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Thread: I am concerned about the burning of our Constitution & Bill of Rights

  1. #1
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    Default I am concerned about the burning of our Constitution & Bill of Rights

    It started with 911. The excuse of terror has created unnecessary war, expense and erosion of our civil rights

    It has taken our country into illegal areas of imprisonment and torture.
    NDAA suspends Habeas Corpus - indefinite detainment / imprisonment without the benefit of a lawyer and without charges known. Police are being militarized across the country and the military holds exercises with them.
    A total awareness surveillance state infrastructure is now in place. The East German Stasi would salivate at the technology now available to the intelligence community.
    Estimated $80 billion a year feeds this industry which employs millions of people of which millions hold secret clearances.
    Huge numbers of FOIA's to the government are turned back with the stamp of state secret privileges. Transparency is at an all time low.
    CIA is now accused of spying on the Senate (violating separation of powers).
    Whisleblowers have no practical path and protection which begets incidents like Snowden.
    The espionage act (1917) has been applied 9 times during the Obama administration against whistleblowers.

    The mass media is controlled by 6 major corporations and those outlets sanitize the news. Only the official conspiracy theories are spouted.
    If you want your news you go to internet - you go to twitter feeds.
    The AP has had their emails raided. The IRS is accused of being a political tool and the director of the IRS takes the 5th amendment when questioned by the Senate.
    Investigative reporting is frozen due to the heavy hands against them.
    The major investigative reporters are in exile - Rio - Berlin.
    The US is about to give up internet control via ICANN and release it globally.

    It started with Bush and its been continued with Obama - amplified with Obama.
    I voted for Obama twice. This is not what I voted for - its not what I expected.

    Nobody talks about this in 'normal' life.
    Does anybody want to talk about any of this here?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJReiss View Post
    It started with 911. The excuse of terror has created unnecessary war, expense and erosion of our civil rights
    No disagreement from me on this general point.

    Quote Originally Posted by AJReiss View Post
    It has taken our country into illegal areas of imprisonment and torture.
    NDAA suspends Habeas Corpus - indefinite detainment / imprisonment without the benefit of a lawyer and without charges known. Police are being militarized across the country and the military holds exercises with them.
    It's not clear to me what you mean by "Police are being militarized." I'm not sure that I object to police training with the military, just to being co-opted by the military. In the end, I think that it's local police forces that offer the best defense against a military takeover. But military takeover is extremely unlikely ... and probably not even as effective at eroding civil rights as the other ills you mention.

    Quote Originally Posted by AJReiss View Post
    A total awareness surveillance state infrastructure is now in place. The East German Stasi would salivate at the technology now available to the intelligence community.
    Estimated $80 billion a year feeds this industry which employs millions of people of which millions hold secret clearances.
    Huge numbers of FOIA's to the government are turned back with the stamp of state secret privileges. Transparency is at an all time low.
    CIA is now accused of spying on the Senate (violating separation of powers).
    Whisleblowers have no practical path and protection which begets incidents like Snowden.
    The espionage act (1917) has been applied 9 times during the Obama administration against whistleblowers.
    How does that compare to applications under prior Presidents?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJReiss View Post
    The mass media is controlled by 6 major corporations and those outlets sanitize the news. Only the official conspiracy theories are spouted.
    If you want your news you go to internet - you go to twitter feeds.
    As an aside, Twitter strikes me as being a fairly inefficient way to get news. Social media's a great way to check in on people and events. But like television before recording devices, once it's gone, it's gone. Email messages, on the other hand, and to a lesser extent, web sites, accumulate (this isn't ALWAYS a good thing!) and can be tended to without risk of missing something important (even if you do have to do a lot of scrolling).

    Quote Originally Posted by AJReiss View Post
    The AP has had their emails raided. The IRS is accused of being a political tool and the director of the IRS takes the 5th amendment when questioned by the Senate.
    Investigative reporting is frozen due to the heavy hands against them.
    How much of this is the result of the collapse of the newspaper funding model versus of inappropriate editorial control?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJReiss View Post
    The major investigative reporters are in exile - Rio - Berlin.
    The US is about to give up internet control via ICANN and release it globally.

    It started with Bush and its been continued with Obama - amplified with Obama.
    I voted for Obama twice. This is not what I voted for - its not what I expected.

    Nobody talks about this in 'normal' life.
    Does anybody want to talk about any of this here?
    The concentration of power you've outlined disturbs me too. It's hard to get a handle on the magnitude of the problem if there's in fact a lack of information easily available to and digestible by the average citizen. I wonder the extent to which a lack of information is in part responsible for voters who all too frequently appear to vote against their economic self-interest.

    I'm not sure about the sequence of cause and effect, or even if there's a connection, but the power inequality you describe here strikes me as being similar to the problem of economic inequality.

    Economic inequality and the lack of economic mobility in the US is worse than most other developed nations (The Atlantic, New York Times). The ratio of CEO compensation to the average worker stood at 200:1 in 2012 (Economic Policy Institute). The result, I suspect, isn't just harmful to the bottom 99%, but to the full 100%.

