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Tag Archives: Bradley Manning

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Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (May 25, 1878 – November 25, 1949) was an American tap dancer and actor of stage and film. Audiences enjoyed his understated style, which eschewed the frenetic manner of the jitterbug in favor of cool and reserve; rarely did he use his upper body, relying instead on busy, inventive feet, and an expressive face.

Yesterday President Obama emerged for a press conference and attempted to stick the genies of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden back in their top secret bottles.  In his best Harvardese shuck & jive mode, he tap danced around the blunt truth that the military-industrial-security-state is in constant violation of the Constitution of the USA (which its members are sworn to uphold), and instead put a smiley face on governmental intrusions into the privacy of everyone (American or not), all in the name of “protecting” Americans from the nasty nebulous “terrorists” who bedevil us, god only knows why since we are so very nice all around the world.   Seldom rattled by his job as cover for the Wizard of Oz system behind the curtain, Obama fumbled as he suggested that in order for Michelle to believe him, he had to take her back in the kitchen and show her he actually did the dishes.  This lame would-be metaphor found him foundering, probably aware that he was, well, lying, and that, well, the entire system which he represents is nothing more than a lie.

James ClapperJames Clapper, perjuror before Congress, Director of NSA

Trying his best to put lipstick on his pig, Obama did his smooth-talk routine, attempting to calm the roiling realization that Americans, as he said rather explicitly, just plain don’t trust the government (anymore).  Left or right, those who swallowed the cold-war Kool-Aid, and all the other trumped up jangle-your-nerves crises that seem to be the societal norm of our imperium, seem to have drawn a line in the collecting of their telecommunications, emails, visits to porn sites or whatever else it is they desire to keep “private.”  Snowden, for whom the government in the form of another shuck and jive artist, Attorney General Eric Holder – another culturally bleached-black – found itself having to issue an assuring word to Russia that it would not execute or torture him should he be returned to the USA (!), was accorded a one year asylum in Russia, as the US security system shuddered at what further revelations he might offer.  One could hear the murmuring, “This is all supposed to be secret… and how do those dang computer code things work, anyway?”

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Ironically, the security apparatus is at the mercy of the techies – many of whom incline to a libertarian slant, and many of whom follow the motto, “information wants to be free” – who understand the arcane matters of bits and bytes, encryption, code, etc., in a manner other than a “concept” to bandy about while not understanding it at all.  Those in the executive echelons of these systems are probably quite aware of their vulnerability on this account, and hence the draconian responses to those who let the beans slip.  Manning and Snowden are not the first to feel the harsh hand of the security agencies for letting out the word that America is not at all the America the government wishes you to think it is.   Long before General Smedley Butler wrote his “War is a Racket,” Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, and more recently Russ Tice and William Binney informed the public about the US surveillance abuses so clearly revealed by Snowden.

predator-weaponizedAmerica’s ambassador, the Predator

And so it is that while Bojangles and StepnFetchit did their duties, and tap-danced mightily to hide the ugly truths which keep slipping out of our Big Brother surveillance systems, and glossed over the long American history of governmental abuses of the citizenry, even former President Carter was found to say that we “no longer have a functioning democracy.”  Suddenly Senators and Representatives in Congress have found a new hobby horse to ride as a wave of public sympathy for Snowden and Manning builds.  What was formerly the turf of the woolly-eyed radical crazy now finds a home in the mouths of “respectable” politicos.  If interested, look up the quote of Mahatma Gandhi in this regard.

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Dazzling with his toes, Obama attempts to deflect attention from what he does with his hands.  This on-going show began with his “don’t look back” absolution of the war criminals and Constitution-abusers who immediately preceded him.  It began at the outset of his administration when the criminals of Wall Street were chosen as his advisers regarding the economic collapse of 2008.  It carries on in his hounding of whistle-blowers far in excess of all previous administrations.  And finally, with the present defense he offers of NSA-CIA-FBI violations of the law and Constitution, even his most faithful supporters begin to fall away, no longer charmed by the seemingly gentle and intelligent words of their black knight on a white horse, come to rescue them from the disappeared faux Texas cowboy.  Rather late (and with three years to go) they discover their guy is a kiss-ass Harvard tongued StepnFetchit to the hard powers that run the show.

