Our Political Parties Are Obsolete

When the parties do finally implode, the general mood will be: good riddance.
History informs us that once something is obsolete, it can disappear far faster than anyone expected. While we generally think of obsoleted technologies vanishing, social and political systems can become obsolete as well. Should a poor soul who entered a deep coma a year ago awaken today, we must forgive his/her astonishment at the political wreckage left by the 2016 election. The Democratic Party, a mere year ago an absurdly over-funded machine confident in an easy victory in the presidential race, is now a complete shambles: its leadership in free-fall, its Fat-Cat donors disgusted, and its demented intoxication with pinning collaboration with Russia on the Trump camp eroding whatever feeble legacy legitimacy it still holds. What the party stands for is a mystery, as its Elites are clearly beholden to insiders, special interests and Corporate donors while glorifying the worst excesses of globalism and the National Security State’s endless war on civil liberties. The newly awakened citizen would also marvel at the chaotic war zone of the Republican Party, in which the Insider Warlords are battling insurgent Outsiders, while the same Elites that fund the Democratic machine are wondering what they’re buying with their millions of dollars in contributions, for it’s unclear what the Republican Party stands for: it’s for Small Government, except when it’s for Bigger Government, which is 95% of the time; it’s for more law enforcement and the militarization of local police, and more intrusion into the lives of the citizenry; it’s for stricter standards for welfare, except for Corporate Welfare; it’s for tax reform, except the thousands of pages of give-aways, loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations all remain untouched, and so on: a smelly tangle of special interests masked by a few sprays of PR air freshener to the millions left behind by the globalization that has so enriched Corporate America and the class of financier-owners, bankers, insiders and technocrats–the same group that funds and controls both political parties.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, JULY 05, 2017.

Blue Lives Matter: Is Police Exceptionalism Leading America Toward Second Civil War?

Lurched back and forth in the ever-quickening spiral of an American empire circling the drain, we – as a people – have chosen battle lines on nearly every issue from politics to foreign policy, domestic surveillance to policing.
Thrust back into national focus, the last issue – policing in the U. S. – might even surpass in contention the ongoing race to the White House. And it stands to reason, with the world lashing out against failed globalism in its various nefarious incarnations – largely driven by American exceptionalist military presence nearly everywhere on the planet – the empire sees expediency in heading off a possible insurrection.
To that end, the past fifteen years have seen the initially-surreptitious padding of law enforcement agencies with the tools, gear, vehicles, and – most alarmingly – weapons of war. Because terrorism, said the government, when its more apparent concern had to do with potential dissidents who have grown tired of corruption and the almost wholesale abandonment of constitutional and human rights.
Summoning the peculiar willful ignorance common in Americans’ worship of authority in uniforms – found in the anachronistic hero cop avatar -militarization of police slipped beneath the radars of most, who were instead pleased with the added protection against nebulous terrorist threats in the interest of the safety of the Boys in Blue.

This post was published at Zero Hedge by Claire Bernish via TheAntiMedia.org, Jul 23, 2016.

The New Iron Curtain – – A Monument To Washington’s Imperial Folly

A foreign army consisting of 31,000 soldiers from an anti-American alliance are conducting military ‘exercises’ a few miles from San Diego. Hundreds of tanks converge on the Rio Grande, while jets from 24 countries converge in attack formation, darting through Mexican skies.
It isn’t hard to imagine Washington’s response.
Yet that’s precisely what has been happening on Russia’s border with the NATO alliance, as the cold war returns. Economic sanctions aimed at sinking Russia’s fragile economy, plus a propaganda campaign designed to characterize Russian President Vladimir Putin as the second coming of Stalin – or, in Hillary Clinton’s view, Hitler – have history running in reverse. Once again, an iron curtain is descending across Europe – only this time it’s the West’s doing.
The European Union renewed sanctions against Crimea on Friday: their ‘crime’ – holding a referendum in which the overwhelming majority of voters opted for union with Russia, restoring what had been the status quo since the days of Catherine the Great. And the EU is slated to extend sanctions against the Russian Federation later this week.
Yet dissent against this revival of the cold war is rising in Europe, notably in Germany, where Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is calling for the ‘gradual’ lifting of sanctions to reflect progress in the implementation of theMinsk accords, which call for the demilitarization of Ukraine and elections in rebel-held territory. This reflects a division within Germany’s left-right coalition government: Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are holding out for ‘full’ implementation of the accords. Yet it is the government in Kiev – held hostage by far-right crazies – that has been dragging its feet over Minsk, refusing to grant autonomy to east Ukraine and vowing to continue the war against the rebels in spite of Kiev’s lack of success in pacifying the rebellious region.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on June 20, 2016.

What Happens To A Dream Deferred? Ask Martin Luther King Jr.

