The Privatization of America Marginalizes Americans

I read two articles today that gave me a regularly recurring reality check on what is happening to the world we live in on a pretty massive scale: the privatization of America. And the marginalization of our rights and well-being.

The first is about the industries profiting most from the failing war on drugs (including the Corrections Corporation of America - aka a FOR-PROFIT PRISON). If you’ve been paying attention, you won’t be surprised all these groups have benefited from hefty lobbying power and low-level convictions: http://bit.ly/JqBvq7

The second is about the current struggle for the USPS to stay afloat, after the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was made law. Pushed heavily by lobbyists, this attempt to break the postal union and privatize the industry isn’t exactly in the interest of the average American. Unless this law is rolled back, it’s virtually impossible for USPS to remain in tact, after paying an unprecedented 100% of 75 years worth of future benefits for their employees - within 10 years - and being prohibited from striking up other fund-raising ventures, as is permitted in other countries: http://bit.ly/ILyEDD

It is well known that child labor and many other seemingly humanitarian laws were put into effect, primarily in order to boost the economy. So, it’s not exactly a shock that federal legislation is still being largely dictated by big money.

The difference I see across America is this - a vehement debilitation and dismantling of public services by the profit-driven private sector - an obvious detrimental hazard to the health, happiness, privacy, safety, and souls of its citizens.


The examples above, plus an endless number related to the military, security, education, and health care industries, etc., paint a surrounding realization that our country’s driving motivation is profit - not the good of the American People. Was it ever? Maybe not, but I imagine freedom and equality were an easier sell once upon a time, not the castaways they appear to be today.

The America of today is quite different than the one we pictured pledging allegiance to, with our hands over our hearts, at our grade school desks. Today, it seems, there’s liberty and justice for all…who can pay for it. And even then, especially if a particular private prison is shooting for a quota they promised to shareholders, it could really go either way.


We just celebrated the new year - a new beginning, a clean slate. We all shouted, “Happy New Year!” Most of us raised a glass or two - or twelve - to leaving our troubles back in 2011. 
This also happened…The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) was signed by President Obama on New Year’s Eve: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alton-lu/the-national-defense-auth_b_1180869.html
I’m not one to point fingers at any one man in Washington. In my opinion, anyone who doesn’t wonder who the man (or men - or yes, even women) behind the curtain are when each injustice occurs just doesn’t get it.
I voted for Obama. I felt hopeful and eager to see a changed world spearheaded by his administration. I realize now, that was naive.
When reports on current legislation, such as NDAA, along with internet-blocking bills like SOPA and PIPA surface, I can’t help thinking, “Damn, this real-life V For Vendetta shit is getting out of hand.” If you haven’t seen that movie, just watch it.
Of course, this *paranoid conspiracy thinking* is fueled by unending reports of brutality and lack of due process throughout the OWS movement as well.
Here is a recent celebrity account of NYPD brutality, followed by a ustream feed from 1/1/12, documenting the arrest of a National Lawyers Guild Observer by NYPD: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/01/ellen-barkin-shoved-to-ground-by-nypd_n_1178489.html?ref=mostpopular
http://t.co/zIXqhpoc (National Lawyers Guild Observer Arrest)
The National Lawyers Guild filed for access to a possible paper trail that would connect nationwide OWS crackdowns with Federal coordination: 
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/19/1038027/-National-Lawyers-Guild-files-FOIA-Requests,-regarding-OWS-Crackdowns
I’d love to be mistaken on this, but so far it appears the request has been denied. Why?
Like I said, current events remind me of V For Vendetta more and more every day..
******

"Good evening, London.
Allow me first to apologize for this interruption.
I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition.
I enjoy them as much as any bloke.
But, in the spirit of commemoration..I thought we could mark this time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.
There are of course those who do not want us to speak. 
Why?
Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. 
Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.
And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?
Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.
How did this happen? Who’s to blame?
Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. 
I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be?
War, terror, disease.
There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor.
He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.”
~V

We just celebrated the new year - a new beginning, a clean slate. We all shouted, “Happy New Year!” Most of us raised a glass or two - or twelve - to leaving our troubles back in 2011. 

