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America's Total Surveillance Society - by Stephen Lendman
In 2003, an ACLU report warned that "Big Brother" no longer is fiction, America having advanced to where total surveillance is now possible. Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program said:
"Given the capabilities of today's technology, the only thing protecting us from a full-fledged surveillance society are the legal and political institutions we have inherited as Americans. Unfortunately, the September 11 attacks have led some to embrace the fallacy that weakening the Constitution will strengthen America."
As a result, civil liberties fast eroded. In 2007, another ACLU report warned about America being six minutes to midnight "as a surveillance society draws near...." Powerful new technologies potentially make total monitoring possible under a president, a compliant Congress and courts that believe national security takes precedence over constitutional freedoms.
Institutionalized Arab Inequality in Israel - by Stephen Lendman
In December 2010, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel published a study titled, "Inequality Report: The Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel," saying:
Affecting Jews as well, it takes many forms, including:
-- privileged v. deprived groups;
-- Western Jews (Ashkenzim) v. Eastern ones (Mizrakhim);
-- men v. women;
-- Israeli-born Jews (Sabar) v. immigrant ones (Olim);
-- Orthodox v. secular Jews;
-- urban v. rural ones;
-- progressive v. hardline extremists;
-- gay v. straight, and so forth.
Mostly, it represents majority Jews against minority (largely Muslim) Israeli Arabs, indigenous people living in their historic homeland, comprising 20% of the population or about 1.2 million people, excluding East Jerusalem and Golan.
Hidden Provisions in Wisconsin Bill - by Stephen Lendman
On February 25, AP said the Wisconsin Assembly, after days of debate, passed Walker's contentious bill, but the standoff is far from over. Senate Democrats remain absent in Illinois, vowing to resist ending collective bargaining rights for public workers. So far, Walker won't compromise, so resolution is on hold.
Much more, however, is at issue. On February 24, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman headlined, "Shock Doctrine, USA," saying:
"What's happening in Wisconsin is....a power grab - an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy." It involves much more than union busting, bad as that is.
Hidden in the bill's 144 pages are "extraordinary things," including a provision letting Walker appoint a health czar to make draconian healthcare cuts to Wisconsin's poor and low-income households unilaterally.
Wisconsin's Spirit: Courage for Other States to Emulate - by Stephen Lendman
The issue is simple and straightforward - organized big money v. organized people essential to beat it. Since February 15, Wisconsin public workers, students, and supporters have sustained heroic resistance against corrupted dark forces determined to crush unionism there and across America. A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:
The scheme is old, dirty and ongoing - a conspiracy involving corporate bosses, federal, state and local Democrat and Republican leaders, and corrupted union heads to bust unions, effectively depriving workers of collective bargaining and other hard-won gains, returning them to 19th century harshness when they had none.
Union Busting in America - by Stephen Lendman
It dates from America's 19th century industrial expansion when workers moved away from farms to factories, mines, and other urban environments, with harsh working conditions, low pay, and other exploitive abuses. As a result, labor movements emerged, organizing workers to lobby for better rights and safer conditions, pitting them against corporate bosses yielding nothing without a fight.
During unionism's formative years, workers were terrorized for organizing. In company-owned towns, they were thrown out of homes, beaten, shot, and hanged to leave management empowered.
Wisconsin: Ground Zero to Save Public Worker Rights - by Stephen Lendman
Ronald Reagan was right saying:
"Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."
His type governance, that is, and from administrations that followed, Democrats as ruthless as Republicans.
For decades, bipartisan consensus governed lawlessly, waging imperial wars, trashing human rights and civil liberty protections, unabashedly backing monied interests, letting them loot the federal treasury, fleecing working Americans, and targeting organized labor for destruction.
Washington is ground zero for government's assault. Outside the beltway, it's Wisconsin, but spreading fast to other states and cities. An unfair fight pits major media-supported federal, state and local governments allied with union bosses against American workers, largely on their own, relying on their grit and resourcefulness to survive in a very hostile environment.
Waging War on Chicago Workers - by Stephen Lendman
In Washington, Obama, Democrats and Republicans are doing it. In Wisconsin and other states, so are Governor Scott Walker, other governors, and mayors across America - planning major social benefits cuts and other ways to address budget shortfalls through layoffs, fewer services, and other draconian measures on the backs of working people, ones least able to afford them.
At the same time, America's aristocracy is thriving, benefitting largely from tax cuts, other benefits, and bipartisan complicity to reward them by exemption from planned austerity when stimulus, job creation, and other populist measures are needed, including for Chicagoans facing hard times. Instead, all major mayoral candidates promise worker sacrifices to benefit business and city elites.