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Keep tapping, Bo.  Just nobody believes in the change you can believe in anymore.  And why should they?  It was a PR line of pure-BS to con the liberals into thinking something would actually happen, and instead they got more Bush than Bush, all delivered in a hot package of 100% shuck & jive as done by well-educated criminals – like the ones who run Wall Street, the military-industrial-security state-media complex – and who pull your strings.  You offered “the most transparent” government, and instead you provided the most secretive.  The only thing transparent is that Obama is owned lock, stock and barrel by the ruling elite of the 1% who do what they want, legal or not.   That’s the secret they are worried about, and that you showed in your dismal press conference.  Trust us?  Are you kidding?

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July 28, 2013.  Butte Montana

A listless summer afternoon in the wake of the carnival air of Butte’s Evel Knievel days of bikes and beer-stoked mayhem  subsided into a Sunday quiet.  Up here in Walkerville dogs bark, a few kids can be heard in the nearby playground, and looking westward the sky is blanketed with smoke from a fire in Phillispburg, about 80 miles away.  Out in the far distant world the reverberations of large events seem to rebound, casting a similar gray blanket across the globe.  The Arab spring of not so long ago seems to have devolved into imminent multiple civil wars as Sunni and Shiite, and numerous other sects, recoil into terminal defensive stances as slaughters rip the giddy optimism of last years “spring.”  Elsewhere the Chinese economy seems to slow, sending fiscal ripples across the ocean, while worries build about their bubble and burst. The European community stutters along dragged by the rip-tides of “austerity” as pressures build on the streets and the famed post-war social contract shreds.

Here in America a mix of our usual self-administered shock and awe casts a sullen air across the summer landscape.  From wacky weather of too dry here, too wet there does in crops from West to South, to the after-shocks of  the Boston Marathon massacre and on to the “stand your ground” trial results in Florida, the nation seems transfixed and then numbed to the descending clouds of angst.     The revelations of Edward Snowden and the current trial of Bradley Manning, all these events combine to produce a vast self-doubt where not merely those of a radical bent such as myself (who called this shot long long ago), but now ordinary citizens as well as major political figures – such as former President Carter – mutter seriously of the fracturing of the American community and the faltering of our self-proclaimed “democracy.”  Calls are made to split the nation, and let the “red” states go and pay their own bills.  The Supreme Court rules still again to let money speak louder and louder, shielding corporations while assaulting voting rights in what is a blatant bit of racism on behalf of the GOP.  The summer calm carries a sullen tone, as it seems we await the next battering – a hurricane?  Fire?  Drought?  Flood?  The next revelation of our police-state reality?

James ClapperJames Clapper, Director, NIA, perjuror10leak2-articleLargeEdward Snowden82d8e21c-f33a-4b30-a220-fbb6dc525474-460x276General Keith B. Alexander, USA, Director NSABradley ManningBradley Manning

Lingering in the melange of this seemingly constant avalanche of frantic “news”  there seems an ever increasing sense of something having been lost, as if washed away in the fast moving currents of a flooded river.  What seemed reasonably certain now raises doubt, but so swift is the current that we almost forget immediately what trauma had preceded whatever the current one is.  The Sandyhook massacre in Connecticut, the furor over gun-control, the constant rancor sent charging through the public airwaves, the bombing in Boston — each new event folds in upon the next, numbing the mind and soul.   In the furious rush, too many things – whether one articulates it to one’s self or not – slip by, with a nagging sense of “forgottenness.”  Let’s take and example, the Boston Marathon bombing and its immediate aftermath.

You can try to ignore that the person who put this together is not a native English speaker and the cheesy closing.  But, indeed that was a man – even the police admit it – forced to strip, who looks very much like Tamerlan Tsarnaev and who, allegedly subsequently having been released, simply disappeared: no name from the police, no good old American suit against the police.  Nope, just disappeared.  And his body double then was dead, purportedly shot in a gun battle and then run over by his brother who managed to escape in a car and find his way to a hiding place miles away – or so said the police.  Or having found their second man, Dzhokhar, the police claimed a major gun battle with their target, only to report later that, well, uh, he didn’t have a gun.  Or whisking the now seriously injured man, who the police initially said had shot himself, away to a guarded hospital, he goes unheard and unseen for months while the “justice” system emits word that he’s admitted to the bombing, and then weeks after he was taken, that he’d scribbled last words on the interior of the boat, and those were released.  Or that an alleged associate of Tsarnaev was, gee gosh, just sorta accidentally killed by the FBI while being interviewed in his home in Florida.   Somehow the whole matter (never mind The Craft militarists seen at the site of the bombing, and too many myriad other fishy elements to dismiss out of hand) seems infected with the kinds of things which make one seriously doubt the word of our “authorities.”

