The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 17, 2013

By Washington's Blog

Revelations about the breathtaking scope of government spying are coming so fast that it's time for an updated roundup. The only way to fix things is to fire all of the corrupt government officials who let it happen. As the polls above show, the American public is starting to wake up to that fact.::::::::

New Revelations Are Breaking Every Day

Revelations about the breathtaking scope of government spying are coming so fast that it's time for an updated roundup:

  • EFF points out: "The thousands of violations only include the NSA's main office in Maryland -- not the other -- potentially hundreds -- of other NSA offices across the country. And even more importantly, the documents published by the Post reveal violations increasing every year."
  • Two Senators on the intelligence committee said the violations revealed in the Post article were just the "tip of the iceberg."
  • NSA whistleblowers say that the NSA collects all of our conversations word-for-word.
  • Top counter-terror experts say that the government's mass spying doesn't keep us safe.
  • While the government initially claimed that mass surveillance on Americans prevented more than 50 terror attacks, the NSA's deputy director John Inglis walked that position back all the way to saying that -- at the most -- one (1) plot might have been disrupted by the bulk phone records collection alone. In other words, the NSA can't prove that stopped any terror attacks. The government greatly exaggerated an alleged recent terror plot for political purposes (and promoted the fearmongering of serial liars). The argument that recent terror warnings show that NSA spying is necessary is so weak that American counter-terrorism experts have slammed it as "crazy pants."
  • The feds are considering prosecuting the owner of a private email company -- who shut down his business rather than turning over records to the NSA -- for refusing to fork over the information and keep quiet. This is a little like trying to throw someone in jail because he's died and is no longer paying taxes.
  • Mass spying creates an easy mark for hackers. Indeed, the Pentagon now sees the collection of "big data" as a "national security threat" ... but the NSA is the biggest data collector on the planet, and thus provides a tempting mother lode of information for foreign hackers.
  • IT and security professionals are quite concerned about government spying.
  • Polls show that the public doesn't believe the NSA ... and thinks that the government has gone way too far in the name of terrorism.
  • Congress members are getting an earful from their constituents about mass surveillance.
  • Only 11% of Americans trust Obama to actually do anything to rein in spying.
  • A Congressman noted that -- even if a mass surveillance program is started for good purposes -- it will inevitably turn into a witch hunt.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Oliver Stone: Obama a Snake (, 8/14/13 )

Film director Oliver Stone—who has made no secret of his liberal political views—called President Barack Obama a “snake” for his role in National Security Agency spying programs that have become, he said, more about silencing protestors than finding terrorists. “Obama is a snake,” Stone told an audience in Tokyo on Monday. “He’s a snake. And we have to turn on him.” “The Boston Marathon, they were so busy tracking down potential protestors…that they missed the bombers,” Stone told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

 “It’s never about terrorists, it always becomes about the way J. Edgar Hoover did it; he brought all the weight of government to bear against protestors. He didn’t like protestors. He thought they were left-wing communists. He never could find the proof, but by the time the Vietnam War came around, as you know, 500,000 people were on the list, and they were being eavesdropped on. And where are we now? Same place.”

Stone said that admitted NSA leaker Edward Snowden “is a hero to me. He sacrificed his well-being for the good of us all” and that Russia’s Vladimir Putin did the right thing by granting Snowden asylum, according to PressTV.

“I’m proud of him for doing it,” Stone said of Putin and Russia. “We need more countries to stand up to the U.S.”

Stone also called Snowden a hero last month and said it’s “a disgrace that Obama is more concerned with hunting him down Snowden than reforming these George Bush-style eavesdropping techniques.”

Last summer in the lead up to the 2012 Republican National Convention, Stone said he’d vote for Ron Paul over Obama if Paul secured the GOP nomination. Stone suggested that Paul was the “only one” who’s “saying anything intelligent about the future of the world.”

Relations between Russia and the U.S. have been frosty since the Snowden asylum decision, with Obama abruptly canceling a meeting with Putin, which was taken as a snub.

Statue of Shirdi Sai Baba, Shirdi, India

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

GRAPHIC: Roots Action logo header
Don't Let the 4th Amendment Violation Center Open in Utah!

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What may be the largest building in the world, seven times the size of the Pentagon[1], will -- if it opens -- serve only one purpose: to violate the Fourth Amendment.[2]

Tell Congress and the President not to open the Utah Data Center's doors.

This center sucks up data on our use of the internet, telephones, skype, emails, texts, credit cards, and financial, legal, travel, and health records.

Add your voice against this Orwellian monstrosity now!

The Bill of Rights was written by people who knew not to trust unchecked government powers. The Fourth Amendment reads:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Join with us in demanding the restoration of the Fourth Amendment and opposing the opening of the world's biggest building, dedicated to civil liberties abuses.

Please forward this email far and wide.

-- The team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.

1. Defense One: 7 Times Bigger Than the Pentagon
2. James Bamford: NSA Building Country's Biggest Spy Center

Monday, August 12, 2013

So Much In Common

President Obama: One Corporate Puppet Among Many ( by Carl Gibson,, 4/15/2013 )


This year, the New Deal turned 80. And those same New Deal programs championed by FDR, a Democrat, defined the bedrock of the American left political achievements for all others who would seek the presidency. Now, the corporate takeover of our government has proven that those New Deal programs can be slowly dismantled by a Democrat president, as the Obama administration fully digs its heels in on an austerity agenda.

He's not the one running the show, but rather, his strings are being pulled by Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers like Pete Peterson, who is most of the wallet behind the corporate-funded "Fix The Debt" sham campaign. Even one of Fix The Debt's key spokesmen admitted that their goal was to create an "artificial crisis" that would justify gutting Social Security.

