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Following the confessions of Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, and of James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, that they had, uh, misspoke, uh, lied, committed perjury and little things like that in testimony before the US Congress, comes the hardly surprising mea culpa of John O. Brennan, that he too had in such testimony, done the dirty deed.  This triumverate of the nation’s security apparatus each and every one committed a Federal crime, a felony, when, after raising their right hands and swearing “to tell the truth and nothing but the truth” they proceeded to tell falsehoods, prevaricated, mislead or otherwise lied before Congress.  The proper legal procedure for such behavior in our supposed system, would be for these people to be charged with a serious crime, be tried, and since they have more or less admitted to their crime, be convicted and sent off to a Club Fed, there to ponder their misdeeds and be “rehabilitated.”

However this is the United States of America, in the year 2014, and while elements of the lumpen proletariat (rednecks, white-trash, discolored folks of all tonalities, the economically poor and educationally disadvantaged) can be tossed for life in jail for 3 very minor transgressions of the law (like smoking a joint) under the Three Strikes & You’re Out laws which exist in many states, those on the other end of the social spectrum, have been issued a permanent Get Out of Jail Free card.   And indeed, just a day ago, our President, the famous Kenyan, declared his full confidence and trust in Mr. Brennan, and his actions with regard to the others indicates the same view of them.   While it would be sort of comforting to imagine that the roll-over-&-play-dead response to these professional snoops and liars is owing to the doubtless endless dirt they have on all our honorable politicians, I am inclined to think it is because Mr. Obama, and more or less anyone down the pecking order of our government are all essentially in support of the crimes these folks committed which caused them to commit the crime of lying about it all.  The entire cesspool of our political system is in on it all.

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At the present moment – though moves seem afoot to alter this modestly – the United States, constituting about 5% of the world’s population, houses some 25% of its prisoners.  I suppose it is no irony that the same approximate figure applies to the nation’s share of global resource use: we’re 5% of the global pop, and we gobble up 25% of the world’s resources.   Hmmm…    Need I note that the disproportion of our consumption of global wealth is rooted in what many in the world regard as great crimes.  Recall the adage:  “Behind every great fortune is a great crime.”

So perhaps it is only natural that we have evolved into a condition in which the greatest crimes – war crimes, financial crimes, or little Constitutional crimes (after all, the Constitution is, as famously described by our previous President, “just a goddam piece of paper”) such as, uh, lying to Congress in sworn testimony, are all quickly dismissed and forgotten. (Recall also the willfully unsworn testimony of the tandem duo of Bush & Cheney in the commission on 9/11?)   So in the new 21st Century America, criminality has become the norm, acts just too big for our little 20th century minds to embrace.   Criminality like letting the 9/11 attack occur since it had certain political advantages in the minds of a cluster of people who just happened to be in the government at the time.  People who had called for just such an incident, publicly, in their 1998 Project for the New American Century announcement, which they removed from the net after 9/11 and it was noted by many.

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So, lying has become – as perhaps it always was – our political and social norm.   The news is full of stories of corruption, though usually this isn’t the word applied, which itself is a kind of corruption: refusal to call things what they are.  Lies are lies; cheating is cheating; war crimes are war crimes.  But for some time now our society was wormed away from such a view:  torture is “enhanced interrogation,” war crimes are “we are not going to look back; we are going to look forward;” trillion dollar financial scams built on fraudulent loans and sliced and diced “derivatives” are called “too big to fail.”  And the higher one is in the hierarchy of power and control, the more protected one is from failure, indeed, failure becomes a mark for advancement.  Failing upwards signals total acceptance and complicity in a thoroughly corrupt system.  And so, in the current case, for sure to be forgotten tomorrow, as the rush of today’s hyper-kinetic news smears collective memory and leaves it roadkill, a thin plasma squashed against the windshield of a hystrionic now, Mr. Brennan, having said his “Gee, I’m sorry I lied to you Senators” will retreat into the black hole of our vast “security” apparatus and carry on, as have his partners in crime, General Alexander and Mr. Clapper.  Federal felonies simply don’t matter if you are high enough on the pyramid of power in the USA.  For taking your part in the vast system of corruption, you will be rewarded.  It rather reminds of the old USSR in its terminal days.

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How swiftly does time go these days?  A mere six months ago the world was enthralled with the Sochi Winter Olympics, thought to be a triumph for Vladimir Putin; a month later Russia seized the Crimea; Malaysian flight 370 went missing and remains “a mystery.”  The World Cup came and went; Malaysian flight 17 went down over the Ukraine; Israel invaded Gaza; 50,000 kids from Central America showed up at the US border (owing to things America imposed on their native countries); the Ebola virus returned – the adrenalin race of events finally exhausts, and leaves a vacuum into which the worst is drawn.

Open Carry March on March 12, 2014

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Open carry gun supporters; if you ask their politics it is very likely to run to the right: American “militia” or maybe Brownshirts.

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The private military-style contractors, Craft International, at the Boston Marathon, whom no one says were hired for anything there, though there they were, “helping” the FBI, and then vanishing.  They carried black back-packs of a kind looking just like the one which the FBI alleges held one of the bombs.  The balance of the Marathon story is so full of fishy things one must wonder.

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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 Phillipsburg, 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?

