Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'Big Government'.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-13/freedom-and-central-planning-can-never-coexist Freedom And Central Planning Can Never Coexist 08/13/2015 22:30 -0400 Bond Corruption default ETC Obama Administration Obamacare inShare2 Submitted by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com, The average person is a statist, whether he realizes it or not. It is important that liberty activists recognize and accept this fact because the truth of our limitations as a movement determines the kinds of solutions into which we should ultimately put our time and energy. The fantasy of a final grand march of an awake and aware majority on the doorsteps of power is just that: a fantasy. Some people might argue that given more time, such an event could be organized or could happen spontaneously. But these people seem to forget that the immediacy of any crisis inspires awareness and cuts the bindings of complacency for only a certain percentage of any given population. With “more time” often comes more complacency, not less. So, history becomes a kind of balancing act, with crisis generating the necessity of intelligent and moral action in some people but rarely, if ever, in most people (even during the American Revolution, in which patriots represented a stark minority). The reason that the culture of freedom consistently plateaus and remains stuck at underdog status is because human beings are, first, often acclimated to the idea that crises are things that only happen to other people, and, second, they are obsessed with the idea that governments should retain prohibitory and administrative power over the public as a means to "prevent" crisis from occurring (the sheepdog and sheep mentality). Not all people necessarily “love” their current government, but many citizens tend to see the idea of government as an inevitability of a stable society. They assume pre-eminence of the state because they have never known anything else. Not only that, but as people separate into political and ideological factions, often based on false paradigms (such as the false left/right paradigm), they covet government as a kind of tool or weapon that can be used for “the greater good” if only their side had total control of it. Very few people in this world want to shrink government down to a manageable size comparable to that which existed just after the American Revolution, and even fewer would entertain the idea of erasing central governments entirely. The allure of the federalized state as a means to impose ideological control over others is intoxicating. Central planning acolytes see society as a a single unit, or engine, in which all the people are parts rather than autonomous individuals. They believe that if any part acts outside of the bounds of the engine, the entire machine could break. According to their fuzzy logic, everything you do as an individual affects everyone else, therefore, the collective state must mold and control each individual's behavior in order to ensure that what you do as a singular person does no harm to the whole. This philosophy is the primary rationale for EVERY push for centralization, but it is based on a faulty premise. Governments are run by people, people commonly more flawed and corrupt than the average citizen. Central planners adore the use of government as a means to reign in populations and to compel conformity and "oneness", but centrally planned systems always revert to a divided structure in which a criminal minority separates itself from the collective in order to rule over that collective. The elites actions violate the integrity of the engine as they attempt to drive the engine according to their own twisted ideals, leading to disaster and the end of the supposedly safe environment which the central planners had originally claimed was the benefit of central planning. Thus, the central planning model is an inherently self destructive and foolish one. At bottom, the only viable purpose of any central government is to safeguard individual liberty. All other claims and supposed benefits are irrelevant. Infrastructure, food and water, health, education, public security, etc: All of these issues can be provided for voluntarily at a local level by common people without the aid of a central authority. The original intent of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights was to LIMIT government to the job of ensuring the continuance of a free citizenry. One could certainly argue that that role has been lost; not because of the constitution itself, but because of the lack of vigilance needed to defend the integrity constitution. One could also argue that the very nature of a federal government is one of inevitable corruption; many of the founding fathers did as the document was drafted, after all. I will say that the constitution and the Bill of Rights are representations of natural law and inherent conscience, and it has taken elitists over two centuries to mostly dismantle them. At this point, a complete end to any form of federalization may be called for, but the founders certainly tried their best to create a government system that could be controlled by the people. It was war, of course, that was used to dismantle constitutional protections... Most of the outside or foreign threats we face today as a nation (threats often used to rationalize centralized government and standing armies) or have faced in the past century were directly or indirectly CREATED by our own government apparatus and by the banking class through covert means. Funding and training of Americas future enemies has been a grand pastime for the power brokers and politicians that reside in this very country. Without