Jack Lew, Obama's Treasury Secretary is leading the administration's doublespeak on austerity. In Europe, he's told political leaders to lighten up on austerity measures. But in America, Lew is telling Congress to endorse President Obama's proposals to cut earned benefits for vulnerable Americans who need them to survive, even though Social Security doesn't contribute to the deficit. Lew is also a pawn of the corporate and financial string-pullers, coming from Citigroup before his years in the Clinton Administration's division of budget. He was even guaranteed a bonus by Citigroup if he was able to secure a "high-level" federal job.

The corporations running our government want our public resources, too. The White House is currently mulling a proposal to sell off the Tennessee Valley Authority, which FDR's New Deal established as the nation's largest publicly-owned power company. Privatization of public resources is one of the key austerity measures being forced by the European Union right now, particularly in scorched-earth economies like Greece and Spain. Privatization of public resources also means that by selling off a public good for corporate profit, the people who depended on that service are usually subject to frequent price gouging, while under the thumb of an unaccountable private corporation.

Privatization is especially high on the agenda, considering the ten oil spills that happened in America over just two week's time and the Senate's recent endorsement of the Keystone XL pipeline. A large public drinking water supply was tainted with 5,000 barrels of tar sands oil in Mayflower, Ark. Yet, Bill Clinton, the only former U.S. President from Arkansas, has been noticeably silent on Exxon's catastrophe even though Little Rock is just 25 miles north of Mayflower.

The silence from both Clinton and Obama on Mayflower is deafening, especially as Exxon has declared the area over the spill a no-fly zone, which has been enforced by Obama's FAA. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, has even privatized oil spill cleanup, allowing a company that investigative journalist Steve Horn recently revealed is notorious for oil spill coverups. And since a loophole in federal law says that Exxon's spilled tar sands oil is bitumen and not oil, they won't have to pay for the cleanup. The cleanup and coverup job for Mayflower will be paid for by the taxpayers, while the corporations who made the entire mess draw more record profits. BP did the same thing after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that ruined an entire region's economy -- wrote it off on their taxes as a loss, shifting the cost to suckers like us. The corporations who run our state and federal governments don't care which party is in power, as long as they can still control their agenda.

President Obama is also caving to the meat industry's demands to privatize poultry inspection, despite mainstream chicken producers like Tyson just recently paying a multimillion-dollar settlement for ammonia accidents. Obama's quiet signing of the Monsanto Protection Act, which exempts GMO crops from judicial review and was written by a senator who received money from Monsanto, is another indicator of the White House's subservience to big agriculture.

None of these measures are because corporations are struggling and need help from the government to survive. On the contrary, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 have rallied to zoom past pre-recession levels, and corporate profits are at record highs, precisely because workers' wages are so low. Yet the only bone Obama has thrown to the poor was a proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9. This would make an unremarkable difference in the lifestyles of low-wage workers, as Elizabeth Warren rightly pointed out that had the minimum wage kept up with executive pay, or even just the cost of living, it would be roughly $20 an hour today.

The left has made plenty of fuss over the president's latest proposal to gut one of the programs near and dear to Americans of all political stripes. They've even promised to offer primary challengers to all Democrats running for reelection who support Obama's plan to gut Social Security. Obama has been hearing for years from the left about how Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit, and has been quoted saying that he would raise the pay-in cap to ensure the program's solvency when he was campaigning for his first term. But the corporate owners of our government want our Social Security money to become a treasure trove of poker chips for their next gambling spree, and have finally gotten a Democrat president to begin chipping away at his own party's key legislative victory of the 20th century.

Instead of following his own words of the past, or heeding the calls of the people, President Obama is meeting with Wall Street bankers to enlist their help in selling his austerity agenda to the American people. While most Americans voted for the lesser of two evils last November, we still voted for evil. And with the revealing of Obama's latest plans, that evil side is showing its face even more these days. In his "American Dream" monologue, the late George Carlin warned us of our "owners" taking our retirement money, because "they don't give a fuck about you." Turns out, he was right.

The people of the United States should rightly interpret this latest slew of betrayals in government as proof that we live under the thumb of a corporate tyranny, not a legitimate constitutional republic. And we should come together to decide what a functional new government would look like, and reject the assumed legitimacy of our corporate ownership's puppet government.


President Jimmy Carter: " America Has No Functioning Democracy." (, 7/17/13 )

Former president Jimmy Carter condemned the effect U.S. intelligence programs had on U.S. moral authority in the wake of NSA revelations brought to light by leaker Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel reports.

“America has no functioning democracy,” Carter said at a meeting of The Atlantic Bridge in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday.

Carter also claimed there was currently no reason for him to be “optimistic” about Egypt’s internal conflicts and mused whether the standards The Carter Center applies to foreign elections could be fulfilled by U.S. elections, which he believes are plagued by confusing campaign rules and a lack of restrictions on free speech in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.
The former president continued that democratic developments — fueled by sites such as Facebook and Twitter — might be damaged by the NSA revelations, essentially strangling emerging democratic revolutions in the cradle by casting doubt on the social media juggernauts’ independent credibility.

Carter is a strident critic of President Barack Obama’s anti-terror policies. In 2012, he penned a New York Times op-ed calling the U.S. human rights record “cruel and unusual,” denouncing the Obama administration’s drone strikes, indefinite detentions and warrantless wiretapping.
“At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Carter wrote. “But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.”

Carter also voiced support for Snowden in June.
“He’s obviously violated the laws of America, for which he’s responsible, but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far,” he told CNN. “I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial. I think the American people deserve to know what their Congress is doing.”

Carter received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 to commemorate his “outstanding commitments” to human rights. Seven years later, Obama would receive the same prize — the Nobel Norwegian Committee decided to award it to him only 12 days after he assumed office in 2009.

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