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Superiority Complex: The Reach and Roots of America’s Stasi Regime

David Bromwich has some pertinent thoughts on Edward Snowden and his revelations about our USA (Unrestrained Stasi of Authoritarianism). Note: Bromwich was writing, in the LRB, before Snowden left Hong Kong. In ‘this our talking America’ (as Emerson called it), we prefer to talk about personalities. It could be anticipated that the ‘leaker’ of NSA secrets, and not the trespass by government against the people, would become the primary subject of discussion once the authorities produced a name and a face. He was destined to have his portrait fixed by the police and media, blurred and smeared to look, in

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Spandrels and Sparks: The Dream of Reconciliation

Excerpt from a stream of consciousness…. … Let us be resolved, right here, right now, that this reconciliation will not come to pass. That the evil impulse that infects us all — implanted by God only knows what profound and projected pain, inflicted and passed down through thousands of generations, from the very beginning, from the first standing-up on the savannah, to now, to us, to the present firing of the electrics of our brain — that this evil impulse, these perverted lessons taught by millennia of ignorance and error, will not, in our lifetimes and for untold generations to

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Follow the Money: The Secret Heart of the Secret State

No one, anywhere, has been writing about the deeper and wider implications of the Snowden revelations than Arthur Silber. (I hope you’re not surprised by this.) In a series of powerful, insightful essays, Silber has, among other things, laid bare the dangers of the oddly circumscribed ‘gatekeeper’ approach of the journalistic guardians (at, ironically, the Guardian) of Snowden’s secrets, particularly their slow drip-feed of carefully self-censored tidbits from the famous Powerpoint presentation that Snowden secreted from the bowels of the United Stasi of the American intelligent apparat. Eschewing the Wikileaks approach, the guardians at the Guardian have not let us

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Skull and Bono: The Sound of ONE Hand Clapping

As the G8 gathers here in my adopted homeland of Blighty to settle the world’s hash with the great wisdom and gravitas of such world-historical figures as Barry Obama, Davy Cameron and Val Putin, George Monbiot reports on the sinister diversions of that perennial gate-crasher of the great and good at Davos, Bilderberg and wherever the masters of the universe gather behind their bristling security gates: none other than that globe-trotting friend to all humankind — Bono. It was bad enough in 2005. Then, at the G8 summit in Scotland, Bono and Bob Geldof heaped praise on Tony Blair and

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Absolving Obama, or The Lamentable Sigh of the Depressed Progressive

Something very, very bad happened over the weekend. President Obama made Digby sigh. What did President Obama do that made Digby sigh? Well, that thing about increasing American military involvement in Syria. Digby quotes, and agrees with, a piece by Mark Lynch which she calls “a deeply skeptical and very depressing assessment of the decision to intervene in Syria.” Digby — like most other sentient beings on the planet, and at least 85 percent of all Americans in the most recent polls — believes that intervening in Syria is a bad decision and will in all likelihood make the situation,

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Collusion Course: Machinations of the Double-Headed Beast

Who would have thought that oil barons — of all people! — would be involved in dirty back-room dealings to gorge their gobs with even more swill from the trough? From the Guardian: The London offices of BP and Shell have been raided by European regulators investigating allegations they have “colluded” to rig oil prices for more than a decade. The European commission said its officers carried out “unannounced inspections” at several oil companies in London, the Netherlands and Norway to investigate claims they may have “colluded in reporting distorted prices to a price reporting agency [PRA] to manipulate the

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Horse Sense: Big Brother by the Back Door

Not to be paranoid or anything…. Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform From Wired: The immigration reform measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system. Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in

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Radical Notions

John Knefel at Rolling Stone dispels the widespread belief in the security apparat that young Muslims are being “radicalized” into violence through exposure to extremist through a “funnel” of manipulation by media and mosque. Knefel writes: That theory was set out in a 2007 NYPD report called Radicalization in the West, which focuses exclusively on Muslims, and describes a four-stage progression – a “funnel,” the report says – in which each step towards violence is intrinsically linked with increased religiosity. … There’s only one problem, according to critics: It’s reductive and simplistic at best, and at worst is a thin

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