Political Articles from 2017

The Surveillance State: An Inexorable March Toward Totalitarianism

[Politics]
The Surveillance State: An Inexorable March Toward Totalitarianism
by Jeremiah Johnson
Posted November 30, 2017

watching people as they leave the USThe Surveillance State has slowed down its rate of growth since the President took office, however, it has not halted that growth. Instead, it lies festering below the veneer of daily events, inexorably growing its tentacles and extending their reach.

Akin to an infestation of weeds, the roots are deep within the fabric of our communications networks: telephones, CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) cameras, the Internet…all are thoroughly permeated.

Why else would they be requiring the use of a passport starting next year on domestic flights? This is the internal passport system of the former Soviet Union, materializing before our eyes. They will not need the “Mark of the Beast” implanted or bar-coded…they have the cellular telephones. More…

Things Are Escalating Quickly

[Media]
Things Are Escalating Quickly
by Michael Krieger
Posted November 30, 2017

Willima Binney, NSA whistleblower, warned public about spyingWhile things continue to bubble in an extremely dangerous direction overseas, the corporate media and U.S government have been busy at work here at home in a desperate attempt to regain control of the narrative and silence patriotic whistleblowers. Let’s start with the corporate media’s recent shameless and degenerate attempt to smear William Binney.

Bill Binney worked at the National Security Agency nearly three decades as one of its leading crypto-mathematicians. He then became one of its leading whistleblowers.

It’s no wonder the out of control, unconstitutional U.S. surveillance state doesn’t like Mr. Binney, but what the media did to him over the past week is clownishly evil and intentional. More…

Washington’s Wars

[Politics]
Washington’s Wars
by Brian Cloughley
Posted November 27, 2017

US troops in 172 countries and territoriesThe New York Times reported on October 22 that the United States has “just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories,” which is a staggering total. But in an intriguing revelation the Times reported that there are a further 37,813 troops deployed “on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation.”

It is not surprising that Washington’s war-spreaders do not supply information to the American public concerning the location of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen involved in clandestine operations around the globe, because this might bring to light the lack of justification for such deployments. Concurrent with denial of information, however, is an energetic campaign aimed at convincing Americans that everything to do with military strength is laudable and that those who voice the slightest criticism of the armed forces are unpatriotic or even traitorous. More…

The loss of net neutrality: Say goodbye to a free and open internet

[Media]
The loss of net neutrality: Say goodbye to a free and open Internet
by Tom Henderson
Posted November 23, 2017

the Intenet you knew is about to disappearThe end of net neutrality looks imminent. If it goes away, you can expect these long-lasting problems to surface. Net neutrality—the principle that no online traffic has priority over other traffic, not even for pay—might go away. If it does, big money will be behind its demise.

Every conceivable new theory about how one organization should have priority will ensue, and the courts will be clogged deciding the outcome. Today, the principle is simple: all traffic gets the same priority, and multimedia can have isochronous priority, but it’s not guaranteed.

Without net neutrality, we will enter an era where ISPs, telcos, carriers and interconnects will all demand that THEIR traffic has priority, and yours does not—unless you pay. Let the litigation begin, and the courts glow in the dark in an attempt to sort out what theories of law now hold sway. Insert wallet, here. More…

A Week After Virginia Election Sweep, Democrats Join Republicans for More Bank Deregulation

[Politics]
A Week After Virginia Election Sweep, Democrats Join Republicans for More Bank Deregulation
by David Dayen
Posted November 22, 2017

Democrats and Republicans join for even more bank deregulationBipartisanship, long left for dead in Washington, has struck again. And Wall Street looks to be the winner.

In the wake of the Equifax scandal, Congress has been under pressure to act. But the price of modest reforms in Washington is often much larger giveaways elsewhere, and that pattern holds true in the agreement announced Monday between nine Senate Democrats and the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.

The measure would roll back several key financial regulations, including sections of the Dodd-Frank Act. It does so under the cover of offering consumer protections and coming to the aid of community banks — though the financial institutions that benefit have not-so-obscure names, like American Express, SunTrust, and BB&T. More…

How Ranked-Choice Voting Works

[Politics]
How Ranked-Choice Voting Works
By Matthew Green
Posted November 21, 2017

Ranked Choice Voting insures that a candidate can only win with a majority supporting themRanked Choice Voting (RCV) ballots vary somewhat by city, but generally follow a similar format. Assuming there are more than two candidates running for a given position, RCV races on the ballot include a first choice, second choice and third choice column, with every candidate listed in each column.

Voters pick their first, second and third choices, regardless of party. (Note: You don’t have to pick three; you can still just pick your first choice, or your first two choices, etc. It also doesn’t do much good to select your first choice three times — it’ll be counted only once.)

If any candidate receives more than 50 percent of first-choice votes, that candidate is automatically elected. Game over. But if no one receives a majority, a second round of voting proceeds. The candidate who received the least number of votes is eliminated (and if you voted for that candidate, your vote goes to your second choice pick). This process is repeated until one candidate has a clean majority. More…

How to Instantly Prove (Or Disprove) Russian Hacking of U.S. Election

[Media]
How to Instantly Prove (Or Disprove) Russian Hacking of U.S. Election
by WashingtonsBlog
Posted November 20, 2017

Bill Binney says that NSA could prove or disprove Russia hack storyIt’s newsworthy that CIA head Mike Pompeo recently met with Bill Binney – who designed the NSA’s electronic surveillance system – about potential proof that the DNC emails were leaked rather than hacked.

It’s also noteworthy that the usual suspects – Neocon warmongers such as Max Boot – have tried to discredit both Binney and Pompeo.

But there’s a huge part of the story that the entire mainstream media is missing …

Specifically, Binney says that the NSA has long had in its computers information which can prove exactly who hacked the DNC … or instead prove that the DNC emails were leaked by a Democratic insider. Remember – by way of background – that the NSA basically spies on everyone in America … and stores the data long-term.

After the story of Pompeo’s meeting with Binney broke, Binney told Washington’s Blog: More…

The FBI’s Forgotten Criminal Record

[Justice]
The FBI’s Forgotten Criminal Record
by James Bovard
Posted November 18, 2017

FBI criminal record forgottenPresident Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey on May 9 spurred much of the media and many Democrats to rally around America’s most powerful domestic federal agency. But the FBI has a long record of both deceit and incompetence. Five years ago, Americans learned that the FBI was teaching its agents that “the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.” This has practically been the Bureau’s motif since its creation in 1908.

The FBI’s power has rarely been effectively curbed by either Congress or federal courts. In 1971, House Majority Leader Hale Boggs declared that the FBI’s power terrified Capitol Hill: “Our very fear of speaking out [against the FBI] … has watered the roots and hastened the growth of a vine of tyranny…. Our society cannot survive a planned and programmed fear of its own government bureaus and agencies.” Boggs vindicated a 1924 American Civil Liberties Union report warning that the FBI had become “a secret police system of a political character” — a charge that supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would have cheered last year. More…

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