their massive demonstrations.  I believe Obama was put into office to do what no Republican could ever get away with.  He’s here to tell us they’re cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. 

No one would dare mention all our fiscal problems could be rectified by allowing the Bush/Obama tax cuts for the rich to expire, reducing the military budget, ending these illegal wars, bringing our troops home. Do we really need them in Germany and England almost 70 years after WWII?

Go back to sleep America.

And with the advent of Citizens United both parties have been co-opted by big money, and are beholding to their corporate puppet masters.

The Republicans make no bones about it.  They tell us they hate everyone who isn’t white, male and rich.  Okay, I don’t like it but at least they tell you to your face, “We hate you, we’re stealing your stuff: Social Security, killing Medicare and Medicaid because we hope you get sick and die, and we’re giving all your money to our fat, rich billionaire friends, we’re killing all entitlements except corporate entitlements, we’re looting the treasury, and we don’t care what you say.  We’re “the deciders.” They claim to purport free trade, which is anything but, and the Ayn Rand philosophy of “I got mine so who cares about you” individualist, and while we’re at it we’re going to drown government in the bathtub, as we collect our fat government pensions, free healthcare, FEMA help, and whatever else the government wants to dole out all the while proclaiming how horrible “entitlements” are.

But honestly, I guess I prefer that to the lily-livered Democrats who feel the same way about us, but lie about it to our faces in their Bill Clinton, “I feel your pain” and “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” bull crap kind of way.  I’d rather know where I stand than listen to their sniveling excuses and lies.

So now Obama and the Democrats will pretend they’ve got our backs, and the Republicans will refuse to do anything but cry fowl and demand more tax cuts for the rich or “job creators,” as they’ve falsely renamed them.  If that were true we’d be rolling in new jobs.  Then Obama will make his usual pathetic excuses, “Gee sorry, kids I tried but the Republicans are just so mean, and I have no backbone, and no negotiating skills, and no character, and it’s the best I could do, and can’t we all just get along?” 

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong, which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” 

Frederick Douglass

This is why all change is and always has always been brought about by social movements.  It’s truly up to “we the people” to change things.  It’s up to us to raise holy hell, and demand our constitutional rights, demand a green sustainable economy, demand single payer for all, demand Social Security be protected, demand an end to these illegal wars of aggression, demand an end to the bank bailouts, demand the too big to fail banks be broken up, demand economic equality, demand decent paying jobs, demand an end to torture and prosecuting whistleblowers, demand accountability for the bankers and Wall Street crooks, as well as the Bush/Cheney/Obama criminality.  These men are traitors to the U.S. Constitution and should be held accountable, but until “we the people” demand justice nothing will change. 

I was grateful to see Elizabeth Warren won her Senate seat along with other progressive candidates such as Alan Grayson, Sherrod Brown, Harkeem Jeffries and Tammy Baldwin.  According to Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) progressives took 30 seats in all defeating several right wing extremists but we cannot rely on them either.  It’s up to us.

As for Obama my prayer is Americans will wake up, and smell the corruption.  Our consciousness will be raised, and we’ll demand our civil liberties back, demand a stop to drone attacks, illegal wars, assassinations of American citizens, refuse to be spied on, or illegally searched at airports but alas Americans seem to love giving their rights away.  The American dream has become a nightmare.

In Nader’s new book:  “17 Solutions,” he assures us, “It’d only take 1% of the population to take up their civic duty as a hobby to turn this ship around.  It’s easier than you think,” he espouses.  “We must organize, attend rallies, occupy local congressional offices with specific demands, occupy courtrooms” and demand our rights.  It’s up to us to do it.  Stop capitulating at every turn. 

We must hold this president accountable.  We’ve put no pressure on this guy, and he’s run slipshod over the Constitution and us, and very few seem to notice or care.  By voting for “the lesser evil,” (I voted for Jill Stein) the so called liberals are accessories to his crimes, and are now officially irrelevant.  And just because you voted for him doesn’t mean he’s got your best interest at heart.  It doesn’t matter what he says.  It’s what he does that counts.

