"There are some things about Gaza that I still can’t wrap my head around" An illustration by Katie Miranda

10/26/14 11:50:04 am • by J "Rollin" Stone Email

Link: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/10/there-things-around?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=eb038bd222-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-eb038bd222-309258826

Reposted from
The War of Ideas in the Middle East

There are some things about Gaza that I still can’t wrap my head around
Katie Miranda on October 24, 2014


About Katie Miranda

Katie Miranda is an illustrator, jewelry designer, and cartoonist living in Portland, OR. She is currently working on a graphic novel called "Tear Gas in the Morning" which is a memoir about the nonviolent resistance movement in Palestine. Visit katiemiranda.com to learn more. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katiemiranda.bazaarkhalil Twitter: @KatieMirandaArt

Nuclear failures in Japan predicted in 1971 - from Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog

03/14/11 01:30:43 am • by J "Rollin" Stone Email

Emergency Core Cooling System ECCS failure predicted in 1971

By nuclearhistory March 13, 2011

From “The Menance of Atomic Energy” , by Ralph Nader and John Abbotts, Outback Press, Victoria Australia, 1977, ISBN 0 868880515, Page 103:

“In July 1971, the Union of Concerned Scientists released a report on its evaluation of the (AEC) Idaho (ECCS) tests. Even under the questionable assumption that tests were not applicable to large reactors, the UCS wrote, they were still a black eye for the Atomic Energy Commission (now DOE). ….UCS called for a total halt to the issuance of operating licences for nuclear power plants until assurance of ECCS effectiveness could be demonstrated, and until a thoroughreview of ECCS had been carried out by an independent qualified group….
…The AEC maintained reactor safety consisted of several lines of defence: that reactor coolant pipes were constructed to high-quality standardsto ensure they would not break; that, should the pipes break, the ECCS would prevent a meltdown accident; that, were any radioactivity released from the fuel, the containment building building around the reactor would prevent it from reaching the public.

But the Union of Concerned Scientists recognized that if ECCS would not function, the same accident that broke a pipe would cause the ECCS to fail, and in turn lead to events that could rupture the reactor building. The controversy continued to escalate…” Guess who won?

The Japanese experience of 12 March 2011 (continuing) in which one building at a reactor reservation has exploded, 160 members of the public have registered as being contaminated at evac monitoring stations so far, in which government and industry sources claim no radiation has been released on minute, at safe levels the next, while exclusion zones grew from zero to ten to 30 kms with 150 kms at risk, shows that the 1971 view of the hazard of reliance upon the Emergency Core Cooling System which relies on pipes and pumps is in fact the correct. Despite the fact that the AEC had sufficient influence with the US governmental process to have its faulty view accepted over that of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

This in in the era of Congressional Members threatening Dr Gofman and shortly after another critic of the AEC, Dr Linus Pauling, had been forbidden from leaving the United States by order of the US State Department. Dr Pauling, who is the only person ever to have won two Noble Prizes in separate fields, believed and expressed the view that Radio Strontium was harmful to life. This was his crime. He, born in the USA, had his passport taken away because he insisted on expressing his views. The US government considered him to be dangeous. The late Dr Pauling must have felt that he would have had an easier time had he been born in China.

HISTORY SHOWS THAT THE 1930s (PATENT DATE) technology known as “nuclear Power” is dangerous.

Noone one in their right mind would buy a car that, on arrival at a destination, had to be kept idling, never having its cooling system switched off in order to prevent overheating, hydrogen emission, explosion, and harm to the innocent.

This however describes the basic fact of all reactors. Even after fission is switched off, heat is generated by radioactive decay of fission products. Fission craps in its own fuel, which becomes more, not less dangerous. More radioactive, not less.

This technical vulnerability was seen in 1971 by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The reactor failures in Japan we watch in horror and grief this very day were foreseen in 1971. The nuclear authorities of the United States at that time were presented with the evidence. Those authorities ignored the evidence and dismissed it many technical responses.

Vulnerabilities within the ECCS were foreseen in 1971. The remedy has been available since 1971. Shut down the reactors.

This in fact is what the Japanese has been forced to do. Far too late. And the knowledge of the need to shut them down precedes the date of their construction.

