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John W. Whitehead

The Election Has Been Hacked: The Dismal Reality of Having No Real Electoral Choices


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The FBI is worried: foreign hackers have broken into two state election databases.

The Department of Homeland Security is worried: the nation’s voting system needs greater protection against cyberattacks.

I, on the other hand, am not overly worried: after all, the voting booths have already been hacked by a political elite comprised of Republicans and Democrats who are determined to retain power at all costs.

The outcome is a foregone conclusion: the police state will win and “we the people” will lose.

The damage has already been done.

The DHS, which has offered to help “secure” the nation’s elections, has already helped to lock down the nation.
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Children of the American Police State: Just Another Brick in the Wall

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The nation’s young people have been given front-row seats for an unfolding police drama that is rated R for profanity, violence and adult content.

In Arizona, a 7-year-old girl watched panic-stricken as a state trooper pointed his gun at her and her father during a traffic stop and reportedly threated to shoot her father in the back (twice) based on the mistaken belief that they were driving a stolen rental car.

In Oklahoma, a 5-year-old boy watched as a police officer used a high-powered rifle to shoot his dog Opie multiple timesin his family’s backyard while other children were also present. The police officer was mistakenly attempting to deliver a warrant on a 10-year-old case for someone who hadn’t lived at that address in a decade.

In Maryland, a 5-year-old boy was shot when police exchanged gunfire with the child’s mother—eventually killing her—over a dispute that began when Korryn Gaines refused to accept a traffic ticket for driving without a license plate on her car.

It’s difficult enough raising a child in a world ravaged by war, disease, poverty and hate, but when you add the police state into the mix, it becomes near impossible to guard against the growing unease that some of the monsters of our age come dressed in government uniforms.
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Killer Instincts: When Police Become Judge, Jury and Executioner

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Any police officer who shoots to kill is playing with fire.

In that split second of deciding whether to shoot and where to aim, that officer has appointed himself judge, jury and executioner over a fellow citizen. And when an officer fires a killing shot at a fellow citizen not once or twice but three and four and five times, he is no longer a guardian of the people but is acting as a paid assassin. In so doing, he has short-circuited a legal system that was long ago established to protect against such abuses by government agents.

These are hard words, I know, but hard times call for straight talking.

We’ve been dancing around the issue of police shootings for too long now, but we’re about to crash headlong into some harsh realities if we don’t do something to ward off disaster.

You’d better get ready.

It’s easy to get outraged when police wrongfully shoot children, old people and unarmed citizens watering their lawns or tending to autistic patients. It’s harder to rouse the public’s ire when the people getting shot and killed by police are suspected of criminal activities or armed with guns and knives. Yet both scenarios should be equally reprehensible to anyone who values human life, due process and the rule of law.
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Stop Drinking the Kool-Aid, America: Political Fiction in an Age of Televised Lies

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Politics is entertainment
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It is a heavily scripted, tightly choreographed, star-studded, ratings-driven, mass-marketed, costly exercise in how to sell a product—in this case, a presidential candidate—to dazzled consumers who will choose image over substance almost every time.

This year’s presidential election, much like every other election in recent years, is what historian Daniel Boorstin referred to as a “pseudo-event”: manufactured, contrived, confected and devoid of any intrinsic value save the value of being advertised. It is the end result of a culture that is moving away from substance toward sensationalism in an era of mass media.

As author Noam Chomsky rightly observed, “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.” In other words, we’re being sold a carefully crafted product by a monied elite who are masters in the art of making the public believe that they need exactly what is being sold to them, whether it’s the latest high-tech gadget, the hottest toy, or the most charismatic politician.
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Don’t Just Blame the Cops: Who Is Responsible for America’s Killing Fields?

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The latest shootings—in Texas, Minnesota, Louisiana, Illinois, New York, Missouri and every other state in the nation—are symptomatic of a psychotic outbreak by a nation that has been waging a war against its own citizens for too long.

We have long since passed the stage at which a government of wolves would give rise to a nation of sheep. As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, what we now have is a government of psychopaths that is actively breeding a nation of psychopathic killers.

We’re getting distracted, people.

Instead of focusing our ire on the architects of the American police state, who are responsible for turning the streets into mini-war zones, we’re getting distracted by the many voices eager to play the blame game by pointing their fingers at someone else.

Police groups are blaming President Obama and the Justice Department for failing to prosecute “cop killers.” Texas Republicans are blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for fomenting a “war on cops” mindset. Gun control advocates are blaming “gun lovers and their mouthpieces at the National Rifle Association” for America’s gun violence, reasoning that if all Americans were unarmed, police would not have to treat them as potential threats.
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Programmed to Kill: The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Dogs

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Almost two years after the firestorm that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, when a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager and militarized police descended in a brutal show of force to quell local protests, not much has really changed for the better.

Unarmed Americans are still getting shot by police with alarming regularity.

SWAT teams are still bursting through doors, terrorizing families and leaving lives and property shattered.

And the military industrial complex is still making a killing (literally and figuratively) at taxpayer expense from the transformation of small-town police forces into extensions of the military.

What has changed is the extent to which Americans—easily distracted by all of the political mumbo jumbo being bantered around—seem to have stopped paying attention or being outraged about revelations of government corruption, wrongdoing and outright abuse.

Part of this ignorance can be attributed to the failure of the mainstream media to report on what’s really taking place in the American police state.
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‘We the Prisoners’: The Demise of the Fourth Amendment

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In a carceral state—a.k.a. a prison state or a police state—there is no Fourth Amendment to protect you from the overreaches, abuses, searches and probing eyes of government overlords.

In a carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite.

In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards.

With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious protocol employed by government agents, “we the people”—the prisoners of the American police state—are being pushed that much further into a corner, our backs against the prison wall.

This concept of a carceral state in which we possess no rights except for that which the government grants on an as-needed basis is the only way I can begin to comprehend, let alone articulate, the irrational, surreal, topsy-turvy, through-the-looking-glass state of affairs that is being imposed upon us in America today.
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Violence Begets Violence: The Orlando Shootings and the War on Terror

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Until we start addressing the US government’s part in creating, cultivating and abetting domestic and global terrorism—and hold agencies such as the FBI and Defense Department accountable for importing and exporting violence, breeding extremism and generating blowback, which then gets turned loose on an unsuspecting American populace—we’ll be no closer to putting an end to the violence that claimed 50 lives at an Orlando nightclub on June 12, 2016, than we were 15 years ago when nearly 3,000 individuals were killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Here’s what I know:

While US politicians have been lecturing American citizens on the dangers of gun violence and working to enact measures that would make it more difficult for Americans to acquire certain weapons, the United States, the world’s largest exporter of arms, has been selling violence to the world, equipping nearly half the world with deadly weapons andprofiting to the tune of $36.2 billion.

Blowback, a CIA term referring to the unintended consequences of the US government’s international activities, is a reality. Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant, repeatedly warned that America’s use of its military to gain power over the global economy would result in devastating blowback. We failed to heed his warning.
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Congress’ Treachery, the FBI’s Double-Crossing and the American Citizenry’s Cluelessness: With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

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As the grandfather of three young ones, ages 5 to 9, I get to see my fair share of kid movies: plenty of hijinks, lots of bathroom humor, and an endless stream of slapstick gags. Yet even among the worst of the lot, there’s something to be learned, some message being conveyed, or some aspect of our reality being reflected in celluloid.

So it was that I found myself sitting through The Angry Birds Movie on a recent Sunday afternoon, doling out popcorn, candy and drinks and trying to make sense of a 90-minute movie based on a cell phone video game that has been downloaded more than 3 billion times.

The storyline is simple enough: an island nation of well-meaning, feel-good, flightless birds gets seduced by a charismatic green pig and his cohort who comes bearing food, wine and entertainment spectacles (the Roman equivalent of bread circuses). Ignoring the warnings of one solitary, suspicious “angry” bird that the pigs are up to no good, the clueless birds eventually discover that the pigs have stolen their most precious possessions: their eggs, the future of their entire society. It takes the “angry bird” to motivate the normally unflappable Bird Nation to get outraged enough to do something about the violation of their trust by the pigs and the theft of their personal property.
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Memorializing the Horrors of War with 10 Must-See War Films

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Nearly 71 years ago, the United States unleashed atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 
killing more than 200,000 individuals, many of whom were civilians.

Fast forward to the present day, and President Obama—the antiwar candidate and Nobel Peace Prize winner who has waged war longer than any American president and whose legacy includes targeted-drone killings and at least 1.3 million lives lost to the US-led war on terror—is paying lip service to the victims of America’s nuclear carnage, all the while continuing to feed the war machine.

America has long had a penchant for endless wars that empty our national coffers while fattening those of the military industrial complex. Since 9/11, we’ve spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Adding in our military efforts in Pakistan, as well as the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt, that cost rises to $4.4 trillion. Even now, the war drums are sounding as Obama prepares to deploy US troops on a long-term mission to Libya and continues to police the rest of the world with more than 1.3 million US troops being stationed at roughly 1000 military bases in over 150 countries.


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