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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Chris Hedges: We've surrendered our lives to corporate forces that ultimately serve systems of death

We Are All Aboard the Pequod
Posted on Jul 7, 2013

Flickr/Pete Simon
“Moby Dick” book cover illustration.

By Chris Hedges


We, like Ahab and his crew, rationalize madness. All calls for prudence, for halting the march toward environmental catastrophe, for sane limits on carbon emissions, are ignored or ridiculed. Even with the flashing red lights before us, the increased droughts, rapid melting of glaciers and Arctic ice, monster tornadoes, vast hurricanes, crop failures, floods, raging wildfires and soaring temperatures, we bow slavishly before hedonism and greed and the enticing illusion of limitless power, intelligence and prowess. We believe in the eternal wellspring of material progress. We are our own idols. Nothing will halt our voyage; it seems to us to have been decreed by natural law. “The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run,” Ahab declares. We have surrendered our lives to corporate forces that ultimately serve systems of death. Microbes will inherit the earth.

In our decline, hatred becomes our primary lust, our highest form of patriotism and a form of eroticism. We are made supine by hatred and fear. We deploy vast resources to hunt down jihadists and terrorists, real and phantom. We destroy our civil society in the name of a war on terror. We persecute those, from Julian Assange to Bradley Manning to Edward Snowden, who expose the dark machinations of power. We believe, because we have externalized evil, that we can purify the earth. We are blind to the evil within us. Melville’s description of Ahab is a description of the bankers, corporate boards, politicians, television personalities and generals who through the power of propaganda fill our heads with seductive images of glory and lust for wealth and power. We are consumed with self-induced obsessions that spur us toward self-annihilation.

After the attacks of 9/11, Edward Said saw the parallel with “Moby Dick” and wrote in the London newspaper The Observer:

Osama bin Laden’s name and face have become so numbingly familiar to Americans as in effect to obliterate any history he and his shadowy followers might have had before they became stock symbols of everything loathsome and hateful to the collective imagination. Inevitably, then, collective passions are being funneled into a drive for war that uncannily resembles Captain Ahab in pursuit of Moby Dick, rather than what is going on, an imperial power injured for the first time, pursuing its interests systematically in what has become a suddenly reconfigured geography of conflict.

the rest:

KRUGMAN: "remarkably little political pressure to end our continuing, if low-grade, depression"

Defining Prosperity Down
Published: July 7, 2013


n short, there’s a real risk that bad policy will choke off our already inadequate recovery.

But won’t voters eventually demand more? Well, that’s where I get especially pessimistic.

You might think that a persistently poor economy — an economy in which millions of people who could and should be productively employed are jobless, and in many cases have been without work for a very long time — would eventually spark public outrage. But the political science evidence on economics and elections is unambiguous: what matters is the rate of change, not the level.

Put it this way: If unemployment rises from 6 to 7 percent during an election year, the incumbent will probably lose. But if it stays flat at 8 percent through the incumbent’s whole term, he or she will probably be returned to power. And this means that there’s remarkably little political pressure to end our continuing, if low-grade, depression.

the rest:

Map of the USA...oops, I mean the NSA

The important questions - by Tom Tomorrow

Stop Us Before We Are Forced To Commit Journalism AGAIN!


If you're not doing drugs, what do you care if they test you? See how it starts?

If you're not driving drunk, why do you care about roadblocks? If you're not doing drugs, what do you care if they test you? See how it starts? Now we're all the way to, if you're not contacting terrorists, what do you care if the NSA collects your data? And this last part of the slide was undertaken in secret, by a secret court. And this is the Snowden Effect in action. Without the revelations, the president would not have made the preposterous public claim that the rubber-stamp FISA court qualified as "oversight" by any but the most laughable definition. There then would not have been the pushback against that silliness, and then there would not have been the FISA court itself responding that it was not a rubber stamp which, I am sure, is part of what intrigued the Times enough to produce this story which brings us all the way back around to how preposterous the president's original claim was.

Unlike the Supreme Court, the FISA court hears from only one side in the case - the government - and its findings are almost never made public. A Court of Review is empaneled to hear appeals, but that is known to have happened only a handful of times in the court's history, and no case has ever been taken to the Supreme Court. In fact, it is not clear in all circumstances whether Internet and phone companies that are turning over the reams of data even have the right to appear before the FISA court. Created by Congress in 1978 as a check against wiretapping abuses by the government, the court meets in a secure, nondescript room in the federal courthouse in Washington. All of the current 11 judges, who serve seven-year terms, were appointed to the special court by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and 10 of them were nominated to the bench by Republican presidents. Most hail from districts outside the capital and come in rotating shifts to hear surveillance applications; a single judge signs most surveillance orders, which totaled nearly 1,800 last year. None of the requests from the intelligence agencies was denied, according to the court.

