USA: domestic politics
To the outside world, the United States pretends to be a model of democracy. But that is not the case. Fiercely opposed to the notion of "popular sovereignty", the Founding Fathers contrived an ingenious system whereby the people are regularly consulted only to legitimize institutions that deposit power with the oligarchy. Domestically, this system thrives thanks to a series of legal barriers that preclude the emergence of other alternatives and, if need be, through fraud including the use of unverifiable electronic voting machines. Externally, propaganda has served to obscure the incongruity of the institutions. The latter, for instance, prescribe that the president should be elected by a college appointed by State Governors (and not by national popular count, as illustrated by the Supreme Court in 2000 when it overruled the Florida people vote). Nor are we dealing with a republican system of government since it discards the concept of "general interest" as being totalitarian, favouring instead the preponderance of the lobby coalition. A philosophy that has led to the institutionalization of pressure groups, going so far as to legalize and systematize corruption practices in Congress.
Outside the limits of the twin Democratic and Republican parties, a protest movement has been brewing for some time. It picked up considerable momentum during the two presidencies of George W. Bush, whose swaggering style brought to the fore the police control over the population and the rising social injustices. While such opposition had formerly been labeled as "un-american", it acquired legitimacy by highlighting the violations of U.S. ideals at the hands of the U.S. Government itself, ranging from its colonial adventures to its torture policies. As a result of President Obama’s charm offensive, internal opposition was again relegated to the sidelines, despite not having obtained a response to any of their major challenges. In the midst of the economic crisis, deep social fissures dating back to the Secession War have started to reappear. They take the form of a tax revolt, a populist anti-Wall Street movement, or emerge under the guise of separatist tendencies and, last but not least, ethnic hostility. The potential of the United States to either reform or dislocate hinges on these contradictory movements and the balance of power they will generate.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell declared that his state would honor April as “Confederate History and Heritage Month” thus reviving a tradition that had falled into misuse. He completely ignored slavery in his message, making it look as if that practice had been of secondary importance.
Bob McDonnell is a Republican, has gained a reputation for his anti-abortion, anti-feminist and anti-gay positions. Until now, he had avoided having to position himself vis-à-vis racial and historical (...)
Every year, the U.S. Department of State issues a report on the situation of human rights in other countries. On each occasion, it portrays itself as an examplary model while assuming the right to pass judgment on others. In response, its Chinese counterpart will henceforth publish an annual report on the human rights record in the United States. The full text follows.
President Obama just signed a one year extension of several provisions in the nation’s main counterterrorism law, the Patriot Act.
Had he done nothing, the provisions of the Patriot Act would have expired this Sunday.
The act, which was adopted in the weeks after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, expands the government’s ability to monitor Americans in the name of national security.
As a senator from Illinois, Barack Obama was a critic of the Patriot Act noting that:
"This is (...)
Columnist Wayne Madsen takes us behind the scenes of two momentous events in recent US history where General Alexander Haig played a pivotal role by twice foiling an attempt against the constitutional order. First, during the Watergate scandal when Haig anticipated that Richard Nixon might mobilize the military to hold on to power. Then, as Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State, when Haig did not fall for the official story of the assassination attempt, pinned on an allegedly love-sick young man whose father just happened to have very close links with Vice-President George H.W. Bush.
The White House
January 21, 2010
Thank you all for being here and for your warm welcome. It’s a privilege to be in historic Federal Hall. It was here more than two centuries ago that our first Congress served and our first president was inaugurated. It was here, in the early days of our republic, that Hamilton and Jefferson debated how best to administer a young economy and to ensure that our nation rewarded the talents and drive of its people. Two centuries later, we (...)
Contrary to his election campaign promises, Obama has issued dozens of signing statements. He has issued another executive order, this time establishing a so-called “Council of Governors.” The order, signed on January 11, further diminishes the sovereignty of the states and builds on a framework for possible martial law. The executive order was completely ignored by the corporate media.
Nearly 42 years after Martin Luther King’s assassination, "Black is Back" announces the return of black activism to the political arena. In commemoration of MLK’s birthday on January 15, 1929, Voltaire Network is publishing the following statemtent which was made by the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC on November 5, 2009.
THE number of American citizens and businesses submitting bankruptcy claims rose rapidly by 32% last year.
More than 1.4 million filings for bankruptcy have been submitted, more than in any other year since Congress revised the bankruptcy laws in 2005. In Arizona, the number of bankruptcies increased suddenly by 77% and in California, Wyoming, and Nevada, by more than 50%.
Although each state registered an increase in bankruptcies, Alaska (12%), Nebraska (12%) and North Dakota (14%) have (...)
For the first time since the Second World War, 2009 witnessed a drop in the number of cars in the United States. Only 10 million cars were sold versus the 14 million which were scrapped. At the same time, there has been a significant reduction of new teenage driver’s licenses.
In the course of the past 60 years, individual car ownership became the symbol of the American Way of Life. The United States vehicle fleet had reached an all-time high of 250 million cars for 209 million licensed (...)
This is probably the most well-rounded and complete article by James Petras on the configuration of Zionist power - at all levels of the US political system and society - that far outweighs its numerical strength. More than a lobby, the ZPC has acted over the past fifty years as an agent in the interest of a foreign military power. Its influence is deeply entrenched in many parts of the world, denoting a trend that Petras describes as the globalization of Zionist power.
Liz Cheney, former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s eldest daughter, has launched the Keep America Safe campaign. A first video has been broadcast articulating a scathing critique of the gap between Barack Obama’s declarations on security issues and his acts, lambasting him for spending more time on television shows and on the golf course than on his job.
In addition to Liz Cheney, also heading Keep America Safe are neo-conservative journalist William Kristol (editor-in-chief of the Weekly (...)
The general assumption is that Anthony "Van" Jones came under fire for signing a "9/11 Truth" petition. However, Glen Ford, Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report, thinks there is more to the story and offers an alternative interpretation. According to him, progressive elements like Jones who were appointed by Obama essentially as window dressing are becoming increasingly cumbersome in an atmosphere heavily conditioned by the neo-McCarthyites of the Republican Party whom Obama wishes to appease.
An institutional inquiry into militia growth in the United States points to mounting activities on the part of armed groups amidst economic and state problems.
A new report published by the non-profit US legal firm, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), identifies the ailing economy and a ’moderate’ Democrat president of African descent as the root causes for the increasing dissent which has led to the mushrooming sprout of armed bands and hate crimes across the country.
Researchers within (...)
The National Guard
A bipartisan pair of governors is opposing a new Defense Department proposal to handle natural and terrorism-related disasters, contending that a murky chain of command could lead to more problems than solutions.
Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R), chairman of the National Governors Association, and Vice Chairman Gov. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia penned a letter opposing the Pentagon proposal, which they said would hinder a state’s effort to respond to a disaster. (...)
Following July’s record death tolls, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll shows that US popular support for the war is also at an all-time low, with 54 percent of respondents opposed to the ongoing war and 41 percent in favor.
This was a monumental change from the May version of the same poll. which showed 50 percent in favor of the war and only 48 percent against. President Obama has made escalating the war the centerpiece of his foreign policy campaign.
The finding was largely in keeping (...)
United States: The Hidden Power
The Chomsky/Blankfort Polemic
Death of General Alexander Haig, 59th US Secretary of State
The Testimony of a US ex-marine, who went to fight in Iraq
Privatization of brutality (Video)