American Empire

The Shooting Down of Malaysian Airliner Reminds Us When the U.S. Shot Down an Iranian Airbuse in 1988

July 22, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Navy Ship Responsible From San Diego

The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, July 17th – allegedly by separatists fighting the Kiev government – killing all 295 people on board, has shocked the world, and has intensified the demands for sanctions on those responsible.

But if no sanctions materialize, it wouldn’t be the first time a civilian plane carrying hundreds of passengers was shot down by combatants – with nothing happening to those responsible.

In fact, a lot of the general elements are the same. But the incident that I am reminded about is the day – back in early July 1988, when two US military missiles fired from U.S. Navy ship Vincennes hit Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 passengers and crew members on board.

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The World We’ve Constructed Is Far Beyond George Orwell’s Worst Nightmare

July 18, 2014 by Source

georgeorwell1984Orwell’s chilling vision of the future in ’1984′ is happening today in the form of media manipulation and unnecessary wars.

By John Pilger / AlterNet

The other night, I saw George Orwell’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. “What a mindfuck,” said the young woman, lighting up her phone.

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Two Out of Every Three Americans Now Live in a Constitution-Free Zone

July 16, 2014 by Source
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Thanks to the militarization and expansion of the “border” region, 197 million Americans now live within the jurisdiction of US Customs and Border Patrol.

By Todd Miller / The Nation / July 15, 2014

Shena Gutierrez was already cuffed and in an inspection room in Nogales, Arizona, when the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent grabbed her purse, opened it, and dumped its contents onto the floor right in front of her. There couldn’t be a sharper image of the Bill of Rights rollback we are experiencing in the US borderlands in the post-9/11 era.

Tumbling out of that purse came Gutierrez’s life: photos of …

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Central American Refugee Children Forced on a Dangerous Journey

July 10, 2014 by Source

refugeechildren4Socialist Worker

The arrival of Central American refugees, including many young children, has garnered much attention in the U.S. media and among the anti-immigrant right.

True to the dominant right-wing discourse emanating from Washington, D.C. over the last decade, the knee-jerk reaction has been to analyze this latest development through the “tough on enforcement” framework. human rights.

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The US Military is a Major Contributor to Global Warming

July 10, 2014 by Source

The US Military: Protecting Our Freedom While Destroying Our Planet

warispeachBy John Lawrence

The impact of the US military on climate change is enormous due to its excessive consumption of fuel oil. The US must spread its influence across the oil producing parts of the world in order to protect its supply of oil.

The US military consumes huge amounts of oil so that it may preserve strategic access to oil in order to get the oil it needs to preserve strategic access to oil and so on in a never ending loop.

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San Diego Case at Center of US Supreme Court Ruling that Bars Police Search of Cellphone Without Warrant

June 25, 2014 by Staff
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A San Diego case is at the middle of a historic ruling today by the U.S. Supreme Court on privacy rights with regards to cell phones.

In unanimous vote, the Court ruled that police officers may not search a cell phone of a criminal suspect without a warrant. Commentators called this “a big, big win for civil libertarians and privacy rights.”

The San Diego case was David Riley’s – and of the 2 cases before the Court – it attracted the most attention by the Justices.

Riley – a college student – had been arrested in 2009 for having an expired vehicle registration and driving with a suspended license. His car was impounded, and police found loaded weapons under the hood. Riley was arrested again.

This time police grabbed his smartphone and downloaded info from it.

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Glenn Greenwald in San Diego: the Leaks of Edward Snowden

June 24, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Journalist Glenn Greenwald came to town last weekend to promote his best selling book based on events surrounding former systems administrator Edward Snowden’s decision to go public with documents concerning intelligence programs run by the National Security Agency. It was a most unusual evening: part lecture, part political rally and part celebrity appearance.

Seven hundred people paid money to attend a book tour event in a theater in this day and age. His publisher set up a table in the lobby and sold hundreds of copies of “No Place to Hide.”

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The US Military is a Major Contributor to Global Warming

June 19, 2014 by Source

The US Military: Protecting Our Freedom While Destroying Our Planet

warispeachBy John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

The impact of the US military on climate change is enormous due to its excessive consumption of fuel oil. The US must spread its influence across the oil producing parts of the world in order to protect its supply of oil.

The US military consumes huge amounts of oil so that it may preserve strategic access to oil in order to get the oil it needs to preserve strategic access to oil and so on in a never ending loop. Insatiable militarism is the single greatest institutional contributor to the growing natural disasters intensified by global climate change.

The US military is the largest single consumer of energy in the world. If it were a country, the Department of Defense (DoD) would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden.

