24/08/2016

Children of the American Police State: Just Another Brick in the Wall - John W. Whitehead

Jeff Fitchett: As always, John tells it how it is.

Originally published at The Rutherford Institute

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone…
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.
—Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall”
The nation’s young people have been given front-row seats for an unfolding police drama that is rated R for profanity, violence and adult content.
In Arizona, a 7-year-old girl watched panic-stricken as a state trooper pointed his gun at her and her father during a traffic stop and reportedly threatened to shoot her father in the back (twice) based on the mistaken belief that they were driving a stolen rental car.
In Oklahoma, a 5-year-old boy watched as a police officer used a high-powered rifle to shoot his dog Opie multiple timesin his family’s backyard while other children were also present. The police officer was mistakenly attempting to deliver a warrant on a 10-year-old case for someone who hadn’t lived at that address in a decade.
In Maryland, a 5-year-old boy was shot when police exchanged gunfire with the child’s mother—eventually killing her—over a dispute that began when Korryn Gaines refused to accept a traffic ticket for driving without a license plate on her car.
It’s difficult enough raising a child in a world ravaged by war, disease, poverty and hate, but when you add the police state into the mix, it becomes near impossible to guard against the growing unease that some of the monsters of our age come dressed in government uniforms.
The lesson being taught to our youngest—and most impressionable—citizens is this: in the American police state, you’re either a prisoner (shackled, controlled, monitored, ordered about, limited in what you can do and say, your life not your own) or a prison bureaucrat (politician, police officer, judge, jailer, spy, profiteer, etc.).
Unfortunately, now that school is back in session, life is that much worse for the children of the American police state.
The nation’s public schools—extensions of the world beyond the schoolhouse gates, a world that is increasingly hostile to freedom—have become microcosms of the American police state, containing almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.”
If your child is fortunate enough to survive his encounter with the public schools with his individuality and freedoms intact, you should count yourself fortunate.
Most students are not so lucky.
From the moment a child enters one of the nation’s 98,000 public schools to the moment he or she graduates, they will be exposed to a steady diet of
  • draconian zero tolerance policies that criminalize childish behavior,
  • overreaching anti-bullying statutes that criminalize speech,
  • school resource officers (police) tasked with disciplining and/or arresting so-called “disorderly” students,
  • standardized testing that emphasizes rote answers over critical thinking,
  • politically correct mindsets that teach young people to censor themselves and those around them,
  • and extensive biometric and surveillance systems that, coupled with the rest, acclimate young people to a world in which they have no freedom of thought, speech or movement.
Clearly, instead of making the schools safer, we have managed to make them more authoritarian.
Young people in America are now first in line to be searched, surveilled, spied on, threatened, tied up, locked down, treated like criminals for non-criminal behavior, tasered and in some cases shot.
It used to be that if you talked back to a teacher, or played a prank on a classmate, or just failed to do your homework, you might find yourself in detention or doing an extra writing assignment after school.
That is no longer the case.
Nowadays, students are not only punished for minor transgressions such as playing cops and robbers on the playground, bringing LEGOs to school, or having a food fight, but the punishments have become far more severe, shifting from detention and visits to the principal’s office into misdemeanor tickets, juvenile court, handcuffs, tasers and even prison terms.
Students have been suspended under school zero tolerance policies for bringing to school “look alike substances” such as oreganobreath mints, birth control pills and powdered sugar.
Look-alike weapons (toy guns—even Lego-sized ones, hand-drawn pictures of guns, pencils twirled in a “threatening” manner, imaginary bows and arrows, even fingers positioned like guns) can also land a student in hot water.
Consider that by the time the average young person in America finishes their public school education, nearly one out of every three of them will have been arrested.
Moreover, just as militarized police who look, think and act like soldiers on a battlefield have made our communities less safe, the growing presence of police in the nation’s schools is resulting in environments in which it’s no longer safe for children to act like children.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, these school resource officers have become de facto wardens in elementary, middle and high schools, doling out their own brand of justice to the so-called “criminals” in their midst with the help of tasers, pepper spray, batons and brute force.
Now advocates for such harsh police tactics and weaponry will tell you that school safety should be our first priority.
What they might fail to mention in their zeal to lock down the schools are the lucrative, multi-million dollar deals being cut with military contractors to equip school cops with tasers, tanks, rifles and $100,000 shooting detection systems.
Indeed, the militarization of the police has been mirrored in the public schools, where school police have been gifted with high-powered M16 rifles, MRAP armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and other military gear. One Texas school district even boasts its own 12-member SWAT team.
What we’re grappling with is not merely a public school system that resembles a prison and is treating young people like prisoners but also a profit-driven system of incarceration has given rise to a growth in juvenile prisons and financial incentives for jailing young people.
It has been said that America’s schools are the training ground for future generations.
Instead of raising up a generation of freedom fighters, however, we seem to be busy churning out newly minted citizens of the American police state who are being taught the hard way what it means to comply, fear and march in lockstep with the government’s dictates.
As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it’s getting harder by the day to convince young people that we live in a nation that values freedom and which is governed by the rule of law.
With every school police raid and overzealous punishment that is carried out in the name of school safety, the lesson being imparted is that Americans—especially young people—have no rights at all against the state or the police.
The bottom line is this: if you want a nation of criminals, treat the citizenry like criminals.
If you want young people who grow up seeing themselves as prisoners, run the schools like prisons.
But if you want to raise up a generation of freedom fighters, who will actually operate with justice, fairness, accountability and equality towards each other and their government, then run the schools like freedom forums. Remove the metal detectors and surveillance cameras, re-assign the cops elsewhere, and start treating our nation’s young people like citizens of a republic and not inmates in a police state.
WC: 1243
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.

23/08/2016

Follow the money trail for source of 'Russian threat' paranoia - Neil Clark Op-Edge on RT

Jeff Fitchett: This is a good article on the US Military Industrial Complex and how they perpetuate fear to further corporate profits.

Originally posted on RT

You’d have to have been locked in a wardrobe if you live in the West not to have heard ominous phrases like ‘The Russian threat’, ‘Russian aggression in Europe’ and ‘Russia set to invade Poland/Estonia/ Ukraine/Finland’. 
Certain people are trying to scare us witless about Russia and the ‘threat’ the country apparently poses. The hysteria reminds one to the build up to the Iraq war, when we were warned every day about the ‘threat’ of Saddam’s deadly WMDs, which - surprise, surprise - turned out not to exist.
Now, we can talk for hours about grand, highfalutin theories in the field of geopolitics and international relations in attempts to explain why this is happening.
But ‘follow the money’ trail is all we really have to do. Ask yourself who benefits financially from all this scaremongering and then you’ll understand it.
This week, The Intercept revealed how US defense contractors have been telling investors that the so-called ’Russian threat’ was good for business.
Retired Army general Richard Cody, vice-President of the US’s seventh largest defense contractor, L-3 communications, bemoaned the fact that "when the old Cold War ended’ defense budgets went south". Now though a ’resurgent Russia’ meant an "uptick was coming".
There was a similarly upbeat message from Stuart Bradie, chief executive of CBR, who talked of the "opportunities" the current situation presents.
The case for higher defense spending to counter the ‘Russian threat’ has been made by a series of think-tanks. And guess what? The most hawkish of these lobbyists - sorry, ‘think tanks’ - receive sizable funding from US defense contractors!
The Intercept cites the examples of the Lexington Institute and the Atlantic Council.
But there’s plenty others too. Back in February, I wrote about a ‘non-partisan’ US policy institute called the Center for European Policy Analysis. The CEPA issued a paper attacking Russian media outlet Sputnik for giving a voice to "anti-establishment protest politicians"who were critical of NATO.
And who funds the ‘non-partisan’ CEPA? Recent donors include the US Department of Defense, Boeing, Raytheon Company, Textron Systems, Sikorsky Aircraft, Bell Helicopter and the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
What’s happening in Europe today is the same that’s been happening in the Middle East for years.
The US creates chaos, then goes in to sell countries in the region the latest military hardware to ‘protect’ them from the chaos. It’s quite a racket and clearly modeled on the extortion schemes of the Mafia. Countries that don’t want to pay up, like Yugoslavia in 1990s, are likely to get bombed.
Consider how the crisis in Ukraine started. The US spent billions of dollars in a ‘regime change’ op 
to topple the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych and replace it with a pro-US puppet administration. We even heard the State Department’s Victoria Nuland - after she had handed out cookies to anti-government protestors in the Maidan - discussing who should and shouldn’t be in the new ‘democratic’ Ukrainian government, with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.
When the people of Crimea predictably said ‘Nyet’ to the State Department’s operation, and voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia in a referendum, Russia was cast as the ‘aggressor’ who had ‘invaded’ the Ukraine. The US would have known that its regime change op in Ukraine would cause chaos and increase tensions with Russia. And that’s exactly why they did it!
To counter the new Russian ‘threat’ not just to ‘democratic’ Ukraine, but to other countries in eastern Europe, we’re told we need a big increase in NATO ‘defense’ spending. And who does that benefit? Why, US defense contractors!
Last year, as I reported here, Poland picked 
US-made Patriot Missiles - manufactured by Raytheon and Airbus military helicopters for a $5.53bn military upgrade.
In November 2014, ‘threatened’ Estonia purchased 80 Javelin missiles from the US at a cost of 40m Euros. In February, we heard that the country would be spending 818m euro on new weapons and equipment by 2020.
As Charlie Chaplin commented in his classic 1947 black comedy Monsieur Verdoux, "Wars, conflicts, it’s all business!"
By any objective assessment it's NATO - not Russia - with its build up of arms and soldiers on the borders of Russia, which threatens the peace of Europe. But anyone who points this out, and mentions the military alliance’s relentless Drang nach Osten, threatens the profits of US defense companies and is attacked as an ‘appeaser' or ‘Kremlin stooge’ by those with a vested financial interest in keeping tensions high.
Consider the hysterical attacks on British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his recent, very sensible comments on NATO and Russia.
Corbyn was asked in a leadership television debate: "How would you as Prime Minister react to a violation by Vladimir Putin of the sovereignty of a fellow NATO state?"
He replied: "You’d obviously try to avoid that happening in the first place. You would build up a good dialogue with Russia to ask them, support them in respecting borders. We would try to introduce a demilitarization between Russia and Ukraine, and all the other countries down on the border between Russia and Eastern Europe.
What we cannot allow is a series of continuous build-ups of troops on both sides which can only lead to great danger in the future. It’s beginning to look awfully like Cold War politics at the present time. We’ve got to engage with Russia, engage with demilitarization in that area, in order to try and avoid that danger happening… I don’t wish to go to war, what I want to do is achieve a world where we don’t need to go to war, where there is no need for it. That can be done".
As Carlyn Harvey, writing in The Canary, points out: "For millions of citizens around the world, this (Corbyn’s anti-war stance), is great news. But for those intent on maintaining the politics of power and the lucrative industries that support that, Corbyn’s vision is nothing short of a disaster".
Corbyn is portrayed by the endless war lobby as a ‘dangerous extremist’ because if other western politicians followed suit, and promoted disarmament and dialogue, instead of confrontation and war, defense profits would take a big hit.
It was a US President, Dwight D Eisenhower, who first warned us about the US military-industrial complex, back in 1961: “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex”, he said.
No one could accuse Ike, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe in World War Two, of being a ‘pinko’ or a ‘Kremlin stooge’. But the situation is much worse today than it was back in Eisenhower’s day.
Neocons have embedded themselves in the corridors of power. They claim to be interested in spreading ‘democracy’, but the reality is that the neocon movement is all about money and profits. Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson, the US politician who railed against d├ętente with the Soviet Union in the 70s, was, with very good reason, nicknamed the ’Senator for Boeing’.
Thirty years later, the first post-launch meeting of the Henry Jackson Society discussed how to get smears about the anti-war academic Noam Chomsky being a ‘denier’ of the Srebrenica massacre into circulation.
For some people it seems, the old Cold War never ended.
How much longer will the citizens of the world put up with a situation in which warmongers with ties to the military-industrial complex are allowed to stoke up international tensions? The next time you read or hear someone issue stark warnings about the ‘Russian threat’ - and why NATO needs to hike its spending to deal with it - just follow the money trail.
It’s likely to be revealing.

Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

22/08/2016

Clinton Cash - Must Watch

Jeff Fitchett: This is a must watch film.  For anyone who has long known that the Clinton's are corrupt it will further your understanding.  For anyone who still believe's in the system this will open your eyes.


17/08/2016

Racketeering Is Ruining Us - Chris Martenson interview withJames Howard Kunstler

Jeff Fitchett: This is an interesting conversation that covers a lot of topics that pertain the problems the world faces.  It's worth your time.


13/08/2016

German President Booed, Attacked; Claims "The People Are The Problem, Not The Elites" - Zero Hedge

Jeff Fitchett: This is an important article because it clearly shows the disconnect between the "ruling class" and the general population.  Social unrest is erupting globally and I believe this is just the beginning.  The majority of people, from all around the world, are becoming disenfranchised and fed up.

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Revolution is closer than you think...
Following Angela Merkel's earlier calls for German CEOs to hire refugees, and as Martin Armstrong notes, Germany has raided its healthcare funds to support the refugee crisis...
The government passed a law that allows them to take 1.5 billion euros from the liquidity reserve of the public health care fund (10 billion euros in total, paid by all members and additionally by the taxpayer) and to give that money to refugees / asylum seekers.

What would you call this? Insane?
We thought a reminder of the tensions that are bubbling under the surface in Germany.  
As VoxDay noted appropriatelyGermany's elite is going to get a well-deserved one soon as German President Joachim Gauck was booed and attacked in the streets of Sebnitz, Saxony after he blurted out the following unbelievbable statement:
“The elites are not the problem, the people are the problem.”
Official German State TV and State Radio reported that "a handful of right wing extremists" have attacked the president and disturbed the otherwise peaceful and welcoming reception of the President. This is simply not the case, as seen in the video... 