such people and the structures they exploit, it is not outlandish to suggest that the past hundred years could have been a period of peace and prosperity rather than mass death through engineered war, state culling, and mass enslavement through artificial debt constructs. In a culture where vigilance is encouraged rather than labeled paranoia, in a culture where productivity is enabled rather than obstructed, in a culture where free thought is treated with interest rather than disdain, government holds no value. The only people who understand the true nature of government and still value the existence of an overreaching state are the people who would like to take advantage of the unchecked power such a state affords. We often call these people “elitists.” They often call themselves elitists. Big government serves only the interests of these elites. Everyone else is either a hapless victim of it, a useful idiot in service of it, or a revolutionary opposed to it. When a government becomes a power mechanism for a select few, it has lost all relevance. When a government like ours here in America violates the tenets of individual liberty despite its constitutional mandate, in the name of “protecting” individual liberty, that government no longer serves any purpose. Even further, when a government’s policies are designed only to ensure its own continued dominance rather than the freedom and prosperity of the citizenry, that government becomes separate from the people and is, by extension, an enemy to the citizenry. Governments and the elites behind them retain control over populations through the use of central planning. Central planning is essentially a bureaucratic structure that bottlenecks productivity, resources, academia and ideas until all progress and expression require approval. That is to say, central planning is a machine that turns rights into privileges. It also sets up bureaucracy as the final arbiter of who is considered an authority in any particular field and who is a “layman.” These designations are not based on individual ability, intelligence or accomplishment. Rather, they are based on subservience and the level of blind faith in the establishment each person is willing to display in order to attain professional status. Some of the most ignorant people in any given field or profession are often those deemed “experts” by establishment institutions, from politics, to law, to medicine, to economics, to science, to history, etc. The sad fact is mainstream experts are rarely the most knowledgeable, but they are the most indoctrinated. As central planning gains ground, it moves away from more subtle institutional dependencies into full-bore tyranny. The line between permission and despotism is razor-thin, and this is where we in the U.S. stand today. Most nations around the globe are socialized nations, with central planning as the very foundation on which their societies stand. For the most part, these cultures are disarmed and servile with a modicum of perceived freedom that is treated as a privilege granted by the state rather than an inborn right of natural law. Yes, many societies have “freedoms,” as America does; but the difference is that these societies can have their freedoms confiscated at any given moment on the whim of the political elite. They have no recourse to obstruct such an action and no power to remove the offending system that rules over them when they finally get fed up. In the U.S., central planning is surely prevalent and socialization is on a fast track. But Americans, whether they know it or not, still retain the ability of independent response — as we saw at Bundy Ranch, for instance, or in the defense of shopkeepers in Ferguson, Missouri, despite threats from government. We will lose our advantage of independent action if we allow the following changes to occur within our culture without a fight. Disarmament A disarmed population is utterly useless, philosophically and organizationally impotent, and easily ruled. Take a look at simpering weakling societies like the U.K., which prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to purchase plastic knives and punishes victims of crime for physically defending themselves. Governments that seek to undermine personal liberty ALWAYS disarm their respective populations if they can get away with it. In America, the only reason we have not yet been disarmed is because the establishment understands that revolution would immediately follow any attempt and that revolution would be seen as justified. I believe ultimately that disarmament in the U.S. will not be fully attempted until after a national crisis has been triggered. Centralized Health Standards The real purpose of Obamacare was not to provide universal health insurance. Such a task is utterly impossible in an economic system that is in the midst of decline with an aging population and reduced profit opportunities for the young. Socialism works only as long as there is someone from whom to steal money and resources. No, the purpose of Obamacare was to bond the healthcare industry to government in such a way as to make it an official appendage of the state. Already, we have seen the push for the use of doctors as government informants, the issuance of forced vaccinations regardless of religious orientation or philosophical objection, increased taxation in the name of “harmonization” of care, etc. Beyond all this, the system must continue to perpetuate its own usefulness. And, I have no doubt that one day we will see such things as mandated health appraisals of individuals up to and including psychological health, as well as restricted care based on age, life habits or even ideological orientation. If the state can have your flight status restricted merely for