The Unions, what’s left of them and, in fact, the entire liberal class has sold out.  So forget about them.  They’re a waste of time.  Focus on solutions not problems.  Whatever we put our attention on multiplies.  Solutions.  Action.  “We the people” have the power, but like Sleeping Beauty we’ve fallen asleep.  Obama’s no Prince Charming.  There will be no revivifying kiss.  His power lies in us staying asleep.

Come on.  We’re Americans.  Get it together. It’s up to us.  We allowed this insanity to happen by ignoring the truth, and now it’s time to act before it’s too late.  No more excuses.  No more fighting over wedge issues.  The whole point is to keep “we the people” distracted and divided, fighting over nonsense, so the corporate powers can continue to rape, pillage, and steal from us. It’s the oldest trick in the book.

“United we stand, divided we fall.”

Patrick Henry

If we’re to survive as a species and a country we must come together and take back our rights, our dignity and our Constitution.  We only need to remember the truth and act.

Go back to sleep America at your own peril. 


Does Voting Matter?

by Jill Dalton Revised:  October 20, 2014

NoMoreStolenElections.org

I remember sitting in the large impersonal lecture hall in my American History 101 class feeling a bit forlorn and overwhelmed.  I’m a freshman at the University of South Carolina.  It’s 1968, the Vietnam War is raging, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King have been assassinated, riots erupted in several U.S. cities, the antiwar movement, woman’s movement and civil rights movement are in full swing, my father’s currently serving in Military Intelligence, Saigon and my mom’s hospitalized after suffering 3rd degree burns because she’s having a nervous breakdown trying to deal with my father being at war leaving her responsible for raising 4 kids ranging in ages from 5 and 18.  I feel like I’m hanging on by my fingernails.

The professor asks, “What is democracy?”  I’m wondering the answer to that question myself.  Student’s hands shoot up as one by one they proclaim, “Freedom of speech.”  “Freedom of religion.”  “Freedom of the press.”  “Freedom to peacefully assemble.”  Freedom to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  “Freedom from illegal search and seizures.”  And the list goes on and each time our professor nods, “Yes, and what else?” After our ideas are exhausted the professor responds, “Democracy means one man one vote.  Period.  This is the only power you have.  If you don’t wield that power at the ballot box then you have no power.”  His statement made a huge impression on me.  Until then I was so apathetic about what was going on in our country I’d decided to ignore the entire rotten system but his words changed my mind.

RiseUpMankind My voting record

I became a registered Democrat.  And every four years I’d march myself to my voting place and “wield my power.”  Granted, I don’t have a very good success rate at the poles but I voted anyway.  1968 gave us a choice between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace, the racist governor from Alabama.  I was a Robert Kennedy supporter so I pulled the lever for Humphrey and we all know how that turned out.

1972 gave us Richard Nixon and Gov. George McGovern.  McGovern ran on ending the war in Vietnam, amnesty for war resisters, abolition of the draft, a guaranteed job for every American, lifting people out of poverty, women’s rights, gay rights and saving the environment—no wonder he lost by one of the largest margins in U.S. history winning only Massachusetts and D.C.  What a different world we might have had if he’d won. 

Today we’re facing many of these same issues.  Nothing has changed in fact things have gotten much worse. I’ve never understood and never will understand why the majority of Americans prefer liars, crooks, thieves and warmongering politicians to honest, compassionate, peace loving statesmen.  And because they do we find ourselves in a dying empire rife with corruption and inequality collapsing from the weight of its own hubris.

1976.  Jimmy Carter, a soft-spoken, kindhearted peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia ran against Gerald Ford, who served 25 years in the Senate and became president after Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon resignation on August 9, 1974.  Finally, my candidate wins but because of the Iran hostage situation he loses in 1980 to Ronald Reagan.

I never liked Reagan.  He was a second rate actor and a third rate president.  I’d sit and watch him lie to the American people as he pushed the corporate agenda, killed the air traffic controllers union, which signaled to workers you have no power here and promoted his “trickle down economics,” which even George H.W. Bush referred to as, “voodoo economics.”

1984.  Walter Mondale loses to Reagan.

1988.  Michael Dukakis loses to George H.W. Bush.

1992.  Bill Clinton, defeats George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot.

1996. Bill Clinton wins a second term defeating Bob Doyle and Ross Perot but then the unthinkable happens.  Bill Clinton becomes embroiled with a White House Intern and trying to save himself claims “he did not have sexual relations with that woman” and depending on “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice as Hillary proclaims there’s a mass right wing conspiracy under foot.  And although unemployment’s at 4.8%, the lowest in 8 years and he claims to leave us with a huge surplus, he finishes out his term in disgrace.

In retrospect we now know Clinton killed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which was put into place after the great depression to make sure we were protected from the banks ever collapsing the economy again, dismantled welfare which mainly hurt poor hungry children, and touted NAFTA as a huge job creator, which we now know sent American jobs overseas.

2000.  George W. Bush versus Al Gore turns out to be a huge fiasco.  Between the hanging chads in Florida, and being aided and abetted by the then Gov. Jeb Bush, the little brother to G.W. Bush, and then Secretary of State of Florida, Katherine Harris.  People are purposely excluded from the voting rolls and hundreds are turned away at the polls.  And then the final nail in the coffin, the Supreme Court stops the recount and calls the election for George W. Bush even though Al Gore won the popular vote. This was a coup. 

The 2000 election was stolen, plain and simple.  If this had happened in another country Americans would be up in arms crying fowl.  I kept waiting for people to rise up and revolt, but nothing much happened.  Instead everyone blamed Green candidate Ralph Nader, including myself at the time, believing he’d stolen votes from Gore and caused him to lose.  This hypothesis has since been disproved.

George W. Bush’s record

With George W. Bush in office the neocons take control of the White House, and all hell breaks loose.  September 11th marks a very dark day in our history.  The Bush Administration starts two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, by lying to the American people resulting in 4,000 U.S. troops dead and estimates of civilian deaths range from 88,000 to over half a million and then under the guise of protecting us from, “they hate us for our freedoms,” terrorist, the Bush administration immediately gets to work dismantling our Constitution, promoting fear and stripping us of our civil liberties by: Passing the Patriot Act.

Opening Gitmo. (Guantanamo Bay detention camp)

Authorizing the wiretapping and reading of e-mails of U.S. citizens. Promoting the preemptive war, Bush Doctrine.

Abu Ghraib photos are leaked.  Torture becomes the new normal.

Signs tax cuts for the rich and large corporations.

FCC pushes for more media consolidation allowing one company to own newspapers, TV and radio stations in one city.

Bush ignores victims of Hurricane Katrina and hundreds perish.

2004.  Bush, who avoided the Vietnam war, beats John Kerry by spreading lies about Kerry’s war record, and also by stealing Ohio.   According to a report titled “What Really Happened,” 

“IN mid-August [2003], Walden W. O’Dell, the chief executive of Diebold Inc., sat down at his computer to compose a letter inviting 100 wealthy and politically inclined friends to a Republican Party fund-raiser, to be held at his home in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. ”I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year,” wrote Mr. O’Dell, whose company is based in Canton, Ohio.”

By 2008 even many avid Bush supporters can no longer support the lies and corruption from this administration and Barack Obama emerges victorious.  A dark horse who’s not been properly vetted but gave a rousing keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, wrote a compelling book, “Dreams From My Father,” and is an eloquent speaker who promises us “change we can believe in.”  And after eight years of pure hell we’re all so desperate to believe we fall for this rhetoric and his big open smile.  He had us all fooled.

Barack Obama’s record

To say I have buyers remorse is an understatement of Herculean proportions.  Where do I begin?  Glen Ford refers to Obama as the “more effective evil,” and I would have to agree with his assessment. Obama not only continues the wars but escalates them claiming Afghanistan is the “good war” and even though it’s bankrupting the country, and we’re losing he continues this insanity.

Promises to get us out of Iraq but instead we build the largest military installation in the world and fill it with 2,500 private contractors.

Starts new wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria and now wants to add Iran, China and even Russia to the list.

Obama’s secret ‘kill list.’

Escalates drone attacks.  These illegal killing machines mainly murder innocent women and children and once in a blue moon hit a low level so-called “enemy combatant.”  But not to worry they’ve changed the laws so any male that’s hit who’s of a certain age is labeled an enemy combatant.

Extends the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

Extends the Patriot Act.