This also happened…The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) was signed by President Obama on New Year’s Eve: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alton-lu/the-national-defense-auth_b_1180869.html

I’m not one to point fingers at any one man in Washington. In my opinion, anyone who doesn’t wonder who the man (or men - or yes, even women) behind the curtain are when each injustice occurs just doesn’t get it.

I voted for Obama. I felt hopeful and eager to see a changed world spearheaded by his administration. I realize now, that was naive.

When reports on current legislation, such as NDAA, along with internet-blocking bills like SOPA and PIPA surface, I can’t help thinking, “Damn, this real-life V For Vendetta shit is getting out of hand.” If you haven’t seen that movie, just watch it.

Of course, this *paranoid conspiracy thinking* is fueled by unending reports of brutality and lack of due process throughout the OWS movement as well.

Here is a recent celebrity account of NYPD brutality, followed by a ustream feed from 1/1/12, documenting the arrest of a National Lawyers Guild Observer by NYPD: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/01/ellen-barkin-shoved-to-ground-by-nypd_n_1178489.html?ref=mostpopular

http://t.co/zIXqhpoc (National Lawyers Guild Observer Arrest)

The National Lawyers Guild filed for access to a possible paper trail that would connect nationwide OWS crackdowns with Federal coordination

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/19/1038027/-National-Lawyers-Guild-files-FOIA-Requests,-regarding-OWS-Crackdowns

I’d love to be mistaken on this, but so far it appears the request has been denied. Why?

Like I said, current events remind me of V For Vendetta more and more every day..

******

"Good evening, London.

Allow me first to apologize for this interruption.

I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition.

I enjoy them as much as any bloke.

But, in the spirit of commemoration..I thought we could mark this time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. 

Why?

Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. 

Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?

Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.

How did this happen? Who’s to blame?

Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. 

I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be?

War, terror, disease.

There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor.

He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.”

~V

control + shift.

control + shift.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was just passed by a 283 - 136 House vote, exactly 220 years after the Bill of Rights was passed (unfortunate coincidence). It will now head to the Senate, then the White House.
These things usually happen at Christmas time. They know how easy it is to take ANOTHER dump on our Bill of Rights when we’re busy decorating our trees, watching football, and pepper spraying each other in the face over an XBOX at Walmart.
Every time I ask someone if they’ve heard of NDAA or the closely related, SOPA, they say no. Since there are not enough expletives to convey how fucked up on a human rights level they both appear to be, I feel compelled to pass along the info. If it doesn’t affect your life, it just hasn’t affected your life - yet.
Both bills include authorization by government committee to attempt the control of internet content and participation.
Concise video explaining SOPA: http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/11/what-is-protect-ip/
The NDAA is said to also contain language that would make it perfectly legal to detain suspected terrorists, regardless of citizenship, for an indefinite period of time, without due process. If similar news over the course of recent post 9/11 years makes this seem commonplace, read that statement again. 
The continuing erosion of civil rights has even struck a chord with mainstream media, prompting MTV to produce several spots depicting a US holocaust-like martial law.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO6yQvODZjI&feature=related
This is a human issue. A world issue. To fit this into a political left/right frame or blame it on ANY one man or party is, simply, nuts.
I feel the fatigue of trying to get people to wake up and smell the police state we used to believe was the land of the free and home of the brave. And even when they do, I have trouble with words of what action to take - what to do about it.
But, I see an NDAA twitter update every few seconds containing outcries for justice and notice the top trends are #nationalcupcakeday and #youknowyouintheghetto, with #NDAA nowhere to be found.
So, after the WTF subsides, I can’t help being one of those people who try to get you to at least see what’s happening when it’s so tempting not to think about it.
At times like this, I miss George Carlin, like Americans miss America. People who can dole out doses of social medicine that big and make people love them for it are amazing to me. But, then again, maybe it’s a good thing he passed before the NDAA did, so he’ll never face the chance of being shipped to Guantanamo for his ‘terrorist’ views.
For more on NDAA, who’s paying your ‘representatives’ for their vote, and my new vocabulary word of the day, Hacktivism: http://rt.com/usa/news/anonymous-ndaa-portman-torture-913/

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was just passed by a 283 - 136 House vote, exactly 220 years after the Bill of Rights was passed (unfortunate coincidence). It will now head to the Senate, then the White House.