your political beliefs, then why not one day have your access to medical care restricted? Population Planning We have heard it said many times that people should be required to attain a “license” before they are allowed to have children, but who gets to decide who is eligible for the “privilege” of children? Well, under a population planning scenario the state and its central planners do, of course. And what makes such people so ethically competent as to deserve this power over the right to family? Not a thing. In many cases, bureaucrats are the most psychopathic and unintelligent people in any given society. Some people might argue that this kind of development is unthinkable in America and not a legitimate concern. But already in the U.S. we have seen instances of Child Protective Services abducting children belonging to parents with political conflicts with the existing establishment and living habits outside of the mainstream. We also live in a system in which many parents are forced by law to hand over their children to state-controlled schools for half of every weekday (as home-schoolers are attacked as aberrant child abusers). We are only a short step away from a world in which having a child invites as much government intrusion and restriction as rearing a child. Overt Militarization Of Police Yes, many people would claim that overt militarization of police has already occurred. I would say that they haven’t seen anything yet. We do not yet live in a country where jacked out cops with armor and M4 carbines stand on every street corner 24/7, but it won’t be long before this becomes our everyday environment. With politicians openly suggesting extreme measures to combat “lone wolf terrorists,” up to and including internment camps for “disloyal Americans” (thanks for at least being honest about your intentions, Wesley Clark), all it would take is one large-scale attack to inspire enough confusion in the population to provide cover for a full-blown police state. Central planning survives and thrives through fear. Fear is defeated through preparedness, planning and mindset. Resource Management A person cannot plan or prepare for crisis if he is not allowed to manage his own resources. In Venezuela today, the government has locked down all food production and is rationing out necessary supplies through sophisticated electronic tracking due to economic crisis. Make no mistake, America is just as vulnerable to financial disaster as any Third World nation, if not more so. Resource management will be the inevitable result. In fact, the Obama administration has already positioned itself for resource management through his National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order. Government officials will call preppers “hoarders” and argue that no one person should be allowed to have more than he needs. Once again, the argument will be that the self preservation mentality of individuals actually harms the collective. Centralized Economy We already have a centralized and socialized economy for the most part, but private trade and production are still possible. Central planning is designed to wipe out alternative forms of trade and subsistence so that all people can be made dependent on the singular state. As in Venezuela, we should expect that economic declines will be used as a rationale for a clampdown on individual trade. The only way to fight these kinds of measures is for average people to become avid producers and be willing to fight back physically against confiscation and government-controlled rationing. Beyond trade controls, centralization will culminate in economic “harmony” through multilateral currency schemes, ending in a one-world currency. A single currency system by default calls for a single economic authority, and this by default calls for a single political authority. A one-world currency is not only a fiscal coup for central planners; it is also a stepping stone toward world government. Cashless Society A cashless system is a kind of unholy grail for central planners because it allows for total control of economic trade. Electronic-based currency systems can be dictated from the comfort of a computer, and savings can be erased or limited arbitrarily. Cashless systems also allow banking structures to operate without the normal consequences of supply and demand fundamentals. Today, even in our massively corrupt financial system, one cannot get around the concrete effects of diminishing demand, endless debt obligations and criminal fiat creation. We are seeing these effects vividly so far in 2015, just as we saw then in 2008. In a completely cashless system, though, debts can vanish, capital can be stolen and shifted away from the public in a more precise manner, taxes can be excised without waiting for taxpayers to comply, and demand can be artificially generated with digital fiat directed to the correct accounts without any trail to follow. Of course, there will be damages. But, those damages will be foisted upon the general public incrementally until Third World living standards become normal, and no one will be the wiser after a couple of generations. Control of the population would be absolute, while any dissent could be met with immediate financial reprisal, as activists are sentenced to starvation. The examples listed above may be measured as extreme, but every single one has support within our existing government structure either legally or through actual programs already being implemented. The speed at which they might occur is an unknown, but the desire for them by central planners is absolutely certain. There is no good or benevolent form of central planning. There is no scenario in which the system will not be abused because such power concentrated in the hands of any group of human beings invites abuse. Therefore, the only prudent course, the only solution to the absolute terror of complete state power, is to reduce government down to a shell of its current size or to remove its existence entirely and focus on localized systems and independent trade and infrastructure development. If the federalized state as an edifice no longer exists, then it can no longer be exploited by evil people. Average: 5 Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes) inShare2 »Login or register to post comments 1813 reads Printer-friendly version Send to friend - advertisements -
