Posts Tagged nsa spying

Bread and Circuses

Justin Bieber's DUI mugshot. The most powerful smile in the world.

Justin Bieber’s DUI mugshot. The most powerful smile in the world.

I often complain about how most people in this country are the intellectual equivalents of a Disney cruise who know more about sports statistics and what celebrity did whom and where than about where a foreign country their elected leaders are currently bombing is located on the map or the fact that their government is spying on them and committing all sorts of crimes in their names while persecuting those who expose the crimes. And everytime I feel that maybe I am just being a bit unfair and too hard on people, underrating the American public’s intellect and priorities, something like this happen reaffirming my suspicions all along.

Congresswoman Jane Harman was interrupted by MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell in the middle of a discussion about the recent task force recommendation that the NSA stop collecting phone records with some seriously BREAKING news:

Uh, Congresswoman Harman, let me interrupt you— Congresswoman, let me interrupt you just for a moment. We’ve got some breaking news out of Miami. Stand by if you will. [BREAKING NEWS graphic appears onscreen, following footage of a courtroom] Right now, in Miami, Justin Bieber has been arrested on a number of charges. The judge is reading the charges, including resisting arrest and driving under the influence. He’s appearing now before the judge for his bond hearing. Let’s watch.”

Yes, Justin fucking Bieber, the teen multi-millionaire puke who was going to be an abortion but instead became the greatest human being and panty creamer ever, was arrested in Miami for DUI. This is the breaking news, and apparently also priorities of this nation, for which a lawmaker- who is talking about this country spying on its people – needs to be interrupted.

Now I do not hold a very high opinion of our lawmakers as most of them are nothing but corrupt crooks with ethics lower than that of a child molester, pandering to the interests of the 1% (which they often are part of themselves) at the expense of everyone else and Harman was probably just just blowing some smoke our way to make it look like she and her colleagues are actually doing something about the NSA spying on people, but this is just a pathetic state of affairs.

And the reason MSNBC (and even NPR) does that is because they know that Justin Bieber has more Twitter followers than President Obama (or any other human for that matter).

Yup. Priorities. We got them.

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An Observation in Light of the Bradley Manning Verdict Tomorrow

Bradley Manning

Twenty Five year old Bradley Manning, who was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for nine months after his arrest on May 29, 2010 and forced to sleep naked without pillows and sheets on his bed, and restricted from physical recreation or access to television or newspapers even during his one daily hour of freedom from his cell, all under the pretense that the private was a suicide risk, is awaiting his verdict tomorrow.

Manning was arrested in 2010 in Iraq and accused of providing WikiLeaks with 700,000 intelligence documents and videos, many of them classified and he was subsequently court-martialed.  He  faces life in prison if he is convicted of aiding the enemy, along with 21 other charges related to what has been deemed the largest leak of classified information in American history.

A few things:

Do people really believe it would be “just” or that “justice” would be served if this kid, who isn’t a violent offender, were put into jail for however many years where he will be violated and abused and psychologically damaged simply because, for whatever reason – naivety, idealism, youthful hopefulness, stupidity, patriotism, humanity  – he revealed our government’s dirty little deeds and lies and war mongering and a host of other undemocratic and dishonest practices that take place clandestinely in our names and which have serious consequences for us as well as others? Do people really believe that locking him up, as if he was the enemy,  would be the solution?

As if it wan’t bad and unconscionable enough that he had to endure the inhumane treatment in prison and as if it weren’t bad enough that he has already been robbed off three years of his life and youth, now we believe sending him to jail with a bunch of violent offenders and locking him up would be just?

Bradley Manning, in that case, would then be effectively nothing but a political prisoner.

Look, we all know what the verdict will be, and it won’t be just. And all those people who cite government and allegiance to government need to remember that a government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned. See: the United States government and its spying and our Congress members half of whom are millionaires and in bed with big industry that line their pockets and who are not accountable to anyone. Congress holds the purse, they can give themselves raises, they borrow money from social security and postal service retirement and never pay it back and then count it as part of the budget – as if they weren’t paid into systems – they set the laws, they chose when not to regard and obey certain laws as they see fit –  such as in the case of torture and the NSA spying and other civil rights violations – they approve secret courts that issue secret warrants and they are, in essence not accountable to anyone and thus notably ungoverned. And unless one these Congress members is caught doing it with someone who isn’t his wife, they are virtually untouchable too and stay in office forever so that they can continue to enrich themselves at our expense.

So let me ask again, who is the criminal here?

Transparency doesn’t always mean we need to know every little detail but we do need to know the motives of our leaders and the documents released by Manning and then WikiLeaks show us that the true face of government is very different from what we are shown. A third of your pay, if you are not part of the 1%, goes to that government, which uses it for reasons you don’t understand nor are likely to benefit from.