The people repeatedly shouted "Traitor!", "Get out!", "We don't want STASI Pigs" and "We are the people!". 
One man, carrying his young son on his shoulders, appears to have spit on him whilst exclaiming insults. Other citizens were heard saying "You killed our children" and "What have you done to us?". They were blocked by police in riot gear, to whom they said "You are protecting warmongers, shame on you!"
The situation escalated and the riot police was forced to use pepper spray.
Heiko Maas, the German Justice Minister, called the attackers "cowards who insult the president because of their personal frustration". He himself was booed off the stage as a traitor by hundreds of Germans at the annual Labor Day celebration on the 1st of May. He said that they will be persecuted immediately, as "it cannot be allowed that such a tiny minority has influence on the political climate in Germany".
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan explained perfectly...
The larger point is that this is something we are seeing all over, the top detaching itself from the bottom, feeling little loyalty to it or affiliation with it. 

It is a theme I see working its way throughout the West’s power centers.

At its heart it is not only a detachment from, but a lack of interest in, the lives of your countrymen, of those who are not at the table, and who understand that they’ve been abandoned by their leaders’ selfishness and mad virtue-signalling.

09/08/2016

ZZZZZZZZ.... - by James Howard Kunstler

Jeff Fitchett: Jim nails it with his commentary on the current state of affairs within the US.  The same commentary applies to the rest of the world as well.  We are living on borrowed time and the masses are asleep at the wheel.  Don't look to others (government) to solve our problems.  Each of us need to be responsible for our own lives.  We have the ability to control our own actions.  I'm prepared for significant upheaval because I have taken the time and effort to learn about the problems we face and reduce my dependence on a system that is falling apart.  

Support James Howard Kunstler's website by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page!

Wake the fuck up! Today we turn from the sordid dumbshow of Election 2016 to the parlous mysteries of finance and economics behind our sick politics. Most of the commentary in the mainstream special needs news media is based on the incorrect notion that the current disposition of things is sure to continue and therefore all we have to do is manage the familiar dynamics of the operating system in place. For instance, Grand Vizier Paul Krugman in today’s New York Times pimping for the US to issue ever-greater debt to repair US infrastructure. Does it seem like a sound idea? Borrow tons more money to get American running gear back in order so we can return to a growth economy. (There’s even a Trumpian gloss to it.)

Here’s the catch: the “growth economy” of which they chatter is done. You can stick a fork in it. The techno-industrial fantasia is drawing to a close. We are heading into a long term contraction of activity, productivity, and population and the salient question is how disorderly will the long emergency of the journey be to that new disposition of things?

The wish to keep all our rackets running is understandable. They have provided a lot of comfort, convenience, and luxury. But we are no longer in Alexander Hamilton’s world of cornucopian American abundance, just needing to borrow a little from the future to get at the gargantuan riches of a wilderness empire. We’ve been there and done that, and our present-day techno-narcissistic wish to replace all that spent material abundance with a Pokemon Go virtual reality economy is sure to lead to epochal disenchantment.

Borrowing from the future only works when you have some real prospect of paying the future back. The institutions that govern borrowing have been pretending for some time that our debts can be paid back. The untruth of this can be easily traced to the revocation of FASB (the Financial Accounting Standards Board) Rule 157 in 2009, which said that banks no longer had to report the market value of the loans on their books, but rather could make up any old number that made things appear to pencil out. In other words FASB decided that standards were optional. But that is only one cog in the great wheel of fraud that has rotated mercilessly with the seasons since the Fall of 2008.

What we face is discontinuity, the end of old spent dynamics and the beginning of new dynamics. Monetary deflation has been underway for years because that’s what happens when debts can’t be repaid: money vanishes. Now we will encounter the other dimensions of deflation: the contraction of manufacturing, trade, wages, and all the familiar markers of expansion in the waning techno-industrial era. The many dodges and stratagems tried by the supreme central bankers to work around contraction only produce ever greater distortions in markets, currencies, and the distribution of dwindling capital, leading to a grand battle over the table-scraps of history, i.e. the rise of radical politics world-wide, including Islamic Jihadism, and the western response in Trump, LePen, and the nascent Germanic right-wing. These current manifestations may be mild versions of what’s coming.

Nobody in power can come to grips with the reality of our situation. We have to salvage what we can and get smaller, becoming a more modest presence here, or the planet itself is going to hit the delete button on us. It rubs against the current religion of progress, which has replaced the other old cultic practices. The choice now is between time-out or game over, and the debate over these things is absent from the arena.

The aforesaid distortions in markets, currencies, and capital are spinning out in an ever broader, centrifugal gyre, coinciding, as chance would have it, with the most peculiar election in modern times. The incoherence and deceit on both sides is far beyond even the extravagant American norms of dauntless political bullshit. We literally have no idea what we’re doing in this country, or what we’re actually wishing for. The financial structures of everyday life look more fragile than ever. Gravity always wins.