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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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Hot on the heels of the US Senate’s failure to pass any kind of gun-control measures, and President Obama’s comments on it, arrived, in the midst of what normally would be a joyous event – the conclusion of the famed Boston Marathon – a percussive note which has riveted the nation’s attentions a whole week:  the bombing in Boston.  In this event, for some days the “suspects” remained unknown and hence, “on the loose,” though at one point the forces of the law announced they had a suspect, and promptly withdrew it, raising for some certain suspicions.  At a later point the FBI named its suspects, two Chechen brothers, and Boston and surrounding areas were then put in lock-down, with residents told to stay locked in their homes as an invading force of highly militarized police – city, State, Federal – fanned out in search of their quarry.  Here is the FBI announcement, which interestingly insists that only its photographs are to be accepted as accurate and real.   The mainstream press largely accommodated this request, and parroted the official line.  On the internet another story was unfolding, in the exchanges of Reddit, 4chan, or Infowars, and replicated across the political spectrum from far right to far left.  In the case of the former, the Boston bombing was another false-flag set-up, staged to lay the ground-work for a governmental confiscation of guns which had been, at least for the moment, politically defeated.  In the latter, it was something similar, but to lay the groundwork for the imposition of martial law at some future point.  The mainstream press, with Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post providing the exception, hewed to the official governmental line.  And as usual, their pundits cranked out the appropriate levels of outrage and “reasonableness,” sticking to the comfortable and safe “middle-of-the-road.”   Amidst all this tumult, naturally, many truths were swept under the rug, disappeared, ridiculed, or otherwise dismissed.

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Ignored by press and television news were many things, among them the presence of a number of militarized persons from a private security agency, TheCraft, whose members sported black backpacks much like that which the FBI said had contained a bomb, and who had clustered around the finish-line area where the bombs exploded.  Immediately following the bombing, these people gathered around a very high-tech vehicle close to where the attack had occurred.   To my knowledge the Boston Marathon organization has not said it had hired TheCraft for security, nor has anyone else explained their presence.  Sure a “story” will be forthcoming.  The motto of TheCraft, as seen on their “skull” patch, is “Despite what your Mama told you, violence does solve problems.”  I don’t know who these guys are, or why they were there, but they look and sound and seem to act like some form of American fascists.  I await the explanation for their being there, or more likely, their erasure from the “story.”

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While the nation was totally focused, with the assistance of the mass media, on events in Boston, the Congress passed by unanimous consent a new little law, which rescinded previously passed law, which forbade members of Congress from using their information for “insider trading.”  President Obama promptly signed the measure into law.  Likewise the House passed on Thursday, April 18, a law (CISPA) designed to clamp down on the internet and give the government access to all internet communications.

Meantime the citizens of Boston, and at a distance the entire Nation, were treated to a full-scale example of a state-of-siege, while highly militarized forces in helicopters, tanks, and large groups of highly armed soldiers and police combed the city, looking for two suspects, one a 19 year old boy.  While asserting these were heavily armed and dangerous, the forces deployed were in all cases incredibly disproportionate to the reality.  But, perhaps, the point was not really to capture these two suspects, but to impress upon the populace the extent of the forces which could be brought into play, perhaps for some other rather probable and likely future event, such as the failure of the economy to generate jobs, or the collapse of the dollar.  Perhaps…

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Shootings In Cambridge, Watertown Draw Massive Police Response

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A member of the SWAT team trains a gun on an apartment building during a search for the remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown

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Frightened into a supine compliance, Boston became a deserted place.  Of course one could say having heavily armed uniformed persons outside your window, and having been ordered to accept a 24 hour a day curfew, it was only common sense to obey.  I think this is a refrain we have heard in 1930-40’s Germany, in the USSR, and many other places.  What struck me was the seeming absence of complaint, and the utter lack of a sense of proportion to the supposed danger.  Two young men did not close down the city of Boston; rather the “authorities” – Federal, State, and city, working in collusion – closed down the city, and in a manner absolutely out of keeping with the purported threat.  Clearly something else was at work here.

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The FBI in short order “got their man.”  Though this perhaps has another meaning.  They have admitted to having, in 2011,  interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev supposedly at the request of an unnamed “foreign power,” (later revealed to be Putin’s Russia), and was supposedly found to be harmless.  Though his mother seems to see it otherwise, and says the FBI had been in contact with him over 5 years.  Naturally these little discrepancies have lit up the internet, though the mainstream press seems disinterested.  As they were in 9/11.   So, rather than question the very dubious official version – with one man dead, and the other now allegedly severely wounded but unable to talk – we are instead treated to that ever so American celebration of our togetherness, grit, and other wonderful traits that make us so exceptional.  And our heavily militarized police are being placed on pedestals for “protecting us.”

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Members of the public cheer as police officers leave the scene where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspect in Boston Marathon bombings, was taken into custody in Watertown

I am not a conspiracy theorist – the worst epithet tossed at anyone who does not go along with the “official” story promulgated by our government or other supposed “authorities,” though “nut-case” and others work just as well.   I am though willing to look at facts and figures and images directly, and to sift through them to see what appears to be valid.  I am also willing to listen to the rhetorical talk of ideologues, and to try to figure out the what and why of their behaviors.

In the case in Boston I think the story is far from over, though I am equally sure that both the government, and its compliant corporately owned mass media system will not be too interested in pursuing the matter much further, aside from in patting us all on the back for being so cooperative as a major American city, the veritable birthplace of the American revolution, was placed under martial law on the flimsiest of pretexts, and very likely, once and if the entire story is exposed, an utterly false pretext.   One that should recall other now infamous phrases: The Gulf of Tonkin, WMD, and the myriad other fraudulent claims made by our supposedly democratically elected officials, in order to prompt the nation to do what they wish us to do.

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Addendum:  (I will be adding URLs to interesting looks at the whole Boston bombing etc. as time goes along.)

http://www.juancole.com/2013/04/fathers-sons-chechnya.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-fbis-big-miss-boston-bombing-fugitive-shot-dead-was-on-radar-two-years-ago-8581570.html

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/chechen-terrorists-and-neocons#.UXMRPV5Slto.facebook

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/20/how_boston_exposes_americas_dark_post_911_bargain/

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/04/dzhokhar-tsarnaev-is-found.html

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