Reprinted from Paul Craig Roberts Website
Judiciary Branch Has Self-Abolished
The US no longer has a judiciary. This former branch of government has transitioned into an enabler of executive branch fascism.
Privacy is a civil liberty protected by the US Constitution. The Constitution relies on courts to enforce its prohibitions against intrusive government, but if the executive branch claims (no proof required) "national security," courts kiss the Constitution good-bye.
Federal judges are chosen by the executive branch. The senate can refuse to confirm, but that is rare. The executive branch chooses judges who are friendly to executive power. This is especially the case for the appeals courts and the Supreme Court. The Justice (sic) Department keeps tabs on district court judges who rule against the government, and these judges don't make it to the higher courts. The result over time is to erode civil liberty.
Recently a three-judge panel of the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the National Security Agency can continue its mass surveillance of the US population without showing cause. The panel avoided the constitutional question by ruling on procedural terms that NSA had a right to withhold the information that would prove the plaintiffs' case.
By refusing to extend the section of the USA PATRIOT Act -- a name that puts a patriotic sheen on Orwellian totalitarianism -- that gave carte blanche to the NSA and by passing the USA Freedom Act, Congress attempted to give NSA's spying a constitutional patina. The USA Freedom Act allows the telecom companies to spy on us and collect all of our communications data and for NSA to access the data by obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court. The Freedom Act protects constitutional procedures by requiring NSA to go through the motions, but it does not prevent telecom companies from invading our privacy in behalf of NSA.
No one has ever explained the supposed threat that American citizens pose to themselves that requires all of their communications to be collected and stored by Big Brother. If the US Constitution was respected by the executive branch, Congress, the judiciary, law schools and bar associations, there would have been a public discussion about whether Americans are most threatened by the supposed threat that requires universal surveillance or by the loss of their constitutional protections. We all know what our Founding Fathers' answer would be.
Florida Government Defies Voters, Misuses Earmarked Funds
By allocating funds set aside by law for the purchase of land and wildlife habitat to other purposes, Florida Republicans have negated the Water and Land Conservation Amendment that Floridians passed with a 75% majority last November. The amendment requires that one-third of the funds produced by real estate stamp taxes be used for conservation purposes.
Conservation runs counter to the interests of real estate developers and polluters who have done so much to destroy Florida's unique environment. Real estate developers and polluters are major Republican contributors.
Faced with the people's will, the Republican government is claiming that proper uses of the fund are to pay salaries for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to teach best management practices for privately owned lands, and to pay private agricultural operations to retain the pollution that results from their operations on their own property.
In typical Republican fashion, money legally mandated for purchasing public land is being used to pay state salaries and to make payments to private land owners. This is a good indication of the scant respect that American democracy has for the will of the people.
A Robot Will Take Your Job
Several recent studies conclude that robots are going to displace millions of human workers. An Oxford University study found that 47 percent of jobs are at risk. Another study concludes that one third of all jobs will be lost to robots during the next 10 years. Some claim that the net job loss will not be so large, because new jobs will be created in order to repair the robots, at least until robots learn to do this also.