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Following this spectacle, in which a major American city was essentially closed down in a boyhunt for an alleged dangerous terrorist, a grateful public flooded the streets with cheers for the assembly of militarized police who had saved them; following the filing of charges against him, the NY Times comments section was flooded with calls for skipping a trial, executing him, or better imprisoning him for life – Dzhokhar had long since been convicted by the press with more or less all the evidence, comments, and statements – much of it transparently false and much very questionable – coming from the police and FBI.  But it worked – a major American city closed down by a military occupation with nary a squeak.

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Not long afterward our attentions were yanked another direction.  Following in the footsteps of Bradley Manning, whose military trial verdict is expected today (found not guilty of “aiding the enemy”), another techie in the service of the government by way of an “outsourced” national security job at Booz Allen (spies for hire), Edward Snowden, absconded to Hong Kong, and now Moscow, having released through the UK’s Guardian, direct evidence of the National Security Agencies blanket surveillance of all American (and foreign) telecommunications.  All.  So much for the US Constitution in the hands of our corporatized security-state masters.  If they have the means – which they do – they will use all the tools at their disposal to “protect” us.  The ferocious response of the government and its security authorities suggests that they know full well there are many things which they have hidden from the citizenry which will cause major political problems, domestic and foreign, if revealed.  Indeed the response is already visible as the entire surveillance program has come under attack from left and right, including Mr. Carter who says simply that we don’t have a democracy now.  Snowden, in his public statements, has appeared eminently reasonable and sane, while the government and much of the press have sought to vilify him personally and deflect attention from the content of what he has revealed.  It is clear the government is truly scared of what he might further reveal.   Ironically, while the government has not hesitated to accuse Snowden of criminal and felonious actions, it’s own functionaries, have blatantly lied to Congress regarding their activities – lying to Congress under oath, which Mr. Clapper did, is perjury and a felony crime.  Yet nothing has been said or done to Mr. Clapper for this transparent public instance of crime, just as the crimes on Wall Street have been brushed aside.   It is such double-standards which have cast the grim cloud over America – one compounded by a long train of similar abuses instigated by our government – from the fake grounds for war with Iraq, to Obama’s executive decision that he is allowed to authorize drone attacks on American citizens by some magical legalistic mumbo-jumbo done in the back rooms.  Put simply, the US government has steadily undermined the source of its authority with its own actions, and in turn the public has steadily turned against it.  Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are hounded and prosecuted for revealing the truth of our government’s behavior; high up government and economic officials are absolved for serious crimes.   What were once considered the hysterical views of wild-eyed radicals now come from the mouths of former Presidents, Senators, and ordinary citizens who have had the wool removed from their eyes.

[Note: Mr Clapper, the perjuring Director of the NIA, back in 2000 was a government operative who proposed out-sourcing of the surveillance of the internet to private contractors; subsequently he became an executive of Booz Allen, such a contractor; now he is head of the NIA and lies directly in sworn testimony before Congress and is not prosecuted for this crime.]

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The case of George Zimmerman clarifies, as if it were needed, the heavy thumb of bias which animates the laws passed in numerous States regarding access to guns and their use, similar to the sudden surge of laws passed to govern voting rights – laws passed by and large by the same party.   Their purpose is in effect to license racism, in the old phrase of the South, “to keep them in their place.”

Mr. Zimmerman stalked his prey, did not follow a police department order to refrain from following Trayvon Martin, provoked an incident, and killed an unarmed 17 year old boy walking perfectly legally down a street.  Mr. Zimmerman walked away from his trial a “free man,” making a mockery of Florida’s laws and “justice.”   In many parts of the country there have been rapid attempts to construct a similar kind of justice for women,  workers, ethnic minorities; attempts built on political gerrymandering to assure that a majority is thwarted and that a social-political minority are able to deceitfully call the shots.  (Sound like Wall Steet?)

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But, worry not, Big Brother is watching (out for) you.  Trust in him and every thing will turn out hunky-dory, A-OK.  Meantime as glaciers melt, wild wacky weather does its number on you and yours, rest assured, the authorities know what they are doing, and are taking care of things.  You bet.

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“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief
“There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth”

“No reason to get excited,” the thief, he kindly spoke
“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate

So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl

Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower, 1968

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Ours is an utterly corrupt era, to be seen at the highest levels of our society – in government, in business, and in the ethical and moral standards which are normal to corrupt societies.   A few decades ago (or even earlier) those – including myself – who pointed to the trajectory which our society was on were ridiculed and shunted aside as weirdos, conspiracy nuts, and all the usual epithets reserved for those who don’t “go along to get along.”  Today as those views are confirmed, even “ordinary” citizens can see it, and pundits and would-be authorities dare to say it and ponder the consequences.  The disquiet is palpable, the becalmed sea hints at storms to come.  “There must be someway outta here.”

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Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

They were very young, and in a sense they had no idea what hit them.  Nor, unlike those older, did they really understand what had been taken from them – the joys, sadnesses, the every day hum drum of life and the occasional ecstasies, all the things that make up a human life.  Their families and community will be traumatized and in some ways will never recover – lives altered in ways unexpected, with little defense for this kind of sudden shift, even if our country offers up repeatedly the example of its possibility.  “Normalcy” is shattered, sent into pieces with the rapid fire of a high-powered rifle which throughout America can be readily purchased at a hardware store, pawn shop or myriad other places.  The right is allegedly enshrined in the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution.  Whether in response to this tragedy, and the many which preceded it, we will, as a society, confront and materially deal with it, is an open question.  We will be drowned in prayers, which do nothing aside from delude the praying that they are doing something.  Whether real, material, actions will be taken seems doubtful – especially in a time when a million small-time drug users languish in prison, and the extremely wealthy managers of banks, laundering billions of dollars in drug (and weapons) money, when caught red-handed, are lightly slapped on the wrist and let go.  Or when the same society sits silent while drones patrol the skies of far away places, loosing Hellfire missiles on alleged “terrorists” which often prove to be wedding parties, and other gatherings of a social kind, or schools, like the one in Newtown, Conn.

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16shooting-lanza-articleInline-v2fxAdam Lanza, aged 20

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It is an irony that will doubtless be pointed out many times, that Adam’s mother, his first victim, was a gun fancier, and it was with her own gun with which she was slain.  What compelled her to keep an assault rifle, and several pistols capable of shooting many rounds automatically, along with a few run-of-the-mill hunting guns is something we won’t ever know.  Nor why so many other Americans seem to feel the same need despite the massive statistics which show they will most likely be their own victims.  But then living in a country of 300+ million which spends more than all the remaining 6.3+ billion people on the planet on “defense” makes such behavior seem in some way logical.  It is something evidently deeply ingrained in the American cultural DNA that God and Guns go together.  As does our propensity for simply deleting those who inconvenience us – from native Americans to the endless list of “others” who in varying manners find themselves on the wrong side of “our” interests.  Usually far away, culturally rather different, and in some way an affront to “the national interest” whether in Guatamala, Venezuela, Chile, Viet Nam, the Congo, or of late in some middle-eastern locale such as Iraq or Iran.  Once we sent the Marines to sing “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli;” now we send them if the drones and black bases and special service ops don’t do the job.

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So the nation will weep some crocodile tears, the President may make some small tentative steps towards a modest bit of gun control (no, the 2nd Amendment did not authorize citizen owning of tanks or anti-aircraft missiles…), there will be the customary weeping and wailing, and the drones will drone on, the military-industrial complex will crank out more fantastical weapons and their corporate partners will peddle them around the globe, and likely we will follow the historical trajectory of an empire – over-extending ourselves, bankrupting the communal finances, and becoming decadent and corrupt along the way.  You need only turn on your TV set to have proof of the latter, see Federal and State budgets for the prior, and sneak a look at the “top secret” reality which is our government’s practice, and punishable, as Bradley Manning can tell you, with “legal” draconian treatment should you slightly lift the curtain on it, for proof of the the first.

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Rachel Davino, 29

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Mary Sherlach, 56

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Our national press did not see fit to publish the names of the 47 dead of this Afghan wedding party, “collateral damage” of a drone attack.

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Mother of gunman

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While the Obama administration has seen fit to approve the treatment of Bradley Manning, when confronted with criminal actions on a huge scale by international bankers, laundering drug money in the billions of dollars, and trading with “the enemy” (Iran), the Department of Justice (sic) chose not to prosecute.  See this for full details.

Wandering the chaos of the internet today, I came across this other declaration, with which I totally concur.   While it didn’t really begin with 9/11, but had been in the works for some time before, with that event (yet to be meaningfully investigated by genuinely impartial parties), our government commenced a series of serious attacks on the Constitution, with perhaps “The Patriot Act” signalling the first step.  Since then in one “legal” ruling after another the Bill of Rights has been stripped of meaning.  As famously said by Mr Obama’s predecessor, “it’s just a goddamn piece of paper.”

