This City Hall, brought to you by Amazon
By Danny Westneat
Posted December 14, 2017
There’s rising worry that corporations are taking over America. But after reviewing a slew of the bids by cities and states wooing Amazon’s massive second headquarters, I don’t think “takeover” quite captures what’s going on.
More like “surrender.”
Last month Amazon announced it got 238 offers for its new, proposed 50,000-employee HQ2. I set out to see what’s in them, but only about 30 have been released so far under public-record acts.
Those 30, though, amply demonstrate our capitulation to corporate influence in politics. There’s a new wave, in which some City Halls seem willing to go beyond just throwing money at Amazon. They’re turning over the keys to the democracy. More…
America’s Enemies, Who’s On the List?
By Prof. James Petras
Posted December 14, 2017
The politicians and propagandists in Washington can blather about Russia’s interference in the US’s corrupt electoral theater and scuttle moves to improve diplomatic ties, but they cannot counter Russia’s growing influence in the Middle East and its expanding trade with Asia, especially China.
The US ‘priority’ targets are unattainable and invulnerable. In the midst of the on-going inter-elite dogfight within the US, it may be too much to hope for the emergence of any rational policymakers in Washington who could rethink strategic priorities and calibrate policies of mutual accommodation to fit in with global realities.
The US would regain some of its credibility if it operated within the contexts of global realities and pursued a win-win agenda instead of remaining a consistent loser in a zero-sum game. More…
How Corporate Power Killed Democracy
by Richard Moser
Posted December 14, 2017
Since the mid-1970s, when the corporations fused with the state, a new imperial order emerged that killed what remained of representative democracy. Not only would corporations exercise public authority as only government once had, but government would coordinate and serve corporate activity. Power and profits became one and the same. Corporate power has replaced democracy with oligarchy and justice with a vast militarized penal system. Instead of innovative production, they plunder people and planet.
To achieve this new order, elections and the economy had to be drained of any remaining democratic content. Both Democrats and Republicans were eager to have at it.
By the 1990s “Third Way” Democrats like Bill Clinton abandoned what was left of the New Deal to try to outdo the Republicans as the party of Wall Street. The Republicans pioneered election fraud on a national scale in 2000, 2004, and 2016; a lesson the Democrats learned all too well by the 2016 Primary. Neither major party wants election reform since free and fair elections would threaten the system itself. More…
Understanding How the Enemy of Your Enemy Is Not Your Friend
by Eric Zuesse
Posted December 13, 2017
In political matters, the public are taught to believe that some political Party is ‘good’, and that the others are “bad”; but the reality in recent times, at least in the United States, has instead been that both Parties are rotten to the core (as will be clear from the linked documentation provided here).
Belief in this myth (that the opposition between Parties is between ‘good’ ‘friend’ versus ‘bad’ ‘enemy’) is based upon the common adage that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” One side is believed, and ones that contradict it are disbelieved — considered to be lying, distorting: bad. But, maybe, both (or all) Parties are deceiving; maybe all of them are enemies of the public, but just in different ways; maybe each of them is trying to control the country in the interests of (and so to obtain the most financial support from) the aristocracy, while all of them are actually against the public. More…
The FCC Votes to Let Monopolies Decide What Local News You See
By Sue Wilson
Posted December 12, 2017
Ten years from now, people could look at their local news reporting and wonder how it ever went so wrong. You’ve heard of fake news? You ain’t seen nothing yet.
What would happen if the politician you love to hate were indicted, but your local news didn’t report it? No newspaper stories, no TV news, no radio news on the hour, nothing.
Couldn’t happen? Think again.
The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission voted on Nov. 16 to allow just one corporation to own the local newspaper plus nearly every commercial TV station in your town. Nifty way to reduce down to just one newsroom then dictate whatever information that corporation does — and does not — want you to know in this democracy. More…
Fed Gov’t Just Admitted It Will Continue Warrantless Spying—Even If Congress Votes to Stop It
By Rachel Blevins
Posted December 11, 2017
As the United States Congress runs out of time to vote on a bill that would reauthorize one of the government’s most egregious warrantless spying programs, officials are claiming that those programs won’t end anytime soon—even if they are not reauthorized by the end of the year.
The USA Liberty Act will reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017. While the bill’s proponents have claimed it will help ensure “security” in the United States, privacy advocates have warned that will provide additional loopholes for the government to continue conducting warrantless surveillance of innocent Americans.
The assumption may be that if the USA Liberty Act is not signed into law, then the provisions from Section 702 will no longer be legal and the U.S. government will stop collecting data from innocent Americans without warrants—but intelligence officials do not see it that way. More…
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