Safe reactors should be safe in the real world. Mother Nature has never obeyed the AEC, DOE, or the Government of Japan.
See the story of King Canute.

Second System Failure


Japan nuclear fears as systems fail at second reactor

Officials warn of more radiation leaks as residents panic, jamming city’s exit roads

Fears of another explosion at a Japanese nuclear plant are growing after officials said the cooling system in a second reactor had failed.

Thousands of people were evacuated on Saturday following an explosion and leak from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

end quote.

A systemic, repeatable, predictable, predicted set of design concept failures inherent in the patent dated 1936.
Old Tech. Where’s the Manhattan Project for Renewables? Not there, no bomb in it, so its not there. No profit for politicians and their mates in fuel sales, so its not there.

Birds 'not' of a feather

02/27/11 09:05:02 am • by J "Rollin" Stone Email

The DOD and their corporate "handlers" know that the key to enduring war in spite of the ever-growing dissent among the citizenry of the empires that wage it, is to remove humans from direct engagement. Remove the threat of physical harm to the aggressor, keep touting the "fear" and "national security" propaganda, while simultaneously excusing the "manifest destiny" of our resource-hoarding sloth and greed, and those malicious forces hiding behind the pretense of democratic justice will eternally prevail.

Here is an important component to that end.


I thought it would be interesting to post this story as viewed from an AlJazeera perspective. The closing line in the report is illustrative of our lack, here in the "aggressor" nations, of recognizing the "routine" stress of those "innocent by-standers" whose lives we disrupt, often permanently, while pursuing the "phantoms" we call Al Quaeda and the Taliban. Ghosts that we claim are hiding in plain sight among the general populations who consequently, and inevitably, become collateral damage to the un-manned aerial drones, operated remotely, from thousands of miles away in Utah by otherwise peace-loving Christian-Judea law-abiding citizens of the US-of-A. In such ways can we otherwise relax in the pious knowledge that our lives are safe and secure from the Muslim barbarism that threatens our own selfish and imperial way of life.

Fat chance, buckos. If there is true justice in the world, I fear that we, in the "West" are on the wrong side of that future historical account. You know, the kind of history that is taking place, as I write this, as you read this, in North Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, and even in Wisconsin.

Where real and universal notions of democratic equality, are seeking footholds among the tyrannys that charade as righteousness, in the form of trans-national corporate sponsorship, gone insane over profits from oil and banking, and absolute power over everything else we need.

Even to the sustenance of life itself...

Egyptian military tortured, “disappeared” thousands of demonstrators

02/11/11 12:51:05 am • by J "Rollin" Stone Email

Tom Eley at the World Socialist Web Site writes about how the despots President Mubarak, and Omar Suleiman along with the top military, police, and secret police leaders have been showing the world many of the skills they learned from the CIA and special US training facilities like the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Ft. Bragg, NC, and the more well known School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Recently renamed for PR purposes to WHINSEC after years of constant protest by a brave cadre of concerned citizens led by Father Roy Bourgeois and the School of the Americas Watch.

It's really anyone's guess what will happen next in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities around the country, since once again her tyrannical despots have tried to play Egyptians for fools. But as we come into day 18 of this historical and revolutionary event, all eyes are focused on this North African nation, quite aware that this 21st century democratic movement is made up of anything but fools...

World Socialist Web Site

Egyptian military tortured, “disappeared” thousands of demonstrators
By Tom Eley
11 February 2011

Since demonstrations and strikes erupted against the Mubarak regime on January 25, the Egyptian military has arrested, tortured and “disappeared” thousands, according to reports from the Guardian newspaper and human rights organizations.

The revelations explode the claim advanced by the Obama administration that Egypt’s army is a neutral arbiter in the crisis and can lead a “transition” to human rights and democracy. They also give the lie to the claim that the military can be relied upon to protect the population from the hated state security forces, an argument advanced by both Mohammed ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood. The military has, in fact, assumed the brutal role of the police and security forces, which have, at least in part, dissolved in the face of the revolution.