Does not prosecute or even question one member of the Bush Administration for their crimes or one of the Wall Street crooks or bankers who caused the global meltdown.  In fact, bank bailouts under Obama have far exceeded Bush to the tune of 16 trillion.

Does not close Gitmo.

Does not put a moratorium on foreclosure nor does he ‘put on his comfortable shoes,’ and march with union workers when collective bargaining is taken away from them in Wisconsin.

Continues and escalates spying on American citizens without warrants via the FISA Amendments Act.

Unemployment continues to rise as thousands are thrown off the roles, and unemployment benefits are not extended.

Prosecutes twice as many whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act of 1917 as all other presidents combined.

Signs HR 347 into law that criminalizes our right to protest.

Signs the NDAA into law.  (Hedges, Chomsky and a few other brave Americans have sued Obama and Leon Panetta)  Under the NDAA American citizens are labeled enemy combatants and can be arrested and held indefinitely without due process.

Passes Obamacare, which forces people to buy inadequate insurance and is a give away to the for profit insurance companies.

Shuts down the Occupy encampments in a coordinated effort between the White House, the DOJ and local police departments, which are now militarized and protect the 1%.

Where are we now?

So now our choice has become a vote between the “lesser of two evils.” The two parties may speak in different tones but they both serve the same corporate masters.  Let’s face it Obama speaks with a forked tongue.  He says one thing yet does another.  I learned a long time ago it’s not what someone says that matters, but what they do.

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”  George Orwell

It’s time to wake up and smell the corruption America.  We’ve been deceived again.  Our government is corporately owned and operated. As Chris Hedges tells us again and again “we have undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion.”  And ‘we the people’ have lost. Obama is a brand packaged and presented to us for our viewing pleasure, and let’s be honest the corporate powers that be decide who’s installed into office.  The elections are rigged just as our system is rigged.  We have elections so we can pretend we live in a free society.

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”  Emma Goldman

We have a two party duopoly.  A plutocracy: government by the rich for the rich. It’s not about Obama or Bush.  They’re just the front men.  Our system is completely corrupted by corporate forces.  And once Citizens United was enacted making corporations people giving them free speech, and allowing them to dump as much cash as possible without accountability into the electoral system then our republic’s goose was officially cooked. And the mere fact presidential candidates must raise a billion dollars to run is obscene.  That money could be used for things that actually matter. Both political parties have been taken over by corporate money. 

Under Clinton the Democrats realized they couldn’t win without big money, and once you take money from Wall Street, big oil or the insurance companies then you’re beholding to them, and must dole out tax breaks, ensure a for profit health care system, deregulate the banks and Wall Street, exempt the fossil fuel industry from the Clean Air and Water Act, and on it goes.

Our votes no longer matter because our legislators no longer need us.  We’re small potatoes.  There’s a reason why Jamie Dimon, the CEO of the ‘too big to fail’ JP Morgan Chase, sits in front of the House Financial Services Committee, wearing cufflinks with the presidential seal, and is cajoled by members of congress after he somehow misplaces 2 billion dollars.  Oh well, not to worry Jamie we know how easy it is to misplace that kind of money.  I mean look at the billions that disappeared in Iraq.  Tee hee.

Electronic voting machines

And then there’s the mater of the electronic voting machines, where a vote can be switched or lost in the blink of an eye with no paper trail.  Researches found severe flaws with the Diebold voting machines. A Princeton Study revealed,

“[m]alicious software running on a single voting machine can steal votes with little if any risk of detection,” and that the software can be installed on a voting machine in  only a minute by anyone that has physical access.”   Ryan Paul

In August 2003, Walden O’Dell, then the chief executive of Diebold, announced he’d been a top fund-raiser for President George W. Bush and had sent a get-out-the-funds letter to 100 wealthy and politically inclined friends in the Republican Party, to be held at his home in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.

“In December 2005, O’Dell resigned following reports that the company was facing securities fraud litigation surrounding charges of insider trading.”  Wikipedia

In Mark Crispin Miller’s book, “Fooled Again” he calls for electoral reform.

“The pattern—not one overwhelming fraud but thousands of little ones—did not end in 2004.  The same pattern continued in ’06, costing the Democrats a number of seats in the House and Senate, and that is likely to be part of the Republican electoral strategy for ’08 as well.”

