Political Articles from 2015

5 Myths Regarding the Paris Terror Attacks

5 Myths Regarding the Paris Terror Attacks
by Washington’s Blog
Posted November 22, 2015

surveillance does not make you saferThe NSA and other spy agencies are pretending that the Paris attacks show that we need more mass surveillance. But the New York Times correctly points out in a scathing editorial that mass surveillance won’t help to prevent terrorism:

As one French counterterrorism expert and former defense official said, this shows that “our intelligence is actually pretty good, but our ability to act on it is limited by the sheer numbers.” In other words, the problem in this case was not a lack of data, but a failure to act on information authorities already had.

In fact, indiscriminate bulk data sweeps have not been useful. In the more than two years since the N.S.A.’s data collection programs became known to the public, the intelligence community has failed to show that the phone program has thwarted a terrorist attack. Yet for years intelligence officials and members of Congress repeatedly misled the public by claiming that it was effective. In reality, top security experts agree that mass surveillance makes us MORE vulnerable to terrorists. Indeed, even the NSA has previously admitted that it’s collecting too MUCH information to stop terror attacks. More…

Time Is Running Out For Pax Americana’s Apologists

Time Is Running Out For Pax Americana’s Apologists
by Rostislav Ischenko
Posted November 16, 2015

empire in declineThe paradox of the current global crisis is that for the last five years, all relatively responsible and independent nations have made tremendous efforts to save the United States from the financial, economic, military, and political disaster that looms ahead. And this is all despite Washington’s equally systematic moves to destabilize the world order, rightly known as the Pax Americana.

Since policy is not a zero-sum game, i.e., one participant’s loss does not necessarily entail a gain for another, this paradox has a logical explanation. A crisis erupts within any system when there is a discrepancy between its internal structure and the sum total of available resources (that is, those resources will eventually prove inadequate for the system to function normally and in the usual way). More…

The Deep State: The Unelected Shadow Government Is Here To Stay

The Deep State: The Unelected Shadow Government Is Here To Stay
by John W. Whitehead
Posted November 12, 2015

deep stateAmerica’s next president will inherit more than a bitterly divided nation teetering on the brink of financial catastrophe when he or she assumes office. He will also inherit a shadow government, one that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country. To be precise, however, the future president will actually inherit not one but two shadow governments.

The first shadow government, referred to as COG or continuity of government, is made up of unelected individuals who have been appointed to run the government in the event of a “catastrophe.” The second shadow government, referred to as the Deep State, is comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes right now. More…

How the U.S. Government is Raiding a Citizen Victim Relief Fund to Pay for General Expenses

How the U.S. Government is Raiding a Citizen Victim Relief Fund to Pay for General Expenses
by Michael Krieger
Posted November 6, 2015

government theftOne of the primary “talking points” used by the Department of Justice to defend its practice of systematically deeming corporate criminals above the law via its used of deferred prosecution agreements, has been an emphasis on how much money it has earned in fines from criminal corporations. These fines were supposed to be distributed to help victimized American citizens. Not any more.

The government’s just-approved budget deal takes $1.5 billion from a fund for crime victims and uses it instead to help pay for federal spending, drawing on a growing reserve collected from settlements with banks and major corporations. More…

TPP Is Toxic Political Poison That Politicians Should Avoid

TPP Is Toxic Political Poison That Politicians Should Avoid
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Posted October 25, 2015

TPP is NAFTA on steroidsIf you care about corporate power versus democracy, and about jobs, the environment, health care, food, water, energy, climate, regulation of banks and more, then stopping the TPP needs to be a top priority. The agreement comes after six years of secret negotiations — secret to the public, media and elected representatives but not to hundreds of transnational corporations, their lobbyists and lawyers.

The deal is fragile. Negotiators had been near agreement for more than a year and the final two meetings were a struggle. The controversy around this the agreement will come out when it is made public and goes through national legislatures. More…

The Drone Papers: The Assassination Complex

The Drone Papers: The Assassination Complex
by Jeremy Scahill
Posted October 18, 2015

drone victimsDrones are a tool, not a policy. The policy is assassination. While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, Congress has avoided legislating the issue or even defining the word “assassination.” This has allowed proponents of the drone wars to rebrand assassinations with more palatable characterizations, such as the term du jour, “targeted killings.”

From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death. More…

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