The Death of Irony, Or, University Of Penn’s Secret Meetings On Secret Laws
By Dustin Slaughter
Posted Dec 7, 2013
This morning’s roundtable discussion [at U of Penn]: Spying and the Judiciary: FISA and Other Special Courts. The event is one of seven moderated discussions included in the university’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL) conference, On the Very Idea of Secret Laws: Transparency and Publicity in Deliberative Democracy.
After taking a seat (and catching out of the corner of my eye NSA’s deputy director John “Chris” Inglis drift into the room, among others), a wiry CERL staffer named Ilya Rudyak walks over and asks for my name. I introduce myself and offer my press badge. In other words, this morning’s moderated discussion on secret courts, secret laws, and a rampaging surveillance apparatus is strangely, well, secret. More…
(Un)Paving Our Way To The Future
by James H. Kunstler
Posted Dec 2, 2013
Country life for everybody in the world’s savior democracy! Fresh air! Light! Play space for the little ones! Nothing in world history had been easier to sell. Interestingly, in a nation newly-addicted to television viewing, the suburban expansion of the 1950s took on a cartoon flavor. It was soon apparent that the emergent “product” was not “country living” but rather a cartoon of a country house in a cartoon of the country. Yet it still sold. Americans were quite satisfied to live in a cartoon environment. It was uncomplicated. It could be purchased on installment loans. We had plenty of cheap energy to run it.
It took decades of accreting suburbia for its more insidious deficiencies to become apparent. Most noticeable was the disappearance of the rural edge as the subdivisions quickly fanned outward, dissolving the adjacent pastures, cornfields, and forests that served as reminder of the original promise of “country living.” Next was the parallel problem of accreting car traffic. Soon, that negated the promise of spacious country living in other ways. The hated urban “congestion” of living among too many people became an even more obnoxious congestion of cars. That problem was aggravated by the idiocies of single-use zoning, which mandated the strictest possible separation of activities and forced every denizen of the suburbs into driving for every little task. Under those codes (no mixed use!), the corner store was outlawed, as well as the café, the bistro, indeed any sort of gathering place within a short walk that is normal in one form or another in virtually every other culture. More…
Letter to an Unknown Whistleblower
by Tom Engelhardt
Posted September 27, 2013
I don’t know who you are or what you do or how old you may be. I just know that you exist somewhere in our future as surely as does tomorrow or next year. You may be young and computer-savvy or a career federal employee well along in years. You might be someone who entered government service filled with idealism or who signed on to “the bureaucracy” just to make a living. You may be a libertarian, a closet left-winger, or as mainstream and down-the-center as it’s possible to be.
I don’t know much, but I know one thing that you may not yet know yourself. I know that you’re there. I know that, just as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did, you will, for reasons of your own, feel compelled to take radical action, to put yourself in danger. When the time comes, you will know that this is what you must do, that this is why you find yourself where you are, and then you’re going to tell us plenty that has been kept from us about how our government really operates. You are going to shock us to the core. More…
GOP Appointed Officials Black Out Detroit During Heatwave To “Send Them A Strong Message”
by Randa Morris
Posted September 17, 2013
If you ever had any doubt that Michigan has been taken over by a group of dangerous, radical extremists, what happened in Detroit on September 11th, 2013 should be enough to wake you up. There were several things significant about September 11th, 2013. Not only was it the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, but the state of Michigan was also experiencing an unseasonal heat wave. In the city of Detroit, power outages left people stranded in elevators, trapped four hours in the blistering heat. Hundreds were evacuated from buildings in the downtown area, traffic lights did not function, public transportation was disabled and 1,400 sites across the city were without power. Wayne State University and other key buildings still remained closed, the following day. All of this after the city’s power supply supposedly failed.
The problem is that the city’s power supply never failed.On September 12th, 2013, Bill Nowling casually stated that the city’s power outages were intentional. Officials and citizens working in the city were given no warning before the electricity was cut off. Law enforcement officials working in the Hall of Justice had no time to prepare. Senior citizens and disabled citizens using elevators in the city’s downtown district had no way to know what was coming. The entire criminal justice system was shut down without notice. More…
Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security
by James Ball, Julian Borger and Glenn Greenwald
Posted September 10, 2013
This story has been reported in partnership between the New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica based on documents obtained by the Guardian.
US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden.
