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Tag Archives: Obama

security guysAlexander, Brennan, Clapper

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.

  BOSTON_MARATHON-FIVE_DAYS_OF_FEAR_30733839  occupy-wall-street-police-brutality-1OWS, Chico, CA.policestateusa

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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 (!), 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?”

nsa it cubicle + prison

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 governments.  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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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.”

Bradley Manning

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.

US troops withdraw to Kuwait from IraqCliffs on MarsDiagram of black gravitational hole in space

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