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore –
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over –
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode? – Langston Hughes, ‘Harlem’
Martin Luther King Jr. could tell you what happens to dreams deferred. They explode.
As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, more than 50 years after King was assassinated, his dream of a world without racism, militarism and materialism remains a distant dream.
Indeed, the reality we must contend with is far different from King’s dream for the future: America has become a ticking time bomb of racial unrest and injustice, police militarization, surveillance, government corruption and ineptitude, the blowblack from a battlefield mindset and endless wars abroad, and a growing economic inequality between the haves and have nots.
King’s own legacy has suffered in the process.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 01/18/2016.

Liberty Imperiled – – -The Emerging Police State Of Mind

Sometime in late November, after the Paris terror attacks but before the one in San Bernardino, I was walking to New York’s Grand Central Station to catch the subway home. In front of one of its main entrances, the police had set up shop, blocking off part of an avenue. The crew I stumbled upon may, in fact, have been part of the new counterterrorism unit that the New York Police Department had just rolled out. Whatever the case, the cops were up-armored in a purely military fashion (even if their togs were fashionably black and blue) and carrying weaponry the likes of which I had never seen before on the streets of my hometown. Amid flashing lights, they stood there with dogs on leashes looking not like ‘the police’ but figures from some dystopian, futuristic sci-fi flick. Nothing in particular seemed to be happening so, after a few minutes, I entered the vast terminal, passing scattered pistol-packing soldiers in camo, evidently guarding the just-before-rush-hour crowds. It was certainly a spectacle, but also just part of the new American normal.
So consider what I’m about to mention less than newsworthy amid all the reports on the militarization of the country’s police and their brutal behavior. And yet it’s the sort of tiny news story that once upon a time would have been striking. Now, few will even notice. Policing headlines these days, after all, gravitate to graphic videos of cold-blooded police killings in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. (There were 70 fatal shootings by the Chicago Police Department alone between 2010 and 2014. As Margaret Talbot pointed out in the New Yorker, only Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Dallas ‘had a higher number per capita.’)
When it comes to the arming of the police in a country in which rural sheriffs proudly sport battlefield-grade mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, or MRAPs, and new militarized urban police units like that one in New York City are being outfitted with Colt M4 semiautomatic assault rifles and machine guns, a report that 20 campus cops at Boston’s Northeastern University are going to be armed with semiautomatic rifles qualifies as distinctly ho-hum news. Or thought of another way, it catches the everyday reality of a country whose police have been up-arming with a kind of passion since 9/11. I can, of course, remember the unarmed campus cops of my own college days and, believe me, we’ve traveled a long road from policing ‘panty raids’ to facing on-campus mass shootings in a country now so over-weaponized that it seems as if both the police and the citizenry are in an undeclared arms race.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by TomDispatch.com ‘ December 20, 2015.

1 In 3 Americans Would Support A Military Coup… In America

One topic that seems to be of great concern to a relatively large swath of the US public is the militarization of American cities.
Indeed, with each passing ‘confrontation’ between protesters and police, ‘protecting and serving’ seems to look more and more like ‘subduing and controlling.’
The fear of military and police overreach came to a head this year in the lead up to the US Spec Ops Command’s multi-state ‘training exercise’ dubbed Jade Helm 15. Thanks to a few viral internet campaigns and some badly-timed Wal-Mart closures, some US citizens came to believe that the federal government had devised a plan to institute martial law in Texas.
Be that as it may, if there’s anything Americans fear more than overt oppression enacted by force it’s covert oppression enacted by a nefarious combination of crony capitalism and corrupt (not to mention largely incompetent) politicians, which we suppose explains why nearly a third of Americans say they would support a military coup in the US. Here’s more from YouGov:
The United States military has long embraced the idea of civilian control of national affairs, and apart from certain rare moments the American officer corps has faithfully followed the orders of their civilian superiors.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/13/2015.

Boston Pulls 2024 Olympic Bid, Taxpayers Win

Hosting the Olympic Games isn’t as popular as it used to be. This week, Boston cancelled its bid to host the 2024 summer Olympics. The city was forced to cancel the effort in response to opposition to what The Nation called the ‘debt, displacement, and militarization of public space’ that the Olympics brings to every host city. Basically, the taxpayers and citizens of Boston weren’t in the mood to foot the bill for an enormous party for the richest and most powerful plutocrats of Boston and the United States.
While the Olympic Games may have once been about sport and international camaraderie, they were soon transformed into monuments to crony capitalism. Peter Hitchens traces this transformation back to Hitler and Goebbels who made the Olympics ‘into a torch-lit and grandiose spectacle,’ and the international Olympics committee has been fine with that ever since.
Today, the Olympics has become a way to score diplomatic points and showcase the wealth and influence of national governments. Indeed, it’s no wonder at all that the host cities of the Olympics have taken on a decidedly authoritarian flair with China and Russia rushing to make various bids. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will soon get to choose between Kazakhstan and China for hosts of 2022′s winter games. (Oslo, Norway pulled out of the 2022 bidding process after the taxpayers resisted the IOC’s diva-like demands for tax-funded perks.)

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on AUGUST 1, 2015.