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Chris Hedges
Truthdig / Truthdig Op-Ed
Published: Monday 31 December 2012
Reed believes something has to be done soon to fight against the rapid reconfiguration of the United States into a corporate, feudal state. But he is not sure the Occupy movement is the answer.

The Idol Smasher

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Ishmael Reed has spent the last five decades smashing idols—idols of race, idols of capitalism, celebrity idols and the idols of national virtue and greatness. His essays, novels, poems, plays, songs and cartoons routinely shatter the delusions and myths of a nation stubbornly unwilling to confront its past or understand its present.

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ABOUT Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

While I always prefer an

While I always prefer an angry iconoclast to a squeamish liberal, it's important to be clear on the facts when quoting someone. Eve Ensler never said that the Congo, Haiti, and New Orleans are where all the cruelty to women is. She has traveled all over the world investigating violence against women, and she was simply more horrified by what she learned in some places than in others. Typing a few key words into Google would reveal the context for her remarks. Misquoting women or taking their statements out of context feeds into our oppression, and there is no point in trading racism for sexism.

Always grateful to Hedges for

Always grateful to Hedges for thought provoking reportage.

Reed sounds like a kind of sage crank. Cranks (and I like to think of myself as being in that company), love to piss people off and few things piss off others as hearing a truth that somehow end runs their rehearsed arguments. For instance; He doesn't think that OWS is necessarily the best response to our drift into corporate oligarchy............ " He wants something more politically defined."......... At some point some progressive energy directed toward political reform has to applied. Is this not the perfect time to invigorate the Greens? To put some energy forth that would bring the Green Party to a broader audience? If not the Greens, some other? Who or what would that be? Is there a left version of the tea baggers, (without the racist BS and the co-option by the koch brothers or dick armey), willing to do the same level of footwork toward a more progressive government. If nothing else, someone has to pull the national dialogue back toward the greater good of the people, more equitable economic system, and halting the rapid militarization of our economy and our culture.

The plantation owners, while profoundly racist, were also cynical enough to be equal opportunity exploiters, victimizing blacks through slavery and exploiting racism to splinter poor whites from what should be their natural allies against a common enemy. It almost seems as though we are incapable of learning from our history.

For all intents and purpose,

For all intents and purpose, for all things that really matter, the U.S. has become a corporate oligarchy masquerading as a democracy. The 'deal' on the 'fiscal cliff' is presented as a victory. What a joke: for those families who earn almost half a million dollars, the tax rate goes from 35 per cent to 39.4 per cent. And then the deductions, and so on, will be phased out...Meanwhile the deficits cannot be tackled, and the debt will be increasing. The truth is the U.S. needs systemic or structural change very badly. The situation is blocked, gridlocked, and nothing of significance can or will happen unless a big man-made or natural, or a combination of both, catastrophe hits. I don't know what form it will take but I have a disturbing feeling that it's coming - perhaps owing to 'fracking', and thus destroying the underground water sources, and poisoning the air...

Groucho Marks stated.

Groucho Marks stated. "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies." I find that Reed is just another whiner with no solutions and when he suggests a potential solution or "poem", the diagnosis is wrong and therefore so is the remedy. Hedges appears to be as confused as Reed. Reed can't find a political perspective or personality he doesn't demonize or dislike and that is a valid as he gets. He reminds me of Michael Moore in pointing out the problems, but solutions don't come so easy for these guys. What many people seem to forget is that it took centuries to slow the blantant religious pursecution of the European Monarchs, the Church of England and Rome, both church and state. These groups have supported the legalized confication of property through various socialist, fascist and communist politicies througout the ages. We are so indoctrinated and conditioned into believing in some political hierachy as the regulator of ethical social behavior, yet then results show the opposite. The monarchic/theocratic collusion has turned into a oligrachic/fascist collusion hell bent on continuing/maximizing the confication of the property of its Citizens. Justication comes in the form of a thousands of political lies. Each politician lying to get elected than reneging on his promises, because government does not solve social problems or create jobs. Government is an expense so you don't increase expenses to make your society more properous. Do you want to continue with our current governments policies that have misallocated trememedous amounts of resources through a multitude of redistribution of wealth programs or do you think that we need to once again focus on protecting the rights and property of our Citizens. Should we continue to allow government to continue stealing the property of our Citizens or should we stop the theft, coersion, extortion and corruption it fosters.

I agree that misogny is on

I agree that misogny is on the rise globally, especially in denying women control of their bodies, but I don't buy the statistic that "90 percent of middle-class white women who were interviewed report being battered or witnessing their mothers, daughters and sisters being battered." Of course it could be that I and all my female relatives are just lucky enough to all be in the other 10%, but it seems statistically unlikely. My perception of the statistics is that it is closer to only 10% abused, but I can believe it is more than that, though maybe not a majority of white middle class women.

You're right. That 90% figure

You're right. That 90% figure is way way off. I agree with much of what Reed believes, but on some things he is just OFF.

Perhaps Reed should understand that he is just as much a prisoner of his perception as anyone else. We all see the world through our own particular color of glasses.

Reed knows why the Black Bloc

Reed knows why the Black Bloc kids didn't attack the wealthiest neighborhoods - for the same reason other rioters have typically burned their own neighborhoods or adjacent ones rather than going to the wealthiest neighborhoods. It is a combination of practical prudence and cowardice. Outsiders wouldn't know the terrain in the wealthy neighborhoods, and those estates are well protected with video cameras, alarms, and security patrols. Perhaps one could sneak in, but its unlikely that one could do much damage before being caught and/or shot. The 1% is very good at keeping the rest of us pitted against each other.