    It's not clear to me (or Robert Reich or Paul Krugman, from whom I'm borrowing) how an economy can thrive (or over the long term, even survive) without a strong middle class. The middle class can only be strong when it's gainfully employed. Why aren't there jobs? It's certainly not a corporate lack of ability to hire--profits and cash on hand are at near if not record highs. No, companies aren't hiring because they don't have a market in the form of customers from a large and financially secure middle class.

    How do we get out of this Catch-22? Public spending on infrastructure (yes, now I'm echoing Keynes). In the short term, we need to spend (deficit spend if necessary--budgets only need to be balanced over the long term) to repair our infrastructure. This solves two problems: our need for refurbished infrastructure as well as income in the pockets of--and therefore spending by--the middle class. This spending is what's needed to jump-start hiring by the private sector.

    Couple this spending with somewhat more progressive taxation and there's a path out of our economic doldrums (given our partisan gridlock, a pipe dream to be sure). Otherwise, even the strongest gates of the gated communities of the hyper-affluent won't be strong enough--the top 1% will be taken down by the system they've put in place (intentionally or not) and that undermines the opportunity and prosperity denied the other 99%.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    No disagreement from me on this general point.
    The PATRIOT Act (a.k.a The TYRANNY Act) was passed on October 26th, 2001 - 45 days after 911.
    A draconian piece of legislature which *most if not all* of congress did not read is the root of the current gutting of our civil rights.

    Mark Klein https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Klein (ATT employee) who witnessed the construction of room 641A Folsom Blvd San Fran CA that was one of many (if not the first) NSA PRISM rooms containing Naris boxes which effectively sucked up light from major fiber optic trunks across Pacific and West Coast. Many other PRISM rooms were constructed nationwide. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A He was witness to this room 2003 - two years after 911 and after passage of PATRIOT Act. Mark Klein was a lead complaint in EFF vs. NSA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepting_vs._AT%26T on violation of 4th Amendment and who case was dismissed without prejudice in 2008 for non-standing.

    The wall of standing was broken through with the leaked documents visa ve' Edward Snowden http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/201...en-powerpoint/ as showing the chronology of major tech companies coming on-line. The Verizon Judge Vinson document also leaked in association was the stuff that ultimately allowed the standing to proceed and this case is now pending for SCOTUS.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    It's not clear to me what you mean by "Police are being militarized." I'm not sure that I object to police training with the military, just to being co-opted by the military.
    This HuffPost blog piece provides lots of reading on this subject http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/police-militarization
    I was told that Wayland PD was offered automatic weapons by DHS and refused it on the grounds that this type of fire-power is not appropriate for Wayland. Other towns in the USA have accepted armored vehicles, auto-weapons and other military equipment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    In the end, I think that it's local police forces that offer the best defense against a military takeover. But military takeover is extremely unlikely ... and probably not even as effective at eroding civil rights as the other ills you mention.
    Some say that the 2nd Amendment is our best protection against a military takeover.
    I think its a big factor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    How does that compare to applications under prior Presidents?
    The most recent burning of our civil liberties started with the Bush administration but has been carried forward by Obama... as I said amplified. The issues involved have occurred to varying degrees over decades but are now coming to a head with the advancement of global communication technology.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    As an aside, Twitter strikes me as being a fairly inefficient way to get news. Social media's a great way to check in on people and events. But like television before recording devices, once it's gone, it's gone. Email messages, on the other hand, and to a lesser extent, web sites, accumulate (this isn't ALWAYS a good thing!) and can be tended to without risk of missing something important (even if you do have to do a lot of scrolling).
    I pick certain mavens of topic to follow and they guide me to relevant and recent news releases.
    Thing is, I find following twitter mavens to be timely and very relevant.
    I just don't get this real stuff off the TV - occasionally in national newspapers - but its all internet sites now for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    How much of this is the result of the collapse of the newspaper funding model versus of inappropriate editorial control?
    Print Newspapers are dead - they just don't know it yet.
    This site is the beginning of the next news 'thing'

    https://firstlook.org/


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    The concentration of power you've outlined disturbs me too. It's hard to get a handle on the magnitude of the problem if there's in fact a lack of information easily available to and digestible by the average citizen. I wonder the extent to which a lack of information is in part responsible for voters who all too frequently appear to vote against their economic self-interest.
    You hit the nail on the head. Propaganda is what the general public gets now. Its all sanitized.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I'm not sure about the sequence of cause and effect, or even if there's a connection, but the power inequality you describe here strikes me as being similar to the problem of economic inequality.
    Its all by design. I recommend the book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Creature-J.../dp/0912986212

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Economic inequality and the lack of economic mobility in the US is worse than most other developed nations (The Atlantic, New York Times). The ratio of CEO compensation to the average worker stood at 200:1 in 2012 (Economic Policy Institute). The result, I suspect, isn't just harmful to the bottom 99%, but to the full 100%.
    It appears to me to be an evolution back towards feudalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    It's not clear to me (or Robert Reich or Paul Krugman, from whom I'm borrowing) how an economy can thrive (or over the long term, even survive) without a strong middle class. The middle class can only be strong when it's gainfully employed. Why aren't there jobs? It's certainly not a corporate lack of ability to hire--profits and cash on hand are at near if not record highs. No, companies aren't hiring because they don't have a market in the form of customers from a large and financially secure middle class.
    Feudalism doesn't need a middle class. It only needs an oligarchy and everybody else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    How do we get out of this Catch-22? Public spending on infrastructure (yes, now I'm echoing Keynes). In the short term, we need to spend (deficit spend if necessary--budgets only need to be balanced over the long term) to repair our infrastructure. This solves two problems: our need for refurbished infrastructure as well as income in the pockets of--and therefore spending by--the middle class. This spending is what's needed to jump-start hiring by the private sector.
    I think that exposing the 'Deep State' for what it is - is the first step.
    *****----->>>>> See Bill Moyers http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/ana...he-deep-state/
    Edward Snowden will be seen as a hero - no matter how many are fed that he is a traitor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Couple this spending with somewhat more progressive taxation and there's a path out of our economic doldrums (given our partisan gridlock, a pipe dream to be sure). Otherwise, even the strongest gates of the gated communities of the hyper-affluent won't be strong enough--the top 1% will be taken down by the system they've put in place (intentionally or not) and that undermines the opportunity and prosperity denied the other 99%.
    I will vote for either an independent or Rand Paul - unless somebody else comes along with a better idea on taking back our constitutional rights and civil liberties.

    Jeff - thanks for chiming in !!

  4. #4
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    Alan, I'm all for "taking back our constitutional rights and civil liberties," but I don't see any "independent or Rand Paul" being the ticket. Let's save the Rand Paul conversation for another thread. At 76, Colin Powell is probably too old, but let's imagine that he's the one. I could see someone like him actually winning.

    But so what? We'd be right back where we are today, weighted down by a system that leans toward power. What exactly is this "better idea?" Not what, but how?

    Robert Reich makes an interesting argument here--it may be that the democracy we think is our birthright is actually only a temporary mid-20th century aberration in an otherwise human tyranny.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Reich
    The Kochs exemplify a new reality that strikes at the heart of America. The vast wealth that has accumulated at the top of the American economy is not itself the problem. The problem is that political power tends to rise to where the money is. And this combination of great wealth with political power leads to greater and greater accumulations and concentrations of both — tilting the playing field in favor of the Kochs and their ilk, and against the rest of us.

    America is not yet an oligarchy, but that’s where the Koch’s and a few other billionaires are taking us.

    American democracy used to depend on political parties that more or less represented most of us. Political scientists of the 1950s and 1960s marveled at American “pluralism,” by which they meant the capacities of parties and other membership groups to reflect the preferences of the vast majority of citizens.

    Then around a quarter century ago, as income and wealth began concentrating at the top, the Republican and Democratic Parties started to morph into mechanisms for extracting money, mostly from wealthy people.

    Finally, after the Supreme Court’s “Citizen’s United” decision in 2010, billionaires began creating their own political mechanisms, separate from the political parties. They started providing big money directly to political candidates of their choice, and creating their own media campaigns to sway public opinion toward their own views.

  5. #5
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    Interesting article in today's Boston Globe about "returning to functional government."

    Quote Originally Posted by Kennedy/Snow
    It has become routine to talk about the polarization in Washington leading to gridlock and dysfunction in Congress. But Washington need not be irretrievably broken.

    For the past year, we have been working toward a solution as members of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform. The commission is investigating the causes and consequences of America’s partisan political divide to develop and champion concrete reforms in three critical areas: electoral reform, public service, and congressional reform.

    ...

    The commission will release its recommendations in June. They include changes in our system of primary elections, independent mechanisms for redrawing congressional districts, and the possibilities for campaign finance reform. We will also address how best to ensure fairness in access to voting while securing the integrity of our electoral process ...

    To bolster the capacity for legislative productivity and, indeed, to foster better relationships between members, Congress should return to a schedule of five-day work weeks in Washington. Out of 78 days in 2014 (through March 19), the Senate has worked only 28 of them, the House 29. ...

    Moreover, Congress must allow the regular order of the legislative process to guide issues to enactment. Increasingly, House and Senate committees have become marginalized, as bills are more frequently brought to the floor as directed by the congressional leadership, and as 11th-hour agreements are forged to avoid impending deadlines, ...

    Congress must also take steps to diffuse the endless cycle of political standoffs over the debt and government spending and revenues. A key first step would be to shift to passing a budget every two years, rather than annually. This would help restore budgetary discipline, and also provide additional time for Congress to engage in aggressive oversight of existing programs.

    ...

    We don’t pretend that these measures alone constitute a complete solution to the hyper-partisanship that is spawning today’s gridlock of monumental proportions. Rather, returning to functional government will require a multi-pronged strategy, and these measures should be part of any comprehensive solution.
    I won't argue that a decrease in polarization and an increase in progress is sufficient to restore the balance of power desired by Alan, but it may well be necessary.

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