On February 22, voters will choose a new mayor. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel holds a commanding lead, numerous polls confirming it against:
Continued Middle East Uprisings and Violence - by Stephen Lendman
What began in Tunisia spread to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, Bahrain, and now Libya, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The entire region is erupting in protests, mischaracterized as revolutions. They're not, falling far short convulsive, violent, unstoppable tsunamis for change, removing old orders for new ones. So far, they're absent in the region, not even close despite popular passion for change. More on that below.
Tea Party Stooges Join Wisconsin Protests - by Stephen Lendman
It was reminiscent of November 22, 2000 Florida, outside the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board offices when dozens of imported Bush-Cheney ruffians rampaged through Miami's County Hall, disrupting the recount of about 10,000 undervotes, ballots with no presidential choice registered.
They assaulted Democrat party representatives, near rioted, and succeeded in halting the process. As a result, hundreds of Gore-Lieberman votes weren't counted in largely Democrat Dade County.
Reactions to Aristide's Impending Return - by Stephen Lendman
After receiving his diplomatic passport to return, Haitians eagerly await his arrival. For them and millions of global supporters, it can't come a moment too soon. Reactions express varying views.
On February 18, AP headlined "Aristide backers march amid talk of Haiti return," saying:
In Port-au-Prince, thousands rallied in support "as people close to the former leader say he plans to return soon from (US-forced) exile in South Africa."
Marchers "seemed largely festive, with loudspeakers blaring music and young men drinking beer in the hot sun." Eugene Mirthil, an unemployed worker, spoke for others saying:
"We must have the return of Dr. President Aristide as a simple citizen to help us get better as a country as a people."
Washington calls his return disruptive ahead of March 20 runoff elections. Maryse Narcisse, Aristide's spokeswoman, said:
Obama on Palestinian Rights: "Nyet" - by Stephen Lendman
On February 18, as expected, Washington vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal under international law. The vote: 14 yes, America the sole no, isolating the US and Israel on this long festering issue. The measure had nearly 120 co-sponsors.
In a post-vote briefing, ambassador Susan Rice outrageously lied, saying:
"....as the United States has said on many, many occasions for many years, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued settlement activity."
Unsaid was that America, for many decades, funded Israel generously to build them, a process continuing grievously under Obama, besides outlandish amounts of military aid, support for Israel's occupation, and partnering in all its aggressive wars.
In a February 18 press release, Americans for Peace Now (APN) expressed "disappointment," APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee, saying:
US Workers: Resurgent or Waging a Rearguard Action? - by Stephen Lendman
For decades, organized labor has been hammered after painful years of organizing, taking to the streets, going on strike, holding boycotts, battling police and National Guard forces, and paying with their blood and lives before real gains were won.
Important ones included an eight hour day, a living wage, essential benefits including healthcare and pensions, and the pinnacle of labor's triumph with passage of the landmark 1935 Wagner Act, establishing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It guaranteed labor the right to bargain collectively with management on equal terms for the first time, what's now sadly lost.
After signing it on July 5, 1935, Franklin Roosevelt said:
Middle East Protests, Violence and Strikes Continue - by Stephen Lendman
Whatever set them off, the genie is out of the bottle and spreading from Tunisia to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and perhaps America, in Wisconsin over proposed wage, benefits, and union bargaining rights cuts. A forthcoming article covers outrage in the US heartland, inspiring others Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and perhaps wherever aggrieved workers reside, awaken, and react against intolerable outrageous policies.
On February 17, New York Times writers Michael Slackman and Nadim Audi headlined, "Bahrain's Military Takes Control of Key Areas in Capital," saying:
Egypt's Spirit Lands in Wisconsin - by Stephen Lendman
It landed, but it's too soon to know where it's going or how committed workers are to stay the course and spread it to other US states.
On February 16, however, former Senator Russ Feingold launched Progressives United.org (PU), an initiative he hopes will inspire "a new progressive movement" to hold elected officials accountable by challenging corporate influence in politics.
It also opposes the Supreme Court's January 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, sanctioning unlimited corporate spending in elections (the one dollar = one vote ruling by America's supremely pro-business court). Feingold called it:
Important New Information on Aafia Siddiqui's Case - by Stephen Lendman
Numerous previous articles discussed how Washington/Pakistani collusion victimized her. A brief recap explains.
In March 2003, after visiting her family in Karachi, Pakistan, government Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents, in collaboration with Washington, abducted her and her three children en route to the airport for a flight to Rawalpindi. Handed to US authorities, she was secretly incarcerated at one or more prisons, including Afghanistan's Bagram for more than five years of brutal torture and unspeakable abuse.
Bogusly charged and convicted, she was guilty only of being Muslim in America at the wrong time. A Pakistani national, she was deeply religious, very small, thoughtful, studious, quiet, polite, shy, soft-spoken, barely noticeable in a gathering, not extremist or fundamentalist, and, of course, no terrorist.