The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments. More…
Building the Commons as an Antidote to the Predatory Market Economy
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted September 6, 2013
These are times of radical change. We are in the midst of an evolution. As David Bollier writes, “We are poised between an old world that no longer works and a new one struggling to be born. Surrounded by centralized hierarchies on the one hand and predatory markets on the other, people around the world are searching for alternatives.”
We are at a crossroads in the global economic order. If not stopped, the two massive “trade” agreements under negotiation at present, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (known as TAFTA), will cement this globalized neoliberal market economy through greater deregulation, profit protection and an extra-judicial trade tribunal in which corporations can sue sovereign nations if their laws interfere with profits. More…
We’re Hooked on ‘Growth,’ But It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
by Imara Jones
Posted April 16, 2013
As the New York Stock Exchange reached an all-time high this month, you’d think that the good times were back. But that would be incorrect. What happens on Wall Street has very little to do with what’s going on in the real economy. Corporate profits have never been higher, but — excluding the highest earners — real wages are at a 40 year low. With this fundamental disconnect — and political gridlock in Washington — it’s unlikely that our economy will return to health anytime soon.
The good news is that in thousands of communities across America, people are working together to bring about what may be the beginning of a new national economic contract. Where Washington and Wall Street are falling down citizens are banding together, not just to ameliorate the suffering caused by national stagnation, but to launch innovative economic initiatives that might create a brighter, fairer future for everyone. More…
Safety Group Blows Lid on “Secret Virus” Hidden in GMO Crops
Posted February 9, 2013
Yet another disturbing reason has emerged as to why you should be avoiding health-devastating genetically modified organisms, and it may be one of the most concerning yet. We know that GMO consumption has been linked to a host of serious conditions, but one thing we are not so sure about is the recent discovery of a hidden viral gene deep within genetically modified crops.
For years, GMOs have been consumed knowingly and unknowingly around the globe, with Monsanto and the United States government claiming that the altered franken crops are perfectly safe despite very limited.
According to Independent Science News, Gene VI also inhibits RNA silencing. As you may know, RNA silencing has been pinpointed as vital for the proper functioning of gene expression when it comes to RNA. Perhaps more topically, it is a defense mechanism against viruses in plants and animals alike. On the contrary, many viruses have developed genes that disable this protective process. Independent Science News reports that the Gene VI is one such gene. More…
Buried Truth: Uncovering The Keystone XL Pipeline, The Plot Thickens
by Brett Redmayne-Titley
Posted January 7, 2013
TransCanada has a government in place that had a growing track record of reducing regulation, loved profit, cozied up to corporate influence at will, and increasingly ignored the good of its people. America. So, TransCanada’s lobbyists went to work in the halls of the US congress, and the Office of the President. Current results indicated past success.
TransCanada must have found the political environment of an American government very reassuring, since TransCanada almost immediately began clearing, fraudulently, a path of non-opposition for their new pipeline. Four years hence, TransCanada’s lobbying at the White House would pay off handsomely as scheduled.
Without any legal federal, state, or local approval at all, TransCanada began a campaign of contacting all property owners along the proposed KXL route. Initially, TransCanada started with a letter fraudulently telling landowners that the KXL pipeline had been approved by the federal government, and that TransCanada had the legal right to seize their lands for the pipeline’s path using Eminent Domain, unless” they cooperated. TransCanada knew they were stretching the truth to shreds, but had the confidence to lie and coerce the landowners into submission. This fraud cost TransCanada almost nothing and yielded great success amongst the landowners who fell for their line and signed an Easement Agreement. More…
If anyone has bought the corporate media propaganda that this oil will help make the U.S. more energy independent, ask yourself this question:
Why doesn’t the pipeline run to closer refineries in places like North
Dakota? This is because this oil is destined for EXPORT, and therefore needs the ports located on the Gulf coast.
Limits to Economic Growth, Humanity Is Still on the Way to Destroying Itself
by Raul Meijer
Posted January 4, 2013
There is a more or less general recognition that we face three global problems/crises. Finance, energy and climate change. Climate change should really be seen as part of the larger overall pollution problem. As such, it is closely linked to the energy problem in that both problems are direct consequences of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. If you use energy, you produce waste; use more energy and you produce more waste. And there is a point where you can use too much, and not be able to survive in the waste you yourself have produced.
It may be good to remember that one of the basic tenets of the Limits to Growth report was that variables like world population, industrialization and resource depletion grow exponentially, while the (techno) answer to them grows only linearly. More…