According to Human Rights Watch, at least 302 Egyptians have been killed in the protests, the vast majority of these at the hands of the security forces, pro-government thugs and the military. Heba Morayef, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Cairo who participated in the count, said that the ultimate number will likely be far higher.

The number of the disappeared—those arrested by the military with no record or official acknowledgement of their fate—runs into the hundreds, possibly thousands, Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights in Cairo, told the Guardian. Their “crimes” include carrying political leaflets, attending demonstrations, “or even the way they look,” the newspaper reports.

“Their range is very wide, from people who were at the protests or detained for breaking curfew, to those who talked back at an army officer or were handed over to the army for looking suspicious or for looking like foreigners even if they were not,” Bahgat said. “It’s unusual and to the best of our knowledge it’s also unprecedented for the army to be doing this.”

He continued, “Detentions either go completely unreported or they are unable to inform their family members or any lawyer of their detention so they are much more difficult to assist or look for. Those held by the military police are not receiving any due process either because they are unaccounted for and they are unable to inform anyone of their detention.”

One person who has vanished after being detained by the military near Tahrir Square is Kareem Amer, a blogger and opponent of the Mubarak regime who had only recently been released from a four-year prison sentence for criticizing the regime.

As is the usual practice for the police and security forces, the military is subjecting those arrested to torture. The Guardian spoke “to detainees who say they have suffered extensive beatings and other abuses at the hands of the military in what appears to be an organised campaign of intimidation.” Among the documented forms of torture the newspaper uncovered is the use of electrical shocks on prisoners.

Human Rights Watch reported the military abuse of one anonymous activist who was stopped at a military checkpoint where a pro-democracy flier was found in his bag.

“They started beating me up in the street [with] their rubber batons and an electric Taser gun, shocking me,” the activist said. “Then they took me to Abdin police station. By the time I arrived, the soldiers and officers there had been informed that a ‘spy’ was coming, and so when I arrived they gave me a ‘welcome beating’ that lasted some 30 minutes.”

He was then forced to undress, at which point cables from an “electric shock machine” were attached to his body.

“He shocked me all over my body, leaving no place untouched. It wasn’t a real interrogation; he didn’t ask that many questions. He tortured me twice like this on Friday, and one more time on Saturday,” the man said.

The Guardian spoke with a 23-year-old man, Ashraf, who was detained by the military on Friday for attempting to bring medical supplies to the demonstrators in Tahrir Square in Cairo. He described his ordeal in a makeshift prison at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities on the edge of Tahrir Square.

“I was on a sidestreet and a soldier stopped me and asked me where I was going. I told him and he accused me of working for foreign enemies and other soldiers rushed over and they all started hitting me with their guns.

“They put me in a room. An officer came and asked me who was paying me to be against the government. When I said I wanted a better government he hit me across the head and I fell to the floor. Then soldiers started kicking me. One of them kept kicking me between my legs.

“They got a bayonet and threatened to rape me with it. Then they waved it between my legs. They said I could die there or I could disappear into prison and no one would ever know. The torture was painful but the idea of disappearing in a military prison was really frightening.”

Ashraf, who did not give his last name for fear of reprisals, said that he was beaten off and on for hours, before being placed in a room with about a dozen other men who had been badly tortured.

Last week the military allowed pro-Mubarak thugs, many of them plainclothes security forces, to attack demonstrators over the space of three days with Molotov cocktails, iron rods, vehicles, horses, and even guns. An unknown number were killed and scores were injured in these assaults.

Human rights organizations say that the military did not generally detain the pro-Mubarak fighters, and when they did they have not been subject to the same abuses as the demonstrators. Instead, they have been turned over to the police and security forces—very likely their employers.

Copyright © 1998-2011 World Socialist Web Site - All rights reserved


Watch this interview on DemcoracyNow with Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef talk about the lack of respect in Egypt's current regime for their citizens and fellow Egyptians.

AlterNet reminds us why we should not support Tea-Party politicians...

02/07/11 10:21:52 pm • by J "Rollin" Stone Email

While hundreds of thousands, even millions of Egyptians across the country protest for the end of a 30 year dictatorship, and the birth of a long-awaited democratic government, Joshua Holland of AlterNet takes some time to remind us that some places in the world are becoming even more democratic than we are...