Middle East Protests Continue - by Stephen Lendman
They continue in Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, and most recently in Iran and Bahrain, Al Jazeera saying:
"At least one person has been killed and several others injured after (Bahrain) riot police opened fire at protesters holding a funeral service for a man killed (a) day earlier."
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands in Manama, Bahrain's capital, demanding the regime's removal. Majority Shias want redress, saying Sunni rulers unfairly discriminate. However, more than sectarian issues are involved. Others include political freedoms, ending media and Internet state controls, prohibiting police use of excessive force, and addressing the extreme wealth gap between Bahrain elites and majority citizens.
On February 15, Al Jazeera's unnamed correspondent for his safety said:
Obama's Anti-Populist Budget - by Stephen Lendman
Despite its flaws and failures during America's Great Depression, FDR's New Deal was remarkable for what it accomplished. It helped people, put millions back to work, reinvigorated the national spirit, built or renovated 700,000 miles of roads, 7,800 bridges, 45,000 schools, 2,500 hospitals, 13,000 parks and playgrounds, 1,000 airfields, and various other infrastructure, including much of Chicago's lakefront where this writer lives. It cut unemployment from 25% in May 1933 to 11% in 1937, before declaring victory too early and letting it spike before early war production revived economic growth and headed it lower.
Moreover, his key legislation included:
-- the landmark 1935 Social Security Act - to this day, the single most important federal program keeping millions of seniors from poverty or easing it for those already poor;
-- unemployment insurance in partnership with states;
Arab Street Celebrates Mubarak's Ouster - by Stephen Lendman
On February 12, AFP headlined, 'Euphoria sweeps Arab cities as Mubarak ousted," saying:
As news spread, jubilant crowds responded. "Across the Middle East and north Africa, loudspeakers on mosques called on citizens to rejoice in their own cities....In Lebanon, where the Cairo protests (were) reminiscent of mass anti-Syrian" 2005 demonstrations, "convoys bearing Egyptian flags blared their horns as fireworks went off across the country." Thousands came out to celebrate, a scene repeated in many Arab countries.
Hezbollah and Hamas observed Egypt's "historic victory." Crowds turned out in Beirut, across Lebanon, and "en masse (throughout) Gaza....joyfully shooting in the air and honking their car horns." Hamas' armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, also rallied in support.
Egypt's Military Declares Martial Law - by Stephen Lendman
World headlines are worrisome. On February 13, London's Guardian headlined Egypt's military rejects swift transfer of power and suspends constitution," saying:
Ruling generals rejected protester demands, saying they intend "to rule by martial law until elections are held." The announcement followed suspension of constitutional rule, retention of Mubarak's cabinet, and military police head, Mohamed Ibrahim Moustafa Ali, ordering protesters out of Tahrir Square under threat of arrest.
Many left "but a hardcore refused, saying they would remain until the army took a series of steps toward democratic reform including installing a civilian-led government and abolishing the repressive" Emergency Law, in force since 1981.
Egypt at Dawn's Early Light - by Stephen Lendman
What's unfolding looks different than what protesters demand. World headlines partly reflect it, mostly outside America, especially on US television reporting an illusion of change, when, in fact, coup d'etat rule is in charge, headed by authoritarian generals used to giving, not taking orders.
On February 13, Al Jazeera's said, "Egypt army tries to clear Tahrir," adding:
Scuffles broke out "as soldiers tried to remove activists from the epicenter of Egypt's uprising...." Hundreds courageously remained, saying they won't leave until "more of their demands are met."
As a result, "(S)oldiers shoved pro-democracy protesters aside to force a path for traffic to start flowing through Tahrir Square for the first time in more than two weeks."
Tents were removed. Al Jazeera's James Bays reported "flashpoint" confrontations, saying:
Hold the Celebration: Egypt's Struggle Just Began - by Stephen Lendman
Hopefully beneath celebratory euphoria, Egyptians know ousting Mubarak was simple, especially since Washington long wanted him out. Covertly with Egypt's military, it facilitated long-planned regime purging for with new faces under old policies. In other words, have everything change but stay the same, a common imperial bait and switch con.
As a result, the real liberating struggle continues against long odds for success because Washington, Egypt's military, Israel, Western powers, and big money will do everything to prevent it. The usual scheme was hatched - a facade of change that may or may not work, and will be months, maybe years, to know.
Mubarak's Failed Bait and Switch - by Stephen Lendman
On February 10, indications were he'd step down. He didn't, but now it's official, vice president Suleiman saying he resigned, handing power to Egypt's military. A New York Times alert said "a historic popular uprising transformed politics in Egypt and around the Arab world."
Times rhetoric way overstated reality as resolution remains very much in doubt, though odds strongly favor continuity, not populist change. More on that below.