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Reshaping the Vietnam Narrative

June 18, 2014 by Source
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The Vietnam War was a turning point in U.S. history but not as many people may think. In defeat, the national security state changed the narrative into one that made American soldiers the victims and made anti-war activists into traitors who spat on returning soldiers, as Marjorie Cohn explains.

By Marjorie Cohn / Consortiumnews.com

We came dangerously close to nuclear war when the United States was fighting in Vietnam, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg told a reunion of the Stanford Anti-Vietnam War Movement in May 2014. He said that in 1965, the Joint Chiefs assured President Lyndon B. Johnson that the war could be won, but it would take at least 500,000 to one million troops.

The Joint Chiefs recommended hitting targets up to the Chinese border. Ellsberg suspects their real aim was to provoke China into responding. If the Chinese came in, the Joint Chiefs took for granted we would cross into China and use nuclear weapons to demolish the communists.

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Don’t Walk Away from War : It’s Not the American Way

June 13, 2014 by Source

By Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch.com

thEYHT689LThe United States has been at war — major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions — nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began. That’s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the historical record, those conclusions should be staring us in the face. … So here are five straightforward lessons —

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Who’s Really the Traitor Here? Thoughts about Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

June 10, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

By Ernie McCray

My goodness, a man, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, gets released from a 5 year imprisonment in Afghanistan, and there are those who want to condemn him, as a traitor, allegations that are no more than speculations based on shaky observations.

“He walked away from his duty! And people died looking for him!” people say as though in war it’s out of the ordinary for someone to freak out and want to flee and maybe say to his foe “I don’t want to shoot another one of y’all anymore! I can’t stand to see another child run in fear when I walk near them. I can no longer stand to see them shake in their pants, ever again” – aka “consorting” with the enemy. We’re human beings. We’re supposed to care. It’s in our nature somewhere.

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Death to the Death Penalty

May 27, 2014 by Source

death to the death penalty cohn

By Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | Op-Ed

The recent torturous execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma has propelled the death penalty into the national discourse. The secret three-drug cocktail that prison authorities administered to Lockett – the first to render him unconscious, the second to paralyze him, and the third to stop his heart and kill him – didn’t work as planned. After writhing in pain for 43 minutes, he finally died of a heart attack. Madeline Cohen, a lawyer who witnessed the botched execution, said Lockett had been “tortured to death.” Seasoned reporters, also witnesses, called it “horrific.” President Obama found it “deeply disturbing” and promised a review of how the death penalty is administered.

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Memorial Day: Remembering 70 U.S. Wars, Big and Small

May 26, 2014 by Source

memorial day picBy Clancy Sigal / Alternet

Except for mourning family members and Boy Scouts loyally placing tiny flags on veterans’ gravestones, hardly anyone knows anything about Memorial Day except that it’s a day off. It’s the saddest of the military holidays, invented after the Civil War, supposed to help us honor, or at least pause to remember, all the American dead from all our wars. That’s a lot of men and some women to remember going back, well, how far?

Big and small, we’ve “done” about 70 wars starting with the mid-18th century so-called French and Indian wars where George Washington was bloodied and when we got our first taste of industrially massacring Native Americans, mainly Ojibwas and Algonquins who sided with the French against our British masters.

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Memory Against Forgetting: The May 1970 Peace Memorial at UCSD

May 15, 2014 by Source
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Editor: the following is based on a speech delivered by the author, Niall Twohig on last Friday, May 9th, in front of a group of fifty gathered in Revelle Plaza at UC San Diego to unveil The May 1970 Peace Memorial. The Memorial is dedicated to George Winne, who immolated himself and died as a protest against the Vietnam War in May of 1970, plus it’s dedicated to those students who carried on the May 1970 Student Strike.

By Niall Twohig

Why a memorial for May 1970? Why a memorial for peace? Why now?

To suggest some answers, I want to ask you, the reader, to take an imaginative leap back in time to May 1970.

In order to make this leap, we have to remember that the U.S. was waging an unpopular proxy war in Southeast Asia, made all the more unpopular after the invasion of Cambodia at the end of April.

If we found ourselves transported to May 1970, this would be all too apparent. We would see the images?the aerial views of bombs upon bombs pulverizing the Vietnamese countryside, images of GIs burning huts, footage of badly burnt villagers running from the firestorm of napalm, photos of rows upon rows of mutilated bodies scattered in the fields and anonymous soldiers packed away in coffins draped in stars and stripes.

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Pilots Come Clean: Drone Warfare Is Riddled with Tragic, Bloody Errors

May 12, 2014 by Source
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Imagine if the drone wars going on in Pakistan and Yemen had a human face all the time.

By Pratap Chatterjee / AlterNet – Tom Dispatch

Enemies, innocent victims, and soldiers have always made up the three faces of war. With war growing more distant, with drones capable of performing on the battlefield while their “pilots” remain thousands of miles away, two of those faces have, however, faded into the background in recent years. Today, we are left with just the reassuring “face” of the terrorist enemy, killed clinically by remote control while we go about our lives, apparently without any “collateral damage” or danger to our soldiers. Now, however, that may slowly be changing, bringing the true face of the drone campaigns Washington has pursued since 9/11 into far greater focus.

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Who Owns America? Not You

April 21, 2014 by Jim Miller

Oligarchy 1“We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” –Louis Brandeis

By Jim Miller

In the wake of the McCutcheon decision, there was a brief flurry of outrage about the growing power of moneyed interests in our politics, but it predictably ebbed. One might reasonably argue that this is because the American public has become immune to such bad news.

Indeed, a cursory survey of the media over the last couple of weeks alone is enough to give any concerned citizen a depressing snapshot of where we are now with regard to wealth versus commonwealth.

The New York Times reports that “Corporate Profits Grow and Wages Slide” noting that, “Corporate profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest level in 65 years.”

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Secret Report Damning Use of Force by Border Patrol Obtained by LA Times

March 3, 2014 by Source
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By Southern Border Communities Coalition

Southern border communities continue to call for transparency from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after the Los Angeles Times published a story on a report critiquing the agency’s use of force policy.

The PERF Report – an independent review by the Police Executive Research Forum commissioned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection — evidently says border agents deliberately provoked confrontations that led to avoidable violence.

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Now Is the Time to Save Our Postal Commons

March 3, 2014 by Source
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By Matt Stannard / Nation of Change

Editor: There are too many links in the original for us to provide them, so please go to the original article for those links.

For some, the postal service has become an ideological punching bag, proof that “government programs” don’t work and that the state inevitably bureaucratizes services better left to the private sector. In the case of the postal service, this narrative lacks a critical element: fidelity to truth.

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Beyond Orwell’s Worst Nightmare

February 4, 2014 by Source
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Orwell never could have imagined that the NSA would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. — Marjorie Cohn

By Marjorie Cohn

“Big Brother is Watching You,” George Orwell wrote in his disturbing book 1984. But, as Mikko Hypponen points out, Orwell “was an optimist.” Orwell never could have imagined that the National Security Agency (NSA) would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. Orwell could not have foreseen that our government would read the content of our emails, file transfers, and live chats from the social media we use.

In his recent speech on NSA reforms, President Obama cited as precedent Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty, who patrolled the streets at night, “reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America’s early Patriots.” This was a weak effort to find historical support for the NSA spying program. After all, Paul Revere and his associates were patrolling the streets, not sorting through people’s private communications.

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NSA Spy – the Most Boring Pointless Job in the World?

January 29, 2014 by Marc Snelling
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By Marc Snelling

In the ongoing international debate over NSA spying there are few voices of reason. The NSA would like you to think they are the eye on the pyramid of the great seal. An all-seeing all-knowing department of the most powerful government on earth. A division of James Bonds and Bondettes with the latest gadgetry spying on all manner of digital communication to protect the world from the scariest terrorist de jour.

On the other side of the same coin are the whistle blowers like Edward Snowden. He has now joined the ranks with Julian Assange and the Wikileaks hacktivists. They fancy themselves a gang of revolutionaries striking fear in the heart of evil government ‘leaders’, and corporate CEOs. Digital warriors, exercising their superior-hacking skills to bring nefarious secrets into the light of day. The truth is not nearly as sexy as the media, the NSA, or the hacktivists would have you believe.

In reality NSA spies are cubicle-dwelling keyboard jockeys not tuxedo-wearing international men of mystery.

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50 Years of the Big Lie – the Cover-Up of the JFK Assassination – Part 2

November 22, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Here’s Part 1.

By Frank Gormlie

It’s finally here, Friday, November 22nd – exactly 50 years after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

Of course you’ve noticed it – you can’t help but … as everywhere you go there are signs that everybody in the media is commemorating the half century mark of the end of the Kennedy Era – an era that was terminated with bullets.

It’s been 50 years since the end of Camelot and we are told it was the end of the “idealism of the Sixties”.

