According to National Review writer (and self-styled philanthropist) John J. Miller, a little shame is good medicine for the one-in-eight Americans currently taking advantage of state welfare:
The federal government may think it’s doing people a favor by providing them with access to food, but it’s doing them a disservice if it also robs them of the motivation necessary to break free from dependency.
(via National Review Online)
What are you going to do with the poor! First they single-handedly crash the economy, then they immediately start asking for bailouts. Says Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, “Food stamps is quasi money.” They is indeed. Not to mention the fact that every penny leeched by the needy takes away from another executive’s bonus money, meaning that this country may soon be at risk of suffering an executive incentive deficit.
Ever wonder why Pakistanis fear the US more than they fear the Taliban? In this appearance on GRITtv, Jeremy Scahill provides some good reasons why they might, and why you should too:
Beginning almost immediately after September 11th, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld essential segregated JSOC (about JSOC) from the rest of the military. And the idea there was that they were going to create a sort of stand-alone military force that would reply directly to the administration rather than the military chain of command. So essentially JSOC has an open classified mandate where they can take people — snatch then, they can carry out targeted assassination, and they also run their own bombing campaign inside of Pakistan, I’m told, that runs parallel to the CIA’s. And one of the reasons why this is significant is that all of the actions of the CIA have to be briefed to the so-called “Gang of Eight” — in the intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein and others — and these operations, I’m told, are not being briefed to the Congress.
In other words, while the United States States trumpets the rule of law, it is by and large a country that routinely circumvents any pesky law that stands in the way of profit, subjugation, or imperialism. (The scary thing is that, where Blackwater are concerned, the US military may actually agree with my sentiments.)
The Financial Times is saying that Microsoft is ready to pay Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to remove its news content from Google (no one tell Fox about robots.txt, please). The fact that this is a user-hostile strategy — users don’t keep track of which companies may be listed in which search engine — is right up Microsoft’s alley. Still, this doesn’t bode well for users who just want to find stuff.
(via Boing Boing)
I wrote two years ago about the carrot of convenience the corporations will dangle over the heads of the consumer nation to coerce them into forfeiting their own freedoms.
New “fast-pass” traffic lanes between California and Mexico promise to speed processing of the 55,000 vehicles that enter the U.S., provided they’re willing to be tagged with background check information encoded into their SENTRI PortPass, which features Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) transponder technology.
This sprint toward fascism is met by the popular press without criticism. On the “morning news” this week (which is easily the happiest TV news there is) they were hyping the new $99.95 “Clear Card” which allows travelers to jump to the head of the security line in participating airports. It doesn’t actually get you through security, it just pops you to the top. And all you have to do is submit your bio stats, along with a retinal scan, and this data is encoded into the card for easy scanning!
The angle they played up was the convenience. The angle they didn’t play up was that this data was stored by a government contractor: “Clear® is a subsidiary of Verified Identity Pass, Inc.” A contractor, mind you — which means that they take your data for profit. A corporation storing your data. That’s… um… I think they have a word for that.
It’s not even the clear card itself, but the press’ attitude toward these things that really got me. Where’s the outcry? (Well, it’s online, but that’s not surprising.) This is how the fascists win: by making it “convenient” to give up your freedoms, and by framing “privacy” as difficult or, even worse, as suspicious.
Signed on October 17th, Public Law 109-364 (H.R.5122) allows the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America, and to take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.”
Keith Olbermann identifies the beginning of the end of America
According to airport security goons, denouncing figures of authority is no longer a protected right. At least not in a reliable way. For instance, merely writing that Transportation Security Administration secretary Kip Hawley is an idiot on your state-prescribed zip-top liquids baggie–true as it may be–may provide authorities with the reasonable cause to detain you. On September 26th Ryan Bird of Milwaukee enjoyed 25 minute detention and was booked as a threat to the nation because the words “Kip Hawley is an idiot” were emblazoned on his “liquids bag” at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport.
[The TSA Supervisor on duty] grabbed the baggie as it came out of the X-ray and asked if it was mine. After responding yes, he pointed at my comment and demanded to know “What is this supposed to mean?” “It could [mean] a lot of things, it happens to be an opinion on mine.” “You can’t write things like this,” he said. “You mean my First Amendment right to freedom of speech doesn’t apply here?” “Out there (pointing pass the id checkers) not while in here (pointing down),” was his response.
Facing public scrutiny, TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark later backpedaled, saying that Bird was free to express his opinion, that writing on bags is not prohibited. “The passenger was never detained by TSA,” she explained. “Local law enforcement briefly interviewed him and determined he had not broken any laws, and he was allowed to fly.”
BoingBoing’s own Cory Doctorow describes his experience with arbitrary seizure of property:
I flew from SFO to LAX yesterday morning, and was robbed at gunpoint by a TSA agent, who stole my cologne, face-wash, and moisturizer. She said that my moisture baggie could only contain vessels of 3 oz or less’ worth of moisture. I pointed out that all these vessels did have less than 3 oz’ worth of moist substances in them, as they were all half-empty, and she said yes, but the vessels were capable of holding more than 3 oz.
I feel safer already. Don’t you?
The ad-sponsored memorial orgy reached its annual frothy peak today. One and all were invited to relive our most celebrated national tragedy, complete with theme music and flying logos.
Slow-panning retrospectives (somber horns and violins accompany) lovingly presented every detail before cutting to the advertisement chaser: life insurance, banking, and indigestion.
Then we were treated to the falling twins (rhythmic bass line, synth arpeggios accompany) before another cluster of ads: political campaign, car insurance, and indigestion.
So why were the ads suddenly more relevant than the editorial pabulum the networks served up?
No link love this time. The media have had enough to eat already.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate groups have been infiltrating the US military. But isn’t this splitting hairs? I mean, I’m sure that not every bright-eyed, camo-wearing jingo enlisted specifically to rape the poor–no one can deny that the job has its perks.
But it doesn’t require much of an imagination to realize that anyone seeking to bear arms in these times has a charred little hate cinder somewhere beneath their flag tattoo.
Republican Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado announced on Fox News Radio that Senator Russ Feingold (D – WI) had “time and time again [sided] with the terrorists” by introducing a resolution to censure George Bush.
Senator Feingold’s censure resolution would hold the Bush regime accountable for its domestic spying program–which violates federal law–and for misleading the country about its existence and legality.
All of us in this body took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and bear true allegiance to the same. Fulfilling that oath requires us to speak clearly and forcefully when the President violates the law. This resolution allows us to send a clear message that the President’s conduct was wrong.
And we must do that. The President’s actions demand a formal judgment from Congress.
(via Senator Feingold’s site)
But this resolution–not to mention the 1st Amendment–runs afoul of Senator Allard, who feels strongly that holding President Bush accountable for violating federal law would be falling into the terrorists’ trap.
What does it say of Allard when he questions the patriotism of a Senator who would asks the Congress to live up to its responsibility? Does Allard even know what an American is?