Finally, if we allow those that would give up their freedom to try to inform and bring understanding to the people of this nation regarding crimes being committed by the Government and the Military Industrial Complex to be found guilty of a crime then we, the citizens of this nation, deserve neither safety nor freedom.

Bradley Manning has attempted to enlighten the citizens of this nation…better put, he has enlightened the citizens of this nation and the citizens of the world as to how horribly wrong war and some acts committed during war can be and are. I mean the atrocities committed were not being committed against paper dolls, those are real human beings whose lives are just as important as the lives of the people in this nation.

Manning should be found not guilty and should be given an honorable discharge from the military instead of sentenced to jail for one year or 20 or 15 or 100.

Wouldn’t we be sending a better message to the world- both as a nation and as a peoples  – if we lived in a world where the judge gave Manning immunity because “the American people are not the enemy“? Instead, we live in a world in which someone like George Zimmerman murders an unarmed black teenager and gets away with it while Bradley Manning who exposes crimes committed by our government gets locked up. This is your America.

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George Orwell Hails From 1984

There is so much bullshit of the Orwellian kind going on in this country I cannot keep up.

government or private cartoon

First (and I’ll get to second, which is the SCOTUS gutting the Voting Rights Act in a later post), we got Edward Snowden being chased around the globe because he exposed the United States government, which is meant to be of, by, and for the people, as encroaching upon the very liberties it’s purporting to defend via an extensive drag net of government surveillance programs via which millions of law abiding Americans are being spied on and monitored everyday.

Naturally, Snowden  is called a traitor when the only people he is a traitor to are the liars who claim to value transparency and liberty, while obfuscating their cloaked intrusions into peoples’ privacy.

In the name of security and terrorism prevention, Americans have not only handed over their very hard-won and hard-fought-for civil liberties and constitutional rights, but in many cases it was right out usurped out of them. And anyone who opposes it or, in Snowden’s case, decides to expose it, is called a traitor who must hang and his supporters are dismissed with the usual rigmarole about how what we should really be worried about is the dire threat to national security that exposure of the PRISM program constitutes. The same refrain that has been used by the Bush administration as well as the Obama administration to justify every overreach of executive power and unconstitutional intelligence-gathering—not to mention torture, extraordinary rendition, and indefinite detainment—for the last 13 years.

It does make you wonder why this program, which is supposed to be so effective, didn’t it catch the Boston Marathon bombers? The Tsarnaev brothers were not very sophisticated. They used pots and pan for cryin’ out loud.  Everything we’ve learned about them suggests that they operated more openly and crudely than most terrorists. So if this program didn’t catch their plot, what are the “dozens of terrorism threats” that this program has allegedly halted? And why didn’t it catch the Tsarnaevs?

Yesterday, President Obama issued a statement saying that the United States is following legal channels on how to bring National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden back to the U.S. to make sure “the rule of law is observed”, which is very rich and not hypocritical at all coming from the same administration that just last year cared so much for the “rule of law” that they chose not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system.

To purport to care about the Rule of Law when it is convenient and when just a few months ago we chose not to prosecute to the full extent of the law in a case as egregious as money laundering is not only deeply hypocritical and arbitrary, it also  diminishes that law, which Obama is now claiming must be upheld, itself. So “Rule of Law” my dissenting ass, Mr. President.

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Obama has no problem bypassing the Rule of Law that he is holding in such high regard when it comes to “too big to fail” financial institutions that own our government and continue to remain “too big to fail” based on his continued failed policies, but now suddenly we must spend endless efforts and resources to bring to justice a man who exposed government crimes.

But then again, what do I expect? He is just another god damn politician. To quote Woody Allen “You know the ethics those guys have It’s like a notch underneath child molester.”

Indeed.

What is making all of this worse is the public’s complacency and that so many people are seriously asking for this guy to go to jail because he violated that sham law The Patriot Act. A law that should never have been. And really, who cares it is the law? Laws can be wrong. And just because something is the law doesn’t make it right.

Some 80 years ago Germany enacted a bunch of laws of its own, for the safety and protection of the state, and we saw where that ended. After the war everyone was blaming people for not speaking up when they saw evil happen. Now someone does exactly that, and everyone thinks he should go to jail? What is wrong with people?

The government is spying on Americans.  That is not acceptable, that is not a bargain we should accept, especially if there is no oversight and accountability. Of course they say this is only to take down the bad guys. “Oh and by the way, we will also determine who the bad guys are, don’t you worry”. That’s reassuring.

Spying on citizens and such infringements are serious transgressions and they undermine the very core of a democracy and everything this country stands for. It always starts with “we are only going after the bad guys” and “this is only for your protection” and before you know it’s turned into something else, something bigger. Too big to fail and then too big to shut down. That is scary. That is unacceptable. I cannot believe people are so sheepish to seriously think that this is ok because “the law says so. Baaaaaahhhhhh.”

Yeah. Priorities. We got them. 

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