Read his ironically funny, but nonetheless sad recap of the Tea Party movement as they settle into Congress and begin to make good(?) on their campaign promises


12 Examples of Stunning Hypocrisy from Tea Party Republicans In One Short Month

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on February 3, 2011

It's only been a month since the new Tea Party lawmakers took office, but the entirely predictable results of their ascension are already coming in. The Republican Party's newest class of “mavericks” have again stormed into office intent on proving their theory that government is inherently evil by screwing up everything in sight.

Before we embark on our tour of the Tea Party politicians' early moves – and those of the party they were supposed to be “taking back” -- let's recall exactly what they promised: they were relentlessly focused on economic issues – and, we were told, would eschew the kind of social issues that had long marked Republican politics in the era of the Religious Right. They would bring greater transparency and accountability to government. They promised to be good fiscal stewards, respond to the wishes of the people and, above all else, they swore up and down to obey the letter of the Constitution.

Let's see how they did in the early going.

I Hate Government Health Care. Also: Where Is My Government Health Care?

The hypocrisy began before the new class of pols was sworn in. When it was reported that “a conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at an orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in,” it raised eyebrows.

When Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, the titular inspiration for the Tea Party movement, was asked if he thought it was hypocritical for members of Congress to accept government-subsidized and regulated health plans, he replied simply, “[c]ould be.”

Violating the Constitution on Day One

The Constitution is the answer to every policy debate for the conservative wing of the GOP – or at least their tenuous grasp of what it says. But they didn't take long to trash the document. As Ryan Grimm reported for the Huffington Post:

Two House Republicans have cast votes as members of the 112th Congress, but were not sworn in on Wednesday, a violation of the Constitution on the same day that the GOP had the document read from the podium.

As if that weren't enough, the two lawmakers, incumbent Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and newcomer Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, couldn't make the swearing-in because “they were attending a fundraiser at the U.S. Capitol even though lawmakers are barred from using official resources for campaign or fundraising activities.” That's illegal, and they did it on day one!

And Their Own Rules

The new GOP majority in Congress was supposed to be different this time. Heavily influenced by the Tea Partiers' message, they promised greater transparency. “Leaders overreach because the rules allow them to,” said newly minted Speaker John Boehner in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute. “Legislators duck their responsibilities because the rules help them to. And when the rules don’t suit the majority’s purposes, they are just ignored.”

That was before he took the speaker's gavel, however. Later, as Politico reported, “the new majority is already showing these promises aren’t exactly set in stone.”

After calling for bills to go through a regular committee process, the bill that would repeal the health care law will not go through a single committee. Despite promising a more open amendment process for bills, amendments for the health care repeal will be all but shut down. After calling for a strict committee attendance list to be posted online, Republicans backpedaled and ditched that from the rules. They promised constitutional citations for every bill but have yet to add that language to early bills.

That was certainly fast. But as Boehner said, “when the rules don’t suit the majority’s purposes, they are just ignored.”

Cutting Your Grandparents' Medicare

In October, Politifact noted that “Republicans often complained the Democratic plan would cut Medicare” during the reform debate, and “they are now repeating those attacks in campaign ads against many Democratic candidates, targeting older voters who may be worried their Medicare benefits will be harmed.”

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Tea Party favorite from Texas, went so far as to suggest, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, that “the left” wanted to “cut Medicare by $500 billion to finance a corner of ObamaCare.” Given that older voters tend to skew toward the GOP, this line of attack made sense for turning out the Republicans' base.

Yet just two short months after Hensarling wrote that op-ed, the National Journal reported, “House GOP members are considering a measure to convert the government-backed Medicare program into a voucher system,” which would represent a drastic benefit cut for seniors in years to come:

Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas said that he expects Republicans to support the provision, which would require Medicare to give seniors an allotment of money to buy private coverage starting in 2021. The eligibility age would also be raised, from 65 to 69.

Austerity for Thee; Lavish, Corporate-Sponsored Parties for Me!

They were going to represent “the people,” but one has to remember that, in the conservative worldview, big corporations are people too!

