Thursday, December 13, 2012
This video is a depressing yet pretty accurate description of the republican party and as a whole our current political discourse! It's sot of funny, yet very sad at the same time. Do yourself a favor and be informed!
Below is the link to the original video.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Selling the Drug War for $3 Billion? How the Pentagon Will Privatize an International War on Drugs | Drugs | AlterNet
Selling the Drug War for $3 Billion? How the Pentagon Will Privatize an International War on Drugs
December 7, 2011 |
There is an increasing perception that the war on drugs is simply unwinnable. The scandalous death toll and socioeconomic impact so far suffered in the countries implicated either as producers or as transit routes has led to such assessment.
Inadequate, inefficient combat strategies and a continuously renewed global net of corruption are part of the complex problem.
Unlike terrorists or guerrilla groups, cartels are not motivated by ideology or ideals but rather by profit goals; and of course, by the ambition of power. The cartels' multileveled chains of command, recurrent reorganization, consistent recruiting, international criminal alliances, increasing lethal force and sophistication, make it an omnipresent enemy: hard to target, and even harder to undermine if the battle is being fought with artillery alone. Yet, the United States has spent billions fighting such a foe during the last four decades, mainly, through no other strategy than the use of weaponry, and war tactics. The 'heart' of the criminal organizations -their finances- is mysteriously left untouched.
It is all engraved on the records of the very much criticized U.S. drug policy, even prior to President Richard Nixon first coining of the term "War on Drugs" in 1971. No substantial results have been achieved since then.
The Pentagon's Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office (CNTPO) -a technically unknown entity created in 1995- just announced a $3 billion contract for U.S.-funded anti-narcotics operations around the world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, and now also Mexico.
The bids were open to private security firms starting Nov. 9 and the budget breakdown by category includes as much as $950 million for "operations, logistics, and minor construction," up to $975 million for training foreign forces, $875 million for "information" tasks, and $240 million for "program and programmatic support," as posted in the official announcement.
The Pentagon's and Department of Defense strategy though the CNTPO, is part of the plan for the privatization of military assistance and intelligence services, which turns to be a very profitable business, and part of the U.S. secretive move to transfer tactics from the so called "war on terror", to the "war on drugs."
According to the description given by the US federal government, the CNTPO seeks to provide a wide variety of security services, which, in Mexico's case, would include instruction for pilots and mechanics of UH-60 (Black Hawk,) Schweizer 333 or OH-58 and Bell 206 helicopters; development and delivery of curriculum, provide all personnel, equipment and materials, and conduct training for night vision helicopter pilots and crew. Other contracts would include delivery of equipment and training to exchange information on drug trafficking activity.
The Mexican government hasn't addressed thus far, the potential presence of private foreign firms teaching on how to patrol the many conflicted areas of its territory, where the drug war, has resulted in 50,000 deaths in the last five years.
But, as unknown as it is, and despite the fact of not having a physical office inside The Pentagon, the CNTPO does have some history: in 2009, this entity unsuccessfully tried to award a contract worth $1 billion to the Blackwater military services corporation. According to Wired News , Blackwater employees had been accused of corruption, theft and human rights violations through service of contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The scandal led to a change of name. Blackwater is now Xe Services LLC.
Beyond the specific case of Blackwater, some military experts have expressed concern that mercenaries under the identity of private corporations could win lucrative contracts, exceeding their boundaries into a wide variety of activities, ranging from servicing criminals as a source of intelligence, to the violation of civil and human rights.
WASHINGTON -- Americans believe overwhelmingly that the U.S. is losing the war on drugs and are unenthusiastic about spending more money to win it, according to aRasmussen poll released Tuesday.
-- 51 percent of respondents said alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, while 24 percent said pot is more dangerous and 24 percent aren't sure.
The Party of Work - NYTimes.com
The Party of Work
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: November 8, 2012
The American colonies were first settled by Protestant dissenters. These were people who refused to submit to the established religious authorities. They sought personal relationships with God. They moved to the frontier when life got too confining. They created an American creed, built, as the sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset put it, around liberty, individualism, equal opportunity, populism and laissez-faire.
Josh Haner/The New York Times
This creed shaped America and evolved with the decades. Starting in the mid-20th century, there was a Southern and Western version of it, formed by ranching Republicans like Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Their version drew on the traditional tenets: ordinary people are capable of greatness; individuals have the power to shape their destinies; they should be given maximum freedom to do so.
This is not an Ayn Randian, radically individualistic belief system. Republicans in this mold place tremendous importance on churches, charities and families — on the sort of pastoral work Mitt Romney does and the sort of community groups Representative Paul Ryan celebrated in a speech at Cleveland State University last month.
But this worldview is innately suspicious of government. Its adherents generally believe in the equation that more government equals less individual and civic vitality. Growing beyond proper limits, government saps initiative, sucks resources, breeds a sense of entitlement and imposes a stifling uniformity on the diverse webs of local activity.
During the 2012 campaign, Republicans kept circling back to the spot where government expansion threatens personal initiative: you didn’t build that; makers versus takers; the supposed dependency of the 47 percent. Again and again, Republicans argued that the vital essence of the country is threatened by overweening government.
These economic values played well in places with a lot of Protestant dissenters and their cultural heirs. They struck chords with people whose imaginations are inspired by the frontier experience.
But, each year, there are more Americans whose cultural roots lie elsewhere. Each year, there are more people from different cultures, with different attitudes toward authority, different attitudes about individualism, different ideas about what makes people enterprising.
More important, people in these groups are facing problems not captured by the fundamental Republican equation: more government = less vitality.
The Pew Research Center does excellent research on Asian-American and Hispanic values. Two findings jump out. First, people in these groups have an awesome commitment to work. By most measures, members of these groups value industriousness more than whites.
Second, they are also tremendously appreciative of government. In survey after survey, they embrace the idea that some government programs can incite hard work, not undermine it; enhance opportunity, not crush it.
Moreover, when they look at the things that undermine the work ethic and threaten their chances to succeed, it’s often not government. It’s a modern economy in which you can work more productively, but your wages still don’t rise. It’s a bloated financial sector that just sent the world into turmoil. It’s a university system that is indispensable but unaffordable. It’s chaotic neighborhoods that can’t be cured by withdrawing government programs.
For these people, the Republican equation is irrelevant. When they hear Romney talk abstractly about Big Government vs. Small Government, they think: He doesn’t get me or people like me.
Let’s just look at one segment, Asian-Americans. Many of these people are leading the lives Republicans celebrate. They are, disproportionately, entrepreneurial, industrious and family-oriented. Yet, on Tuesday, Asian-Americans rejected the Republican Party by 3 to 1. They don’t relate to the Republican equation that more government = less work.
Over all, Republicans have lost the popular vote in five out of the six post-cold-war elections because large parts of the country have moved on. The basic Republican framing no longer resonates.
Some Republicans argue that they can win over these rising groups with a better immigration policy. That’s necessary but insufficient. The real problem is economic values.
If I were given a few minutes with the Republican billionaires, I’d say: spend less money on marketing and more on product development. Spend less on “super PACs” and more on research. Find people who can shift the debate away from the abstract frameworks — like Big Government vs. Small Government. Find people who can go out with notebooks and study specific, grounded everyday problems: what exactly does it take these days to rise? What exactly happens to the ambitious kid in Akron at each stage of life in this new economy? What are the best ways to rouse ambition and open fields of opportunity?
Don’t get hung up on whether the federal government is 20 percent or 22 percent of G.D.P. Let Democrats be the party of security, defending the 20th-century welfare state. Be the party that celebrates work and inflames enterprise. Use any tool, public or private, to help people transform their lives.
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on November 9, 2012, on page A31 of the New York edition with the headline: The Party Of Work.
An Oklahoma teen convicted of manslaughter has sentenced to 10 years of probation, with requirements that include regularly attending church.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Mitt Romney happens to be an extreme example of our current political discourse. But, I would like to argue that Mitt Romney does not change positions so consistently due to the voters. Rather, Mitt "Money" Romney "Flip Flops" for "political" reasons. In today's climate political superiority is simple, being the financially dominant candidate. During this election many of Mitt Romney's turnabouts in position were largely contradictory to most of the electorate. Mitt and his advisers knew something that many in the public seemed unaware of, which is the candidate who raises more money, statistically speaking, overwhelming will emerge as the victor. Why cater to the electorate, when a few wealthy donors will decide the outcome? Within the last few decades Citizens United and the general convergence of money into our political system is destroying what many Americans including our founding fathers fought and died for. The PEOPLE should decide who represents them regardless of religion, sex, race or financial affluence. According to OpenSecrets.org Romney and Obama combined to spend an eyebrow raising $2,326,060,340 in this election cycle alone. Furthermore, the 2012 election will make history as being the most expensive. Are we as a nation comfortable in allowing money to decide who we will elect? My opinion is an emphatic NO! We must get money and it's corrosive influence out of politics and we must do it now!
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