These things usually happen at Christmas time. They know how easy it is to take ANOTHER dump on our Bill of Rights when we’re busy decorating our trees, watching football, and pepper spraying each other in the face over an XBOX at Walmart.

Every time I ask someone if they’ve heard of NDAA or the closely related, SOPA, they say no. Since there are not enough expletives to convey how fucked up on a human rights level they both appear to be, I feel compelled to pass along the info. If it doesn’t affect your life, it just hasn’t affected your life - yet.

Both bills include authorization by government committee to attempt the control of internet content and participation.

Concise video explaining SOPA: http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/11/what-is-protect-ip/

The NDAA is said to also contain language that would make it perfectly legal to detain suspected terrorists, regardless of citizenship, for an indefinite period of time, without due process. If similar news over the course of recent post 9/11 years makes this seem commonplace, read that statement again. 

The continuing erosion of civil rights has even struck a chord with mainstream media, prompting MTV to produce several spots depicting a US holocaust-like martial law.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO6yQvODZjI&feature=related

This is a human issue. A world issue. To fit this into a political left/right frame or blame it on ANY one man or party is, simply, nuts.

I feel the fatigue of trying to get people to wake up and smell the police state we used to believe was the land of the free and home of the brave. And even when they do, I have trouble with words of what action to take - what to do about it.

But, I see an NDAA twitter update every few seconds containing outcries for justice and notice the top trends are #nationalcupcakeday and #youknowyouintheghetto, with #NDAA nowhere to be found.

So, after the WTF subsides, I can’t help being one of those people who try to get you to at least see what’s happening when it’s so tempting not to think about it.

At times like this, I miss George Carlin, like Americans miss America. People who can dole out doses of social medicine that big and make people love them for it are amazing to me. But, then again, maybe it’s a good thing he passed before the NDAA did, so he’ll never face the chance of being shipped to Guantanamo for his ‘terrorist’ views.

For more on NDAA, who’s paying your ‘representatives’ for their vote, and my new vocabulary word of the day, Hacktivism: http://rt.com/usa/news/anonymous-ndaa-portman-torture-913/

Yesterday, police at UC Davis attacked seated students with a chemical gas. I teach at UC Davis and I personally know many of the students who were the victims of this brutal and unprovoked assault. They are top students. In fact, I can report that among the students I know, the higher a student’s grade point average, the more likely it is that they are centrally involved in the protests.

This is not surprising, since what is at issue is the dismantling of public education in California. Just six years ago, tuition at the University of California was $5357. Tuition is currently $12,192. According to current proposals, it will be $22,068 by 2015-2016. We have discussed this in my classes, and about one third of my students report that their families would likely have to pull them out of school at the new tuition. It is not a happy moment when the students look around the room and see who it is that will disappear from campus. These are young people who, like college students everywhere and at all times, form some of the deepest friendships they will have in their lives.

This is what motivates students who have never taken part in any sort of social protest to “occupy” the campus quad. And indeed, there were students who were attacked with chemical agents by robocops who were engaging in their first civic protest.

Militarization of Campus Police by Bob Ostertag Composer, historian, journalist, and Professor of Technocultural Studies and Music at UC Davis (via: alyson-noele)

You should probably read this.

(via kateoplis)

(via silas216)

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

Nathan Brown, Assistant Professor University of California at Davis in an open letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi (via cultureofresistance)

These officers are a disgrace. They should all be fired, their pensions revoked, and they should all face criminal prosecution.

(via wilwheaton)

(via wilwheaton)