There are a number of factors

There are a number of factors that contribute to the present day state-of-affairs. While it is somtimes convenient and even justified to point at some party or group as the culprits in some evil deed committed in the past, the fact of pointing this out usually does not provide a solution that will remedy the problems of the day. One major factor in maintaining the disparity between the privileged and the non-privileged is the cultural difference in the quality of education given. For example, in his book "Silent Weapons for Silent Wars," William Cooper reveals: "The quality of education given to the lower classes must be of the poorest sort, so that the moat of ignorance isolating the inferior class from the superior class, is and remains incomprehensible to the lower classes. With such an initial handicap even a bright lower-class individual has little if any chance of ever extricating himself from his assigned lot in life. This form of slavery is necessary to preserve the peace and tranquility of the ruling class." African-Americans in particular do not experience the corporate culture that provides the frame-work for achieving wealth and independence. The idea of incorporating a business and operating in C-Corporation fashion is not one that is familiar to most of us. Our view of the corporation is some company that might hire us. The thought that we should be on the hiring side of the equation simply is not part of what we are taught, yet this would make all the difference in the world. Jews and other so-called minorities who have learned to harness the power and use the corporation to uplift themselves have been successful in lifting themselves up out of whatever unfortunate circumstance they may have found themselves in, and have gone on to be productive members of society with a voice and with political clout as they are perceived to be a force to be reckoned with.

Reed is a refreshing voice.

Reed is a refreshing voice. Portraying Jews as both villains (rapists, etc.) and victims (pimps, etc.) could leave him open to charges of anti-semitism on both ends.

Once again, Hedges shoots down liberals by conflating them with neo-liberals, former liberals that got rich and became conservatives by virtue of having money to conserve. Truly, money is the root of all evil.

But as "the money-power" goes, power is the primary goal of left wing conservatives, Stalinists and theocrats, while money is the goal of right wing cons. Being a product of theocracy and left conservative politics, Hedges defends conservatism by demonizing liberals. Perhaps he does not realize that right and left conservatism are like money and power, two sides of the same coin. Ironically for left Christian conservatives like Hedges, Jesus was a liberal.

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TRUTH! Hey, Hollywood, our

TRUTH! Hey, Hollywood, our film-maker is better than your film-maker!! This is just as I see it, thank you Chris and Nation of Change for the truth and permitting me to appear in print on the same page. I say "our" with hesitation, you see, there's some misunderstanding of me in Seattle and environs due to my "Pain Period" of 1975-1980. Yes, I made those statements and said those things I said, but by 1981 I had CHANGED. Changed back to being an egalitarian, simple, I just f*ckin' changed.... So, when the Nazi men came to me at an ALANO club in 1995 and wanted me to be their leader, I just shined them down the road, no thanks, and now that we examine the environmental damage the white people have caused on this planet, it was pretty smart, eh? So, now the county white supremiscists kinda swarm around me where-ever I go, they hepped up on L.A. propaganda about me, indeed, our local Seattle radio announced last night, "Would somebody like to hold Jack while I beat the cr#p out of him?" - verbatim- No, Hollywood-Burbank is not happy with Jack! So, stand back youngsters as I stop chopping at the bean stalk and put my shoulder to it to bring down the L.A. giant above who is exclaiming in dull surprise as his empire comes crashing down!

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Using “American Power Wisely”: AFRICOM’s Imperialist Quest

Published: Sunday 30 December 2012

In the morning after Christmas, I listened to a video from Democracy Now! detailing the day’s headlines. What I heard announced by Amy Goodman angered me greatly: “U.S. Army teams will be deploying to as many as 35 African countries early next year for training programs and other operations as part of an increased Pentagon role in Africa. The move would see small teams of U.S. troops dispatched to countries with groups allegedly linked to al-Qaeda…The teams are from a U.S.

ABOUT Burkely Hermann
Burkely Hermann is a writer, activist, and researcher who tries to challenge perceptions about the world we all live in and pushing for the creation of discussion spaces to talk about pertinent issues. In doing this, Burkely has not only written articles but also used his tech savvy skills to aggressively fight for an internet that serves the masses.
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NDAA Under Attack

Ashley Curtin
NationofChange / News Investigation
Published: Sunday 30 December 2012
Without defining terms such as “support” of al-Qaeda or “associated forces,” the law could be used to indefinitely imprison journalist and activists who have had contact with people that the U.S. deems a “terrorist” or a “part of a terrorist organization.”
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With backing from civil liberties groups and journalists alike, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed in the Senate about a year ago, has come under attack in federal courts. Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and NationofChange contributor, Chris Hedges, and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the terms of the law stating it “anti-constitutional” and against basic human rights.

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ABOUT Ashley Curtin

Ashley Curtin is an exclusive reporter for NationofChange writing on trending topics such as politics, the economy, human rights and the environment from around the world. Before this, she was a features reporter at Daily Breeze, a local newspaper in Southern California, writing a variety of stories with focus in the field of science and medicine, arts and entertainment. Ashley is a transplant from Boston now calling Los Angeles her home.

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Theodoric Meyer
ProPublica / Op-Ed
Published: Sunday 30 December 2012
As Washington tries to hash out a deal, we've taken a step back to break down the numbers behind our deficit.

How Bad is Our Debt Problem, Anyway? And Will a Deal Fix it?

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ABOUT Theodoric Meyer


Theodoric Meyer is an intern at ProPublica. He has also written for the New York Times, the Seattle Times, and GlobalPost. 

Rapid growth despite 112%

Rapid growth despite 112% debt to GDP ratio and low cost financing of 200% GDP by Japan shows how inadequately classical and neo-liberal economic theory is in describing the economies of sovereign currency issuing, free floating exchange countries. Modern Money Theory explains these and other misconceptions of our economy. Check it out at New Economic Perspectives.