Greg Palast claims hacking is the least of our problems.  He states,

“Computers tend to lose more votes and cost five times as much and votes just disappear.  According to the U.S. Elections offices in D.C. 1.4 million votes were lost (spoiled) in the last election. These are billionaires who install politicians who favor them.  “They don’t care who it is they just choose which hand puppet to stick their hand in.”

The Debates

The debates are a joke or as my friend Thomas Baldwin labeled them, “weapons of mass distraction.“  The debates used to matter, but have been strong armed away from the League of Women Voters, a non partisan entity that stood up to the two political parties, wanted third parties to be included, demanded transparency, and made sure the questions were not pre-determined. The debates are now run by a private corporation called the Commission on Presidential Debates.

“…a private corporation, financed primarily by Anheuser-Busch and other major companies, that was created by the Republican and Democratic parties to seize control of the presidential debates from the League of Women Voters in 1987.” George Farah “The Obama and Romney campaigns have secretly negotiated a detailed contract that dictates many of the terms of the 2012 presidential debates. This includes who gets to participate, as well as the topics raised during the debates.” Democracy Now!

Real issues are not discussed, the audiences are pre-screened along with the questions, the participants are not allowed to ask follow up questions, and just in case anyone’s tries their microphones are cut off as soon as their pre-screened question is asked.  Nothing of merit is discussed by either political candidate.

In the last presidential election I voted for Jill Stein, the Green Party Candidate, even though I knew she didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. The system is set up to make sure of that.  Not sure how many people realize this, but Jill Stein and her running mate, activist Cheri Honkala, were arrested outside the debates and handcuffed to chairs for 8 hours. They’d met all the requirements to participate in the debates and because they demanded their rights were arrested.  Police state anyone?

Now what?

So here’s the deal. 

What many people still don’t understand is our elections don’t matter.  I’ve voted in every election since I was old enough.  I no longer believe my vote counts.  Both the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen.  I realize whoever is really in charge controls the ballot box, and the new electronic voting machines were installed for a reason. It’s now impossible to make change within in the system besides all real change has always come from civil disobedience and grass roots movements: Abolitionists, Labor, Suffragettes, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, etc.  These movements put pressure on the powers that be to make change.  Gandhi did not defeat the British Empire by sitting on the couch, signing petitions or posting on Facebook.  He put his body in front of the machine.  We must all stand up against the tyranny that has befallen our country.  They must fear us in order for anything to change.

Me & Pam @ OWS rally.

Should we boycott elections?

If anyone would’ve told me years ago that one day I’d advocate boycotting elections I’d have thought them insane, but the more I look into this option the more I see it as a way to invalidate our corrupt system and make our legislators illegitimate. The Boycott Elections group is an organization that is picking up steam.  You can read their manifesto here.  At the top of the page is this quote by Ted Aranda, Election Boycott advocate and lifelong activist.

“The entire notion of putting massive resources and effort into building electoral parties to compete in the elite-managed horse-race charades is fatally flawed.  In the final analysis it does not work. We have to do something radically different, and the election boycott is the start of this new, genuinely revolutionary—not reformist—movement.”

A few of it’s members have been appearing regularly every Sunday night (9 – 11 p.m. EST) on the Carson’s Corner Blogtalk Radio Show. To find out more or get involved you can also check out their Facebook page. If I’m completely honest, however, I will most likely vote in the upcoming mid-term election.  Old habits die hard.  I will vote for Howie Hawkins from the Green Party for the governor of New York.  I know he can’t win, but it’s a way for me to show I don’t support either of the two corrupt corporate political parties. 

Come the presidential elections I wish, out of pure disgust for the system, all citizens would refuse to vote.  Not that we should stay home, but instead show up to our respective voting places with signs, and proclaim our refusal to participate in this duopoly that no longer serves ‘we the people,’ and is merely a charade.  Kabuki theatre at it’s finest.   I for one am sick and tired of the deceit and refuse to play their game any longer.  Why collude with the corporate oligarchy?  This is a system of death.  A system based on greed, and propped up by lies, war, distraction and illusions.