For the moment, however, huge Tahrir Square crowds erupted in celebratory euphoria, perhaps forgetting their liberating struggle just began. It didn't end with Mubarak's resignation. That was a baby step, removing an aging dinosaur Washington and Egypt's military wanted out. Now he's gone. Focus must follow through on what's next, requiring sustained popular protests. Otherwise, everything gained will be lost.
Aristide Gets Diplomatic Passport to Go Home - by Stephen Lendman
Several previous articles discussed his right to return, accessed through the following links:
Since forcibly exiled on February 29, 2004, Washington and Haiti denied his right to return, though affirmed in Haiti's Constitution and international law.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
Article 9: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."
Article 13(2): "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states:
Israeli and PA Forces Suppress Solidarity with Egyptians - by Stephen Lendman
Despite Palestinian Authority (PA) officials banning anti-Mubarak demonstrations, hundreds rallied in support. On February 5, Jerusalem Post writer Khaled Abu Toameh headlined, "100s demonstrate in Ramallah in support of Egyptians," saying:
Marching in Ramallah with Egyptian flags, they publicly supported them "(f)or the first time since the beginning of the(ir( uprising...." Another Ramallah demonstration followed as well as a Bethlehem one.
Toameh's February 2 article was in stark contrast headlined, "PA launches pro-Mubarak demonstration in Ramallah," denouncing Mohamed ElBaradei as a "CIA agent."
On February 4, the Popular Committees Against the Israeli Occupation issued a press release saying:
Egypt's Focus Largely Ignores Palestine - by Stephen Lendman
In fact, repression throughout the Middle East is largely ignored except some reporting on protests in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, and Algeria, but they've faded with focus mainly on Egypt.
Though important, most Arabs live in 21 other countries and territories from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Horn of Africa and Indian Ocean on two continents. Their combined populations approach 340 million people, most of them denied freedom and dignity for centuries.
Their plight stretched from Ottoman 16th century rule through WW I, then British and French control, and now America and Israel. They're ruling hegemon partners, mainly Washington, of course, allied with its key regional partner. Together, they virulently oppose Arab nationalism and democratic freedoms. Edward Said once explained that:
Grassroots Support for Aristide's Return - by Stephen Lendman
Two recent articles discussed his eagerness to return, accessed through the following links:
He explained he's "ready....today, tomorrow, at any time. The purpose is very clear: To contribute to serving my Haitian sisters and brothers as a simple citizen in the field of education."
After six eye surgeries in the past six years, it's also vital for health reasons. He experiences extreme winter pain and risks complications causing blindness. In addition, Haitians want him badly, mainly for his powerful inspirational presence. It's why so far Washington denied him, wanting no one interfering with its imperial agenda.
People Power v. Duplicity in Egypt and Washington - by Stephen Lendman
Inspired by Tunisia's uprising, Egyptians chose January 25 (the National Police Day holiday) to begin street demonstrations, rallies and marches, demanding regime change, no ifs, ands or buts if they stay resolute.
Initially, small numbers in front of Egypt's Supreme Court became crowds chanting "Mubarak must go!" So far, they remain in massive numbers, defying curfew orders, sleeping in streets, persisting against formidable odds in full view of world audiences, thanks mainly to Al Jazeera's heroic coverage.
Anyone anywhere, including in America where it's mostly blocked, can view its live online stream at aljazeera.net. It's become a vital alternative to Western managed news, heavily censored to suppress important truths and thus worthless.
On February 8, day 15, Al Jazeera reported that:
George Bush: Preliminary Indictment for Torture - by Stephen Lendman
A previous article addressed torture as official US policy under Bush, accessed through the following link:
It remains so under Obama, authorized at the highest levels of government as part of America's bogus war on terror to instill fear and target suspected political opponents globally, including at home. No matter that it violates US and international law that prohibits torture at all times under all circumstances with no allowed exceptions.
Mubarak's Thirty-Year Dictatorship - by Stephen Lendman
Throughout decades of brutal rule, Mubarak remained a steadfast US ally. As a result, Washington rewarded him generously. US administrations also ignored his crimes, corruption, and lawlessness, as late January released WikiLeaks cables reveal, showing Obama knew he kept power through ruthless state terror.
On January 15, 2009, ambassador Margaret Scobey called security force brutality "routine and pervasive," saying:
"(P)olice using force to extract confessions from criminals (is) a daily event. (US informants) estimate there are literally hundreds of torture incidents every day in Cairo police stations alone."
Political activists and opponents are also targeted, Scobey adding:
Briana Waters: Victimized by Green Scare State Terrorism - by Stephen Lendman
An earlier article discussed her case, accessed through the following link:
Content from it is repeated below before updating her status. An innocent woman, she's one of many victims of US state terrorism, in her case for courageous environmental activism. Her web site provides more information, accessed through the following link:
On March 30, 2006, she was arrested, then falsely accused of being a lookout in connection with a 2001 arson at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture.