If this is true … a police state we have

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

If this is true … a police state we have in the United States of America … so, whose got your back…? ?

New Haven Police Continue Their Crackdown Against Videographers

11-17-2010 • Photography Is Not a Crime

Luis Luna was arrested for videotaping a group of cops breaking up a fight.

He was charged with interfering with police and spent the night in jail.

Police stated he was arrested under orders of New Haven Assistant Police Chief Ariel Melendez

Read complete article … http://www.pixiq.com/article/new-haven-police-continue-their-crackdown-against-videographers

And those old enough to remember thought the Viet Nam War would NEVER end … you ain’t seen nothing yet …

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

And those old enough to remember thought the Viet Nam War would NEVER end … you ain’t seen nothing yet …

The Evidence Is Overwhelming: We Aren’t Getting Out of Afghanistan or Even Iraq</strong> …By Tom Engelhardt, Tomdispatch.com … Posted on November 14, 2010, Printed on November 19, 2010 … Read complete article …. http://www.alternet.org/story/148848/

You must have had a moment when you thought to yourself: It really isn’t going to end, is it? Not ever. Rationally, you know perfectly well that whatever your “it” might be will indeed end, because everything does, but your gut tells you something different.

I had that moment recently when it came to the American way of war. In the past couple of weeks, it could have been triggered by an endless string of ill-attended news reports like the Christian Science Monitor piece headlined

• “U.S. involvement in Yemen edging toward ‘clandestine war.’”
• Or by the millions of dollars in U.S. payments reportedly missing in Afghanistan, thanks to under-the-table or unrecorded handouts in unknown amounts to Afghan civilian government employees (as well as Afghan security forces, private-security contractors, and even the Taliban).

• Or how about the news that the F-35 “Joint Strike Fighter,” the cost-overrun poster weapon of the century, already long overdue, will cost yet more money and be produced even less quickly?

• Or what about word that our Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has officially declared the Obama administration “open” to keeping U.S. troops in Iraq after the announced 2011 deadline for their withdrawal?

• Or how about the news from McClatchy’s reliable reporter Nancy Youssef that Washington is planning to start “publicly walking away from what it once touted as key deadlines in the war in Afghanistan in an effort to de-emphasize President Barack Obama’s pledge that he’d begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July 2011”?

• Or that bottomless feeling could have been triggered by the recent request from the military man in charge of training Afghan security forces, Lieutenant General William Caldwell, for another 900 U.S. and NATO trainers in the coming months, lest the improbable “transition” date of 2014 for Afghan forces to “take the lead” in protecting their own country be pushed back yet again. (“No trainers, no transition,” wrote the general in a “report card” on his mission.)

• Or it could have been the accounts of how a trained Afghan soldier turned his gun on U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan, killing two of them, and then fled to the Taliban for protection (one of a string of similar incidents over the last year). Or, speaking of things that could have set me off, consider this passage from the final paragraphs of an Elisabeth Bumiller article tucked away inside the New York Times on whether Afghan War commander General David Petraeus was (or was not) on the road to success: “’It is certainly true that Petraeus is attempting to shape public opinion ahead of the December [Obama administration] review [of Afghan war policy],’ said an administration official who is supportive of the general. ‘He is the most skilled public relations official in the business, and he’s trying to narrow the president’s options.’”

• Or, in the same piece, what about this all-American analogy from Bruce Riedel, the former CIA official who chaired President Obama’s initial review of Afghan war policy in 2009, speaking of the hundreds of mid-level Taliban the U.S. military has reportedly wiped out in recent months: “The fundamental question is how deep is their bench.” (Well, yes, Bruce, if you imagine the Afghan War as the basketball nightmare on Elm Street in which the hometown team’s front five periodically get slaughtered.)

• Or maybe it should have been the fact that only 7% of Americans had reports and incidents like these, or evidently anything else having to do with our wars, on their minds as they voted in the recent midterm elections.