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-03/systemic-corruption-has-destroyed-america Systemic Corruption Has Destroyed America Submitted by George Washington on 06/03/2015 11:53 -0400 8.5% Alan Greenspan Bank of America Bank of America Bitcoin Commodity Futures Trading Commission Corruption Department of Justice FBI Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Bank General Electric Iraq Lehman Main Street Monsanto New Orleans Obama Administration Quantitative Easing Rating Agencies SPY TARP Tim Geithner Treasury Department Washington D.C. White House World Bank inShare It's been less than a month since we posted on this topic. But sadly, there are already many new entries. The Cop Is On the Take Government corruption has become rampant: Senior SEC employees spent up to 8 hours a day surfing porn sites instead of cracking down on financial crimes Nuclear Regulatory Commission workers watch porn instead of cracking down on unsafe conditions at nuclear plantsAn EPA employee who downloaded 7,000 porn files, then spent 2-6 hours each workday watching porn. He’s been doing it for years … but the EPA never fired him. Another EPA employee harassed 16 women co-workers … and then was promoted to a higher-paying job with more responsibility, where he harassed more women NSA spies pass around homemade sexual videos and pictures they’ve collected from spying on the American people NSA employees have also been caught using their mass surveillance powers to spy on love interests, such as girlfriends, obsessions or former wives … and to eavesdrop on American soldiers’ intimate conversations with their wives back home. And see this (“routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted” … “‘Hey, check this out … there’s good phone sex’”)An employee of the Transportation Security Administration admitted that TSA agents share – and laugh at – nude scans of passengers. Another TSA employee says that screeners make excuses so they can grope and fondle travelers that they’re attracted to (maybe that’s why the TSA failed to find mock explosives or banned weapons going through checkpoints in 95% of trials)Investigators from the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General found that some of the regulator’s employees surfed erotic websites, hired prostitutes and accepted gifts from bank executives … instead of actually working to help the economy The Minerals Management Service – the regulator charged with overseeing BP and other oil companies to ensure that oil spills don’t occur – was riddled with “a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity”, which included “sex with industry contacts”Agents for the Drug Enforcement Agency had dozens of sex parties with prostitutes hired by the drug cartels they were supposed to stop (they also received money, gifts and weapons from drug cartel members)Drug Enforcement agents also RAN New Jersey’s sleaziest strip club – using illegal, undocumented girls – which included a prostitution ring Pentagon employees used government credit cards to pay for adult “escorts” (i.e. prostitutes) and to gamble Federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Secret Service investigating Bitcoin money laundering extorted and stole over $1 million in Bitcoin The IRS gave promotions to employees who were themselves tax cheats The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has conspired with big banks to manipulate commodities prices for decades The government-sponsored rating agencies committed massive fraud (and see this)The Treasury department allowed banks to “cook their books” Regulators knew of and allowed the use of debt-hiding accounting tricks by the big banksThe SEC has been shredding Wall Street documents for decades to help the big banks cover up their fraud The Secretary of Treasury (Tim Geithner) was complicit in Lehman’s accounting fraud, (and see this)The former chief accountant for the SEC says that Bernanke and Paulson broke the law and should be prosecuted The government knew about mortgage fraud a long time ago. For example, the FBI warned of an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud in 2004. However, the FBI, DOJ and other government agencies then stood down and did nothing. See this and this. For example, the Federal Reserve turned its cheek and allowed massive fraud, and the SEC has repeatedly ignored accounting fraud (a whistleblower also “gift-wrapped and delivered” the Madoff scandal to the SEC, but they refused to take action). Indeed, Alan Greenspan took the position that fraud could never happen Paulson and Bernanke falsely stated that the big banks receiving Tarp money were healthy, when they were not. The Treasury Secretary also falsely told Congress that the bailouts would be used to dispose of toxic assets … but then used the money for something else entirelyA high-level Federal Reserve official says quantitative easing is “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time” Bailout funds were not used to help Main Street or the little guy. Instead, the government threw money at “several billionaires and tens of multi-millionaires”, as well as hedge funds, giant corporations like McDonald’s and Harley-Davidson, and numerous foreign banks, including Gaddafi’s Libyan bank, the Arab Banking Corp. of Bahrain, and the Banks of Bavaria, Korea and Mexico The non-partisan Government Accountability Office calls the Fed corrupt and riddled with conflicts of interest. Nobel prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz says the World Bank would view any country which had a banking structure like the Fed as being corrupt and untrustworthy. The former vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said said he worried that the failure of the government to provide more information about its rescue spending could signal corruption. “Nontransparency in government programs is always associated with corruption in other countries, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be here,” he saidArguably, both the Bush and Obama administrations broke the law by refusing to close insolvent banks Congress may have covered up illegal tax breaks for the big banksCongress recently told the courts that Congress can’t be investigated for insider trading Congress has exempted itself from the healthcare rules it insists everyone else followState lawmakers are routinely wined and dined by corporate lobbyists who literally TELL THEM what laws to passNorth Carolina passed a law LEGALIZING PROSTITUTES for state lawmakers. Police have been busted framing numerous innocent people Systemic corruption at the FBI lab led to the EXECUTION of innocent people Police raise money by handing out tickets … and they’re given quotas by their bosses. And see this Law enforcement also grabs massive amounts of people’s cash, cars and property … even when people aren’t CHARGED with – let alone convicted of – any crime Private prisons are huge profit-making centers for giant companies, and private prison corporations obtain quotas from the government, where the government guarantees a certain number of prisoners at any given timeThe government has gone to great lengths to cover up nuclear accidents, radiation dangers, and unsafe conditions at nuclear plantsThe government made sure that false claims were made about the amount of oil spilled by BP in the Gulf The government covered up the health risks to New Orleans residents associated with polluted water from hurricane Katrina, and FEMA covered up the cancer risk from the toxic trailers which it provided to refugees of the hurricane. The Centers for Disease Control – the lead agency tasked with addressing disease in America – covered up lead poisoning in children in the Washington, D.C. area (the Centers for Disease Control has also been outed as receiving industry funding)The government’s response to the outbreak of mad cow disease was simple: it STOPPED TESTING for mad cow, and PREVENTED cattle ranchers and meat processors from VOLUNTARILY testing their own cows (and see this and this)In response to new studies showing the substantial dangers of genetically modified foods, the government passed legislation more or less PUSHING IT onto our plates When one of the most respected radiologists in America – the former head of the radiology department at Yale University – attempted to blow the whistle on the fact that the FDA had approved a medical device manufactured by General Electric because it put out massive amounts of radiation, the FDA installed spyware to record his private emails and surfing activities (including installing cameras to snap pictures of his screen), and then used the information to smear him and other whistleblowersIn an effort to protect Bank of America from the threatened Wikileaks expose of wrongdoing – the Department of Justice told Bank of America to a hire a specific hardball-playing law firm to assemble a team to take down WikiLeaks (and see this)The Bush White House worked hard to smear CIA officers, bloggers and anyone else who criticized the Iraq warThe FBI smeared top scientists who pointed out the numerous holes in its anthrax case. Indeed, the head of the FBI’s investigation agrees that corruption was rampantSenior judges in Pennsylvania have pleaded guilty to falsely convicting and imprisoning hundreds of YOUTHS (they got kickbacks from the prisons). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to hear a case regarding the corrupt judges. A month later – only after the judges confessed to criminal wrongdoing – did the Supreme Court change its mind and take any interest The government has intentionally whipped up hysteria about terrorism for cynical political purposes. For example, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge admitted that he was pressured to raise terror alerts to help the president win reelectionWarmongers in the U.S. government knowingly and intentionally lied us into a war of aggression in Iraq. The former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – the highest ranking military officer in the United States – said that the Iraq war was “based on a series of lies”. The same is true in Libya and other wars. Indeed, the U.S. has often launched or proposed launching wars based upon FALSE PREMISES When the American government got caught assassinating innocent civilians, it changed its definition of “enemy combatants” to include all young men – between the ages of say 15 and 35 – who happen to be in battle zones. When it got busted killing kids with drones, it changed the definition again to include kids as “enemy combatants” $8.5 TRILLION dollars in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 has NEVER been accounted for. The military wastes and “loses” trillions of dollars. And Congress pushes expensive boondoggles that our generals say are unnecessary and unhelpful … because it’s pork for their districtThe government lied when it said it doesn’t conduct mass surveillance on Americans, and then lied again when it said that spying was aimed at protecting America against terrorists (Why do so many in Congress support NSA spying? Because NSA contractors give them money)The government also lied when it said America doesn’t torture (and see this), and then lied once again when it said torture was aimed at protecting America against terrorists The government protects criminal wrongdoing by prosecuting whistleblowers. The Obama administration has sentenced whistleblowers to dozens of times the jail time of all other presidents COMBINED). And the government has framed whistleblowers with false evidence The government treats journalists who report on government corruption as CRIMINALS OR TERRORISTS. And it goes to great lengths to smear them. For example, when USA Today reporters busted the Pentagon for illegally targeting Americans with propaganda, the Pentagon launched a SMEAR CAMPAIGN against the reportersThe intelligence services BLACKMAIL people in both government and the private sector with evidence of homosexuality, nude pictures and other information that people want to stop from going publicTerror attacks such as 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas shooting all happened because of PERVASIVE CORRUPTION in our intelligence agencies The biggest companies own the D.C. politicians. Indeed, the head of the economics department at George Mason University has pointed out that it is unfair to call politicians “prostitutes”. They are in fact pimps … selling out the American people for a price. Government regulators have become so corrupted and “captured” by those they regulate that Americans know that the cop is on the take. Institutional corruption is killing people’s trust in our government and our institutions. Neither the Democratic or Republican parties represent the interests of the American people. Elections have become nothing but scripted beauty contests, with both parties ignoring the desires of their own bases. Indeed, America is no longer a democracy or republic … it’s officially an oligarchy. And the allowance of unlimited campaign spending allows the oligarchs to purchase politicians more directly than ever. No wonder polls show that the American people say that the system is thoroughly corrupt. Moreover, there are two systems of justice in America … one for the big banks and other fatcats … and one for everyone else. Indeed, Americans have less access to justice than Botswanans … and are more abused by police than Kazakhstanis. Big Corporations Are Also Thoroughly Corrupt But the private sector is no better … for example, the big banks have literally turned into criminal syndicates engaged in systemic fraud. Wall Street and giant corporations are literally manipulating every single market. And the big corporations are cutting corners to make an extra penny … wreaking havoc with their carelessness. For example: Fracking companies dumped 3 billion gallons of highly-toxic waste into California’s drinking water supply. Fracking is polluting water all over the country. A study published in the journal Ground Water predicts that the highly-toxic fluids used in fracking can migrate to aquifers within a few short years. In addition, it is now official that fracking can cause earthquakes. Yet fracking companies are using military psychological operations techniques to discredit opponents (and see this)U.S. military contractors have pocketed huge sums of money earmarked for humanitarian and reconstruction aid. And see this (whistleblowers alerted the government about the looting of Iraq reconstruction funds, but nothing was done) General Electric and other nuclear companies KNEW their designs were faulty and unsafe … but hid that fact for decadesMonsanto has claimed for decades that Roundup is safe, but the World Health Organization just said that it probably causes cancer. Monsanto forbids independent scientists from testing its GMO crops for safety, attacks the computers of people who oppose GMO foods and sue small farmers when Monsanto GMO crops drift onto their fields Big farmers are drenching their crops with Roundup right before harvest … to save a buckBig food companies work hand-in-glove with the government to dish up unhealthy food BP’s criminal negligence led to the giant Gulf oil spill There is systemic corruption among drug companies, scientific journals, university medical departments, and medical groups which set the criteria for diagnosis and treatment(Further examples here, here, here, here and here.) We’ve Forgotten the Lessons of History The real problem is that we need to learn a little history: We’ve known for thousands of years that – when criminals are not punished – crime spreadsWe’ve known for hundreds of years that the failure to punish financial fraud destroys economies, as it destroys all trust in the financial systemWe’ve known for centuries that powerful people – unless held to account – will get together and steal from everyone elseBeyond Partisan Politics Liberals and conservatives tend to blame our country’s problems on different factors … but they are all connected. The real problem is the malignant, symbiotic relationship between big corporations and big government. Average: 4.555555