To be fair, corporate sponsors generally kick in dollars for new governors' electoral balls, but as Think Progress noted, some of the new Tea Party-backed governors took it to the extreme, allowing “corporations with a vested interest in policy outcomes from a friendly government to pay for their inaugural bashes.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) spent $3 million in funds from Florida’s business interests that have “the most at stake in his administration,” including tobacco, real estate, gambling, and drug companies seeking specific regulatory advantages for their business. Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) also received a big inaugural bash courtesy of private donations from Boeing, Duke Energy, and SCANA. Several other Republican governors are following suit. According to local reports, Govs. Rick Perry (TX), John Kasich (OH), Brian Sandoval (NV), Mary Fallin (OK), and Rick Snyder (MI), are the newest state executives to join the pay-to-play club.

They're Not Just on Capitol Hill

Maine's new governor, Tea Party-favorite Paul LePage, promised his transition team would look for “the best and the brightest” as it “seeks people to fill key roles in what’s expected to be a pro-business administration,” reported the Associated Press. In the end, that included not only several conservative think-tankers, but also his 22-year-old daughter Lauren, to whom he gave “a staff position within the upper echelon of his administration.”

According to the Bangore Daily News, “Lauren LePage said that although she did not study politics in college, she enjoyed her work on the gubernatorial campaign and saw this as a unique opportunity.” While salaries in the current governor's office start at $30,000 per year, the recent college grad will be pulling down $41,000 under her father, who was elected promising to clean up Augusta.


Scott Gessler was a Tea Party fave when he ran for the office of Colorado Secretary of State. “We need to trust our elected leaders,” he said on the trail. But soon after his election, Gessler gave voters reason to question whether he could be trusted when he announced that he would supplement his $68k annual salary by moonlighting with his old law firm on the side.

"To the extent he is working for his old firm and his old firm is dealing with the Secretary of State's office, it creates a real conflict," Elena Nuñez, program director for Colorado Common Cause, told the Denver Post. "In some cases it may just be the appearance of conflict."

What's more, Gessler refused to recuse the Secretary of State's office from cases involving his side job. “He said he would treat his old firm just like any other when it came to the decisions his office makes,” according to the Post.

Remember Transparency?

Tennessee governor Bill Haslam may win some kind of prize for hypocrisy.

On January 16, the Associated Press reported that Haslam had “stressed the themes of transparency, responsiveness and humility at his first full Cabinet meeting.”  But that statement came just 24 hours after he had signed an executive order eliminating “a requirement for the governor and top aides to disclose how much they earn.” The AP noted that “the move wipes off the books former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen’s first executive order of 2003, which required the top executive branch officials to make annual reports about their total earnings.” Haslam, it should be noted, had been “heavily criticized during the campaign for refusing to say how much he earned from family owned Pilot, a national truck stop chain with annual revenues of about $20 billion.”

Fiscal Insanity

I have always maintained that “limited government” is attractive as an abstract concept, but looks quite ugly in the real world. Evidence for that comes from Long Island, where a Tea Party-backed local pol has rapidly brought about financial disaster to Nassau County. Reuters explained the mess, which it called “a black eye for the Tea Party”:

At his January 2010 inauguration, Tea Party-backed Republican Edward Mangano marched up to the podium, pen in hand. Even before being officially declared Nassau County Executive, he signed a repeal of an unpopular home energy tax.

But Mangano didn't cut spending, nor did he figure out a way to make up the lost revenues, perhaps believing the conservative myth that cutting taxes leads to more tax dollars. The problem is that the belief is firmly grounded in magical thinking.

The fiscal consequences ...were anything but cool. The repeal set Mangano on an immediate collision course with the state-appointed fiscal overseer, the Nassau County Interim Financial Authority, or NIFA. It culminated in NIFA seizing control of the wealthy New York county's finances just weeks after the new County Supervisor was sworn in.

The tax had cost homeowners and average of around $7 per month – repealing it had truly been a triumph of ideology over common sense.

The Religious Right by Any Other Name ...

Last March, the New York Times reported that Tea Party leaders were “deliberately avoid[ing] discussion of issues like gay marriage or abortion.”

Tea Party leaders argue that the country can ill afford the discussion about social issues when it is passing on enormous debts to future generations. But the focus is also strategic: leaders think they can attract independent voters if they stay away from divisive issues.

