Death by Oligarchy - by Chris Hedges, illustration by Mr. Fish for Truthdig

Death by Oligarchy

Chris Hedges:
Privilege does strange and unpleasant things to human beings. I saw these distortions among my rich classmates as a scholarship student at prep school and at Harvard University, an institution designed, like all elite schools, to perpetuate the plutocracy. Living in privilege spawns callousness, even cruelty, to those less fortunate and feeds a bottomless greed.
All our institutions—the press, the courts, legislative bodies, the executive branch and academia—have been perverted to serve the oligarch’s narrow, selfish interests while an oppressed citizenry, struggling to survive, is seething with mounting rage and frustration.
Oligarchs, freed from outside oversight and regulation, wantonly pillage the political and economic institutions that sustain them.
Greed is bottomless. It is the disease of the rich. All societies are plagued by social inequality, but when those on the bottom and in the middle of the social pyramid lose their voice and agency, when the society exists only to serve the greed of the rich, when income inequality reaches the levels it has reached in the United States, the social fabric is torn apart and the society destroys itself.

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No American Should Stand for the Way We Wage War

No American Should Stand for the Way We Wage War

According to a 2017 report from Eyewitness Media Hub, if you are exposed to distressing experiences, even when not physically present, your brain has the capacity to produce symptoms of distress similar to those you would feel if you had indeed been there. This is sometimes called vicarious trauma, which is acquired through working with people who have experienced trauma, hearing their stories, and becoming a witness to the pain and suffering that they continue to endure. Common signs of vicarious trauma include experiencing lingering feelings of anger, rage, and sadness. In some more extreme cases, intense exposure to such subject matter can lead to anxiety, stress, burnout, and PTSD. A recent survey of 346 human rights advocates found that 19% of them indeed did appear to have PTSD, or at least symptoms long associated with that syndrome; 15% seemed to be experiencing depression; and 19% reported burnout. Curiously enough, such rates are comparable to those found among first responders and even combat veterans. Additionally, perfectionists who viewed their efforts, no matter how fervent, as ineffective exhibited even more severe symptoms of depression.
Still, a majority of my day is spent bearing witness to the pain, fear, and terror that America’s actions have been causing across the Greater Middle East and North Africa. I know perfectly well that I can’t necessarily change any of the outcomes there, since I’m not the one directing those strikes or making the rules. However, I also know how important it is to hear directly from those impacted, so I’ll continue to do whatever I can to make sure the stories of the victims of America’s seemingly endless wars are told.
Or at least I can try (and cry).

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The Post Office is Spying: Mail Cover Program

Neither Rain, Sleet, nor Snow Will Stop the Post Office From Spying on You

The Mail Cover Program allows postal employees to photograph and send to federal law enforcement organizations (FBI, DHS, Secret Service, etc.) the front and back of every piece of mail the Post Office processes. It also retains the information digitally and provides it to any government agency that wants it—without a warrant.
The question, though, is not how many cases are opened under the Mail Cover Program or even how many requests there are for the information. The real question is, “How is this constitutional?” Perhaps a secondary question is, “Why hasn’t anybody challenged the program in the courts?” In general, Americans don’t–or at least haven’t–objected to a gradual loss of civil liberties and constitutional rights. That has to stop. When even the Post Office is spying on you, you know the republic is in trouble.

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nest-is-listening

Google’s Always Listening: Nest Security System Has A Secret Embedded Microphone

Surprise! Another smart home device has the ability to spy on people. Google announced that Nest Secure, its home security and alarm system, was now compatible with the company’s Home Assistant voice-control function. Google never mentioned there was a microphone embedded in the device.
Last year, Google came under fire for its participation in a controversial Pentagon program called Project Maven, which would use AI and machines to track and identify objects using drones for the Department of Defense.
Even Google employees objected to the company’s involvement in that program. In a letter signed by more than 3,100 Google employees, the workers stated: “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war.”

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stockholmsyndrome-neogaf.com

How Come the World is Suffering from Stockholm Syndrome

It may sound incredible, but it is true: in countries that have been damaged, even totally robbed and destroyed by the West, many people are still enamored with Europe and North America.
Slavery, mass murder, genocidal expansions; the West robbed the world, and then consolidated its power, promoting its exceptionalism through relentless brainwashing (called ‘education’), propaganda (called ‘information’), and twisted entertainment for the masses that inhabit poor countries (called ‘culture’ and ‘the arts’).

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orwell-liberty

Truth Is What We Hide, Self-Serving Cover Stories Are What We Sell

The self-serving cover stories always tout the nobility of the elite issuing the PR: we in the Federal Reserve saved civilization by saving the Too Big To Fail Banks (barf); we in the corporate media do investigative reporting without bias (barf); we in central government only lie to protect you from unpleasant realities–it’s for your own good (barf); we in the NSA, CIA and FBI only lie because it’s our job to lie, and so on.
Three recent essays speak to the degradation of data and factual records in favor of self-serving cover stories and corrosive political correctness.

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Smart Pakem App

Fascist App is Now Here! Government Will Decide Whether Your Belief Is Right or Wrong

A few months ago, the Tax Office implemented a system to spy on citizens through social media, now there is an an app for heresy “Smart Pakem” where others can judge and prosecute you for your belief, and then the plan to implement Shariah Law, when Indonesia is not an Islamic country, it is a secular country which legally recognises other religions than just Islam. As if things are not already bad in Indonesia.
It seems one by one, step by step, the ruling elites are changing Indonesia, the secular country into an Islamic country like Saudi Arabia, changing Indonesia into a fascist dictatorship state. Will the Indonesians educate themselves and revolt to their ruling elites’ tyranny? 

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Public city garden in Tehran, Iran

Hello – They Lied to You About Iran!

But unlike in Saudi Arabia or Indonesia, religion is not ‘being thrown into your face’ here; it is not waved as a flag. In Iran, religion is something internal, deep, which is expressed humbly and without noise. While the mosques of Jakarta broadcast, for hours a day and using powerful loudspeakers, entire sermons, while people are now being thrown into jail for even criticizing this brutal imposition of religion on the general public, in Tehran I could hardly even detect Adhan (call for prayer).
The West would never inflict sanctions on Indonesia or antagonize it in any other way, no matter how brutal it is to its own people: Washington, London and Canberra already ruined its socialist direction after the US-orchestrated coup of 1965.
Jakarta is now an obedient, turbo capitalist, anti-Communist, West-junk-food-and-crap-entertainment-loving society. It has nothing public left. The elites have fully robbed the country on behalf of the West. Religions in Indonesia are used to uphold the pro-Western fascist regime.

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a malnourished boy sits on a hospital bed at the Aslam Health Center, Hajjah, Yemen

Save the Children: 85,000 Children May Have Already Died of Hunger in Yemen

A leading international aid group said Wednesday that an estimated 85,000 Yemeni children under the age of 5 may have died of hunger and disease since the outbreak of the country’s civil war in 2015.
Save the Children based its figures on mortality rates for untreated cases of severe acute malnutrition, or SAM, in young children. The United Nations says more than 1.3 million children have suffered from SAM since a Saudi-led coalition went to war with Yemen’s Houthi rebels in March 2015.

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Human Microchip

One Company Wants To Implant Microchips Into The Hands Of “Hundreds Of Thousands” Of Global Workers

At one time, the idea that large numbers of people would willingly allow themselves to have microchips implanted into their hands seemed a bit crazy, but now it has become a reality. Thousands of tech enthusiasts all across Europe have already had microchips implanted, and now a Swedish company is working with very large global employers to implement this on the corporate level.
There won’t be any talk about the potential tyranny that government-issued identity microchips could unleash.  Instead, all of the talk will be about the “potential benefits” and about how this will make things so much safer.
We truly do live in apocalyptic times, and many of us can see where all of this is leading. Unfortunately, we can complain all that we want but the agenda just keeps moving forward.
You will get chipped. It’s just a matter of time. They want you to believe that it is inevitable and that everyone around  you will eventually give in and get chipped.
As for me and my house, we will never be chipped under any circumstances.  Everything will be “voluntary” in the beginning, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how this story will end.

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