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-10/game-rigged-why-americans-keep-losing-police-state The Game Is Rigged: Why Americans Keep Losing To The Police State 12/10/2014 21:10 -0500 inShare Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, My 7-year-old granddaughter has suddenly developed a keen interest in card games: Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Blackjack, and War. We’ve fallen into a set pattern now: every time we play, she deals the cards, and I pretend not to see her stacking the deck in her favor. And of course, I always lose. “The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens.”—Leo Tolstoy I don’t mind losing to my granddaughter at Old Maid, knowing full well the game is rigged. For now, it’s fun and games, and she’s winning. Where the rub comes in is in knowing that someday she’ll be old enough to realize that being a citizen in the American police state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose. The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, we stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that our luck will change. The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. The people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the country and us. It really doesn’t matter what you call them—the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor. Incredibly, no matter how many times we see this played out, Americans continue to naively buy into the idea that it’s our politics that divide us as a nation. As if there were really a difference between the Democrats and Republicans. As if the policies of George W. Bush were any different from those of Barack Obama. As if we weren’t a nation of sheep being fattened for the kill by a ravenous government of wolves. We’re in trouble, folks, and changing the dealer won’t save us: it’s time to get out of the game. We have relinquished control of our government to overlords who care nothing for our rights, our dignity or our humanity, and now we’re saddled with an authoritarian regime that is deaf to our cries, dumb to our troubles, blind to our needs, and accountable to no one. Even revelations of wrongdoing amount to little in the way of changes for the better. For instance, after six years of investigation, 6,000 written pages and $40 million to write a report that will not be released to the public in its entirety, the U.S. Senate has finally concluded that the CIA lied about its torture tactics, failed to acquire any life-saving intelligence, and was more brutal and extensive than previously admitted. This is no revelation. It’s a costly sleight of hand intended to distract us from the fact that nothing has changed. We’re still a military empire waging endless wars against shadowy enemies, all the while fattening the wallets of the defense contractors for whom war is money. Same goes for the government’s surveillance programs. More than a year after Edward Snowden’s revelations dominated news headlines, the government’s domestic surveillance programs are just as invasive as ever. In fact, while the nation was distracted by the hubbub over the long-awaited release of the Senate’s CIA torture, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court quietly reauthorized the National Security Agency’s surveillance of phone records. This was in response to the Obama administration’s request to keep the program alive. Police misconduct and brutality have been dominating the news headlines for months now, but don’t expect any change for the better. In fact, with Obama’s blessing, police departments continue to make themselves battle ready with weapons and gear created for the military. Police shootings of unarmed citizens continue with alarming regularity. And grand juries, little more than puppets controlled by state prosecutors, continue to legitimize the police state by absolving police of any wrongdoing. These grand juries embody everything that’s wrong with America today. In an age of secret meetings, secret surveillance, secret laws, secret tribunals and secret courts, the grand jury—which meets secretly, hears secret testimony, and is exposed to only what a prosecutor deems appropriate—has become yet another bureaucratic appendage to a government utterly lacking in transparency, accountability and adherence to the rule of law. It’s a sorry lesson in how a well-intentioned law or program can be perverted, corrupted and used to advance illegitimate purposes. The war on terror, the war on drugs, asset forfeiture schemes, road safety schemes, school zero tolerance policies, eminent domain, private prisons: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns. However, once you add money and power into the mix, even the most benevolent plans can be put to malevolent purposes. In this way, the war on terror has become a convenient ruse to justify surveillance of all Americans, to create a suspect society, to expand the military empire, and to allow the president to expand the powers of the Executive Branch to imperial heights. Under cover of the war on drugs, the nation’s police forces have been transformed into extensions of the military, with SWAT team raids carried out on unsuspecting homeowners for the slightest charge, and police officers given carte blanche authority to shoot first and ask questions later. Asset forfeiture schemes, engineered as a way to strip organized crime syndicates of their ill-gotten wealth, have, in the hands of law enforcement agencies, become corrupt systems aimed at fleecing the citizenry while padding the pockets of the police. Eminent domain, intended by the founders as a means to build roads and hospitals for the benefit of the general public, has become a handy loophole by which local governments can evict homeowners to make way for costly developments and shopping centers. Private prisons, touted as an economically savvy solution to cash-strapped states with overcrowded prisons have turned into profit- and quota-driven detention centers that jail Americans guilty of little more than living off the grid, growing vegetable gardens in the front yards, or holding Bible studies in their back yards. Traffic safety schemes such as automated red light and speed cameras, ostensibly aimed at making the nation’s roads