While the circus of the Republican nominee selection process travels the country putting on its dog and pony show, back in DC, in the furious rush to wrap up “business”  before the Christmas break, our wonderful Congressmen and women have hobbled together a fantastic new bill, the annual National Defense Authorization Act – to say “law” – which Barack Obama, our erstwhile scholar of the Constitution, and our erstwhile “liberal” President, had promised to veto if it retained a certain element that had been tacked on in the devious manner of our politicians, a “rider” having to do with giving the Executive the (unconstitutional) right to declare someone “a terrorist” or even someone as being vaguely in some way connected to a claimed “terrorist” and to arrest them, lock them up, hide them, and throw away the key.  American or not, where ever they are.   However, as is his way, Mr Obama did his feint to the left, and now is ready to sign this new bill/law.  And bye-bye to what is left of the Constitution’s “Bill of Rights.”

Mr Obama does what his Harvard Massah’s taught him

Thus goes America’s political world, which, like our financial world, basically engages in a constant shell game, shuffling the cards like the hustler down on the corner.   Just keep ‘em movin’ and no one will notice.  So in short order, with a signature on this piece of typical Nazi-style “law” we will have all the trappings of a real genuine dictatorship.  We have already had the practice, now we just need to formalize it in our “laws.”

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In the same week as this dubious item, Bradley Manning surfaced from the Federal military detention system where he has been held the last year and a half, often naked, in what might reasonably be called less than “humane” conditions.   He was taken, dressed, before a military tribunal to face whatever music they might wish to inflict for having released reams of governmental “secret” documents, many of which essentially described crimes committed by America’s military, along with many revealing views of those in government.  While complying with the Nuremberg laws which require a citizen to report war crimes and crimes against humanity, which the American government purports to support and follow, Manning ran afoul of higher ups within our governmental system who regarded this a dire threat (which in fact it – the truth – is).   Mr Manning will undergo this kangaroo court “trial” and be put away for decades, no doubt.  In the same week, in Iraq, America did a military about face, at least in theatrical terms, and allegedly ended the war in said country, folding flags and driving military vehicles to next door Kuwait.  The corporate news doesn’t see fit to inform our public how many “private contractors” receiving Federal funds remain in Iraq.   The recipient of Mr Manning’s alleged leak, Julian Assange, of WikiLeaks, is in detention in the UK awaiting a British court’s decision whether he should be extradited to Sweden where two women, who admit to consensual sex with him, filed charges of subsequent rape for having had morning- after sex with them, allegedly without consent or condom.   In the interim, while this wound its way through the UK’s legal system, American corporations – PayPal and others – commenced to refuse to service WikiLeaks’ fund-raising system, drying up its financial capacity to function.

And  in yet this same week, a reporter, American, found a trove of US military documents in Iraq, which had been tossed in the garbage as the troops left.  An Iraqi man was using them as a heating source, burning them.  Some of the documents – 40,000 pages – the reporter obtained detailed “secret” testimony within the US military regarding the Haditha massacre of November 19, 2005.  These documents reveal clear knowledge within the US military of what are certain “war crimes” but which were covered up as well as possible by American authorities.

Haditha, Iraq, Nov 19, 2005

While Pvt Manning is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison for releasing documents which reveal American war crimes, as well as other useful information regarding American practices, the soldiers who committed the Haditha murders have had charges dropped, been acquitted or been left alone.  Sargeant Wuterich, the platoon commander, had his trial postponed until 2012.   Apparently the papers discovered in Iraq last week will be pertinent – they clearly show a perfectly normal attempt by the military to cover up this war crime – one among thousands committed in the name of the United States, commencing with the lies which were used to initiate this war of choice upon a country which had nothing to do with 9/11.  Naturally the perpetrators of those lies will never be prosecuted by America’s courts.

While beautiful, the above image, of a lake in Alaska, is less than lovely in other respects.  By coincidence it was published in the NY Times within the same day as another report, from Russia.   In both cases the substance of the articles was on the scientifically predicted surge of methane gasses which are coming from the warming of the arctic tundra and from undersea sources.   The essential story is that biomass which has been frozen for hundreds of thousands of years is now warming, in effect fermenting, and releasing methane gasses into the atmosphere.  Methane is a potent “greenhouse” gas, functioning to trap solar heat 20 times more effectively than does CO2.   As predicted by many ecological scientists the warming of the arctic region will result in a feed-back loop in which the warming induced by industrial releases of carbon based gasses, will provoke the production of methane, which will hasten global warming, ad infinitum.   The NY Times Andrew Revkin has a less apocalyptic view here.