In September, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana – a Tea Party favorite – said that “putting our fiscal house in order, creating policies that will open the doors of opportunity to families during this difficult economy and create jobs has to be the first priority and I believe will be the first priority if Republicans are given another opportunity to lead.”

That lasted a total of 17 days after taking office. Then, Mike Pence's very first act in the new Congress was to offer legislation that would limit abortion services by redefining rape to include only “forcible" rape. “We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged,” Pence said when he unveiled the bill. “Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life have forgotten the lessons of history. As in the days of a house divided, America's darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles.”

Spitting on the Constitution

For a movement that pledges unwavering fealty to the Constitution, it's remarkable how many blatantly unconstitutional pieces of legislation these new firebrands are introducing.

The Iowa Tea Party is backing a “nullification” bill allowing the state to ignore federal laws, a direct violation of the Supremacy Clause. David Gray Adler, who directs the University of Idaho's McClure Center for Public Policy Research, told the Washington Post that “nullification proponents ignore the fact that one Supreme Court decision after another has gone against them.” The state's Republican Attorney General weighed in, stating the obvious: “There is no right to pick and choose which federal laws a State will follow,” which is why “no court has ever upheld a State effort to nullify a federal law.”

Jason Brodeur, a local Tea Party newcomer in Florida, also got into the act, offering a bill that would make it a crime – punishable by a hefty fine or even jail time – for a doctor to ask a patient whether there are guns in the patient's home. The constitutional problem seems obvious: it doesn't permit the government to limit a physician's free speech rights just because some lawmaker really, really likes guns. Or, as the Orlando Sentinel put it, the proposed law "protects the Second Amendment from the First."

Then there are various bills to strip citizenship from children born to undocumented immigrants. They're popular, but as the figurehead of the Tea Parties, Ron Paul, has long acknowledged, the only constitutional approach to the issue would be to lose or change the 14th Amendment. The provision has been tested in a series of Supreme Court cases, making it a “super-precedent.” Passing simple legislation to strip people of an established and tested right is unconstitutional.

Ethics, Ethics, Ethics

The new GOP caucus promised to restore the American people's confidence in their party after it had become tainted by its culture of corruption during the Bush years. During last year's campaign, Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, assured the public that the GOP would "institute a zero-tolerance policy" when it comes to lawmakers' transgressions.

Nice talk, but just a month after taking control of the lower house, a GOP freshman is already facing a serious ethics problem. As the Washington Monthly's Steve Benen reported, “not quite three weeks into the 112th Congress, a newly elected Republican congressman is facing a scandal so severe, the leadership is already preparing for his ouster.”

With Miami's David Rivera, it's not just one controversy, it's a series of head-shaking outrages that make one wonder what on earth voters in his district were thinking.

The most recent scandal is Rivera's inexplicable decision to try to cover up loans from his mother's gambling-related marketing company, a matter that's already under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Indeed, it appears that the owners of a dog track made more than $500,000 in secret payments to a company Rivera owned.

The Republican congressman is also at the center of domestic violence allegations, has been accused of driving a truck off a road because it was carrying flyers from a rival campaign, hiding the finances surrounding foreclosure proceedings on a house he co-owned with Marco Rubio, and bizarre lies about nonexistent work he did for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Benen added that despite “Cantor's promise of a 'zero-tolerance policy,' the House Majority Leader has refused to say a word about Rivera's multiple, ongoing scandals, or the criminal investigation.”

To be fair, Rivera is not a Tea Partier. But his corruption is so blatant, he deserves honorable mention here nonetheless. For more on Rivera's ethical and legal problems, see here.

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy (and Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America). Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.

© 2011 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:http://www.alternet.org/story/149776/

A Skull-duggery Update - or How did we ever let it come to this?