safer, have been shown to be thinly disguised road taxes, levying hefty fines on drivers, most of whom would never have been pulled over, let alone ticketed, by an actual police officer. School zero tolerance policies, a response to a handful of school shootings, have become exercises in folly, turning the schools into quasi-prisons, complete with armed police, metal detectors and lockdowns. The horror stories abound of 4- and 6-year-olds being handcuffed, shackled and dragged, kicking and screaming, to police headquarters for daring to act like children while at school. As for grand juries, which were intended to serve as a check on the powers of the police and prosecutors, they have gone from being the citizen’s shield against injustice to a weapon in the hands of government agents. A far cry from a people’s court, today’s grand jury system is so blatantly rigged in favor of the government as to be laughable. Unless, that is, you happen to be one of the growing numbers of Americans betrayed and/or victimized by their own government, in which case, you’ll find nothing amusing about the way in which grand juries are used to terrorize the populace all the while covering up police misconduct. Unfortunately, as I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’re long past the point of simple fixes. The system has grown too large, too corrupt, and too unaccountable. If there’s to be any hope for tomorrow, it has to start at the local level, where Americans still have a chance to make their voices heard. Stop buying into the schemes of the elite, stop being distracted by their sleight-of-hands, stop being manipulated into believing that an election will change anything, and stop playing a rigged game where you’ll always be the loser. It’s time to change the rules of the game. For that matter, it’s time to change the game.
http://time.com/3111474/rand-paul-ferguson-police/ I am posting this article becuase I do think our police have become way too militarized, and are being trained that we the people are the enemy. I do not know what the facts are about the initial shooting, and am not endorsing or condeming the article's content. We simply do not know what happened, but I am glad Rand has spoken up about this serious problem growing within our country. thx, Thegente Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police Sen. Rand Paul @SenRandPaul 12:26 PM ET Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 13, 2014. Jeff Roberson—AP Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention, Sen. Rand Paul writes for TIME, amid violence in Ferguson, Mo. over the police shooting death of Michael Brown More Echoes of History Resound in Ferguson, Mo. Unrest Why Ferguson Was Ready to Explode If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot. The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response. The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action. Glenn Reynolds, in Popular Mechanics, recognized the increasing militarization of the police five years ago. In 2009 he wrote: Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. … Police look inward. They’re supposed to protect their fellow citizens from criminals, and to maintain order with a minimum of force. It’s the difference between Audie Murphy and Andy Griffith. But nowadays, police are looking, and acting, more like soldiers than cops, with bad consequences. And those who suffer the consequences are usually innocent civilians. The Cato Institute’s Walter Olson observed this week how the rising militarization of law enforcement is currently playing out in Ferguson: Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”? Olson added, “the dominant visual aspect of the story, however, has been the sight of overpowering police forces confronting unarmed protesters who are seen waving signs or just their hands.” How did this happen? Most police officers are good cops and good people. It is an unquestionably difficult job, especially in the current circumstances. There is a systemic problem with today’s law enforcement. Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement. This is usually done in the name of fighting the war on drugs or terrorism. The Heritage Foundation’s Evan Bernick wrote in 2013 that, “the Department of Homeland Security has handed out anti-terrorism grants to cities and towns across the country, enabling them to buy armored vehicles, guns, armor, aircraft, and other equipment.” Bernick continued, “federal agencies of all stripes, as well as local police departments in towns with populations less than 14,000, come equipped with SWAT teams and heavy artillery.” Bernick noted the cartoonish imbalance between the equipment some police departments possess and the constituents they serve, “today, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, has a .50 caliber gun mounted on an armored vehicle. The Pentagon gives away millions of pieces of military equipment to police departments across the country—tanks included.” When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands. Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them. This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown. Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth. The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm. It is one thing for federal officials to work in conjunction with local authorities to reduce or solve crime. It is quite another for them to subsidize it. Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security. This has been a cause I have championed for years, and one that is at a near-crisis point in our country. Let us continue to pray for Michael Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson, police, and citizens alike. Paul is the junior U.S. Senator for Kentucky.