The Largest “Embassy” on Planet Earth … Strange are the ways, though. You just can’t predict what’s going to set you off. For me, it was none of the above, nor even the flood of Republican war hawks heading for Washington eager to “cut” government spending by “boosting” the Pentagon budget. Instead, it was a story that slipped out as the midterm election results were coming in and was treated as an event of no importance in the U.S.
The Associated Press covered U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry’s announcement that a $511 million contract had been awarded to Caddell Construction … (http://www.caddell.com/) … one of America’s “largest construction and engineering groups,” for a massive expansion of the U.S. embassy in Kabul. According to the ambassador, that embassy is already “the largest… in the world with more than 1,100 brave and dedicated civilians… from 16 agencies and working next to their military counterparts in 30 provinces,” and yet it seems it’s still not large enough.

A few other things in his announcement caught my eye. Construction of the new “permanent offices and housing” for embassy personnel is not to be completed until sometime in 2014, approximately three years after President Obama’s July 2011 Afghan drawdown is set to begin, and that $511 million is part of a $790 million bill to U.S. taxpayers that will include expansion work on consular facilities in the Afghan cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat.

And then, if the ambassador’s announcement was meant to fly below the media radar screen in the U.S., it was clearly meant to be noticed in Afghanistan. After all, Eikenberry publicly insisted that the awarding of the contract should be considered “an indication… an action, a deed that you can take as a long-term commitment of the United States government to the government of Afghanistan.”

(Note to Tea Party types heading for Washington: this contract is part of a new stimulus package in one of the few places where President Obama can, by executive fiat, increase stimulus spending. It has already resulted in the hiring of 500 Afghan workers and when construction ramps up, another 1,000 more will be added to the crew.)

Jo Comerford and the number-crunchers at the National Priorities Project have offered TomDispatch a hand in putting that $790 million outlay into an American context:

• “$790 million is more than ten times the money the federal government allotted for the State Energy Program in FY2011.

• It’s nearly five times the total amount allocated for the National Endowment for the Arts (threatened to be completely eliminated by the incoming Congress).

• If that sum were applied instead to job creation in the United States, in new hires it would yield more than 22,000 teachers, 15,000 healthcare workers, and employ more than 13,000 in the burgeoning clean energy industry.”

Still, to understand just why, among a flood of similar war reports, this one got under my skin, you need a bit of backstory.

Singular Spawn or Forerunner Deluxe…? … One night in May 2007, I was nattering on at the dinner table about reports of a monstrous new U.S. embassy being constructed in Baghdad, so big that it put former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s grandiose Disneyesque palaces to shame. On 104 acres of land in the heart of the Iraqi capital (always referred to in news reports as almost the size of Vatican City), it was slated to cost $590 million.

(Predictable cost overruns and delays — see F-35 above — would, in the end, bring that figure to at least $740 million, while the cost of running the place yearly is now estimated at $1.5 billion.)

Back then, more than half a billion dollars was impressive enough, even for a compound that was to have its own self-contained electricity-generation, water-purification, and sewage systems in a city lacking most of the above, not to speak of its own antimissile defense systems, and 20 all-new blast-resistant buildings including restaurants, a recreation center, and other amenities.

It was to be by far the largest, most heavily fortified embassy on the planet with a “diplomatic” staff of 1,000 (a number that has only grown since).

That tells you what I know about building anything. So imagine my surprise to discover that there was indeed a Kansas architect, BDY (Berger Devine Yaeger), previously responsible for the Sprint Corporation’s world headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas; the Visitation Church in Kansas City, Missouri; and Harrah’s Hotel and Casino in North Kansas City, Missouri.

Better yet, BDY was so proud to have been taken on as architect to the wildest imperial dreamers and schemers of our era that it posted sketches at its website of what the future embassy, its “pool house,” its tennis court, PX, retail and shopping areas, and other highlights were going to look like.

Somewhere between horrified and grimly amused, I wrote a piece at TomDispatch, entitled “The Mother Ship Lands in Baghdad” and, via a link to the BDY drawings, offered readers a little “blast-resistant spin” through Bush’s colossus. From the beginning, I grasped that this wasn’t an embassy in any normal sense and I understood as well something of what it was. Here’s the way I put it at the time:

“As an outpost, this vast compound reeks of one thing: imperial impunity. It was never meant to be an embassy from a democracy that had liberated an oppressed land. From the first thought, the first sketch, it was to be the sort of imperial control center suitable for the planet’s sole ‘hyperpower,’ dropped into the middle of the oil heartlands of the globe. It was to be Washington’s dream and Kansas City’s idea of a palace fit for an embattled American proconsul — or a khan.”