This offering is simplistic

This offering is simplistic and leaves total debt out of the analysis. Total debt comprises not only the Federal government debts but also state, municipal, corporate and personnel debt and the ability of business and the people to make payments on this total debt. Here's a tax tip, there is no federal law which requirers a worker to file a federal tax return but if you do it had better be filled out correctly. All this debt owed is simply because the world operates under a debt based monetary system where money is created out of thin air as debt with added interest owed to the banking class. The system is better than alchemy for the bankers. Imagine if you could create money out of nothing by just saying you have it and then lending it out and charging interest on the debt owed to you. Of course it doesn't have to be this way. The Federal Government has the power to print money and spend it into circulation without there being any debt attached to this money just as Lincoln did with greenbacks during the Civil War. In fact if this method were to followed today the combined national, state and municipal dedts owed to the banking class could be totally wiped out in a few years. Taxes would actually begin to decline as the need raise revenues to pay the principal and interest on bank owed debts would cease. This total amounts to every nickel taken in through taxes before the government spends a dime on the services it provides to the people. The very corrupt but sweet deal the bankers won from government at the expense of the nation and it's people would end and all this nonsense of deficits and debt would be relegated to a very bad episode in history....

and what of inflation????

and what of inflation????

This offering is simplistic

This offering is simplistic and leaves total debt out of the analysis. Total debt comprises not only the Federal government debts but also state, municipal, corporate and personnel debt and the ability of business and the people to make payments on this total debt. Here's a tax tip, there is no federal law which requirers a worker to file a federal tax return but if you do it had better be filled out correctly. All this debt owed is simply because the world operates under a debt based monetary system where money is created out of thin air as debt with added interest owed to the banking class. The system is better than alchemy for the bankers. Imagine if you could create money out of nothing by just saying you have it and then lending it out and charging interest on the debt owed to you. Of course it doesn't have to be this way. The Federal Government has the power to print money and spend it into circulation without there being any debt attached to this money just as Lincoln did with greenbacks during the Civil War. In fact if this method were to followed today the combined national, state and municipal dedts owed to the banking class could be totally wiped out in a few years. Taxes would actually begin to decline as the need raise revenues to pay the principal and interest on bank owed debts would cease. This total amounts to every nickel taken in through taxes before the government spends a dime on the services it provides to the people. The very corrupt but sweet deal the bankers won from government at the expense of the nation and it's people would end and all this nonsense of deficits and debt would be relegated to a very bad episode in history....

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Sanity in a Culture of Mass Murder

Peter Rugh
Waging Nonviolence / News Report
Published: Sunday 30 December 2012
There is a tendency in this country to regard mental illness — as if in deference to the antiquated notion of “possession” — as the personal property of those who exhibit the most alarming symptoms.
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The mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 young school children and seven adults (including the shooter himself) has not only reignited the debate over gun control in the United States, but also a discussion over how communities deal with madness in their midst. Adam Lanza showed signs of mental illness before the killing spree — as have other recent perpetrators of mass shootings.

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ABOUT Peter Rugh

Peter Rugh is a facilitator for Occupy Wall Street Environmental Solidarity and chairs the Action Committee of Shut Down Indian Point Now! He has written forThe Indypendent,, Common Dreams and Socialist Worker. Pete blogs at

jackwenayscott's picture

It seems to me that the

It seems to me that the problem isn't so much mental illness as it is teenage boys. We all live in fear of the one group that does almost all the violence, immature males between 14 and 25 years old. It's obvious that Jared Laughner and the Connecticut shooter had young male problems with older women who they felt dominated by. Not only that, but what were the real-world prospects for these worthless, voilent boys? They themselves must have known that they had little chance of success, only to live in poverty, possibly on the government handouts, never having a glimmer of hope for respect. And, as they thought more and more about it, the target women were getting the admiration and respect they had no hope of, so their resentment grew and grew. I noticed once again in another article here, that the boys are deemed to "get their culture from what they pick up on the street".. Seems like we just can't see the forest for the trees, but the NRA gets it, these hopeless, impressionable boys get their culture out of a TV set, it's pretty obvious, but a lot of us simply miss it, or hide our knowledge of it for some reason. Are we trying to make it big in show-business to push our opinions in the same playing field that the culture is created in, L.A. show-business-TV-movies? Naturally, if we want to get our opinions on TV, we won't ruffle L.A.s feathers by pointing out the obvious facts about our cultural conditioning, the same violent videos, movies, and TV shows that propell the impressionable boys to imitate. Naturally our culture goes easy on young males, coddling them along no matter how dangerous they are, because they are the easiest to sell on the products, life-styles, and politics that television promotes. They respond with emotion, buying, voting, living the L.A. way with youthful innocence and vigor. We old people are a tough sell, a lot of us have problems with our L.A. culture, we think for ourselves and have some wisdom. So naturally, don't pander to us, in fact, cut our Social Security! That'll teach us to knuckle under to L.A.!

Thank you for the comments

Thank you for the comments which focus on material facts other than histrionic and uselessly emotional vitriol. The pharma industry is so huge and powerful, that no one dares question why millions of children are forced to take medication that makes them homocidal and suicidal. 275 innocent children every year are killed when their parents and other adults back over them in their cars, and no one says "boo" to all 275 of those tragic deaths. Hundreds of American children are beaten to death every year by their parents, step-parents and other adults, and no one says "boo" to all those tragic deaths. Adam Lanza was an accident waiting to happen, and no one cares that his parents, and I mean both parents, were irresponsible. In most states, it is a crime for a therapist to fail to report a possible murder that they learn about during therapy, and yet no one knowing Adam Lanza had a clue what he was thinking or capable of. Unlikely! Let's start protecting children by looking at all the relevant facts!

This article almost pulled it

This article almost pulled it all together, but then at the end I sense a reluctance on the part of the author.

The article is a series of disparate anecdotes regarding mental illness, the treatment (or lack of), and the madness that surrounds us which we choose to ignore.

In the next to last paragraph he comes closest to pulling it all together, but then steps back.

Yes we are a brutal, rogue nation that is capable of really unspeakable violence repeatedly meted out to 'the others.' From outside our borders, the US looks like and is a rogue nation.

Any of the anecdotes presented in this article, correspond in body count to an average drone strike in Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan. What kind of untreated mental illness does it take for US citizens to ignore that type of violence?