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POSTSCRIPT

In today’s emails came one from Michael Moore, which I think warrants as much exposure as it can get, so in case you did not get it, I print it below:

Friends,

It’s Saturday night and I didn’t want the day to end before I sent out this note to you.

One year ago today (December 17th), Mohamed Bouazizi, a man who had a simple produce stand in Tunisia, set himself on fire to protest his government’s repression. His singular sacrifice ignited a revolution that toppled Tunisia’s dictator and launched revolts in regimes across the Middle East.

Three months ago today, Occupy Wall Street began with a takeover of New York’s Zuccotti Park. This movement against the greed of corporate America and its banks — and the money that now controls most of our democratic institutions — has quickly spread to hundreds of towns and cities across America. The majority of Americans now agree that a nation where 400 billionaires have more wealth than 160 million Americans combined is not the country they want America to be. The 99% are rising up against the 1% — and now there is no turning back.

Twenty-four years ago today, U.S. Army Spc. Bradley Manning was born. He has now spent 570 days in a military prison without a trial — simply because he allegedly blew the whistle on the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. He exposed what the Pentagon and the Bush administration did in creating this evil and he did so by allegedly leaking documents and footage to Wikileaks. Many of these documents dealt not only with Iraq but with how we prop up dictators around the world and how our corporations exploit the poor on this planet. (There were even cables with crazy stuff on them, like one detailing Bush’s State Department trying to stop a government minister in another country from holding a screening of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’)

The Wikileaks trove was a fascinating look into how the United States conducts its business — and clearly those who don’t want the world to know how we do things in places like, say, Tunisia, were not happy with Bradley Manning.

Mohamed Bouazizi was being treated poorly by government officials because all he wanted to do was set up a cart and sell fruit and vegetables on the street. But local police kept harassing him and trying to stop him. He, like most Tunisians, knew how corrupt their government was. But when Wikileaks published cables from the U.S. ambassador in Tunis confirming the corruption — cables that were published just a week or so before Mohamed set himself on fire — well, that was it for the Tunisian people, and all hell broke loose.

People across the world devoured the information Bradley Manning revealed, and it was used by movements in Egypt, Spain, and eventually Occupy Wall Street to bolster what we already thought was true. Except here were the goods — the evidence that was needed to prove it all true. And then a democracy movement spread around the globe so fast and so deep — and in just a year’s time! When anyone asks me, “Who started Occupy Wall Street?” sometimes I say “Goldman Sachs” or “Chase” but mostly I just say, “Bradley Manning.” It was his courageous action that was the tipping point — and it was not surprising when the dictator of Tunisia censored all news of the Wikileaks documents Manning had allegedly supplied. But the internet took Manning’s gift and spread it throughout Tunisia, a young man set himself on fire and the Arab Spring that led eventually to Zuccotti Park has a young, gay soldier in the United States Army to thank.

And that is why I want to honor Bradley Manning on this, his 24th birthday, and ask the millions of you reading this to join with me in demanding his immediate release. He does not deserve the un-American treatment, including cruel solitary confinement, he’s received in over eighteen months of imprisonment. If anything, this young man deserves a friggin’ medal. He did what great Americans have always done — he took a bold stand against injustice and he did it without stopping for a minute to consider the consequences for himself.

The Pentagon and the national security apparatus are hell-bent on setting an example with Bradley Manning. But we as Americans have a right to know what is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. If the government tries to cover up its malfeasance, then it is the duty of each and every one of us, should the situation arise, to drag the truth, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the light of day.

The American flag was lowered in Iraq this past Thursday as our war on them officially came to an end. If anyone should be on trial or in the brig right now, it should be those men who lied to the nation in order to start this war — and in doing so sent nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths.

But it is not Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney or Wolfowitz who sit in prison tonight. It is the hero who exposed them. It is Bradley Manning who has lost his freedom and that, in turn, becomes just one more crime being committed in our name.

I know, I know, c’mon Mike — it’s the holiday season, there’s presents to buy and parties to go to! And yes, this really is one of my favorite weeks of the year. But in the spirit of the man whose birth will be celebrated next Sunday, please do something, anything, to help this young man who spends his birthday tonight behind bars. I say, enough. Let him go home and spend Christmas with his family. We’ve done enough violence to the world this decade while claiming to be a country that admires the Prince of Peace. The war is over. And a whole new movement has a lot to thank Bradley Manning for.

Yours,

Michael Moore
MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com

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