In other words, a U.S. “control center” at the heart of what Bush administration officials then liked to call “the Greater Middle East” or the “arc of instability.” To my surprise, the piece began racing around the Internet and other sites — TomDispatch did not then have the capacity to post images — started putting up BDY’s crude drawings. The next thing I knew, the State Department had panicked, declared this a “security breach,” and forced BDY to take down its site and remove the drawings.

I was amazed. But (and here we come to the failure of my own imagination) I never doubted that BDY’s bizarre imperial “mother ship” being prepared for landing in Baghdad was the singular spawn of the Bush administration. I saw it as essentially a vanity production sired by a particular set of fantasies about imposing a Pax Americana abroad and a Pax Republicana at home. It never crossed my mind that there would be two such “embassies.”

So, on this, call me delusional. By May 2009, with Barack Obama in the White House, I knew as much.

That was when two McClatchy reporters broke a story about a similar project for a new “embassy” in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, at the projected cost of $736 million (with a couple of hundred million more slated for upgrades of diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan).

Simulating Ghosts … Now, with the news in from Kabul, we know that there are going to be three mother ships. All gigantic beyond belief. All (after the usual cost overruns) undoubtedly in the three-quarters of a billion dollar range, or beyond. All meant not to house modest numbers of diplomats acting as the face of the United States in a foreign land, but thousands of diplomats, spies, civilian personnel, military officials, agents, and operatives hunkering down long-term for war and skullduggery.

Connect two points and you have a straight line. Connect three points and you have a pattern — in this case, simple and striking.

The visionaries and fundamentalists of the Bush years may be gone and visionless managers of the tattered American imperium are now directing the show. Nonetheless, they and the U.S. military in the region remain remarkably devoted to the control of the Greater Middle East.

Even without a vision, there is still the war momentum and the money to support it. While Americans fight bitterly over whether the stimulus package for the domestic economy was too large or too small, few in the U.S. even notice that the American stimulus package in Kabul, Islamabad, Baghdad, and elsewhere in our embattled Raj is going great guns. Embassies the size of pyramids are still being built; military bases to stagger the imagination continue to be constructed; and nowhere, not even in Iraq, is it clear that Washington is committed to packing up its tents, abandoning its billion-dollar monuments, and coming home.

In the U.S., it’s clearly going to be paralysis and stagnation all the way, but in Peshawar and Mazar-i-sharif, not to speak of the greater Persian Gulf region, we remain the spendthrifts of war, perfectly willing, for instance, to ship fuel across staggering distances and unimaginably long supply lines at $400 a gallon to Afghanistan to further crank up an energy-heavy conflict.

Here in the United States, police are being laid off. In Afghanistan, we are paying to enroll thousands and thousands of them and train them in ever greater numbers. In the U.S., roads crumble; in Afghanistan, support for road-building is still on the agenda.

At home, it’s peace all the way to the unemployment line, because peace, in our American world, increasingly seems to mean economic disaster. In the Greater Middle East, it’s war to the horizon, all war all the time, and creeping escalation all the way around. (And keep in mind that the escalatory stories cited above all occurred before the next round of Republican warhawks even hit Washington with the wind at their backs, ready to push for far more of the same.)

The folks who started us down this precipitous path and over an economic cliff are now in retirement and heading onto the memoir circuit: our former president is chatting it up with Matt Lauer and Oprah; his vice president is nursing his heart while assumedly writing about “his service in four presidential administrations”;
his first secretary of defense is readying himself for the publication of his memoir in January; and his national security advisor, then secretary of state (for whom Chevron once named a double-hulled oil tanker), is already heading into her second and third memoir.

But while they scribble and yak, their policy ghosts haunt us, as does their greatest edifice, that embassy in Baghdad, now being cloned elsewhere.

Even without them or the neocons who pounded the drums for them, the U.S. military still pushes doggedly toward 2014 and beyond in Afghanistan, while officials “tweak” their drawdown non-schedules, narrow the president’s non-options, and step in to fund and build yet more command-and-control centers in the Greater Middle East.

It looks and feels like the never-ending story, and yet, of course, the imperium is visibly fraying, while the burden of distant wars grows ever heavier.

Those “embassies” are being built for the long haul, but a decade or two down the line, I wouldn’t want to put my money on what exactly they will represent, or what they could possibly hope to control.

JUST FOLLOW THE MONEY $$$

AIPAC .. what’s that

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

AIPAC … http://www.aipac.org/ … I suspect most Americans are unaware of the degree of influence which AIPAC has over most all sectors of our American government …

It would be worthwhile to embark on a path of discovery for yourself … then articles like the one below will be understandable …

DC Press Corps Ignoring AIPAC’s Tawdry Civil War, the Biggest Story in Washington…?

Posted by AlterNet on @ 11:18 am …Article printed from speakeasy: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy … This post is by Paul Woodward and originally appeared on War in Context
URL to article: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/11/17/dc-press-corps-ignoring-aipacs-tawdry-civil-war-the-biggest-story-in-washington/

The story so far: … November 8: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) files a 260-page motion … [large pdf — don’t attempt to download without broadband] … in the District of Columbia Superior Court, in which AIPAC is attempting to fend off a $20 million defamation suit from former employee Steven J Rosen who claims he was wrongfully dismissed.

AIPAC ditched him and his colleague Keith Weissman in 2005 when the pro-Israel lobby feared investigation by the FBI.

November 15: Grant Smith highlights much of the politically damaging content of the motion in an Antiwar article, AIPAC Bares All to Quash Lawsuit.

November 16: the story is picked up by MJ Rosenberg, The Forward and others.
November 17: the story is gathering steam in the Jewish press, with items in the JTA and Haaretz.

As for the Washington Post, the New York Times and the rest of the US mainstream media, well as of noon Wednesday, it’s apparently still nap time — or, a figurative bloodbath at that obscure and uninfluential lobbying organization really isn’t news — or, there’s no such thing as the Israel lobby and so why should the press pay any attention — or, a bunch of spineless editors, worried about embarrassing their friends at AIPAC, are looking over their shoulders waiting to see which of their competitors is going to break loose first and force them to report on this unseemly turn of events.

And as for why AIPAC and Rosen are both willing to engage in what looks like a self-destructive fight, I suspect that their interests are not actually as far apart as they seem.

Rosen says: “Any embarrassment I suffered as a result of what they filed will be insignificant compared to the embarrassment they’ll suffer after we file our motion.” This seems to be key: that both sides are engaged in campaigns to embarrass the other and both sides are ultimately served if the conflict can be contained to one of embarrassment.

AIPAC can survive embarrassment. What it cannot survive would be investigation by the FBI. It can get away with looking like a sleazy operation. It can’t get away with being exposed as being the instrument of a foreign government.

At the same time, this is also a fight over money. Rosen’s devotion to Zionism turns out to have come with an enormous price tag at a time that AIPAC is not as flush with funds as it used to be.

Hard times for the Israel lobby.

545 vs. 300,000,000

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

A Powerful perspective offered by a retiring reporter entitled … 545 PEOPLE –By Charlie Reese … you’ll be sorry if you chose not to read it … it’s great …

Charley Reese’s final column for the Orlando Sentinal….Charley Reese is retiring. His last column is this one. … Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be.
The article below is completely neutral, *not anti republican or *democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinal, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It’s a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

545 vs. 300,000,000

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them..

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes,WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.
They have no legal authority
. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash.

The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits…..

The President can only propose a budget.

He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.
Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red ..

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan …
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power..

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees…

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.
What you do with this article now that you have read it………

Is up to you. This might be funny if it weren’t so true.

Be sure to read all the way to the end:
Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.
When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.
Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…
Put these words
Upon his tomb,
Taxes drove me to my doom…’
When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax..
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY…?

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the hell happened?

Can you spell ‘politicians?’

I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!!

YOU can help it get there!!!

GO AHEAD – – – BE AN AMERICAN!!!