Why is it such a surprise that untreated mental illness sometimes implodes within our borders?

If the shooter's psychiatrist

If the shooter's psychiatrist knew his plans, why the hell didn't she call the POLICE?

So far i have NOT found a

So far i have NOT found a mass killing in which the perpetrators did NOT take psychotropic drugs. There is not a single test which can show a drug/mental problem correlation. There is no test proving or providing hope for a drug resolution to a biochemical issue. There is literally no test which proves a biochemical problem for mental issues.
There are indications, but even the "science" of seratonin receptors and it's relationship to depression has flaws and is under attack. When you see the ads for drugs they say things like "___ is believed to work because it is thought that the receptors are . . . . " blah, blah, blaaaaaaaaaah.
This is a profession without science backing it up and as i stated EVERY mass shooting i've heard about has drugs involved. They did not start happening until drugs became available to these shooters.
The problem is not "Gun Control", it is control of a mind which has access to weapons. A small percentage of adverse reactions is all that is needed when the side effects listed on many of these "medications" lists things like "psychotic episodes, aggression, delusions, agitation......" When there are literally hundreds of millions of these prescriptions out there, there WILL be more of these drug-induced murders out there, and they come in smaller more convenient packages too. Why does 911 ask the kid or parent that comes on the line saying they killed their kids/family "what medicine are you taking" or a variation of that? Call has a young boy crying that his sister is trying to kill herself and they ask "Is she on medication?"

And ANONO - life is about how you treat others, not the things, the power, the enjoyment and hedonism. Salute to your comment.

Jared Loughner took no

Jared Loughner took no psychotropic drugs. He had quit even smoking marijuana about two years before his rampage. His parents had been notified by Pima Community College that there were signs of a problem, but they chose to do NOTHING.

Gun control of the right kind

Gun control of the right kind could severely limit the access to particular types of weapons, and access is a vital link in the mass shootings we have seen in the past few years.

Gun violence is a complex issue, but I don't see it as practical to suggest that we must all be armed psychiatrists to thwart the sickos bent on mass murder before suicide.

Adam Lanza obviously had easy access to his mother's arsenal in their home. I think that, for whatever reason, Adam had a violent disagreement with his mother over some issue important to him, and it fueled his hatred to the point that he pumped several bullets into her head while she was lying in bed.

And then, realizing he had done something he could not undo, and would probably spend the rest of his life in prison for, he decided he would just kill himself, but before he did that, he wanted to kill a bunch of children in school (maybe because he was never popular or comfortable in school), and since he was going to kill himself anyway, he didn't have to worry about the consequences to HIM.

So he took what he needed from his mom's arsenal and went off on his mission of destruction.

Would he have killed 20 first-graders if he didn't have access to his mom's rapid-fire weapons? We'll never know, of course, but we can see that with those weapons it was ridiculously easy to take those young lives.

So we can do something, at least, about the purchase and possession of assault-type weapons. Sure, we need to do more about mental health in our society, no question there, but with the Republicans so bent on cutting domestic expenditures, no matter how vital, the prospect of improvement in that area seems unlikely.

"A world worth waking up

"A world worth waking up for..." Such thoughts get love crucified everytime. But some things are worth getting nailed to a cross for.

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Gareth Evans
Published: Saturday 29 December 2012
“For optimists, what matters is believing in and nurturing the instinct of cooperation in the hope, and expectation, that decent human values will ultimately prevail.”

The Global March Toward Peace

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If we were hoping for peace in our time, 2012 did not deliver it. Conflict grew ever bloodier in Syria, continued to grind on in Afghanistan, and flared up periodically in West, Central, and East Africa. There were multiple episodes of ethnic, sectarian, and politically motivated violence in Myanmar (Burma), South Asia, and around the Middle East.

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ABOUT Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans, Australia’s former foreign minister, is President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group and Chancellor, Australian National University. He is the author of The Responsibility to Protect.

As Confucius put it: "Greedy

As Confucius put it: "Greedy rich anglos easily undone by their own greed." and "Abacus/pen mightier than sword." China, thanks to walmart, beat the rich white capitalists at their own game of greed and now are an economic giant pulling the strings. It's not cooperation for the US with their major debt holder China, it's capitulation.

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Defense Budget

U.S. Proposes Selling Spy Drones to S Korea

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The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama formally proposed a controversial sale of advanced spy drones to help South Korea bear more of its defence from any attack by the heavily armed North. Seoul has requested a possible $1.2bn sale of four Northrop Grumman Corp RQ-4 “Global Hawk” remotely piloted aircraft with enhanced surveillance capabilities, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency said on Tuesday. South Korea needs such systems to assume top responsibility for intelligence-gathering from the US-led Combined Forces Command as scheduled in 2015, the security agency said. South Korea’s possible Global Hawk purchase would mark the system's first sale in the Asia-Pacific region. It has already been sold to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Read it at Aljazeera

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Fiscal Cliff

Congress Awaits Obama On “Fiscal Cliff”

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The United States on Wednesday edged closer to the “fiscal cliff” as Congress waited for President Barack Obama to return from vacation in Hawaii and make one final attempt to avoid huge tax hikes and spending cuts in the New Year. In the absence of Obama, there was no sign of either side in Congress making an effort to strike a deal. The corridors of the Capitol building were empty except for an occasional police officer, and members' office doors stayed locked. The Boehner aide also said there were no plans for new talks between the top Republican in Congress and Obama, who flies overnight and is due back in the White House on Thursday morning.
Read it at Reuters

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Chris Hedges
Truthdig / Op-Ed
Published: Tuesday 25 December 2012
If the courts fail us, a gulag state will be cemented into place.

The Final Battle

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ABOUT Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

They are trying to maintain

They are trying to maintain the illusion of the rule of law as long as possible. That means they think the rule of law is over. If they think it is over, who am I to disagree? It's mob rule, in the worse sense. ... At the Federal Level anyway, and New Jersey is not looking too good either.

The NDAA is of course one of

The NDAA is of course one of the most undemocratic and patently authoritarian moves the Congress and Obama have made since last week. I won't be holding my breath waiting for this Supreme court to undermine it's own authority by deciding against the government. Not with a 5 to 4 fascist majority on the bench. The whole of the NDAA should be proof enough to any doubters that the two "parties", presumably antagonistic to each other, can find lots of things to agree on, including the means by which they can strip the civil liberties to which we've grown accustomed, away.

It is nice to hear Ms. Feinstein sound like a progressive for a change.

Remember when we condemned

Remember when we condemned China and the Soviet Union for doing this same thing?

Thanks, and good luck... we

Thanks, and good luck... we need such challenges.

The NDAA as with too many

The NDAA as with too many other actions taken, or "laws" past by "our" Congress and the Executive, this comes under the heading of Risk Preemption (RP).

RP says that any group, any action, any financial transaction, any person, or any philosophy that the government does not totally understand and know all the details about Is a risk.

And a risk can possibly jeopardize the government, it can destabilize the financial markets, it can endanger the people and the nation, it can destroy the nation.

Consequently if the nations existence can be threatened then any action taken, any violation of law, of the Constitution, or treaty, international law or sovereignty can be violated or ignored. After all what good are all these things if the nation is destroyed?

At least so goes the argument. But of course the problem is that in saving the nation you destroy it.

Our politicians have to learn or be shown or forced to understand that freedom is not always safe. Freedom has inherent risks. As the pubic we must also face this truth. We must give our Politicians the strength to resist the temptation to try Risk Preemption.

As Pogo said some 60 years ago in his comic strip, "We have met the enemy, an he is us."

Or as I say, If you put up with it you deserve it.

If Section 1021(b)(2) defines

If Section 1021(b)(2) defines a “covered person”—one subject to detention—as “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”, then why aren't the officers of HSBC in detention. The hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions that HSBC has admitted was knowingly processed, facilitated, and laundered for terrorist and drug organizations around the globe has to be among the largest support activities that has existed over the last decade. Yet, according to testimony given by Bush administration lawyers, a retired Swiss lady donating money to what she believes is a non-profit helping orphans, but is really a front for terrorists, apparently has a greater probability of ending up in detention than a bank executive who knew exactly what he was doing.

The desk of every executive at HSBC should be covered with the photos of the dead and injured soldiers and civilians of all countries who died as a result of terrorist actions with the sentence in big red letters across the front of the photos "This person died/was injured because of your actions to get a bonus. May you rot in Hell"

Agree with "The corporate

Agree with "The corporate state knows that the steady deterioration of the economy and the increasingly savage effects of climate change will create widespread social instability. It knows that rage will mount as the elites squander diminishing resources while the poor, as well as the working and middle classes, are driven into destitution."

You know it is too late when even the "lesser evil leader" of the two-party political powers pro-actively champion preparation of a military police state to protect the elite. Concurreently Obama now champions only a minor slow-down in the rate of tax-transfer of wealth from the many to the few, coupled with offsetting cuts to benefits for the many.
Repeal of the Bush cuts on high incomes preserves TWO THIRDS of the huge tax cuts for the wealthy ushered in by Reagan.

Excellent commentary, Chris.

Excellent commentary, Chris. You are certainly correct about the state being a tool used by the wealthy to keep labor (everyone else) in its "proper" low cost place so resources continue to move upward at an ever accelerating pace. The more people can understand that simple notion, the more likely it will be that people will re-invent their lives around local communities and find ways of "excluding" the state from their lives.

I assume by "woefully adequate" (in reference to the Feinstein-Lee amendment) you mean "woefully inadequate", which I would certainly agree with. Also, your reference to the Korematsu v. United States case is confusing in terms of how it was used by Feinstein and Lee and how you mean for it to be used. Notwithstanding, I believe the Obama Administration (in 2011), possibly in anticipating the importance of that case for a future Supreme Court decision, dramatically reduced its usefulness as a precedent by declaring the 1944 decision invalid. Apparently there was evidence deliberately withheld that could have impacted on the decision of the Supreme Court. This could work in the people's favor when your case gets to the top. It is possible for people who believe in the rule of law to practice the law in its current form while working to change it at the same time. I'm not saying I agree with that approach in this instance, but it does happen. Time will tell. Thanks for your column.

John C. Alessio

The Constitution and the

The Constitution and the TRUTH are Minor Inconveniences and Insignificant Technicalities to trash with law degrees.

The Fourth and Fifth

The Fourth and Fifth amendments are part of the Bill of Rights. Did you mean the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments?

Unless you read

Unless you read "Trance:Formation of America" by Cathy O'Brien and Mark Phillips and act upon it, you will not realise that fighting NDAA clauses and other such actions is just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic (an entirely appropriate metaphor, since the Titanic that was deliberately sunk was the severely damaged sister ship Olympic rebadged...), and you will not understand how a 9/11 event could be pulled off under the gaze of the average American. You are boxing with the shadows, which is exactly what TPTB want you to do.

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John Grant
Published: Tuesday 25 December 2012
It was clear the President was a good man and a deeply-committed father of young children.

The President’s 900-Pound Stinking Elephant

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When an elephant "goes

When an elephant "goes rogue," it is necessary to bring it under control and securely restrain it. This applies to politics as well.

The entire U.S. Governments

The entire U.S. Governments policy is deniabliity.....torture whether we learned it from Pinochet or taught it to him.....whether or not we supported it / or were against it...DENY long at it can not be tied to us the U.S. we're home free.... secret Prisons ??? not ours ?? until the prisoners showed up at GITMO....
..Attack the most a world surrounded by enemies could Saddam admit he was he told the weapons inspectors he had no WMD's?????
. . As George Bush ran the wars off the books we closed mental healthcare facalities - - and who was to complain ?? those disturbed individuals we mainstreamed ???
THE BAILOUT FRAUD / FISCAL CLIFF FRAUD... and whose to complain ?? those without any money to do anything about it ???
. . Henry Paulison - - George Bush's ..Secretary of the Treasury said the "people are too naive" to understand the complexities of banking ??? Stupid people - let's keep them that way "CUT EDUCATION" ??
Oh. Gee, WE HAVE NO MONEY ??? EXTEND FOREIGN AID TO afghjanistan till 2024 ???? enduring presence ???

It took us decades to reach

It took us decades to reach this point. It will take people, like you and me, to say, "Enough!" On Social Security, who didn't understand that wiping out the Great Society programs (welfare) was a necessary step toward wiping out the New Deal (Social Security)? I think the mistake of this generation was in our failure to see how we're all connected, and how policies against one class inevitably trickle up to crush the next.

One thing we don't need is

One thing we don't need is people who know absolutely nothing about firearms deciding what to with them. No matter how they are limited, someone else will always have more , and the violence will continue. It doesn't matter whether one is for or against gun control - that fat is that police and military are not exempt from over-reaction, and knowing citizens recognize this. There is also a BIG difference between urban gun owners and rural gun owners. There is nothing wrong with shooting an AR-15 at a target for enjoyment and skill. there is something very wrong with shooting any firearm at un-involved, innocent people. Look to subliminal messages in the media, and the tendency for the mentally ill to take everything personally, and aggregate a subconscious response from symbolic imagery that most of us overlook - the answer is in our culture, and the money driving it, not in a ban - ban won't work.

Finally resolving to

Finally resolving to constructively deal with the problem of having enough firepower in your broom closet to violently end the lives of 2 platoons of citizens and letting yourself off the hook by saving the last bullet for yourself, in the time it takes to drive from the window at McDonalds where you pay to the window that you pickup, isn't knee jerk. I can remember the tower shooter at UT. Four decades later the same thing can happen today. just as easily.

Think about what we do know. We know that the NRA's new power is on borrowed time. The NRA knows that they've never seen resolve like today. The NRA knows their political support has melted. The politicians know the NRA is a scarlet letter for the first time. The NRA has already bought the fake moustaches needed to dine with congressmen for a while. It all comes down to, can the gun lobby's barricade last longer than the public's resolve to finally fix a life threatening problem.

The smoke and mirrors guys are fully employed. I remember, during th Reagan administration, when they opened all the doors at mental facilities and an hour later shut off the power, everywhere in America, in the same month. We didn't know how that was going to affect life from that time on, but everyone knew it wasn't going to make things better. How many residents of those institutions killed themselves by the dozens, where there was no access to guns? Can't be many, it never made the news. How many Mensa members finishing their PHDs at the cool schools, who have access to firepower are blowing away folks in their sights like corn popping? Happens all the time. This Lapierre guy insults me.

I have cherished memories of Saturday afternoons at my local rod and gun club with my father, sighting in and adjusting rifles befor hunting season. I admired the skill of machinists necessary to turn out the simpleist of pistols, how part clearances were so well cut that if someone hit parts to me at a ball park they still went together, handily. I was impressed at how metalurgists invented metals that worked at the N. Pole and the equator. Gun oil reminded me of pleasant times. Being in places where people wanted me dead, where events told me my life or death tettered on what the men having an advantage on me guessed my ability to send a bullet their way decreased their odds of getting away with harming me were. Turning in a weapon to return to CONUS left a different taste in my mouth than putting deer rifles in my father's trunk, to continue our bonding over a burger.

The Okie's right, shooting an AR-15 (it's an early model of the M-16) at targets is fine, if he lives in a vacuum. Responsibility for the life of a weapon, the entire life of a weapon, has to become serious. The Okie has to realize the small pleasure he derives from shooting a weapon with no natural requirement, no problem it solves in society, is sort of selfish. Oakie, this is too complicated, only if we allow ourselves into being tricked to think that.

It's not only Americans. Japanese tourists on Guam pay real money to dress like a gangster ( no the other gangster) with a cigar in their mouthes, shooting machine guns, immortalized on a DVD at shooting gallaries, an easy drive from anywhere on the island. Holding a gun is too exciting for alot of people, it's like fire. The Japanese can't get involved with guns. Their government won't let the gun ownership become interesting.

I don't get how the 2nd amendment turns into it's very "broad" interpretation. John Adams didn't see a need for a "standing" Army. He wanted the size of the Navy doubled. The rifles were stowed. There were no arsenals like Springfield to manufacture rifles for the government. The government saw the day when they would get in touch with local government to state "The British are coming back, we'll feed you but bring your rifle". That's all I see.

Every citizen of America has re evaluated the worth of his membership. We now know any mother's son can't be president. We know we really don't want the wretched masses yearning to be supported free. Our government has taught us there are 1000 shades of accountability. Power in government has figured out that if you keep people's lives so marginal that they don't care that the criminals of the Wall St. debacle have showered, shaved, gotten a couple of hours sleep and are back doing the dirty, because they're trying to get $70 together for a kid's filling, that that's a good thing. They have more pressing things on their "honeydos" than asking why these crooks not only aren't encarcirated, but walking the halls of congress, fearlessly. There are older men right now sitting in dark rooms, cold, feeling their life ending illness progress, betrayed by all that America promised. Help..., a hand..., by a country happy to even out the contract to it's citizen for their contribution to building a strong, fair country. That man bought US Savings Bonds, really never could afford a stock portfolio, does know if the social class, that we swear doesn't exist, hadn't taken his money to bail out the mentally disturbed billionaire and millionaire stock brokers and bankers, with their gambling addictions, it would have been more than enough to save, permanently, as many seniors as we have in this country from destitution as their last stage of life; then insuring their after death invisability by guaranteeing their pennilessness at death. People don't like this. No one is going to help them (us).

Membership in America today brings with it stress. The powers that be, if they were smart, would be looking for ways to disarm an increasingly betrayed citizenry, quickly. Over a decade in combat, for millions of citizens, with nothing resembling America, or our way of life at stake, dying for people who are so masoginistic, dishonest and culturally unacceptable that elected officials should be behind bars for entwining our lives with Afganistan is a question that is waiting for answers. There aren't going to be any answers. Some people can't withstand that type od frustration.

My children know their lives will not be better than mine. Everyone is in debt and no light at the other end. College degrees are mostly worthless. It's no longer a secret that money is far more important than the good of the nation. We know our lawmakers will never be held accountable. We know that no matter what we do to help others, how much it costs us, or where on the planet they are, countries will take until we're dry and then turn it around, never thank us seriously and blame us for returning to their pre US aid condition, throwing in Israel, Viet Nam and American Indians in their drivel.

We're not keeping our money home to relieve safetys. Law makers are idiots for fighting gun control. Rich people, the socialist millionaires, the ones who get lawmakers to change laws for them, who get senators to pick up the phone when they call, who get their children free educations, the ones that have staffs in DC to redirect public money to their coffers, the one's that convince lawmakers to constantly "fix" things, shamelessly refuse to pay for their better membership cards, insulting us with phrases like wealth distribution and class envy to cover their overuse of elected officials time and efforts depriving the rest of us attention to middle class problems.

All branches of government are unavailable to me because the rich ran in front of me and shut the door to the senators office. They are so giddy with power they won't pay for their additional access and so selfish they don't care that there are limited hours of the day and they deprive the rest of America our access to representation. The access that we're asking them to pay for is a higher tax rate. We're asking legislators to "bill for hours" fairly and those bastards are telling us we're communists. I know I'm not getting what I paid for, I don't give a damn what Jamie Dimond likes or doesn't like. Pay your bill you cheap bastard. How does more guns relieve the frustration of a nation?

Washington provides no redress to the average American. They are out of their minds if they don't make more sense out of the rules that guides an entire society in a pressure cooker to a more sucessful coexistance. Do you think anyone's even thought of putting a question like "what is the combined firepower, measured in rounds per minute, of semi automatic weapons presently in your possesion" on you permit request?

The gun control problem has to be solved like someone actually took notes in bidnes school. First hour...What is the biggest problem today complicating gun control? Throw that out. After morning coffee, the same moderator stands up and asks"What is the biggest problem today complicating solving the gun control problem"? Throw that out. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It's uncomplicated and gives the resolution promise. Of course this is assuming honesty by legislators. Ignoring lobbyists is included in honesty. That is the electorats job. We have to keep their eye on the ball (unfortunately like children).

If government no longer bids the people's work, the frustration of citizens isn't going to get better. People feel their is no government for them. If no gun control is forthcoming all I can say is "Senator, there's no increased traffic in front of my house".

In no way am I encouraging anyone to take matters into their own hands to solve the problem of ineffectual government. What I have attempted to do is acknowledge the frustration of many people in America is quickly approaching an incindiary stage. We're seriously looking bad.

Bottom line: our president

Bottom line: our president is as much a tool of the industrial-military complex as his more honest Republican opponents. Barack is just a much better actor. And lily-livered liberals won't allow themselves to see through the smokescreen.

Let them keep their guns. Just make it real hard and expensive (tax it like crazy) to get ammo. And sell no magazines with more than one bullet in them.

I disagree for several

I disagree for several reasons. President Obama is no Bill Clinton, thank goodness. What he has stressed from the time of his first campaign was that he could not achieve anything without the strong backing of the people. We have to speak up so loudly that the right wing hears. Remember, we have a president, not a king. He can't do much of anything without the consent of Congress. Congress needs to see that the country demands change. Right now, it is hard for them to hear anyone except their corporate campaign donors. The public actually has shown some spunk now and then, especially labor, but it will take a sustained effort to force change, getting the power out of the hands of the corporatists and returning it to the people.

I am extremely skeptical and

I am extremely skeptical and frightened of any "quick fix" that our present system might adopt in response to the Newtown shootings. Let us remember that 9/11 got us two wars, the PATRIOT Act, and an increasingly all-encompassing security state.

By all means, let's see a significant increase into the true causes of mental illness, which just might lead to treatments which do something more than current psychiatric medications that merely suppress visible symptoms (and do not work in a significant number of people). But let us be extremely wary of any offered "quick fix". Remember that this country used to keep uncounted numbers of Americans in warehouses, either because they were "mentally ill" or because they were simply inconvenient to someone. Do we want to return to that? Do we want to have the one-third of our population currently taking psychiatric medications to be required to report regularly to government centers for forcible medication or at least tests to insure that they are "compliant"?

The word "crisis" in Chinese consists of the characters for the words "danger" and "opportunity". We are facing a crisis, make no mistake about that. But we face both the opportunity to make some genuine, humanitarian steps toward improving the lives of any number of Americans and the danger of giving away a bit more of the America we once knew, and which becomes increasingly difficult to recall.

There is an entire herd of

There is an entire herd of stinking elephants in the room with Obama.
Several were resident in the White House when it was built. They had offspring. From time to time we've had Presidents who tried to wash one or more them clean. In modern times, FDR, Eisenhower, and JFK come to mind. Since then, dung has been piled on dung, predatory capitalism is run amok, and an elite few run a two-party circus that serves to manipulate the crowd that is us, most of whom suffer the illusion that the PREAMBLE is our constitution, and thus suffer the myth we live in a democracy.
As to what explains Obama's duplicity and leap to compromise, apart from political expedience and maneuver? Consider how his rhetoric consistently reassures the wealthy and powerful that he is no threat to them or the mechanics of the status quo that benefits the elite, indeed that he is as one of them who can afford to pay a bit more in taxes.