Well, it has been fifty years, and it’s been fifty years of the Big Lie – …

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America’s Big Lie: Fifty Years of the Cover-Up of the John F Kennedy Assassination

November 21, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

Fifty years ago this Friday, the 22nd of November, I walked out of my English class at Point Loma High School and full of disgust threw my brown bag full of lunch away in a trash can. I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t bare to think ab0ut eating – we had just heard that the President had been shot by someone from an overpass while he was riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

Classes were cancelled and we all went home, …

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CNN Joins the Cover-Up of the Kennedy Assassination

November 15, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

This may not be a surprise to hardcore corporate media watchers, but CNN has joined the ranks of those establishment outlets that are continuing the cover-up of the assassination of John F Kennedy. The news station has jumped on the bandwagon that is making a lot of noise these days due to the 50th anniversary of the President’s murder.

It was a real disappointment however, in viewing CNN’s “The Assassination of President Kennedy” because one of my favorite actors, Tom Hanks, was one of the producers and I was looking for some truth. Alas, it did not come through.

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Absent Progressive Uproar, Social Security and Medicare Face Axe

October 22, 2013 by Source

The lines are being drawn for a ‘Grand Bargain’ and the Democrats’ continued willingness to give away role as defenders of safety net and earned benefit programs, say critics, is deeply worrying

capitol hillBy Jon Queally / Common Dreams

If U.S. citizens are increasingly concerned that the Democratic Party is no longer willing to fight off the right-wing attack on Social Security, Medicare, and other key social programs, Sen. Dick Durbin, President Obama and other party leaders have recently offered plenty of evidence to increase that worry.

Since the end of the government shutdown and standoff over the debt limit ended last week, Obama has repeatedly said that he wants to find a “balanced” solution to the ongoing budget debate with Republican lawmakers.

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Senator Bernie Sanders: ‘Global Warming Is a Far More Serious Problem Than Al Qaeda’

October 22, 2013 by Source

In new interview with Playboy, the Vermont senator laments the collapsed middle class, corporate power.

sanders_playboyBy Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

In a newly published interview, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blasts the “unfettered capitalism” that has collapsed the middle class, and the corporate power fueling climate change, which poses a “far more serious problem than Al Qaeda.”

Sanders speaking about the government shutdown’s impacts. (Photo: AFGE/cc/flickr) Speaking with economics writer Jonathan Tasini for the interview with Playboy, the 72-year-old Independent senator said that “one of the untold stories of our time is the collapse of the American middle class.” It’s due, in part, to “the decline of trade unions,” which means that workers “have less power to negotiate contracts and less political clout.”

It’s a system that has brought immense inequality, he says.

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Republicans Are Out To Destroy Our American System of Governance

October 10, 2013 by Andy Cohen

Holding America Hostage

And some Congressional Democrats are willing to let them.

By Andy Cohen

America’s entire system of governance is being threatened. Our Constitution, the presidency, the rule of law itself is under attack.

Republicans have shut down the government and are holding the government and the entire U.S. economy hostage, and are doing so for no apparent reason. They have insisted that President Obama “negotiate” with them, but they have absolutely no clue what they want from “negotiations.” House Speaker John Boehner has demanded that Obama have a “conversation” with House Republicans. All we want is a “conversation,” he said over and over again last Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, never once uttering the other “C” word, “compromise.”

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America Being Held Hostage by Tea Party-Led Republicans

September 30, 2013 by Source
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Bossing the Poor Around

September 19, 2013 by Source

How about a bill banning soda sales at the House of Representatives’ cafeterias?

By

food stampsI spent a few months on food stamps this year. As a single woman in San Diego, I qualified for $70 a month — less than a dollar per meal. But I’m lucky and I’m unusual because many of my friends are farmers and gardeners and I know how to forage wild foods.

Determined to stretch my $70 a month budget to somehow cover a healthy diet, I harvested wild cactus pads and edible weeds from my neighbors’ yards. Friends gave me fruit from their trees. A farmer told me to take whatever I needed from his stand at the farmers’ market. Then I used the food stamps to acquire foods I couldn’t get for free: milk, oatmeal, beans, and so on. All organic.

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Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘As a Congressman, I need all the facts on Syria – and I’m not getting them.’

September 10, 2013 by Source
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On Syria Vote, Trust, but Verify

By Congressman Alan Grayson / The New York Times / Sept. 6, 2013

WASHINGTON — THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.

On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”

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Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria

August 29, 2013 by Source

by Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer / Common Dreams

The drums of war are beating again. The Obama administration will reportedly launch a military strike to punish Syria’s Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. A military attack would invariably kill civilians for the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that killing civilians is wrong.

Credit: Wikipedia

“What we are talking about here is a potential response . . . to this specific violation of international norms,” declared White House press secretary Jay Carney. But a military intervention by the United States in Syria to punish the government would violate international law.

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