Whether he likes it or not, this is the "national conversation" that the president said he wanted. Edward Snowden, world traveler, international man of luggage, made it impossible to avoid.

Read more: The Snowden Effect, Continued - Esquire

Secret Court's Redefinition of 'Relevant' Empowered Vast NSA Data-Gathering

Source: Wall Street Journal

Secret Court's Redefinition of 'Relevant' Empowered Vast NSA Data-Gathering

The National Security Agency's ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans hinges on a secret court ruling that redefined a single word: "relevant."

This change—which specifically enabled the surveillance recently revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden—was made by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a group of judges responsible for making decisions about government surveillance in national-security cases. In classified orders starting in the mid-2000s, the court accepted that "relevant" could be broadened to permit an entire database of records on millions of people, in contrast to a more conservative interpretation widely applied in criminal cases, in which only some of those records would likely be allowed, according to people familiar with the ruling.

In interviews with The Wall Street Journal, current and former administration and congressional officials are shedding new light on the history of the NSA program and the secret legal theory underpinning it. The court's interpretation of the word enabled the government, under the Patriot Act, to collect the phone records of the majority of Americans, including phone numbers people dialed and where they were calling from, as part of a continuing investigation into international terrorism.

"Relevant" has long been a broad standard, but the way the court is interpreting it, to mean, in effect, "everything," is new, says Mark Eckenwiler, a senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP who, until December, was the Justice Department's primary authority on federal criminal surveillance law.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323873904578571893758853344.html

“You have to understand: there are no wounded. They’re all dead.”

Lac Megantic: Hospital eerily quiet after Quebec explosion


But then nothing happened. The wind blew the smoke in the opposite direction and no patients with any of the serious burns and other injuries that might have been expected arrived at the emergency room.

Bernard Théberge received second-degree burns on his right arm while fleeing from the patio of the downtown Musi-Café, where many are thought to have died, but he said he hadn’t seen any other burn victims when he went to the hospital Saturday.

One Red Cross volunteer who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media put it bluntly: “You have to understand: there are no wounded. They’re all dead.”

That absence of injured is one of the most haunting signals to have emerged from the train explosion, which police says has left five people confirmed dead and about 40 people unaccounted for nearly two full days after the first blast.


the rest:



Quebec disaster: Oil shipments by rail have increased 28,000 per cent since 2009

Bush Praises Obama's Policies

Bush Praises Obama's Policies

Could it be the beginning of a new era of inter-party love? Former President George W. Bush was caught praising current President Obama's approach to immigration reform in an interview with ABC's The Week Sunday. "It's very important to fix a broken system," he said, "to treat people with respect and have confidence in our capacity to assimilate people." He's also a fan of Obama's decision to hold onto counterterrorism policies put in place during his own administration. Can the love last?


i think i am feeling politically sick,
is there a cure out there?

Hilarious Alert: 79% Of Gov Perry’s Own State And Party Don’t Want Him in 2016

Hilarious Alert: 79% Of Gov Perry’s Own State And Party Don’t Want Him in 2016

According to a newly released PPP poll, a whopping 74 percent of Texans do not support a Perry 2016 presidential run. Also, 59 percent of Republicans think he shouldn’t run again since they’re still trying to scrub off the stench of clown-shoe from him and Bachmann in 2012. Even more pathetic for the governor who looks Josh Brolin playing George Bush and sounds like George Bush if he were high on shrooms, Perry even loses to Benghazi-enabler Hillary Clinton in a potential head-to-head match-up.

Q15 If the candidates for President in 2016 were
Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rick
Perry, who would you vote for?

Hillary Clinton 48% …………………………………………..
Rick Perry 44% ……………………………………………….
Not sure 8% (PPP)

Read more: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/07/07/oops-texas-governors-own-party-and-state-doesnt-want-him-for-president/#ixzz2YPSxb7eL

(Elliot) Spitzer Seeks Ballot for City Comptroller’s Race

Source: New York Times

Spitzer Seeks Ballot for City Comptroller’s Race
Published: July 7, 2013

Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York five years ago amid a prostitution scandal, is re-entering political life, with a run for the citywide office of comptroller and a hope that voters have forgiven him his previous misconduct.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, hoping that voters have forgiven him his previous misconduct, will run for the citywide office of comptroller.

In an interview, Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, said that he believes he could make a big impact in the role, and is asking New Yorkers to give him a second chance.

“I’m hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it,” he said in a telephone interview Sunday night.

His re-entry comes in an era when politicians —like Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina and the New York mayoral contender Anthony D. Weiner — have shown that public disapproval, especially over sexual misconduct, can be fleeting, and voters seem open to those who seek forgiveness and redemption.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/nyregion/spitzer-seeks-ballot-for-city-comptrollers-race.html
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