US Congress defends the methods of a police state

Bill Van Auken

The chief benefit of the vote by the US House of Representatives Wednesday–on an amendment to the Defense Department appropriations bill that would have placed limited restrictions on wholesale domestic spying by the National Security Agency–is its public confirmation that the majority of the US Congress supports a police state in America.

The legislative body that was referred to in a long-gone era as “the people’s house” stands exposed as an impotent appendage of the US military and intelligence apparatus that dominates the American state. Its members are bought and paid for by the financial and corporate interests that the massive surveillance against the American people and related illegal and unconstitutional repressive measures are meant to defend.

That the amendment even came to a vote in the House is a distorted reflection of the massive and growing hostility of the majority of the US population to these measures. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday found that nearly three quarters of the American people believe that the NSA spying operation constitutes an infringement on privacy rights enshrined in the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection against unwarranted search and seizure.

Equally revealing, more than half held the view that the domestic spying operations either make no difference or make the US less safe against terrorism, the pretext and universal bogeyman that is trotted out by the government whenever its criminal conspiracies are challenged.

After nearly a dozen years, this bipartisan scaremongering has clearly worn thin with the American public. Not so with official Washington, however, as the Obama administration and both the Democratic and Republican House leaderships warned darkly that halting the indiscriminate collection of telephone data on every American would render the country vulnerable to attack.

The vote provided the usual profiles in duplicity and cowardice, with the House leaderships of both parties marshaling the majority–134 Republicans and 83 Democrats–needed to defeat the amendment, while allowing those who have more to fear in terms of voter retribution to cast “aye” ballots or abstain.

Obama's Way: Waging Financial War on Humanity

Stephen Lendman

Class war rages in America. Institutionalized inequality defines it. Obama continues what began decades ago. He exceeds the worst of his predecessors. He supports capital's divine right. He transferred unprecedented wealth amounts from ordinary Americans to Wall Street, war profiteers, other corporate favorites and privileged elites. He's ideologically over-the-top. He's no progressive. He's polar opposite. He's not what most people expected. He's not what they deserve. He's pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-super wealth, anti-populist, and anti-government of, by and for everyone equitably. He targets middle America for destruction. He ignores popular needs. He's done so throughout his tenure. He's done it during economic crisis conditions. They're the worst since Great Depression levels. He reflects rogue leadership. He's a scoundrel writ large. He's a moral coward. He's a serial liar. He broke every major promise made. Monied interests own him. Whatever they want they get. It comes at the expense of popular needs. They've gone begging on his watch.

His rhetoric reflects doublespeak duplicity. Demagogic mumbo jumbo defines it. His Knox College Galesburg, IL speech was no exception. It kicked off his planned tour. He's selling same old, same old. Lump of coal harshness defines it. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Vital human needs don't count. Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, hunger and overall deprivation are at Depression era levels. Roosevelt prioritized getting people back to work.

Obama's a jobs destroyer. He's uncaring. He doesn't give a damn. He pretends otherwise. Growing millions suffer. They struggle to get by. Austerity makes things harder. It continues. It's prioritized. It's getting worse. Obama's notion of change is double downed harshness. He's in lockstep with Republicans. So are most Democrats. They pretend otherwise. Social injustice defines their agenda. Major domestic spending cuts were made. Much more's planned. Medicare, Social Security, and other vital programs are on the chopping block for elimination.

German report on horrendous treatment of refugees on Europe’s borders

Stefan Steinberg

On Tuesday, the German television news program “Report Mainz” broadcast a [short film][go to the 16:30 mark] dealing with the horrendous treatment of refugees trying to reach Europe.

The report began with the picture of a dead body of a man washed up on the beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos, a holiday destination 6 miles off the coast of Turkey. At the end of the report we learn that the same corpse was transported away by the island’s authorities and dumped in an anonymous grave next to a local rubbish tip.

The nameless individual was one of the many thousands of refugees fleeing war and repression in Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia who travel to Turkey and then try to cross to Greece and the European mainland in flimsy rubber dinghies.

Many of them do not make it. According to figures from Amnesty International cited in the program, up to 100 refugees are washed up dead on the beaches of Lesbos every year. The corpses are cleared away and buried unceremoniously in order to make the beaches free for holidaymakers.

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