So much of the above is pure

So much of the above is pure nonsense. Our overseas use of military power, justified or not, is in no way responsible for the recent mass shootings at home. These events occur as a result of diranged minds suffering from disapointments and outrage. It is becoming clear that these individuals can neither be identified nor stopped. There are some 300 million guns at large throughout the country. Reducing that number can only help to reduce the threat. Restricting who can purchase a gun and keeping track of those who do would also help to reduce the threat. But violence is a part of our culture. The inequities of our society add to the level of outrage. Those with strong feelings of having been "short changed" are prone to believe that their plight results from actions of those in power. They may be correct but the self restraint to not act upon their resentment is paramont in this discussion. It is unlikely that we can identify the tens of thousands of people with a mental disposition towards violence no less offer to treat them. We must change the part of our culture that breeds these conditions. Poverty, lack of opportunity, discrimination, and the continuing shift of the nations wealth into fewer and fewer hands are the seeds of the problem. Reducing the number and leethality of weapons loose in the country can only help. But until we develop a more equitable and caring society the problem will be with us.

If due, then with respect for

If due, then with respect for LARRONM, the statement "Our overseas use of military power, justified or not, is in no way responsible for the recent mass shootings at home." is 100% incorrect.

To ascribe the full responsibility to that single factor would be an error, but to deny its influence would be blind. Many would like to deny that the culture of killing upon which this country is founded and has used to make the world our oyster models behaviors for its citizens, but that denial is because they are addicted to the spoils of its organized manifestations.

I agree Mycophile: the causes

I agree Mycophile: the causes are many, and include those Larronm cites, but the post-WWII rise of death-dealing state militarism is certainly one of them.

Even non-violent symptoms come to mind: at Olympic events, one and only one group of spectators AGGRESSIVELY chants with nationalistic fervor.
To wit: "USA! USA! USA!".

I was born in 1950. Mine was

I was born in 1950. Mine was the first TV generation. We were fed a steady diet of Westerns featuring heroes who shot savage Indians and bad guys, crime dramas featuring heroes who shot criminals, and war movies featuring heroes who shot Nazis and Japanese and communists. To the foregoing have since been added heroes who shoot alien monsters, psychopaths, and terrorists, and the video-game medium.
At the apex of today's weaponized pyramid of heroes stands the terrorist-killing commando, variously Delta Force, Navy Seal, Special Forces, or CIA Black Ops Renegade. When you connect the dots, the lines intersect at capitalist profiteering and militaristic-state propaganda. It is what Eisenhower warned about, though he did not foresee the role electronic media would play in the evolution to the situation of today: the collaborative merger of entertaintainment industry profiteering and militaristic-state propaganda.

As to mentally ill young men who use assault weapons to slaughter innocents in schools, shopping centers or theaters, small wonder. The weapons are readily available, and sane and insane alike are bombarded daily with messages justifying and glorifying their use to kill people.

Newtown is among the inevitable by-products of what the worst of the elite do to manipulate, profiteer, and predate, all the while rationalizing and professing otherwise. Horrifically. the 26 children and teachers are a but a rounding error in the total of the 99% slaughtered annually in the USA, the land of the free, the home of the brave, the nation with a rising multitude of enemies foreign and domestic, all of whom together constitute the collective terrorist that plagues us, so say the elite. They are everywhere, and they would steal our lives, our access to oil, our freedom of religion, our right to pay poverty wages, our craving for validation or attention, our favorite parking space. We are in effect exhorted to kill them all wherever found, perceived or proven, and to accept as unavoidable that many of us and many innocent bystanders including children will be killed or maimed in the process.

If it had served the interests of the electronic entertainment industry and elite militarized-state profiteers to bombard the masses for two generations with a comparable number of messages justifying and glorifying the use of assault weapons to shoot other people's pets, you can be sure that pet-shooting would be pervasive today, that strays would be rare, that assault-weapon animal hunting would be wildly popular, that animal hunters would be at the apex of the weaponized hero pyramid, that we'd be at war in an oil or oil-access country in the Middle East for the declared purpose of killing goats, and that the mentally ill would be appearing at pet shows, pet shops, and zoos to shoot their share of animals of every kind.

Chomsky has often hammered

Chomsky has often hammered the point that we invite terror because we use terror around the world. I don't agree with everything he says, but you have to admit he makes a good point about our use of violence.

Now we're seeing contentious arguments all over the net between gun-lovers and gun-control advocates. I don't think it can be settled easily. Most of the heat is caused by the simple fact that those on contrasting sides of the issue do not agree on the interpretation of the Second Amendment, which was adopted at a time when the fledgling republic had no standing army or national arsenal.

Well, that's another issue, but we can only speculate if those 20 first-graders wouldn't be alive today if Adam Lanza hadn't had "training" in the use of weapons AND had easy access to an assortment of ammo and rapid-fire weapons, thanks to his mom's generous collection. That sickly-looking kid probably couldn't have killed anyone if he had been armed only with a pocket-knife.

Some New-Agers might say we're feeling the effects of "karma." We export terror and claim the right to own weapons designed for quick and easy slaughter, and we reap all this senseless mayhem at home. And all the NRA can suggest is to have more armed people out there, as if no one owning a weapon would EVER flip out and go crazy, or let their arsenals be tapped by crazed friends or relatives.

I wish we could have a national referendum on this issue, instead of expecting politicians to represent our views, because we all know by now that money talks loudly in the world's oldest democracy.

I appreciate John Grant's

I appreciate John Grant's comments. I have for many years also discussed how the use of violence by the American government, around the world, and in this country, creates so much of the tone that bleeds out in violent crime i our communities. We have to close the war machine to make our communities safer. That it would also end the budget deficit is just gravy at this point.,

Going for the “Mental

Going for the “Mental Illness” as the cause of violence makes the problem much worse. A- Psychiatry has no means to predict criminality. B-Detention plus psychiatric “treatment” of persons that psychiatrists “diagnose” “as potentially criminals” leads to arbitrary civil right violation of terrible socio-political consequences. C- A fascist state is established on false “medical basis.”

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