Has Our Government Spent $21 Trillion Of Our Money Without Telling Us? - Forbes

“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” ~ Article I, Section 9, Clause 7, The US Constitution

“The July 2016 report is not the only such report of unsubstantiated adjustments. Mark Skidmore and Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development,  conducted a search of government websites and found similar reports dating back to 1998.  While the documents are incomplete, original government sources indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported for the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015.”

The Clintons’ War on Drugs: When Black Lives Didn’t Matter

“Prior to his entrée onto the national stage, Clinton’s governorship of Arkansas demonstrated how embracing the death penalty paved the Democrats’ road back to power. After a comparatively liberal first term in which he granted over 70 separate sentencing commutations, Clinton radically reversed his earlier stance after his Republican opponent won largely by smearing him in the eyes of the electorate as considerate of criminals. Upon returning to the governor’s mansion in 1982, Clinton parsed out a meager seven additional commutations over a ten-year span, and none for the death penalty. Indeed, in 1992 amid massive press coverage, Bill flew back to Arkansas days before the New Hampshire primary to preside over the execution of Rickey Ray Rector, a black man convicted of killing a white police officer. Rector had shot himself through the temple, forcing surgeons to remove over three inches of the frontal lobe of his brain. He was so cognitively impacted as a result of the surgery that he set aside the dessert from his last meal to eat after his lethal injection. Rickey even told a reporter that he planned to vote for Bill Clinton in the fall.”

“As president, Bill Clinton and his allies embarked on a draconian punishment campaign to outflank the Republicans. “I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say that I’m soft on crime,” he bragged. Roughly a year and a half after the 1992 Los Angeles Rebellion—the largest civil disturbance in U.S. history in which demonstrators took to the streets for six straight days to protest the acquittal of the officers involved in the Rodney King beating—Clinton passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. At its core, this legislation was a federal “three strikes” bill that established a $30.2 billion Crime Trust Fund to allocate monies for state and municipal police and prison expansion. Like its predecessors, starting with Johnson’s Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, the federal government provided funding to accelerate punitive policies at all levels of governance. Specific provisions included monies for placing 100,000 new police on the streets, the expansion of death penalty eligible crimes, lifetime imprisonment for people who committed a third violent federal felony offense with two prior state or federal felony convictions, gang “enhancements” in sentencing for federal defendants, allowing children as young as 13 to be prosecuted as adults in special cases, and the Violence Against Women Act.”

Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will - NY Times

A few highlights:

“Drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants; in his 2010 guilty plea, Faisal Shahzad, who had tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, justified targeting civilians by telling the judge, ‘When the drones hit, they don’t see children.’”

“A few sharp-eyed observers inside and outside the government understood what the public did not. Without showing his hand, Mr. Obama had preserved three major policies — rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention — that have been targets of human rights groups since the 2001 terrorist attacks.“

“It is also because Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.“

“Yet the administration’s very success at killing terrorism suspects has been shadowed by a suspicion: that Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by deciding, in effect, to take no prisoners alive. While scores of suspects have been killed under Mr. Obama, only one has been taken into American custody, and the president has balked at adding new prisoners to Guantánamo.”

“That record, and Mr. Awlaki’s calls for more attacks, presented Mr. Obama with an urgent question: Could he order the targeted killing of an American citizen, in a country with which the United States was not at war, in secret and without the benefit of a trial?The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch. Mr. Obama gave his approval, and Mr. Awlaki was killed in September 2011, along with a fellow propagandist, Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but was traveling with him.”

“Moreover, Mr. Obama’s record has not drawn anything like the sweeping criticism from allies that his predecessor faced. John B. Bellinger III, a top national security lawyer under the Bush administration, said that was because Mr. Obama’s liberal reputation and “softer packaging” have protected him. “After the global outrage over Guantánamo, it’s remarkable that the rest of the world has looked the other way while the Obama administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several different countries, including killing at least some civilians,” said Mr. Bellinger, who supports the strikes.“

“Justly or not, drones have become a provocative symbol of American power, running roughshod over national sovereignty and killing innocents. With China and Russia watching, the United States has set an international precedent for sending drones over borders to kill enemies.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html

I STILL BELIEVE

Things tend to all come crashing down at once, and its exacerbated by the inevitable feelings of loneliness that creep in, well timed with the precise moment you need to feel loved most. Abandonment, isolation, neglect fall into place and leave us wondering what the hell is left to do. To an extent, we are all alone, and will always be alone… but that doesn’t mean extremely intense connections with the right people can’t evacuate those sad thoughts in a pretty effective way. Without that connection, you feel lost in a crowd…uncared for, forgotten. Peace eludes your search and instead you find hopelessness and despair. In the last couple months, I’ve felt love, lost it, looked desperately for a place to live, packed up my entire life, visited a new city, had health problems, recovered, started two new jobs, was asked to do two more, wrote my first article, and this morning my great grandmother passed away at age 96. I feel like an entire life cycle has been crammed into the last 60 days. I know I will grow and learn from all of it, but the current stress level and subsequent pain is so great, I’ve stopped allowing myself to feel. I just need numbness right now to give me a moment to function. But I have to examine why I am compelled to numb out: breaking down in public is generally frowned upon, but it really shouldn’t be… so many reserved emotions, muted feelings, hidden cries for help… no wonder we poison ourselves with bad food, addictions, allow complacency to set in and end up with cancer. We have no relief. We are the walking dead, holding in everything until our body, mind and heart can’t take it anymore. Our souls are dying with every inhibited reaction. I want to live in an environment where emotions are welcomed, support is provided, empathy is rampant. I know we can build these circles within our own mini social spheres, but the task is so daunting and feels impossible given how often people’s lives are distracted with every day tasks… we forget to check in with each other and even with ourselves.

Really, I think we’ve all grown a bit numb to life. Its a coping mechanism for dealing with all the adversity we constantly face… but we need to remember to allow ourselves to feel; feel our own pain and from that, help others with theirs. Its the only way to clear through it and progress as a race and in our journey of happiness.

URGENCY

Life is such a complicated mess sometimes. Its filled with constantly making decisions and there’s no going back to try again. Its scary when you let yourself think back at all the choices you’ve made and where they’ve brought you, and all the other options that could have taken you somewhere else. But think back hard enough and you’ll soon realize that there was only one real way to go, and you’ve been on the path you were always supposed to take this entire time. That part is a little exciting. Its like each day is a brush stroke on the canvas, a key stroke on the page, one more note in the song, and that work of art is just waiting to be completed. And to get a moment to look back and relish in the memories, accomplishments, lessons and relationships, you savor it a little more as a reminder of where you’re going and what you’re capable of. And you know you’re capable of so much more… you have to be. This life is all about progression, forward movement. Complacency shouldn’t exist, but if it does, then that’s a more depressing death than what happens at the actual end of life. We fill our lives with so much, either what we think we need or we think we SHOULD need, but it takes the extra effort to complete the self-examination required to figure out what the fuck we really want, which is all that matters. And that exam isn’t some tangible test one can take so you get to know what you’re supposed to be doing. Those things never work. Its something perhaps only learned through trial and error, and not always learned in the first third of your life as society seems to think it should. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I never figure out my purpose until I’m 83 on my death-bed, but I also don’t think that will be too late. I think I’ll just look back and realize I was doing my life’s purpose all along, even if I was never consciously aware of what it was at the time.

It’s so scary to want to be wonderful, to desire greatness and to be truly remarkable. I want to change the world so badly but I don’t know where to begin and consequently start a million different efforts instead of focusing on just one at a time. The indecisive factor plays a role as well… I care passionately about so many things, and I want to make a difference in so many lives, both human, animal and otherwise. I want to explore the stars. I want to see where I came from among the giant Super Novas and the dark matter in between. I want to know what it all means, where it’s all headed and why we’re all here. This is nothing new… people have been wondering the same for millions of years, and it’s ridiculously arrogant to think I’m any closer to that elusive answer than they were. Although, with all the information flying around freely online, it certainly feels like we, as a human race, are discovering and learning things light years faster than anyone ever has in history. And maybe we are? I just don’t understand why more people aren’t actively pursuing this knowledge. I feel I am supposed to tackle something bigger, greater than myself. I don’t want to only affect those around me, I want to affect change in the entire world. I want to reach for other universes too while I’m at it. Is this too much to aspire to? Possibly. But why the fuck aim for someplace where I can see the finish line? That would be too easy. I intend on going until I collapse, to keep on until my body and mind won’t let me anymore. And I’ll happily delude myself to believe that my time here has no end so I can keep trying forever. But I won’t just try. I will, in fact, change shit. The world is not going to be the same by the time I’m done with it and I know it will be for the better. I don’t want to just take up space… I have an agenda for greatness but not for myself… I think everyone is capable of it and I wish everyone went for it. The world would be a fucking amazing place if they did.

Hummingbird

Today a beautiful tiny hummingbird flew inside my office building, where the top floor is made of nothing but windows on two sides, making it a veritable death trap for anything with wings (something I have sadly been witness to more often than I care to count). Fighting anxiety, I immediately felt for the little creature. I asked a coworker to help me wrangle him into a box and get him back outside. After many attempts, with each failure having the potential to inadvertently shock the bird into a heart attack, we finally managed to get him outside where we watched him flutter off and out of sight. My heart aches, hoping the little guy made it home safely and survived the ordeal after all, but I will never know for sure. Its crazy how gorgeous something so small and fragile can be. I guess we’re all like that, but we rarely like to admit it. Delicate things are beautiful, perhaps because we are more aware of how fleeting and volatile their very existence can be. Its more evident in tiny packages. There’s a comedic quality to picturing how we must look to something as big as a Super Nova in the Universe. Its scary to think of how insignificant we are. What is the point of such trivial things such as ourselves? Well, to take a lesson from my hummingbird today, I suppose we are here simply to bring beauty to this world. Its so sad to think of all the people who would rather bring destruction, pain, sadness…what’s the point? Are people so fooled into thinking the fleeting joy of self gratification is worth all the pain they inflict on others? Is it possible that people could be so short-sighted that they don’t see the consequences of their actions? Does it all stem from fear? Fear of being real, of being our true selves? We have so much fear of showing the world our true self, of rejection of that truth…a fear so crippling that we would prefer to stay hidden and consequently never overcome it. Acting out of fear can only cause regret. Can you even fathom how beautiful this world would be without fear or regret? We would all strive to understand each other, support one another, be loving and happy and find joy in others’ happiness. Why do we only wish good things for ourselves, partners, families and friends? Why stop there? We let things like cultural divides, country borders, language barriers and religious dogma get in the way of love. Are those things really more important? Why was learning to share such an important lesson to grasp when we were children, but the moment we step out into adulthood, the word is completely removed from our vocabulary? It seems so simple and yet profoundly impossible to achieve all at once. I don’t think I will ever understand it.