Thursday, October 09, 2008
Disappeared News: World sees US democracy in tatters
by Larry Geller
It’s all on TV all over Europe and probably the rest of the world, but not on your TV screen.
It’s in European newspapers, but not in your daily paper.
It’s on the radio in umpteen languages in every neighborhood around the world, but not on your car radio.
It could mean the collapse of American democracy, and your media do not want you to know about it.
We all read, watched or heard about the $700 billion bailout, but the world heard that it’s just one year of the Pentagon’s budget. They also remarked about the pork which was passed along with it (you know, the wooden arrows and race tracks, but you obviously read more widely than most folks). They know that large numbers of Americans opposed the bailout, which left them with the full burden but little benefit.
The world might have read about it in the International Herald Tribune, for example, but you could not.
. . . Here is the question that no one is asking about America's grave financial crisis: By fueling corporate profits, jobs, and private-sector growth for two generations with massive over-investment in the military, has the United States gutted the real worth of its economy?
One needn't be an economist to know that spending money on war planes, missiles and exotic weapons systems, not to mention combat operations, creates far less social capital than spending on education, bridges, mass transit, new forms of energy - even the arts.
The genius of America's most brilliant minds has been yoked for more than half a century to the invention of ways to kill and destroy.
Yes, this article and others note that $700 billion happens also to be the Pentagon’s budget for one year. Big deal. We who could object to the military spending, are kept in the dark just so we won’t challenge it.
Torture on US Soil
So you thought we only tortured foreigners at Guantanamo?
Agence France-Presse brought this story to the world: Guantanamo techniques applied on US soil: civil rights groups.
The so-called "Guantanamo protocols" -- sleep and sensory deprivation, prolonged isolation and death threats -- have been applied to mainland prisons despite attempts by some military personnel to improve harsh conditions, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Law Clinic at Yale Law School said in a statement.
See a couple of pictures of the American Gulag accompanying the AFP article linked above.
Who knows, this and the above story might have appeared in the same newspaper in Paris. Although it originated from an ACLU action, it is hard to find in domestic newspapers. Perhaps this info would spoil American’s morning coffee time.
Your vote may not count
This did make the New York Times, but local papers are more timid. Electronic voting machines might just steal your vote. And it’s not like election officials don’t know about it:
In the early days of electronic voting, critics who warned that it was unreliable were dismissed as alarmist. Now it seems that hardly an election goes by without reports of serious vulnerabilities or malfunctions.
In the case of Diebold, votes are being dropped when they are transferred from individual machines to the central server in a county’s election headquarters. When an election worker inserts the memory card from a machine into the server, a green arrow is supposed to light up after all of the votes have been uploaded and added to the county’s totals. In some cases, the green arrow is wrong, and none of the votes have been added.
. . .
Computer scientists have shown that electronic voting machines are easy to hack. And voters report errors like vote flipping, in which the vote they cast for one candidate is recorded for another. Ohio’s secretary of state, Jennifer Brunner, is suing Diebold over the vote-dropping and noted that its machines crashed repeatedly during last year’s voting in Cuyahoga County. [New York Times, That’s a Pretty Big Glitch, 10/8/2008]
Of course, it’s not just Ohio. Isn’t our vote at the bedrock of American democracy? Again, the world is watching, and what they are watching is how quickly things are falling apart here. The very bedrock is cracking.
Millions likely to be blocked from voting
BBC viewers can see on their TV screens how Americans work hard to make sure other Americans cannot vote!
Unless, that is, you tune to Democracy Now (on Oahu, channel 56, 10 p.m. tonight) or visit their website, democracynow.org. Here’s how the newsreel begins:
GREG PALAST: There’s a war on for that White House over there. Both political parties say the other is trying to take it, not by winning the vote, but by stealing it. In fact, the Democrats say the Republicans have done it before.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: You know, a lot of Europeans wonder, why are Americans so crazy? They keep reelecting this guy. Well, the answer is, we don’t. You know, they keep stealing these elections. And they stole it in 2000, they stole it in 2004, and they’re all set up to steal it again.
This has been big news in the alternative press for some time, but if local papers wrote about it, people would get wise, wouldn’t they? If they got wise, and got angry, they might not let their votes be stolen.
[Check out also the comic book referenced on today’s Democracy Now program at stealbackyourvote.org.]
Military positioning itself for domestic operations
Other countries may be used to their military patrolling the streets, but the US is supposed to be different. America isn’t ruled by martial law. But they know something many Americans may not: that a military unit has been positioned in this country for purely domestic operations. I wrote about this on Sunday, Government raising fear level before elections, moving in troops.
The world is watching us
This country is still intensely interesting to others around the world. Right now, as a result of our Wall Street Meltdown and its impact elsewhere, the spotlight is on us more than ever. They know we don’t have universal health care, they know we stuff our prisons with minorities, and they know about the stuff I’ve outlined above.
Now, if only our mainstream media would give us the same information.
Then we could fix things.