02/06/11 07:39:36 pm • by J "Rollin" Stone Email

UPDATE TO: 02/03/2011

Today while Super Bowl XLV is being watched by so many Americans, and American companies unveil their Super Bowl super-ads for the super-products they want to sell to the super-consumer, Egyptians continue to build their tent city in Tahrir Square in Cairo, amidst negotiations with the police state they wish to see end. Protests also continue in Alexandria and other cities around the country in an attempt to overthrow a quasi-puppet despot dictator, who is estimated to be worth up to $70 Billion (in no small part courtesy of the American Taxpayer), and likely only wants to stay in power as long as possible in order to increase his family's ill-gotten gains, and make sure the Orwellian government remains in power. Some of Mubarak's wealth translate into physical assets here in the USA, including homes and corporate investments.

And while he and his vile political cohorts continue to plot and scheme on how to defeat the siege that the brave people of Egypt are attempting to sustain in a now 14 day long demonstration for Democracy and freedom, our leaders here in America pretend to the public that their concern is for these goals of the oppressed citizens in Egypt and across the Arab world, North Africa and the Middle East. Including Tunisia, who many see as the catalyst for change in the region, but who has recently discovered that the evil they sought to expunge is more deeply rooted than previously thought.

But in truth, and by our scripted words of diplomacy, which seem to always contradict themselves from one speaker to another, the foreign policy of our nation is driven by a resource-hungry addiction to oil and empire. A paradox which has become the "chicken or the egg" of any serious academic discussion on the evolution or devolution of our once shining-light-to-the-world Democracy and sanctuary to the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world. Rather, now it is by our economic rules that those people become more deeply and hopelessly enslaved, so that we may continue to over-consume our share of the world's dwindling resources.

As I watch the struggles across the globe for Democracy, and freedom from the imperial grip of Western geo-political colonialism. And I look around my own country, in particular to the growing sense of unrelenting apathy and selfishness that is gripping too many Americans, as we have our own increasingly worse economic woes. Even while Wall Street, the banks and the super rich continue to increase their wealth at the expense of the rest of "us", I can't help but feel a little pessimistic.

I know that to feel this way is to surrender to exactly what "THEY" want from the masses of the "human herd". But the odds seem to be so stacked against our ever winning this fight, here in what is claimed to be the freest society in the history of Mankind. Yet here we are becoming a third world nation, with over 10% or more actual unemployment, and almost a third of Americans at or below the poverty line. Worrying about how they will feed their children, cloth them, keep them healthy and give them an education, and thus a chance for a better life. All this while the 1% at the top do not see us at all, and the top 25% of Americans believe that there is no real inequality in America. Only bad luck for some, and the rest lazy and opportunist welfare junkies. While a single energy company like Exxon might receive as much or more in taxpayer subsidies than the Food Stamp budget of the entire United States. The propaganda we so easily swallow whole leads "us" to get it wrong on who the real welfare recipients are. Because one of the best strategies a fascist power can use to keep a firm jack-boot on the neck of their citizens is to keep them divided in ideology, class and religion. If we are too busy hating each other, fighting each other, coveting each other, for things which we have little or no real control over, then we will not see or feel the tug of the puppet strings that do the actual manipulation that we misinterpret and foolishly act upon. And in the end contribute more to the public discourse that ultimately defeats "us", and leaves us feeling hopeless and impotent to effect the change we desire.

I pray the people of Egypt will see they must continue in their struggle. If they give up or capitulate before they win this fight, it will go badly for those who started the revolution, and will further encourage our own leaders that they can keep "us" blinded to the real threat that "they" are.

Solidarity and perseverance are the only solutions to throwing off this growing global elitist hegemony. Not the "New World Order" of the likes of George Bush Sr., and the Project for the New American Century that conspires for exactly what I am writing about as the problem, but a united people's world movement made up of collective societies, that work together to create universal human and civil laws that apply regardless of and in spite of whatever specific form of Democracy that each nation decides for itself. Not a United Nations that focuses not on the citizen's real needs, but rather on the leaders' geo-political ambitions. But a unity of common purpose. In recognition that we all live on the same planet, under the same sky, and must learn to share our combined resources for the collective benefit of all.

We will survive as a species no other way I fear. Or we will find ourselves caught up in a global genocide brought about by our ignorance at the hands of a finite number of the most selfish and cruel examples of a race of human beings that had such potential, but failed to follow through.

What optimism that remains for me is that I be proven wrong...

:: Next >>