Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Leaky Ship of State

A White House that has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined is itself going to be the subject of a leak investigation -- or so some Congressional chest-thumpers are threatening. Could Barry be joining Bradley Manning in Fort Leavenworth for spilling the beans to The New York Times over his cyberwar with Iran? Of course not. But it would make a great movie. 

We couldn't get a special prosecutor to investigate Wall Street and haul in a few banksters, but such senatorial heavy-hitters as Dianne Feinstein and John McCain are now demanding one for "Stuxnetgate" and also for recent revelations that the President is illegally killing  people with drones. This has nothing to do with human rights or anything, mind you. The congress critters are simply worried that some of those unstable countries might huffily turn around and get revenge on us! Feinstein and her ilk have always been just fine with the evisceration of the Constitution and shadow wars and general malfeasance. They are simply upset that the American public is finally finding out about their dirty little secrets, is all.

 Feinstein finds this recent avalanche of revelations "quite disconcerting and detrimental to our country." John Kerry of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers them "dangerous and damaging." Holy indignant alliteration! Now that news of drones and viruses are splashed all over American newspapers and cable channels, the Pakistanis and Yemenis are going to find out about them. They heretofore had no idea where all those bombs and dead bodies were coming from.

Dianne Feinstein Braces for Disconcerting Avalanche

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who recently declared the whole world a battlefield in the War on Terror, remarked that while he sleeps better knowing we are killing people, he doesn't need to read a "blow-by-blow account of how it's being done." Such things are better left to fevered sadistic imaginations like his, I reckon.

As Glenn Greenwald has so aptly been noticing lately, the recent Times scoops have to be the direct results of cooperation from the Obama Administration. Otherwise, the Obama Administration would already be indicting people for leaks. That they are silent is proof positive that they want us to know about this stuff, because it prevents (they think) the Republicans from painting the president as soft on defense. It's the re-election, stupid! From The Hill:
The FBI opened its own probe Tuesday into who disclosed information on the Iranian attack, The Wall Street Journal reported. On Capitol Hill, the Senate Armed Service Committee promised hearings, while two Republican senators called for a special counsel investigation.
Several Democrats noted with alarm that the Iranian cyber leak is just the latest in a series of media reports that disclosed classified information about U.S. anti-terrorism activity.
 The only conceivable motive for such damaging and compromising leaks of classified information is that it makes the president look good,” said McCain, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee. “They are merely gratuitous and utterly self-serving.”
McCain said Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has agreed to hold congressional hearings on the leaks.
But there's no need to fear. Now that Iran has suddenly discovered in The New York Times that the Stuxnet virus was manufactured by the USA and Israel and is therefore plotting its own revenge attack, Barry and his Terror Tuesday Squad held a Situation Room drill yesterday to practice how to think and react to such a retaliatory affront. As the official White House statement hilariously puts it, "As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, we need Congress to pass legislation to secure the nation from the growing danger of cyber threats, while safeguarding the privacy and civil liberties of our citizens."



Denis Neville said...

Isn’t it amazing. Obama let the Bush war criminals off and he’s let the banksters off. The only people Obama has prosecuted are the whistle-blowers, who he once described as “the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government.”

The true menace we face comes not from terrorists, but our own government supposedly tasked with protecting our democracy.

“Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day, but a series of oppressions begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing a people to slavery.” Thomas Jefferson, Rights of British America, 1774

It takes real courage to stand up to those who have betrayed the highest ideals and goals of our Founding Fathers. Former Bush Justice Dept attorney and whistleblower, Jesselyn Radack, tells how it has gotten much worse for government whistleblowers under Obama, both in numbers and the ferocity of the retaliation:

“We don’t need to jettison ethics, or the Constitution, or the rule of law to achieve national security. I submit that the best way to obtain meaningful intelligence and true national security is to respect civil liberties, behave morally, and act within the law.”

Denis Neville said...

Another f’ing travesty… our so-called war on drugs and why we call them "banksters"

Ed Vulliamy, the Guardian, reports that American and British banks are 'reaping billions from Colombian cocaine trade' and that financial regulators are reluctant to go after these banks in pursuit of the massive amount of drug money being laundered through their systems.

Our government polices money laundering in Colombian banks more than they do in our own banks!

“Colombia’s banks are subject to rigorous control, to stop laundering of profits that may return to our country. Just to bank $2,000 involves a huge amount of paperwork – and much of this is overseen by Americans. In Colombia, they ask questions of banks they’d never ask in the US. If they did, it would be against the laws of banking privacy. In the US you have very strong laws on bank secrecy, in Colombia not – though the proportion of laundered money is the other way round. It’s kind of hypocrisy, right?”

Yep! Just another in a long list of our hypocrises.

Denis Neville said...

Ray Bradbury has died.

“They began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressure; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves.” - Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles

The following story made me think of the above quote:

Valerie said...

Chris Hedges is right. Voting one way or another won't make a difference. The evil ones are in power and they aren't going to listen to us. Come November, I will cast my vote for a Third Party candidate and anyone running against the incumbents in my state - just to show I disagree with the plutocratic dictatorship Kabuki dance - and I will focus my hopes and any actions I take on the Occupy Movement.

It comes as no surprise to me that the big banks are in bed with the drug cartels - or that our government continues to bail them out. A total collapse of the entire system is the only thing that will bring about real change and I can hardly wish for that knowing the terrible hardship that a collapse will bring for 99% of the people in the Western World and 99.9999% of the people in the world. OK – I will stop – I am depressing myself!

Kat said...

Okay, I'm going to be off topic and just stick with positive comments today. I'm kind of worn out.
@Karen-- great comment as usual (Friedman)and even a comment recommending your comment was a top reader pick!
@Zee- I'm sure there is much (well, maybe "much" is a bit much!)we disagree with, but I surely do appreciate the way you engage with others with different viewpoints and you are earnest in reading what others have to say. I have to say I was kind of touched to hear that you sifted through 200+ comments to find the post by VLT.
Okay, that's all.

Zee said...


“Ray Bradbury has died.”

A portion of me died just now with those words, only to be resurrected by the certain knowledge that I have so many of his books and anthologies packed away in a not-so-remote corner of the attic that I know that he lives on still, along with Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and a few cherished others.

Fahrenheit 451. Something Wicked This Way Comes. The Martian Chronicles. Dandelion Wine. The Illustrated Man...

And then the magnificent short stories. The one that stands out in my mind the very most had nothing to do with science fiction or horror, Bradbury's staples. I only dimly recall the plot, and the title escapes me just now, but it's waiting for me up there in the attic to be rediscovered and savored.

A simple story of a young boy for whom summer is just about to start. The joy of the new tennis shoes (I always had to have “Keds,”) even down to their rubbery, “new shoe” smell. The summer adventures that the shoes take the young boy on. The worn out shoes at the end of summer, to be discarded or tossed to the back of the closet. And then the certain knowledge—as fall begins and school starts— that next summer the cycle will begin again, starting with that wonderful, rubbery smell of brand-new tennis shoes.

I lived that story for many years.

Ray Bradbury, thank you for all you have given me.

Zee said...

@Denis and @Valerie--

Again, my proposed solution is to legalize ALL recreational drugs, tax the hell out of them, and plow the tax revenues into drug rehabilitation.

In addition to emptying the prisons, creating new career opportunities in drug rehabilitation, breaking the backs of the drug cartels AND cleaning up Mexico and Colombia in one fell swoop, it sounds like we might destroy some American and European banks as a bonus.

Denis Neville said...

@ Zee

Excerpt from a Paris Review interview with Ray Bradbury on “The Art of Fiction” by Sam Weller:

“It took a long time for people simply to allow us out in the open and stop making fun of us. When I was a young writer if you went to a party and told somebody you were a science-fiction writer you would be insulted. They would call you Flash Gordon all evening, or Buck Rogers. Of course sixty years ago hardly any books were being published in the field. Back in 1946, as I remember, there were only two science-fiction anthologies published. We couldn’t afford to buy them anyway, since we were all too poor. That’s how bereft we were, that’s how sparse the field was, that’s how unimportant it all was. And when the first books finally began to be published, lots of them in the early fifties, they weren’t reviewed by good literary magazines. We were all closet science-fiction writers.”

And I remember initially being a closet science-fiction reader as a young boy for similar reasons. As I grew older and wiser, I came out-of-the-closet and no longer cared, and what business was it of theirs anyway what I read.

Isaac Asimov’s words rang so true to me:

“Congratulations on the new library, because it isn't just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you - and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.”

After all,

“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” - Isaac Asimov

Or as Randall Munroe draws, “Duty Calls: Someone is wrong on the internet.”

Jay - Ottawa said...

Had a beautiful dream last night, one that Tea Baggers and Yellow Dogs would probably classify as a nightmare. Anyway, the mechanics of the events were a bit foggy, as is the case with dreams; but the outcome was crystal clear and welcome, at least for progressives.

Here's the gist of it: In November 2012 enough dissatisfied voters spread their votes among all the third parties -- Green, Justice, Socialist, whatever -- which parties together amounted to a plurality, which then chose one of their leaders by lot, which leader then moved into the White House to push the real progressive agenda. Sigh.

Your endorphins might revel in the same dream after reading this from the New Progressive Alliance: